Friday, July 16, 2021

From Ian:

JPost Editorial: Tisha Be'av: Israel must end baseless hatred, rally together - editorial
Tisha Be’av, the saddest day in the Jewish calendar, begins at sunset on Saturday, July 17. The 25-hour fast on which the Book of Lamentations is read marks a series of disasters in Jewish history, headed by the destruction of the First and Second Temples.

Talmudic rabbis blamed these tragedies on what is called “sinat hinam” in Hebrew – baseless hatred. Sadly, it has again raised its ugly head, and we need to work together to quash it. Israeli society is beset by factionalism and polarization, distrust and a lack of compassion, inequality and selfishness. Baseless hatred is rife – too much of it. Here are just a few examples:
• As religious affairs correspondent Jeremy Sharon reported this week, an organization of religious-Zionist groups that calls itself the Joint Committee for Preserving the Holiness of the Western Wall is praying at the section reserved for non-Orthodox egalitarian prayer. Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai condemned the move as “baseless hatred,” noting that the area is the only place non-Orthodox groups have to pray at the Kotel.
• As noted by Yochi Rappeport, the executive director of Women of the Wall, a group of ultra-Orthodox men expressed intense hatred toward women who gathered to usher in the month of Av on July 11, tearing up 39 of their prayer books, jeering and laughing. “This hate crime can be likened to the baseless hatred we find in our history thousands of years ago,” she wrote.
• As political correspondent Gil Hoffman reported from the Knesset on Monday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu crossed the line of acceptable political discourse while accusing each other of mishandling the coronavirus pandemic. Netanyahu asked Bennett, “How did you succeed in destroying so much in such a short time in the struggle against corona?” while Bennett retorted, “You became sourpusses so fast that even when you see good things, you cannot give compliments.”

When President Isaac Herzog took his oath of office just a few days before, he made a point of urging the public “to change the tone, to lower the flames, to calm things down.”

Although his plea apparently went over the heads of the prime minister and his predecessor, Herzog added, “Baseless hatred, the same factionalism and polarization, are exacting a heavy price – today and every day. The heaviest price of all is the erosion of our national resilience.”
Arnold Roth: King Abdullah, when will Jordan hand our child’s murderer over to US justice?
On March 14, 2017, the US Department of Justice unsealed terrorism charges and designated Tamimi an FBI Most Wanted Terrorist. The US prosecutors had kept the charges secret for four years as efforts were made by private diplomacy to convince your government to turn her over. The announcement brought us hope that long-thwarted justice was about to be done.

Our hope was misplaced.

Just six days later, Jordan’s Court of Cassation, the appointment and dismissal of whose judges require your approval, declared the extradition treaty, bearing the personal, signed endorsements of your revered late father King Hussein and President Bill Clinton, as unenforceable. The court ruled it lacked parliamentary approval — a purported defect that obviously could have, but never has, been corrected.

In the years that followed, we fought to create awareness of Tamimi’s obscene freedom and of the appalling support Jordanians give her. We have gotten pushback we never expected, warning that your kingdom, a key US strategic ally and third largest recipient of US aid, would fall and chaos ensue, if this lightning rod for terrorist sentiment is extradited to Washington.

Shockingly, your multiple ceremonious visits to Washington as guest of the Obama and Trump administrations produced not a single official utterance about the ongoing travesty of justice.

How to explain this desecration of law, of morality, of fundamental decency? Is your rule truly that precarious? Is Jordanian society so infused with hatred of Jews that, with the connivance of the international media, you have no choice but to let it go on? What meaning does leadership have if, as monarch, you are hostage to the most bigoted elements of Jordanian society? What future does Jordan have if its leadership nurtures the dysfunctional mindset by which handing an admitted murderer of Americans to American justice is the real outrage?

It remains in your hands, King Abdullah. You can end this. Let your upcoming visit to Washington be the moment when you declare Jordan is going to do whatever necessary to immediately effectuate the 1995 treaty; to honor the US request to extradite Tamimi; to see justice finally done.

Unforgivably overdue by years, this would be a step towards healing a festering wound in the strategic relations between Jordan and the US and, no less important, eating away at Jordanian society itself.

