Thursday, July 08, 2021

From Ian:

The Palestinian Vaccine Fiasco
The July batch, as noted above, went to South Korea. The remaining doses, which reportedly expire in August, are still available. This means there is still a chance to get them to Palestinians in need should the Palestinian Authority—currently wracked by its own scandals—decide to reengage on the subject.

But that political failure is unlikely to be rectified anytime soon due to the failures of two other entities that might have pressured the Palestinian Authority to change course: the media and the human rights community.

In June, rather than rebuke the Palestinian Authority for caving to extremists, several prominent NGOs ranging from Human Rights Watch to Physicians for Human Rights went to bat for the vaccine rejection, credulously echoing the false claim that the doses were essentially expired and unusable. These organizations had the contacts and the expertise to understand that this was not the case, but chose not to employ them, instead reflexively putting forward partisan talking points. Had they instead called out the Palestinian Authority for placing politics ahead of public health, its leaders might have altered course.

Meanwhile, the international media did not do much better. Of all people, journalists should reasonably be expected to get to the bottom of whether Israel or the Palestinian Authority was telling the truth about the vaccines. But instead, too many outlets covered the entire affair in “he-said, she-said” terms, as though the truth was unknowable, rather than something that could be determined by careful reporting. The closing of the New York Times dispatch was emblematic of this approach:
Those who accepted Israel’s official position about the donations said the authority’s refusal to accept the vaccines had dented claims that Israel was to blame for the slow vaccination rate among Palestinians. But those who believed the Palestinian position said Israel had acted in bad faith by making the authority an offer that it had no choice but to refuse.

Had the Palestinian Authority originally agreed to accept the vaccines with these expiration dates? Could the doses be administered in time? Or was Israel’s leftist health minister, whose party includes an Arab minister, involved in a sinister scheme to foist unviable vaccines on the Palestinian population? If only there were some journalists around to find out.

Instead, because the international media and activist community largely punted on these questions, the Palestinian Authority was able to evade scrutiny for its decision, and has not renegotiated a new arrangement.

Even now, there is still time for the relevant actors to do the right thing and find a way to get the remaining Israeli doses to the Palestinian population. But that would require many people to admit their previous mistakes and put helping people ahead of partisan posturing, which in the Israeli-Palestinian context is, sadly, never a good bet.

In the meantime, as long as extremists have veto power over even the most uncontroversial cooperative policies, it will be very hard to make any serious progress on the Israeli-Palestinian impasse. Changing these dynamics—in both Israel and Palestine—must be the top task for political leaders who seek something better.
Netherlands boycotting Durban IV conference
The Netherlands will not be attending the Durban IV conference, Dutch Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaag said on Thursday, according to local media reports.

The September 2021 conference marks the 20th anniversary of the Durban declaration, which was adopted at the UN’s 2001 Durban Conference that was marred by anti-Semitism and hatred against Israel.

Kaag said there was an unacceptable risk that the September conference would be a repeat of the Jew hatred of the 2001 conference. She also said that her country would continue to fight against anti-Semitism, reported the Centrum Informatie En Documentatie Israel (CIDI), a Dutch Jewish advocacy organization.

“The Netherlands will not participate in the Durban IV meeting, in view of the historical burden of the Durban process, the risk of repetition of abuse of this platform for anti-Semitic expressions and the disproportionate and one-sided attention to Israel as reflected in the original Durban statement,” Kaag said.

UN Watch described Durban IV as "(endorsing) this perversion of the principles of anti-racism. As world leaders gather for the General Assembly’s annual opening, this one-day event plans to adopt a ‘political declaration’ calling for the ‘full and effective implementation’ of the Durban Declaration.”

At 75, the UN is an embracing failure
All these actions, taken by the UN and its affiliates, are evidence that the UN has a worse human rights record than the League had. The UN's actions are so egregious, that if it were taken by the League, it would be tantamount to putting Hitler's Germany on the Human Rights Council, Mussolini's Italy on the Disarmament Conference, praise for Imperial Japan's conduct in (then) occupied China, and would likely include 75% of resolutions condemning Jewish settlement in the British Mandate of Palestine (it's worth noting that the earliest extra-biblical mention of the people of Israel in the region dates to 1207 BCE).

