Wednesday, September 30, 2020

From Ian:

The Abraham Accords trumps the Oslo Accords
The signing of the Abraham Accords is an incredible achievement for the Trump administration. For the last three and a half years President Trump disregarded all conventional wisdom regarding the Middle East despite warnings from past presidents, State Department officials and diplomats around the world. Many thought that his new policies would end in death and destruction. How did he know what no one else did? How did he see peace when everyone else saw war? The answer lies with a concept called faith-based diplomacy.

President Trump looks at Israel from a biblical point of view. He understands how the base of his voters looks at Israel, and when Bible-believing Christians voted for him, they made it clear that they wanted him to improve relations with Israel. Trump changed the course of America’s policy toward Israel, drastically altering the trajectory set by past presidents. He used the fact that his base was behind him to implement major policy shifts. These shifts were not necessarily politically correct, but they were biblically correct.

Since former president Carter, the US’s Middle East policy had viewed Israel’s “occupation” as responsible for the absence of peace in the Middle East. The PLO’s aggression and refusal to either disavow terrorism or accept Israel’s right to exist were brushed aside. The Obama administration adopted the 1978 Hansell Memorandum, which condemned Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria, as US official policy. This State Department document was based on an erroneous interpretation of the Fourth Geneva Convention from 1949 and had no basis in international law. But Obama’s acceptance of it enabled the UN Security Council to pass a resolution criminalizing Jewish communities beyond the 1949 armistice line.

The Trump administration recognized the false narrative, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the administration was replacing the Hansell memo with an accurate assessment of international law. “It is important that we speak the truth when the facts lead us to it. And that’s what we’ve done,” Pompeo announced in January 2020. President Trump’s policies expose the corrupted narrative of his predecessors’ policies toward Iran and Israel.

Trump ended the Obama doctrine on Israel. He stopped blaming Israel for the problems of the Middle East, and he started looking at how to strengthen the alliance between Israel and America. He refocused the story by seeing the situation as it is: that Israel is a small but flourishing democracy amid the hostile Middle East. This shift in perspective has allowed America and Israel to once again work together in harmony.
The EU’s Hypocrisy on Housing Demolitions in Israel
Entering the phrase “housing demolitions” in the EU’s official site yields a shocking result: 18 of the first documents to appear concern Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes in the West Bank. In other words, 80% of the EU’s reports on this worldwide phenomenon involve a population and an area less that one-tenth of 1% of the world’s population or landmass.

To fully absorb how warped this result is, one must recognize that housing demolitions and evictions are a global phenomenon that is sometimes carried out in accordance with deliberate policies to discriminate against minorities. A report by the EU itself, albeit from 2005, acknowledged widespread discrimination via housing demolitions and evictions within the Union against Gypsy, Roma, and Sinti populations in countries as varied as Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Portugal. These countries do not provide figures on the relative use of this tool between minority and majority groups.

Punitive or discriminatory housing demolition occurs around the world. India accuses Pakistan of the practice in Hindu areas in Pakistan’s Punjab, and Pakistan claims that India does the same to India’s Muslim citizens. Egypt has been criticized for evicting thousands of Bedouin to clear a path for housing projects for Egyptians outside Sinai in the peninsula. The Kurdish government has evicted Sunnis from Kurdish areas, and local newspapers in the US frequently report evictions and demolitions of the homes of minorities in the name of urban renewal. The list of countries that practice housing demolition is almost as long as the list of member states in the UN.

The difference is that one has to dig deep into the EU archives to find any mention of discriminatory housing demolition and evictions anywhere other than in Israel. The EU’s limelight focuses almost exclusively on the Jewish State.

Though the EU always claims it is impartial, a simple Google search demonstrates that this is a falsehood. The search produces long lists of links to pieces on housing demolitions in the West Bank or among the Negev Bedouin — pieces that are churned out by human rights groups supported either directly by the EU, by member states, or both. Thus, Google (and other new media) become tools with which the EU condemns Israel in a blatantly partial and unfair way.
Using the settlements to whitewash terrorism
Last Thursday, 24th September, the outgoing Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Palestine and MP for Aberavon, Stephen Kinnock, led a debate in the House of Commons on the issue of “annexation” vis a vis Israel.

