Friday, June 25, 2021

From Ian:

An excuse to attack the Jews and Israel
During Operation Guardian of the Walls, Hamas “somehow managed to create a bizarre universe where lies are truths, fiction is fact, and the perpetrator is the victim,” asserted Nitsana Darshan Leitner, founder of Shurat HaDin Israeli Law Center.

Though Hamas is an internationally recognized terror organization, she noted that the Hamas leadership succeeded in obscuring their sponsorship of suicide bombings and the murder of thousands of civilians, including Americans, while persuading “the woke, the liars, the celebrity posers, and the haters that they are innocent victims who represent the interests” of all Palestinian Arabs.

They have also prevailed in expunging their history of seizing control of the Gaza Strip in a coup in which they attacked with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons and threw Fatah fighters off the roofs of hospitals.

Pundits enlisted into the Palestinian Arab propaganda machine, she said, used words like They succeeded in spewing their vicious lies, but not in their usual virulent anti-Israel attacks. Instead, they focused on vilifying Jews “disproportionate use of force,” “illegal, “ethnic cleansing,” and apartheid nation,” to redefine Israel’s right to self-defense. This duplicity from a terrorist organization that recruits young men and women to become suicide bombers, was now being represented through social media as guiltless victims.

They succeeded in spewing their vicious lies, but not in their usual virulent anti-Israel attacks. Instead, they focused on vilifying Jews. At pro-Palestinian Arab rallies in the US and Europe, signs called for liberating Palestine from the “River [Jordan] to the Sea, [Mediterranean], Palestine will be free,” which means ethnic cleansing of Jews from Israel, despite Arab denials to the contrary. At some of these rallies, there were Palestinian Arab flags together with swastikas.

JINSA PodCast: Moscow Takes Center Stage in the Middle East’s Great Power Competition
What role does the Middle East play in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s quest for Russia to be recognized once again as a superpower? Does Putin care about stability in the region? Is President Joe Biden confronting the growing Moscow-Damascus-Tehran axis effectively? Anna Borschevksaya of the Washington Institute joins Erielle to discuss the growing Middle East great power competition in which Russia has assumed center stage—and at the potential peril of U.S. interests.

4 dead, 159 missing, including 20 Jews, in building collapse in Miami
Officials have confirmed that at least four people are dead and at least 159 unaccounted for after a building partially collapsed in the Miami suburb of Surfside, Florida, early Thursday morning. The Miami-Dade mayor, speaking at a press conference, expressed the concern that the building could collapse entirely.

Some 20 Jews are among the missing persons, the Israeli foreign ministry confirmed. It is not yet clear if any hold Israeli citizenship.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid spoke with Maor Elbaz, the Consul General of Israel in Miami, and updated him on the state of operations in the area due to the collapse of the building in Miami.

In addition, he spoke with the head of the Jewish community in Miami, Jacob Solomon, offering his support.

Lapid added: "The Foreign Ministry personnel in Miami and here in Israel are doing everything they can to help the wounded and the families. It is a difficult and complex event, and it will take time to deal with it. We are here for the victims for any assistance they may need."

Also among the missing persons are the family members of Paraguay's First Lady and total of 6 people from Paraguay are missing at this time. CNN reported late Thursday night that four Venezuelans and eight Argentinians are among those missing.
Israel sends support to victims of condo collapse
Israel will send aid to Miami, said Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Friday afternoon, following the building collapse on Thursday morning. Currently it has been confirmed that at least one person was found dead and over 99 people have yet to be accounted for, many of them Jews.

In his tweet Bennet wrote that "we are following with concern the difficult images that are coming out from Florida.

Our Foreign Ministry representatives in Miami and Israel are doing everything possible to assist and address the situation.

The entire nation of Israel prays for the safety of those injured and missing in the disaster. From here we send support to our brethren in the Jewish community in particular, and to all Florida residents in general, and express our sorrow during this tragic event."

