Tuesday, May 25, 2021

From Ian:

Analysts: Arab States Are ‘Washing Their Hands’ of Palestinians
By contrast, Gulf states seemed more interested in military alliances among themselves and with Israel to counter threats like Iran, said Soliman. “The idea of an Arab-Israeli NATO” goes back to President George W. Bush, and “we are getting there. It’s not a fancy idea anymore; however, it is going to take time.” Webinar moderator Joyce Karam, Washington correspondent for The National, noted that an “Arab NATO” was an “idea that was first started with Harry Truman” with initiatives that led to the failed 1955 Baghdad Pact.

Elgindy additionally cited the practical realities that facilitated Israel’s relations with Bahrain, Morocco, Sudan and the UAE. Unlike Egypt and Jordan, which made peace agreements with Israel in 1979 and 1994, respectively, this Arab quartet had never engaged in military hostilities with Israel. Correspondingly, several of these states have had “under-the-table relations with the Israelis anyway” and now merely “are consecrating an existing geopolitical order.”

Meanwhile, Arab states “will continue to pay lip service to two states because everyone needs some place to hang their hat” concerning a strategy for the Palestinians, observed Elgindy. Yet international actors are increasingly practicing “conflict management” and “risk aversion” towards the Palestinians, United States Institute of Peace Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Program, explained director Lucy Kurtzer-Ellenbogen. In tandem, she added, Israeli “trends are clear that the body politic has moved very much and largely to the right,” to the detriment of concessions to the Palestinians. This trend has only accelerated with the latest eruption of violence.

Yet even before Hamas’s latest jihad, Elgindy correctly faulted Palestinians for their plight, as the Palestinian Authority’s recent cancellation of long overdue elections—the first since 2006—further exposed the corruption of the P.A. dictatorship. The cancellation “is another sign of a, I don’t any other way to put it, but a bankrupt leadership, that has no strategic vision, that is incapable of even minimally doing what is required to put its own house in order.” “You can never really underestimate the Palestinian leadership’s dysfunction,” he added.
How the UN Stole Jewish Homes in Occupied Jerusalem and Set Off the Latest Conflict
The fundamental issue at stake in Shimon HaTzadik and Sheikh Jarrah are crystal clear. Unlike some parts of Israel where territory changed hands in more complex ways, we know exactly what happened and why it happened. And those simple facts tell a story of the UNRWA’s complicity in the ethnic cleansing of Jews, not just today when it serves as a storehouse for Hamas missiles and an employment agency for Hamas propagandists, but back in the 50s.

Jews were ethnically cleansed from Jerusalem after an invasion and occupation. The United Nations, through UNRWA, violated international law by taking part in population transfer by an occupying power which had expelled the indigenous population. This is the charge that the UN and the anti-Israel politicians and media have repeatedly lobbed at Israel.

And they’re the ones guilty of it.

Their Sheikh Jarrah argument is that ethnic cleansing and occupation are moral and legal when Arab Muslim armies do it. It’s that Arab Muslim squatters who moved into Jewish homes in 1956 had gained an immutable moral right to live in them by 1967 that outweighed those of the Jewish trusts which had owned them since the 19th century.

There’s no better way to show the hypocritical double standards of an anti-Israel movement that cries about occupation, ethnic cleansing, and apartheid while practicing those very things.

AOC, Sanders, Warren, the UN, the Quarter, the EU, and the Biden administration are demanding that the Arab Muslim occupation of Jerusalem continue. They are ordering a free country to overturn the legal ruling of a court in case that goes back to the 1970s because they believe that Arab Muslim occupiers have a right to live in Jerusalem… and Jews don’t.

That’s what this was about in 1948. That’s still what it’s about in 2021.

The occupiers cry about the “occupation” and the ethnic cleansers cry about “ethnic cleansing” as they fight to bring back the state of apartheid that drove the Jews out of Jerusalem.

Refuting 15 Anti-Israel Lies
As Hamas fired deadly missiles at Israel for 11 straight days, Israel’s critics fired one verbal salvo after another.

Unable or unwilling to distinguish between a terrorist organization seeking Israel’s destruction — Hamas — and a democratic country trying to deny the group’s wish, the anti-Zionists and antisemites went for the jugular.

