Wednesday, June 02, 2021

From Ian:

Israel Has Set a New Standard for the Ethics of War
Despite everything you may have been reading or hearing these last few weeks, Israel has delivered the greatest moral miracle in the history of warfare. The conduct of the Israel Defense Forces vis-à-vis the protection of civilians on both sides has no equal or precedent. Indeed, Israel has set a new standard for the ethics of war.

This may sound shocking, given the cacophony of accusations leveled against Israel on social media. However, the vast majority of those shrill voices are long-term critics of Israel for whom it can do no right. The reality lies in a casualty count so low as to have no precedent in modern history.

Warfare is brutal. Urban warfare is hell. Since the 1990s, civilian deaths have accounted for some 90 percent of all casualties of urban warfare.

In recent decades, militias and terror groups have increasingly embedded themselves deep withing civilian populations. From Saddam Hussein’s infamous human shields to ISIS bunkers in civilian towns, the goal has been the same: a forced choice between destroying the enemy without regard to mass civilian casualties, or avoid the latter and fail to accomplish the former.

Perhaps no other group has mastered the horrific art of embedding itself among civilians like those hell-bent on destroying Israel. Hamas and Hezbollah consistently fire lethal rockets at Israel’s civilian centers from homes, offices, hospitals, schools and even UN buildings. Hamas has spent millions of dollars building a network of underground tunnels so vast it was nicknamed “the Metro,” and is designed to incur civilian casualties.
Who Started the Gaza War?
The point of Realignment is to create the opposite regional order of that imagined by the Abraham Accords. In this new order, the United States and Iran are partners, and Washington recognizes Iranian spheres of influence. Consequently, the Biden administration shares with Iran the goal of burying the Abraham Accords, and consigning its remnants to the dustbin as fast as possible. More specifically, the Biden administration wants to torpedo any prospect of an Israeli-Saudi agreement—the unfinished piece of the Abraham Accords framework. The administration’s shared goal with Iran of preventing an Israeli-Saudi agreement was therefore served by the Iranians’ war in Gaza.

The major actors in Middle East power politics are not ‘peoples’ or ‘streets’ but states.

What the conventional Israeli-Palestinian “cycle of violence” narratives fail to comprehend is the basic fact that the major actors in Middle East power politics are not “peoples” or “streets” but states—and the most powerful states determine the range of political possibilities. In this context, the key actors aren’t the Palestinians, who are a divided, subject polity, or Israel, which had no interest in a Gaza war. The actors that really count are Iran and the United States.

By reemphasizing the centrality of the Palestinian quest for statehood, the Biden administration advances its shared aim with Iran of boxing in Israel and its Gulf state allies. Elevating the Palestinian issue is a way to block any movement forward between the Israelis and the Saudis, keeping Israel off balance and preoccupied in a dead-end process, while legitimating the Iranian claim to regional primacy. It is no coincidence that the twin initiatives that cemented President Barack Obama’s legacy—and which he tried to lock in through United Nations Security Council resolutions on his way out of the White House—were the Iran nuclear deal (UNSCR 2231) and endorsing the rejectionist Arab position on Israel and the 1967 lines (UNSCR 2334).

The Biden administration’s determination to implement Obama’s Iran doctrine and bring the Palestinians back to the forefront of regional priorities is a return to a familiar script. Historically, using the Palestinians as a device to keep moderate Arab states from cooperating with Israel is a well-established template for rejectionist regimes like Assad’s Syria. Iran has taken over and mastered the leadership of this rejectionist camp. As for the Palestinian factions, they know the play by heart, as it encompasses nearly the entire history of the Palestinian national movement.

With the concomitant abandonment of the Abraham Accords and the revival of the Palestinian national sideshow, Realignment places the United States firmly on the side of its erstwhile foes and opposite the interests of its traditional friends. The U.S. regional policy shift to which Khamenei and Nasrallah alluded, and which Iran sought to assist with the Gaza war, requires not only recognizing Iranian spheres of influence, but also funding through the lifting of sanctions and providing “civilian” U.S. support to “rebuild” Iranian satrapies like Gaza and Yemen.

The most curious part of all this is watching the United States assume leading sponsorship of the rejectionist Arab camp—which, practically speaking, contains no Arabs.
Lessons of the Gaza War
More broadly, the threat Hamas posed through the rocket firepower it directed at Israeli cities should set off warning bells about a possible Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank. A Palestinian state on the 1967 borders will not be demilitarized and will have the capacity to become a far greater threat than the Gaza Strip. The magnitude of the self-production of weapons under Hamas and Islamic Jihad reveals the hollowness of the demilitarization delusion. Most of that self- production was carried out with civilian machinery and raw materials. There is no way to prevent a state from possessing computerized lathe machines, iron pipes, or phosphates. The fact that, at present, there is no rocket production in the Palestinian cities and refugee camps of the West Bank stems entirely from the monitoring and prevention made possible by the IDF forces and the presence of Israeli civilian communities deep inside the territory.

Central Command’s success during this round in containing popular terror activity and violence in the West Bank areas under its aegis demonstrates that the demand for a continued Israeli presence in those areas is justified, both tactically and generally. When one compares the resources and efforts required to secure Israel’s coastal plain, which are built around IDF activity in the West Bank and the support of the Israeli communities there, to what the defense establishment has to invest in the Gaza Strip, it becomes clear that the existing situation in the West Bank is more effective, economical, and suitable.

Those calling for further withdrawals, entailing the uprooting of communities and a retreat to the separation-fence line, base themselves on two premises:
- A withdrawal to the 1967 lines with minor adjustments will bring an end to the “occupation” and afford Israel international legitimacy and support for a military operation if its security is undermined by the Palestinian state.
- The IDF, with its perpetual superiority, can remove any security threat in a short time and at a reasonable price.

The magnitude of the threat facing Israel from Gaza, alongside hostile public opinion in Western countries (recall that Israeli proponents of the 2005 unilateral disengagement from Gaza promised that the international community would back any Israeli military response to terror attacks from the Strip, a result that never materialized), casts great doubt on the validity of those premises.