Yes, the UN has accomplished many good things too, but that will not be enough to render the UN a success if it collapses. After all, no one remembers the League's successes, which included addressing human trafficking; settling territorial disputes, thereby preventing numerous wars; gaining the emancipation of 219,000 slaves in Sierra Leone (Ironically, Mauritania, with a large slave population, is on the UNHRC), and repatriating 400,000 POW's of twenty-seven different nationalities after World War One.

If the UN collapses, people will only discuss its failures, not its successes. Moreover, we will have no excuse, as we have already been warned about this by one of the UN's architects, Winston Churchill. In his 1946 speech "The Tragedy of Europe," Churchill described why the League failed, with words that can also describe our contemporary UN: "The League of Nations did not fail because of its principles or conceptions. It failed because these principles were deserted by those States who had brought it into being. It failed because the governments of those days feared to face the facts, and act while time remained. This disaster must not be repeated. There is therefore much knowledge and material with which to build; and also bitter dear-bought experience."

Compared to the League, the UN's actions are egregious. The UN hardly even seems to care about its job anymore, and its founding states turn a blind eye to its behavior. Don't say we weren't warned about the consequences of allowing this to continue.

We have – by one of the UN's founders – and we are already beginning to reap the ills of the UN's current rot. This pandemic, and the detriment that the world is suffering partially due to the WHO running to do China's bidding at the beginning of the outbreak, is a warning to us of the dangers of continuing to allow the UN to betray its founding principles. We cannot afford to allow this to continue. The UN is now at seventy-five. Now is the time to push for reform.

Jerusalem Think Tank Hosts Conference on European Reactions to the Gaza War
The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, headed by former Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold, hosted on Monday a panel on Operation Guardian of the Walls and the reactions in Europe.

In the course of the event, one of the participants, Senator Matteo Salvini, the leader of the Italian League Party and one of Italy's most senior leaders, announced that he would distribute the text of the Hamas Charter to his fellow members in the Italian Parliament and the European Parliament so that they would understand the terrorist organization's intentions in its war against Israel and its ambition to spread Islam around the world.

Salvini stressed that he would work to boycott the upcoming Durban Conference, as is the United States and Canada. "This is an anti-Semitic committee that does not deal with the issue of human rights at all," he said.

The panel also hosted Hungary's ambassador to Israel, Levente Benko, who condemned Hamas' firing of rockets at Israel, stressing that Hungary backed Israel's right to defend itself and that Hungary had blocked the EU's joint declaration against Israel during the military operation.
Italian Senator to raise awareness about Hamas goals in EU Parliament
At a panel on the European reaction to Operation Guardian of the Walls this past Monday, Italian Senator Matteo Salvini announced that he would distribute the text of the Hamas Charter to his fellow members of the Italian and European Parliaments in order to raise awareness of the threat the pose.

Salvini said he would do this to make them understand the terrorist organization's intentions in its war against Israel and its ambition to spread radical Islam around the world.

The panel was hosted by The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA), headed by Dr. Dore Gold, former Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Salvini, who is leader of the Italian League Party and is one of Italy's most senior leaders, stressed that he would work to boycott the upcoming Durban Conference, alongside the US and Canada.

"This is an antisemitic committee that does not deal with the issue of human rights at all," he said of the conference.

The JCPA panel also hosted Hungarian ambassador to Israel, Levante Banco, who stressed Hungary's support of Israel's right to defend itself against Hamas and condemned the firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israel.

He reminded the panel that Hungary had blocked the joint EU declaration against Israel during the military operation, and confirmed that Hungary would also be boycotting this year's Durban Conference.
Israeli defense innovations saved lives during the conflict
In the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas, I watched in amazement at the Iron Dome defense system taking out missile after missile fired from Gaza. It looked like a video game or a science-fiction movie. The “thud thud” sound of Iron Dome exploding missiles became the soundtrack of bomb shelters across Israel, as the incredible technology caught 90-95% of missiles fired by Hamas.

Just imagine how many more deaths there might have been without it – Gazan, as well as Israeli.

As Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Yoav Har-Even, president and CEO of Rafael, Advanced Defense Systems, the main contractor that developed Iron Dome, said, “Iron Dome... [is] a true game-changer, saving lives, preventing escalation, enabling military and political decision-makers to make calm and collected decisions.”

