Wednesday, October 14, 2020

From Ian:

Top UAE official laments PA’s ingratitude after Abbas envoy rants on Israel ties
A senior United Arab Emirates official on Tuesday shot back at the Palestinian ambassador to France, who had attacked Abu Dhabi over its establishment of formal relations with Israel.

In an interview with French magazine Le Point, Salman El Herfi fired several unusually harsh salvos at the UAE and at Bahrain, another Gulf state currently in the process of normalizing relations with Jerusalem, including saying these countries “have become more Israeli than Israel” and are violating the charter of the United Nations.

“I was not surprised by the statements made by the Palestinian Ambassador to Paris, and his ungrateful discussion of the Emirates,” Anwar Gargash, the UAE’s minister of state for foreign affairs, wrote in Arabic on his Twitter account.

“We have grown accustomed to the lack of loyalty and the ingratitude. We proceed toward the future confident in all our actions and beliefs,” he added.

In the Le Point interview, El Herfi said that the UAE had long abandoned the Palestinian cause and that he wasn’t surprised by Abu Dhabi’s decision to normalize ties with Israel in August.

“The only new thing was the formalization of this relationship. I thank them for having revealed their true face,” he said of the UAE leadership.

“The truth is that the Emirates were never at the Palestinians’ side,” he went on, charging that the UAE froze aid for the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1985.

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan is merely “a little dictator who wants to become known, and he’s playing with fire,” the veteran Palestinian diplomat said. The UAE’s de facto leader “surrendered to Israel without a fight,” El Herfi added.

He also accused the UAE and Bahrain of violating a long list of Arab League and UN resolutions, even going as far as saying they violated the UN charter by normalizing relations with Israel.
PA instructs its officials not to attack Arab leaders, countries
The Palestinian Authority on Wednesday instructed its official spokesmen and representatives around the world not to attack Arab heads of state and Arab countries in the aftermath of the peace agreements signed between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. The instruction came after the PA ambassador to France, Salman el Herfi, launched a scathing attack on UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, dubbing him a “little dictator who wants to make himself known.”

The PA has repeatedly accused the UAE and Bahrain of backstabbing the Palestinians and betraying the Palestinian issue by signing the peace accords with Israel.

Hypocrites… and enemies of the Islamic society- Abbas’ advisor about Arabs who normalize with Israel

PA official: The UAE and Bahrain=worms exposed by the sun, Netanyahu= a distorted copy of Mussolini

Khaled Abu Toameh: Why Palestinians Will Not Accept Advice from Arabs
Palestinian leaders are continuing to act not only against the advice of [former Egyptian President Hosni] Mubarak and other Arabs, but also against the interests of their own people.

"The Palestinian leadership has lost its credibility in the eyes of the new Arab generation, which is a generation of technology...." — Abdullah Al-Ghathami, professor of criticism and theory at King Saud University, Twitter, September 25, 2020.

Pointedly,.... the Fatah delegation in Istanbul last week met with officials from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, as well as Turkish and Qatari intelligence officers.... and discussed... ways of "coordinating positions to direct blows to the interests of the Arab countries, especially the Arab Gulf states and Egypt."

The report added that "analysts specializing in the Palestinian issue commented that Qatar and Turkey will use Abbas to harm the interests of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Sudan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia."

The report also revealed that Qatar recently gave Abbas and some of his aides more than $50 million for their personal bank accounts inside banks in Israel and the Palestinian Authority areas."

Pompeo Urges Saudi Arabia to Consider Normalizing Ties With Israel
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday urged Saudi Arabia to consider normalizing relations with Israel as he met with the Gulf country’s foreign minister, also saying that Washington supports a “robust program of arms sales” to it.

Pompeo said he raised the Abraham Accords, a US-brokered Israel-UAE-Bahrain deal signed last month, with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud at a meeting at the US State Department.

“We hope Saudi Arabia will consider normalizing its relationships as well, and we want to thank them for the assistance they’ve had in the success of the Abraham Accords so far,” Pompeo said, adding that he hoped the nation would encourage the Palestinians to return to negotiations with Israel.