Here are 15 of the most memorably outrageous accusations:
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, discussing Israel’s actions in Gaza on CNN, stated, “They’re losing the media war despite their connections…” CNN anchor Bianna Golodryga laudably pushed back, “What are their connections?” The minister laughed and said, “Deep pockets.” The anchor followed up: “What does that mean?” The minister replied, “Well, they’re very influential people, they control media.” (May 20)

This is classical antisemitism — the spurious notion of Jews “controlling” the media (see AJC’s Translate Hate Glossary). By the way, if Jews did control the media, we’re doing a pretty lousy job, judging by the daily fare we’ve witnessed from the BBC, The Guardian, The New York Times, MSNBC, etc

Chinese Communist Party-affiliated Chinese TV Host Zheng Junfeng: “Some people believe that US pro-Israeli policy is traceable to the influence of wealthy Jews in the US and the Jewish lobby on US foreign policy.” (May 16)

Another egregious example of classical antisemitism, alleging that “wealthy Jews” wield inordinate influence on the policies of a government. This simply echoes the notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which attributed demonic powers to a Jewish “cabal.” Incidentally, Jews are two percent of the US population, hold a multiplicity of views, and, like fellow Americans, are active on many sides of many causes. And please take note: Unlike the case in some other notable countries, the American Constitution invites citizens to “petition the government.”

Member of Irish Parliament Richard Boyd Barrett: “We must demand the dismantling of the Israeli state.” (May 15)

There are 193 member states of the United Nations. Mr. Barrett is proposing the dismantling of Israel. Are there any other UN member states he is proposing to dismantle? If not, which appears to be the case, could it possibly have something to do with the fact that Israel is the lone Jewish-majority nation on Earth?
Gazans outraged after UNRWA director says IDF strikes were 'precise'
Residents of the Gaza Strip expressed outrage after the director of United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) there told Channel 12 News on Saturday that IDF strikes in recent clashes were "precise."

"I have the impression that there is a huge sophistication in the way the Israeli military struck over the last 11 days, so that's not my issue," said Matthias Schmale, director of UNRWA in Gaza, to Channel 12.

Schmale stressed, however, that while the strikes were precise, they were also exceedingly "vicious."

"I've had many colleagues describe to me that they feel that, in comparison with the 2014 war, this time the strikes felt much more vicious in terms of their impact," said the UNRWA director. "So yes, they didn't hit – with some exceptions – civilian targets, but the viciousness, ferocity of the strikes was heavily felt."

UNRWA Gaza Director Expresses Regret After Saying IDF Strikes Were ‘Precise’ and ‘Sophisticated,’ Did Not Target Civilians
The director of the Gazan branch of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) expressed “regret” on Tuesday for any offense he caused in a recent interview with Israeli media, in which he agreed with the Israeli military’s assertion that its strikes in the Gaza conflict were “very precise” and did not generally hit civilian targets.

The official, Matthias Schmale, had told Israel’s Channel 12 on Saturday that he “would not dispute” the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) claim that airstrikes during its recent Operation Guardian of the Walls in Gaza were “very precise.”

“I’m not a military expert but I would not dispute that,” Schmale said. “I also have the impression that there is a huge sophistication in the way the Israeli military strikes struck, over the last eleven days, so that’s not my issue.”

“My issue is another one. I’ve had many colleagues describe to me, that they feel that in comparison to the 2014 war, this time, the strikes felt much more vicious, in terms of their impact. So yes, they didn’t hit, with some exceptions, civilian targets — but the viciousness, ferocity of the strikes was heavily felt,” Schmale continued.

Israel Actually Got It Right
The purpose of the campaign was to substantially undermine Hamas' physical infrastructure so that even if it remained oblivious to the "message" it would suffer severe losses. The fact that the Palestinians are hawking victory propaganda does not change these basic facts on the ground.

True, Hamas has not been "defeated" – but no one thought it could be defeated solely by an aerial campaign, nor was that the objective this time.

The same applies to the lull in rocket fire. Without seizing control of Gaza and remaining there for a prolonged period of time it is clear that rocket fire cannot be eradicated.

Those who pay attention to the nuances saw that, in contrast to Operation Protective Edge, this time Israel did name ending the rocket fire as a stated goal of the military operation.

The working premise at this time Arab Israeli sector that there is currently no justification to seizing control of the Strip (for a variety of reasons), and as long as that option is not pursued operational objectives should be adjusted accordingly – limited goals for a limited operation.

The pundits say that Hamas triggered the latest conflagration to send a message to the Arab world that it is a "guardian of Jerusalem." In keeping with his fundamentalist view, Hamas defines religious goals taken from the jihadi wars of the 7th century.

Even if this is true – and the fact that the Temple Mount opened to Jewish worshippers on Sunday shows the opposite – at most Hamas has shown that it has 7th century-style bravado, while Israel has clearly demonstrated that in this 21st-century competition, it has the upper hand.

