Tuesday, April 20, 2021

From Ian:

Minivan Driver Arrested After ‘Horrific’ Hit-and-Run Assault on Brooklyn Hasidim
New York police have arrested the driver responsible for a deliberate hit-and-run attack Saturday on five Brooklyn Hasidim, the New York Daily News reported Monday.

The minivan driver was caught on camera intentionally backing up into five pedestrians in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, striking the victims twice and initially lingering on the scene before ultimately speeding away.

“Horrific antisemitic attack in Williamsburg,” tweeted the American Jewish Committee. “A driver pulls over, waits for a group of Jewish men to cross the street, and intentionally hits them twice with his car. We stand in full solidarity with the victims and thank @NYPD90Pct for the swift arrest of a suspect.”

The NYPD reportedly nabbed the suspect — Shokhobiddin Bakhritdinovon, 26 — on Sunday, after his car was spotted by members of Shomrim, a neighborhood watch group.

The Daily News reporting that the victims were five male relatives ranging in age from 11 to 82, with the oldest individual requiring medical attention for a foot injury.
Sarah Halimi Atrocity — There Is No Law Without Justice
By saying that Sarah Halimi’s willful, hate-filled murderer is not responsible for his crimes, the Cour de Cassation has definitively deprived Sarah’s family of a trial essential to their mourning, but also the People of France of a necessary trial of antisemitism.

To put it simply, murdering Jews is no longer a criminal act in France if the killer can make a certain case to the court system.

By basing its decision on Article 122-1, Paragraph 1 of the Penal Code — which does not make a distinction according to the origin of the mental disorder used as an excuse — the Cour de Cassation has used the law to deprive the French people of justice.

The magistrates of the Cour de Cassation lacked courage and showed cowardice. Rather than take the courageous responsibility of a landmark decision, they passed that task to the legislators.

In addition, expert psychiatrists disagreed about the killer’s mental state, and if he should have escaped accountability. Without unanimity between the different experts, the doubt should have benefited the victim, not the accused.

The verdict, whatever it would have been, would at least have been delivered in the name of the French people. Montesquieu tells us that, “A thing is not right because it is law, but it must be law because it is just.”

The French people have been denied justice at the expense of “the law.”

The author is the President of Crif.
The Murder of Jewish French Woman Sarah Halimi: Brother Reacts to Verdict of Killer

Israeli Military Officials Unite in Opposition to Biden Admin’s Iran Deal
A group of more than 2,000 former high-ranking Israeli military, law enforcement, and intelligence community officials are warning the Biden administration against inking a new nuclear deal with Iran, saying the rush to negotiate with Iran directly endangers Israel and its newfound Arab allies.

The letter, penned by Israel's Defense & Security Forum, or Habithonistim, is the clearest sign to date that Israel and its Arab allies in the region are united in opposition to the Biden administration's efforts to rejoin the 2015 nuclear accord, which they view as fundamentally flawed and an immediate threat to regional stability. In addition to Israel, leaders from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia have expressed concerns about America's diplomacy with Iran and efforts to unwind sanctions that have brought the Islamic Republic to the brink of collapse.

"We are troubled that the Biden administration and a handful of European countries are promoting a return to the Iran deal while disregarding the concerns of those closest to Iran, most vulnerable to Iran, and most knowledgeable about Iran," the officials write in a letter obtained exclusively by the Washington Free Beacon. "The Iranian regime explicitly and publicly seeks the destruction of our country and the toppling of governments of the Arab countries with whom we have made peace. Preventing Iran from obtaining the capability to build deliverable nuclear weapons and confronting the regime's malign activities are essential to preventing catastrophe."

The administration is still moving forward with its diplomatic efforts even in the face of public and private opposition from Israel and major Arab nations. Habithonistim's letter indicates the Israeli security establishment, which has served on the front lines in the ongoing war to suppress Iranian-backed terror groups like Hezbollah, opposes a new deal. Habithonistim's membership includes Israel Defense Forces generals, high-ranking officers from the intelligence community, the Shin Bet security agency, military, and law enforcement.

The leaders say the Biden administration's decision to hand Iran a lifeline threatens to undermine regional stability in the wake of Israel's landmark normalization agreements with Bahrain, the UAE, and other traditional Arab foes. "The dark cloud hanging over this future is the threat from Iran, including its nuclear program," they write.