Pompeo noted of the Abraham Accords, “They reflect a changing dynamic in the region, in which countries rightly recognize the need for regional cooperation to counter Iranian influence and generate prosperity.”

The US is trying to persuade more Gulf countries to strike similar agreements with Israel.

Riyadh has quietly acquiesced to the UAE and Bahrain deals — though it has stopped short of endorsing them — and has signaled it is not ready to take action itself.

Melanie Phillips: The UN Human Rights Council is a sick joke.
In 1985, the Soviet bloc and its associates introduced a resolution, passed the following year in watered-down form, which was designed to preserve their power to abuse their citizens’ human rights. The UN turned into a platform for anti-western, anti-American and anti-Israel hostility while sanitising or ignoring real human rights abuses.

Yet as if it has turned itself into the chorus to John Lennon's Imagine, the pathologically guilt-ridden and deluded liberal west (the current Trump administration apart) persists in regarding the UN as a dispassionate and moral arbiter of global peace and security whose sanctified decisions have the authority of holy writ.

By every possible standard, however, the UN has conspicuously failed to live up to its own objectives of maintaining global peace and security.

It has failed to keep peace in the world, failed to stop global conflicts, failed to halt the carnage in Syria. It has done nothing to prevent Islamic jihadi aggression, nothing to halt the horrific mass murder of Christians in Africa and elsewhere in the developing world, nothing to stop the murder of opposition politicians and extinction of human rights in country after country.

Instead, the overtly anti-American, anti-western and anti-Israel UN provides a rhetorical shield and effective justification and incitement for tyranny and oppression. It has turned the free societies among its members into effective accomplices to terrorism, genocide and other abuses of human rights.

It’s high time to acknowledge the failure of the original ideal and why it has failed. What’s needed instead is a United Democratic Nations. Such an organisation would command more respect than a trans-national institution founded on the mistaken belief that tyrannies and free societies can be bound together for mutual advantage.

The UN was created as a result of the shattering impact of the Second World War. It was founded on a starry-eyed belief in the brotherhood of man. But if a lion lies down with a lamb, the lion doesn’t turn vegan. The lamb gets eaten.
Israel Urges World’s Democracies to Quit ‘Shameful and Antisemitic’ UN Human Rights Council
US President Donald Trump’s administration quit the Human Rights Council in 2018 — halfway through its term — over what it called chronic bias against Israel and a lack of reform.

Israeli UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan said on Tuesday, “Today’s Human Rights Council elections prove once again that this council has nothing to do with protecting human rights and everything to do with violating them.”

“Since 2006, the council has adopted 90 resolutions condemning Israel, more than all the resolutions against Syria, North Korea and Iran, combined,” he noted. “The obsessive focus on Israel, along with its protection of oppressive, dictatorial regimes, shows that the Human Rights Council is in the business of white-washing the crimes of these countries. I call on all democracies that are still members of the council to immediately resign from this shameful and antisemitic body.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated, “In 2018, President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the United Nations Human Rights Council due to its well-established pattern of anti-Israel bias and membership rules that allow the election of the world’s worst human rights abusers to seats on the Council. Prior to making this decision, and after our exit, the United States has urged UN member states to take immediate action to reform the Council before it became irreparable. Unfortunately, those calls went unheeded, and today the UN General Assembly once again elected countries with abhorrent human rights records, including China, Russia, and Cuba. Venezuela was elected in 2019.”

He added, “These elections only further validate the US decision to withdraw and use other venues and opportunities to protect and promote universal human rights.”

U.S. Slams U.N. for Electing China, Russia, Cuba to Human Rights Council
The United States rebuked the United Nations Tuesday for electing several of the world's top human-rights abusers to sit on its Human Rights Council.

The United States withdrew from the council in 2018, citing its anti-Israel bias and decision to welcome countries that violate human rights. It continued those gestures Tuesday, when it elected China, Russia, and Cuba as members.

"These elections only further validate the U.S. decision to withdraw and use other venues and opportunities to protect and promote universal human rights," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement. "The United States has urged U.N. member states to take immediate action to reform the council before it became irreparable. Unfortunately, those calls went unheeded."