Diaspora Minister Nachman Shai is also expected to depart on Saturday to the disaster area in Florida, where he will meet with local Jewish community leaders in the coming days. Upon his return to Israel, Shai will present Prime Minister Naftali Bennett plans for assistance to the Jewish community.

United Hatzalah in cooperation with El Al will also be sending a team from its Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit to assist victims of the condo collapse in Surfside, Florida.

Amid uproar, US denies change in policy recognizing Golan Heights as Israeli
The US State Department on Friday denied that the Biden administration planned to rescind recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, after a false report sparked an uproar in Israel.

“US policy regarding the Golan has not changed, and reports to the contrary are false,” State Department’s Near Eastern Affairs Department tweeted.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said the claims that the Biden administration was walking back former president Donald Trump’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights was part of efforts to harm Israel’s ties to the US and undermine the new government.

The rumor spread after a spurious report in a far-right US news site was picked up by some mainstream Israeli news outlets, leading to an outcry from several politicians.

“The Golan Heights is a strategic asset and an integral part of the sovereign State of Israel. The United States recognized our sovereignty over the Golan Heights and its strategic importance to Israel’s security,” Lapid said.

“Anyone spreading rumors about the rescinding of this recognition harms [our] security, harms the [US] declaration of sovereignty and is willing (not for the first time) to cause real damage to the State of Israel and its relations with the United States — all for the sake of harming the new government,” Lapid said in a statement.

Is the US ready to rescind Golan sovereignty recognition?
It only took only one speculative report in the Washington Free Beacon about the potential intention of the Biden administration to rescind US recognition of the Golan Heights for the Israeli media to announced it as a fact.

Both Army Radio and Channel 12 ran headlines on the Beacon article, which was titled "Biden Admin Walks Back U.S. Recognition of Golan Heights as Israeli Territory."

The Beacon subhead declares, "State Department pushes back on signature Trump admin foreign policy decision."

Within the article itself, the Beacon explains that when "pressed on the issue by the Washington Free Beacon, a State Department official said the territory belongs to no one and control could change depending on the region's ever-shifting dynamics."

But the line was not in quotes and was a paraphrase of a conversation with an unnamed State Department official. No where in the article does the Beacon qualify its assertion with a document or a quote, even anonymous one, that supports that assertion.

If anything, State Department quote on which the article is based appears to indicate that US President Joe Biden is not interested at this stage in nullifying a 2018 Trump administration recognition of Israeli sovereignty on the Golan Heights, particularly in light of the long ranging civil war in Syria.

“The Secretary was clear, that as a practical matter, the Golan is very important to Israel’s security,” a State Department official toll the Free Beacon. “As long as [Bashar al-Assad] is in power in Syria, as long as Iran is present in Syria, militia groups backed by Iran, the Assad regime itself — all of these pose a significant security threat to Israel, and as a practical matter the control of the Golan remains of real importance to Israel’s security.”

Sen. Ted Cruz Pulls Support from Israel Relations Normalization Act of 2021
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement on Thursday after removing himself as co-sponsor from the Israel Relations Normalization Act of 2021 after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee rewrote the bill to declare it is U.S. policy to push for a Palestinian state and implement authorizations to pour money into Palestinian Authority areas:
“Too many American lawmakers have forgotten that Israel is one of our closest allies and a sovereign nation. Over the years, multiple administrations have pressured Israel to give up its sovereignty and its territories for a Palestinian state, an act not just of breathtaking hubris but which emboldened Palestinian terrorism. The Trump Administration ended those counterproductive policies by standing with Israel and turning off the spigot of money to the Palestinians subsidized terrorism. What followed was the historic success and peace of the Abraham Accords. The Biden Administration has reversed those successes and even banned the use of the phrase Abraham Accords. Until this week, Congress was making steady progress to advancing the Israel Relations Normalization Act of 2021, which celebrated the spirit and letter of those Accords. I was a proud co-sponsor of that bill.