Watching the debate, one could be forgiven for assuming that too many of the participants were simply unaware that there were two sides in this decades-old conflict and that the absence of its preferred resolution – i.e. a secure Israeli state alongside a peaceful and viable Palestinian state, is solely down to Israel and its settlements.

The UN is often referred to as the “theatre of the absurd” but last week’s Commons debate was worthy of that title too, thanks to Mr Kinnock and his allies. In Mr Kinnock’s world, the Israel-Palestinian conflict is all about the settlements and only about the settlements. The misrepresentation and obfuscation of facts, the obsessive focus and emphasis on just one of what in reality are many issues that define and contribute to this conflict from BOTH sides, as well as the disregard for historical and more recent international and legal treaties, was and remains a deeply troubling spectacle to have watched. It is simply beyond the bounds of this piece to touch upon all the issues, so its focus is on just some of what Mr Kinnock said, and didn’t say.

Mr Kinnock’s obsession with the settlements deserves some context here. It deserves mention and acknowledgement that the claims of illegality of Israel’s settlements in the disputed territories in Judea and Samaria / the West Bank are highly politicised and ignore previous internationally and legally ratified treaties such as the San Remo Convention and the League of Nations (LoN) Mandate for Palestine. The LoN Mandate for Palestine’s Article 6 testifies to the legality of Jewish settlement in Palestine and Article 80 of the United Nations’ Charter implicitly recognises the Mandate for Palestine, a Mandate which granted Jews the irrevocable right to settle in the area of Palestine, anywhere between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. These rights remain and no treaties, agreements or accords since have abrogated them. In fact, even the Oslo accords support construction by either side in areas of Judea and Samaria / the West Bank under their respective administrative control. That said, there are many Israelis, as well as Jews and non-Jewish supporters of Israel in the Diaspora, who are against the settlements and see them as an obstacle to peace. Being against the settlements does not make one anti-Israel. Not at all. Putting aside political charges and those historical treaties and agreements which refute such charges, the settlements ARE an issue in the conflict. But they are not the root cause of the conflict nor the biggest obstacle to peace as Mr Kinnock would like to have us believe. Not by far!
FDD: Netanyahu Highlights Hezbollah Use of Human Shields
U.S., Israeli, and other allied armed forces have repeatedly been confronted with human-shields use by terrorist organizations, including al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Islamic State. Terrorists hide behind human shields in order to (a) cause Western armed forces to self-impose restraints that render them less effective, and (b) delegitimize lawful military operations, erode the Western will to fight, and spur anger at the West, by generating civilian casualties for which the terrorists can blame Western militaries. Terrorists engage in the actual war crime of using human shields in order to facilitate falsely accusing U.S., Israeli, and other Western armed forces of engaging in war crimes such as the deliberate killing of civilians.

Hezbollah’s use of human shields has been remarkably effective in achieving these objectives. It also puts civilians in danger of explosives accidents, such as those that recently decimated the port of Beirut and detonated a Hezbollah arms depot in the Lebanese village of Ain Qana.

Yet Western countries have not yet responded by penalizing, prosecuting, or otherwise holding Hezbollah, other terrorist groups, and their leaders and material supporters accountable for using human shields. Doing so would help counter the terrorist narrative, including by demonstrating that officials of these terrorist groups are war criminals – a particularly important fact as the United States pushes to have Hezbollah declared a terrorist group by the European Union.

Holding terrorist groups accountable would also help educate the media and public about the use of human shields and who is responsible for resulting harm to civilians. It may also deter some material supporters from involvement in human-shields use. These supporters could include municipal officials who knowingly provide permits for PGM factories under residences, or businesspersons who knowingly construct them under residences.

Hezbollah’s use of human shields is not limited to these three missile factories in Beirut. In a 2018 op-ed published in Arabic, Israel Defense Forces Spokesman Brigadier General Ronen Manelis wrote, “[O]ne in every three or four houses in southern Lebanon is a headquarters, a post, a weapons depot or a Hezbollah hideout.”

Despite considerable prior evidence, the Trump administration has yet to impose any sanctions under the Shields Act, which became law nearly two years ago. The exceptionally strong evidence released today should prompt the administration to act.
JPost Editorial: In wake of normalization, will the Palestinians board the peace train?
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is understandably feeling sidelined and isolated. He has watched the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain move toward normalization and peace with Israel, a process that the Palestinian leadership has spent more than a decade fighting against.

