Monday, March 08, 2021

From Ian:

India blames Iran’s Quds Force for blast outside Israeli embassy
India has concluded that Iran was behind a blast outside the Israeli embassy in New Delhi in January, with the device planted by a local Shiite cell, an Indian news organization reported Monday.

The Hindustan Times said investigators concluded the attack was carried out by the Quds Force branch of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps tasked with carrying out overseas operations, and that the device was detonated by remote control.

According to the report, there was an attempt to mislead investigators into blaming the Islamic State terror organization for the bomb, but counter-terrorism agencies were clear that it was an Iranian attack.

“That the bomb was not of high intensity, with no human targets in mind was perhaps because the Iranians did not want to run afoul of a friendly nation like India. But the message was clear and the threat is real,” an unnamed expert told the outlet.

A letter found close to the scene of the blast was a death threat to the ambassador that warned he was being constantly being watched and vowed to avenge the deaths of “martyrs” Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) commander who was killed in a January 2020 United States drone strike; Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a top Iraqi militia commander who was killed along with Soleimani; and Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s nuclear program, killed in a November 2020 attack Tehran has blamed on Israel.

The handwritten note, in English, but riddled with grammatical and spelling errors, was addressed to Israel’s ambassador, Ron Malka, and referred to him as a “terrorist of the terrorist nation.”


Attack on Israeli Vessel Was Iranian Retaliation for Secret Operation, Says Official
The attack on an Israeli-owned vessel in the Gulf of Oman on Feb. 25 was an Iranian retaliation for a secret Israeli operation, a senior security source told the Hebrew-language news site Walla.

The anonymous official denied previous claims that the attack was a response to the assassinations of Iran’s top terrorist commander Qassem Soleimani and its leading nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

Soleimani was assassinated in a US drone strike in January 2020, and Fakhrizadeh was killed near Tehran in November 2020 in what has been widely viewed as a likely Mossad operation.

The source said that while Iran has been attempting to attack Israeli interests over the past year, they have largely been frustrated by Israel.

He did not give any details on what the secret Israeli operation may have been, but Israel is believed to be working constantly at frustrating the Iranian nuclear program by covert means.

In a Jewish Chronicle article published last month detailing the operation that killed Fakhrizadeh, one intelligence source said, “We will kill the bomb.”
Israel, Cyprus and Greece agree to link power grids via subsea cable
Cyprus, Greece and Israel on Monday signed an initial agreement to build the world's longest and deepest underwater power cable that will traverse the Mediterranean seabed at a cost of about $900 million and link their electricity grids.

The project, called the Euro-Asia interconnector, will provide a back-up power source in times of emergency, said Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, who was in Nicosia to sign a memorandum of understanding with his counterparts.

Cypriot Energy Minister Natasa Pilides said it marked "a decisive step towards ending the island's energy isolation, and consequently, our dependence on heavy fuels."

The cable will have a capacity of 1,000-2,000 megawatts (MW) and is expected to be completed by 2024, according to Israel's energy ministry. With a length of about 1,500 km and a maximum depth of 2,700 metres, it will be the longest and deepest subsea electricity cable to have ever been constructed, it said.

Steinitz said the cable "will allow us to receive electricity backing from the power grids of the European continent in times of emergency and more importantly will also support our ability to significantly increase reliance on solar power generation." The Israeli ministry said that the European Union has recognised the cable as a "Project of Common Interest" and was willing to partly fund it.


'There's no reason for Israel not to apply sovereignty over Judea and Samaria'
Settlement Affairs Minister Tzachi Hanegbi said Sunday that he believes that Israel will extend sovereignty to parts of Judea and Samaria, without disclosing a timeline for the move.

In an exclusive interview with i24NEWS, Hanegbi said, "It doesn't make sense that half a million people who live in Judea and Samaria cannot live under Israeli law, we did it in the Golan Heights and we will do it in Judea and Samaria," he said, using the Israeli designation for the disputed territories.