In the logic of the "rounds of violence" in which we live, we can safely say that this time, Israel actually got it right.
Redefining Iran’s Role in its Latest ‘Shadow War’ Against Israel
Specifically, after each round of fighting, Iran has re-armed its clients with more lethal capabilities and aided them in the move towards domestic production. Renewed fighting offers Tehran a chance to test these new capabilities, as well as to continually assess the performance of Israel’s layered air and missile defense systems. Changes in the number of rockets fired and salvos by Hamas and PIJ, as well as more multidirectional rocket and drone attacks all, point to an assertive Iran looking to overwhelm systems on a battlefield where Arabs and Israelis will bear the brunt.

But the loss of life or erosion of deterrence are not the only prices Tehran has sought to extract. During the latest round of fighting, Iran’s hardline media framed the costs Israel must go to in order to defend itself from relatively cheaper projectiles as a measure of victory. “Whether they hit or don’t hit, they lose!” claimed Fars News Agency. The IRGC long-ago understood that its ballistic missile program required its adversaries to invest heavily in expensive missile defense systems in order offset Iran’s unmanned aerial threats. As is now evident through bursts of rocket fire, Iran’s proxies also understand this dynamic. The more they fire, the greater the budgetary vs security tradeoff for Israel as makes interceptions.

Despite all these changes, the logic animating Iran’s arms proliferation and technical support remains the same. First, the more a proxy’s military aptitudes increase, the greater the deterrent dividend for their patron. States have less room for maneuver against Iran today because they have to factor in the capabilities of Iran’s diverse militia network. Second, by continuing to offer arms, components, expertise, money, or even political support, Iran stands a greater chance of continuing to control regional hotspots and using proxies as spoilers against peace efforts. And third, the greater the quantity and quality of weapons in the hands of Iran’s proxies, the more secure they feel in their ability to resist an attack, and the more likely they are to end up using these weapons or escalating a crisis to achieve their goals. In the case of Hamas, PIJ, and their patron, their ultimate goal is the eradication of Israel through a graduated military and political strategy akin to a death by a thousand cuts approach.

Iranian officials frame wars with Israel from 2006 onwards—be it with Lebanese Hezbollah or Gaza-based groups—as a success due to their proxies’ ability to survive, adapt, continue to land blows, and the creation of a politically and militarily precarious situation for Israel between conflicts. Iran’s IRGC Commander has already laid the groundwork for this claim by saying, “Americans and Israelis are between two defeats, if they retreat, they will be defeated, and if they stand, they will again be defeated.”

In this respect, Iran’s latest “shadow war” against Israel does not differ significantly from Israel’s past experience with interstate conflict. During the 1973 War, former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat framed his country’s military aims as seeking “to prove to the whole world that the Israeli theory of security would collapse.” Fast forward four and half decades, the Islamic Republic and its proxies are similarly looking to prove that Israeli security and deterrence will collapse, and are committed to prodding their way forward regardless of the recent ceasefire. As Khamenei proclaimed, “One day Palestinian youth would defend themselves by throwing stones, and today they respond to the enemy by launching precision missiles [rockets].” The Islamic Republic is the party most responsible for this evolution and is the one most inclined to do something with it in the future.
JPost Editorial: Blinken's Mideast mission is of critical importance - editorial
For a two-state solution to ever emerge it will need Israeli support, and for that support to coalesce there will need to be dramatic changes on the ground. New conditions need to be created before a critical mass of Israelis will even begin to entertain this notion again.

And that is where Blinken would do well to start: creating those conditions. He indicated that he is well aware of this during television interviews he gave Sunday. Pressed about the two-state solution on ABC, he said that while Biden has been clear that he is committed to it, this is not “necessarily for today.”

Instead, Blinken said, it was necessary to “start putting into place the conditions” that would allow the sides to negotiate in a meaningful and positive way toward the two-state goal.

We agree. First create new conditions on the ground that could enable negotiations to succeed where they failed so often in the past. And the most important condition is to sideline Hamas.

Hamas is badly bruised from the battering it took over the last two weeks, and as such this may be an opportunity – if America leads and the Arab world and Europe follow – to condition the reconstruction of Gaza on pushing Hamas to the side.

It’s a tall order. But if another round of Gaza devastation is to be avoided – and if real hope for a better future is to be provided – then it’s a critical one.
Palestinians protest against Blinken’s visit to Ramallah
Scores of Palestinians demonstrated in Ramallah on Tuesday in protest at US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to the city. The demonstration was organized by the National and Islamic Forces, an alliance of various Palestinian factions.