This reactionary policy has led to thuggish attacks on anyone accused of “normalizing” in the West Bank and has included attempts to break relations with peace groups and ruin relationships with pro-two-states Israelis. The Palestinian Authority’s logic is that it is opposing Israel because the Jewish state has not been working with it towards an agreement.

In the wake of the peace deals with the Gulf, the Palestinian leader went to the UN to claim that normalization was a violation of just and lasting peace, and called on the global community to hold an international conference to “launch a genuine peace process.”

Much of what Abbas says seems contradictory. He slammed the “illusion of peace for peace” in August and attacks normalization while calling for peace. He told Russian President Vladimir Putin he was ready for resumption of peace efforts, while also calling for more “international legitimacy” for his movement. It’s unclear what kind of peace he’s talking about when he slams Israel and won’t work with the US.

The fact is that Abbas is in a difficult place, made more difficult by false promises to the Palestinians over the years. Those empty promises resulted in the Palestinians believing that they could continue to incite against Israel and attack “normalization” while also demanding normalization from Israel.
Arab voices criticize Palestinian rejectionism
The establishment of relations with Israel by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain has had a number of side effects. One was that some figures in the Arab world started to explain why these steps by the two countries were possible despite the fact that there was no promise of the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state.

In several articles Arab authors criticized Palestinian rejectionism. A few examples: UAE Quranic scholar, Waseem Yousef, accused Palestinian Arabs and Palestinian leadership for disrespecting the UAE flag while Israel flies it proudly. Yousef has 1.6 million followers.

On September 8, the Saudi London-based daily, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, criticized the Palestinian Authority for its rejection of the UAE normalization agreement with Israel. It specifically mentioned the emergency conference recently held in protest against this normalization by Palestinian factions from Beirut, Ramallah and on-line.

Daily newspapers in Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt recently published dozens of articles condemning Palestinian Arabs for their ungrateful leadership.

Daily newspapers in Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt recently published dozens of articles condemning Palestinian Arabs for their ungrateful leadership. Some articles claimed that the Palestinian leadership had exploited the Palestinian cause for seven decades and extorted many funds from Gulf states. Some even accused Palestinian Authority officials of taking the money for themselves and deliberately rejecting every peace initiative in order to perpetuate the situation and remain in power.

The Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) consists of Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. GCC Secretary General Nayef al-Hajraf demanded an apology from the Palestinian leaders for their criticism of the UAE's normalization agreement with Israel. He accused Palestinian leaders of "incitements and threats" during a meeting of the heads of different Palestinian factions.
UNSC members: Israeli-Palestinian talks must be based on pre-1967 lines
United Nations Security Council members Tuesday pushed back at US President Donald Trump’s peace plan by calling for a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian talks based on the pre-1967 lines, even as they lauded the normalization deals he brokered between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

“We remain convinced that sustainable peace, security and stability in the Middle East cannot be reached without a just, lasting and comprehensive solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in line with international law and relevant UN resolutions,” four European Union nations who are also UNSC members said. Belgium, Estonia, France and Germany issued the statement right after Tuesday’s monthly UNSC meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Norway and Ireland – incoming council members as of January 2021, both EU nations – also supported the statement.

“The two-state solution, with Jerusalem as the future capital for both states, is the only way to ensure sustainable peace and stability in the region,” the six EU nations said.

At the UN General Assembly Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the Palestinians to resume negotiations on the basis of Trump’s peace plan, which rejects the pre-1967 lines. It provides instead for the eventual Israeli annexation of 30% of the West Bank and recognizes Israeli sovereignty over a majority of Jerusalem.

Many of the 15 UNSC members, however, said that the pre-1967 boundaries were still very much in play.
Nobody is ignoring the Palestinians
The common refrain heard from media pundits and left-wing critics of the Gulf kingdoms’ recognition of Israel is that it ignores the Palestinian Arabs. Here is how New York Times’ correspondent Michael Crowley began his article following the recent signing ceremony: “Israel and two Arab nations signed agreements at the White House on Tuesday to normalize their relations, a step toward a realignment of the Middle East but one that failed to address the future of the Palestinians.”