Regarding future normalization deals with Arab Gulf countries, Hanegbi declared that he "cannot foresee how far the relations with the Gulf States will develop but it is an alliance which should be able to be made according to the decisions of the populations too, the new agreements will change things."

"We have common interests with Oman in an informal manner and the ties with Saudi Arabia will hopefully widen," he added.
'The Palestinians should have been federated with Jordan’
The Palestinian people should have been federated with Jordan in 1948. Arabs need to maintain the Jews as their enemy. The intersectionality movement has consolidated around the Palestinian cause and that’s just preposterous. These are just some of the notions shared by Harvard Professor Ruth Wisse, who will speak at the Tikvah Fund’s upcoming Jewish Leadership Conference.

She said that in the United States there are “movements of grievance and blame,” such as the feminist, African American and LGBTQ movements. “The life of women in the 20th century has been miraculously transformed,” Wisse said, noting that women have been granted the freedom to choose in all aspects of their lives, from family planning to career.

“Women should create a new prayer book of gratitude to thank those who invented all of these things,” she said. Instead, they blame the “patriarchy” for keeping them down.

She admitted that African Americans have more cause to be aggrieved, but “there is no formal ideology of racism in the US anymore.” And as for LGBTQ people: “There is no stigma anymore, they can marry each other - look how far they have come.”

Yet, “instead of all these groups blessing the freedoms they have gained, they have formed through intersectionality a movement of grievance and blame that has consolidated around the Palestinian cause,” Wisse stressed. “It is so preposterous. But it is our daily reality.” She said that the intersectionality has no reason to be against Israel or to fight for the Israeli-Palestinian cause and that the focus is unfounded.

However, the focus on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the views of Israel as the aggressor, is rooted in antisemitism that has been festering in the United States since the 1970s through the media and the universities.
Trump and Netanyahu: The Disagreements Beneath The Surface
Trump and Netanyahu chose to conceal their differences. That is the main reason that most observers missed them. The ‘bear hug’ that the Trump administration gave Israel, mostly on certain highly symbolic issues, as well as the political-electoral alliance between Trump and Netanyahu, meant that the Trump administration’s unfavourable policies toward Israel were not acknowledged, and therefore not publicly challenged by Israel. In light of the big symbolic wins, it generally seemed impossible for other Israeli ministers to Netanyahu’s left, notably Defence Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, and even for opposition leader Yair Lapid, to challenge Trump’s policies. This was true even when they thought the overall cost-benefit calculation for Israel, certainly at the strategic level, was negative.

The symbolic acts regarding Israel’s 1967 territorial gains convinced Israelis that Trump was adamantly pro-Israeli. However, like all US presidents, he naturally prioritised US interests, as he saw them, over Israeli ones. In fact, on some regional strategic issues he disregarded Israeli interests more than many of his predecessors. But unlike previous presidents, this time Israeli leaders felt unable to voice their disagreements – fearing both to anger him, lest he become ungenerous on other fronts, and wary of the costs in Israeli public opinion of challenging a president who on certain highly symbolic issues was unprecedentedly favourable to Israel.

Trump and Netanyahu decided to create a semblance of intimate, unprecedented cooperation, centred around unmatched policies toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Netanyahu might believe that overall Israel is better off given these particular gains despite the sizable above mentioned harm. However, his strategic policy disagreements with Trump behind the scenes over the last four years clearly reflect a sense that they came at a high cost, above all regarding his paramount priority of countering Iran. The semblance of unbounded friendship severely limited Israel’s ability to challenge US policies toward the Middle East regarding matters of cardinal strategic importance for Israel. With Trump no longer in office, the harm caused during these years can now be fully acknowledged and addressed. (h/t L_King)
Senators are calling for a US-Israel working group, and it could save lives
Eyeing the growing military technology challenge from great power competitors, four members of the Senate Armed Services Committee sent a letter Feb. 24 to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, urging him to stand up a U.S.-Israel Operations-Technology Working Group, or OTWG. The working group authorized in the annual defense bill is necessary to ensure U.S. troops have the most advanced capabilities and can outmatch any potential adversary.