Indeed, Richard Kemp CBE, former British Army colonel, said “the most effective means of saving Gazan civilian lives has been Israel’s Iron Dome.... If hundreds of Israelis were dying under Hamas rockets, the IDF would have no choice other than to strike Gaza with much greater ferocity, [...] unavoidably inflicting vastly more civilian casualties than we have seen so far.”

According to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry, 250 Gazans were killed during the recent conflict. However, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) says most of those killed by Israel’s retaliatory airstrikes were members of Hamas, which is widely recognized as a terrorist group. The IDF also suggested it has evidence that some civilian casualties were killed by Hamas misfires.
Seth Frantzman: How Drones Shaped Warfare — and Israel
Drone Wars: Pioneers, Killing Machines, Artificial Intelligence and the Battle for the Future by Seth Frantzman, (Bombardier Books, 2021)

Drones are transforming the way wars are fought. Pioneered in Israel in the 1980s and developed further in the United States in the 1990s, drones are now being used by Iran, China, Turkey, and other countries. They are increasingly a threat to US troops in Iraq, and have been deployed by Iran to threaten Israel. In the course of writing my new book, I spoke to drone operators, generals, and defense companies that are innovating in the field. From lasers to Israel’s Iron Dome, the drone wars are changing how we live.

What follows is an excerpt from my new book, which has been edited for length:
On June 6, 1967, Israeli soldier Yaki Hetz fought in one of Israel’s toughest battles. He was one of the men in Israel’s 55th Paratrooper brigade assaulting Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem against Jordanian forces during the battle for Jerusalem in the Six-Day War. The hill was festooned with trenches. From the top of the hill, one can see the Old City of Jerusalem in the distance, and the Ottoman-era walls of the city. “It all happened so quickly,” he later recalled. His platoon commander was hit by the Jordanians, and he helped take command of the assault at just after 2:30 a.m. Hetz won the Medal of Courage.

The battle for Ammunition Hill led Hetz to the conclusion that what was needed was something that infantry could use to see around a trench or over a hill while fighting in close combat. He made a sketch of a weapon that could hover, see, and then kill the enemy. He had moved on from the trauma of 1967 to study engineering and then work at Israel’s Authority for the Development of Armaments, later called Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. Hetz would work at Rafael for 40 years, and his dream of a loitering munition would eventually take shape in the early 2000s. Eventually called Firefly, it would be a three-kilogram missile with two rotors that could be put in a backpack, launch easily, and fly around a building to attack concealed or dug-in enemies.
Israel, UAE economic ties falter as US freezes Abraham Fund
The great fanfare that greeted the signing of the Abraham Accords – particularly the supposedly burgeoning relationship between Israel and the United Arab Emirates – seems to have stalled, following the revelation that none of the economic projects agreed upon have entered into force.

According to financial daily Globes, US President Joe Biden's administration has appeared much less enthusiastic about allocating a budget for regional products than his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, who along with his negotiation team, which his son-in-law Jared Kushner headed, was instrumental in establishing.

The Biden administration has not replaced Rabbi Aryeh Lightstone, whom Trump selected to lead the Abraham Fund and who left his position in January. Outwardly, the administration is supportive of the Abraham Accords, but it does not appear enthusiastic to allocate money from its budget to the Abraham Fund.

One of the potential stumbling blocks for American involvement is Biden's focus on domestic issues, particularly the continued massive government expenditure in the wake of the response to the coronavirus pandemic. Israeli sources according to Globes, confirmed an unnamed senior US official who maintained that the fund was indefinitely frozen.

Huge explosion rocks Dubai's Jabel Ali Port
A huge explosion rocked Dubai's Jabel Ali Port, the Middle East's largest transshipment hub, on Wednesday night after a container carrying flammable materials ignited. The exact cause of the blast is under investigation, but according to media reports, at this time, there is no suspicion of foul play.

According to Dubai Civil Defense, no casualties were reported in the incident and the 14 sailors aboard the ship were all evacuated safely. DCD chief Maj. Gen. Rashid al-Matroushi said that the fire caused by the explosion was brought under control in less than an hour.