This attitude is one-part spite, one-part ignorance and one-part cynicism.

Spite because critics of Israel just can’t stand when anything happens that Israel is happy about. So, they have to almost reflexively pour cold water on it.

Ignorance because some younger critics of Israel probably are genuinely unaware that Israel long ago “addressed the future of the Palestinians”—and implemented the best available solution.

And cynicism because most of the critics are completely aware of what Israel has done. They just don’t want to acknowledge it because it doesn’t suit their agenda.

The reason the newest agreements don’t “address the future of the Palestinians” is because Israel already fully addressed them twice—in 1995 and 2004. That’s when Israel ended its occupation of the Palestinian Arabs in Judea and Samaria, and the Gaza Strip, respectively. That’s when not one, but two, de facto Palestinian states were established.
The Human Rights Council Must Reform to Earn U.S. Re-Engagement
No U.S. Participation in the UPR Until Reforms Are Adopted. Under the UPR process, the council reviews the human rights practices of every country. However, it has proven to be a flawed process subject to manipulation by countries seeking to shield themselves from criticism.

The third cycle of the UPR is not yet complete, thus an apples-to-apples comparison had to be restricted to the first and second cycles. During the first two cycles of the UPR, the United States, by far, received the most recommendations (668) for improving its human rights practices. Cuba was next (534), and Iran was third (511).

In other words, in the eyes of the HRC, the United States is the country most in need of improving its human rights record—more than China, Cuba, Iran, Venezuela, or Zimbabwe.

The U.S. was scheduled to undergo its third UPR in May 2020, but it was delayed until November 9 because of COVID-19.

The U.S. withdrew from the HRC in 2018 over the fundamental failings of the body and the determination that U.S. membership lent it unwarranted credibility. Participating in the UPR kabuki dance likewise lends that process unwarranted credibility. The U.S. should not participate in the UPR until the U.N. member states adopt reforms that make the HRC worthy of U.S. engagement.

Conclusion The Human Rights Council is supposed to be the world’s premier human rights body, yet it remains biased against Israel, repressive governments are well-represented among its membership, and it too often fails to note, let alone condemn, many of the world’s worst abusers of human rights. These failings undermine the credibility of the council. The Trump Administration was justified in demanding reforms to address these ongoing, fundamental problems, as well as in leaving when the other U.N. member states proved uninterested in addressing them.

The mandatory review of the Human Rights Council required between 2021 and 2026 presents an opportunity to press for reforms. The next U.S. Administration should insist that the review be conducted immediately, and use the opportunity to again challenge U.N. member states to adopt reforms that would allow the council to live up to its lofty mandate.

After years of bashing Israel at UN, UAE and Bahrain dramatically soften tone
Old habits die hard. But sometimes they do die, and this year’s session of the United Nations General Assembly showed that, with strong political will and the right set of circumstances, it’s possible to kick even a deeply entrenched diplomatic convention.

For decades, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have used the UN stage to relentlessly bash Israel and champion the Palestinian cause. Even in recent years, every speech in Turtle Bay featured a condemnation of the Jewish state and the assertion that regional stability will remain elusive until the creation of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines.

In 2010, for instance, UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan dedicated a whopping 563 words to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His country believes peace between the two parties is “central and vital” to the entire region, he said.

“And this cannot be realized without ending the Israeli occupation of the Occupied Palestinian and other Arab Territories and its withdrawal to the line of 4 June 1967, including East Jerusalem, the Syrian Golan Heights and the remaining occupied territories in Southern Lebanon.”

Abu Dhabi stands by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and commends him for his efforts to restore the rights of his people, Al Nahyan went on.
UAE announces candidacy for U.N. Security Council seat
The United Arab Emirates on Tuesday announced its candidacy for a two-year term on the U.N. Security Council in 2022-2023, the state news agency WAM said.

The announcement came in a statement made by the minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, at the annual U.N. General Assembly in New York.

The Security Council is the only U.N. body that can make legally binding decisions like imposing sanctions and authorising the use of force. It has five permanent, veto-wielding members - the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia - among 15 in all.