Chanting “America is the head of the snake,” the protesters said they were opposed to “receiving the enemies of the Palestinian people on our land.” They also chanted: “Our people want the [rocket-propelled grenade] RPG.”

Some protesters carried placards reading: “Blinken, you are not welcome!”

The protesters also denounced the security coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. “Security coordination is shameful,” the Palestinians chanted. “The Olso Accords are gone.”

“Blinken’s visit is the masquerade of politics and bad-will diplomacy in an attempt to fragment our unified struggle and further entrench a settler colonial and capitalist agenda that strikes at the trenches of the liberation movement,” a spokeswoman for the protesters said in a statement.

“We reject the imposition of the US to broker false negotiations between our colonizers and the defunct and corrupt leadership in Ramallah.”
Over 500 Biden campaign staffers urge him to ‘hold Israel accountable’
More than 500 Democratic staffers who worked on US President Joe Biden’s election campaign have signed a letter calling on him to take a tougher stance on Israel and hold it “accountable for its actions”

The letter comes amid a growing split in the Democratic Party among progressives, like representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, who want a shift in the traditional US support for Israel and moderates who continue to back the Jewish state.

“We commend your efforts to broker a ceasefire,” said the letter, signed by mostly low-level election campaign staffers.

“Yet, we also cannot unsee the horrific violence that unfolded in recent weeks in Israel/Palestine, and we implore you to continue using the power of your office to hold Israel accountable for its actions and lay the groundwork for justice and lasting peace,” the petition said.

It called on Biden to “work to end the underlying conditions of occupation, blockade, and settlement expansion that led to this exceptionally destructive period in a 73-year history of dispossession and ethnic cleansing.”

The letter appeared to blame Israel for the recent conflict, which saw more than 4,000 rockets fired at Israel during 11 days of fighting. One Israeli soldier and 12 civilians in Israel, including a 5-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl, were killed in the rocket fire, and hundreds were injured.
Poll: 60 Percent of Americans Say Hamas Responsible for Mideast Violence
A majority of Americans believe that Hamas is responsible for the recent violence in Israel, according to a new Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey released exclusively to The Hill on Monday.

Sixty percent of respondents blame Hamas, which the U.S. government has designated as a terror organization, for the bloodshed, while 40 percent blame Israel.

The findings come hours after President Biden announced on Monday that Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to the region this week to meet separately with Israeli and Palestinian officials. The move is a part of the administration's diplomatic efforts after a cease-fire brought an end to 11 days of violence between the two sides last week.

On the Palestinian side, 248 people, including 66 children, were killed in the conflict as of Friday, Palestinian officials told Reuters. More than 1,900 Palestinians have reportedly been wounded. One Israeli soldier and 12 civilians, including two children, have been killed, according to the Israeli military.

Biden has reaffirmed U.S. support for Israeli’s security since the cease-fire agreement. The president has also suggested the U.S. will help Israel replenish its Iron Dome air defense system. Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they support Biden's stance on Israel, while 42 percent said they opposed it.

But the president is facing pushback from members of his own party, who are calling on him to take a harder line toward Israel for its role in the violence and do more to support the Palestinians.
Al Jazeera: Despite Gaza Bloodshed, Few See Abraham Accords Derailing
Plans are still quietly underway for the upcoming opening of the Israel-Gulf Cooperation Council Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Dubai, UAE. The chamber was established in February, after the Abraham Accords. While the voices condemning the Abraham Accords are loud, there are other voices.

"People call us from the Gulf, and also Morocco saying, 'Be careful, it's dangerous. Be safe and let's hope it will be finished soon and we can go back to our activities and everything we want to do'," Henrique Cymerman, president of the Israel-GCC Chamber of Commerce, told Al Jazeera. Eitan Na'eh, head of mission at Israel's new embassy in Abu Dhabi, said 130,000 Israelis have visited the UAE since normalization.

Ibrahim Al-Assil, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute, said, "Normalization was driven by national security needs and economic aspirations. They didn't attempt to solve the Palestinian conflict, nor can they....The Abraham Accords will lose some momentum, but I do not expect them to change because the rational behind them and goals that drove them are still there."