Blinken Is Wrong on Israel’s Demography
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken keeps advising Israel to retreat from the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), lest it lose its Jewish majority.

Secretary Blinken is wrong, relying on highly inflated, erroneous Palestinian Authority numbers, ignoring the dramatic Westernization of Arab demography and overlooking the unprecedented Jewish demographic tailwind in Israel, as documented by the following data.

Jewish demography bolstered
• The number of Israeli Jewish births in 2020 (134,866) was 68 percent higher than in 1995 (80,400), while the number of Israeli Arab births in 2020 was 16 percent higher (42,435) than 1995 (36,500), as reported by the March 2021 Monthly Bulletin of Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics.
• In 2020, Jewish births were 76 percent of total births, compared to 69 percent in 1995.
• The fertility rate (number of births per woman) of Israeli secular Jewish women has trended upward during the last 25 years, while haredi women have experienced a slight decline.
• Israeli Jewish women—who are second only to the women of Iceland in joining the job market—are unique in experiencing a rising fertility rate despite expanded urbanization, increased education, a higher standard of living, rising integration into the job market and a rising marriage age, while these phenomena have lowered the fertility rate in all other countries.
Warren, Sanders, Tell J Street Biden Must Force Israel to Accept 2-State Solution
Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) on Monday told J Street’s national conference that the Biden administration must curtail US military aid to Israel, conditioning it on Israeli policies in Judea and Samaria, particularly in light of the damage these policies do to the two-state solution.

“We should talk about the elephant in the room—America’s military assistance to Israel,” Warren said, although when it comes to J Street, this is not an elephant, it’s a three-ring circus packed with Pachydermata.

The fact is that the left-wing of the Democratic party is using this two-part mantra of cut aid/2-state as a means of gaining influence over the White House. They can’t push Biden on the infrastructure, financial aid, or the vaccines – he has outpaced them to the tune of trillions of dollars. The cause of defunding the police has turned out to be scaring away suburban voters. Iran? Joe is so gung-ho on renewing the nuclear deal, he’s practically floating on a Persian rug. What’s left? Cut aid/2-state.

Over at the House, Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn) has taken over the chairmanship of the Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Defense, with the endorsement of a friend of Israel, Appropriations chairman Henry Waxman (D-Ca). In her new, powerful role, McCollum has created the “Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act,” which “prohibits Israel from using US taxpayer dollars in the Occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem for the military detention, abuse, or ill-treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention; to support the seizure and destruction of Palestinian property and homes in violation of international humanitarian law; or, to extend any assistance or support for Israel’s unilateral annexation of Palestinian territory in violation of international humanitarian law.”

Now the progressives in the Senate, Warren and Sanders, are pushing for some power over Biden with their own cut aid/2-state. It’s almost a risk-free move that galvanizes the left behind a “good” cause, and positions these two Senators as brave peace warriors (the other day I sprayed my coffee, hearing Bill Maher saying how glad he was that Biden has re-hired John Kerry because the administration needs “smart people.” He really said that).

Top Democrats Introduce Bill to Slow Sale of F-35s to the UAE
US Senators Robert Menendez and Dianne Feinstein on Friday introduced a bill that could slow down the US sale of F-35 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates.

Sen. Menendez (D-NJ), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and Sen. Feinstein (D-CA), former chairwoman of the Intelligence Committee, submitted legislation that would authorize congressional oversight of the sale.

The legislation seeks to protect Israel’s “qualitative military edge” in the region, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported.

“I remain concerned with the implications of a sale of our most advanced fighter jet given numerous outstanding, unanswered questions about the implications of this sale for US national security, our technology interests, and implications for regional stability including the legal parameters of Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge,” Menendez said, as cited by JTA.

An AIPAC official, the main pro-Israel lobby, stated the group had not taken a position on the bill “although we appreciate the senators’ commitment to preserve Israel’s QME.”

US President Joe Biden previously placed the weapons deal on hold for review. His predecessor, Donald Trump, inked the deal following the Abraham Accords that normalized relations between Israel and the UAE.

Christian Democrats Pick Anti-BDS Armin Laschet to Succeed Chancellor Merkel
Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) on Tuesday endorsed its newly elected chairman, Armin Laschet, a good friend of the State of Israel, as its candidate to succeed the departing chancellor. The German federal election will be held on September 26, and should he succeed in forming a governing coalition, Laschet would become the next chancellor.

