Monday, June 21, 2021

From Ian:

David Singer: Is Bennett set to shake-up global consensus on a two-state solution?
Bennett – anointed as “Prime Minister and Minister for Settlement Affairs” – is now uniquely placed to promote his “Israel Stability Initiative – February 2012” (Stability Plan) – summarised by him in 2017:

“The main idea of The Stability Plan is to provide full civilian self-governance to the Palestinians so they can elect themselves, pay their taxes, and control those areas that are theirs. We should apply sovereignty in Israeli-controlled areas – known as Area C – and Palestinians living there will become part and parcel of the State of Israel. And since within the State of Israel you cannot have two levels of people, those Palestinians living in Area C – approximately 80,000 people – will be offered full Israeli citizenship, including voting rights. I think most will opt for residency rather than citizenship (like in East Jerusalem) but it’s up to them. They can be Israeli citizens, Israeli residents or Palestinian citizens.

"Those living in the Palestinian-controlled areas (Areas A and B) will govern themselves in all aspects barring two elements: overall security responsibility and not being able to allow the return of decedents [sic] of Palestinians refugees. We can’t have an inflow of millions of great grandchildren of 1948 refugees coming across the Jordan River because in one swoop that would distort the demography of the area, and within a few weeks of their arrival, the local Palestinians in Judea and Samaria would tell them to ‘go back to Jaffa’ which would subsequently create pressure on Israel that could lead to a third intifada inside ‘Smaller Israel’.

"My option is that Palestinians have an ‘autonomy on steroids,’ and I’m open to ideas about how this materialises; it could be a confederation with Jordan, or local municipalities, or a central government. It would encompass full freedom of movement, massive infrastructure investment, the creation of a tourism zone so Christians can enter Haifa, Nazareth, Nablus, Ramallah, Jerusalem and Hebron without going through road blocks. We would have joint industrial centres, and we’d be able to create a land port governed by the Palestinians in Jenin that would be connected to Haifa.”

Bennett continued:
“I understand there is global consensus around the two-state solution, but what the world thinks is no proof for the correctness of a plan. The world gets it wrong a lot.

"I’d say to those in the international community who are so entrenched in the idea of a Palestinian state that (a) the Palestinians have a state in Gaza and they blew it, and (b) after 50 years, at what time do we need to rethink? In the high tech world where I come from, if my employees tried the same solution and failed again and again I’d fire them as I’d expect them to have tried to tackle the challenge from a different angle by now! There is an industry around this topic – think-tanks, journals, professionals and academics who keep on chewing on the same old failed solution. We’re not in Europe, we live in a region with very few democracies, and when we tried this idea out it blew up in our faces and no one showed us any sympathy.”

Is Bennett going to stand behind his earlier plan? Global consensus needs to positively respond to Bennett’s challenge.

UK to boycott ‘festival of Jew-hate’ Durban IV
The British government has confirmed it will boycott Durban IV, an international conference that has been dubbed “the festival of Jew-hate.”

The UK will join Australia, Canada, Israel and the US in not attending the United Nations conference, which purports to focus on tackling racism across the globe.

When the event first took place in 2001 the US, Israel and Canada walked out, citing a series of antisemitic remarks that had been made at the gathering.

Several of those present also tried to claim that Zionism equated to racism.

The Board of Deputies, Jewish Leadership Council and Conservative Friends of Israel all wrote to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab this year, insisting the UK did not attend.

Last night a government spokesperson confirmed: "Following historic concerns regarding antisemitism, the UK has decided not to attend the UN’s Durban Conference anniversary event later this year."

CFI Parliamentary Chairmen, Stephen Crabb MP and Lord Eric Pickles, said: “Confirmation that the UK will not attend Durban IV is extremely welcome. It is absolutely right that the UK is joining our close allies Australia, Canada and the US in condemning the infamous gathering.

“We applaud this latest decisive action from the UK government in opposing antisemitism in all its forms and wherever it occurs.”

