Monday, July 05, 2021

From Ian:

David Singer: Israel signals end to EU-funded unauthorised building in Area C
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s declaration in January 2020 – made before he was elected Israel’s Prime Minister – should now set off alarm bells in the EU:
“Our objective is that within a short amount of time, and we will work for it, we will apply [Israeli] sovereignty to all of Area C, not just the settlements, not just this bloc or another… We are embarking on a real and immediate battle for the future of the land of Israel and the future of Area C"

The EU then responded:
"Demolitions and seizures of humanitarian assets are contrary to Israel's obligations under international law".

Representing these EU-funded structures as “humanitarian assets” was deceptive and misleading. They are “political structures aimed at stopping Israeli sovereignty being applied in Area C “.

EU intervention and meddling in Area C of the 'West Bank' over the last ten years will seemingly no longer be tolerated by Israel’s new Government.

Will Palestinians denounce Mufti Hussaini, and Hitler?
That the Palestinian institute does not denounce Hitler — and anyone who cooperated with him, outright and without any justification — is a huge ethical and moral failure. Since the dawn of history, nations formed alliances in ways that served their interests, and that’s understandable.

Hitler, however, was not an average autocrat with whom an alliance was debatable. Hitler was a psychopathic leader who unleashed endless evil among his followers. Believing that other ethnicities or races were inferior and deserved to be exterminated belonged to Medieval times. But by the Twentieth centuries, such ideas had become morally reprehensible. That some Palestinians still believe, today, that an alliance of expediency with Hitler was justifiable, is a problem.

Now the question is this: Why does IPS still support Hussaini, even though some of its most influential leaders, such as the Chicago academic activist Rashid Khalidi, do not think highly of Hussaini?

In his most recent book, the picture that Khalidi painted of Hussaini was as such: “[A] bitter split between those loyal to the mufti… and the mufti’s opponents, led by the former Jerusalem mayor Raghib Al-Nashashibi… resulted in hundreds of assassinations in the late 1930s [and] gravely sapped the strength of Palestinians.”

Al-Nashashibi was forced into exile in Beirut in 1938, “after his life was threatened and his house in Ramleh burned with the loss of all his books and papers. This was undoubtedly the work of the mufti’s men,” according to Khalidi.

So Mufti Hussaini was not only someone who did not see the moral failure in allying with Germany’s Hitler, he was also a charlatan who threatened the lives of his political rivals in Jerusalem and sent them into exile. And yet, the IPS celebrates Hussaini’s life as one of the founding fathers of the Palestinian national movement. Until those Palestinians start denouncing such characters and learning from their mistakes, their movement will remain as ethically and morally challenged as it is today.

Israel Sends Two Firefighting Planes to Cyprus to Help Put Out Fires
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Saturday evening that Israel will send two firefighting planes to Cyprus on Sunday to help put out fires raging on the island.

Foreign Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid spoke with his Cypriot counterpart, Nikos Christodoulides, and said Israel would do everything in its power to help Cyprus bring the fires under control.

A huge fire, fueled by winds and heat, broke out in southern Cyprus on Saturday, prompting authorities to ask for help from Israel and the European Union.

About 10 villages were evacuated.

However, firefighters have yet to extinguish the fire in the Arakapas district north of the port city of Limassol.

No casualties were reported but several homes were destroyed.

Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiades thanked Greece in a tweet, after Greece sent two firefighting planes within the framework of a European mechanism, and Israel for having answered the call during this “difficult” day.

Cyprus has been facing a heat wave since the start of the week, with temperatures exceeding 45 degrees Celsius.

Former Arab Member of Knesset Investigated for Incitement to Terrorism
Former Member of Knesset (MK) Heba Yazbak, of the Arab-majority Joint List, was questioned by the police on Monday on suspicion of incitement to terrorism.

Yazbak is being investigated by the Lahav 433 Unit on suspicion of incitement and support for terrorism, following videos and messages she posted on social media in which she shared praise and support for terrorists and terrorist organizations.

Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit approved the investigation.

Yazbak has shared posts on social networks that included content that encouraged and supported terrorists, including those who murdered children.