For that matter, President Biden’s support for Israel’s right to defend itself could not be taken for granted, and it is likely that a price will have to be paid for the US backing PM Netanyahu received for 10 days of warfare. The US administration, which is committed to promoting the two-state solution, was well aware that failing to support Israel while it was under a terror onslaught from Gaza would make it difficult to demand Israel’s agreement to a future West Bank withdrawal. Still, Israel was prevented by the administration from sustaining its offensive so as to bring Hamas to its knees.

The events of the past weeks, which showed the limitations of the IDF’s power in the event of a multi-arena war (including the domestic one), a prospect for which the potential is growing, indicate that additional withdrawals would pose an existential danger to Israel. With all the IDF’s operational superiority, if it has to fight in the northern arena as well, it will be unable to defend the narrow coastal strip from the pre-1967 border.
Clifford D. May: Enemies fighting Israel on other battlefields
Hamas has consistently rejected a two-state solution, vowing “armed resistance” in pursuit of a final solution — the slaughter and/or expulsion of Israeli Jews.

Let’s be clear: If you support Hamas, that’s what you support. If you sympathize with Hamas, that’s the goal with which you sympathize.

The World Health Organization, another Geneva-based U.N. agency, turned its rhetorical guns on Israelis last week, too, voting to adopt a Palestinian resolution to prepare a “report” on health conditions in Gaza and the West Bank, as well as in the Golan Heights which Israel took from Syria in the defensive war of 1967.

Hillel Neuer, executive director of U.N. Watch, noted that the WHO adopted no resolutions on “Syria, where hospitals and other medical infrastructure are repeatedly and deliberately bombed by Syrian and Russian forces; not on war-torn Yemen, where 18 million are in dire need of health assistance; and not on Venezuela, where the health system is in a state of collapse and 7 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance.”

On Friday, a new member was elected to the WHO’s Executive Board. You guessed it: Syria.

Battles against Israel also are being waged on college campuses and in much of the media, not least the The New York Times, a formerly great newspaper where I once was proud to work as a reporter, foreign correspondent and editor.

The Times’ coverage of the Gaza conflict has been egregiously biased. Its front page on Friday displayed photographs of mostly Arab children killed during last month’s 11-day battle, implying Israelis are primarily to blame.

In truth, no military in the world goes to the greater lengths then the Israel Defense Forces to avoid civilian casualties, even when its enemies are using civilians — including children — as human shields, a practice unambiguously in violation of international and American law.

In truth, the evidence suggests that the vast majority of the approximately 250 Gazans killed in this most recent battle were Hamas fighters – some of whom were teenagers and therefore, in the Times’ telling, “only children.”

In truth, hundreds of Hamas and Islamic Jihad rockets failed to reach Israel, dropping instead on Gaza, killing, or injuring Palestinian non-combatant men, women, and children.

Abraham Foxman, the national director emeritus of the Anti-Defamation League, and a lifelong reader of The Times, was so appalled by Friday’s frontpage that he canceled his subscription to the paper, explaining: “Today’s blood libel of Israel and the Jewish people is enough.”

For centuries, such libels have precipitated anti-Jewish violence not unlike that now increasingly prevalent on American and European streets.

The Long War on Israel should be seen for what it is: the latest expression of an ancient hatred. Those fighting to exterminate Israel – whether with rockets, bureaucratic reports, or newspaper articles – are making clear that, to them, Jewish lives do not matter.
The lie that eternally bugs Israel
The task of dressing the coveted land in respectable clothes was given to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), a clique led by a badly shaved Egyptian in keffiyeh and khaki drills named Yasser Arafat.

Smartly, it went to work on the PLO covenant. Articles 6 and 24 were the big ones. Erasing words here, inking in new words there, Arafat and his inner circle soon unpacked a new people with straw still clinging to beards…And gave them a holy mission. On July 17, 1968, the Palestinian people sprang from the PLO Charter, claiming the 'West Bank' and Gaza as their ancient birthright and heritage.

How it was all done.

The first step erased the old declaration that the 'West Bank' and Gaza were not occupied (by Jordan and Egypt.)

Next, a declaration was inserted that the territories were occupied (by Israel).

Finally, a declaration was inserted that the Palestinian people are sworn to liberate their occupied homeland.

Still there remained the shameful Article 7 in the Charter. It contained the offending words: “Jews of Palestinian origin are considered Palestinians.” Palestinian Jews were an impossible thing. After deleting them, the PLO wrote in a definition with a grudge. Palestinians were now “those who had resided in Palestine until the beginning of the Zionist invasion.” So at a stroke of the pen Palestinian Jews became invaders.

Immediately the world tuned into the new Palestinians dispossessed, and turned against the new culprit, the Jewish occupiers. Palestinian leaders in perpetuity lost no time decorating, enlarging and tidying up their tale of Jews who’d swept down from Europe to put the indigenous people under their colonial boot. From there it was a quickstep to the accepted wisdom of Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Yet OPT developed into more than a risible lie. It acquired the power to create facts on the ground.

- For one thing, the international community adopted OPT.
- For another, a vocal section of the Diaspora, even Israelis, nailed their colors to the mast.
- Thirdly, an economic bubble developed around OPT. Monthly pay slips of untold thousands of UN staffers came to depend on this real estate. UNWRA alone developed into an employment agency on a grand scale. In the private sector, hundreds of human rights entities and their workers would be the poorer without OPT.

The world over OPT is the article of faith on which anti-Zionists peg their zeal. Their god commands them to hate Zionism and revere Palestinians. Hence the now entrenched policies and demands: label products from the OPT; boycott Israel and divest from OPT companies.

If not for the big hoax the world would be a different if quieter, place. And the Zionist enterprise would not find itself perennially in the dog box.
David Collier: Durban IV - The UK Government must withdraw - NOW!
The UK has signalled opposition to Durban IV but has not withdrawn. This shameful stance is nothing less than flirting and negotiating with antisemitism. It claimed that its opposition to antisemitism is ‘crystal clear.’ How can it possibly be crystal clear when it sits on the fence over Durban IV?

