Monday, March 22, 2021

From Ian:

Lee Smith: Biden Torpedoes Abraham Accords Summit
Plainly, the Obama-Biden team doesn’t care about interfering in Israeli elections or else Barack Obama’s State Department wouldn’t have funneled money to an NGO that campaigned against Netanyahu in 2015. Nor do Arab royals sitting atop petro-kingdoms have much theoretical or practical reason to worry about appearing to back one candidate against another. Smaller powers like the UAE make alliances not with factions but with states—and all parties in Israel support the Abraham Accords. Israel’s strategic class, its political, military, and intelligence echelons, as well as Israeli voters consider relations with Gulf Cooperation Council members a strategic boon. It is difficult to imagine any circumstances short of war under which an Israeli prime minister would think it politically wise to abandon a normalization agreement with any Arab state, never mind a major oil producer.

No, “election interference” is a staple of American political discourse. More particularly it is the rhetoric through which the Democratic Party now pushes information operations, like the Russiagate conspiracy theory holding that Russia interfered with the 2016 vote to put Trump in the White House. News of the canceled visit by the Israeli prime minister was eagerly pushed in the press and on social media by Obama’s Israel point man Dan Shapiro through his proprietary Israel wing of the echo chamber.

But there’s a bigger play here than interfering in Israeli politics by denying Bibi a preelection photo op with Israel’s peace partners in the Gulf. Their larger goal is to weaken or dismantle the Abraham Accords, which by assembling a treaty structure that binds Israel together with the Gulf states structurally interferes with the administration’s stated goal of realigning the United States with Iran—and therefore against Israel and the Gulf—by reentering Obama’s nuclear deal.

But isn’t peace in the Middle East the collective dream of the Beltway policy establishment, left and right? Trump, love or hate him, got Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan as well as the UAE to normalize relations with Israel, the first peace agreements with the Jewish state since Jordan signed in 1994—and Biden said he wanted to build on the Abraham Accords. But as it turns out, “peace” has a very particular meaning for American policymakers. For the Middle East hands in the Biden administration, what matters most is completing the project many of these Obama alumni helped initiate while serving under Biden’s former boss—realignment with Iran.

Trump didn’t just withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, which undergirded Obama’s realignment strategy, he also designed a strategic architecture to counter Iranian influence—the Abraham Accords. To bind Israel and the Arab Gulf states, the Trump White House had to bracket the issue that previously kept these traditional American allies apart—the Palestinians. That alone earned Trump the wrath of Washington’s wise men.

For decades the professional peace processors warned that there could be no stability in the Middle East unless there was a comprehensive settlement to the Palestinian issue. By giving the Palestinians unbridled veto power, the Beltway establishment also ensured their job security. As long as the Palestinians said no, the peace processors were still in business. Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner wondered why the wise men held them in contempt for making peace. What they didn’t understand was that making peace meant the wise men were fired.

The alliance between Israel and the Gulf states is an impediment to the dream of a reempowered, nuclear-armed Iran backed by the United States, which was Obama’s main foreign policy aim—and an affront to peace processors convinced of their own never-ending importance. The Biden administration apparently aims to sink the accords by penalizing Israel and its peace partners for getting too close, and returning the Palestinians to center stage—in order to prepare the ground for reentering the Iran deal.
Caroline Glick: Netanyahu – Israel's indispensable statesman
According to The National's report, the new administration intends to cancel the Trump administration's policy regarding Israeli exports to the US That policy determined that exports from Area C of Judea and Samaria, which are under full Israeli control, will be marked as "Made in Israel."

The new administration intends to reinstate US financial support for UNRWA and the Palestinian Authority and will pressure Israel to permit Jerusalemites to vote in the Palestinian elections. It will undertake to reopen the US's diplomatic mission to the PA. The memo also makes clear that the Biden administration will reinstate the Obama administration's policy of pressuring Israel to withdraw to the 1949 armistice lines "with mutually agreed land swaps and agreements on security and refugees."

As to the Abraham Accords, despite the memo's deliberately vague diplomatic language, it is clear that the Biden administration intends to subvert the accords in a way that will indirectly reinstate the PLO's veto over Arab-Israeli ties.