“The UAE’s campaign for a non-permanent seat on the Security Council will focus on efforts to advance inclusion, spur innovation, build resilience and secure peace,” WAM said, adding that the Gulf state previously served on the Council in 1986-1987.
The embassy issue reveals the contradictions in the EU's Jerusalem policy
When politicians say of any problem that their position is “clear,” you can be pretty certain that it is anything but. Clarity on the issue of Jerusalem, its status and its future, has been claimed recently by both the UN and the EU. In fact the positions of both organizations on the matter are as clear as mud. Worse than that, although they claim to be identical, they are in fact poles apart.

The claim on behalf of the UN was made by Nickolay Mladenov, its special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, in a session of the UN Security Council considering US President Donald Trump’s decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem. The UN’s position, he announced, was clear. “Jerusalem is a final status issue for which a comprehensive, just and lasting solution must be achieved through negotiations between the two parties, and on the basis of relevant United Nations resolutions and mutual agreements.” That formula has been repeated several times since, most recently by UN Secretary-General Antรณnio Guterres in February 2020.

In other words, the UN holds that the exact status of Jerusalem in international law is as yet undetermined. Yet, the Security Council, in its Resolution 2334 passed in 2016, had determined that the status of Jerusalem was at it had been on 4 June 1967 – that is, on the day before the Six Day War commenced – referring three times to “Palestinian territories including East Jerusalem.”

So the UN’s “clear” position is that it asserts that East Jerusalem is part of Palestinian territories, but in the same breath maintains that Jerusalem is a final status issue to be determined through negotiation. It recognizes no changes to the pre-Six Day War boundaries, except that it does not recognize that West Jerusalem at least was part of Israel at the time. Its position defies logic.
PreOccupiedTerritory: UAE, Bahrain Unsure What To Do With Leftover Antisemitic Conspiracy Theories (satire)
Two states that established formal relations with Israel after decades of explicit support for its enemies, including the dissemination of propaganda to undermine the Jewish State’s legitimacy, now find themselves with a surplus of such material and no clear disposition for it.

The Persian Gulf nations of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates normalized ties with the Jewish State at a ceremony on the White House lawn last week, ushering in a new era in regional politics, diplomacy, culture, and history, and presaging the establishment of such ties between Israel and other once-hostile governments in the Middle East and beyond, but also confronting those countries with the dilemma concerning what to do with the significant volume they have accumulated of conspiracy theories positing a Jewish-Zionist cabal behind all or most of humanity’s misfortunes, and for which they now have no use.

Diplomatic sources in both countries and in nations such as Oman, Saudi Arabia, and several African states expected to follow the UAE-Bahrain lead in the coming weeks and months voiced their concern over how to handle the conspiracy theory glut, and the economic impact it will have as more and more countries normalize with Israel and thus reduce demand for the propaganda, driving down the price even as supply remains copious.

“Pakistan, Iran and Turkey are the obvious markets for the material,” acknowledged one source who insisted on anonymity, “but they have enough domestic production as to render export to those countries uneconomical. To the glut we already have, add the anticipated influx over the near-to-medium future, and we’ll have to start paying others to take the conspiracy theories off of our hands because simply storing it is more expensive than that.”

Fmr. Ambassador Danny Danon on PM Netanyahu's UN Speech

MEMRI: Following Criticism, French President Macron Takes Harsher Stance: Hizbullah 'Cannot Claim To Be A Political Force Of A Democratic Country By Terrorizing' The Population With Its Weapons
On September 26, 2020, Lebanese acting prime minister Mustapha Adib stepped down, announcing that he was abandoning his efforts to form a new Lebanese government. The failure was the result of numerous obstacles from political elements.[1] At a press conference the following day, September 27, French President Emmanuel Macron expressed sorrow about the failure to form a government and harshly criticized Hizbullah, saying that the organization could not be a terror organization and at the same time a political power. Macron also attacked Lebanon's political elements, specifically Hizbullah and the Shi'ite Amal party, accusing them of selfishness and of betraying and violating their commitments to France, which recently unveiled a roadmap to extricate Lebanon from its political and economic crisis that was greatly exacerbated by the August 4 explosion at Beirut Port.[2]

At the press conference, Macron said: "Hizbullah cannot be at one and the same time an army fighting Israel, a militia unleashed against civilians in Syria and a respectable party in Lebanon. It must not believe it is stronger than it is and it is up to it to show that it respects all of the Lebanese. It has, in recent days, clearly shown the opposite...