In addition to serving as Leader of the CDU since January, Laschet, a Roman Catholic, is also the prime minister of the North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state. A former journalist and attorney, Laschet was elected in 1994 to the German Bundestag and in 1999 became a Member of the European Parliament. In 2005 he entered state politics in North Rhine-Westphalia as a member of the state government. As a cabinet minister, he was known for his liberal views and good relations with the immigrant community, earning him the nickname “Turkish Armin.” In 2012, he became the leader of the state party and was elected Prime Minister of the state in 2017. His cabinet includes his own CDU and the liberal FDP.

In August 2018, PM Laschet refused to attend the Ruhrtriennale arts and music festival in his home state because the festival had not denounced its advocacy of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement. Laschet tweeted: “The German Bundestag called in act of rare unanimity to ‘decisively counter’ those who want to boycott Israel culturally and academically. The anti-Semitic motivation of the so-called BDS movement demands a position from everybody, also from the arts.”

Ruhrtriennale Festival director Stefanie Carp included in her program a pro-BDS Scottish band called Young Fathers. Carp told the state parliament’s cultural committee that the BDS anti-Israel campaign is not anti-Semitic, it only supports the “right of Palestine to exist.”
Sudan officially annuls 63-year Israel boycott law
The Sudanese ruling sovereignty council and cabinet on Monday officially voted to annul the so-called Israel boycott law as part of the normalization process between Khartoum and Jerusalem.

The decision to scrap the 1958 law was confirmed earlier this month by the Sudanese prime minister’s office, which said ministers also affirmed Sudan’s support for the establishment of a Palestinian state as part of a two-state solution.

The move to finally wipe the law from the books was confirmed by Sudanese Justice Minister Nasredeen Abdulbari, following a joint session between the ruling sovereignty council and the cabinet on Monday.

The legislation had barred the establishment of diplomatic relations with Israel and forbade any business ties with the Jewish state. Penalties for those who violated its stipulations, such as trading with Israelis, included up to 10 years in prison and a hefty fine.

In January, Sudan signed onto the Abraham Accords with the United States, paving the way for the African country to normalize ties with Israel.

The signing came just over two months after then-US president Donald Trump announced that Sudan would start to normalize ties with Israel.

Before Sudan, the Trump administration engineered diplomatic pacts late last year between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and between Israel and Bahrain. Morocco also reestablished diplomatic relations with Israel after cutting ties in 2000 in solidarity with Palestinians during the Second Intifada.
IAI successfully tests Barak air defense system
The Israel Aerospace Industries on Monday announced that it completed a successful series of tests for the Barak air defense system. The tests challenged the system's abilities against a wide range of scenarios and threats, including the interception of incoming ballistic targets by the Barak extended-range interceptor.

IAI said that the Barak ER air defense system combines the technology that allows it to intercept airborne threats as far as 150 kilometers (100 miles), including ballistic and cruise missiles, drones, and helicopters.

The system's extended-range interceptor and multi-mission radar capabilities can be fitted for both naval and land platforms, the defense contractor said in a statement.

The Barak ER's capabilities afford air defenses "unprecedented flexibility, both in real-time full net-centric combat management as well as with unique smart launchers," IAI said, explaining that the system's launchers are capable of independently firing and managing any mix of interceptors without a dedicated command post on site.

This flexibility means an operator can create unique responses to different threats, as well as phase their procurement gradually according to budget constraints.
MK Yaakov Tesler: 'Arab violence did not sprout in a vacuum'
MK Yaakov Tesler (United Torah Judaism) slammed the judicial system's lackadaisical attitude towards Arab attackers, which encourages violence towards Jews.

Speaking in the Knesset, Tesler said, "These pictures, if they would be from any other place in the world, would have horrified every person and everyone would be standing up and condemning the anti-Semitism and demanding that a harsh stance be taken in order to eradicate this trend."

"The fact that this happening here, in the Land of Israel, in Jerusalem, does not take away from the severity of the actions. The opposite is true: It's seven times more serious, and the reaction as well must be several times more serious."

According to Tesler, such trends began with "small incidents - throwing a haredi youth's hat here, breaking glasses there. It moved to a slap to a yeshiva student traveling innocently on the light rail train. It continued with severe violence against passersby on their way to the Western Wall. And yesterday it already deteriorated to very violently beating a rabbi in the city of Jaffa."

