Thursday, January 21, 2021

From Ian:

Michael Oren: The Case Against the Iran Deal
The JCPOA allowed Iran to both maintain its nuclear program and revitalize its economy. Biden must make clear to Tehran that it can have one or the other, but not both. Tragically, spokespeople for the new administration are proposing to return to the JCPOA and lift sanctions, and only afterward negotiate a longer, stronger deal. Such a course has no chance of success. Even a partial lifting of sanctions would forfeit any leverage that could compel the regime to negotiate a deal that genuinely removes the danger of a nuclear Iran. At best, the regime will agree to cosmetic changes—for example, extending the sunset clauses—but not to dismantling its nuclear infrastructure. A fatally flawed deal would remain essentially intact.

The Biden administration must resist pressure from members of Congress and others who are urging an unconditional return to the JCPOA. Even the deal’s fervent supporters need to recognize that its fundamental assumptions—that Iran had abandoned its quest for a military nuclear option and would moderate its behavior—have been thoroughly disproved.

At the same time, America must consult its Middle East allies about what they think a better deal would look like. Such a deal would verifiably and permanently remove Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons. This means not merely mothballing the nuclear infrastructure, but eliminating it. It means empowering international inspectors with unlimited and immediate access to any suspect enrichment or weaponization site. It means maintaining economic and diplomatic pressure on the regime until it truly comes clean about its undeclared nuclear activities and ceases to develop missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. A better deal will deny Iran the ability to commit the violations it is now committing with impunity.

Achieving these objectives will require close and candid cooperation among the United States, Israel, and concerned Arab states. Such cooperation was not possible in the negotiations leading up to the JCPOA, which America initially conducted behind the backs of its Middle Eastern partners. In the final stages, U.S. officials misled their Israeli and Arab counterparts about America’s negotiating positions. This displayed not only bad faith, but a patronizing presumption of knowing the vital security interests of the countries most threatened by Iran better than they knew those interests themselves.

The incoming administration has declared its determination to restore the trust of America’s allies, along with promoting peace and human rights. But those objectives are incompatible with renewing a deal that betrayed America’s allies, strengthened one of the world’s most repressive regimes, and empowered the Middle Eastern state most opposed to peace.

The JCPOA is also incompatible with President Biden’s long-standing commitment to Israel’s security. At a 2015 gathering celebrating Israel’s independence, then–Vice President Biden said: “Israel is absolutely essential—absolutely essential—[for the] security of Jews around the world … Imagine what it would say about humanity and the future of the 21st century if Israel were not sustained, vibrant and free.”

Reviving the JCPOA will endanger that vision, ensuring the emergence of a nuclear Iran or a desperate war to stop it. Biden is a proven friend who has shared Israel’s hopes and fears. He must prevent that nightmare.
JINSA (PodCast): After the Abraham Accords: Relocating Israel to CENTCOM’s AOR
The recent Abraham Accords have solidified a growing anti-Iran coalition in the Middle East, and the latest decision to move Israel to CENTCOM’s Area of Responsibility reflects and reinforces this changing dynamic within the region. Jonathan Ruhe, Director of Foreign Policy at JINSA’s Gemunder Center, joins Erielle to discuss the importance of this relocation, the reasoning behind the decision, and what we might expect from future administrations when it comes to Israel’s role within CENTCOM.

Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians: Victims of an Arab Country
Like most Arab countries, Syria denies citizenship to Palestinians. Children born in Syria to fathers who are Palestinian nationals are considered Palestinians, not Syrian nationals.

Palestinian leaders see no evil or wrong-doing when their people are being killed, injured, displaced, arrested and tortured in an Arab country. The attention of these leaders is solely focused on Israel, which they denounce day and night not only for what it does, but also for what it does not do.

On January 9, Abbas entered the 17th year of his four-year term. He is again talking about his desire to hold new elections. This charade is played at least once or twice a year so that people will believe that he really wants elections.