David Cameron pulled the UK out of Durban III in 2011. Cameron ‘did not want the UK to be seen to celebrate the anniversary of an event associated with antisemitism.’ This raises a simple question for the current Conservative government:

Do you want the UK to be seen to celebrate the anniversary of an event associated with antisemitism?

There is *no doubt* that this conference will descend into another round of unjustifiable attacks on Israel. Nor is there any doubt it will reaffirm and reinforce the strategy of delegitmisation. This conference will help antisemitism spread further.

We need to make immediate and forceful demands of our government:

Firstly – a clear demand that the UK immediately withdraw from Durban

Secondly – a demand that any NGO that does participate in these antisemitic hate fests – will not receive government funding. The UK cannot withdraw because they recognise the anti-Jewish racism and still justify funding the activity of NGOs that are connected to it. If an NGO is part of the attack on Jewish identity – they should not be allowed to operate with any public funds.

The UK needs to take the lead. It won’t be the first nation to withdraw, but it can be the first to take a principled stand against sinister NGO activity and participation.

It is no good waiting until later in the year. We must take action now. Contact your MP, Boris Johnson, the FCDO, write letters to the media – contact anyone – do anything to make a difference. Make your voice heard.

There is a direct connection between Durban and the antisemitism we see on our streets. The UK government must not signal any weakness at all or lack of resolve. They have a duty to protect their Jewish citizens. They must withdraw from Durban 4 – and they must do it now.
UK to confirm boycott of Durban IV conference amid antisemitism concerns
The UK government is finally set to announce that it will boycott the forthcoming Durban IV conference in New York over “serious concerns” about the event’s past issues over antisemitism and anti-Israel hatred.

A senior government source confirmed to Jewish News that Britain will join the likes of United States, Canada and Australia in avoiding September’s 20th anniversary of the World Conference against Racism.

The UNESCO organised event had previously been blighted with one-sided attacks on Israel including in 2001 draft resolution which likened Zionism to “racism.”

The Jewish Leadership Council, Board of Deputies and the Conservative Friends of Israel groups have been amongst those to write to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab in recent months urging the UK to boycott the event.

Jewish News understands that Prime Minister Boris Johnson was made aware of widespread objections to UK participation at Durban IV during a meeting with Jewish communal organisations last month.

The PM is believed to have taken up the issue again following the May 20th meeting.

The source also confirmed there was “zero support” for UK participation at the event amongst the current government cabinet.

But there has been concern that the Foreign Office had up until now been “dragging its heels” over an official announcement on the UK boycott.
Underwriting Hezbollah Inc.
Hezbollah’s direct involvement with organized crime is well documented, ongoing, and a threat to U.S. national interests. Iran’s complicity in Hezbollah’s crimes, as well as its own criminal conduct, are also public knowledge. So why is the Biden administration preparing, as part of its return to the 2015 nuclear deal, to release billions of dollars in funds to Iran and open business opportunities for a global criminal enterprise?

On March 30, Adalberto Fructuoso Comparán Rodríguez walked into a meeting in Guatemala City, thinking he was about to complete an arms’ deal with a Hezbollah financier. Instead, he was arrested. This was a classic Drug Enforcement Administration sting operation. The DEA had Comparán Rodríguez, the former mayor of Aguililla, in Michoacan, Mexico, in its sights. Court documents allege him to be one of the leaders of the Michoacan United Cartel. To lure him and his associates, the DEA engaged a confidential source, who posed as a Hezbollah representative with close ties to Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah. The informant offered Comparán Rodríguez to buy drugs, launder money, and sell weapons. Comparán Rodríguez fell for it, and after arranging a meth deal, he sought to procure sniper rifles and assault weapons from the informant. The delivery was to take place at a Guatemalan port that Comparán Rodríguez had “greased” to let illicit merchandise elude inspections.

This was an elaborate ruse, but a credible one to Latin American narco traffickers. In the past two decades, Hezbollah has earned a stellar reputation among criminal syndicates as an efficient and reliable partner in crime. And not just in Latin America.

Just four weeks after Comparán Rodríguez was arrested in Guatemala, Saudi officials seized more than 5 million Captagon pills hidden in a pomegranate shipment from Lebanon. They believe Hezbollah is behind the shipment. Captagon, a powerful synthetic drug currently flooding both European and Gulf markets, is increasingly produced in Syria and the Hezbollah-controlled Beqaa Valley in Lebanon. From there, it is smuggled out through the Syrian port of Latakia or directly from Lebanon, thanks to the ongoing cooperation between the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad, who controls the production, and Hezbollah, which manages the logistics. Shipments tied to this racket of Iranian proxies keep showing up in alarming quantities all over the Mediterranean: In July 2020, Italian authorities seized 84 million pills worth more than 1 billion euros at street price, and in 2019, 33 million pills worth almost 600 million euros were seized in Greece.

One key difference between Hezbollah’s business operations and those of other criminal syndicates is that amassing wealth is not itself the end goal, but a means to promote the revolutionary political and military ambitions of Hezbollah and its patrons in Tehran. The same networks that generate income also provide the infrastructure for terror attacks. Confronting Hezbollah’s criminal syndicate is not simply part of the unending struggle against organized crime, but rather a national and global security imperative.
Gantz expected to seek $1 billion Iron Dome restock during snap US visit
Defense Minister Benny Gantz will take off Wednesday for a snap trip to Washington for talks with his American counterpart Lloyd Austin and US President Joe Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan, his office announced Tuesday.

Gantz during the visit will submit a billion-dollar request to the Pentagon to replenish the arsenal of the Iron Dome missile defense system, following the 11-day conflict between Israel and Gaza terror groups, US Senator Lindsey Graham revealed at a Tuesday press conference while visiting Israel.

“Iron Dome performed incredibly well, saving thousands of Israeli lives and tens of thousands of Palestinian lives,” Graham said. “I would imagine that the administration would say yes to this request and it will sail through Congress.”