"We have reached a situation in which Jews are being beaten in the streets simply because they are Jews and look haredi or religious. And afterwards they brag about it to their friends fearlessly, which encourages the continuation of this wild behavior, until haredi Jews are afraid to walk the streets of Jerusalem.

"This violence did not sprout in a vacuum. For months, there has been incitement and instigation against the haredi public. From the moment we were made acceptable targets, there are those who decided to take the hate one step further and act with violence and brutality against haredim, and the lack of proper deterrence and severe punishment invites the next actions, increases their frequency, and increases their severity.
East Jerusalem teenager arrested on suspicion of slapping Haredi boys on train
A 17-year-old East Jerusalem resident suspected of slapping two ultra-Orthodox boys on the Jerusalem light rail last week has been arrested, police announced on Tuesday.

A video of the incident posted on TikTok showed a Palestinian man knocking the glasses off one of the young teenage boys and slapping the other in an apparently unprovoked assault.

Officers from the Israeli Border Police and the Jerusalem District police arrested the suspect at the Qalandiya crossing in the West Bank, after an intelligence operation located his whereabouts, police said.

The suspect, a resident of the Shuafat neighborhood in East Jerusalem, had fled to the West Bank to avoid arrest.

Four days ago, police arrested a different suspect, a 21-year-old from the Beit Hanina neighborhood of East Jerusalem. He was arrested after uploading the video to social media, though he is no longer suspected of slapping the teenage boys.

A caption above the video in Arabic had read: “You will continue to delete and I will continue to upload. It’s either the Palestinian people or you.”

The video caused an uproar online, with many sharing a phone number they claimed belonged to the suspect, calling to flood him with messages over the assault.
Arab MK Expresses Pride in Rioters as Jaffa Erupts in Violence following beating of rabbi
As unrest rocks, eastern Jerusalem and Jaffa, an MK from the Arab Joint List refused to condemn violent anti-Semitic attacks on Jews and subsequent riots.

During an interview with Ynet on Monday, Sami Abu Shehadeh of the Balad party justified the violence, which saw a rabbi in his sixties beaten, several Arab Israelis arrested, police physically attacked by protesters, and property vandalized and burned.

The violent street protests in Jaffa were sparked by an unprovoked attack on Rabbi Eliyahu Mali on Sunday morning. Mali, the head of the Shirat Moshe Hesder Yeshiva, together with the yeshiva’s director, were beaten by two Arab Israelis after visiting an apartment they were considering purchasing for use by the school.

Several hours later, a crowd of mostly haredi Jewish protesters gathered at the scene of the attack, decrying violence against Jews in Jaffa.

In response, Arab-Israeli counter-demonstrators taunted the Jewish protesters, chanting, “Settlers, go home!”

After police were called to enforce a safe distance between the two groups, the Arab-Israeli side of the demonstration devolved into a riot.

Police were pelted with stones, fireworks, and other projectiles, and several Arab-Israeli protesters were arrested.
Is there light at the end of the (Hezbollah) tunnel?
What happens when you throw a bunch of TikTokers into a Hezbollah tunnel and show them the secrets of Israel’s security threats?

Last week, a group of social-media influencers toured one of Israel’s most dangerous borders, the northern front, and learned about the threats that Hezbollah poses to all residents in the North, including the country’s Druze, Christian and Muslim minorities, whose message was: “If a missile lands on a nearby Jewish village, it threatens all of us.”

While Israel’s public diplomacy efforts hit some barriers this past year due to the pandemic, Hezbollah did not slow down its efforts to disrupt the lives of the local population.

As part of the tour, the IDF provided the group with a tour of the Ramya tunnel, considered Hezbollah’s flagship project in its campaign to conquer the Upper Galilee and destabilize Israel.