The contents of the memo, as described in The National report are not surprising to anyone who paid attention to statements made throughout the 2020 presidential campaign and since by President Joe Biden and his advisors. But the report does make clear the magnitude of the challenge Israel will face in managing and maintaining its alliance with the US in the coming years.

This challenge grew even more daunting last Wednesday and Thursday as Biden torpedoed US-Russian relations by calling Putin a "murderer" and threatening him; and Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan got into an ugly public fight with their Chinese counterparts on live television.

The need to steer Israel's ship of state between a hostile ally and two rival superpowers with whom Israel enjoys relatively reasonable if limited ties may well be the most difficult challenge facing Israel's prime minister in the coming years.

On Tuesday, as Israelis go to the polls, they should pause a moment and ask themselves, "Which candidate is most capable of competently protecting Israel in the regional and international arenas in the coming years?" The answer isn't hard to ascertain.
Israeli Minister Exposes the Truth About the Palestinian People

David Singer: Netanyahu’s feats merit his being Israel’s next Prime Minister
The country’s relatively small size and electronic health records that cover more than 99% of residents were two important reasons for siting the study in Israel, Pfizer Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said in an interview late Thursday with Israel’s Channel 12 news. But what tipped the scales in Israel’s favor was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s persistence, which Bourla termed an “obsession.”

“He called me 30 times,” Bourla said. “He would ask me about the variants, what data we have. And I would say, ‘Prime Minister, it’s three o’clock.’ And he said, ‘No, no, don’t worry, tell me.’ Or he would call me to ask about the children, ‘I need to vaccinate the schools.’ Or to ask about pregnant women. So he convinced me, frankly, that he would be on top of it.”

On advancing the personal safety and security of every Israeli citizen – Netanyahu has overseen:
- The United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco establishing diplomatic relations with Israel under the Abraham Accords.
- Kosovo - one of the few Muslim countries in Europe - establishing an embassy in Jerusalem.
- The UAE announcing the setting up of a $10 billion fund to invest in Israel
- Israelis visiting Dubai in their tens of thousands
- Several more Arab countries reportedly being on the brink of joining the Abraham Accords -including Oman, Qatar and Mauritania.
- Normalization between Saudi Arabia and Israel beginning with Saudi Arabia granting overflight rights to Israel and - most recently - allowing an Israeli racing team to participate in the Dakar Rally.
- An offer of Gaza, 70% of the West Bank and areas of Israel’s sovereign territory being made to the Palestine Liberation Organisation for the creation of a second Arab State – in addition to Jordan – in the territory formerly comprising Mandatory Palestine.

Denigrators and detractors contesting Netanyahu’s re-election face an uphill battle.


Joel Pollak: Biden Administration Cites Antisemitic Durban Conference as Positive Precedent
In 2020, the Trump administration voted against the overall United Nations budget, partly because it included funds to commemorate the 2001 Durban conference. President Donald Trump also withdrew the U.S. from the U.N. Human Rights Council, which had become little more than an anti-Israel forum and welcomed autocratic regimes as members.

But President Joe Biden decided last month to “re-engage” and rejoin the Human Rights Council. And on Friday, March 19, the U.S. led over 150 countries in drafting and approving a statement on racial discrimination that cited the 2001 Durban declaration as a positive precedent to guide efforts to combat racism.

U.S. Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Lisa Peterson said: “Recalling the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action, we are committed to working within our nations and with the international community to address and combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance, while upholding freedom of expression.”

In a preamble, the State Department added that the U.S. was “proud to have led” in the adoption of the Friday statement.

Breitbart News reached out to the State Department for comment but received an out-of-office reply from the press liaison.

The U.N. is expected to commemorate the Durban conference in “Durban IV” in September at its new session in New York.

However, Bayefsky warned: “Durban IV is one more attempt to turn the fight against racism into a fight against Jews.

“It needs to be shunned. Not celebrated or commemorated. Not fully implemented or reaffirmed. To combat racism: stay away.”
Pollard defends spying in rare interview: US ‘stabbed Israel in the back’
Jonathan Pollard, an American who served a 30-year sentence for spying for Israel, defended his actions in his first interview since arriving in Israel late last year. He said America had “stabbed Israel in the back” by withholding intelligence from its ally.

In excerpts from the interview with the Israel Hayom daily published Monday, Pollard described his happiness at being a free man in Israel while expressing regret that he was not able to father children because of his incarceration.