The good news is that Austin appears to recognize the problem with business as usual. During his Senate confirmation process, he expressed a belief that the Pentagon needs to be “more agile and more responsive” in fielding cutting-edge technology to deployed forces.

He is not alone in that belief. In the letter, Sens. Gary Peters, D-Mich., Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Jacky Rosen D-Nev., and Mike Rounds R-S.D., noted that the “speed and severity of the technology competition with China and Russia requires the department to do better when it comes to getting necessary capabilities to our troops quickly.” The senators believe doing so will require the United States to “cooperate more systematically and effectively with tech-savvy democratic allies.”

While that improved cooperation can and should include a number of America’s allies, the senators said an OTWG with Israel offers some unique advantages. “Israel punches well above its weight in many of the technologies vital to U.S. military modernization efforts,” the senators wrote. “Moreover, Jerusalem consistently demonstrates an agility in fielding vital military capabilities that can benefit our warfighters.”

Consider that the Pentagon did not acquire until 2019 active protection systems for U.S. tanks that had been operational in Israel since 2011. Consequently, U.S. soldiers operated for years around the world lacking the cutting-edge protection Washington could have provided against missiles and rockets. That put U.S. soldiers in unnecessary risk.

Rather than belatedly trying to address such capability gaps, the U.S. and Israel should work together more systematically up front to prevent the gaps from emerging in the first place.
Jpost Editorial: ICC Investigation Shows Its Problems Go beyond Israel
The International Criminal Court, which is investigating Israel for alleged war crimes committed against the Palestinians, was inspired by the Nuremberg Trials, where Nazis were prosecuted, and was meant to weigh in on the most severe cases - genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity - that are not and cannot be tried in the countries in which they occurred.

The investigation into Israeli actions begins in 2014 when Israel sought to end Hamas' ongoing targeting of Israeli civilians with rockets. The probe also covers construction of, and in, Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, very little of which actually occurred in the time period covered, and which took place without the forced displacement of anyone.

Palestinian statehood will not and cannot be determined by a panel of judges, and Israel's borders can only be decided through diplomacy, not forced onto Israelis and Palestinian by a decision made in The Hague. What starts with Israel will not end with Israel. If the court thinks it can determine Israel's borders, it could easily do the same for other countries as well.
The ICC: What Happens Next?
On March 3, 2021, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) officially announced the opening of an investigation into all activity in the West Bank, east Jerusalem, and Gaza starting on June 13, 2014. The investigation will also apply to Palestinian actions.

Since an investigation is a lengthy and complex process, no action is expected against Israeli elements in the near term, if at all. The Prosecutor notes that after opening an investigation, the parties may announce that they themselves are investigating the allegations of crimes. In accordance with the principle of complementarity, the Court will not intervene while a state conducts a genuine investigation of the cases.

Therefore, Israel will be able to rely on the existence of investigations in Israel regarding allegations of the activities of the IDF and the security forces.

As to settlement activity, viewed in the Court's statute as a war crime, Israel's claims focus on legal arguments as well as the political nature of the issue, meaning that it is not suitable for criminal proceedings, will lead to politicization of the Court, and will make it more difficult to resolve the conflict through negotiations.
Dore Gold: ICC Probe of Israel Sets Dangerous Precedent for All Countries Engaged in War Against Terror
Former ambassador to the UN Dore Gold said that China and Russia could easily come to the defense of the Palestinians unless they could be swayed that this case sets a precedent that could also be used against them.

The precedent created by the ICC probe against Israel “has implications for a lot of countries that are engaged in military operations beyond their borders and within their borders,” Gold said. It also “sets a very dangerous precedent for all countries engaged in the war against terror.”

The US could possibly, therefore, create a quiet momentum behind-the-scenes for countries to rethink how the ICC impacts them,” said Gold, who is president of the think tank Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Malki told Palestine TV that the Palestinians had friends at the UNSC with veto power and that it could likely halt such a move. His words were also published by the Palestinian News Agency Wafa.