As its name suggests, the tunnel was dug from the Lebanese village of Ramya over the course of years. It is the longest (nearly 1.5 kilometers) and deepest (around 80 meters) tunnel dug by Hezbollah and was the last one among six similar tunnels in the area to be neutralized by the IDF.
MEMRI: Syrian Business Tycoon Firas Tlass: Iran, Hizbullah Have Complete Control Over Certain Areas, Military Facilities In Syria – Bashar Al-Assad Doesn't Know What Goes On There
Syrian business tycoon Firas Tlass said that certain areas in Syria are completely under Iranian or Hizbullah control, and that President Bashar Al-Assad does not know what is happening in those areas. He made these remarks on Al-Arabiya Network (Saudi Arabia) in an interview that aired on March 24, 2021 and on March 25, 2021. Tlass said that the areas controlled by Iran are used to bring in weapons and supplies to Hizbullah, as part of food and equipment shipments to Iranian militias active in Syria. Tlass also said that weapons and advanced missiles parts are hidden in vegetable trucks and then transferred into Hizbullah-controlled territories in southern Syria and Lebanon. He said that Iran now has complete control over the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center, charged with creating biological and chemical weapons. Firas Tlass is the son of former Syrian Minister of Defense Mustafa Tlass.

"The Area Between Al-Qusayr And The Syria-Lebanon Border Is Under The Complete Control Of Hizbullah; Hama Airport Is Under Complete Iranian Control"

Firas Tlass: "There are areas in Syria that are controlled by Iranian officers. Al-Assad does not know and does not want to know [what goes on there]. There are some areas in the desert... The area between Al-Qusayr and the Syria-Lebanon border is under the complete control of Hizbullah.

"Hama airport is under complete Iranian control.

Planes From Iran Land In Hama Airport; "Vegetable Trucks Loaded With Weapons And Advanced Missile Parts... Reach Hizbullah, Be It In Lebanon Or In Syria"

"Planes from Iran land there. It is a small military airport. Apparently, they bring food and equipment to the Iranian militias. The planes stop at the end of the airport. The Syrians in Hama even know the exact spot where the planes stop. The weapons are transported in fruit and vegetable refrigerators.

COVAX supplies 72,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses to Palestinian Authority
The Palestinian Authority on Monday received a shipment of 72,000 AstraZeneca vaccines through the World Health Organization’s COVAX program, by which 20% of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza will be vaccinated.

To date, only 121,866 Palestinians in the West Bank and 34,580 Palestinians in Gaza have been vaccinated, out of a population of 5.2 million, according to the World Health Organization.

The WHO did not clarify if that number included or did not include the Israeli vaccination program for 105,000 Palestinian workers.

Israel has vaccinated 81% of its population over 16, but the Palestinian Authority, which lacks funding, has barely begun a vaccination program and has relied heavily on donations, including from Israel. To date, only 3% of its population has been vaccinated.

In addition, according to WHO figures, it has not successfully inoculated its population with the vaccines that it does have.

According to WHO figures from April 15, the PA has received 311,440 vaccine doses, of which 223,140 went to the West Bank and 83,300 went to Gaza.
Abbas adviser: Palestinian elections ‘very likely’ to be postponed
A senior adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Tuesday that the upcoming Palestinian national elections are “very likely” to be postponed if Israel does not allow voting in East Jerusalem.

Nabil Shaath told the An-Nahar newspaper that if Israel continues to ignore the PA’s request to hold the elections in East Jerusalem, “the electoral process will be postponed.”

He noted PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki has been dispatched to Europe to push for international pressure on Israel on the issue.

The Palestinians view East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, while Israel considers the entire city its undivided capital and bars any PA activity from taking place in the city.

Israel has yet to say whether it will permit voting in East Jerusalem, which it captured from Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed in a move not recognized by most of the international community. The Oslo Accords, a series of bilateral agreements between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, stipulate that Palestinians can vote at designated post offices throughout Jerusalem.
Palestinians say most in East Jerusalem can vote, regardless of Israeli approval
Most Palestinians in East Jerusalem will be able to vote in the upcoming Palestinian elections regardless of whether Israel allows voting to take place inside the city, the Palestinian Central Elections Commission said on Monday.

According to the commission, around 150,000 residents will be able to vote in what Palestinians call the “Jerusalem suburbs” — towns and villages that ring the capital. Israel defines these areas as lying in the West Bank, while the Palestinian Authority see them as part of its “Jerusalem Governorate.”

“The committee has provided eleven polling stations in the suburbs of Jerusalem so that the 150,000 Jerusalemites can vote in them without prior registration, and has trained technical staff to carry out this task,” the commission said in a statement.

The announcement comes as momentum builds for the scheduled Palestinian legislative elections, which are scheduled to take place on May 22.