Dubai Media Office Director-General Mona Al Marri told Saudi-owned Al Arabiya that the explosion was a "normal accident" in a container holding flammable materials.

The network cited the Dubai Police as saying the cause may have been "friction or high temperatures" during the regional heatwave.

High Court rejects petitions against Nation-State Law
Israel's High Court of Justice rejected 15 petitions against the Nation-State Law on Thursday. The court had been asked to determine if the law was fit to be a part of Israel's future constitution, given its content.

The court explained the verdict, saying that it is not within its purview to order the law be cancelled or be involved in its content. The court also commented on the intent of the law, that it is to establish the Jewish character of the state without diminishing the democratic nature of the state.

Justice George Karra was of the minority opinion, saying that some parts of the law challenge Israel's democratic nature. Karra said that the law ignoring Arab and Druze citizens of Israel harms the principle of equality that is not explicitly established in the law.

Justice minister Gideon Sa'ar responded to the verdict saying that the nation state law is an important law that sets the essence and character of Israel as a nation state of the Jewish people. He said the supreme court did the right thing by rejecting the petitions because the law does not harm the individual rights of Israeli citizens.

Former justice minister Ayelet Shaked also praised the ruling, but said that she was disturbed that the court even discussed the possibility of overturning the basic law "removing the authority of the nation to set the character and identity of The State of Israel in the name of legal values would remove the basis of our democratic process," she warned.
As Israel mulls 3rd virus shot, study shows antibody levels high after 6 months
Israeli health workers vaccinated with the Pfizer shot were still showing very high levels of antibodies six months after their shots, the Kan public broadcaster reported Tuesday.

The report, based on serological studies conducted by Israel’s four health maintenance organizations on health care workers, who were the first Israelis to get the shots in December, found that most had antibody levels above 700. The report said a level of 150 was needed to be considered protected.

One of the health organizations also conducted a second serological study in care homes, and found that even elderly, immunocompromised patients on ventilators who were vaccinated were showing high antibody levels.

Meanwhile, a third study from Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer found that vaccinated individuals who test positive for COVID-19 are less contagious than their unvaccinated counterparts.

According to the study of 9,650 workers at Sheba — conducted in conjunction with Harvard University over a period of several months — those who have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, and then test positive, pass the disease on to fewer people in their surroundings.

The reports come as Israel has begun debating the need for a third booster shot amid a spike in cases and signs that the vaccine was slightly less effective against the Delta variant of the coronavirus.
COVID deaths reported in Israel for first time in over 2 weeks
Israeli hospitals reported two deaths from COVID-19 complications on Thursday, the first coronavirus fatalities recorded in over two weeks.

Wolfson Medical Center in Holon said an unvaccinated 48-year-old man died. He did not have any significant preexisting conditions beyond high blood pressure, according to the hospital.

His family members said they had tried unsuccessfully to convince him to get the vaccine. The Ynet news site quoted an unnamed hospital source as saying that had the man been vaccinated, he would likely have survived.

The other fatality was an 86-year-old man hospitalized at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, who had received both vaccine shots. The man’s wife, in her 70s, is also hospitalized with the coronavirus and is in moderate to serious condition. She too got both doses.

The deaths came as Israel has been experiencing a resurgence in infections due to the ultra-infectious Delta variant, though there have been few deaths and serious cases have risen slowly following the country’s mass vaccination campaign.

The fatalities were not yet included in the latest Health Ministry figures published Thursday morning, in which the national toll remained at 6,429. Before Thursday, the last COVID death was recorded on June 23 and prior to that there had been no fatalities for more than a week.
Bennett pushes back at US over razing of Tapuach Junction terrorist home
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett pushed back at the United States over its condemnation of Israel's policy of demolishing the homes of Palestinians who are charged and or convicted for terror attacks that claim lives.

"The Prime Minister appreciates and respects the US," his office said.

"At the same time, [the Prime Minister] acts solely in accordance with security considerations of the State of Israel and need to protection of the lives of Israeli citizens."

It spoke up just hours after the US embassy in Jerusalem slammed the IDF razing of the West Bank family home of Muntasir Shalabi early Thursday morning. Shalabi has been indicted for killing Yehuda Guetta, 19, in a drive-by shooting at the Tapuach junction at the beginning of May.