The Palestinians do not need new elections. They need new leaders who will guide them out from their longstanding morass into a future of promise and peace.
PMW: American values are incompatible with funding UNRWA and the PA - watch lecture by Itamar Marcus
Itamar Marcus explains why funding UNRWA is the international communities’ worst investment ever: ‎because “UNRWA is just growing refugees,” in his recent webinar/lecture to the DC-based EMET ‎organization. ‎

During the 12 years of the last two American administrations, Palestinian refugees have grown by a ‎million from 4.6 million - 5.6 million, according to reports by UNWRA. Billions of American dollars during ‎this period were invested – presumably to solve the refugee problem – but instead UNRWA used the ‎money to literally increase the refugee problem. ‎

Funding of UNRWA should be conditional upon saving 300,000 people a year by removing them from ‎refugee lists and giving them a life and a future. Instead, UNRWA abuses nearly 100,000 additional ‎people each year, by condemning them to be refugees. Funding UNRWA is supporting the abuse of ‎human beings for political purposes.‎

Funding the PA likewise contradicts fundamental American values. The PA uses its money to reward ‎terrorists, glorify terrorists, fund terror organizations, disseminate vicious Antisemitism, celebrate the ‎murder of Israelis and Jews, and deny Israel’s right to exist. ‎

There is no logical reason why any US administration would want to support entities so diametrically ‎opposed to American values.‎

New York Times Bashes Pompeo For Pro-Israel Moves
The same Times news article reports, “The Abraham Accords were part of a pressure campaign to isolate Iran with sanctions and military threats that began after Mr. Trump withdrew from a landmark 2015 nuclear agreement with Tehran in May 2018, just weeks after Mr. Pompeo moved to the State Department after serving as the CIA director.” What an Iran’s-eye view of the world — to see the Abraham Accords as an element of an anti-Iran pressure campaign rather than of a campaign to treat Israel with respect and not allow the Palestinian Arabs to stall progress toward peace.

Purely by coincidence, for sure, the news columns’ view of Pompeo align precisely with the view of Pompeo expressed in a Times staff editorial. That editorial said, “On Tuesday Mr. Pompeo declared that Al Qaeda, the terrorist organization behind the Sept. 11 attacks, had found a new home base in Iran. ‘They are partners in terrorism, partners in hate,’ he declared without offering any evidence. Current and former officials were quick to temper and even contradict the claim, which provided Mr. Pompeo with a pretext for further demonizing Iran, a leitmotif of the administration, and made any effort by Mr. Biden to resuscitate the Iran nuclear deal more difficult.”

Looking for “evidence”? The Times could examine its own front page, which reported in November 2020 that “Al Qaeda’s second-highest leader, accused of being one of the masterminds of the deadly 1998 attacks on American embassies in Africa, was killed in Iran. … American intelligence officials say that Mr. al-Masri had been in Iran’s ‘custody’ since 2003, but that he had been living freely in the Pasdaran district of Tehran, an upscale suburb, since at least 2015. … American counterterrorism officials believe Iran may have allowed them to stay to run operations against the United States, a common adversary.” When the Times reports this stuff, it’s a scoop, but when Pompeo does, the Times complains it is “demonizing” Iran “without offering any evidence.” How much more evidence do you need?

This is the treatment that the New York Times gives pro-Israel American foreign policy officials. They did the same thing to Nikki Haley, with an attack that even the Times itself eventually had to back down from as “unfair” and another attack that was also unfair even though the Times never conceded it. Politicians like Haley and Pompeo should treat these attacks like badges of honor. The Times would prefer they just went along and did what the permanent bureaucracy told them to do, failing to challenge anti-Israel policies — sorry, “international norms” — that have failed for decades to produce lasting peace.

The Times seems determined to cut the career of any Republican pro-Israel politician with any promise short with misguided smears. What about internationally recognized norms of journalistic quality, so long as we are on the topic of international norms? When it comes to pro-Israel politicians, the Times itself defies those norms.
Joe Biden wants to erase the last four years. In the Mideast, that won’t be easy
On the Palestinian front, there are easy and quick changes Biden is likely to make: restoring aid funding, reopening and expanding a Palestinian consulate/interest section in the Jerusalem embassy, and so on. But here, too, American policymakers will find conditions are now more resistant to American influence than in the past.