Israel has yet to say whether it will permit voting in East Jerusalem. The Oslo Accords, a series of bilateral agreements between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, stipulate that Palestinians can vote at designated post offices throughout the contested capital.

According to the Central Elections Commission, a symbolic 6,300 voters are expected to cast their ballots in such a method.
Internal Tensions in Jordan Reflect Unrest among Bedouin Tribes
As the news about Jordan’s royal family becomes more evident, it is apparent the Kingdom’s internal rift is not only within the royal family but also in the internal cohesion of Jordan’s tribes, reflecting those loyal to King Abdullah and those loyal to his half-brother, Prince Hamzah.

When the Jordanian Army’s chief of staff, General Yousef Huneiti, came to Prince Hamzah’s home to warn him against talking to tribal leaders and to place him under house arrest, Huneiti said he was representing the security forces and not the King.1 There was a clear message that the Jordanian Army was loyal to the King and would not be dragged into a military coup.

From the outset, however, there was no intention of a military coup but rather to trigger the Bedouin tribes to pressure King Abdullah to resign, keeping their loyalty to the Hashemite crown but led by Hamza. The purpose was a “Jordanian Spring” led by the Bedouins. The Jordanian Fissures

The concern of the Jordanian High Command was and still is that once Bedouin demonstrators appear in Amman, the Jordanian Army will disintegrate into its tribes, which is a concern Israel shares.

Already, there are differences in attitudes among the Bedouins. The southern tribes in the provinces of Karak, Ma’an, and Tufeila, which provide soldiers to the infantry, have been restive for several years. They have been rioting against the government installations, setting fire to government offices, police stations, and officials’ cars. The tribes of the center and the north do not exhibit this unrest.
MEMRI: Iranian Dissident: The Holocaust-Denying Iranian Regime Is Worse Than The Nazis
On the occasion of Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day on April 8, 2021, Iranian dissident Hamid Mutashar, founder of the Ahwazi Liberal Party, expressed sympathy towards the Jews, calling them "our brothers" and their Holocaust "the worst crime in history." He wrote that, despite the persecution, massacres and expulsions they suffered at the hands of various dictators, most recently at the hands of the Nazis, the Jewish people arose from the ashes and returned to their homeland, thanks to their courage, innovation and creativity. Mutashar called on the world to learn a lesson from the Holocaust in order to prevent it from recurring, this time at the hands of the "terrorist Iranian regime," which he said is threatening the peoples of the region and especially the Jews. Whoever wants to join the ranks of the lovers of peace and of those who benefit "humanity in general and our Jewish brethren in particular," he wrote, must recognize the Jews' right to the Holy Land promised them in the scriptures and help them build it.

The following are excerpts from his article.[1]
"The fraternal Jewish people, that throughout history suffered under barbaric regimes and became dispersed across the world after its land was occupied again and again, was attacked by the barbaric Nazis... But Allah's will, and this people's faith in its right to exist, defeated all the tyrants and evil ones, from Haman to the Nazis. The Jews will defeat anyone who tries to expel and humiliate them, because Allah wants them and because they are a courageous, ambitious, and dignified people – innovative, creative, chosen, and precious...

"[This is a people] that strives to serve the world in science and knowledge. Behold, they are now returning to their historic land, after the tyrants expelled them from it [and kept them out of it] for over 3,000 years... What the barbaric Nazis did to the Jewish people was the most loathsome of crimes history has ever known... and I, as a man expelled from his land, feel in these sad and painful moments [solidarity] with [the Jewish people] because I and my people have been subjected to the same tragedy and suffering that our brothers the Jews suffered at the hands of the Nazis in the past and [are suffering today] at the hands of the new fascists, whether Islamic or nationalist... Today, the Nazis have gone [from the world] together with their barbaric and immoral legacy... and the Jewish people remains, proud, strong, and dignified, and is a partner in the building of the human civilization and in [establishing] the State of Israel as a national, legitimate state worthy of this people...

"Anyone who denies this tragic catastrophe [the Holocaust] that took the lives of six million innocent people is a supporter of barbarity and lacking in all human values. Such people must be absolutely opposed... We must learn from this experience, so that we can take the correct concrete steps to preserve the peace of humanity today from more such disastrous occurrences.