“Hours before the vote, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee radically changed the bill. The language added declared it would be ‘policy of the United States’ to create a Palestinian state and to pour millions into Palestinian areas despite ongoing Palestinian government salaries for terrorists. I offered amendments to return the bill to its original bipartisan embrace of the Abraham Accords, but they were rejected.

“U.S. diplomats have no business telling our Israeli allies what to do with their territories, let alone pressuring them to cede sovereignty for a Palestinian state. We should not be subsidizing Palestinian terrorism. I have removed myself as a co-sponsor of the rewritten Israel Relations Normalization Act of 2021, I voted against it today, and I will continue to oppose it.”
73 congressional Democrats to Biden: Reverse more of Trump’s Israel policies and call settlements illegal
A letter from 73 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives, including a number in leadership positions, urges President Joe Biden to make a number of moves to reverse what they call the Trump administration’s “abandonment of longstanding, bipartisan United States policy” on Israeli-Palestinian relations.

Among other things, the letter sent Wednesday calls for Biden to firmly consider Israeli settlements illegal and the West Bank occupied, two things the Trump administration stated that it would no longer do.

“Make clear that the United States considers settlements to be inconsistent with international law by reissuing relevant State Department and U.S. customs guidance to that effect,” the letter states.

It also pushes for all “relevant official U.S. documents and communications” to “once again consistently refer to the status of the West Bank and Gaza Strip as occupied.”

The letter’s signatories include seven committee chairs, among them Reps. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., who leads the powerful Appropriations Committee and John Yarmuth, D-Ky., who heads the Budget Committee, as well as the assistant Speaker of the House, Rep. Katherine Clarke of Massachusetts.

Seven Jewish Democrats signed the letter, including Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., who initiated it. The others are Reps. Alan Lowenthal of California, Andy Levin of Michigan, Sara Jacobs of California, Yarmuth, Steve Cohen, of Tennessee and Jamie Raskin of Maryland.

Donald Trump upended decades of U.S. policy in the region by recognizing the right of Israel to annex parts of the West Bank, in addition to agreeing to Israel’s claim to the Golan Heights and moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.
Zeldin Reintroduces Bill to Cut Lebanese Military’s Ties to Hezbollah
A bill aiming to break the partnership between the Lebanese military and the Iran-backed terrorist organization Hezbollah in Lebanon was reintroduced on the floor of the US House of Representatives on Tuesday.

Titled “Countering Hizballah in Lebanon’s Military Act,” it was sponsored by Jewish Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and co-sponsored by Reps. Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.), Ralph Norman (R-SC) and Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.).

The legislation proposes that the United States withhold 20 percent of its security assistance to Lebanon until the Lebanese Armed Forces take “effective actions to limit or expel Hezbollah-influenced military personnel” and fulfill the UN Security Council Resolution 1701 by disarming Hezbollah and ending all partnerships and cooperation for at least one year, according to a news release.

“Hezbollah is a designated terrorist organization and Iranian proxy, and its continued power and influence over the Lebanese Armed Forces presents a constant threat to Israel,” said Zeldin in the release. “Until the Lebanese military makes real and sustained efforts to rid itself of Hezbollah’s corrosive influence, the United States should not be diverting taxpayer dollars to the LAF, which will end up in the hands of a terror group that directly threatens our strongest ally.”

The Security Council resolution calls upon the Lebanese government and its military to prevent groups like Hezbollah from operating in South Lebanon.

In December 2018, Israel uncovered six sophisticated cross-border tunnels built by Hezbollah in southern Lebanon that included stairs, a rail system, and wide passageways to allow the movement of people and equipment to cross the Israeli border to carry out attacks on civilians.
South Africa's Chief Rabbi asks Archbishop to condemn Hamas, Al-Shabaab
Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein of the Union of Orthodox Synagogues of South Africa called on Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town to condemn Hamas and allied terror groups in the Gaza Strip, after he came out publicly against Israel during the most recent 11-day escalation.