Malki called on the Biden administration to rescind sanctions on ICC officials, including Bensouda, that had been imposed by the former Trump administration. He also asked that Trump-era policies against the Palestinians be reversed.

“We still believe that the new US administration has the desire to reassess the US-Palestinian relationship and return it to its correct path, and are awaiting practical steps on the ground,” Malki said according to Wafa.
The upside of the ICC’s decision to target Israel
A swift kick in the pants is what this is…a reminder that in your political cocoon you may be Left, Right, Forever-Bibi, Never-Bibi, but to places in the wider world you are JEWISH.

That’s all they know. That is all they care about…and not with kindness, necessarily.

As in the Hague, for example…which dropped this bombshell weeks before the March 23 elections, as if to add spice to the political squabbling underway.

Yet it appears that Political Israelis have sensibly retreated to their corners and declared a semi time-out in consideration of this threat from outside.

I’ll take a chance to suggest that even radical leftists are not happy with the ICC. They too have kids in the IDF.

Birds do it, bees do it, people do it…we bicker within, but when a hostile outsider steps in, we close ranks…and woe to the intruder.

Up until a few days ago, the politicians had the stage on which they could call attention to the other guy’s failures…the other party’s shortcomings…and do so with rage and gusto.

You would think there is no other business.

But yes there is, after a voice is heard from the Hague, targeting all the people, regardless of party affiliation.

Jewish…that’s your party.

We all know the story, that when we forget we are Jews, someone always comes along to remind us…and hopefully to reunite us.

Thank you, ICC.
EU countries gave NIS 50 m. to Israeli NGOs supporting war crimes charges
Foreign governments were major funders in of Israeli organizations making the charge that the International Criminal Court should investigate Israel for war crimes, a new report from NGO Monitor found this week.

The report, by the research institution focused on nongovernmental organizations and their funding, analyzed the annual financial reports from 2017-2019 of the 35 Israeli NGOs involved in political advocacy that receive foreign government funding. They received a total of NIS 319,466,917 (about $100 million), 58% of which (NIS 185,387,008) came directly or indirectly from foreign governments.

Germany was the largest government donor, providing NIS 43,636,794, followed by the EU and the Netherlands.

The New Israel Fund was the largest private donor, followed by the London-based Sigrid Rausing Trust and billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Foundation.

A significant amount of the funds went to organizations that supported an ICC investigation against Israel, which was announced last week. ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda referred to three B’Tselem documents in her brief in which she argued the ICChad jurisdiction over Israel, even though Israel is not a member of the court and has an independent judiciary.

About half of B’Tselem’s funding, NIS 19,680,303, in 2017-2019 came from foreign governments, including the EU, Spain, Denmark, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Ireland and more.
Mordechai Kedar: The U.S. Confers Legitimacy on Hamas
The Biden administration wants to return the Palestinian issue to the diplomatic center stage. From the administration's standpoint, the problem is not Israel but rather the Palestinian Authority, which the administration sees as harder than Israel to tempt to return to the "peace" process. Therefore, it is investing much more time and effort in luring the PA back.

Suddenly, in mid-January 2021, Abbas announced elections, 15 years after the last ones. What happened? The Biden administration wants to lay the foundations for a Palestinian state, and there is no better way to present the state as truly democratic than to have "all sectors of the Palestinian people" take part in elections - even Hamas.

The biggest supporters of Hamas are Muslim Brotherhood organizations in the U.S. that are now returning in a major way to their position of influence in the corridors of the new administration, and they want to make Hamas look kosher. Portraying the group as a civic organization and a legitimate political party rather than the genocidal terrorist group that it is constitutes the best way to legitimize it in the U.S. media and in international politics.


Omission in BBC reporting on ICC investigation announcement
Kattan told listeners that “the scope of the investigation will look at crimes committed from the 13th of June 2014 and any future crimes.”

Once again listeners were not informed of the reason for and significance of that start date and the fact that the ICC’s investigation will not include the murder of three Israeli youths by Hamas.