"Unfortunately, over 90 years later, we are today witness to the existence of regimes that are more violent and barbaric than the Nazis – such as the terrorist Iranian regime that has melded the theory of racial superiority and religion into an ideology in order to slaughter peoples and deny, in the height of arrogance, the Nazi Holocaust and the extermination of the Jews while at the same time calling for this people's [i.e. the Jews'] expulsion from their land yet again. [This regime also] supports terrorist organizations such as Hamas, [Palestinian Islamic] Jihad, Hizbullah, the Houthis, and the [Iraqi Shi'ite Islamist] Badr terror organization, and creates an armed political bloc with an antisemitic ideology, as if it is planning a massacre that surpasses that of the Nazis.
NYTs: Iran Rattled as Israel Repeatedly Strikes Key Targets
In less than nine months, an assassin on a motorbike fatally shot an Al Qaeda commander given refuge in Tehran, Iran’s chief nuclear scientist was machine-gunned on a country road, and two separate, mysterious explosions rocked a key Iranian nuclear facility in the desert, striking the heart of the country’s efforts to enrich uranium.

The steady drumbeat of attacks, which intelligence officials said were carried out by Israel, highlighted the seeming ease with which Israeli intelligence was able to reach deep inside Iran’s borders and repeatedly strike its most heavily guarded targets, often with the help of turncoat Iranians.

The attacks, the latest wave in more than two decades of sabotage and assassinations, have exposed embarrassing security lapses and left Iran’s leaders looking over their shoulders as they pursue negotiations with the Biden administration aimed at restoring the 2015 nuclear agreement.

The recriminations have been caustic.

The head of Parliament’s strategic center said Iran had turned into a “haven for spies.” The former commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps called for an overhaul of the country’s security and intelligence apparatus. Lawmakers have demanded the resignation of top security and intelligence officials.

Most alarming for Iran, Iranian officials and analysts said, was that the attacks revealed that Israel had an effective network of collaborators inside Iran and that Iran’s intelligence services had failed to find the moles.

“That the Israelis are effectively able to hit Iran inside in such a brazen way is hugely embarrassing and demonstrates a weakness that I think plays poorly inside Iran,” said Sanam Vakil, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Chatham House.

The attacks have also cast a cloud of paranoia over a country that now sees foreign plots in every mishap.
‘Iran’s economy is closer than ever to collapse,’ says expert
After a period of stagnation, the US and Iran have in recent weeks embarked on negotiations for a mutual return to compliance with the Iran nuclear deal – the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Until now, Iran has played hardball, demanding that the US move first and fully lift the sanctions it had placed on business with the Islamic Republic. But Iran may not have the economic fortitude that would allow it to sustain its stubbornness and economically survive under sanctions.

In 2018, then-US President Donald Trump acted in accordance with his harsh criticism of the JCPOA and withdrew from the agreement unilaterally. He then reimposed strict economic sanctions on Iran. Importantly, these included secondary sanctions, which prohibited American companies from dealing with non-Iranian entities that had economic dealings with Iran.

The JCPOA is a multilateral agreement signed under former President Barack Obama in 2015. The agreement, with Iran on the one side, and the US, European allies, China and Russia on the other, set limitations on the Iranian nuclear program, also arranging for supervision. In return, economic sanctions formerly placed on Iran were lifted.

President Joe Biden famously promised, as part of his election campaign, to return to the Iran nuclear deal. In a CNN op-ed, Biden called Trump’s “maximum pressure” policy a “boon to the regime in Iran” that allowed the Islamic Republic to come closer to developing a nuclear bomb – which Tehran says it has no intention of building.

Indeed, experts are unanimous in their estimation that Iran has now made significant steps toward building a bomb. Following the American withdrawal and reimposition of sanctions, the Islamic Republic has increasingly violated its obligations under the JCPOA, enriching uranium beyond the agreement’s limitations, for example.
Interim Iran nuclear deal could be ready before May 21 - analysis
All of the messaging by Iran, the US and most especially on Tuesday and recent days by Russia and China is that an interim new Iran nuclear deal on the road to returning to the 2015 JCPOA by May 21 is moving ahead at full steam.

The Mossad, according to sources and foreign reports, hit the Islamic Republic’s nuclear facility in Natanz big time, yet the deal is still progressing.

Tehran jumped to 60% uranium enrichment, an unprecedented nuclear violation, and the deal is going forward.

