Friday, May 07, 2021

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: A powder keg, courtesy of Washington
Since the Democrats took control of the White House and both Houses of Congress a hundred days ago, the Middle East has become a powder keg. But Israel's ruling class sees nothing.

In Afghanistan and Iraq, violent attacks against US forces are rising steeply. From January through April, attacks on US forces increased 40%. President Joe Biden's announcement that the US will withdraw its forces from the country by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the jihadist attacks on the US worsened the situation by communicating a message of profound American weakness and defeatism. The Taliban, al-Qaida and Iran clearly believe they are now free to humiliate and bleed the US as they take control of the country.

In Iraq, Iranian-controlled Shiite militias launched three missile strikes against US bases in the past week. Hoping to avoid confrontation with Iran as its emissaries appease it in Vienna, the Biden administration is assiduously avoiding acknowledging that Iran is behind the attacks, and so it guarantees that more attack will soon follow. As in Afghanistan, Iran reads US behavior as an invitation to strike with immunity.

In Syria, Iran's Syrian proxy President Bashar Assad and Iran's Lebanese proxy Hezbollah continue to wage a war of extermination against Syrians who oppose them. In southern Syria last weekend, after opposition forces from the village of Am Batana, six kilometers (3.7 miles) from the border with Israel attacked a joint Syrian military and Hezbollah base nearby, the military ordered the entire village to evacuate by 2 p.m. last Saturday, or else. Most of the villagers reportedly fled their homes.

While turning a blind eye to Syria, the Biden administration continues to empower the Lebanese armed forces and government – both wholly controlled by Iran through Hezbollah. Last month, the administration transferred armored trucks valued at $14 million to the Hezbollah-controlled Lebanese military and asked that Congress provide financial assistance to the government. Hezbollah for its part has launched a charm campaign on the public. Having caused the government to go bankrupt and forced the people of a once prosperous land into destitution, Hezbollah is now carrying out a well-publicized food drive, handing out Iranian basic foodstuffs to starving Lebanese along with Hezbollah membership cards.

Just months ago, hope abounded that Saudi Arabia would join the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan in the Abraham peace accords with Israel. But the picture is now reversed. Recognizing the US has changed sides, the Saudis no longer believe that with Israel they can contain Iran. So now they are hoping to cut a deal with the ayatollahs.
The Caroline Glick Show: Ep4 - The stakes in Israel's political bazar
In Episode 4 of the Caroline Glick Mideast News Hour, Caroline and co-host Gadi Taub discuss the nature and likely outcomes of Israel's prolonged political crisis and the pros and cons and likelihood of various ways of resolving it, either through the formation of a right-wing minority government supported by an Islamist party, the formation of a left-dominant government formally led by a breakaway ideologically right-wing party led by Naftali Bennett, and various permutations in between. Caroline also discusses her experience running for Knesset with Bennett in the April 2019 election and what she learned about his character from that experience. Caroline and Gadi also analyzed the implications of Israel's political instability and the likelihood that it will soon be led by inexperienced leaders presiding over either a weak or radical government for prospects of regional war.

An open letter to Israel's Muslim Terrorists
Dear Muslim Terrorist,

First, I want to recognize your 100 years of mayhem against the Jews of Israel. Oh, I know that you have been terrorizing and killing Jews for much longer than that, but your 1921 Jaffa pogrom when you murdered 47 and injured 146 innocents was really when you got your party started. Your dedication to the destruction of Israel's Jews warms the heart of today's European and American anti-Semites who continue to fund and applaud your work.

Your daily attempts to poison, bomb, stab, rape, burn, threaten, intimidate, beat, and slaughter Jews appears to provide you with your life's meaning and purpose. It seems that no amount of Jewish goodwill and offers of friendship can stop your homicidal fantasies and your compulsion to act on them. That is dedication. That is focus. It is exactly those things that make you and your "people" uniquely unfit, unqualified and undeserving of the state you insist to the world that you deserve.