In his Senate comments, Blinken emphasized that a two-state solution was the administration’s policy but acknowledged it would be hard to advance. The comments reflect a wariness of wading into the Israeli-Palestinian morass.

Part of that wariness is rooted in the impossible juggling act of sustaining the military-intelligence alliance with Israel while imposing meaningful pressure on the Palestinian issue.

But part of it is more basic than that and has to do with the Palestinians themselves. The Biden administration is quickly staffing its top posts with veterans of the Obama years. There’s institutional memory there, including the memory of Obama’s frustration with the Palestinians’ inability to take advantage of his sympathy for their plight and willingness to impose pressure on Israel. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas proved unable to come to the negotiating table over 10 long months of an Obama-imposed Israeli settlement freeze in 2010 — a supposed trust-building measure — and that cost the Palestinian leadership a lot of credibility with Obama.

Washington is rife with advocates and activists for both sides of the conflict. But to policymakers, it’s the deadlock itself that looms largest. In practical terms, not symbolic ones, there’s no obvious path forward for a new American policy with meaningful answers for either side’s domestic politics.
The UN Is a Major Obstacle to a Two-State Solution in the Mideast
For the past 45 years, the UN has repeatedly demonstrated its opposition to the Jewish state and has created an infrastructure to perpetuate anti-Israel propaganda.

In 1975, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) passed its infamous resolution labeling Zionism a form of racism. This resolution led to the creation of two unique and nefarious institutions within the UN system: the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) and its staff body, the Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR). Operating under an annual budget of approximately $3 million (reauthorized and funded every year), CEIRPP and DPR do nothing but disseminate harsh anti-Israel propaganda, organize one-sided international conferences that attack Israel, and openly encourage the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.

Significantly, the mission statements of these UN bodies explicitly endorse the “right of return.” Thus, the UN propaganda apparatus gives this major obstacle to peace the official imprimatur of the international community.

Under these circumstances, why would the Palestinians ever give up this demand? Yet every year, the resolutions authorizing these bodies pass in the UN General Assembly by large majorities. It is highly unlikely that many of the leaders of the countries voting in favor of these bodies are aware of their true nature or intentions.

It is time for the Palestinians to join other Arabs in accepting the existence of the State of Israel and negotiating peace with it. Such a peace would greatly benefit Israelis, Palestinians, the Arab states, and the world as a whole.

A good first step would be abandoning the baseless claim of a “right of return.” But for this to happen, the international community, including the United Nations, needs to stop recklessly coddling Palestinian rhetoric and activities.

Over the past two years, more than a dozen European states have voted against the resolution authorizing the Palestine Division. As a result, support for that resolution has plummeted, from 114 “yes” votes in 2011 to only 82 last year –far less than half the number of UNGA members. The best contribution that the UN can make to the cause of Israeli-Palestinian peace, is to permanently close down these anachronistic and obstructionist bodies.
Biden Administration Will Avoid Major Moves on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, but Will Seek to Contain Netanyahu: Report
The administration of newly sworn-in President Joe Biden will not make any major moves on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but will attempt to prevent Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from “aggravating” the situation on the ground, Israeli media reported Wednesday.

Israel’s public broadcaster Kan cited unnamed sources in the new Biden administration saying that Biden and his advisors assess that no meaningful action can be taken on the Israeli-Palestinian issue at the moment, and they will therefore seek to ameliorate potential problems rather than attempt to solve the conflict as a whole.

In particular, they are concerned that Netanyahu could worsen the situation with the Palestinians, though they did not say how. As a result, their strategy is to ease tensions and contain Netanyahu, the report said.

One possible area of disagreement will be the issue of settlements, as Netanyahu has recently pushed for the approval of dozens of outposts and the construction of hundreds of new settlement homes in the West Bank.

The new administration has already made it publicly clear that it seeks a two-state solution and Palestinian statehood in the West Bank.

At his Tuesday confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Biden’s nominee for Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, said, “The only way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish, democratic state and to give the Palestinians a state to which they are entitled is through the so-called two-state solution.”