As U.N. members, authoritarian nations such as China have pushed the international organization to paper over systematic human-rights abuses.
Lebanese team refuses to talk to Israelis in maritime border negotiations
Lebanon’s representatives would not speak directly to the Israeli delegation in the first meeting for negotiations about the border between the countries’ exclusive economic zones (EEZ) on Wednesday, according to the Lebanese side.

The meeting lasted about an hour and a half. The Israeli and Lebanese teams met in tents at the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) headquarters in Naquora, which is near the border with Israel, with US Ambassador to Algeria John Desrocher mediating.

The US State Department said: “During this initial meeting, the representatives held productive talks and reaffirmed their commitment to continue negotiations later this month.”

The Energy Ministry said the sides discussed the format of the negotiations and set a schedule for future meetings, saying the next one will be in the coming weeks. The Lebanese delegation said the next negotiation meeting will take place on October 28, and they will continue every two weeks.

No photos were released from the meeting, and Lebanese media reported their side refused to take pictures with the Israeli delegation.

The Lebanese side’s statements about the meeting emphasized that they are “indirect” and “technical.”
Director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at JCPA Alan Baker Speaks to i24NEWS

IDF Special Forces carry out covert operation, destroy two Syrian outposts
In a secret operation that took place last week and was made known to the public on Tuesday, IDF Special Forces crossed the border into the demilitarized zone between Israel and Syria and destroyed two outposts belonging to the Syrian army.

The operation was carried out following Syria’s continued violation of the disengagement agreement between Israel and Syria from 1974, which determines that a designated buffer zone between the borders would only be occupied by a special UN force called the Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF).

Recently, however, the Syrian military returned to the buffer zone in the Golan Heights and spread its forces across the border, leading the IDF to take action and launch the unusual operation.

The operation included combat soldiers from the Nachal Brigade and commando soldiers from Yahalom – a special unit that specializes in combat engineering – crossing the border and destroying two Syrian outposts without being detected.

“You’re facing the enemy, you’re about 500 meters away,” Cap. Michael Zilberg from the Nachal Brigade told news outlet N12. “A mission like this requires you to be very focused.”

A team commander from Yahalom described the operation and said it included “making our way in a silent and covert manner to the targets, placing a system of explosives on both outposts and blowing them up simultaneously.”
Two IDF Soldiers Wounded by Explosive Device During Overnight Raid
Two IDF soldiers were wounded on Tuesday night, after an explosive device was thrown at them during a raid on a refugee camp in Judea and Samaria, according to the Israeli military.

One of the soldiers sustained light and the other moderate wounds, and both were evacuated to the hospital for treatment.

“During the night, IDF forces conducted an arrest operation in the Balata refugee camp in the city of Nablus. During the operation, two IDF soldiers were wounded, lightly and moderately, apparently by shrapnel from an explosive device thrown at them” the IDF said in a statement.
Israel advances plans for over 2,100 new settlement homes
A Defense Ministry body on Wednesday advanced plans to build 2,166 settlement homes in the West Bank, the first new construction approved beyond the Green Line in eight months.

The Civil Administration Higher Planning Committee gave final approval for 1,313 housing units, and okayed 853 homes for “deposit,” an earlier planning stage they must clear.

Of the 1,313 homes approved for final construction, 382 are in Beit El, 205 in Nokdim, 200 in Metzad, 157 in Telem, 140 in Talmon, 132 in Kfar Adumim, 84 in Shim’a, 11 in Ma’ale Efraim and 2 in Giv’on.

The Higher Planning Committee will convene again on Thursday to advance the construction of around 2,000 more homes.

Gush Etzion Regional Council Head Shlomo Ne’eman, who oversees several settlements set to benefit from the decision, hailed the approval, saying: “The mission of developing the communities in Judea and Samaria continues to be one of the key issues for the State of Israel and the entire nation in this era, and we are grateful for the right to be at the forefront here in Gush Etzion.”