This last week in Israel, you continued your serial torment of the Jews. My heart cries for each Jew you humiliate, injure or G-d forbid, kill.

Keep this in mind, dear terrorist:, although the Israeli police are too scared to stop you, and corrupt left-wing judges release you as soon as you are arrested, and Israel's political leaders haven't found a way to punish you - Israel's Jews are thriving.

One hundred years ago, there were 60,000 Jews in the Land of Israel. Today, there are 6.7 million and soon, God willing, there will be unlimited millions of Jews living in Israel. That must set off a hot Roman candle in your head. In 1921, the Jewish state was a dream. There was no Israeli Army, Air force, Navy, Special Forces, Mossad, Iron Dome, sky scrapers, high tech, agriculture, hospitals, industry, powerful economy, and material abundance. Synagogues and Institutes of Jewish learning are flourishing. The Israel of 1921 was a backwater part of the British Empire with people dying of starvation on the streets. Now Israel ranks in the top 20 countries in the world in GDP per capita, above Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. In the last 100 years, we Jews in Israel have seen a miracle that no one could have imagined in their wildest fantasies.
INVESTIGATION REVEALS: PFLP terror group diverts humanitarian funds REVEALED: Millions of euros in European government funds, meant for humanitarian purposes, supported terrorism by the PFLP, a Palestinian terror organization responsible for the murder of dozens. European taxpayers' money must not end up supporting terrorism.

Meet the PFLP terror group responsible for killing dozens Meet the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP): a terror group responsible for the murder of dozens around the world. For years, European funds donated to Palestinian civil society organizations ended up supporting Palestinian terrorism. This has to stop.

Domino effect: Canada announces Durban IV boycott after US, Australia
The NGO Forum at Durban approved a resolution calling Israel a “racist apartheid state” and accusing it of genocide. Antisemitic materials, such as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, were distributed at the event. Durban Conference secretary-general Mary Robinson refused to accept the document over the language, saying “there was horrible antisemitism present.”

A US State Department spokesperson told The Jerusalem Post earlier this week that it would not take part.

“The United States will not attend or participate in any events commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action or the World Conference on Racism, which preceded it,” the State Department spokesperson stated on Monday. “The United States stands with Israel, and has always shared its concerns over the Durban process’s anti-Israel sentiment, use as a forum for antisemitism, and freedom of expression issues.”

France is expected to pull out from the conference as well, a diplomatic source said, but has not yet put out an official statement.

A German foreign official said Berlin had yet to decide on the matter.

Responding to a Parliamentary Question from Baroness Deech last Month, UK Minister of State for the Commonwealth and UN Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon noted “the antisemitic actions and speeches in and around” Durban III. He said the UK will consider its attendance at Durban IV in light of developments between now and September, to gauge how likely the conference is to host antisemitism again.

The US did not participate in the Durban II and III follow-up conferences in 2009 and 2011, respectively, because as US president Barack Obama explained in 2009, the original conference “became a session through which folks expressed antagonism toward Israel in ways that were oftentimes completely hypocritical and counterproductive.”

Israel, Canada, Italy, Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Poland also boycotted the conference. In 2011, for Durban III, the number of countries boycotting rose to 14.
The Two Faces of American Foreign Policy
Neither diplomat evinces a sense that America is special in any positive way. This may be another reaction against Trump’s malaprop advocacy of “America First,” but the problem is deeper. In one conception, the US is merely the richest and strongest state in the world, a condition that automatically brings onerous responsibilities, primarily toward others. In the other it is uniquely evil, which undercuts its ability to lead by word and perhaps by deed. Mapping the premise of “white supremacy” on the world has consequences.

But in a sense, both approaches help explain otherwise bizarre policies, such as the Obama-Biden effort to revive, empower, and nuclearize Iran as an act of expiation and even self-erasure. Certainly the current crisis at the US southern border, where close to 200,000 migrants have suddenly flooded in thanks to the Biden administration’s surrender of enforcement, may also be explained this way. As always, self-loathing for real and imagined guilt and self-love for righteous efforts to correct real and imagined wrongs are one and the same.