As a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas was announced last month, Biden pledged to replenish Israel’s stock of missiles for its defense system, bucking calls from some progressive lawmakers to reduce or end military aid to Israel.

Gantz is also expected to present Israel’s plan for ensuring long-term quiet in Gaza after the recent fighting there between Israel and the Hamas terror group, the Defense Ministry said.

The Thursday meetings will include a “strategic dialogue” on the talks for the US to rejoin the 2015 deal limiting Iran’s program, and how to maintain Israel’s military superiority and regional stability, the Defense Ministry added.
NGOs and the Congressional Campaign for an Israel Arms Embargo
Political advocacy NGOs have engaged in a long-time campaign against American security assistance to Israel. Most recently, Defence for Children International Palestine, Human Rights Watch, and others partnered with Betty McCollum (D-MN) on an April 2021 bill targeting Israeli companies and defense forces.

During the May 2021 Gaza conflict, the NGO network intensified its attacks, demanding that the United States impose an arms embargo on Israel and halt military assistance.

In parallel, on May 19, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Mark Pocan, Cori Bush, Betty McCollum, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Pramila Jayapal, and Andre Carson introduced a joint resolution in the House, seeking to block the sale of precision-guided weapons to Israel. The following day, Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced the accompanying Senate version. Ironically, these types of weapons reduce harm to civilians during armed conflict and denying them to Israel would increase civilian casualties.

Echoing false allegations and demonization from NGOs, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez called for the United States to end “rubber-stamping weapons sales to the Israeli government as they deploy our resources to target international media outlets, schools, hospitals, humanitarian missions and civilian sites for bombing.” Rep. Cori Bush joined in the current “apartheid” demonization campaign, calling for “Our government must stop funding the apartheid status quo.”

In a press statement, the Representatives cited the support of a number of the NGOs – including American Friends Service Committee, American Muslims for Palestine, Center for Constitutional Rights, IfNotNow, and Jewish Voice for Peace – which all, as seen below, also issued statements in pursuit of this agenda.

Notably, these NGOs and Members of Congress ignore the use of humanitarian aid by Hamas in order to manufacture thousands of missiles, as well as the deadly assistance from Iran and Syria.
From "Defund the Police" to "Defund Israel"
A coalition of activists and politicians, such as the "Squad," that repeatedly called on authorities to "defund the police" last year is focusing on a new target, Israel. Op-eds or statements with pleas to defund Israel were already documented during the George Floyd riots, mostly by pro-Palestinian activists. Now, they have become mainstream ideology on academic and activist circles, distorting history through biased perspective and catchy slogans. "Defund Israel" mentality is also gaining traction among some Democrats.

This movement calls for the United States to stop its financial and diplomatic support of Israel, which is falsely described as an "apartheid state," a "Zionist entity," and an instrument of "colonialist settler violence." By accepting and promoting these slogans, activists unwittingly endorse the ideas of the Islamist terrorist organization Hamas, which calls for Israel's elimination in its charter.

On May 19, Democratic Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Mark Pocan, and Rashida Tlaib introduced a House resolution opposing a $735 million arms sale to the Israeli government. The Biden administration approved the sale in early May. The representatives touted endorsements from 70 organizations, mostly anti-Israel, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). CAIR issued its own action alert demanding "a delay in the sale of arms to Israel that would be used to commit further war crimes in Gaza."

Omar, D.-Minn., issued a statement saying "Israeli airstrikes killing civilians in Gaza is an act of terrorism." It failed to note Israel was targeting rocket launchers controlled by Hamas and other terrorists that targeted its own civilians. She also accused Israel of "ethnic cleansing" against the Palestinians.

Omar attacked President Biden for "siding with an oppressive occupation" after the White House issued a statement expressing his "unwavering support for Israel's security and Israel's legitimate right to defend itself and its people."

Tlaib, D.-Mich, condemned "Israel's apartheid government" in a speech on the House floor. She separately called Israel an '"apartheid state" committing human rights violations.

Aid to Israel should be conditioned, she wrote, "and end it altogether if those conditions are not followed. Tlaib does not accept the two-state solution for the Palestinian Issue, causing even the liberal Jewish advocacy group J Street to withdraw its endorsement of her.
US Senate Democrats push Blinken to address ‘humanitarian emergency’ in Gaza
Seventeen Democratic senators wrote to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday urging him address the “humanitarian emergency” in the Gaza Strip following last month’s war between Israel and terror groups in the coastal enclave.

“In order for this ceasefire to be durable and avoid a renewal of the cycle of violence, it is critical that we improve the dire conditions in Gaza that only contribute to despair and further fuel extremism,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter, spearheaded by Sens. Chris Van Hollen, Tim Kaine, Chris Murphy and Jeff Merkley and first reported by Axios.

The Biden administration has already expressed interest in engaging with Gaza reconstruction plans, and Blinken was in the region last week for talks on the matter. He said the effort would be led by the United Nations in cooperation with the Palestinian Authority to ensure the financial aid does not reach the Hamas terror group, which rules the Strip.

The letter — also signed by senators Patrick Leahy, Brian Schatz, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Raphael Warnock, Sherrod Brown, Martin Heinrich, Jack Reed, Patty Murray, Sheldon Whitehouse, Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan — does not mention Hamas, instead focusing specifically on “address[ing] the growing needs of the civilian population.”

The senators urge Blinken to “press all sides to allow for unfettered relief,” announce new bilateral funding for humanitarian and development assistance, including access to safe drinking water, and encourage other donor countries, including Israel, to join the effort.

Ireland’s delusional orgy of criticism of Israel - opinion
The orgy of criticism climaxed with a toxic debate on a motion proposed by the main opposition party and long-time Provisional IRA political front, Sinn Fein. The motion was a Trojan horse for rhetoric intended to demonize and delegitimize Israel and to lay a foundation for state-supported BDS legislation. Embraced by the Irish government and unanimously passed by the whole Dáil without a single dissent, it labeled Israeli “settlements” in eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods and on the West Bank as illegal de facto annexations of Palestinian territory and as the sole barrier to a two-state solution. Under the terms of the motion, any Jewish resident in east Jerusalem is guilty of “the crime of de facto annexation,” as are all Jewish residents in Judea and Samaria. No mention was made of the Oslo Accords. The fact that the new towns are built on disputed lands Israel acquired from Jordan in a defensive war after Jordan’s illegal occupation of the West Bank ended in 1967 was a detail deemed too irrelevant to mention.