"The home of an entire family should not be demolished for the actions of one individual," the Embassy spokesperson said on Thursday.

"We believe it is critical for all parties to refrain from unilateral steps that exacerbate tensions and undercut efforts to advance a negotiated two-state solution; this certainly includes the punitive demolition of Palestinian homes," the spokesperson added.

Bennett's exchange with the US is his most serious point of discord since his government was sworn in last month. It comes as Bennett is preparing for his first visit to the White House this summer.
PM deflects American criticism over home demolition, cites security considerations
The US and Israel appeared to be at loggerheads on Thursday in what could be the first public quarrel between the new Israeli government and the Biden administration.

The clash was triggered by indirect US criticism on Thursday over Israel's decision to destroy the family home of a Palestinian-American accused of involvement in a shooting that killed an Israeli and wounded two others in Judea and Samaria.

Muntasir Shalabi was indicted in an Israeli military court over the attack in May in which student Yehuda Guetta was shot dead.

After an appeal in an Israeli court by Shalabi's family against the demolition was unsuccessful, the military said, the villa in Turmus Ayya, a village in which many Palestinian-Americans live, was leveled in a controlled explosion.

In a statement after the home was destroyed, the US Embassy in Jerusalem called on "all parties to refrain from unilateral steps that exacerbate tensions and undercut efforts to advance a negotiated two-state solution" of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"This certainly includes the punitive demolition of Palestinian homes," a spokesperson said. "As we stated numerous times, the home of an entire family should not be demolished for the actions of one individual."

Imam of Lod indicted for incitement to violence during riots
A Lod imam was indicted Thursday on charges of incitement to violence during the May riots in the mixed city.

An indictment against Imam Yosef Muhammad Elbaz, 63, was filed in the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court for inciting violence against police on Facebook and for threatening Lod Deputy Mayor Yossi Harush.

According to the charges, Elbaz was accused of posting a video on Facebook of the violent murder of two police officers, and he attached a text encouraging people to carry out similar acts. The post was viewed by thousands of people.

Elbaz blamed Harush for his alleged provocation of the riots. He was accused of posting a threat in which he promised that Harush would “pay the price.”

“With regards to the war that you wage against us... we promise you, we are responsible enough to make you understand that we will freely give up our souls for the goal of educating you and ending your bullying,” Elbaz’s post said.

UN Watch: 70 NGOs Address UN Debate for Jailed Palestinian Peace Activist Rami Aman
Statement by United Nations Watch on behalf of 70 NGOs, delivered by UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer before the 45th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on September 21, 2020. Following the speech, Rami Aman was subsequently released from prison on October 26, 2020.

PA orders Palestinian businesses to remove Hebrew signs
Abdullah Kmeil, the Palestinian Authority Governor of the Salfit district in the central West Bank, on Thursday issued a “strict decision” obligating all commercial installations and shops in the area to remove signs and billboards written in Hebrew.

Kmeil, who is also a senior official with the ruling Fatah faction headed by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, ordered the businesses to replace the signs and billboards with ones written in Arabic.

The decision came after many Palestinian businesses in the West Bank, especially those close to settlements, started hanging signs in Hebrew to attract Jewish clients.

Kmeil gave the businesses one week to comply with the decision, according to the Salfit Governorate Public Relations and Media Department. Kmeil said that the measure “comes in light of a decision that was taken previously and confirming that the occupation is exploiting the scene of the signs in Hebrew for purposes that serve its racist and fascist policy.”
PMW: 58 Palestinian women murdered in domestic violence in 2 years; PA blamed for not ratifying law to protect them
Palestinian women’s rights organizations blame PA inaction in passing a law to defend women from domestic violence as the reason murder of Palestinian women in domestic violence is increasing.

According to the independent Palestinian NGO, the Women's Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling (WCLAC), over a two-year period (2019-2020), 58 Palestinian women and young women were murdered in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including Jerusalem. In 2019, 21 cases were documented – a number that rose to 37 cases in 2020.