Karen Pollock, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, Vice President of the JLC and an attendee at the 2001 conference, said: “This is welcome news. Tainted with Jew hatred, poisonous rhetoric about Israel and Holocaust denial and minimisation, the Durban process is no place to tackle racism. It is time for the Durban conferences to be consigned to history.

"The British Government has done the right thing once again by taking a principled stance and refusing to attend.”

Outcry over UK funding for Palestinian school books that ‘incite terrorism’
Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) called on the UK to “act decisively to end its facilitation” of the PA’s “extreme curriculum”.

The UK and the EU directly pay the salaries of teachers who are involved in the production and implementation of the educational materials.

CFI’s Parliamentary chairmen Stephen Crabb MP and Lord Pickles, and CFI Honorary President Lord Polak, said British taxpayers would be “understandably appalled” to discover they had been funding the use of “hate-filled material” and criticised a “decade of prevarication and denial” by the UK government.

The review, undertaken by the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research, was completed in February 2021 but has just been published following growing pressure for its public release.

It details extensive examples of radical material from 156 textbooks and 16 teachers’ guides used between 2017 and 2019.

The report includes dozens of examples of encouragement of violence and demonisation of Israel and of Jews, including the repeated glorification of “heroine” Dalal al-Mughrabi, who killed 38 Israelis, including 13 children, in a terror attack. The report found glorification and praise of terrorists who killed Israeli civilians in history, social studies, science and maths books.

An exercise in one religious studies textbook asks students to discuss the “repeated attempts by the Jews to kill the prophet” Muhammad and asks who are “other enemies of Islam".

Jews Must Fight Back Against Their Demonization
Amb. Ron Dermer interviewed by Ellie Cohanim (JNS)
International media coverage of the conflict in May between Hamas and Israel "played right into the hands of Hamas," whose strategy "is to essentially not only target our civilians, but embed their own civilians and essentially turn them into human shields."

"And the media went for it. Unfortunately, I think it's not gullibility. I think it's more malicious. I think it's an attempt to cast Israel as the evil actor in this equation, as a force for evil."

"The demonization of Jews is a very old problem. And many people believe that if we just educate people about the facts that the Jew-hatred will end. I don't believe that."

"People thought that those decades after the Holocaust were a new normal, but it wasn't....What we have is the demonization of Israel, a return to the norm of anti-Semitism."

"The difference now is that the Jewish people have a state, the Jewish people have sovereign power. We have a shield, we have a refuge, we have a voice and we're going to use it."

"Jews have to begin to fight back against their own demonization. If we don't stand up for one's going to stand up for us.
Israel Advocacy Movement: DEBATE: Was Israel born in sin?

Khaled Abu Toameh: The US-Backed Palestinian Human Rights Violations
Abbas appears to be emboldened by the Biden administration's decision to resume unconditional financial aid to the Palestinians. This no-strings-attached money is being supplied without even a stipulation that the PA put an end to human rights violations and assaults on public freedoms.

Lawyers for Justice said in a separate statement ... that the forms of torture in the PA-controlled Jericho Prison included hanging detainees from the ceilings, beatings and verbal abuse... and electric shocks.

"The Future List calls on all electoral lists approved by the Central Elections Committee, all human rights bodies and all honorable people of this country to form a united front to confront the arbitrary political arrests that aim to silence every free voice that rises in the face of tyranny and corruption practiced by the Palestinian Authority." — The Future List,, May 26, 2021.

It seems clear that the diplomats care little if the PA is arresting, torturing and intimidating social media users and political activists.

These diplomats and Western journalists do raise their voices -- and loudly -- when they have something damning to say about Israel. The silence of the international community and the Biden administration's blind and unqualified support for the PA only encourage the Palestinian leadership to step up its repressive measures against Palestinians.

When Palestinians despair of any improvement in the PA leadership, they move towards Hamas and other terrorist groups that are seen by many Palestinians as a better alternative to Abbas and his Fatah faction.