Legislators, including Ireland’s foreign minister, proudly celebrated the Dail’s triumphant unanimity and the motion’s antisemitic objective of achieving a Judenrein east Jerusalem and West Bank as a European first and as a message to the global community. The Dáil celebrants carelessly missed its synergy with the objective of Nazi Germany to create a Judenrein Europe and how that might be negatively viewed by some. They also lacked the insight to understand that it is truly delusional for politicians of a country which denied a safe haven to persecuted Jews to claim moral authority to dictate where it is permissible for Jewish people to reside today. Speakers advocating Jewish exclusion during the debate, oblivious to irony, competitively depicted Israel as an apartheid state. No objection was voiced to that depiction by the Irish government. The Irish government’s sole objection was to a proposal that Israel’s ambassador be expelled, which was defeated by 87 to 46 votes.

During the recent conflict the Irish foreign minister repetitively criticized Israel and also called in, berated and publicly embarrassed Israel’s ambassador. He also had a much-publicized friendly meeting in Dublin with Iran’s visiting foreign minister. No public criticism was voiced of Iran for its many threats to eliminate Israel, for its funding and training of terrorists or for cheering on Hamas rockets. Official photos were published of two happy ministers bumping elbows and clearly smiling behind their COVID masks.

In Ireland, while it remains politically correct to memorialize Jews murdered more than 76 years ago, it has ceased to be politically correct to speak out on behalf of the Jewish living. As Ireland more closely aligns its approach to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict to that of Sinn Fein and Iran, as a state it is incapable of positively contributing to conflict resolution. That is unfortunate, as much learned from the Irish peace process could beneficially contribute to a permanent peace.

How many years will elapse before a future Taoiseach apologizes for the conduct of today’s Irish government and Parliament cannot be accurately predicted.
Belfast City Council votes to back expulsion of Israeli ambassadors
Belfast City Council has voted to urge the UK and Northern Irish governments to immediately expel “Israeli ambassadors” from office.

At a special meeting last night, councillors passed a motion stipulating that the local authority would “write to the Irish Government and the UK Government, urging them to expel from office Israeli ambassadors, with immediate effect.”

The motion was proposed by Councillor Fiona Ferguson, of the Trotskyist People Before Profit Alliance party, and was backed by Sinn Fein, the Green Party and the Social Democratic Labour Party.

Minority unionist parties on the council voted to oppose the motion.

Addressing the meeting, Councillor Ferguson said: “I think the expulsion of ambassadors is a first step – a preliminary step – to greater action, but it’s an incredibly important and symbolic step.

“We can set and lead an example for countries in this region of the world… most importantly it answers the call from Palestinians across the world who have asked for ambassadors to be expelled.”

Prior to voting, the council was addressed by an anti-Zionist Jewish activist and a Palestinian nurse living in Belfast.

Both speakers urged councillors to vote in favour of the motion.
Honduras Set to Move Embassy to Jerusalem
Honduras will move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem by the end of June, joining the United States in the historic decision to open a diplomatic post in Israel’s capital.

Senior adviser to the Israeli minister of regional cooperation David Aaronson tweeted Tuesday celebrating Honduras's decision to move its mission to Jerusalem.

Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernández Alvarado will arrive in Israel on June 23, according to Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom.

Hernández announced in 2019 that the Latin American country would move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but the move was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic and Israeli political changes. Israel will in turn open its own embassy in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras.

Honduras will become the fourth country to open an embassy in Jerusalem, after Kosovo, Guatemala, and the United States. Both Kosovo and Guatemala followed in the footsteps of the United States, which made the move in 2018.
Abraham Accords countries need better public diplomacy
Accordingly, the conflict was designed to embarrass Abraham Accords countries and to create controversy around normalizing relations, thereby undermining any upcoming peace deals. Even though Hamas obviously lost the military battle, it won the propaganda war, highlighting a desperate need for stronger public diplomacy efforts on the Israeli side and also from Abraham Accords countries, to avoid straining or even derailing the Accords in the face of public outrage.

The impact of Hamas' propaganda was evident among Israel's neighbours and even among Abraham Accords countries. For example, thousands gathered to protest Israeli airstrikes on Gaza during the fighting in Jordon. In Morocco and Sudan, two countries that recently began forming closer ties with Israel, there were widespread pro-Palestinian rallies and the Sudanese Israeli Friendship Association was dissolved by the Sudanese due to events in Gaza.

In the UAE and Bahrain, reactions varied. Some were affected emotionally by the scenes they saw in Gaza, so they shifted to a more neutral position and felt less friendly towards Israel. Others did not change their attitudes entirely, while those who were originally against the peace agreements took advantage of the incident and became more strident in their claims that a peace agreement was futile.

This influence of Hamas' propaganda was not only evident in the region, but also internationally. Haniyeh called for Hamas to strengthen its relationship with the international community so when he announced a divine victory, he actually meant a public relations propaganda victory, the success of which was evident on the streets of London and New York. It was the so-called progressive Democrats that strengthened his propaganda, for example Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Rep. Ilhan Omar, all of whom are inextricably linked with Jew-hating propaganda. Also, the left-leaning bias of the mainstream media was pro-Hamas, for the sole reason that it sought to exploit the opportunity to censure the previous US administration's peace plan with the Gulf in particular.

In other words, left-leaning mainstream media are revealing their support hypocritically and exploitatively to radical Islamists as Hamas to pass their political agenda in fighting the conservatives whom they call capitalists or white supremacists.

Israel arrests senior Hamas commander in the West Bank
Israeli security forces early Wednesday arrested a senior Hamas member, Sheikh Jamal Tawil, in Ramallah over his alleged work on behalf of the terror group, the Israel Defense Forces said.