During the Israel-Gaza conflict, Makgoba accused Israel of apartheid, casting off the Jewish State as evil and unjust.

“The Archbishop’s support for the military dictatorship of Hamas merely perpetuated the suffering of Palestinians,” Goldstein said in a statement. “For while you castigate Israel for defending itself against violent extremists, know that the very same violent religious ideology drives extremists right here on our borders, and their intended victims are the region’s Christian congregations.“

The call comes around the same time South Africa plans to send military units to Mozambique, where Islamist terrorist groups have been abducting children, raiding villages and are in the process displacing hundreds of thousands since 2017.

“There is a global religious war being waged by a cohort of militant-Islamist group that pledges allegiance to ISIS and shares the same violent ideology as Hamas, both of whom are funded by Iran," Goldstein said. "When you support Hamas, you endorse the ideology of Ansar al-Sunna, Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram and ISIS, and you jeopardise the safety of Christians across Africa.”
Daily Mail bizarrely claims Israel's 2009 settlement freeze didn't happen
This June 13th article at the Daily Mail (“Naftali Bennett becomes Israeli’s new Prime Minister ending Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12 year reign as coalition government is voted in – including first Arab faction in country’s history”), by Rachel Bunyan, included the following, in a paragraph about the former prime minister:
Netanyahu began his long rule by defying the Obama administration, refusing to freeze settlement construction as it tried unsuccessfully to revive the peace process.

As we argued in a complaint to Daily Mail editors, the claim that Netanyahu, in 2009, defied Barack Obama and refused to implement a settlement freeze is clearly false. As media outlets reported at the time, Israel did indeed agree to the 10 month settlement freeze. Talks went nowhere, however, because Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas continued to refuse to negotiate with Israel until just weeks before the settlement freeze was set to expire.
Israel reimposes indoor mask requirement as daily cases top 200
Israel on Friday reimposed an indoor mask requirement as over 200 new COVID-19 cases were recorded the day before, the highest daily caseload in two and a half months, with a top health official warning the spread of the coronavirus was accelerating.

The Health Ministry said the renewed mandate took effect at noon in all enclosed spaces — except for permanent places of residence — a day after coronavirus czar Nachman Ash said it would be reinstated early next week amid a recent resurgence in cases. The mandate was lifted last week.

A Health Ministry statement said those exempt from the requirement were children under seven, people with disabilities that prevent them from wearing a mask, anyone alone in an enclosed space, two workers who work regularly together in the same room, and anyone exercising.

The ministry called on Israelis to wear face coverings when taking place in mass gatherings outdoors, such as the gay pride parade in Tel Aviv scheduled for Friday. It also urged those in at-risk groups or who are not vaccinated to avoid gatherings.

The move came shortly after Ash said 227 infections were confirmed Thursday, the highest daily figure since April 7. He said the positive test rate ticked up to 0.6 percent, “which also testifies to the increase in morbidity.”

“Another thing that is bothersome is that the morbidity is spreading to additional communities,” Ash told Kan public radio.
BESA: Challenges to Gaza Ceasefire Are Arising Quickly
Hamas will always prioritize its radical ideological and political objectives over pragmatic considerations whenever those two factors come into conflict. As Israeli decision makers monitor Hamas’s renewed efforts at force build-up following Operation Guardian of the Walls, they face dilemmas as they look for “least-worst” options.

Since seizing power in a violent coup in Gaza in 2007, Hamas has fought four major armed conflicts with Israel, and many smaller ones.

The frequency of these conflicts and the amount of time it took for Israeli deterrence to erode between the rounds of fighting indicate consistent challenges to Israel’s attempts to contain Hamas in Gaza and keep the Gazan arena relatively stable.

This stands in stark contrast to the Lebanese arena, which has remained largely stable since the 2006 Second Lebanon War (though it presents its own growing challenges to long-term containment approaches).

There is no alternative ruling regime in sight for Gaza, and the Israeli defense establishment views any notion of a near-term Palestinian Authority ruling presence in the Strip as unrealistic.