It is hardly surprising, then, that the most recent public opinion poll showed a dramatic surge in the popularity of Hamas among Palestinians. What should be surprising -- and disturbing -- is that the Western world is directly aiding and abetting this bloody shift of allegiance.
Will Biden reopen PLO offices while PLO member organization glorifies its bloody terror attacks as “acts of heroism”?
While the Biden administration is planning to reopen the PLO offices in Washington DC, one of the PLO member factions – the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) terror organization – is openly glorifying its bloody terror attacks as “acts of heroism.”

In a statement issued by the DFLP terror organization on its anniversary earlier this month, the organization listed with “pride, admiration, and esteem” its lethal terror attacks over the decades - among them the massacre of 26 Israelis, including 22 children. DFLP vowed to “continue… to provide our people and its political forces with the blood of the heroes.” The terror organization further took pride in the “glorious list of the thousands of Martyrs who sacrificed their lives and their blood under the flag of Palestine.” [Donia Al-Watan, independent Palestinian news agency, June 3, 2021]

In its terror glorifying statement, the DFLP stressed its affiliation with the PLO, stating that the DFLP “always marches and advances in the national ranks under the flag of the PLO, the sole legal representative of our heroic people and its national project.” The organization then listed several of its "heroic operations” – i.e., lethal terror attacks - among them what is known in Israel as the Maalot Massacre, in which DFLP terrorists infiltrated Israel from Lebanon and took students and teachers hostages at the Netiv Meir Elementary School in Ma'alot on May 15, 1974. When Israeli forces attempted to rescue the hostages, the terrorists attacked the hostages with guns and grenades, murdering 22 children and 4 adults.

The DFLP further mentioned attacks in which a total of 12 Israelis were murdered and almost 100 wounded, and also praised the two intifadas – Palestinian terror waves in which more than 1,300 Israelis were murdered.

An official spokesman of the allegedly “moderate” Fatah Movement – also a member of the PLO – spoke in similar terms about Fatah’s contributions to the “liberation of Palestine”:
Israel’s Evolution Into a US Force Multiplier
The 1981 Israeli destruction of Iraq’s nuclear reactor — in defiance of fierce US opposition — spared the United States the potential devastation of a nuclear confrontation during the 1991 Gulf War and saved the pro-US oil-producing Arab regimes from the jaws of Saddam Hussein.

The 2007 Israeli destruction of the Syria-North Korea-Iran nuclear reactor spared the region and the globe the potential of a nuclearized civil war in Syria.

The 1982 Israeli destruction of 29 Soviet surface-to-air missile batteries operated by Syria — stationed in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley and perceived to be impregnable — along with the downing of 82 Soviet Migs, reinforced Israel’s role as a unique force-multiplier for the United States in the areas of critical intelligence, game-changing battle tactics, and jamming technologies.

The 1990 disintegration of the USSR transformed the bipolar world into a multipolar world. While the Israeli military and technological capabilities well served the United States during the Cold War, they have become much more significant in the emerging multipolar world, with the proliferation of many rogue terror regimes and organizations threatening the United States and the free world.

The 2010 eruption of violence on the Arab Street (aka the “Arab Spring”), which is still raging, has exposed the intrinsic intra-Arab violence and the inherently unstable, unpredictable, and tenuous nature of Arab regimes, contrary to the stable, reliable, effective, and democratic Israel.

Israel’s 2021 posture of deterrence has constrained the military maneuverability of Iran and Russia in Syria, and bolstered the stability of the pro-US Hashemite regime in Jordan in the face of existential threats by Palestinian, Muslim Brotherhood, and Islamic State terrorism. It has buttressed the national security of the pro-US Arab regimes in the Arabian Peninsula; has served as the first line of defense of Western democracies in the face of Islamic terrorism; and has spared the US the need to deploy to the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean additional aircraft carriers and ground divisions.

If there were an Israel-like entity in the Persian Gulf, the United States could terminate its military presence in the region.