According to the military, Tawil was arrested in a predawn raid by the IDF’s elite Duvdevan Unit and the Shin Bet security service.

“Tawil is a senior figure in the Hamas terror group in the West Bank, who recently took an active part in organizing riots, inciting violence and reforming Hamas’s headquarters in Ramallah,” the IDF said.

Hamas denounced the arrest of its senior operative, saying it would not prevent further activity by the terror group in the West Bank.

“The arrest of Sheikh Jamal al-Tawil will not silence the voice of the resistance in the West Bank. The sons of Hamas and its commanders are all soldiers of the resistance, and they will continue the path of freedom and liberation whatever the sacrifices,” Hamas said in a statement.
New government still not ready as Lapid's deadline looms
Yamina leader Naftali Bennett and Ra'am (United Arab List) chairman Mansour Abbas will meet on Wednesday evening, in an effort to resolve the final differences preventing the formation of a unity government.

Abbas added last-minute demands on Wednesday, following multiple conversations with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. After Netanyahu offered to cancel a law enforcing fines on illegal Arab building, Abbas demanded the same from the unity government being formed.

Ra'am MK Saeed Alharumi said he would vote against the new government if the issue of legalizing illegal Arab building is not part of the coalition agreement. The Southern Islamic Movement's Shura Council is meeting on Wednesday night to make a final decision about whether to enter the coalition.

Another dispute appeared to be on the way to a compromise after Bennet's number two in Yamina, MK Ayelet Shaked, accepted a rotation in the Judicial Selection Committee with Labor leader Merav Michaeli. According to the compromise, Shaked would serve on the committee in the first half of the term, along with an MK from Labor, and Michaeli in the second half, along with an MK from New Hope.

The committee is due to select six new Supreme Court judges over the next four years. It automatically includes the justice minister, who will be New Hope leader Gideon Sa'ar, one additional minister, an MK from the coalition and one from the opposition. There are also representatives from the current Supreme Court and the Bar Association.
Isaac Herzog elected 11th President of the State of Israel by wide margin
Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog will be the 11th president of the State of Israel after he received 87 votes from MKs in a secret ballot vote in the Knesset plenum.

Herzog's opponent, Israel Prize-winning educator Miriam Peretz, received 27 votes and three MKs abstained. Had she been elected, Peretz would have become Israel’s first woman president.

It was the largest victory in any presidential election in Israel's history. Herzog will take over for President Reuven Rivlin when his term ends on July 9.

A veteran politician, Herzog is a former head of the Labor Party, a former leader of opposition, a former welfare and diaspora minister and is the son of Chaim Herzog, who served as Israel's president from 1983 to 1993.

Herzog thanked all the MKs who voted for him and said it was an honor to serve the entire people of Israel. He called Peretz a hero and an inspiration.

"I will be the president of everyone," Herzog said, singling out Israelis across the political spectrum and Diaspora Jewry.
Fortified Windows in Israel’s South to Undergo Change Following Child’s Death
The Israel Defense Forces’ Home Front Command on Tuesday recommended that thicker steel plates be placed over the windows of fortified rooms in homes near the Gaza Strip.

Maj. Gen. Uri Gordin, the head of the Home Front Command, met with municipal leaders in communities near the Gaza Strip to inform them of the new recommendation.

The army said the move was based on a further investigation into a piece of rocket shrapnel that pierced the metal window covering of a fortified room in the border town of Sderot during the recent fighting against Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza, killing five-year-old Ido Avigal.

An IDF statement said that following Gordin’s recommendation, the steel plates in communities within seven kilometers (4.3 miles) of the border will be replaced with ones that are at least 32 millimeters (1.2 inches) thick, citing “developing capabilities” among Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza.

IDF spokesperson Hidai Zilberman said that Avigal was killed as the result of an “incredibly rare” convergence of events.

“It was a piece of the rocket that came in at a very specific angle, at a very specific speed and at a very specific point,”said Zilberman.

Palestinians declare UNRWA Gaza director ‘persona non grata’
Palestinian factions on Wednesday declared Matthias Schmale, director of operations for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in the Gaza Strip, persona non grata and said he will not be allowed to return to the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave.

The factions claimed that Schmale was “a major reason for the suffering of thousands of Palestinian refugees and UNRWA employees in the Gaza Strip.”

They also declared Schmale’s deputy, David de Bold, persona non grata.

The factions said that the UNRWA director and his deputy will no longer be permitted to stay in the Gaza Strip “due to his hostile positions and bias in favor of the occupation.” They called on UNRWA to appoint a new director for its operations in the Gaza Strip.

The decision to “expel” Schmale from the Gaza Strip came after his controversial statements regarding the recent Israel-Hamas fighting.

Schmale told Israel’s Channel 12 last week that the Israeli military strikes on the Gaza Strip appeared to be carried out with “sophistication” and “precision.”

“I have the impression there is a huge sophistication in the way the Israeli military struck over the 11 days,” Schmale said. “Yes they didn’t hit, with some exceptions, civilian targets, but the viciousness, the ferocity of those strikes were heavily felt. More than 60 children were killed, 19 of who went to UNRWA schools. So I think the precision was there but there was unacceptable and unbearable loss of life on the civilian side.”
PMW’s “holy work,” praised by former advisor to Israeli Minister of Education

PMW: Palestinian post-war calls for “escalating the intifada,” Fatah, PFLP, and other PLO factions call for continued intifada and escalation Fatah: “The intifada continues”
Days after a ceasefire was reached between Israel and Hamas (May 21.), Fatah and several PLO factions continued to call for “intifada” – the name Palestinians have used for the PA’s past terror campaigns against Israeli civilians.