"I understood that the will of Amal and Hizbullah – and this is what has happened in recent days – was to make no concessions, was NOT to honor what they explicitly told me [as they sat] around the [negotiating] table, looking into each other's eyes: [i.e.] that they agreed to a 'mission' government [and] to a roadmap of reforms...

"Hizbullah and the Shi'ites are faced today with a choice that is also historic: whether they want to choose democracy and Lebanon, or whether they want something worse... Today the matter is in the hands of Hizbullah and President [Nabih] Berri: Do YOU want the policy of 'something worse' [i.e. clashes], or do you want to integrate the Shi'ite camp into the camp of democracy and the interests of Lebanon?...

"Hizbullah has maximized its weight by using ambiguity: It is simultaneously a militia, a terrorist group, [and] a political force. The Hizbullah representatives in parliament need to clarify their position. You [Hizbullah] cannot claim to be a political force of a democratic country by terrorizing [the population] with your weapons, and you will not be able to sit around the [negotiating] table for long if you do not keep the commitments you made around the table."[3]

Ten days in, the national lockdown doesn't seem to be working
Ten days after it began, the national lockdown is showing no noticeable effect, according to a report by the Hebrew University presented to the coronavirus cabinet on Wednesday.

The report was presented by professors Yinon Ashkenazy, Doron Gazit and Nadav Katz from the Racah Institute of Physics, and professors Ronit Calderon-Margalit and Ran Nir-Paz from The Hebrew University-Hadassah Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine.

No significant slowing in the R number has been recorded. The number, which is how many people an infected person will infect, is however expected to drop in the coming weeks.

An R factor of one means that on average every person who is infected will infect one other person. If R is greater than one, the outbreak is growing; if R is less than one, it is shrinking.

The professors believe that the lack of effect is due to infections occurring at home, and that an extension of the lockdown will definitely be necessary in order to have enough of an impact.

The report warned that movement during this lockdown has dropped less than it did in the first one in spring, raising concerns that it could have little effect unless enforcement is increased and the public follows regulations more strictly.
More than 20 Arab Terrorist Attacks on Jews Since the Start of 5781
A little more than a week has passed since the beginning of 5781, and the silenced intifada calendar of Hakol Hayehudi has recorded more than 20 terrorist incidents. According to reports, one Jewish man was injured in a terror attack last week.

The 20 plus incidents included throwing stones at civilian vehicles and at security forces, as well as throwing Molotov cocktails and dumping explosives. In one case, a paint bottle was hurled at a bus, damaging the windshield.

In at least eight incidents, vehicles were damaged. In one incident, when Arabs threw Molotov cocktails at the Baal Hatzor military base in Binyamin, an IDF ambush at the scene fired at the terrorists, injuring two.

Earlier last week, a bus driver was lightly injured as a result of stones thrown at him by Arabs near the village of Halhul in the Hebron Mountains. The wounded man drove himself to the entrance gate of Kiryat Arba and was given medical treatment.
The No. 1 Lesson of the Intifada: Initiate and Control
As strange as it might sound, Israeli society has repressed the memory of the Second Intifada. Despite the heavy price it exacted, there is no day of commemoration or memorial site for it, and it is rarely mentioned. Five or six years of terrorist bloodshed, which left deep scars on Israeli society and shaped its relations with the Palestinians for decades to come, have vanished as if they never existed.

The reasons are mostly psychological, obviously, but we should nevertheless address the lessons learned from the events that began 20 years ago after then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount. The date itself was random — PLO leader Yasser Arafat wanted a bloody battle, and if Sharon hadn’t gone to the Mount, Arafat would have found another excuse.

Arafat was looking for a “war of liberation.” He rejected the (generous) proposals made to him at Camp David and sought a state for his people that would be built on a foundation of fire and blood. He believed that a few days or weeks of fighting in which Israel sustained casualties would prompt it to make additional concessions. But there was one critical thing that Arafat failed to take into account: a few months earlier, Israel had withdrawn from the security zone in southern Lebanon. The Arab world saw that withdrawal as a panicked retreat. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah compared Israeli society to a spider web and used the eruption of violence in Judea and Samaria to kidnap three IDF soldiers on Mount Dov.