The American imposition of local categories onto others and disregard of individual histories is underpinned by the unique American Protestant legacy of Puritanism and Wilsonian internationalism. This unforgiving and always crusading moralism expresses itself through devotion to modernist contrivances such as global governance and human rights, which, along with environmentalism, have been elevated to the status of secular religion and are presented as normative, salvific, and liberatory. Blinken and Greenfield are thus two sides of the same coin.

But an American leadership that is dedicated to the intricate processes of global governance, which proposes to simultaneously resolve planetary geochemistry and adjudicate incidents involving local law enforcement even as it maps its own putative sins on to the world—and which expresses self-hatred that must then be corrected in others—is a fickle ally. As Saudi Arabia and Israel have quickly learned, their situations can be swept up in America’s nervous breakdown. Saudis have become the sole party in Yemen despite nightly volleys of Iranian ballistic missiles launched by Houthis. Israelis—battling their own quiet war against Iranian imperialism—have, in the eyes of many American intellectuals, been redefined as ”white” “settler colonialists,” somehow like 19th century Swedish farmers in Minnesota. Framing the world in uniquely American terms, many of which don’t even apply to America in the first place, is an exercise in vanity and a fight against reality.

What is the future for this Janus-faced approach? The case of John Kerry, former senator and secretary of state and now special climate representative, is instructive in defining the bottom line. No one in recent history had embodied both trends as much as Kerry, with his globetrotting, high-minded internationalism and dark moralizing about the ills of American history and endless responsibilities to others.
FDD: European Parliament Raps UNRWA
UNRWA’s biggest problem is not corruption or mismanagement or even incitement. UNRWA exists not to mitigate the effects of the Arab-Israeli conflict but rather to exacerbate them. Rather than solving the refugee problem, UNRWA’s dishonest recognition of descendants of refugees perpetuates this problem and ensures that the unrealistic demand for a Palestinian “right of return” will continue to stymie final-status peace negotiations in the future, just as it has since the failed 2000 Camp David summit.

In this context, the quiet discussions in the EP and a few European foreign ministries about UNRWA’s flaws should lead to a broader conversation about the organization’s mission. The Swiss foreign minister gingerly raised the issue in 2018, but it generated no immediate shift in policy. Since then, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, and other European countries have temporarily suspended aid to UNRWA in response to specific problems such as corruption or incitement in school textbooks.

European governments deserve praise for waking up to UNRWA’s abuse of foreign aid. Europe should now consider whether sending that aid to other organizations would benefit Palestinians more while also encouraging Palestinians to live in peace alongside Israel. As it stands now, that aid is wasted. It has encouraged generations to embrace irredentist claims to replace Israel.
UN: Pending Israeli evictions in East Jerusalem could be a ‘war crime’
The United Nations urged Israel on Friday to call off any pending evictions in East Jerusalem, warning that its actions could amount to “war crimes.” Israel dismissed the tensions as a “real estate dispute.”

“We call on Israel to immediately call off all forced evictions,” UN rights office spokesman Rupert Colville told reporters in Geneva.

His comment came after 15 Palestinians were arrested in East Jerusalem overnight in clashes with police and Israelis over an eviction threat against four Palestinian families.

The second straight night of rioting in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood was fueled by a years-long land dispute between Palestinians and right-wing Jewish nationalists in the strategic district near Jerusalem’s Old City.

A long-running legal case over the homes of four Palestinian families on land claimed by Jews is due to go before the Supreme Court on Monday.

“We wish to emphasize that East Jerusalem remains part of the occupied Palestinian territory, in which international humanitarian law applies,” Colville said.

“The occupying power… cannot confiscate private property in occupied territory,” he said, adding that transferring civilian populations into territory considered occupied under international law was illegal and “may amount to war crimes.”