The Palestinian Authority condemned the move as “madness.”
Likud Demands Mandelblit’s Resignation; Shocking Recordings Imply AG Was Blackmailed to Indict Netanyahu
Israel’s Channel 12 on Tuesday night revealed extraordinary recordings containing a harsh attack by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit against former State Attorney Shai Nitzan. In the recordings, the AG bitterly complained about Nitzan’s refusal to close the criminal case against Mandelblit in the Harpaz scandal, and repeatedly said that Nitzan has him by the throat. The AG even accuses Nitzan outright of tailoring the case against him. Excerpts from Mandelblit’s statements on the tapes (full transcripts below):
“But do you understand that this maniac is not deciding on my case? He… I… I… don’t know what to do with him…
“I get no decision. [I’m talking about] Shai [Nitzan]. There is no decision in my case that for whatever reason it should be closed. He’s not making a decision. He’s dragging it, you know. He’s got time….
“And he’s doing it to me on purpose. I don’t know what to do…
“Yes, he can hold me by the throat. I don’t know what. Don’t know what he’s thinking to himself. Eventually, eventually I will explode and do him a horrible mess over it. I don’t know I… I will press it more…
“The people who tailored the case against me were [Deputy AG] Dina Zilber and Shai [Nitzan].”

According to senior Likud members, it can be understood from the recordings that Nitzan blackmailed Mandelblit and refused to close the criminal case against him to secure the AG’s approval of the three criminal indictments against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Advertisement

Both Mandelblit and Nitzan insisted there were no conflicts of interest nor improper decisions arising from the relationship between them.

BBC Arabic's selective portrayal of social media support for terrorist Ahlam Tamimi
BBC Arabic’s ‘Trending’ (تريندينغ) programme has once again used the pretext of “showcasing the views of the Arab street” in order to absolve itself of the responsibility to provide proper context to offensive discourse in the public sphere.

Readers may recall that last April the programme presented social media calls to eradicate Israel and displace its Jewish population by means of war as legitimate opinions expressed within an online debate. In June 2019, it amplified an antisemitic Facebook comment by a Tunisian journalist which (in addition to espousing a detailed theory of Jewish conspiracy) included the phrases “death to Israel” and “death to America”.

In the edition of the ‘Trending’ programme broadcast on October 8th it was the terrorist couple Ahlam Tamimi and her husband Nizar Tamimi* who were whitewashed, along with their past record and related social media comments.

Ahlam Tamimi is the terrorist who facilitated the August 9th, 2001 Sbarro suicide bombing in Jerusalem, killing 15 civilians. Nizar Tamimi participated in the murder of Israeli civilian Chaim Mizrahi on October 29th, 1993, stabbing him and setting his car on fire with his body in the trunk.

Not once during the entire 6 minutes of broadcast could one detect the slightest hint of criticism towards either of the two from BBC Arabic. The social media solidarity campaign supporting them was uncritically portrayed as a matter of freedom of speech for the weak and persecuted. No less notable were the selective omissions from the couple’s violent history: the programme referred to Ahlam as though she was merely “accused of involvement” in the Jerusalem bombing (despite her own public admission of the crime) and failed to mention the reason for Nizar’s imprisonment at all.

The programme, entitled “#Jordan: Ahlam_Tamimi_Your_Voice_is_Loud_and_Clear”, was hosted by BBC Arabic’s Rania ‘Attar; one of Trending’s regular presenters. Describing the Tamimis as “freed detainees** from Israeli prisons”, ‘Attar told her audience how the two met in the halls of an Israeli military court, got engaged while in prison and married once they were both released in the 2011 Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange, against a background of sentimental pictures of their newfound life in Amman, Jordan.
Leading the Anti-Israel Pack: How the Media Skew the Second Intifada
There's a difference between simply having a different perspective, and spreading outright false information. A recent Al Jazeera piece commemorating the events of the bloody Second Intifada, in which over 1,000 Israelis were killed and hundreds of innocent civilians were deliberately targeted by suicide bombers and shooters, is riddled with inaccuracies and falls on the wrong side of that distinction.

Man nabbed for TikTok video said to show him running on graves at Mt. of Olives
Police on Wednesday arrested a resident of East Jerusalem over a TikTok video showing two people running on graves at the Mount of Olives.