Israel is determined not to return to ruling over some two million hostile Gazans and being responsible for their daily needs, so the default approach of containing Hamas without toppling it is the option Israel has turned to since 2007. This was also true of the 11-day conflict that erupted in May, dubbed by Israel Operation Guardian of the Walls.

In recent years, Gaza has swung like a pendulum between escalations and attempts to reach longer-term mediated understandings between Israel and Hamas.

Intermediaries such as Egypt, the UN, and others have attempted to help negotiate more stable understandings, but so far, all such efforts have failed.
HRC Prompts Major CBC Correction: Israeli Airstrikes Didn’t Break Ceasefire, Hamas’ Arson Balloons Did
On June 16, published a news article which falsely reported that Israel broke the recent truce with Gaza-based terrorists, whereas in fact, Hamas’ incendiary balloons violated the ceasefire.

CBC’s article reversed the chronology of events in a report that made Israel look like the aggressor. As the saying goes, Israel ceases and Hamas fires.

In an HRC complaint sent to the CBC, we conveyed how the chronology of hostilities had been reversed. The CBC’s header: “Israel airstrikes target Gaza sites, further testing fragile ceasefire” could easily have been: “Palestinian arson balloons further test fragile ceasefire”. Instead, Israel was depicted as the aggressor.

The reality is that the Israeli airstrikes in Gaza were precipitated by dozens of incendiary devices launched into Israel that caused hundreds of acres of land to go up in flames. As well, contrary to the CBC’s reporting, the arson terror occurred BEFORE the March of Flags parade in Jerusalem and not after. Hamas merely used the parade as a pretext to carry out attacks and they did so prior to the parade actually going on.

As we told the CBC, this article unfairly and inaccurately painted Israel as the aggressor, and the party that broke the truce.

IDF: Attempted stabbing foiled at West Bank settlement, attacker shot
The Israel Defense Forces said that security forces foiled an attempted stabbing attack in the settlement of Yitzhar in the northern West Bank on Friday. The suspect was shot and “neutralized.”

“A suspect was identified by an IDF observation post a short while ago attempting to enter the community of Yitzhar,” the army said.

The settlement’s security officer reached the scene and identified the man who was carrying a knife.

The security officer attempted to detain the suspect and shot him in the lower part of the body when he refused to stop, the army said, adding that the suspect was “neutralized.”

It did not give any details on his condition. There were no other injuries reported.

The settlement published a picture of the knife, which appeared to be a kitchen knife decorated with purple flowers.
Palestinian 'tire terrorism' threaten Evyatar outpost as eviction nears
Palestinians have ramped up their protest against the Evyatar outpost with a new form of “tire and chemical terrorism” as the eviction date nears for the fledgling community.

“Thousands of tires are set on fire every day, causing terrible pollution and suffocating black smoke,” Religious Zionist Party head Bezalel Smotrich said on Thursday as he called on Defense Minister Benny Gantz to halt this new form of organized Palestinian violence.

“This is not a protest action but a new kind of chemical warfare designed to cause suffering and suffocation,” he added.

This “new and dangerous form of tire terrorism has spread” behind the area of the Evyatar outpost, Smotrich wrote adding that such use of smoke and chemicals is prohibited under international law.

Videos of masked Palestinians holding torches have circulated on social media, including twitter.

Palestinians have mounted an unusual response, with nightly vigil protests, known as “night disruptions” in addition to traditional weekend rallies that have ended in clashes with the IDF.

‘Get out Abbas’: Thousands protest at funeral of activist who died in PA custody
Thousands marched through the streets of Hebron on Friday at the funeral of a Palestinian Authority critic who died in PA custody, with many calling for the end of President Mahmoud Abbas’s 16-year rule.

Nizar Banat, a prominent critic of the PA known for his biting videos on social media, died on Thursday after being arrested by officers in the Palestinian security services.

According to Banat’s family members, they witnessed him being viciously beaten for eight minutes straight before officers dragged him off.