Colville demanded that Israel halt actions that “further contribute to a coercive environment or leads to a risk of forcible transfer.”
European powers tell Israel to stop Jewish building in east Jerusalem
France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Britain urged Israel on Thursday to halt the expansion of Jewish building in east Jerusalem. The joint statement came as tensions mounted in east Jerusalem ahead of a hearing that could see Palestinian families evicted from Sheikh Jarrah, a neighborhood where Jewish residents backed by an Israeli court have taken over some homes.

"We urge the government of Israel to reverse its decision to advance the construction of 540 settlement units in the Har Homa E area of the West Bank, and to cease its policy of settlement expansion across the Palestinian Territories," the European nations said.

"If implemented, the decision to advance settlements in Har Homa, between east Jerusalem and Bethlehem, will cause further damage to the prospects for a viable Palestinian State."

Jerusalem, which contains sites sacred to Judaism, Islam and Christianity, is at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Jews Fired their Weapons under Arab Attacks in Sheikh Jarrah
Violent clashes broke out on Thursday night between Arabs and Jews in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of eastern Jerusalem. Jewish residents who had been attacked in the riots pulled out guns near a vehicle that was ignited by Arab rioters and fired several shots at unidentified targets. Earlier, Arabs threw stones and chairs at Jews and used pepper spray. Police arrested 15 suspects for disorderly conduct and assaulting police officers, and used streams of stink water to disperse the crowd.

Sheikh Jarrah, a.k.a. Shimon Hatzadik, is a neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem, a little over a mile north of the Old City, on the road to Mount Scopus. In 1948, the British government ordered the Jews of the neighborhood to leave, and an attempt to take over the area by the Haganah was repelled by the British-led Jordanian Legion. In 1956, the Jordanians moved to the neighborhood Arab families who had fled from towns inside Israel and gave them 33-year leases. In a process that began in 1982, the Jewish owners of 17 homes in the area fought in court to get them back. In 2009, the High Court of Justice ordered the removal of 60 Arab squatters from Jewish-owned property, and Jewish families moved in. Since then, there have been Arab protests in the neighborhood every week, especially on Fridays, led by a leftist NGO calling itself the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement.

Video footage of Thursday’s riots shows clashes between Jews and Arabs in the area, and Jews with guns drawn inside the neighborhood and near the flames of the burning car which had been ignited by local Arabs.

‘Major attack’ in Israel foiled as 3 gunmen shot in firefight near military base
Three Palestinians who opened fire at Border Police soldiers near a military base in the northern West Bank on Friday had initially planned to commit a “major attack” against civilians in central Israel, army and police officials said on Friday. Two of the gunmen were killed and the third was critically injured in a firefight with the Israeli troops.

The three attackers, all in their early 20s, were traveling on a bus with illegal Palestinian laborers en route to central Israel, and intended to commit the shooting there, a security official said.

Forces had halted the bus near the border crossing between Israel and the West Bank as part of routine security efforts to stop illegal laborers from entering Israel. Shortly after, the three Palestinians got off the bus and opened fire at the soldiers.

“A major attack was prevented thanks to the sharp, determined and professional combat efforts of the border police officers,” said the head of the IDF’s Central Command Tamir Yadai, during a visit to the scene.

Yadai said forces had been on high alert and reinforced during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

“According to our assessment, you managed to prevent the terrorists from carrying out an attack inside Israel,” Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai told the officers at the scene.
‘At least we had time to say goodbye’: 1,500 at terror victim’s funeral
Some 1,500 people on Thursday attended the funeral of Yehuda Guetta, a 19-year-old student who was shot in the head in a drive-by shooting attack at Tapuah junction in the West Bank earlier this week, and who died of his injuries on Wednesday night.

Guetta, a Jerusalem resident, was among three students shot at a bus stop on Sunday in the northern West Bank terror attack.

All three were studying in a yeshiva in the nearby settlement of Itamar. Guetta is survived by his parents, four brothers and two sisters.