In 2021, US-Israel relations are a mutually-beneficial two-way street. The United States makes an annual investment in — rather than extending foreign aid to — Israel, which yields to the US taxpayer an annual return of several hundred percent.
Bennett to Hamas: ‘Our Patience Has Run Out’
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned Hamas on Sunday that Israel will not tolerate a “trickle” of attacks from the Gaza Strip.

Speaking at a memorial service at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem for the soldiers who fell during 2014’s “Operation Protective Edge,” Bennett said that the residents of Gaza-envelope communities “are not second-class citizens.”

“Those who live in Sderot, in Ashkelon, in Kfar Aza or in Alumim have the right to live in peace and security, just like any other citizen of the State of Israel,” he said.

“Violence and terrorism are not natural phenomena or decrees of fate that the State of Israel must simply accept,” he added.

Last week, incendiary devices launched from Gaza sparked multiple fires in southern Israel, destroying an estimated 30 acres of forested area. In retaliation, the Israeli Air Force struck Hamas targets in Gaza. The strikes were the first in Gaza since the 11 days of fighting between Israel and Hamas in May, during which the terrorist groups in Gaza launched some 4,300 rockets at Israel.

As part of “Operation Guardian of the Walls” in response to the barrages of rockets from Gaza, Israeli warplanes struck hundreds of Hamas targets in Gaza, including rocket launchers, weapons-manufacturing sites and commanders’ residences. Israel destroyed much of Hamas’s tunnel network under the Gaza Strip, known as the “Metro,” and also brought down several high-rise buildings that the military said housed Hamas facilities.
10 insights from the recent Gaza war
Only time will tell whether Israel has been successful in buying for itself some time before it needs to “mow the grass” in Gaza again. In the meantime, Israel must learn from what transpired in Operation Guardian of the Walls. Here are ten takeaways which should guide IDF and government preparations for the next conflict.

Most of the Israeli public is dissatisfied with the results of the operation, mainly because it finds it difficult to accept the assumption that Hamas cannot be deterred from using terror against Israel. Most Israelis think that the operation should have continued until Hamas was crushed, despite the expected casualties. This willingness to continue the fight makes it apparent that Israeli sensitivity to casualties is smaller than generally presumed. The public mood was not accurately reflected in Israeli media.

At the same time, Israeli leaders should not be tempted to “crush Hamas.” There are advantages to the current policy of “mowing the grass” (i.e., occasional military action to degrade Hamas’s capabilities), to avoid wallowing in the Gaza mire. The blows sustained by the Hamas organization from the IDF inflicted damage to its operational capabilities and achieved temporary deterrence. The period during which quiet will prevail depends not only on the price that Israel exacted from the organization, but also on factors over which Israel does not have full control.

This is especially true when there are more significant challenges to Israel from Hezbollah on the northern border. Israel must maintain freedom of action with respect to that threat, which is tenfold more serious than the threat from Hamas. A public campaign should be conducted within Israel to explain the underlying logic of the current policy, underscoring its advantages compared to other alternatives.

The operation constituted a warning regarding the possibility of a multi-arena war. The implications of this for IDF force buildup must be examined. This includes an assessment of whether Israel has enough advanced precision munitions and anti-missile (Iron Dome) interceptors. Israel Police manpower needs to be maintained, as well. Preparations must be made to contend with widespread disorderly conduct during wartime, especially in mixed Jewish-Arab cities.
Viral video falsely claims Israel sprayed sewage at al-Aqsa gates
A video of Israeli security forces spraying the area in front of Damascus Gate by Jerusalem's Old City went viral over social media on Sunday after it was shared by a journalist who claimed that the video depicted spraying "sewage" at the "gates to al-Aqsa to discourage and disburse Palestinians."

The video, shared by Byline Times correspondent CJ Werleman, does, in fact, depict Israeli security forces spraying the area with water, but the claim made by Werleman is filled with misconceptions.

The claim regarding the location is incorrect, as rather than depicting the "gates to al-Aqsa" as Werleman claims, the video shows the exterior of the Damascus Gate, which is one of the entrances to the Old City of Jerusalem.