Israel could not, and did not want to, give in again and responded mercilessly to the Palestinian attacks. Every event ended in a resounding victory for the IDF. Instead of changing tactics, Arafat kept his back against the wall. He spurned every attempt to relaunch the peace process and raised the stakes of the violence. He started with shooting attacks, and even allowed members of Fatah’s Tanzim branch to take part in them, and then let the worst Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists out of Palestinian Authority (PA) prisons.
Second Intifada: A Not So Distant Memory
This week marks 20 years since the outbreak of the Second Intifada, a five-year Palestinian terror campaign that killed over 1,000 Israelis. Too often the media ignores the devastating impact the violence had on the average Israeli, and instead focuses uniquely on how it affected the Palestinians' statehood ambitions.

PMW: PA: Netanyahu is a “monster” dragging his “tail” Trump, while Abbas is “the Son of the Sun” - in PA TV music video
What better opportunity for the PA to rebroadcast a music video demonizing US ‎President Trump, his Senior Advisor Kushner, and Israeli PM Netanyahu than the ‎peace agreements signed with the UAE and Bahrain earlier this month in ‎Washington?‎

In the music video, which Palestinian Media Watch documented was first broadcast by ‎the PA to condemn the Bahrain Conference in 2019, Netanyahu is "Darkness," who ‎uses Trump and Kushner as his "messengers," and "a monster with horns" dragging ‎Trump as his "tail."‎

Standing up to them is PA Chairman Abbas - the "light" - literally "the Son of the Sun":‎

Visuals of Netanyahu followed by Trump are shown while the lyrics tell of "a monster with horns dragging a tail." Abbas - the "Son of the Sun" - is instructed to "break its horn and cut off its tail":

The monster later "knocks on the door with his fangs" while a photo of Trump is shown followed by a dollar bill with his face.
Female suicide bomber felt “like a bride on her wedding day, preparing to go to her groom” 7,000-8,000 released terrorists paid for not working, PA to absorb them in PA Security Forces PA pays imprisoned and released terrorists’ university studies

Daniel Pipes: Nasser Died Fifty Years Ago: He Lives On in Egypt
And yet, Egypt has never escaped Nasser's legacy. The regime persists in a casual brutality toward dissidents and a dogged hostility to Israel that outlasts the peace treaty signed forty-one years ago. It lags economically, with retired military officers more important than ever and the country unable to feed itself or produce goods the world wants. A population of 100 million stuffs itself almost entirely into the 4 percent of Egypt that comprise the Nile Valley and Nile Delta. Constant expansion onto agricultural land and the prospect of diminished Nile River water portend future crises. Even the famed Egyptian cotton is no more.

Thus did Egypt slide from its old status as the foremost of twenty Arabic-speaking countries to an afterthought.

Those New York Times headlines symbolized the West's cluelessness about the deeply malign nature of Nasser's rule. Blow to peace efforts? Hardly: only post-Nasser could Sadat yank Egypt away from its debilitating confrontation with Israel. Period of instability? No, Nasser's death removed the region's most disruptive element. Arabs grief-stricken? Some, yes; but many others felt relief.

Another fifty years hence, the Egypt of 2070 will yet suffer under Nasser's influence.

Egypt's modern history reconfirms that when a country falls into the hands of a despot, the return to normality can take a very long time. Russia, China, and Iraq provide other past examples; Venezuela, North Korea, and Iran provide more current ones.

Given Egypt's lugubrious immobility under Gamal Abdel Nasser's half-century-long shadow, I pessimistically predict that another fifty years hence, the Egypt of 2070 will yet suffer under his influence. Rulers will come, rulers will go, unable to break the boundaries he set so long ago.
Israel Won’t Rule Out Preemptive Strike on Iran, Bibi Says
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that he is "not ruling out" a preemptive strike on Iran, the Jerusalem Post reported Tuesday.

"A preemptive strike is a difficult thing to do," Netanyahu explained. "I know that if Iran wants to base itself in the north, we are ready to fight them…. We will do everything in order to protect the State of Israel; we are not ruling out a preliminary strike."

The prime minister’s remarks came during a memorial for the 1973 Yom Kippur War, which pitted Israel against multiple Arab states after Egypt deployed a rapid attack on the Sinai region. Accordingly, Netanyahu exhorted fellow Israelis to take to heart lessons from the war, which include standing watch against regional adversaries.