The suspect, 20, was questioned on suspicion of “insulting religion,” according to police.

In the video, which was shared on TikTok, two people can be seen jumping between graves as they run through the Jewish cemetery.

Police said they were searching for additional suspects.

The Mount of Olives overlooks Jerusalem’s Old City and has been used as a Jewish cemetery for over 3,000 years. It holds an estimated 150,000 graves.
Erdan attacks UNRWA over incitement against Israel and 'refugee' misdefinition
Israel's ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, sharply attacked the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for the Palestinians during a discussion held by the United Nations between its new commissioner-general Philippe Lazzarini and UN member states on Monday.

Erdan said that "it has been proven that UNRWA allows terrorist infrastructure in its facilities, it uses Palestinian Authority textbooks that teach incitement against Israel, and it does not try to integrate refugees into the PA or Arab countries - it perpetuates the conflict and has rendered itself an obstacle to peace that has no legitimacy to exist."

In contrast to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the other UN agency responsible for refugees around the world, the Israeli ambassador added that UNRWA "defines who is a so-called 'Palestinian refugee' in complete disregard of accepted international law norms" and "inflates the number by allowing for the automatic inheritance of the status."

He further stressed that terrorist organizations such as Hamas use the agency's facilities for terrorist purposes and urged UNRWA to take action so that its textbooks would not be used as a tool to promote antisemitic content and to question the UN principles of promoting coexistence and reconciliation.

Lazzarini answered Erdan by stating that UNRWA will work to soon develop a program where the content in the education curriculum taught in its schools will be examined, adding that he "will report the findings" to the heads of the agency as part of the program.
PMW: When funding terror is more important than rehabilitating child terrorists
While the European Union continues its efforts to support Palestinian society, ‎for at least one Palestinian Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), it would ‎appear that the freedom to funnel EU funds‏ ‏to EU designated terror ‎organizations is more important than rehabilitating Palestinian child terrorists. ‎

As Palestinian Media Watch has conclusively shown, the Palestinian Authority ‎indoctrinates Palestinian children to hate Jews and Israel and to seek Israel's ‎destruction; brainwashes Palestinian children to admire murderers; and ‎weaponizes Palestinian children while promoting their participation in violence. ‎And the brainwashing and indoctrination has proved successful. Thousands of ‎Palestinian children and teens have adopted these views taking an active part ‎in terror, including scores who have attacked Israeli citizens. Some of the ‎brainwashed teens have murdered Israeli civilians.‎

Hoping to influence, and possibly counter, the brainwashing these child ‎terrorists have undergone, the European Union funds a number of programs ‎designed to assist these kids. ‎

According to the EU’s Financial Transparency System (FTS), one of the ‎recipients of considerable EU funding in 2017 - 2019 was the Palestine section ‎of Defense of the Child International (DCI-P). In one instance, DCI-P was one of ‎four Palestinian NGOs that shared an EU grant of €981,298. In 2019, DCI-P was ‎the sole recipient of a €732,477 EU grant. ‎

However, for financial year 2020, the EU added an elementary anti-terror ‎precondition to all of its external NGO funding. In order to be eligible for funding, ‎the grant beneficiaries are now required to ensure that EU funding does not ‎pass through them to EU designated terror organizations:‎
Grand Mufti of Jerusalem: Islamic Law Requires Muslims to Wage Jihad Against Israel
Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Muhammad Hussein said that Islamic law obligates Muslims to “fight against the thieving Jews.”

According to a report published on Monday by Palestinian Media Watch, in a Sept. 18 interview with Palestinian Authority TV, Hussein stressed that “if an inch of the Muslims’ lands is stolen, jihad ‎becomes a personal religious commandment for everyone.”

The PA defines ‎the State of Israel as stolen Islamic land (waqf ), an ‎inalienable religious endowment in Islamic law, according to PMW.

Therefore, said Hussein, Shariah law prohibits Palestinians from recognizing Israel, within any borders, and commands that every Muslim has a personal duty to ‎wage war against the Jewish state until the “Muslim” land is freed.