Pollard, now 66, sold military secrets to Israel while working as a civilian intelligence analyst for the US Navy in the 1980s. He was arrested in 1985 after trying unsuccessfully to gain asylum at the Israeli Embassy in Washington and pleaded guilty. The espionage affair embarrassed Israel and tarnished its relations with the United States for years.

Pollard was given a life sentence. US defense and intelligence officials said his spying caused great damage and strenuously argued against his release. But after serving 30 years in federal prison, he was released in 2015 and placed on a five-year parole period. Pollard arrived in Israel to a hero’s welcome in December.

He told Israel Hayom that at the time of his spying the US government was keeping intelligence from Israel and lying to it, claiming he witnessed it himself at meetings.

“I know I crossed a line, but I had no choice,” he told the newspaper, adding that the threats to Israel were “serious.”
Mother of teen murdered by terrorist speaks out on ICC war crimes probe
Rina Ariel, mother of Hallel Ariel, a 14-year-old who was murdered in her bed by a Palestinian terrorist, spoke out against the decision by the International Criminal Court to open a war crimes probe against Israel in a letter to the ICC on Sunday.

In January, 2020, the Shurat HaDin organization filed a lawsuit to the ICC on behalf of Rina and her husband against the Palestinian Authority concerning the "pay for slay" payments received by the family of the terrorist and the incitement by the PA which supports those who kill Israeli civilians with up to NIS 12,000 per month.

To date, the Hague has not issued any response to the lawsuit, according to Shurat HaDin.

In a letter sent on behalf of the parents on Sunday, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, president of Shurat HaDin, stressed that while the ICC does not have jurisdiction over Israel, as it is not a member state of the court, nor the PA, since it is not a state, it does have jurisdiction over PA President Mahmoud Abbas and most PA officials since they hold Jordanian citizenship and Jordan is a member state.

The letter questioned why repeated submissions of evidence concerning crimes committed by PA officials were not included in the planned investigation and there has been no indication that these crimes will be investigated.

"The grant of immunity you have apparently given to PA officials is clear," wrote Darshan-Letiner.
IDF chief condemns ICC probe, implies judges unfamiliar with terror tactics
Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi on Sunday condemned the International Criminal Court’s investigation into Israel over alleged war crimes and defended the Israeli military’s conduct.

Earlier this month, the ICC announced it would investigate possible war crimes committed by Israel and Palestinians following a request by the Palestinians, who joined the court in 2015 after being granted nonmember observer status in the UN General Assembly.

“The Hague is living in the old world. In the Middle East, there is a new area of terrorism,” Kohavi said during a ceremony held at the IDF’s Southern Command which is responsible for security against the Gaza Strip.

He argued that the Hague-based ICC is unfamiliar with the terrorist tactics that IDF soldiers encounter saying there’s a “gulf” between what is happening on the ground and how the judges at the ICC perceive those actions.

“It is our enemies who have chosen to settle in populated areas and place thousands of missiles and rockets there that by definition hit civilians,” he said. “Anyone who thinks of preventing us from attacking rockets inside a populated built-up area is abandoning our citizens in our built-up space.”

“It is incumbent upon the international community to adapt patterns of thinking, patterns of warfare, and international law to the way in which the armies of terrorism are to be fought,” Kohavi urged.
Green organizations call on John Kerry to stop trans-Israel Gulf oil deal
Environmental organizations and activists have written to the US special presidential envoy for climate change, John Kerry, charging that an agreement between companies in Israel and the United Arab Emirates to use Israel as a land bridge for the transport of crude oil from the Persian Gulf to European markets is “contrary to the new spirit of Israeli-US climate cooperation.”

“We have specific environmental concerns relating to the likelihood of oil spills in the Gulf of Aqaba [that could endanger] the unique coral reefs of Eilat in Israel, the Sinai Peninsula [in] Egypt and Aqaba in Jordan,” read the letter, which also warned “of the pipeline potentially polluting the unique ecosystems of the Arava and Negev deserts” and of “oil spills occurring off the Mediterranean coast of Israel.”

It continued, “No less significant, we believe that the project is contrary to the new spirit of Israeli-US climate cooperation that we were so pleased to learn about following conversations [that] we understand have been held with Israeli Ambassador to the US Gilad Erdan.”