However, he added, “I think realistically it’s hard to see near-term prospects for moving forward on that.”
Joe Biden and US Middle East Policy - Discussion

Yaakov Katz: In time, all Mideast will have relations with Israel
“It’s just a matter of time until everyone in the region establishes ties with Israel,” said Jerusalem Post Editor-in-Chief Yaakov Katz on IsraelCast, the podcast powered by Jewish National Fund-USA (JNF-USA). Speaking with host Steven Shalowitz on the 100th episode of the popular program, Katz engaged in a wide-ranging discussion about the Abraham Accords, the future of Israel, its relations with its neighbors, and the state of journalism today.

Katz said that the accords shattered the preconceived notion that the Gulf states would not normalize relations with Israel until the conflict with the Palestinians was resolved. “That was, for the most part, the prevalent belief in Israel, in Washington, and throughout the Middle East,” he noted.

Katz recalled being in the Jerusalem Post newsroom on the night of August 13 when the announcement was made. He had received a tip that a major announcement was imminent but suspected that it concerned a possible Israeli annexation of territory. “It took us by surprise because we were so molded into believing that we had to first solve the conflict with the Palestinians before any of this could happen, and here this came in and proved it wrong.” Katz and his team at the Post hastily revised the print edition with updated news stories, commentary, and analysis. Katz believes the Abraham Accords permanently changed the understanding of the region and exposed many incorrect assumptions about the Middle East. For many years, he explained, people were told that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was the source of all the instability in the region. “That’s what people were led to believe, and then suddenly you have Al-Qaeda, ISIS wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that have absolutely nothing to do with the State of Israel or the Palestinians. This was followed by the rise of Iran and its pursuit of a nuclear weapon, which also has nothing to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Katz said that when Iran’s nuclear program began to gain momentum, several countries in the region who were threatened by its nuclear ambitions, including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, the Saudis, and the Omanis, realized that Israel was the only country in the region that can counter the Iranian threat. It was this realization that accelerated the signing of the Abraham Accords.
UAE Rabbi Speaks of Emirati Jewish Community and ‘Historic Time’
Rabbi Elie Abadie’s connection to the Jewish community of the United Arab Emirates (JCE) has come a long way since he first visited the UAE just two years ago.

In 2019, Dr. Abadie led the community in completing a Torah scroll dedicated to the Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan — a gesture with a vision of fostering tolerance in the country, and foreshadowing the Abraham Accords between the UAE and the Jewish state a year later.

He visited again 10 months later to present the scroll to the sheikh in Abu Dhabi, and began to advise the community — which later asked Abadie to become the resident and senior rabbi — take care of the religious and spiritual needs of the community, and represent them to the government and the Jewish Diaspora.

Abadie, who was born in Lebanon and lived there until he was 10, later moved to Mexico and then to New York City to attend Yeshiva University. He is both a rabbi and a physician. After serving as rabbi at the Edmond J. Safra synagogue, founding the School of the Sephardic Academy of Manhattan, and heading the Jacob E. Safra Institute of Sephardic Studies at Yeshiva University, he relocated to Dubai in 2020.

The rabbi, who now has residency in the UAE, is working to establish interfaith dialogue, and is no stranger to the Emirati way of life.

“I speak the language and I understand the culture, and the Arab mentality and Islamic tradition as well. I lived among them for 10 years, grew up eating their food and listening to their music. It has given me an advantage to break barriers here by seeing eye-to-eye with locals,” he told JNS.
Gulf War: How Israel went from 0 to world's best missile defense
Thirty years after the 1991 Gulf War, Israel has gone from zero real missile defense to the best missile defense shield in the world and from fear of preemptive action in other countries to operating almost freely in Syrian airspace and in some other hostile areas. At the same time, if in 1991, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein presented the only major missile threat, Israel currently faces potential missile threats from six distinct areas.

Jerusalem is confronted by two adversaries, Iran and Hezbollah, which can each overwhelm even Israel’s state-of-the-art three-tier missile defense with a combination of volume and advanced precision.