Abbas’ Fatah posted the image above of a rioter throwing a rock with a slingshot on the background of flames and the Dome of the Rock, with text encouraging more violence:
Text on image: “The intifada continues
#Save_the_Sheikh_Jarrah_neighborhood [of Jerusalem]

[Facebook page of the Fatah Commission of Information and Culture, May 24, 2021]

The terror organization the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) – which is a member of the PLO – called for more violence and “a day of escalating the intifada activity”:
“The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) called to turn tomorrow, Friday [May 28, 2021], into a day of escalating the intifada activity and the open confrontation against the occupation in the friction areas, the military checkpoints, and the settlements… The PFLP said that we must continue the open confrontation against the occupation soldiers and the settler herds and wage a comprehensive battle of confrontation throughout the occupied land.”

[Donia Al-Watan, independent Palestinian news agency, May 27, 2021]

Likewise, the Palestinian National and Islamic Forces - a coordinating body comprised of representatives from factions in the PLO and outside of it that was formed in 2000 to coordinate terror during the “second intifada” -– called to continue the violent riots in “a day of popular rage” to “expand the confrontations.” This call was published by the official PA daily:
“The [Palestinian] National and Islamic Forces emphasized that the popular resistance activities are continuing, with the participation of everyone and under the flag of Palestine in all districts of the homeland… the forces called to consider this Friday [May 28, 2021] as a day of popular rage, in order to expand the confrontation with the occupation and its settlers, in addition to the places where the weekly activities are continuing.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 25, 2021]

The official PA daily also passed on the call of one of its regular columnists to “continue the comprehensive popular intifada”:
“The ceasefire does not mean the end of the battle… It is clear that the goal that has consensus among the Palestinian people today is ending the occupation and defeating the apartheid regime in Israel. In addition to this, we must continue the comprehensive popular intifada and the solidarity and boycott activity in the international arena.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 24, 2021]
Abbas’ advisor: Israel is the cause of violence and lack of security and peace… in the entire world

PA TV “proud” of murderers, mother of murderer: “We are not embarrassed of them, we are proud”

PMW: Trample the US flag – and get rewarded with US money!
During the recent violent Arab riots in Jerusalem and mixed Jewish-Arab cities, and Hamas’ launching of thousands of rockets against Israel from the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Culture released a song against “normalization” with Israel. Part of the music video shows different people marching in protest and stomping on the US and Israeli flags.

A week later, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that the US would “provide $75 million for development assistance, in addition to $5 million in immediate disaster assistance for Gaza, and another $32 million for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA).” [Wafa, official PA news agency, English edition, May 25, 2021] Moreover, Blinken presented the PA with yet another gift. At his meeting with Abbas in Ramallah last week, Blinken announced that the US is going to reopen its consulate general in East Jerusalem. Fatah Central committee member Hussein Al-Sheikh explained that this is understood by Palestinians as an endorsement of the viewpoint that East Jerusalem is “occupied” by Israel:
“Speaking to Voice of Palestine radio, al-Sheikh stated that the decision announced by US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, that his country will go ahead with reopening its consulate in the occupied city of East Jerusalem is “deemed the most important decision taken by the new US administration” and “sends a clear message that East Jerusalem is part of the territories that Israel has been [occupying] since 1967”

[Wafa, official PA news agency, English edition, May 26, 2021]
“Israel will be destroyed” - Hamas spokesman’s young daughter

Hamas Claims Iran Already Resupplying It With Thousands of Rockets
The Iranian regime has reportedly begun to restock its Islamist proxy in the Gaza Strip — Hamas, which entirely controls the enclave — with the resources to produce thousands of new rockets, according to a report on Tehran state TV.

In the recent 11-day conflict, which ended last month and for which a fragile Egyptian-brokered ceasefire still holds, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad fired more than 4,300 rockets toward Israel’s population centers. For nearly two weeks, Israel’s citizens were forced to sporadically seek refuge in bomb shelters as terrorists fired rockets indiscriminately.

“With the end of the Israeli regime’s latest aggression, the Palestinian resistance has resumed the process of rocket production,” Fathi Hamad, a member of Hamas’ politburo, was quoted as saying over the Memorial Day weekend by Iran’s state-run Fars News Agency, reported the Washington Free Beacon.

“Our factories and workshops have restarted producing thousands of rockets to stop [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s intransigence in Al-Quds [Jerusalem] and Tel Aviv.”

Hamas’ leaders also warned that despite the current period of calm, “this war will last forever,” which seems entirely in keeping with the organization’s charter.

The statement seemed to show that despite the Israel Defense Force’s claim that it destroyed dozens of kilometers of attack and smuggling tunnels, much of the terrorist network remains intact.
Al-Jazeera Report on Hamas Anti-Tank Unit: The Unit Is Prepared for an Israeli Ground Invasion
Al-Jazeera Network (Qatar) aired a report on Hamas’s anti-tank unit on May 31, 2021. Al-Jazeera’s reporter met with an Al-Qassam Brigades anti-tank unit within a Hamas military tunnel. The unit members then showed Al-Jazeera’s correspondent the spot from where they launched an attack on an IDF armored bus in the Zikim military base on May 20, 2020. A member of the unit said that he and another “mujahid” spent five days monitoring the movements within the position and reciting Quran, and when they spotted the bus full of soldiers they fired a Kornet missile on it.

According to IDF sources, the bus in question was empty and there were no Israeli casualties in the incident. The anti-tank unit members also told Al-Jazeera that they were responsible for another Kornet attack against an IDF vehicle in Netiv HaAsara, in which an IDF soldier was killed and others wounded. The unit members said that now they have qualified shooters and the “occupation forces” have to take them into serious consideration.

He added that now the soldiers of the IDF hid in trenches and forests in fear of the anti-tank units. Al-Jazeera’s correspondent ended the report, asking: “What have the Al-Qassam Brigades prepared for the [Israeli] armored corps in case it decided to start a ground invasion into the Gaza Strip?”

New Mossad Chief Vows to Stop Iran’s ‘Dream’ of Nuclear Arms
“Our security challenges are very great, and at the top of the list is Iran,” said incoming Mossad Director David Barnea at his swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday.

“We need to say it loudly and clearly: Iran is working at this very moment to realize its nuclear dream under the cover of international protection,” said Barnea. “Under the protection of the [2015 nuclear] agreement and without it, with lies and concealment, Iran is in a constant state of advancing its plan to create weapons of mass destruction.”