Additionally, the "sewage" he claims was used against Palestinians was actually something known as "skunk water," a type of putrid-smelling water developed by the Odortec firm as a humane and non-lethal means of riot dispersal. First used in 2008, the spray emits a noxious odor and has been described as "worse than raw sewage," according to the BBC and like "taking a chunk of rotting corpse from a stagnant sewer, placing it in a blender and spraying the filthy liquid in your face," according to Reuters. There is zero "sewage" actually in the water itself.

According to Odortec, the skunk water is a completely eco-friendly compound that is harmless in itself to people and the environment, and is made entirely of food-grade ingredients, notably yeast, baking powder and water, the BBC reported.

Arab man charged with attempted murder over Acre stoning
An Acre man has been indicted on charges of attempted murder and terrorism for his alleged role in violent rioting in the city last month.

Habib Abu Habib, 41, is accused of throwing a stone at Mordechai Katz’s head from only a few feet away on the night of May 12, knocking him to the ground. Katz was also kicked and stoned before he was rescued by locals and a police official who fired his gun into the air.

Prosecutors said Monday that Abu Habib was caught on video picking up the stone in the street, running at Katz and throwing it at him.

He is also accused of taking part in the stoning of the car of another man in the city later that night.

The rioting came amid intense ethnic violence that rocked Israeli cities for several days during the Operation Guardian of the Walls conflict in Gaza.

Separately on Monday, a man suspected of being involved in unspecified terrorist activities was arrested on the side of the highway south of Haifa.

The Shin Bet security service confirmed that the man, who was stopped by police, has been handed over to their custody for questioning. It is not immediately clear what the man is suspected of having done or planning to do.
Israel Tests ‘Breakthrough’ Airborne Laser Defense System to Take Down Drones
Israel has completed its first-ever series of tests of an airborne laser-based defense system which “successfully” intercepted and destroyed drones from the air within a range of more than 0.6 miles and an accuracy rate of 100%.

Israel Defense Minister Benny Gantz spoke of a “technological breakthrough” in terms of both “cost-effectiveness and defense capabilities.”

Israel has already developed a large and sophisticated air defense system, including the Iron Dome, which intercepted thousands of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip at a 90% rate during last month’s 11-day fighting, according to the Israel Defense Forces. The high power laser technology would complement that system, the Defense Ministry said.

“Israel is among the first countries in the world, if not the first one to achieve and demonstrate such successful interception employing an airborne, high-power laser system,” said Brig. Gen. Yaniv Rotem, Head of Research and Development at the Defense Ministry.

The test series is the first phase in a multi-year program in cooperation with Elbit Systems to develop a laser system against a variety of long-range threats. Israel is working now on a 100-kilowatt prototype with a range of 12.5 miles, which is expected to be developed in three to four years.
Three countries said to ask Israel for vaccine doses Palestinians don’t want
Three countries have contacted Israel to inquire about the possibility of obtaining vaccines rejected by the Palestinians in recent days if Ramallah indeed decides it doesn’t want them, the Haaretz daily reported Sunday.

Citing an unnamed diplomatic source, the paper said Israel was in touch with the countries about a batch of doses set to expire in July.

If an agreement is reached it would be under the same terms as the deal with the Palestinians, whereby Israel would be repaid out of future vaccine shipments to those countries. The deal would need the approval of Pfizer.

Meanwhile, the PA Health Ministry said on Sunday that it will seek to renegotiate the terms of its recent deal for one million coronavirus vaccine doses with Pfizer and the Israeli Health Ministry, hoping to receive Pfizer vaccines from Israel that do not expire until the end of July.

Israel announced the planned transfer on Friday and immediately sent an initial shipment of 100,000 vaccines to Ramallah. Under the terms of the deal, Israel was handing over its soon-to-expire vaccines in exchange for an equivalent part of the PA’s shipment of fresh Pfizer vaccines, which are scheduled to arrive later in 2021.
Palestinians to renegotiate COVID-19 vaccine deal with Israel
The Palestinian Authority plans to renegotiate a deal to receive 1.4 million Pfizer vaccines from Israel, now that it has scrapped the original agreement out of fear that some of the injections are outdated.