A controversial Emirati cleric and vocal supporter of normalization with Israel, Waseem Yousef, recently tweeted, "Hamas launches rockets from within civilian neighborhoods and when the response comes, Hamas cries, 'Where are the Arabs and Muslims?' You have made Gaza a graveyard for the innocent and children."
The Arabs Could Offer an Alternative to the Palestinians in Gaza
WHAT SHOULD this alternative look like? With the support of the international community and under the auspices of the Arab League, a civilian, non-partisan Palestinian administration could be established in the Strip. Palestinian professionals from all walks of life and social standings could serve in various positions. The incompetent, failed regime of Hamas, already severely weakened by Israeli strikes, will be non-violently replaced by the new administration, backed by Arab states. The new order in the Gaza Strip will be enshrined in a new UN Security Council resolution and resolution from the Arab League.

The primary missions of this civil administration would be the reconstruction of Gaza and the management of the governmental services such as healthcare and education. Another main mission would be economic development and encouragement of foreign investments. A special office would transparently monitor foreign aid and projects involving water, sewage and electricity. This entire administration would be under the control of the Palestinian government in Ramallah, but with independent management.

If such a non-partisan administration is established, Qatar will no longer be dominantly involved in Gaza. Other Gulf countries will replace it. The external security of the Gaza Strip could be under the responsibility of Egypt. Domestic security would be under a new police agency, reporting to the civil administration, not to Hamas.

Israel will assist, when requested to do so, the activities of the new Gaza civil administration, including those involving trade, labor, energy and activity at crossing points. Four years after its establishment, elections would take place.

The alternative path described here could offer the population of Gaza a safer and better future. The citizens of Israel living in the South would gain the calm and security they deserve after thousands of rockets hitting them for more than two decades.

Still, whatever the next step is to improve the Gaza situation, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must be resolved. The International quartet, together with the Arab quartet, should act now to encourage the parties to resume negotiations for a permanent status agreement based on two states.
Seth Frantzman: Did Israel walk into a Hamas trap in Gaza?
WHEN ISRAEL retaliated on May 10, Hamas put into action a plan to use thousands of rockets to pound Ashkelon, Ashdod and Tel Aviv, as well as Israeli airports and population centers. It used drones and planned to use unmanned submarines. It sent anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) teams to the border to strike at Israeli vehicles. This was a sophisticated, planned operation, in which up to 140 Hamas rockets would be fired at once in massive barrages.

Hamas had perfected this over the years with various rocket attacks at sea, practicing for this scenario. It also showed off new long-range rockets with a range of up to 250 km., targeting Eilat and perhaps Dimona as well. It knew that a Syrian S-200 had been fired that triggered alerts near Dimona on April 22.

With Iranian support, there were attacks in the North as well. On May 13, rockets were fired into the sea from Lebanon and protesters laid siege to Israel's border with its northern neighbor on May 18. It may have come from Iraq. Rockets fired on May 19 even flew near Kiryat Yam, near Haifa. This was a serious incident. It followed the April 27 downing of a Hezbollah drone.

Now Hamas and Fatah activists are battling over Al-Aqsa, as clashes showed on May 23, and Hamas is saying that its war has harmed the Abraham Accords.

It’s not clear whether Hamas knew its plans would work or the degree to which Iran advised Hamas on this strategy. It is also not clear if the benefit to Hamas and Iran was merely a lucky turn of events for them and that timing dictated the need to go to war but the results were far from certain. Clearly, Hamas didn’t have much to lose.

Israel, on the other hand, has much to lose and it had diminishing returns from its years of sunk costs in Gaza. Iran and Hezbollah wanted to test Israel’s defenses. It increasingly appears Israel walked into a trap in Gaza. It was a trap partially of Israel’s own making due to not having a new government and having strategic planning concentrated in Netanyahu’s office without checks and balances and broader security cabinet discussion.
Abbas: Ceasefire must include end to Jewish visits to Temple Mount
The ceasefire between Israel and Hamas must include an end of visits by Jews to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has told Egypt and Jordan.

Abbas made the demand during separate meetings with the foreign ministers of Egypt and Jordan, Sameh Shoukry and Ayman Safadi, who visited Ramallah in the past 24 hours.

Abbas emphasized the importance of including the PA in any plan to rebuild the Gaza Strip in the aftermath of the recent round of fighting between Israel and Hamas.