In February, Kerry and Erdan spoke on the phone and discussed “the environmental challenges we are facing,” according to a tweet from the latter, a former environmental protection minister, who also serves as Israel’s ambassador to the UN.

“I told him I would be a soldier in the fight against climate change. We agreed to meet soon to explore new initiatives and discuss the vision of zero carbon economy,” he said.

The oil deal followed September’s signing of a bilateral normalization agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, part of the so-called Abraham Accords.

The letter to Kerry concluded, “Given the leadership of the former US administration in initiating and negotiating these important [Israel-UAE] Accords and the interest of the new administration to continue to build on these Accords, we believe it is important that the Accords be aligned to combating the climate crisis and not be misused in a manner that both risks our fragile environment and runs contrary to declared US-Israeli commitments.”
Bolstering the Abraham Accords Through Education Initiatives
Over the last decade and in the United States and Israel, I have been involved in several of these privately financed undertakings -- through the Tikvah Fund, the Hertog Foundation, the George W. Bush Presidential Center, and The Public Interest Fellowship. The model could easily be adapted for a variety of educational programs that brought together, say, 25 or so Bahrainis, Emiratis, Israelis, and Americans for intense study and leisurely conversation.

The first program might be called the Principles of Freedom Seminar. Intended for promising 20-somethings and 30-somethings, it would draw participants from government, business, journalism, security, medicine, and the academy. It could be easily adapted to students of many ages, from high school to accomplished senior figures across many professions and disciplines. Its curriculum would consist of seminal works from the tradition of modern freedom, featuring renowned thinkers such as Locke, Montesquieu, Smith, Madison, Burke, Tocqueville, and Mill. By setting aside the political controversies of the moment and instead focusing on pivotal writings on a topic of abiding importance, such a seminar enables students to engage robustly while avoiding the most divisive issues. At the same time, thoughtful examination of the principles of modern freedom is bound to illuminate controversies students encounter in their own countries.

The second program could be named the Common Traditions Seminars (an approach developed by my friend and former Policy Planning colleague Andrew Doran). It, too, could be designed for students of quite different ages. Its point of departure is that Jews and Muslims as well as Christians share a common biblical heritage, and that great philosophers in all three traditions undertook enduring efforts in the Middle Ages to reconcile their faiths with the wisdom of Plato and Aristotle. The first half of the seminar would concentrate on Biblical passages of surpassing importance to the three Abrahamic religions. The second half would explore influential arguments from the outstanding medieval philosopher of each of the traditions: Al-Farabi, Maimonides, and Saint Thomas Aquinas.

The third program might be titled the Law, Nation, and Faith Seminar. It would bring reporters, columnists, editorial writers, and editors together to undertake in-depth study of a select aspect of one of the large forces influencing regional politics. Journalists from the four countries would enhance one another’s appreciation of the issues by sharing their experiences regarding, and perspectives on, matters of common concern. They would return home with ideas for stories, unexpected angles on familiar controversies, and a host of new contacts, sources, and colleagues.

These three seminars -- and variations that could follow on their heels -- needn’t remain restricted to original Abraham Accords signatories. As soon as is practically possible, citizens from Sudan, Kosovo, and Morocco -- which also recently normalized relations with Israel -- should be invited to join. The same goes for Jordanians, Egyptians, and Palestinians. And why not reach out to the Republic of Cyprus, a vibrant democracy in the eastern Mediterranean eager to contribute to regional stability and prosperity?

Of surpassing value in itself, education can play a vital role -- along with the advancement of shared interests in security and commerce -- in bolstering the Abraham Accords.
Former top Saudi adviser: No Israel normalization before Palestinian statehood
A former senior adviser to the Saudi Arabian government said in an editorial published Monday that the kingdom would not normalize ties with Israel until a peace agreement is reached that establishes an independent Palestinian state.

Nawaf Obaid’s editorial, published in the Palestinian Al Quds newspaper one day before Israelis go to the polls, was seen by analysts as an open message to Israel after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other senior officials have recently indicated that Riyadh is on its way to normalizing relations with Israel.

Obaid, who said the views he was expressing were those held by the kingdom’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, asserted that Saudi Arabia would see normalization as a way to pressure Israel on behalf of the Palestinians and that current Israeli policies showed it was therefore not an option.