Following his conversation with Kattan, Franks introduced his second interviewee (BBC ‘frequent flyer’ Mustafa Barghouti) by saying “let’s hear from the two sides now”. Listeners were not told that in fact they had already heard from one of “the two sides” because the person twice laconically described only as being from Nottingham University is also a policy advisor for Al Shabaka, a former employee of Badil and a former legal adviser to the Palestinian Negotiations Support Project which advises the PLO.

One would of course have expected that Kattan’s writings on the topic of the ICC (which include the claim that “A Palestinian state existed prior to 1967”) would have prompted the ‘Newshour’ production team to comply with BBC editorial guidelines concerning ‘contributors’ affiliations’ but that was not the case. Not only were listeners told nothing of Kattan’s “particular viewpoints”; they were wrongly led by Franks to believe that he is an impartial academic.
Palestinian tries to stab soldier during West Bank raid, is shot, army says
A Palestinian man tried to stab an Israel Defense Forces soldier during an overnight operation in the West Bank, the army said Monday.

The would-be attacker was shot by another soldier. There were no details given on his condition.

The incident occurred while the soldiers were trying to carry out an arrest. The army did not clarify if the suspect was a target in that operation.

According to the army, the suspect tried to stab a soldier, who shoved him away before the commanding officer shot him.

The soldier lightly hurt his hand and was treated on the scene.

The incident came amid heightened tensions in the West Bank, where Israeli settlers and Palestinians have clashed repeatedly in recent weeks.

Separately, two men were arrested Sunday for their suspected involvement in an attack last week on an IDF soldier in northern Israel in which his weapon was stolen.
Yisrael Medad: That "Zionist Flag" Unfurled Over the Dome of the Rock
A staple of Arab propaganda has been the intent of Zionists to take over the Temple Mount.

An example from a Mandate-era pamphlet:
The "Zionist Flag":


Now, let's provide context.

Haj Tewfik Hammad was a witness at the Shaw Commission Inquiry investogating the 1929 Riots.

He was a leading inciter, Vice-President of the first Palestine Arab Congress and formerly representative of Palestine for many years in the Turkish Parliament and an early trouble-maker in 1923, for example. He was Mayor of Nablus/Shchem and a Vice-President of the various Arab Congresses that were convened in the 1920s.

He was asked about the flag:
That "flag" and all the others submitted as 'proof' were nothing more than Simchat Torah pennants waved by the children when celebrating in the dance circles with the scrolls of the Torah during the holiday or an innocent montage.
PMW: PA: Jews are “defiling Jerusalem,” “invading the Al-Aqsa Mosque” when they visit the Temple Mount
Did you know Jews are constantly “invading” and “defiling” the Al-Aqsa Mosque?

At least that’s what the Palestinian Authority leaders want Palestinians to believe is happening when Jews visit the Temple Mount. In a broadcast on official PA TV, PA shows footage of Jews at the Temple Mount while text on the screen warns viewers:
“The occupation’s forces and its settlers invade the Al-Aqsa Mosque
Jerusalem will not be defiled”
[Official PA TV, Feb. 19, 2021 and Jan. 26, 2020]


Palestinian Media Watch has exposed this antisemitic broadcast previously, as well as similar expressions, claiming that hordes of Jews are “invading” and “defiling” Muslim and Christian holy sites. This song broadcast on the official PA radio is such an example:
"Where is the Arab army, where? ...
Haifa, Ramallah, Gaza, and occupied Jerusalem call to you
Jaffa, Ramle, Acre, and occupied Jerusalem call to you..
The Zionist has defiled their mosques and churches, and trampled our sanctity."
[Official PA radio station The Voice of Palestine, Dec. 19, 2018]


The PA and its leaders misrepresent all of the Temple Mount as an integral part of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Therefore, they vilify any presence of Jews on the mount as an "invasion." It should be noted that Jews who visit the Temple Mount only enter some sections of the open areas, and do not enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque or the Dome of the Rock. Israeli police ban Jewish prayer at the Temple Mount because of threats of violence by Palestinians.