For instance, in May 2015, Yazbak shared a photo of Kunter and praised him as a “martyred warrior” who died while waging Jihad.

Kuntar participated in the 1979 nighttime attack in Nahariya in which he murdered a policeman and then abducted Danny Haran and his daughter Einat and later murdered them both on the beach. Einat’s sister Yael suffocated to death while attempting to hide from Kuntar and the other three terrorists.

In 2013, Yazbak posted a picture of the terrorist Dalal al-Mughrabi, who participated in the 1978 terrorist attack in which 37 Israeli civilians were murdered.
Rivlin Presents Israel Defense Prize for Final Time as President
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Monday presented the Israel Defense Prize for the last time while in office before his seven-year term ends on July 9.

The ceremony at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem saw four projects awarded the top prize given annually by the country’s defense establishment.

The winning projects were developed by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Mossad, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), the Defense Ministry and Israeli defense industries.

Addressing the recipients, Rivlin expressed his appreciation “for the innovative and sophisticated developments and systems that justify this award.”

“It is the people behind the technology that are the most important – without the people and their values, no innovative technology can protect us,” Rivlin continued. “It is your spirits and belief in the righteousness of your missions that make you, my dears, the best.”

Rivlin was joined at the ceremony by Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Chief of the General Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi, and Director General of the Defense Ministry, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Amir Eshel.

According to the Defense Ministry, the Israel Defense Prize was conceived by the country’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, who wanted to recognize the contributions to Israel’s security by the people involved in research and development projects.

IDF Debuts Drone Swarms to Seek and Attack Hidden Targets
During the 2021 Gaza War, while Israel refrained from crossing the border with land forces, some of those forces employed unmanned systems to seek and destroy hidden targets. This was the combat debut of a new capability developed by the IDF.

The IDF created a new Seek-and-Destroy (S&D) company in the paratrooper brigade, equipped with autonomous drones that operate in groups to gather intelligence, acquire targets, and deliver precision attacks.

The backbone enabling the new capability is the IDF network-enabled command, control, communications and intelligence system, which enables the creation of a highly detailed and accurate situational picture.

It has tools to spot anomalies that could indicate the existence of hidden enemies or targets in real-time. The system enables ground forces to direct precision airstrikes at targets they can see without delay.

In recent years drones have proved essential for all military operations, providing critical intelligence and pursuing time-sensitive targets. On May 6, 2021, the new S&D unit became the first military unit to operate drone swarms in combat, seeking and destroying dozens of hidden enemy targets in over 30 missions beyond the border in complex terrain in rural and urban areas. After striking the targets selected for engagement, the drones performed battle damage assessment.

Following its success in Gaza, the IDF Ground Forces Command recommended establishing more S&D companies over the next year to improve combat effectiveness.

Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinian president Abbas urges Canada to help 'stop Israeli agression'
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday called on Canada and the international community to “stop Israeli aggressions that violate international law.” He made the appeal during a meeting in Ramallah with Canadian Foreign Minister Marc Garneau.

Garneau’s visit to Ramallah came as Abbas continues to face widespread criticism over the death of anti-corruption activist Nizar Banat, who was reportedly beaten to death by PA security officers in Hebron on June 24.

In the past week, thousands of Palestinians have taken to the streets to demand Abbas's removal from office. The protesters have also demanded that those responsible for the death of Banat be brought to justice.

The visit also comes amid a stepped-up crackdown by PA security forces on political activists, social media users and journalists in the West Bank.

The Representative Office of Canada in Ramallah last week said it was “deeply concerned by the attacks on Palestinians protesting the death of Nizar Banat, as well as the unacceptable attacks on journalists covering the protests.” It called on the PA to take immediate steps to ensure that freedoms of assembly and expression are respected and protected.

Abbas told Garneau that the Palestinians are prepared to return to the political process with Israel “to end the occupation and achieve comprehensive peace, in accordance with international resolutions, under the auspices of the Quartet” members – the US, Russia, the United Nations and the European Union.

Abbas stressed the importance of having a political horizon and giving hope to the Palestinians, according to the PA’s official news agency WAFA.