The procession began at a synagogue in Jerusalem’s Kiryat Moshe neighborhood, before the burial at the capital’s Har Hamenuhot cemetery.

The event was attended by far-right Religious Zionism MKs Itamar Ben-Gvir and Orit Strock, Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion, Jerusalem Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar and Jerusalem Affairs Minister Rafi Peretz.

Also in attendance was Jonathan Pollard, who was allowed recently to move to Israel after spending 30 years in US prison for spying for the Jewish state.

“I’m a simple Jew, and I never expected to come home after 30 years and be faced with this kind of tragedy,” Pollard said. “I hoped and prayed that my own sacrifice would prevent this kind of tragedy. The evil that took Yehuda has a power that is incredible. It doesn’t cease, it doesn’t stop, it shows no pity, it shows no remorse. But we do. And that’s why we come here, to say ‘shalom’ to Yehuda.

“We must make a resolution now that this stops. This can’t go on any longer. I don’t want to see this kind of tragedy happen again,” Pollard added.
IDF plans demolition of home of suspected shooter in deadly Tapuah attack
The Israel Defense Forces on Thursday night mapped out the West Bank home of a Palestinian man suspected of carrying out a drive-by shooting attack at Tapuah junction that left one Israeli student dead and two injured, in preparation for its potential future demolition.

The IDF released a video of troops operating at the house in the village of Turmus Ayya, in the central West Bank.

Muntasir Shalabi, 47, is suspected of driving up to the Tapuah junction in the northern West Bank on Sunday and opening fire at a group of Israeli teenagers who were students at the nearby religious seminary at the Itamar settlement, fatally wounding one of them, seriously injuring a second and lightly wounding a third.

Israeli authorities often take punitive action such as home demolitions even before a conviction in cases of terrorist attacks. Jerusalem defends the practice of razing the family home of attackers as a deterrent against future assaults and officials have argued that speed is essential, claiming that the deterrent factor degrades over time.

Over the years, a number of Israeli defense officials have questioned the efficacy of the practice and human rights activists have denounced it as unfair collective punishment.

On Wednesday night, officers from the Israel Police’s Special Policing Unit and troops from the Israel Defense Forces, acting on intelligence gathered by the Shin Bet, raided a building in the central West Bank village of Silwad and took Shalabi into custody, the Shin Bet said in a statement.

Shalabi, a father-of-seven, is from the nearby town of Turmus Ayya and is not believed to have any affiliation with Palestinian terror groups, the security service said. He is suspected of evading capture with help from family and friends.

Israel said to carry out airstrikes in Syria for second straight night
Israeli aircraft bombed targets in Syria after midnight on Thursday, Syrian state media reported, in what would be the second such strike in less than 24 hours

SANA reported that Israeli helicopters struck in the area of the Quneitra border town in the Syrian Golan Heights, claiming that no injuries or damages were incurred.

The IDF declined to comment on the reported strikes, in accordance with its policy to neither confirm nor deny most of its operations in Syria.

Early Wednesday, SANA reported that an Israeli aircraft carried out airstrikes in northern Syria that killed one person and wounded six others. It was the first alleged attack since raids last month that saw an errant Syrian anti-aircraft missile explode in the Negev desert.

Syrian air defenses engaged Israeli missiles near the port city of Latakia in northern Syria and Hama in the West in the Wednesday strike, according to SANA. The report claimed the casualties were civilians.

Tlaib Shares Anti-Israel Smear after B’Tselem Refuses to Retract Baseless Lie
Media Failure to Highlight Tlaib’s Hatred

Tracing the lie, it has moved from an anti-Israel NGO to a partisan online media outlet to being shared on Twitter by a radically hostile politician with a following of almost 1.5 million and an audience of many millions more on that platform alone. That such an outrageous smear should be shared after holes in the narrative started to emerge should be of interest to national news media.