Obaid noted the Saudi public largely holds by King Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s declaration that Saudi Arabia will be the last Muslim country to recognize Israel.

He said Saudi authorities were also very aware that violent extremist elements would see normalization with Israel as an abandonment of Islamic values, and were therefore being “very careful” about any potential decision that could create division among their people. Though “the door to normalization is open,” he said, such an agreement was almost impossible in the current climate of Saudi public opinion.
Increase in Americans’ Desire to Pressure Israel, Gallup Poll Reveals
Americans continue to favor Israel over the Palestinians, yet their support for the Palestinian Authority (PA) has increased to 30%, according to a Gallup annual World Affairs poll published on Friday.

Favorability of Israel remains high, at 75%, the poll revealed.

The poll also indicated that since 2018, the percentage of Americans wanting more pressure placed on the Palestinians to resolve their conflict with Israel has dropped from 50% to 44%, while that of Americans wanting more pressure exerted on the Israel has increased from 27% to 34%.

Gallup says that this is the highest level of demand for pressuring Israel since 2007. Over the same period, the percentage in favor of the US putting more pressure on both parties, or on neither, has declined from 21% to 14%.

The majority of those favoring pressure on Israel are Democrats, while 17% of Republicans and 31% of independents favor doing so.


Netanyahu's promises on Judea and Samaria - should we beleive them again?
Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu is a strong leader, whose prowess on the diplomatic front in standing up for Israel is unrivaled. This is what the world believes, and, according to the recent local polling, it’s also what Israelis believe.

Here in Shiloh and in other parts of Samaria, Netanyahu is a familiar face before elections, often coming to plant a tree, to visit soldiers and residents, and making bold promises to the “pioneering Jews” and to other religious Zionists about what he will do for the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. Sovereignty, whether partial or almost total, whether in phases or as part of former US President Donald Trump’s “Deal of the Century, all of these promises have been recurring campaign pledges from Bibi that have garnered many thousands of votes for his leading Likud party, even among leaders of Judea and Samaria councils.

When it comes to such promises, this election is only slightly different. Netanyahu’s pre-election outreach has been strong as usual, and the promises are ever-present, if revised and updated. This year, with the less friendly President Joe Biden in the White House and with Biden’s much less sympathetic Democrats in control of Congress, Netanyahu has been walking an interesting tight rope, continuing to express support for popular national religious causes by promising to extend legality to “young settlements”, while carefully avoiding using the word “all”.

Should we believe his promises will come true? Let’s examine the track record. In Netanyahu’s twelve consecutive years as prime minister, he has repeatedly promised, especially at election time, to declare sovereignty over the strategic E1 area that cradles the eastern border of Jerusalem. The promise has still not been carried out and hasn’t even been approved. He has also pledged numerous times, particularly during his campaigns, to declare sovereignty over the Jordan Valley, this being a clear national consensus issue. Sadly, this promise has also not been fulfilled.
Are Israeli Patriot batteries deployed near Eilat due to Houthis?
A video circulating on social media and on Telegram showed a PAC-2 Patriot Air Defense system near Eilat according to users who posted and commented on it. “There were more batteries which I noticed later but they’re not in the video,” wrote Twitter user @Ignis-Fatum. A separate Twitter account called ELINT news, which looks at open-source intelligence sources, claimed that the system was deployed “near Eilat in southern Israel amid threats of suicide drones and cruise missile attacks from Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen.” The user gave the name of the system as PAC-2 GEM+ and said they had seen three launchers in the video. The IDF said, “we do not comment on reports regarding the deployment on aerial defense systems.”

The reports of the Patriot deployment were met with some skepticism by others who said the batteries have been there for months. Reports in January said that Israel had deployed Patriot batteries to the vicinity of Eilat. At the time there were reports of threats from Yemen.


IAI extends air defense capabilities for longer range, ballistic threats
In the shadow of the IDF warnings of a possible attack coming from Iran and its proxies in the region, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) completed on Monday a series of successful live firing trials of the Barak Air Defense System.

The company said that the trials tested the system’s capabilities in a range of scenarios and threats, including the interception of an assaulting ballistic target by the Barak ER (extended range) interceptor.

The Barak ER missile, developed by IAI, combines the capability to intercept air defense threats at a long-range of 150 kilometers and ballistic targets as part of IAI’s Barak interceptors’ family of various ranges.