PA Health Minister Mai Alkaila confirmed to the Palestinian news agency WAFA on Sunday that her office would discuss with Pfizer and the Israeli Health Ministry how to complete the implementation of the agreement in a way that would ensure the safety of the doses.

An Israeli diplomatic source confirmed that talks between the sides were ongoing on Sunday.

“We will resume discussions with Pfizer to obtain the vaccines that expire at the end of the month of July as soon as possible, so that we have sufficient time to vaccinate all groups established according to the national vaccination plan,” by which the PA hopes to achieve a 70% rate of immunity, Alkaila said.

At issue are 1.4 million unused Pfizer vaccines that Israel had purchased and whose due date is set to expire at the end of June, late July, and late August.

According to the agreement, the Palestinian Health Ministry would obtain the needed inoculations out of the 1.4 million Pfizer doses in Israel’s warehouses. The document stipulated, however, that the first batch must arrive in late May and early June. In the end, however, disagreements over details in the deal delayed its signing, and the expiration date was too close, Alkaila said.

HonestReporting CEO On ILTV: Why the Palestinians Rejected Over 1 Million Coronavirus Vaccines

PMW: Antisemitic attacks in the world are the fault of the Israeli government, claims PA TV host
PA TV “Israeli affairs expert” Fayez Abbas: “What is the reason [for antisemitic attacks]? Who caused this hatred against the Jews and the Israelis in the world? Of course, it’s the policy of [Israeli PM] Netanyahu and the fascist Israeli right-wing. When Israel launches war against the Gaza Strip (sic.) and also wants to expel residents of Jerusalem, the Israelis or the leadership of Israel can’t expect the world to stand idly by. I personally oppose the idea of assaulting a Jew just because he is a Jew, but it seems that these assaults – their reason is the policy of the Israeli government, and nothing else.”

When the host said “when Israel launches war against the Gaza Strip” it was a misrepresentation of Israel's self-defense against Hamas’ and Islamic Jihad’s rocket barrages. That Israel “wants to expel residents of Jerusalem” refers to the ongoing dispute over buildings in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood:

MEMRI: Hamas' Growing Closeness To Iran And Rapprochement With Assad Regime Enrages Syrian Opposition
The recent Hamas-Israel conflict brought into focus the years-long close relationship between Hamas and Iran. During the operation, Hamas leaders were in constant contact with Iranian offsssicials, and each side fulsomely praised the other. Both stressed Iran's contribution to the development of Hamas' military capabilities.

As part of its achievements in the conflict, Hamas sought also to revive its relations with the Syrian regime, that had been disrupted with the outbreak of the civil war there in 2011 following the organization's alignment with the Syrian opposition and criticism of the regime's violent repression of the protests.[1] In this endeavor, Hamas consulted with Iran and Hizbullah, and Hizbullah deputy secretary-general Na'im Qassim declared, several times, that there was progress towards a revival of relations between the sides.[2]

While the Syrian regime has not yet officially spoken about this, Palestinian elements who met with President Bashar Al-Assad in Damascus on May 20 stated that he had sent his blessing through them to the Palestinian factions, including Hamas.

Hamas's rapprochement with the Syrian regime and its close relationship with Iran have brought harsh criticism from the Syrian opposition. Various opposition elements see expressions of support for Iran and for Assad as betrayal of the Syrian people, and argue that it will have serious ramifications for Hamas.

This report will review Hamas's increasingly close relationships with Iran and the Syrian regime, and the Syrian opposition's reactions to them.