This view has been advanced repeatedly to The Jerusalem Post by former Missile Defense Organization chief Uzi Rubin, former intelligence minister Dan Meridor and former deputy national security council chief Chuck Freilich.

So is Israel in better or worse shape in terms of missile defense and deterrence than it was 30 years ago?

Looking at the issue of missile defense in isolation, the situation is probably worse.

Back in 1991, Iraq’s 39 ballistic Scud missiles fired on Israel easily beat the lame US patriot missile defense system and only failed to kill Israelis because of a combination of early warning sirens, bomb shelters, the Scuds’ lack of precision and luck.
UAE Signs Deal With US to Buy 50 F-35 Jets and Up to 18 Drones: Sources
The United Arab Emirates has signed an agreement with the United States to purchase 50 F-35 jets and up to 18 armed drones, people familiar with the situation told Reuters on Wednesday.

Although the UAE and the United States were working to ink a deal before President Joseph Biden took office on Wednesday, the new president has said he will re-examine the agreements.

The UAE, one of Washington’s closest Middle East allies, has long expressed interest in acquiring the stealthy F-35 jets made by Lockheed Martin and was promised a chance to buy them in a side deal when it agreed to normalize relations with Israel last August.

The US State Department and the UAE Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

One of the people said the agreement was signed about an hour before Biden was sworn into office. The document gave the United Arab Emirates the chance to accept the negotiated schedule and configuration of the jets while also making the purchase request official.

The UAE has had the paperwork for more than a week, the people said. The UAE and the United States had once hoped to have a deal in place in December, but the timing of jet deliveries, their cost, the technology packages and training associated with the deal extended negotiations, the people said.
Seth Frantzman: Baghdad bombing could be the Biden administration's first challenge
A twin suicide bombing in Baghdad’s Tayaran square, packed with people shopping, left two dozen dead on Thursday afternoon, in the most deadly attack in more than 18 months, local reports said, recalling past years when suicide bombings like this were routine in Iraq. Islamic State perpetrated many attacks and while it is not known if this was an ISIS attack, it has its hallmarks.

The bombing, four kilometers from the US embassy compound, occurred in an area which has witnessed several mass protests over the last year and a half. In the fall of 2019 protesters often besieged security forces on Al Jumhuriya bridge, not far from the market where the bombings took place.

Online video appeared to capture the second of the two reported explosions in which up to 100 were reported wounded, near the “Bab al-Sharqi” area of central Baghdad.

There have been increasing threats and low-level attacks on convoys that supply the US in Iraq. Last year dozens of attacks with 107mm rockets were fired at the US embassy compound and at US forces in Iraq. The US has drawn down most of its troops, leaving only several thousand personnel, many of whom have been relocated to the autonomous Kurdistan region which is more sympathetic to the US.

In other areas of Iraq the pro-Iranian militias of the Popular Mobilization Units run checkpoints and have threatened the US. These groups include the Badr Organization, Kataib Hezbollah, Asaib Ahl al-Haq and Harakat Hezbollah al Nujaba. The day before the attack in Baghdad there were reports of an attack on a convoy carrying equipment to the US-led anti-ISIS Coalition.
Tank Crew Sues ‘Breaking the Silence’ and Fellow Crew Member for ‘Spreading Lies and Fabrications’
Breaking the Silence is facing legal action after two IDF soldiers who served during Operation Protective Edge filed a unique lawsuit in an Israeli court against the organization and Yaron Zeev, a former member of their tank crew, for defamation and “spreading lies and fabrications.”

According to the lawsuit, Ze’ev, who served with the plaintiffs in the same tank, gave Breaking the Silence false testimony about their activities during the counterterrorism operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2014, on the basis of which Breaking the Silence conducted a campaign around the world that presented the State of Israel and the IDF as perpetrators of war crimes.

The lawsuit, which demands a huge compensation of NIS 2.6 million from Breaking the Silence, was filed on Wednesday at the Central District Court in Lod by Adv. Ron Lewintal, chairman of the defamation committee at the Israeli Bar Association, and by Adv. Tzur Falk, spokesman for Ad Kan organization.