Referring to the fifth round of talks in Vienna between world powers and Iran to negotiate a return to the 2015 deal, he said that the emerging agreement only increased Israel’s “feeling of isolation,” but that Israel reserved its right to freedom of action and would not operate by “majority rule,” as the majority wouldn’t be the ones to pay the price for their mistake.

The new Mossad chief’s remarks echoed those of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said at the event that if the choice is between friction with the US or dealing with the existential Iranian threat, Israel would be forced to clash with “our great friend.”

Barnea promised that the “arm of the Mossad” would continue to operate with full force against the Iranian nuclear program.
GOP senator: Arab leaders say they’ll enrich uranium at levels approved for Iran
A senior US senator revealed that Arab leaders have told him privately that they will insist on being allowed to enrich uranium to the same levels and amounts that the international community permits Iran.

“If you don’t watch it, we’re going to wake up one day very soon and there will be enrichment programs all over the Mideast,” said South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham on Tuesday.

Speaking from the rooftop of Jerusalem’s King David Hotel with the Old City behind him, the four-term senator emphasized that a nuclear arms race in the Middle East “can be avoided if the world speaks with one voice and stands up to Iran,” adding that Tehran “needs to feel more pain for its misconduct.”

Graham said the Israeli and Arab view on the Iran nuclear deal is “the same, that you can’t trust Iran with an enrichment program.”

“Longer and stronger is not possible,” he said, referring to the Biden administration’s position that it will ultimately seek a “longer and stronger” Iran deal after reentering the 2015 pact and bringing the Islamic Republic back into compliance with the original treaty. Indirect talks between the US and Iran are ongoing in Vienna on Washington’s reentry into the deal, after former president Donald Trump withdrew from the pact in 2018.

Graham said that he and Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey would publish in The Washington Post an op-ed calling for an alternative to the 2015 JCPOA deal.
US State Department Reiterates Call for Immediate Release of Jewish Man Held Captive by Iranian-Backed Houthi Rebels in Yemen
The United States has reiterated its demand that Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen immediately release a Jewish prisoner incarcerated since 2018.

In an interview on Monday with the strongly pro-Saudi Arabic daily Asharq Al-Awsat, an unnamed spokesperson for the State Department confirmed that President Joe Biden’s administration is calling for the freedom of Levi Marhabi, a Yemeni Jew who was first imprisoned four years ago. Marhabi was convicted of assisting a group of fellow Jews who made aliyah to Israel in 2016 to leave the country with a rare deerskin Sefer Torah in their possession, which the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels deemed to be a stolen “national treasure.”

The State Department representative additionally told the Saudi paper that the US had repeatedly raised Marhabi’s plight at the United Nations Security Council. The representative also endorsed the statement issued by former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Nov. 2020 which called on the Houthis to “respect religious freedom, stop oppressing Yemen’s Jewish population, and immediately release Levi Salem Musa Marhabi.”

Jason Guberman — executive director of the American Sephardi Federation (ASF), a group actively campaigning on behalf of Marhabi — told The Algemeiner that the US needed to be more aggressive in raising his case.

“The State Department has called for Marhabi’s release, but that’s not enough,” Guberman said.

He pointed out that when former Jewish Agency chairperson Natan Sharansky was imprisoned by the authorities in the Soviet Union in the 1970s, “the US government made it a policy at every meeting, regardless of the subject, to press for his release.”

Iran’s Biggest Navy Ship Sinks After Fire in Gulf of Oman: Media
Iran’s largest navy ship the Kharg sank on Wednesday after catching fire in the Gulf of Oman, but the crew were safely rescued, Iranian media reported.

No further explanation was given for the latest incident in a region of sensitive waterways, where there have been accusations of attacks on ships owned by arch-enemies Iran and Israel.

State TV said the fire on Iran’s highest-tonnage naval vessel started around 2:25 a.m. on Wednesday near the Iranian port of Jask, where it was on a training mission.

The Gulf of Oman connects to the Strait of Hormuz where about a fifth of the world’s oil passes.

Rescue operations for the Kharg went on for hours, the statement on state TV said, with all the crew disembarking.

“All efforts to save the vessel were unsuccessful and it sank,” the semi-official Fars news agency reported.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Iran Insists Sunken Frigate Actually On Important Underwater Mission (satire)
An Iranian navy vessel that caught fire under mysterious circumstances today and sank is in fact conducting important undersea operations, and not, as Zionist propaganda would have you believe, lying under hundreds of meters of water in the Gulf of Oman, Iranian defense officials insisted Wednesday.

Witnesses saw the IRIS Kharg, the largest vessel in Iran’s navy, catch fire and sink Wednesday morning off the Iranian coast near Bandar Abbas. Official acknowledgement of the incident by the IRIN was slow in coming, and consisted not of concern, condolences, or promises of investigation, but of assurances that while the Jewish-owned and -controlled media maintains that some mishap, or even attack, caused the ship to go down, in reality the Kharg possesses advanced submarine capabilities and even now is proceeding in its mission to thwart the imperialist ambitions of the US and Israel.

“Pay no heed to disinformation by the Zionist-ruled ‘news’ organizations,” admonished Deputy Minister of Defense of Naval Affairs Daoud Jownz. “The provocateurs are trying to sow instability and undermine the people’s confidence in our noble, capable leadership, but they will fail. What appears to the uninitiated, unfaithful, and mendacious enemy as a fire and sinking of our largest warship will come back to haunt them, because the sailors aboard the Kharg, far from abandoning ship as the lying western press will tell you, are still on board that mighty vessel, traveling underwater to strike unsuspecting enemy targets.”

“I am now at liberty to reveal that the ‘sinking’ of the Kharg was a subterfuge to deflect enemy attention from the still-very-much-intact, still-operational fighting ship,” boasted IRIN Admiral Bilj Ballast. “The decoy operation was a complete success, and our opponents still believe the actual Kharg lies submerged off the coast. They will not know what hit them!”


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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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