Hamas Thanks Iran For Its Support, Expresses Desire For Rapprochement With Assad Regime
Even prior to the recent Gaza conflict, senior Hamas officials spoke frequently about the importance of Iran's aid to the organization and its contribution to its increased military might and improved missile capabilities. Boasts about Iran's contribution to Hamas's military development came also from many Iranian officials.[3] During the conflict, there were many phone conversations between Hamas leaders and Iranian officials, in which Iran promised its support for the Palestinians,[4] and in a speech at the end of the conflict, Hamas political bureau head Isma'il Haniya thanked Iran for the financial and military aid it had provided.[5] Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar also expressed his thanks to Iran.[6]

At the same time, there was a flurry of reports about mediation by Iran and Hizbullah in order to facilitate a rapprochement between Hamas and the Syrian regime. Hizbullah deputy secretary-general Qassim said on May 28: "The issue of the Syria-Hamas relationship has been monitored in previous months, and there has been progress, including in the possibility of a renewal of relations between them. What happened in the honorable Sword of Jerusalem battle [Hamas' name for the recent Israel-Gaza conflict] accellerated these steps."[7] A member of the Hamas leadership said that the organization would soon consult with Hizbullah and Iran in order to "take the pulse of the Syrians in the matter of renewing relations with [our] organization," and assessed that the Syrian reactions to this would be positive. [8] The Lebanese website reports that Esmail Qaani, commander of the Qods Force in Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), visited Beirut to coordinate with Hizbullah on the issue of Hamas' return to Syria and Lebanon.[9]

PMW: Palestinian scouts in Lebanon turn scout salute into Nazi-like salute
Palestinian scouts in Lebanon turn scout salute into Nazi-like salute, “will sacrifice our blood for Palestine”

Official PA TV newsreader: “To Lebanon, where the Palestinian Scout Association (PSA) and the Fatah Movement Scout Office organized an activity for young people in the Maroun Al-Ras area on the border [with Israel]. The participants pledged allegiance to Palestine” …

Palestinian scouts: “Our Palestine,
We testify before Allah and history,
And we swear to you
that we will sacrifice our blood to reclaim you”
[Official PA TV News, June 7, 2021]

Caption: Visuals from the scouts' event [The Palestinian Scout Association Facebook page, June 8, 2021]

President-Elect Raisi Backs Nuclear Talks, Rules Out Meeting Biden
President-elect Ebrahim Raisi on Monday backed talks between Iran and six world powers to revive a 2015 nuclear deal but flatly rejected meeting US President Joe Biden, even if Washington removed all sanctions.

In his first news conference since he was elected on Friday, the hardline cleric said his foreign policy priority would be improving ties with Iran’s Gulf Arab neighbors, while calling on Iran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia to immediately halt its intervention in Yemen.

Raisi, 60, a strident critic of the West, will take over from Hassan Rouhani on Aug. 3 as Iran seeks to salvage the tattered nuclear deal and be rid of punishing US sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy.

“We support the negotiations that guarantee our national interests … America should immediately return to the deal and fulfill its obligations under the deal,” he said.

Negotiations have been under way in Vienna since April to work out how Iran and the United States can both return to compliance with the nuclear pact, which Washington abandoned in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump before reimposing sanctions on Iran.

Iran has subsequently breached the deal’s limits on enrichment of uranium, designed to minimize the risk of it developing nuclear weapons potential. Tehran has long denied having any such ambition.

Raisi said Iran’s foreign policy would not be limited to the nuclear deal, adding that “all US sanctions must be lifted and verified by Tehran.”

Iran’s Only Civilian Nuclear Power Plant Undergoes Emergency Shutdown
Iran’s only civilian nuclear power plant unexpectedly shut down on Saturday for “three or four days,” an official from the state electric company, Tavanir, said on Sunday.

Gholamali Rakhshanimehr told regime-controlled State TV that the emergency shutdown at the Bushehr nuclear facility could cause power outages in the country, multiple media outlets reported.

No mention was made by authorities in Tehran regarding the cause of the shutdown.

This is the first time that Tehran has announced an emergency shutdown at the facility, AP reported, adding that the International Atomic Energy Agency “acknowledged being aware of reports about the plant, but declined to comment.”


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