Palestinian Authority claims anti-Abbas protests serve Israel
Palestinians demonstrating against the death of anti-corruption activist Nizar Banat are serving the interests and goals of Israel, the Palestinian Authority’s official newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida said on Monday.

Commenting on the protests that erupted following the death of Banat, who was reportedly beaten to death by PA security officers in Hebron on June 24, during which they called on PA President Mahmoud Abbas to step down, the newspaper accused the demonstrators of working “in favor of agenda calling for sabotage and chaos.”

In an editorial, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida denounced the protests as “demonstrations of deceit.” It said that the protesters' chants on the streets of Ramallah last Saturday were “characterized by obscenity and lack of unity and national and moral values.”

The newspaper pointed out that some of the protesters chanted slogans denouncing the PA security officers as dogs, calling for the departure of Abbas, “the head of the national struggle and constitutional legitimacy.”

According to the PA newspaper, the demand that Abbas step down is what Israel wishes for.

The calls “serve Israel and its aggressive racist goals,” it argued. “The language of obscenity was never, and never will be, the language of the Palestinian street. The demonstration in Ramallah was not in favor of Banat, but rather in favor of agendas calling for sabotage and chaos with the hope of repeating the scenario of the Arab Autumn – which was not an Arab Spring – so that Israel could enjoy the results.”

PreOccupiedTerritory: What Good Is Your Cause If You’re Not Willing To Kill Children For It? by Yahya Sinwar, Hamas Chief (satire)
We boast often that we courageously place minors and other noncombatants in or near positions of military importance, with the intent of provoking Israeli strikes on those positions and exploiting the international condemnation of Israel for the inevitable deaths of those noncombatants, thus contributing to our true goal, i.e. undermining the Zionist Entity’s international legitimacy. None of that would be possible if we had any qualms about putting those noncombatants in harm’s way, a policy that the enemy has never had the resolve to implement, or even consider. And that is why we will win: what good is your cause if you’re not willing to kill children for it?

It never ceases to amaze me that the masses blame Israel for killings that, morally and legally, we caused. Perhaps cowardice lies behind that phenomenon; perhaps something else. Either way, it remains clear that the side with no compunctions about endangering its children, and indeed, making the deaths of those children a cornerstone of its strategy, has many more options, even if it is outgunned and out-technologied.

It helps that the media in general amplify our point of view while downplaying that of Israel.

The fundamental clash of cultures comes into play each time a mini-war erupts between us and the Zionists: their highest value has always been preservation of human life, even the ones on our side, whereas we view human life merely as a tool for a larger goal, in this case the long-term endeavor to erase the humiliation of Jewish control over Islamic lands. A few thousand children’s lives are a pittance to pay for such a noble achievement, which, I assure you, we are ever-closer to attaining. Any day now the Jews will pack up and leave.

Where? That’s not my business. They’re the ones who care so much about life; let them worry about it.
Seth Frantzman: Lebanon has entered a cycle of unending crisis
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when Lebanon’s current crisis began. There were protests in late June over a hike in fuel prices and protests against banks on June 26 when demonstrators attacked the Lebanese Swiss Bank and other branches as the local currency hit record lows.

These types of attacks have taken place before; banks were targeted in April 2020. And these crises go back to the reality that Lebanon lacks a new government, despite Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri being on a foreign trip to drum up support in the UAE, Turkey and Egypt. Defense Minister Benny Gantz has offered to provide assistance to Lebanon.

Lebanon is in the midst of a long, slouching, slow-moving disaster, like a mudslide that gains momentum over time. The country is divided along sectarian lines and has a political system that is broken.

Lebanon also has an armed state-within-a-state called Hezbollah, which siphons off cash, plays a role in security, carries out extrajudicial assassinations and increasingly operates a parallel network of health, banking, construction and even supermarket services. These factors have hollowed out Lebanon, leaving it an empty shell.