Breaking the Silence claims to expose testimonies of IDF soldiers who allegedly committed crimes during their service.

The plaintiffs stated in the lawsuit that “a great deal of image damage has been done to the plaintiffs, but also to the State of Israel,” while Ze’ev’s testimony, at the encouragement of Breaking the Silence, was used by alleged international investigators and constitutes components in severe reports written against the IDF and distributed in the UN and dozens of countries around the world, as well as in a number of media outlets in Israel and around the world, including CNN, NPR, the Washington Post, and The Guardian, to which tens of millions worldwide are exposed.

The plaintiffs were “forced to defend themselves against their comrades in the company and the division, to be interrogated by the IDF and the Israel Police, to give an account to their family members, and to find themselves in a turmoil based entirely on the complete lies” of Breaking the Silence, the suit charges.

In the 28-page lawsuit, the plaintiffs specify how Ze’ev gave false testimony, fabricated or edited the events in a way that their actions, which were done in accordance with guidelines and operational needs, were completely taken out of context and depicted as cruel war criminals.

“It will be clarified for the start – these events never happened,” and Breaking the Silence’s publication of them “is defamatory, severe, offensive, and ridicules and insults the plaintiffs,” the plaintiffs say.
Suspect Flees Scene After Attempted Car-Ramming Attack in East Jerusalem
The Israel Police are searching for the suspect who fled the scene in a vehicle after a suspected ramming attack in an East Jerusalem neighborhood, the police said Thursday.

According to the police statement, the suspect drove towards a security checkpoint and ignored the orders to halt from police officers, prompting them to open fire.

After the apparent ramming attack failed, the suspect fled the scene, setting off a manhunt in the area.

The incident took place in the a-Tur neighborhood on the Mount of Olives, which is located close to the Old City.

The initial reports did not include references to any casualties.
Suha Arafat: ‘Abu Mazen Must Leave Like Trump, Govt. Has Nazi Characteristics and is Based on Fear’
“We also deserve a change of presidents like in the United States,” Suha Arafat, Yasser Arafat’s widow, told TPS in a phone conversation, and demanded that Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas leave after 15 years in power and four presidential terms in the US.

Her remarks were accompanied by an unprecedented attack and with very harsh criticism of the head of the Palestinian Authority.

“I am now watching the live broadcast of the change of government and the display of democracy in the White House,” Arafat said in the call, “and I decided it was time to publicly demand that Abu Mazen [Abbas] withdraw from Palestinian life and resign because he has already lost his legitimacy and moral right to rule the Palestinian people.”

In a scathing attack on Abbas, Arafat demands that he leave his post as Palestinian president “just as Trump was expelled from the White House,” adding that “just as the United States separates from Trump, probably for good, so we must part with Abu Mazen.”

“The Palestinians, like the Americans, deserve better leadership and now, as President Biden infuses new blood into the corridors of the White House, we too deserve different leadership and new blood in the Muqata’s building in Ramallah,” she said.

“We deserve new and young leadership in place of Abu Mazen’s dictatorship, which is no different from the dictatorships of Saddam Hussein and Bashar al-Assad,” she added.
Palestinian Authority: We are waiting to hear from Biden administration
The Palestinian Authority, overjoyed that the era of former US president Donald Trump has ended, is waiting to hear from the new US administration about Washington’s policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Nabil Shaath, a senior adviser to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, said on Thursday.

“We are waiting to hear about the new US administration’s policy to resolve the conflict, especially its position on settlements that increased during the term of the Trump administration, as well as the Judaization of Jerusalem,” Shaath told the PA’s official newspaper, Al-Ayyam. “Trump was the worst US president regarding the Palestinian issue. He was a disaster for the Palestinians.”

Shaath pointed out that Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, moved the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, ruled that settlements are not inconsistent with international law, labeled settlement products as being made in Israel, encouraged settlement activities, gave Israel a green light to the “annexation” of parts of the West Bank and “presented the worst [peace] plan.”