He also told the Arab ministers that he was ready to work with the US administration and other members of the Quartet – Russia, United Nations, and European Union – to revive the peace process with Israel on the basis of international resolutions pertaining to the Israeli-Arab conflict. Referring to the ceasefire that went into effect on Friday morning, Abbas told Safadi on Tuesday that the period of calm between Israel and Hamas must include “stopping attacks and incursions by extremist settlers, backed by the Israeli occupation forces, on the al-Aqsa Mosque and on our people in the West Bank.”
HRC Prompts Globe and Mail Clarification After Erroneously Claiming Israel Denied Muslims Under 45 From Entering Al Aqsa Compound
In an Associated Press wire report that was published in the Globe and Mail today, editors wrote the following unsubstantiated sub-headline to the article: “Israeli officers clear young Palestinians out of Al Aqsa compound, bar entry to Muslims under 45.”

In truth, and as the article itself points out, the Islamic Waqf made the allegation that Israel barred entry to Muslims under the age of 45, and the article itself says that Israeli police denied that anyone was barred, quoting Israeli Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld saying the site was open “for regular visits.”

HRC has request that the Globe publish a correction to set the record straight.
AFP Israelis in the South ‘Got Used To’ Rocket Attacks
Anyone who has experienced the terrifying sirens in Israel warning of incoming rocket fire understands that this trauma is not something that you ever “get used to.” Thousands of rockets launched by Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip have battered residents of southern Israel in recent years. That makes them experienced with running for safety in less than 15 seconds before impact; it doesn’t make them “used to it.”

But that’s precisely what Agence France Presse claimed yesterday.

AFP’s article yesterday, “Uneasy calm returns to Israeli village on Gaza border,” outrageously asserted:
The people of the agricultural collective, founded in 1982, long ago got used to cross-border rockets, mortar fire and spikes in heavy bombardment, which often ends as rapidly as it starts.

One “gets used to” a new routine or living situation – a new commute, new food, a new job, a new roommate, a new haircut. One does not get used to being under rocket fire anymore than one gets used to domestic violence, sexual abuse, or any other trauma which harms a person’s sense of well-being, security and safety, and which inflicts long-term emotional scars.

As the NATAL — Israel Trauma and Resiliency Center detailed in a 2019 report, Israelis, especially those in the south, are increasingly traumatized by Palestinian rocket attacks as years go on, not less traumatized.
In emotional reunion, Jewish victim of Arab mob thanks Arab nurse who saved him
A Jewish man who was badly injured when he was beaten by an Arab mob has told of his joy at reuniting with the Arab nurse who saved him.

Fadi Kasem, a nurse at the Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya, went to a riot scene in Acre two weeks ago, during a spike in Arab-Jewish violence, accompanying a sheikh who was appealing for calm.

An 11-day conflict between Israel and terror groups in the Gaza Strip, which ended Friday, sparked violent riots in Jewish-Arab cities within Israel, including communities long seen as models of coexistence. At least two people were killed in the riots and several others were seriously injured.

When Kasem arrived at the scene in Acre he was shocked to see a Jewish man lying on the ground after he had been surrounded in his car and then attacked outside the vehicle by a mob wielding stones, sticks and knives. “I was scared he was going to die,” said Kasem, 28. “There was lots of blood and a head injury.”

Kasem administered first aid to the victim, Mor Janashvili, 29, and saw him taken to the hospital where Kasem works.
Israel Seizes Contraband Headed to Gaza
Israel's defense ministry announced Monday that Israeli authorities seized suspected military contraband headed to Gaza.

The contraband included communications equipment and chemicals used for explosive devices. Israeli defense officials said they suspect the shipments are meant for Hamas's al-Qassam brigades, the terrorist group's organized military wing.

The seizures come during a ceasefire brokered by senior Israeli leaders and the Palestinians after 11 days of conflict. Hamas's bombing attacks on Israeli civilians have left more than a dozen dead.

Since the ceasefire, Israel has also intercepted a shipment of gold from Gaza to the West Bank that amounted to more than $300,000. Militants had attempted to smuggle the gold by melting it into the shape of nails and putting it in wood.

An Israeli defense ministry statement said the smuggling operation is intended to fund Hamas terrorist operations, including those against Israel.

"The smuggling of gold from Gaza is part of Hamas' efforts to finance the activities of the terrorist organization in the West Bank," the statement said. "The value of the seizures is estimated at million shekels."

Hezbollah infomercial aims to 'help' Israelis leave Israel
Hezbollah has published a new informercial that seems to be trying to be comedic, "advising" Israelis on how to emigrate from Israel.

The video, shared by Hezbollah-affiliated reporter Ali Shoeib on Monday, says it's produced by the "Sheikh Jarrah Hijra Agency," an apparent reference to the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem which was a flashpoint of conflict in recent weeks between Israelis and Palestinians.

"Dear Israeli settlers, most of you travel for tourism, however, have you tried travel for immigration?" starts the video after showing the hashtag #BYE_BYE and a map of "occupied Palestine."