Nevertheless, to say that news coverage of Tlaib’s smear has been scant would be an overstatement: At the time of publishing this article, not a single media outlet has documented that Tlaib spread a baseless lie and used it as evidence that Israeli is committing the crime of “apartheid”.

Similarly, not a single major media outlet has documented B’Tselem’s false claim. While this is somewhat more understandable, given the organization’s far lower significance overall, the fact that an international NGO which is routinely used an ‘objective’ source on matters relating to Israel and the Palestinians could refuse to take down a deeply problematic claim — one it has already attempted to backtrack from — severely calls into question its reliability.

Will journalists re-evaluate their stance on Btselem, and stop citing its claims uncritically as in the past?
Top US Jewish Group Calls for Rashida Tlaib to Remove ‘Falsehood’ About Israelis Setting Fire to Palestinian Fields
A leading US Jewish group called on US Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) to remove a tweet that accused Israel of “apartheid” and “stealing Palestinian homes and burning their lands” as she shared an account of Israelis setting fires to Palestinian fields that was retracted by the Israeli NGO that originated it.

On Wednesday, Tlaib retweeted an article about fires near the Palestinian village of Burin, drawing from a Palestinian media sources and a May 4 tweet by the left-wing NGO B’Tselem, which shared a photo of the flames and blamed Israeli “settlers.”

“Stealing Palestinian homes and burning their lands. The actions of an apartheid state. We cannot stand by and watch this happen,” Tlaib wrote, tagging the account of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “Billions of US taxpayers dollars support Netanyahu’s government and this racist violence. We must condemn this swiftly.”

But as media reports emerged that the fires were in fact started by Palestinian arsonists, the Israeli NGO later said that the “The fires in Burin tonight are being re-examined. I will update with any new information I have,” according to the Jerusalem Post, which said that no further information followed.

PMW: Palestinian priest threatens entire world
Amid recent Arab riots, a Palestinian priest threatened the “international community.” Abdallah Yuliu - who is a Greek Orthodox priest from Ramallah - told the international community that “peace and stability” in their countries depend on the realization of “justice and peace in Palestine.” The PA routinely explains the word “justice” as Israeli submission to all PA demands.

Whereas the priest did not define what he means by lack of “peace and stability,” Palestinian terrorists have a long history of attacks around the world, including hijackings, bombings, and other kinds of terror attacks.

This is the kind of declaration that when broadcast on official PA TV during a period of Arab violence, has the potential to incite Palestinians – here and abroad - to additional violence.

Yuliu did define one of the PA’s uncompromising demands: “Jerusalem will remain our Jerusalem, our eternal capital”:
Greek Orthodox Priest Abdallah Yuliu: “My message to the international community… If you want peace and stability in your countries… it is necessary to achieve peace and stability in our country, because the source of the unrest in our Arab region and in the entire world is justice and peace not being realized in Palestine. Jerusalem will remain our Jerusalem, our eternal capital.”

[Official PA TV, April 24, 2021]

Muslim worshipers seen waving Hamas flags at Temple Mount
Muslim worshipers visiting the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City in light of Ramadan's last Friday prayers, were seen waving Hamas flags, a video published by Kan showed.

In preparation for the fourth and final Friday prayers of the month of Ramadan on the Temple Mount, usually attended by tens of thousands of people, several streets were closed to vehicular traffic in the Old City.

The IDF had sent reinforcement to the capital in order to ensure that the day passes by without violent incidents.

However, unlike the first Friday prayers of the Ramadan that saw no violent incidents and was considered a success by the Israel Police, due the logistical and security preparations held in advance, the last Friday of the Ramadan was somewhat different.
After Abbas cancels elections, relations between Fatah and Hamas set to deteriorate
The decision last week by Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas to “delay” elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council—and, by all intents and purposes, to cancel them altogether—marked the start of a new phase of deteriorating relations between the two rival movements, Israeli observers have said.

In recent days, senior members of the Hamas terror organization have stepped up inflammatory statements aimed at agitating against the Fatah-run P.A.