The “annexation” refers to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s since-shelved plan to apply Israeli sovereignty to portions of the West Bank. The peace plan refers to Trump’s Peace to Prosperity vision, or “Deal of the Century,” for solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
MEMRI: Palestinian Authority Deputy Governor Of Tubas Ahmad As'ad: Our Path To Jerusalem Passes Through The Blood Of Martyrs; Normalization With Israel Is Void
Ahmad As'ad, the deputy governor of the Tubas Governorate of the Palestinian Authority, said in a public address that Fatah will continue to struggle against Israel and that it rejects the normalization of relations with it. The address was broadcasted on Palestine TV on January 1, 2021. He said that normalization with Israel is null and void, just like Islamic ruling rejects mut'a (pleasure) marriage. Asa'd said: "We are proud and honored" to belong to Fatah, the "sea of the blood of martyrs", of which two thirds of the members of the Central Committee have been martyred. He said: "Our path to Jerusalem is clear," and it passes through the blood of martyrs.

"We Are Proud And Honored To belong To This [Fatah] Movement, Of Whose Central Committee Members Two Thirds Were Martyred, For The Sake Of Palestine And Jerusalem"

Ahmad As'ad: "The Palestinian Liberation Organization is a sea of martyrs' blood. We are proud and honored to belong to this [Fatah] movement, of whose Central Committee members two thirds were martyred, for the sake of Palestine and Jerusalem, alongside their comrades in arms, the [other] factions of the PLO. Fatah fired the first bullet, and then continued on its path with Abu Jihad, the first stone [thrown] at the First Intifada, and then the Second Intifada. The war with the occupation is still raging. We are people who do not leave their prisoners behind on the battlefield.

Normalization With Israel "Is Like The Mut'a [Pleasure] Marriage – Void, According To All Islamic Jurisprudence"
"The normalization [of relations with Israel], the attempt to turn against [the Palestinian cause], the annexation, as well as the declaration that Jerusalem is the capital city of the occupying state – we do not recognize all this. The blood of our martyrs has not and will never be spilled in vain. We will continue the struggle. We don't care so much about the rush [of some Arab countries] to normalize [relations with Israel]. It is like the mut'a [pleasure] marriage – void, according to all Islamic jurisprudence.

Israel Wants U.S. to Maintain Course on Iran
A broad political coalition of Middle Eastern states are preparing to present the new administration in Washington with a clear and determined stand: There is no going back to the original 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran. Iran must not be rewarded for its actions. Conditions have changed as has the situation on the ground. The U.S. must leverage the achievements of the sanctions on Iran.

At their first meeting, Prime Minister Netanyahu will present the new president with fresh intelligence - irrefutable proof that Iran lied when it consistently denied the existence of its nuclear military program. A senior Israeli diplomatic source said, "The Americans are signaling their understanding that 2021 is not 2015, they are signaling that they will not be naive and that they understand the extent of the risks."

According to current Israeli assessments, the Biden administration will conduct an intimate strategic dialogue with Israel and its allies in the region before making a final decision on the Iran nuclear issue. A second senior diplomatic source said, "We will do all we can to bring all the necessary information to their attention and prove to the Americans that they must leverage the achievements of the sanctions in order to get Iran to accept significant improvements to the nuclear agreement....The Europeans also understand that simply going back to the original agreement is not possible and that there is real need for improvements."
How Iran Could Get Nuclear Weapons
The 2015 JCPOA reversed legal precedent to enable Iranian missile work under the guise of a satellite launch program. The deal also allowed Iran to maintain an industrial-scale enrichment program greater than that of Pakistan at a time that Pakistan built nuclear weapons. Iran already has the knowledge to build and launch a nuclear warhead. All it needs is more enriched uranium.

Tehran is confident that they can outplay American diplomacy. They are simply following the path already laid by North Korea. As Iran does now, North Korea maintained a pretense of abiding by the signed 1994 Agreed Framework agreement even as it sought to cheat along the margins. The reality: North Korean authorities never abandoned their nuclear drive, but saw diplomacy as a way to delay accountability and enrich the regime.

Biden's team may say they want to re-engage Tehran, but in reality, their diplomacy will simply be a fig leaf to enable Iran, like North Korea before it, to establish a nuclear fait accompli.


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