“A self-sacrificing fighter carried the rifle and went out towards the Zionists” – song on PA TV

JCPA: Mahmoud Abbas Seeks to Neutralize Mohammed Dahlan
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is trying to prevent, in every way, the participation of the “Democratic Reform Bloc,” headed by Mohammad Dahlan in the parliamentary elections scheduled for May 22, 2021.

Other candidates, senior Fatah figures Marwan Barghouti and Nasser al-Kidwa, are distancing themselves from any connection to Dahlan for fear that it will undermine their political standing, but Dahlan’s allies say it is still too early to eulogize him.

The Palestinian political arena is riotous and raging following the decision of Nasser al-Kidwa, a senior Fatah figure and nephew of Yasser Arafat, to establish an independent list that will run in the Palestinian parliamentary elections, separate from the official list of the Fatah movement. Al-Kidwa’s list will also support the candidacy of Marwan Barghouti, one of Mahmoud Abbas’s bitter political opponents, in the presidential elections, purportedly to be held in July 2021. “Palestinians are fed up with the current situation, said Al-Kidwa. He complained of “internal behavior or misbehavior, things like the absence of the rule of law, the absence of equality, and the absence of fairness.”1

There are still about two weeks left until the official submission of lists to the Central Elections Committee is due, and it remains to be seen whether al-Kidwa will retract his list of candidates in response to the threats he received from senior Fatah officials, including formal sanctioning by Fatah’s Central Committee.

However, although Mohammed Dahlan supports Nasser al-Kidwa’s list, the latter publicly disavowed him for fear that it would harm his new list.

At a Zoom conference called by al-Kidwa on March 4, 2021, the Arafat nephew addressed Mohammad Dahlan: “It is difficult to unite with him because of the popular mood rejecting him, as well as rejecting his host country in the UAE’s latest measures,” referring to the normalization of ties with Israel.2

Dahlan serves as senior advisor to Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, and he has been linked to secret visits to Israel and involvement in the drafting of the normalization agreement.
MEMRI: Senior Hamas Officials: We Intend To Run For Office In Elections While Maintaining The Armed Struggle For The Palestinian Land 'From The River To The Sea'
The Palestinian Authority (PA) is beginning preparations for elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), the PA presidency, and the Palestinian National Council (PNC), with coordination and partnership among Fatah and Hamas and the other Palestinian factions.[1] The decision to hold elections was made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas because of the new U.S. administration, with the aim of preparing the ground for renewing negotiations with Israel with the participation of the Quartet – the U.S., the U.N., the E.U., and Russia – and of extricating the PA from its Trump-era political and economic crisis.[2]

Abbas's decision to hold elections raised questions in the international community, including the Biden administration, about how Abbas intends to combine two contradictory elements: a Fatah-Hamas reconciliation and general elections in which Hamas will run, versus Hamas's failure so far to implement the Quartet's demands – recognition of Israel and agreements with it and abandoning its armed struggle – as a precondition for international recognition of any Palestinian government of which it is a part.

According to Arab and Palestinian media reports, the Biden administration has recently demanded that the PA provide it with clarifications on how this contradiction will be resolved, and to let it know whether the Palestinian government that will be established after the elections will recognize Israel, will relinquish violence, and will respect the agreements.[3] It was also reported that in reaction to this demand, the PA sent both the Biden administration and the Quartet a letter stressing that all the Palestinian factions that are running for election, even non-PLO members such as Hamas, are committed to "a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders," to recognition of the PLO "as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people," and to nonviolent popular resistance.[4] It should be noted that recognition of a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders means recognizing Israel or the principle of two states for two peoples, and that some of the Palestinian factions, for example Hamas, are demanding reforms in the PLO prior to acknowledging it as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. On February 22, PLO Executive Council member 'Azzam Al-Ahmad confirmed, on the official PLO TV channel, that the letter had been sent to the Biden administration and to the Quartet.[5]

While some of the Palestinian factions, including the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) have denied that they are committed to what the letter reportedly stated, Hamas has refrained from doing so; such a response could be interpreted as consent by silence. However, along with its the silence on the issue of the contents of the letter, Hamas officials have made various statements that completely contradict the letter's alleged contents. In recent days, they have reiterated that Hamas does not intend to stop armed resistance, nor to relinquish one inch of historic Palestinian territory – that is, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.