Israeli president Reuven Rivlin agreed that vigilance in security and domestic affairs remains critical. "The surprise that was our lot in that war must not be forgotten and must not be repeated: not in security, but also not in health or in the economy," said Rivlin.

In order to keep Israel secure as it enters a second coronavirus lockdown, leaders emphasized strength and readiness. Growing threats from Iran and its robust military buildup have made Jerusalem an attractive ally to other Gulf states, leading to peace deals with Bahrain and the UAE in the last month.

"This is the power on our side," Netanyahu said. "[It is] the power that brought peace with Jordan, Egypt, agreements with the UAE and Bahrain. The power that will bring peace with additional states."
UN nuclear watchdog inspects second site Iran had previously barred access to
The UN’s nuclear watchdog said Wednesday it had gained access to a second site in Iran where undeclared nuclear activity may have take place in the early 2000s.

“As part of an agreement with Iran to resolve safeguards implementation issues specified by the IAEA, the agency this week conducted a complementary access at the second location in the country and took environmental samples,” the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement.

Late last month Iran announced it would allow the IAEA access to two sites — their exact locations have not been made public — following a visit to Tehran by IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi.

Iran agreed to grant access to both sites on specific dates this month, Reuters reported.

The first site was visited by inspectors in early September.

Iran had denied the agency access to the locations earlier this year, prompting the IAEA’s board of governors to pass a resolution in June urging Iran to comply with its requests.
Iran: “We Will Help Any Country Fighting the Zionist Regime and the United States”
Spokesman for the Iranian Armed Forces, Brig. Gen. Abolfazi Shekarchi, said on the occasion of The Sacred Defense Week, commemorating the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq War, that Iran is willing to contribute its vast experience to its allies in the “resistance front” and even sends advisers to them. However, he added that Iran does not intend to intervene in the internal affairs of countries in the region and has no military presence there.

In this context, and as part of Iran’s preparations to start exporting arms after the expiration of the arms embargo on October 18, 2020, Iran’s spokesman said that during a recent visit of the Iranian army chief of staff to Syria, the Damascus regime requested to reinforce its air defense systems. Shekarchi claimed that there is no Iranian military presence in Syria, and as per the Syrian government’s request, there are only Iranian advisors there.

The spokesman added that in addition to Syria, Iran also provides military advice to Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen, which are part of the “resistance front.” He said that “any country that opposes the Zionist regime and the bloodthirsty United States will receive assistance from Iran. In view of the economic problems in Iran, this does not mean that we will provide it for free, and it is possible that Iran will receive payment for its assistance.”1

He added that Iran provides “defense technology” to the Houthi rebels in Yemen, who absorb it and produce various types of weapons indigenously and “with great talent: missiles, drones, and other weapons including systems in the field of electronic warfare.” He denied that Iran provides missiles to Houthi rebels, insisting that Iran “is only passing on experience and knowledge.”

Iranian Chess Referee Reveals Jewish Heritage as She Seeks Asylum in UK
A top Iranian chess referee who fled her home country after being photographed not properly wearing a hijab has opened up about her Jewish roots for the first time ever while awaiting for asylum in the United Kingdom.

“All my life was about showing a fake image of myself to society because they wanted me to be an image of a religious Muslim woman, which I wasn’t,” Shohreh Bayat told The Telegraph, referring to the Tehran regime.

Bayat, 33, revealed that her paternal grandmother Mary, who moved to Iran from the Azerbaijani capital of Baku during World War II, was Jewish.

She said, “If they knew that I had Jewish background, I would never ever be general secretary of the Iranian chess federation.” She added that she enjoyed celebrating Rosh Hashanah this year near London, saying, “It was amazing — a thing I never had a chance to do.”

Bayat stirred controversy when she was photographed in January at the 2020 Women’s World Chess Championship in Shanghai, China, with her hijab around her neck as opposed to over her hair, as Iran mandates for women. In other images from the same day, Bayat’s hair was loosely covered.

After the pictures were published online, Iranian hardliners declared Bayat a public enemy and she received death threats. Her family and friends also warned her not to return home. She told The Telegraph, “My mobile was full of messages saying: ‘Please, don’t come back, they will arrest you.'”

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