He further stated, according to PMW, that the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which last month signed peace agreements with Israel, are ‎‎“twisting” these religious rulings. He claimed that doing so is “forbidden,” and that both Gulf states will ‎have to answer to Allah for it.

“The fact that the Muslims cannot—in some ‎of the Islamic lands, or in some of the Arab lands—restore [their lands], ‎doesn’t mean that the ruling has changed. No, the religious ruling is ‎firm, valid and present,” Hussein insisted.
COVID-19 in Gaza: The Guardian Parrots UNRWA Chief While Ignoring Hamas
On October 12, The Guardian published a story about life in the Gaza Strip during the coronavirus pandemic under this headline:

Written by Oliver Holmes, the Britain-based newspaper’s Jerusalem Correspondent, the article laments the inability of The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to alleviate “unprecedented levels of poverty” in the coastal enclave.

Holmes also assigns blame for the current situation:
Then there is the breakdown in the relationship with its [UNRWA’s] former largest donor, the US, which claims – in line with long-running Israeli attacks on the agency – that it is “irredeemably flawed”.

While Israel is mentioned several times in relation to Gaza’s predicament, nowhere in the piece does the author see fit to note who rules the territory – and is therefore ultimately responsible for the wellbeing of its residents.
Is Mohammed Dahlan the next Palestinian president in waiting?
On September 17, Hamas and Fatah, rivals for the leadership of the Palestinian people but united in their opposition to the Arab-Israeli normalization deals, agreed to hold the first general Palestinian elections since 2006. If their agreement does not go the way of numerous similar deals in the past and simply falls apart, polls will take place in March or April 2021.

“We have agreed first to hold legislative elections,” said Jibril Rajub, a senior Fatah official, “then presidential elections of the Palestinian Authority, and finally elections to the Central Council of the Palestine Liberation Organization.”

Two days later a statement was issued by a prominent Palestinian politician, now living in exile in the United Arab Emirates: “I am Mohammed Dahlan,” he announced. “I believe that Palestine is in urgent need of a renewal of legitimacy for its leaders and institutions, and this will not be achieved except through comprehensive, transparent, and national elections.”

Perhaps perceiving this innocuous statement as an opening bid in the forthcoming presidential election, on September 21, PA security forces arrested seven Dahlan supporters in the West Bank.

Mohammad Dahlan has lived in the UAE since being driven out of the West Bank in 2011 after a bitter row with PA President Mahmoud Abbas. He is an adviser to the crown prince, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. There has been widespread speculation, which Dahlan has not denied, that he played a key role in bringing the UAE-Israel normalization deal to fruition. Palestinian officials are quoted as saying they have no doubt about it.
Joe Truzman: Palestinian Islamic Jihad threatens conflict over Palestinian prisoner
In a video published by Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) on Oct. 10, the Iran-backed militant faction threatened Israel with conflict if Maher al-Akhras, a PIJ operative in administrative detention, were to die in the custody of Israeli authorities.

The threat from PIJ and other militant factions in the Gaza Strip, came after the deterioration of Maher al-Akhras’ health due to a hunger strike he began more than 75 days ago in protest of his administrative detention.

Administrative detention is a policy employed by the Israeli government that allows it to detain an individual suspected of being involved in terrorist activity without being formally charged of a crime or standing trial.

According to an Al-Jazeera article, al-Akhras was detained in July in the West Bank by the Shin Bet based on evidence that he posed a “danger to public safety” due to his membership in Saraya al-Quds, the military wing of PIJ.

In the publication featuring some of PIJ’s arsenal and various images of destroyed Israeli homes, Ziad Nakhala, the Secretary-General of PIJ, called al-Akhras a “mujahid” — an acknowledgement of al-Akhras’ membership in Saraya al-Quds.

Furthermore, Nakahala warned Israel that it bears responsibility for the well-being of al-Akhras.

“We hold the enemy responsible for the life of each of the prisoners especially for the mujahid brother Maher al-Akhras,” Nakhala stated.

Additionally, in an interview with militants from Saraya al-Quds, another warning of consequences was made if al-Akhras were to be “martyred”.