The how and when seems to be getting clearer.

The how is through an interim deal that will forecast what a return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action’s (JCPOA) terms some months or more into the future will look like.

The US does not want to look like it rushed back in and wants to hold on to some of the sanctions leverage to get Iran to agree, at least in principle, to some kind of further negotiations to lengthen and strengthen the JCPOA at some point in 2022 or 2023.
Iran’s missiles, drone arsenal a growing 'destabilizing threat' - report
Iran’s massive missile arsenal is growing and combined with its drones and cruise missiles makes for a destabilizing force multiplier, the International Institute for Strategic Studies said Tuesday in a report.

“Iran’s ballistic-missile systems, supplemented by cruise missiles and UAVs, are intended not only for deterrence, but for battle, including by Iran’s regional partners,” it said. “In a new report, the IISS provides a detailed assessment of Iran’s missiles, and the manner and purposes for which it has been proliferating them.”

The IISS was founded in 1958 and is a world-leading authority on global security.

“Nuclear issues are the exclusive focus of the negotiations on the restoration of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (Iran nuclear deal with world powers), which have taken place in Vienna,” the report said.

However, while Western powers are focusing on the nuclear-enrichment issue now, there is also interest in “follow-on” talks about Iran’s missile program. It is not clear if Iran is interested, since it has bragged in the past about its growing collection of missiles, their precision and ranges, and it has said they are not up for negotiation.

Iran is a world leader in ballistic missiles, alongside Russia, China and North Korea, from whom it has received know-how and collaboration.
Iranian official hints Israel, US 'had hand' in deputy Quds Force chief's death
An Iranian official claimed Monday that Brig. Gen. Muhammad Hussein-Zada Hejazi, deputy commander of Iran's clandestine Quds Force, did not die of a heart attack as Iranian authorities initially claimed on Sunday, rather was poisoned by Israel and the United States with radioactive materials, possibly in Iraq or Syria.

Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida cited an unnamed source reportedly close to Hejazi, as insisting that he was in good health before his last trip to Iraq and Syria in March.

After Hejazi's return to Iran, the Iranian source told Al-Jarida, he faced symptoms "similar to those of COVID-19" but tests confirmed he had not, in fact, contracted the coronavirus.

The source noted that Hejazi's symptoms were so severe about one week ago that he was unable to leave his office at Quds Force headquarters, and that all medical procedures proved futile before a sudden bout of good health enabled him to leave. His death two days later caught everyone by surprise, the source claimed.

Some military doctors, the source told Al-Jarida, diagnosed Hejazi as possibly having cancer but he died before completing additional tests.

The source went on to say that everyone in Hejazi's circle initially believed he had died from a heart attack or due to health problems associated with exposure to chemical weapons in the Iran-Iraq war, but on Monday morning forensic doctors who performed his autopsy "detected radioactive materials in his body," indicating that he was assassinated, possibly through food.
Iran Says 60% Enrichment Meant to Show Ability to ‘Respond to Terrorist Sabotage’
Iran began enriching uranium to 60% purity in order to show its technical capacity after a sabotage attack at a nuclear plant, and the move is quickly reversible if the United States lifts sanctions, the Iranian government said on Tuesday.

Talks in Vienna aimed at bringing the United States and Iran back to full compliance with a 2015 nuclear deal have been further complicated by an explosion at Iran’s main uranium enrichment facility at Natanz.

Iran has responded by saying it is enriching uranium to 60% fissile purity, a big step towards weapons-grade from the 20% it had previously achieved. The 2015 pact between Iran and world powers had capped the level of enrichment purity at 3.67% — suitable for generating civilian nuclear energy. Iran denies seeking a nuclear weapon.

“The start of 60% enrichment in Natanz was a demonstration of our technical ability to respond to terrorist sabotage at these facilities,” Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei told reporters in Tehran.

“As in previous steps (in curbing Iran’s commitment to the 2015 nuclear deal), … this measure can quickly be reversed for a return to the agreed enrichment level in the nuclear accord if other parties commit to their obligations,” Rabiei said, in remarks streamed live on a state-run website.

Tehran says the Natanz blast was an act of sabotage by Israel, and on Saturday Iranian authorities named a suspect. Israel has not formally commented on the incident.

Iran responded to the explosion by saying it is enriching uranium to 60%.

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