“Get out, get out, Abbas. This is the vote of all the people,” protesters chanted. Green flags emblazoned with white Arabic calligraphy, often associated with the Hamas terror group, dotted the procession.

Invoking one of the best-known slogans of the 2011 Arab revolutions, demonstrators called out: “The people want to topple the regime!”

“Out, out, out, get the dogs of the PA out,” others said.

Popular Mahmoud Abbas Critic Killed in Raid, a 'Political Assassination'

MEMRI: Journalist Who Warned About Palestinian Authority's Inept Covid Response Dies Of Covid
'Abd Al-Nasser Al-Najjar, a senior Palestinian journalist and a columnist for the Al-Ayyam daily, died on June 23, 2021, at the age of 61, of covid complications after contracting the virus several months ago.[1] Al-Najjar, who served in the past as the head of the Palestinian Journalists Union and as a lecturer on communications at Al-Quds University, was an independent thinker who voiced critical opinions on multiple issues, including the character of Hamas' regime in Gaza, the persecution of Christian minorities in the Arab world, the issuing of extremist fatwas that distort the tenets of Islam, and violations of press freedom in the Palestinian Authority (PA). Over the years MEMRI published excerpts from several of his articles on these issues.[2]

In 2020, Al-Najjar devoted two of his columns to warning about the inadequate response to the covid pandemic in the Palestinian territories. He expressed concern that the Palestinian public's disregard of the covid restrictions, coupled with the PA's laxity in enforcing them, would result in disaster. Stating that the Palestinians need "a leadership capable of making difficult decisions in real time and putting out the spreading fire," he asked: "Are we willing to bury [our] dear ones without saying goodbye because of lack of compliance [with the guidelines] and irresponsible behavior?"

The following are excerpts from two articles published by Al-Najjar in 2020 about the PA's inept response to the Covid pandemic.

Al-Najjar: Hebron Is "The Wuhan Of Palestine"; Our Rate Of Infection Is One Of The Highest In The World

In a July, 2020 column,[3] Al-Najjar wrote that the covid situation in the PA is far worse than depicted by the Palestinian media, and that the PA is negligent in tackling the Palestinian public's widespread disregard for the emergency covid guidelines and in setting up an efficient testing mechanism. He wrote: "The night of Sunday, May 25, 2020, was packed with events... That night, I was in the city of Hebron. My journalist colleagues invited me to an iftar [Ramadan break-fast] feast at a restaurant. There, I asked a respected friend about the situation in the district, and about the lockdown. He said: 'Things are out of control.'

"During the iftar I was informed about a mass march heading towards the district [headquarters] shouting slogans about fully opening up the city. To preserve the public order, the marchers' demands were met, on condition that the cautionary guidelines were strictly followed. At that time, the mosques were full of worshippers, despite the Ministry of Religious Endowment's instructions to pray at home. Also during the lockdown, some people took advantage of their situation – that is, parts of Hebron under Palestinian control and parts under occupation control – to avoid following the guidelines, and held Friday prayers in mosques under occupation control, with the participation of many people from the nearby neighborhoods.

"This is how it was in Hebron from the week before the end of Ramadan to the government's [May 25] announcement of the lifting of the lockdown on condition that the rules ensuring caution were followed.

Six takeaways from Iran nuke negotiations - analysis
Some major events have happened in the last week of the nuclear standoff between Iran, the US and the world powers, which give some additional insights into what to expect next.

Following a background briefing to the media by a senior US State Department official, here are six takeaways:
1. Follow-on negotiations: A major reason there has been no deal so far is that the Biden administration has held tough to there being a follow on round of negotiations to address issues which the JCPOA nuclear deal did not address.