Lebanon’s Deadlock Fuels Seventh Day of Street Protests
Lebanon‘s president asked security forces to prevent roadblocks after protesters shut main roads across the country for a seventh straight day on Monday in anger at more than a year of economic crisis and months of political paralysis.

Measures agreed in a meeting with top security and government officials included ordering a crackdown on anyone “violating the monetary and credit” law, including foreign exchange bureaus, a statement said.

Since the Lebanese pound, which has lost 85% of its value, tumbled to a new low last week, protesters have blocked roads daily.

“We have said several times that there will be an escalation because the state isn’t doing anything,” said Pascale Nohra, a protester on a main highway in the Jal al-Dib area.

As Lebanon‘s financial crisis erupted in late 2019, a wave of mass protest rocked the country, with outrage boiling over at leaders who have overseen decades of state graft.

Tens of thousands of jobs have been lost, bank accounts have been frozen and many have been plunged into poverty.

On Monday, three main roads leading south into the capital were blocked while in Beirut itself, protesters briefly closed a road in front of the central bank.

In Tyre in the south, one man tried to burn himself by pouring gasoline on his body but civil defense members stopped him in time, the state news agency said.


Germany Can Show True Repentance by Confronting Iran
In the aftermath of World War II, Germany has tried to atone for the Holocaust: It is illegal to deny the Holocaust in Germany. There are Holocaust memorials everywhere. Holocaust education is mandatory in schools. Reparations were paid to Israel after its founding and are still being paid to Holocaust survivors (though the numbers don’t even come close to the money stolen from Jews by the Nazi regime). And trade between Israel and Germany is strong.

Maimonides, the great Jewish philosopher, taught that true repentance is based on the Biblical model of the Joseph story: There must be acknowledgment of the sin, remorse — and when the opportunity arises to commit the sin again, one must reject it.

Germany has done much to repent. But there is one more step needed to complete the process.

There is another nation now that has vowed to destroy the Jewish people and will soon have, or already has, the means to do it: Iran.

Iran’s repeated, public, and official policy is the annihilation of the Jewish state. It has taken over southern Lebanon through its proxy Hezbollah, and has placed an estimated 100,00 missiles aimed at Israel; it has a base in Syria; it has proxies and arms Gaza. Israel is surrounded. And Iran is clearly closing in on getting nuclear weapons. The threat is real and imminent.

If any other nation on Earth were threatened with total annihilation by another nation, wouldn’t there be a giant cry heard everywhere? Would there not be international outrage? And condemnation?
Venezuela: Opposition Chief Guaido Says Iran Likely Key Destination for Smuggled Uranium
Venezuelan opposition chief Juan Guaido, recognized by Israel as the country’s interim president, told Israel Hayom that he suspects that Iran is a major destination for Venezuelan uranium smugglers.

“It is public knowledge that several members of the military have been arrested after smuggling uranium from Venezuela, and we believe Iran is one of the main destinations,” he told the newspaper in an interview published on Sunday.

“There is a large reservoir of uranium in Venezuela that is smuggled from the country somehow, through illegal channels,” he said.

“At present, a preliminary investigation exists into uranium stockpiles in Venezuela and the countries to which this material could be sent,” the opposition figurehead added.

Guaido, who was declared Acting President by the National Assembly in 2019, emerged as a key rival to the country’s President Nicolas Maduro, whose regime is mired in corruption, crime, and violence.

Maduro and some of his key allies are wanted in the US on charges of setting up a massive drug operation called Cartel of the Suns.







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