Palestinian NGOs fighting for women’s rights are calling on the PA to finally ratify the laws that will protect women and limit domestic violence:
“Member of the Board of Directors of the Palestinian NGOs Network (PNGO) and Secretary of the Women’s Activity Committees Association in Nablus Sana’a Shbeita emphasized that… ‘The laws… increase the consciousness in society regarding rights, and also constitute a deterrent and bring about security and stability. Therefore, ratifying the law to defend the family against violence will limit the violence against women and will thus protect them from the danger of murder.’”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 3, 2021]

“The absence of a defense mechanism for the women” and “the patriarchal culture that gives men custody over the women and young women” were cited by Tahrir Al-A’araj, Director-General of the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy “Miftah,” as the main reasons for continued violence against and murder of Palestinian women. She foresees that “in the absence of the law to defend the family against violence, the men of the family will continue to do as they please with the women.”

MEMRI: Palestinian Authority PM Mohammad Shtayyeh: There Is No Connection Between Israelis And The Jews; Modern Jews Are Khazar; Oliver Cromwell, Napoleon, And Balfour Wanted A 'Function State' In The Region That Will Serve Their Interests
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said that "there is no connection between Israelis and the Jews." He said modern Israelis are not descendants of Jacob, but are "Khazar Jews" who converted to Judaism in the sixth century CE. He made these remarks in a public address that was aired on Palestine TV on June 29, 2021. Shtayyeh continued to say that Israel "constitutes a function rather than a state." He went on to claim that Oliver Cromwell, Napoleon Bonaparte, the American consul in Jerusalem, and Balfour all said they wanted a 'function state' in the region that serve their interests.

"There Is No Connection Between The Israelis And The Jews"

Mohammad Shtayyeh: "It is important from where we begin the war of narratives. The Hebrews, the Jews, and the Israelis are not the same thing.

"Furthermore, the Israelis... Israel is Jacob. The Israelites are the sons of Jacob. 1,300 years separated between Jacob and Prophet Moses. Therefore, 1,300 years separated between the Israelis and Judaism. So there is no connection between the Israelis and the Jews.

"The other key to the research is the Jews of today. Who are they? Without going into detail – they are the Khazar Jews, who converted to Judaism in the sixth century CE. This issue requires research. There are many sources and books about the Khazar Jews.

Saudi Journalist Dr. Amal Al-Hazzani: The Palestinians Should Be More Appreciative of Saudi Support
Saudi journalist Dr. Amal Al-Hazzani, who is a professor of molecular genetics, said that the Palestinians are incapable of doing anything to further their cause, and all they do is fight among themselves. She made her remarks on Al-Arabiya Network (Saudi Arabia) on June 18, 2021. Dr. Al-Hazzani explained that the Palestinians are like a family member with health problems, who receives his family’s help to such an extent that he is incapable of doing anything for himself.

She continued to say that Yasser Arafat supported Saddam Hussein when he invaded Kuwait and Hamas identifies with the Houthis, who have attacked Saudi Arabia. Dr. Al-Hazzani said that even if Hamas needs Iran or the Houthis, they should show more appreciation for Saudi Arabia and specified that this applies to both Fatah and Hamas. She said that Hamas launched rockets against Israel from residential buildings and Israel retaliated. Al-Hazzani added: “We must recognize who was in the wrong. We should not be blinded by our hatred toward Israel.”

Hamas Is Abusing Children, and the World Is Complicit
Rather, it is the hatred of Israel, and the “human rights” intelligentsia is seemingly more than willing to sacrifice the well-being of Palestinian children to score a few points against the Jewish State.

The harm is not just theoretical, either. Several years ago, I helped prepare a report on the growing trend of Palestinian children being used to carry out terror attacks during the “Knife Intifada.” Dozens of attacks were carried out by Palestinian children, some as young as eight-years-old. Even before then, terrorist groups in Gaza were using children to dig their terror tunnels. At least 160 children reportedly died digging those tunnels even before Operation Protective Edge in 2014.

Or take an example from just a couple of months ago. Muhammad Sabar Ibrahim Suleiman, just 16-years-old, was a Hamas operative who died during the fighting in May alongside his father, a Hamas commander. Subsequently released video shows Muhammad wearing a Hamas uniform, and being trained to use weapons — just like at a Hamas summer camp.

Of course, The New York Times put Muhammad’s picture on its front page, implying he was a victim of Israel, rather than a victim of a terrorist organization and a father who placed a gun in his hands and put him in harm’s way.