The current crisis is over fuel prices and declines in exchange rates. According to Al Jazeera, “the cash-strapped country would now import fuel at 3,900 Lebanese pounds to the dollar, as opposed to 1,500. A ministerial source told Al Jazeera the price of a tank of petrol could almost double. The decision was made following a meeting last week between President Michel Aoun, Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh, caretaker Energy Minister Raymond Ghajar and caretaker Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni at Baabda Palace.”
Israeli Defense Minister: ‘We Are Ready to Act’ to Help Lebanon
Israel stands ready to assist Lebanon and help it through its current crisis, Israel’s defense minister said on Sunday.

Speaking at the inauguration near Metula of a monument to the fallen soldiers of the Southern Lebanese Army, Benny Gantz said that Israel had offered assistance to Lebanon in the past, and was ready to do so again today.

“We are ready to act, and to encourage other countries to extend a helping hand to Lebanon so that it will once again flourish and emerge from its state of crisis,” said Gantz.

Lebanon is in the midst of a severe economic crisis, with shortages of fuel, medicine and basic goods. The Lebanese currency is foundering and banks have moved to restrict withdrawals and transfers.

“As an Israeli, as a Jew and as a human being, my heart aches seeing the images of people going hungry on the streets of Lebanon,” said Gantz.

The crisis, which began in late 2019, is blamed by many in Lebanon on corruption and mismanagement by the political class.

Gantz said the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah shoulders part of the blame for the crisis, which he said it is using as cover to take over the country.

“We see attempts to increase the interference of Iran in Lebanon and to carry out a kind of quiet revolution. Step-by-step, Iranian organizations and Iranian investments are entered into Lebanon and with them attempts to insert weapons and a radical ideology,” said Gantz.
Nasrallah: There are no people in Israel, only settlers and occupiers
"There are no people in the Israeli entity, they are all occupiers and settlers," said Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah during a speech on Monday afternoon.

The speech was delivered at the opening of a conference titled "Palestine is Victorious," convened in Lebanon in order to renew media discourse and manage the conflict with Israel.

Nasrallah did not specify whether Arab Israelis were also considered occupiers and settlers.

With tensions rising between the US and pro-Iranian militias in Syria and Iraq, Nasrallah stressed on Monday that Hezbollah is "facing the American hegemony" in Iraq and Syria.

The Hezbollah leader added that the conflicts with Israel and the US cannot be separated as Israel's existence is contingent on American support, saying "Every massacre committed by the enemy is an American massacre, and every aggression of this enemy is American aggression."

Seth Frantzman: Is Iran preparing a new series of attacks on US, Israel with proxies?
What is known today is that Iran appears to be messaging about new attacks on the US in Syria. This could include attacks on US forces at al-Omar oil field or the Conoco petroleum company in areas the US is known to be stationed.

The US is in Syria to defeat ISIS and support the Syrian Democratic Forces. Satellite images published online by Aurora Intel from Planet Labs show that an area of the US facility at al-Omar oil field, called Green Village, was allegedly damaged in the June 28 shelling. A warehouse was damaged.

Iran’s militias tend to have good intel on US facilities. In April, they used a drone to target a secret CIA hangar in Erbil. A June 27 drone attack on Erbil targeted an area near the new US Consulate.

There is more to the Iranian threat than just using militias to harass US forces in Syria. Iran’s media reported about the targeting of an “Israeli-owned” ship making its way to India from the Persian Gulf is also likely signaling more targeting of commercial ships linked to Israel.

Iran began targeting ships in May 2019 and increased attacks against commercial ships linked to Israel this February. Israeli officials accused Iran of at least one of these incidents.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz had tough words for Tehran on Sunday, saying Israel would not accept Iran’s activities and entrenchment in the region. Iran knows that Israel is ready to act, he said.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett convened a meeting on Sunday to discuss US-Iran talks and the possibility the US might return to the so-called Iran deal, journalist Barak Ravid reported.

These points of concern expressed by Israel, along with the messaging from Iran about targeting a ship and the US in Syria, appear to sketch out the possibilities for a new round of tension. This tension and incidents may include thousands of kilometers of possible strike targets by pro-Iranian groups.

This is how Tehran operationalizes these groups from Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. Iran doesn’t fight wars; it gets others to do that. Now it wants to provoke more tensions with the US in Syria and possibly with Israel as well.


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