The video states that it aims to provide "hints and tips" on how to emigrate from Israel to other countries.
PMW: “We will continue the cycle of blood and killing,” threatens Fatah leader Rajoub - “We are not the only ones who will die”
On the last day of the recent terror war with Hamas, while the final terms of a ceasefire were being negotiated between Israel and Hamas last Thursday (May 20.), top PA and Fatah leader Jibril Rajoub vowed that the PA/Fatah “will continue the cycle of blood and killing.”

Referring to Israel's “fascist and Nazi state terror,” Rajoub stated that unless “the world will give us a solution,” “we will continue the cycle of blood and killing”:
Fatah Central Committee Secretary Jibril Rajoub: “This situation requires we [Fatah] take a position and also the international community, which understands the scope of the fascist and Nazi state terror that is being carried out against the Palestinians… We are convinced that the conflict [with Israel] has reached the stage that either the world will give us a solution or we will continue the cycle of blood and killing…”

[Facebook page of the Fatah Commission of Information and Culture, May 20, 2021]

When asked what the possibilities are “that Fatah will enter an armed confrontation with the occupation (i.e., PA euphemism for Israel),” Rajoub stated that the Fatah Central Committee is “seriously discussing” it, that it’s “on the table,” and that Fatah “own[s] the armed struggle.”

Referring to the “2000 Intifada” – the 5-year PA terror campaign in which Palestinian terrorists murdered over 1,100 Israelis in suicide bombings and other attacks – the interviewer made it crystal clear to Rajoub which kind of “armed confrontation” they were talking about:

The end of the Jews and America that supports the Jews will be in Palestine,” says PA official

Fatah song encourages violent riots

Sky News promotes myth of Hamas's increasing 'moderation'
In fact, even during Stone’s interview with Zahar, he asked the Hamas leader point blank if Israel had a right to exist, to which he clearly replied, (at the 2:30 mark), “no“.

Regarding Stone’s claim that Hamas has shifted away from its extremist antisemitic rhetoric, one which frames the conflict as a religious war against the Jews, he would no doubt point to this sentence from the new document:
Hamas affirms that its conflict is with the Zionist project not with the Jews because of their religion.

First, this is a largely meaningless distinction, as all it really mean is, as Richard Millett wrote in these pages, Hamas “wants to rebrand itself as a group which doesn’t want to annihilate Jews worldwide”, but ‘only’ those nearly seven million Jews living in Israel.

In addition to the fact that hate and incitement to terror still are consistently employed on Hamas controlled media outlets, the rhetoric of its leaders hasn’t changed a bit.

Here’s Hamas Political Bureau member Fathi Hammad during a July 12, 2019 speech (two years after the group’s new ‘moderate’ document) calling on Palestinians to slaughter Jews all over the world:

Here’s Hamas’s leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, in 2018, a year after their ‘moderate’ policy document, going truly medieval, in threatening to “eat the livers” of those Jews besieging Gaza.

The contrast between reporters’ extreme skepticism towards every word uttered by an Israeli official on one hand, and their stunning credulity in the face of a PR campaign by an antisemitic extremist group on the other, is more evidence of the institutional anti-Israel bias at play in coverage of the region.
'Hamas used weapons, rocket launchers smuggled from Libya'
In the latest round of hostilities with Israel, Hamas used weapons, rockets, and components of missiles and rocket launchers that were smuggled into the Gaza Strip from Libya, intelligence officials in the Libyan military told Israel Hayom on Monday.

The Libyan officials accused Turkey, Qatar, and Iran of exploiting the instability in Libya to use it to smuggle weapons and technology to Hamas in Gaza. According to the Libyan reports, these three countries also fund and support radical Islamist groups in Libya, which handled the contact and deals with Hamas for the weapons and rockets, as well as supplying them with technical information.

Israel Hayom has also learned that Hamas operatives have undergone training in Libya along with militias and foreign fighters dispatched to Libya by Turkey and Iran. This training was funded by money from Qatar.

While these programs were taking place, Qatar, Turkey, and Iran were all supposedly working against the radical Islamist groups in Libya.

According to information obtained by Israel Hayom, Israel discovered that some of Hamas' weapons and weapons manufacturing knowledge had arrived from Libya. In some cases, the materials were smuggled in by sea, and in other cases smuggled over land – from Libya to Egypt, through the Sinai Peninsula into Gaza.