The extended range capability is made possible in part by adjusting the interceptor and MMR radar capabilities to a 150-km. range. The vertically launched missile includes a booster, a dual-pulse rocket motor and an advanced radar homing seeker, the company said in a statement.

Boaz Levy, IAI president and CEO said following the completion of the tests that “the evolution of airborne threats across the globe, combined with geopolitical changes, requires an advanced, agile and versatile air defense system.

“The Barak system was operationally proven against countless threats, including some of the most challenging ones today. The trial series we completed today enhances the proven capabilities against a wider range of threats,” he said.
Infiltrations reported along Gaza, Lebanon borders
Infiltrations were reported along Israel’s borders with the Gaza Strip and with Lebanon on Sunday, with suspects arrested in both locations.

On Sunday evening, the IDF arrested three suspects who infiltrated from Lebanon into Israel near Kiryat Shmona.

The suspects, who later turned out to be Sudanese migrants seeking work, were returned to Lebanon later on Sunday, Israeli media reported.

Earlier in the day, two Palestinians were arrested by the IDF after they crossed the border from the south of the Gaza Strip into Israel armed with knives, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit reported.

Ynet reporter Matan Tzuri reported on Sunday as well that incendiary kites and balloons were found in southern Israel near the border of the Gaza Strip over the weekend.

The devices were the first incendiary devices reported in the past few months, after a lull in the launch of incendiary and explosive devices from the Strip.
Israel cancels PA foreign minister’s travel documents after visit to ICC
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki was stripped of a special travel permit for senior Palestinian officials and his entourage was questioned by Israeli intelligence on Sunday in an unusual incident following Al-Maliki’s visit to the International Criminal Court.

The PA Foreign Ministry was informed by Israeli authorities that Al-Maliki’s VIP travel pass had been canceled as the diplomat entered Allenby crossing from Jordan into the West Bank, senior PA Foreign Ministry official Ahmad al-Deek told The Times of Israel.

The VIP travel pass normally allows Palestinian Authority officials and staff to pass through Israeli checkpoints with minimal friction, but according to al-Deek, al-Maliki’s entourage was questioned by the Shin Bet security service at the scene.

“The minister was held up for around half an hour, and his staff was delayed for around an hour, all told,” al-Deek said. The Allenby Bridge (also known as the King Hussein Bridge), a major land crossing between Israel and Jordan. (Flash90/File)

The Shin Bet declined to comment. An Israeli official confirmed the incident, but stressed that canceling al-Maliki’s pass was a one-time decision.

“If this is the case, we hope that the Israelis clarify this to us,” al-Deek said, noting that the PA Foreign Ministry had only been informed that the pass had been canceled.

The Israeli official declined to specify why al-Maliki’s pass had been revoked. The PA Foreign Ministry, however, said that Israel had cancelled the VIP permit due to Ramallah’s enthusiastic support for the ongoing ICC investigation.

“Israel is unable to solve cases through the law, but instead resorts to a policy of intimidation, sanctions and threats,” al-Deek said later in statements to the official Palestinian Authority WAFA news agency.
PMW: PA: Equal rights for women, means equal “right” to murder
Top PA official Jibril Rajoub has asserted that Fatah is a champion of equal rights for women. The proof is that the PA/Fatah also sends women, just as it sends men, to carry out murderous terror attacks:
“If we didn’t have a culture like this [of equal rights for women], would we have wanted Dalal Mughrabi to lead an operation like this (i.e., the most lethal attack in Israel's history in which 37 Israelis were murdered) and Fatima Barnawi (i.e., who placed a bomb in a movie theatre)?”

Palestinian Media Watch recently reported that on International Women’s Day official PA TV News also singled out these same female terrorists as “role models of honorable and fighting women”.

In the same interview, Rajoub defended the PA’s policy of glorifying terrorists and murderers who have killed Israelis. Rajoub’s defense was probably triggered by Palestinian Media Watch’s numerous exposures of PA and Fatah officials honoring terrorists and murderers. Rajoub indignantly opened his defense saying “Someone said: ‘They are praising the Martyrs.’