“Hamas has never stopped its efforts to undermine the Palestinian Authority and consolidate itself in the West Bank. And it never abandoned its military and terrorist activities,” Professor Boaz Ganor, founder and executive director of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at Herzliya, told JNS.

While Hamas is a pragmatic movement and its policies—unlike its fundamentalist ideology—change from time to time in line with certain needs and conditions, it has never swerved from its goal of infiltrating and taking over the West Bank, he said. Subscribe to The JNS Daily Syndicate by email and never miss our top stories

Hamas’s fixed aspiration following its forceful 2007 takeover of the Gaza Strip, explained Ganor, is to seize the institutions of the P.A. and the PLO in the West Bank, “thereby achieving total hegemony on the Palestinian arena.”

Hamas is working constantly towards these goals, while also dealing with the ramifications of the coronavirus in Gaza, coupled with high unemployment rates and domestic criticism over its management of the coastal enclave with 2 million residents.

Under these conditions, Hamas isn’t rushing into a new, head-on military clash with Israel from Gaza, but is patiently working to consolidate its power in the West Bank.
Abu Mazen’s Top Ten Excuses for cancelling Elections (satire)
1. Doctor Fauci told everyone to stay home.
2. Still heartbroken over the Kim and Kanye breakup.
3. I’m binge-watching Fauda.
4. Peter Beinart keeps sexting me.
5. Climate Change.
6. Ahed Tamimi ate all the food at the polling stations.
7. Can I still blame this on Trump?
8. Didn’t want to detract from Pride Week next month.
9. The wild pigs that the Zionists release every night (wait, he really said this).
10. Just trying to help the Daily Freier write a decent joke for once.

Major Sanctions Relief on Table for Iran, State Dept. Says
The Biden administration is considering granting Iran significant economic sanctions relief, according to U.S. and Iranian officials, confirming that Iran is making headway in its demand that America unwind many of its most crippling measures.

Negotiations with Iran in Vienna are centered around the scope and scale of sanctions relief, a State Department spokesman told the Washington Free Beacon, confirming similar comments issued this week by Iranian officials. Iran is pushing the Biden administration to nix nearly all of the sanctions applied by the former Trump administration, including those targeting the country’s nuclear program, terrorism operations, banks, and oil trade. The Biden administration says it is willing to lift all sanctions necessary for America to make a full return to the original nuclear accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which provided Iran with billions in cash assets.

"The United States would be prepared to lift the sanctions necessary for our JCPOA compliance only if Iran is prepared to return its nuclear program to its JCPOA status, including with respect to the level and scale of its uranium enrichment activities," a State Department spokesman told the Free Beacon. Iran is violating the JCPOA by enriching uranium, the primary fuel in a nuclear weapon, to levels far exceeding restrictions written into the original accord.

Sanctions have been the primary sticking point in negotiations, as Iran pushes for the United States to unilaterally unwind every sanction that has stifled the country’s economy and brought the hardline regime closer to bankruptcy than ever before. Iranian officials indicated on Wednesday the United States is giving up ground in the talks, as Iran demands that former president Donald Trump’s "maximum pressure" campaign be canceled.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh dismissed rumors the Biden administration is angling to keep many of the most stringent sanctions in place. "Not only are these cases and allegations like this wrong, but everyone knows for sure that if the United States had insisted on such things, the talks would have stopped by now," Khatibzadeh said, hinting that the sides could be more closely aligned than thought.

The State Department told the Free Beacon that sanctions relief is prominently on the table. "The team continues to explore and discuss issues and options vis-à-vis sanctions relief," the spokesman said. Both sides, however, still remain far from a deal in the administration’s view.

On al-Quds Day, Iran’s Khamenei says Israel ‘is a terrorist base, not a country’
In a speech to mark the annual al-Quds Day, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday called Israel “not a country, but a terrorist base” and said its downfall was imminent.