Western intelligence sources said that Israel was coordinating with the US and Europe to prevent Turkish and Qatari support for radical Islamist groups in Libya by setting up a mechanism to oversee the money transferred to Libya through international bands and close American oversight to keep Turkey from intervening in north Africa.

Report: Qatar’s Grade School Curriculum Praises ‘Brave’ Hamas Attacks, Rejects Arab Normalization With Israel
Qatar’s grades 1-12 curriculum contains extremely positive views of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, according to a new report, even as the Gulf state is being looked to as a major source of cash for the reconstruction of Gaza following Hamas’ latest war on Israel.

International officials, including US President Joe Biden, have said that they will work to ensure that reconstruction funds are not diverted to terror purposes by Hamas.

According to a report by the group IMPACT-se, which studies curricula in various countries according to established United Nations standards, the Qatari educational system continues to propagate antisemitic themes, the glorification of violence, and the delegitimization of Israel, along with deeply problematic views of the Hamas militant group.

Despite Hamas’ terrorist activity, Qatari educational materials refer to it as an “Islamic resistance” movement that works to “oppose the Zionist project.”

The materials also describe Hamas’ rocket attacks on “Zionist citizens” as “brave” and “remarkable.” Palestinian terrorism in general is portrayed as legitimate, with atrocities being referred to as “armed” or “military” operations.

Even with a Deal, the Mullahs Will Pursue Nukes
It is important to expect that whatever the deal, the Iranian regime will continue to pursue its nuclear ambitions and clandestine nuclear activities: there are historical precedents for it.

Tehran claimed that the "secret atomic warehouse," located in a village of Turquz Abad in the suburbs of Tehran, was a place where carpets were cleaned.

The IAEA at first ignored the reports. This should not come as a surprise: the IAEA has a long history of misreporting the Islamic Republic's compliance with the deal and declining to follow up on credible reports about Iran's illicit nuclear activities.

The mullahs of Iran will not honor any deal with the international community. While the mullahs will gladly reap the profits of any nuclear deal and its lifting of the sanctions, their regime will continue pursuing its covert attempts to obtain nuclear weapons and overt attempts -- with China -- to take over the Middle East.

Just recently, we have seen Iran's entrenchments in Syria and Iraq; its takeover of Lebanon by its proxy Hezbollah; its stepped-up aggression against Saudi Arabia by its proxy, the Houthis, and its 4,000-rocket war this month on the tiny country of Israel by yet another proxy, Hamas.

Whatever "deal" is struck in Vienna, Iran is not interested in "stabilizing" the Middle East. As the Biden administration has correctly pointed out, Iran's leaders, with China, seem interested only in destabilizing, then dominating it.
Iran: Large fire reported at oil refinery, day after drone factory blast
A large fire was reported at the Kangan Petro Refining Co. (KPRC) in southern Iran along the coast of the Persian Gulf on Monday, just a day after an explosion reportedly impacted a drone factory in the center of the country.

According to Iranian media, a fire at the waste warehouse at KPRC was contained and extinguished within an hour and no operational units were damaged. No injuries were reported in the fire.

Video footage reportedly from the scene of the fire showed large amounts of smoke billowing out of a warehouse.

The cause of the fire has not yet been reported and is still under investigation.

The facility was inaugurated by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani just a few months ago, with an expectation of generating about $1 billion in revenue for Iran.
Iranian TV: Zionists exploited Holocaust 'myth' to found Israel
A video aired on Iranian television claims that the Zionists exploited the "myth of the Holocaust" to establish the state of Israel, which it called the first phase of "their" plan for world domination.

The video, called "The Big Lie," aired on Aftab TV on May 7, when Iran commemorates "Quds Day" to express its opposition to Israel and Zionism. In the video, the narrator claims that the goal of Israel's establishment was to create a "safe zone" for the West in the heart of the Muslim world.

"In the early 1880s, in France, several members of the international agency of the Zionists relied on the fabricated story about the massacre of 6 million Jews in World War II. And in order to prevent people from forgetting that this group is oppressed, they prepared a bill and had it ratified," the video says.

"It stipulated that doubting the Holocaust is considered a violation of the law. Whoever violates this law is sentenced to one month to one year in prison, and has to pay a fine of 200,000-300,000 francs. After France, this law was ratified in the other European countries.

"Against the backdrop of the World War, the first phase of the Zionists' project of taking over the world began. Due to the oppression of the Zionists by the Christian world, they had to move elsewhere, and what place could be better than West Asia and Palestine? From the perspective of the Zionists, the establishment of the State of Israel is the outcome of the imaginary oppression from which they had suffered

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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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