These include: ballistic missiles, the Islamic Republic's destabilization of the Middle East and potentially extending nuclear limits beyond 2030. Israel opposes a return to the JCPOA, partially because it believes a US attempt to get new concessions after lifting sanctions is foolhardy. Jerusalem might be slightly heartened to hear that Washington may be taking this issue seriously even if it will not fully meet Israeli concerns. The US also seems to be taking Tehran's advanced centrifuge and higher enrichment levels seriously.
Blinken Says Lack of IAEA-Iran Monitoring Deal a Serious Concern
The lack of an interim agreement between the UN nuclear watchdog and Iran on the monitoring of atomic activities is a serious concern that has been communicated to Tehran, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday.

Struck on Feb. 21, the interim monitoring deal was valid for three months, then extended by a month on May 24. The International Atomic Energy Agency has said it expired on Thursday. It is in talks with Iran on another extension.

“This remains a serious concern,” Blinken told reporters at a news conference in Paris alongside his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian. “The concern has been communicated to Iran and needs to be resolved.

A spokesman for the IAEA said that Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi would inform the IAEA Board of Governors on the matter during the course of Friday.

Iran struck a deal with major powers in 2015 to curb its uranium enrichment program, a possible pathway to nuclear arms, in return for the lifting of US., European Union and UN sanctions.

Former US President Donald Trump abandoned the deal in 2018 and reimposed harsh sanctions, prompting Tehran to start violating some of the nuclear limits in 2019 while sticking to its position that it had no nuclear weapons ambitions. US President Joe Biden is seeking to revive the agreement.
Pompeo to 'Post': Iran unwound nuclear deal in a matter of months
It would be foolish for the Biden administration to return to the Iran nuclear deal when it can see the Islamic Republic was able to unwind from the nuclear limitations in a mere matter of months, former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has told The Jerusalem Post.

Pompeo was addressing questions about whether Trump administration sanctions policies were effective when one of the results was a jump by Iran to higher levels of uranium enrichment, such as the 20% and 60% levels.

“Regarding the level of enrichment issue – the fact that now they are at 60% doesn’t prove the decision to withdraw from the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the Iran deal] was a mistake. A commitment not to enrich when you have the capacity to do research on advanced, more capable centrifuges is folly,” he said.

The former secretary of state and CIA director continued, “If I have the capacity to do centrifuges, I can turn up the pressure. You can enrich anytime you choose: in 2017, 2019, 2021, 2029. It is foolish to think that for anything which you can do in a matter of months, you should sacrifice: 1) billions of dollars, 2) allow assassinations throughout Europe, 3) allow the missile program to develop and 4) allow terror in the Middle East.

“It is foolish and naïve. I hope the Biden administration will have learned its lesson,” he added.

Next, he was confronted with criticism even from some who criticized the JCPOA, but thought the US should not have withdrawn so early in 2018, but should have waited to withdraw until near the end of the deal’s nuclear limits in 2024 or 2029. The idea would have been to reap the benefits of Iranian compliance with uranium enrichment limits and to challenge Tehran only when those limits were close to expiring.
Bennett appears to hint at Israeli involvement in attack on Iran nuclear site
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett appeared to hint at Israel’s role in a recent attack on an Iranian nuclear site during a speech at a graduation ceremony for Israeli Air Force pilots on Thursday.

“Our enemies know — not from statements, but from actions — that we are much more determined and much more clever, and that we do not hesitate to act when it is needed,” Bennett said in his speech at the IAF’s Hatzerim Air Base, outside Beersheba.

His remarks came a day after an alleged drone attack on an Iranian centrifuge production facility outside Tehran, which reportedly damaged the site.

In his speech, one of his first since taking over as premier earlier this month, Bennett referred to Israel’s strike on Iraq’s nuclear reactor nearly 40 years ago.

The attack — dubbed Operation Opera — was the first implementation of what has become known as the Begin Doctrine, named for then-prime minister Menachem Begin, which favors taking military action — unilaterally, if necessary — in order to prevent enemy countries in the Middle East from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Bennett said Israel’s prime ministers have always had a “sacred responsibility not to allow an existential threat to the State of Israel. Then it was Iraq, today it is Iran.”

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