PreOccupiedTerritory: Palestinian Prisoners On Zoom Via Smuggled Phones Unsure Whether Israel Jamming Or Platform Just Sucks (satire)
Inmates at this IDF-administered detention facility north of Jerusalem who rely on contraband mobile devices to keep in touch with their terrorist organization colleagues, commanders, and subordinates voiced uncertainty today regarding the lousy performance of the software they use for the purpose, struggling to determine the more likely scenario: that prison authorities have succeeded in disrupting the signals on which the communication depends, or that Zoom is simply a terrible system.

Members of Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Fatah, and other militant factions now serving time or awaiting sentencing for acts of violence against Israelis confessed their equivocation concerning the unreliability of the online meeting environment, which has come to prominence over the last several months amid distancing and isolation measures in response to COVID-19. Prison Services Authority – a division of the Israeli Police – and the Israel Defense Force implemented various new policies to prevent and contain the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen among inmates at various incarceration facilities; such measures include reduced contact among prisoners accustomed to hours per day of direct interaction. Smuggled smartphones have taken on added significance and utility as a result, serving to connect inmates with other inmates in addition to the existing role of facilitating communication up and down the terrorist organizations’ chains of command.

“WhatsApp has been more or less reliable,” explained Yusuf Erekat, 26, halfway through a six-month term he earned for hurling Molotov cocktails at Israeli motorists. “At some times of day there might be a system overload, but that’s how I keep in touch with my family, for example, to check whether they’ve received any money yet from the Palestinian Authority for my heroic actions. But they’re not very punctual about responding, so it’s hard to tell in my case whether there’s a systemic problem. Zoom is much more challenging: meeting sessions just drop for apparently no reason at all. From what I hear that’s not atypical even outside these walls, but with Israel you never know. We Palestinians have an axiom: never attribute to bad luck or to incompetence what can be attributed to Jewish perfidy.”
'Major' cyberattack targets government agencies in Iran
A "major" cyberattack targeted at least two government agencies in Iran recently, Iran's National Computer Emergency Response Team (Maher) announced on Wednesday, according to Iranian media.

The announcement was made after reports of a large cyberattack spread on social media. The team stressed that the relevant authorities are investigating the incident.

Some government agencies in Iran suspended some services and performed technical tests as precautionary measures after receiving warnings about the attack, according to Iranian media.

Maher denied that there was any evidence of a widespread attack on any other agencies so far except for the two that were mentioned.
Report: Major Iranian Port Hit by Second Cyber-Attack in Six Months
Iran was reportedly hit by a major cyber-attack on Wednesday, which disrupted one of its largest ports and shut down government services.

According to the Israeli news site N12, the attack struck the Gulf port of Bandar Abbas, and appeared to target communications systems, banks, customs services, transportation and other infrastructure.

This marked the second such incident in Bandar Abbas this year. In May, operations at the port were almost completely halted after a cyber-attack at that was attributed by many to Israel.

It was believed to be a retaliation for an Iranian cyber-attack on Israel’s water system, which was foiled by Israel’s cyber-defense network.

At the time, a source told N12, “Iran crossed a red line and Israel had to respond.”
Iranian economy on verge of collapse due to American sanctions, pandemic
The Islamic Republic has seen a surge in coronavirus infections; its Health Ministry puts the death toll at more than 29,000, making Iran the hardest-hit country in the Middle East.

Even before the health crisis, the Iranian economy had been battered by low oil prices and crippling US sanctions reimposed by Washington after President Donald Trump withdrew in 2018 from the nuclear deal with major powers.

Iran’s unemployment rate has skyrocketed in 2020, and on Monday, its rial currency plunged to its lowest point ever against the US dollar, having losing more than 60% of its value in two years. Consumer prices have risen by 37% in 2020.

The fragile economy has also been battered by a temporary shutdown designed to contain the pandemic, border closures and a halt in non-oil exports.

Prof. Mohammad Marandi, head of American studies at Tehran University, told The Media Line that the government does not have the “luxury” of imposing a broader closure. “Iran is having a difficult time because shutting down the economy is very difficult due to the sanctions.”

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