All of this illustrates the broader win-win game Hamas plays. Israel either defends itself and loses the PR war, or Israel stands down and innocent Israelis will lose their lives.

By remaining silent amid Hamas and PIJ’s crimes against their own children, while unfailingly condemning Israel for acting in self-defense, organizations like the UN and Human Rights Watch only encourage the terrorists to brainwash and endanger even more children.
Western Silence as Gaza Summer Camps Train Future Terrorists
Teenage boys in Gaza, some still in junior high, are learning how to shoot guns and launch anti-tank missiles at Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad summer camp.

The aim is to "prepare the long-awaited army for the liberation of Palestine," Hamas says.

Through these camps, Hamas and PIJ glorify military operations against Israel and recruit the next generation of terrorists.

Yet the camps attract little notice in the West, showing just how committed leading media and academic institutions are to a narrative of Israeli oppression and Palestinian victimization.

JPost Editorial: Israel needs to help Lebanon
Lebanon desperately needs some assistance. According to an assessment released by UNICEF on Monday, 77% of Lebanese households don’t have enough money to buy food. As we have reported, the country’s medicine importers have warned they have run out of hundreds of essential drugs. Electricity outages and gas shortages are commonplace, and the Lebanese Armed Forces announced it was offering tourists helicopter rides for $150 to make money.

Of course, we cannot ignore reality. Hezbollah is the most dangerous terrorist organization in the world, and has a stranglehold on part of Lebanon. It routinely threatens to destroy Israel. Lebanon also suffers from Iran’s tentacles.

However, every country has extremists and local problems. We have an opportunity to turn a new page. Lebanon and Israel can work together on maritime disputes and other issues. Lebanese and Israelis have been friends in the past, and Jews and Shi’ites, Sunnis, Druze and Maronites, Armenians and Greek Catholics, have all had shared experiences in the past. Modern politics has hijacked this coexistence.

What is needed is a unique, unprecedented and innovative solution that will enable some support from Israel for our cousins in Lebanon. The international community could show that it doesn’t just thrive off the conflict, and step in to help as well. Human rights groups and coexistence groups can showcase their importance now to step up.

In addition, our close friends in the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan may provide a way to aid Lebanon in this time of troubles. This could build on the emerging coexistence and new ties emerging in the region and Eastern Mediterranean.

Lebanon needs help, and Israel is offering it. If only life in the Middle East was as simple as that. Perhaps with the assistance of the above bodies and countries, it can be.
JCPA: Lebanon Stands at the Abyss
Israel Is Not Enough The solution is not to be found in a small gesture presented by Lebanon’s southern neighbor. Lebanon is facing (especially in its northern part) a state of insurgency and civil war. Militias have taken to the streets, and the army has been chased from the streets of Tripoli. All over Lebanon, roadblocks have been established, and demonstrations and angry protests have been taken place to express the Lebanese despair and powerlessness to survive this unprecedented crisis. Lebanon’s body politic has proven to be incapable of finding a solution.

The Lebanese confessional (consociational) political formula has failed: first created in 1958, amended after 15 years of civil war in 1990, and today, obsolete. The system must be refurbished, renovated, replaced by something new, innovative, and adapted to the reality of the 21st century. The Lebanese politicians, who are, in fact, chiefs of ethnic and religious tribes, have to leave the political scene and allow a massive reform in the body politic.

If Lebanon is to be saved before it sinks in an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe, the international community must step in, as Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab appealed on July 6, 2021, to the international community and the UN. It should commandeer the powers of the present Lebanese government and president and replace them with the power vested in a UN Security Council resolution for a High Commissioner to rule Lebanon for a defined period of time. This will allow the establishment of a different technocratic government and system of governance and enable the world community to extend economic and financial assistance.

This High Commissioner would be assisted by a massive military presence that would impose – at the price of a military confrontation – the disarmament of all militias – first and foremost Hizbullah. Without the neutralization of the Hizbullah military machine, it is doubtful that such a reform can be implemented.