“Israel is not a country, but a terrorist base against the nation of Palestine and other Muslim nations,” Khamenei said in live televised remarks.

“Fighting this despotic regime… is everyone’s duty,” Khamenei said.

Khamenei also stressed that “the decline of the enemy Zionist regime has begun and will not stop.”

He blasted Israel’s normalization of ties with “some weak Arab governments” as attempts to undermine “the nightmare of Muslim unity,” calling on Palestinians to continue their resistance and for Muslim governments to support them.

Iran initiated al-Quds Day, or Jerusalem Day, in 1979, the year of the Islamic Revolution. It commemorates it with anti-Israel speeches, events and threats to “liberate” Jerusalem from Israeli control.

This year the day falls close to Israel’s own Jerusalem Day, celebrated on May 10, which marks the unification of the capital during the 1967 Six Day War.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Iran's 'Drug Terrorism' Against Arabs
While Israel is seeking to dissuade the Biden administration from rejoining the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran... Tehran's mullahs and their Lebanese Hezbollah terror proxy are busy drowning the Arab countries with drugs.

"Israel is far more honorable than the drug-dealers.... [The drug dealers'] ultimate goal is to destroy Saudi Arabia by every available means. They are smuggling weapons and drugs to the Gulf states, but when they are confronted, they accuse the governments of these states of siding with Israel, and they raise the slogan of liberating Jerusalem, while their missiles are only targeting Riyadh and Mecca." — Turki Al-Hamad, Saudi academic, Rai Al-Youm, April 25, 2021.

"[Hezbollah has become] a criminal organization whose danger has gone beyond the stage of terrorism and military operations.... The Hezbollah project has become the destruction of people through drugs." — Mohammed Al-Maskary, Emirati writer and journalist, Al-Ain, April 27, 2021

"Hezbollah is increasingly dependent on the revenues from terrorist activities, drug smuggling and money laundering with Colombian, Mexican and Cuban cartel networks." — Fahim Al-Hamed, Saudi writer, Okaz, April 25, 2021.
Saudi Arabia Wants to See ‘Verifiable Deeds’ From Talks With Iran, Says Official
A Saudi foreign ministry official said on Friday that talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran aim to reduce regional tensions, but added it was too early to judge the outcome and Riyadh wanted to see “verifiable deeds.”

The comments by Ambassador Rayed Krimly, head of policy planning at the ministry, were the first public confirmation from Riyadh that the rivals — who severed ties in 2016 — were holding direct talks.

“As to current Saudi-Iranian talks they aim to explore ways to reduce tensions in the region,” Krimly told Reuters.

“We hope they prove successful, but it is too early, and premature, to reach any definitive conclusions. Our evaluation will be based on verifiable deeds, and not proclamations.”

He declined to provide details on the talks, but regional officials and sources had told Reuters that the discussions were focused on Yemen and the 2015 nuclear deal between global powers and Iran, which Riyadh had opposed.

Iraq’s president said on Wednesday that Baghdad hosted more than one round of talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran, who have been locked in a rivalry that has played out in proxy conflicts across the region, including Yemen.
Iran's nuclear power 'for peace but nightmare for Israel' - Nasrallah
Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah gave his annual Quds Day speech on Friday, marking the final Friday of Ramadan.

In his speech, Nasrallah reassured the people of Iran that the "Resistance Axis" remains strong, with Iran still making up the strongest and most capable part of it. He said that despite 40 years of Western, US, and Israeli efforts to collapse the Islamic Republic, all attempts to do so have failed.

He referenced the negotiations between Iran and the US regarding their return to the Iran deal, and the lifting of US sanctions on Iran. "There is no practical threat of war against Iran (under the Biden administration)", Nasrallah said.

He confirmed that Iran will confront the sanctions currently placed on them, but whether this will be via the return of the US to the Iran deal remains to be seen.

Nasrallah then turned the focus of his speech to Israel and to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"What Netanyahu was relying on hasn't materialized," Nasrallah said.


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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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