Arguing for the legitimacy of this ideology, Rajoub explained “Sure” they should be honored. He then singled out for “praise” some of Fatah's most notorious arch-terrorists: Abu Jihad who orchestrated attacks in which at least 125 Israelis were murdered; Abu Iyad who headed the terror organization Black September that carried out the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972; and Yasser Arafat, who – among other terror – orchestrated the PA’s 4-year terror campaign “the Al-Aqsa Intifada” in which over 1,100 Israelis were murdered mostly by suicide bombers.

“Rajoub further emphasized that today’s Palestinians are “their (i.e., the arch-terrorists) followers and soldiers” who were “educated in their schools”:




Fmr. PA Senior Official Muhammad Dahlan: Mahmoud Abbas Achieved Nothing in His 15-Year Term



Iran is increasingly obsessed with defeating Saudi forces in Yemen
Iran is investing heavily in the war in Yemen, through technical know-how and provision of weapons over the last six years, as well as political capital. Where once the Houthi rebels were portrayed as an indigenous rebel force that sprang from the mountains of Yemen, Iran is now taking ownership of the war.

This isn’t the first time Yemen has been caught in a proxy war. In the 1960s it was a center of conflict for Egypt and other powers, including Saudi Arabia. Today, the situation has changed and Iran is seeking a broader foothold. Iran also thinks that it has outplayed the Saudis and the US in the country at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. Tehran initially sought to use the war there as a testbed for new munitions, supplying expertise in long-range ballistic missiles and also improving the Houthis drones.

The war in Yemen is now widely understood to have repercussions for the region, including Israel. Israel’s air defense systems, including the Iron Dome, have been improved in recent years to simultaneously confront multiple threats, including drones and missile salvos. Drones and missile salvos are what Iran has been working with the Houthis on perfecting.

To understand how Iran has sought ownership of the war in Yemen, one can look at Iran’s media reports. The regime shows support by heralding each Houthi drone attack on Saudi Arabia as a success. It often published the Houthi accounts of targeting Saudi Arabia as the attacks unfold. It also interviews leading Houthis to send messages to the US and Saudi Arabia about upcoming threats and attacks.

Now Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has upped the rhetoric again, singling out Yemen as a key property for the Islamic Republic. “The Saudis started the war in Yemen with the green light and vast military aid of Obama's Democrat government, thinking they would bombard the unarmed, defenseless people of Yemen making them surrender in a month,” he wrote on Sunday night.
JCPA: Iranian Revolutionary Guards Publication: Young People in Iran Pose a Security Threat to the Regime
The weekly Sobh-e Eghtesad, the official newspaper of the Revolutionary Guards' Political Bureau, in an editorial on March 7, 2021, called young Iranians born in the 1990s and the first decade of the 21st century a "serious threat" to the regime, stressing that it was difficult to impose power on them compared to previous generations and they "may well be exploited by Western enemies against the regime."

The Tehran-based newspaper Jomhouri-e Eslami, in an editorial on March 14, wrote that in the Islamic Republic, like during the Shah's regime, power is once again in the hands of 1,000 influential families, and the "monopoly on political activity held by famous, influential, and wealthy families of the regime keeps talented people away from the service of the state and the people." The editor called on the regime's systems to "wake up before it is too late, allow the integration of all forces and let society monitor the regime." Jomhouri-e Eslami is the oldest newspaper in the Islamic Republic, published by the esteemed cleric Masih Mohajeri.

On U.S.-Iran discussions, Hossein Dehghan, former defense minister and military advisor to the Supreme Leader, told the Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar that the U.S. must lift the full sanctions on Iran and there is no plan for lifting the sanctions in phases. Dehghan has announced his candidacy for president in the June 18 elections.
Report: Iran Discussed Terror Attacks on Army Base in Washington
Communications intercepted by the U.S. National Security Agency in January showed that Iran's Revolutionary Guard discussed mounting "USS Cole-style attacks" against Fort McNair, an Army post on the Potomac River in Washington. The Iranians were referring to the October 2000 suicide attack in which a small boat pulled up alongside the Navy destroyer in the Yemeni port of Aden and exploded, killing 17 sailors.

Members of the Quds Force discussed potential military options to avenge the U.S. killing of the former Quds leader Gen. Qassem Soleimani. They said Tehran's military commanders are unsatisfied with their counterattacks so far.

Fort McNair is home to the National War College, and the base sits alongside Washington's newly-developed Waterfront District, which includes three marinas and hundreds of boat slips.







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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

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