Such a precedent occurred in Kosovo, where peace finally was established after the military intervention of NATO forces. For those who doubt the capability to confront Hizbullah, one has to remember that Hizbullah is not the Taliban, and Lebanon, with all due respect, is not Iraq or Afghanistan. All in all, it is a land of 10,452 square kilometers, half the size of Israel, Wales, or New Hampshire.
Seth Frantzman: Iran has declared war on the US in Iraq through its proxies - analysis
The official line of the US-led coalition is that the attacks against its forces in Iraq endanger Iraqis. This is true; some Iraqis have been wounded and even killed.

“Each attack against the Government of Iraq, Kurdistan Region of Iraq and the Coalition undermines the authority of Iraqi institutions, the rule of law and Iraqi National sovereignty,” coalition spokesman Col. Wayne Marotto tweeted Thursday. “These attacks endanger the lives of Iraqi civilians, and the partner forces from the Iraqi Security Forces, Peshmerga and Coalition.”

However, the larger context is that it is not just harming Iraqis. This is a concerted and coordinated campaign against the US. It is not a simple campaign, either. The use of drones in attacks is part of a new strategy. So far, the strategy appears to be designed not to inflict many casualties on the US. In fact, the rocket barrages have been relatively small, sometimes up to a dozen rockets, but usually just a few. A drone struck a CIA hangar in Erbil in April, appearing to send a message that Iran knows where America’s secrets are hidden. Drones also targeted an area where the new US Consulate is being built near Erbil in the Kurdistan Region. The message is that the US is not safe in Kurdistan, a peaceful and usually safe area.

Iran’s use of drones and rockets provided to the militias in Iraq against diplomatic sites and also against the US military is unprecedented. While Iran has supplied rockets and drones to Hamas and Hezbollah, in Iraq, the role of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Iran’s guidance appears more closely linked to Tehran.

This is because it is clear that Tehran can dial up the attacks when it wants to. This time the escalation began on July 4. It was a message that coincided with the US leaving Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. Iran thinks it can push the US out of Iraq at the same time.

EU Parliament seeks sanctions on Iran officials for human rights abuse
The European Parliament passed a resolution dated Wednesday, urging that sanctions be imposed on Iranian regime officials for the imprisonment and executions of EU nationals.

According to the resolution’s language, the EU Parliament called on the European Council, “to consider further targeted sanctions, including freezing the assets of the Iranian regime officials and entities involved in the arbitrary detention and sentencing to death of EU nationals, including, in the event of Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali’s continued detention, either using the current EU human rights sanctions regime against Iran or the EU’s global human rights sanctions regime (EU Magnitsky Act).”

Swedish MEP Charlie Weimers on Thursday wrote on Twitter: “Delighted that EU Parliament supported @ecrgroup demand for sanctions against Iranian regime officials. We will also push for President Raisi to be investigated for crimes against humanity, including murder, forced disappearance and torture.”

The ECR group is the abbreviation for the European Conservatives and Reformists in the Parliament.

The Post reported over the last week that both the Austrian and Swiss presidents congratulated Iran’s new President Ebrahim Raisi, sparking outrage among Iranian human rights experts and dissidents. European leaders have showed scarce appetite to sanction Iran's regime for its human rights and nuclear program violations. The major European powers, France, Germany and Britain, along with the US, are negotiating with Iran in Vienna about Tehran's return to the atomic accord.
Iranian Athletes Speak of Arrest and Torture
In Iran, the theocratic government makes the rules for sport and enforces them through fear. Former junior world champion wrestler Sardar Pashaei campaigned to try and save the life of wrestler Navid Afkari, who was executed in 2020. Pashaei now lives in exile abroad.

When entering a tournament, Iranian athletes don't fear the prospect of a stronger opponent; their biggest concern is that an Israeli athlete lies ahead of them, because they're not going to be allowed to compete against them. At the 2005 World Championships in Cairo, judoka Vahid Sarlak was on course for a bronze medal when he drew an Israeli opponent. "It was the most difficult moment of my life," he recalled. "I was just crying and asking why? Why should I lose?...I broke all the windows in my room. It was the worst day of my life....I will never forgive them."

In 2017, Shiva Amini, who was regarded as the most technically gifted player on the women's soccer team in Iran, posted pictures of herself on social media practicing in Switzerland without the compulsory hijab. Given that she wasn't on official business for Iran, she didn't give it a second thought, until a storm of controversy broke out back home. Amini has not been home since and says both she and her family are routinely harassed and intimidated.


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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