Will Bennett allow US to rollback recognition of Israel’s capital and redivide Jerusalem?
‘The U.S. doesn’t recognize a nation of Palestine’
According to former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, “The United States doesn’t recognize a nation of Palestine, and it certainly doesn’t recognize that Palestinians have a capital in Jerusalem. Now if you’re establishing a consulate in Jerusalem to signal that Jerusalem will someday be the capital of a Palestinian state, then you’ve gone way over overboard in terms of U.S. foreign policy.”

“By putting a consulate in Jerusalem and signaling a separate mission and a separate capital to another country, you are essentially dividing Jerusalem. That would be absolutely 180 degrees opposite of the policy of the United States, which was passed by an act of Congress,” Friedman told JNS. “Opening another consulate or mission in Jerusalem would violate the Jerusalem Embassy Act.”

David Milstein, former special adviser to Friedman, told JNS, “Reopening this separate diplomatic mission to the Palestinians would render the U.S. government noncompliant with American law. It would also contradict Biden’s campaign promise to keep the embassy in Jerusalem.” He added that it would “recreate major inefficiencies, having two conflicting U.S. diplomatic missions in the same city and revive what was an ideologically pro-Palestinian office in the heart of Israel’s capital.” ‘A chain reaction’

“The threat is not just that you are potentially rolling back a major diplomatic gain, but even more importantly that you will not be able to move forward and build on that diplomatic achievement,” explained Gold. “If you want to get more countries to recognize Jerusalem and move their embassies to Jerusalem, then opening a consulate to the Palestinians there sends a signal that they have doubts about the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem.”

On the contrary, if the United States opens up a consulate directly to the Palestinians in Jerusalem, it may cause other nations to make a similar request. Instead of having embassies to Israel in Jerusalem, Israel may end up having consulates to a hostile neighbor in its capital.

“It could lead to a chain reaction,” said Gold. “When it comes to Jerusalem, there can be no messing around.”

A redline for Bennett?
Ultimately, the decision on whether the consulate opens rests with the new Israeli government, which would need to give official permission to the United States for the move.

The question is whether Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem is a redline for right-wing prime minister Bennett as he balances intense diplomatic pressure from the United States, as well as from his left-wing coalition partners, including Lapid.

According to former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer, such a move “suggests that you are de facto dividing Jerusalem and creates a belief that ultimately Jerusalem is going to be divided.”

“I think it is a bad idea that Israel that should oppose,” he told JNS.
The UAE and the so-called ‘national sin’
Therefore, I believe that striving to call the opening of an Israeli embassy in the UAE a “national sin” is the very sin. Hamas and other Palestinian Arab organizations no longer pay any attention to the nationalist trend that they have sometimes embraced and sometimes rejected..

The movement should first ask itself about the position of Arab nationalism on this movement that has thrown itself into the arms of one of the worst enemies of Arabism, the Iranian mullahs’ regime, as well as Turkey. It is no secret that these two regimes are hostile to Arab nationalism, whose slogan Hamas is trying to raise.

Hamas is also a movement with a confessional ideological link as a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist group. No one disputes this.

Nor does anyone dispute the state of disconnect and outright hostility between the ideology of the parent movement (the Brotherhood) and Arab nationalism, which Hamas uses to try to stigmatize the UAE’s policy toward Israel. This is the extent of deception, sloganeering and politicization of positions by these movements.

Another important thing, in my opinion, is to describe Arab relations with Israel as a “sin.” This is a description that is supposed to include every Arab party with formal or informal relations with Israel. It makes no sense that this description is limited to the UAE’s approach and behavior. However, the targeting has become clear.

But we want to back it up with evidence. Several Arab countries preceded the UAE in establishing official relations with Israel. There are even Palestinian parties that have signed formal agreements since the 1990s.

Their phones ring every day with calls from Israel. There are also favorite Arab destinations of Hamas leaders who, many years before the UAE, established commercial representative offices and formal and informal relations with Israel.

If such sovereign policies qualify as an Arab sin, Doha, where Hamas’ historical leaders reside, is a pioneer of the sin. That is unless Qatari gifts have brought Doha an indulgence that blots out what the movement considers sins.

PodCast: Why the congressman who boycotted South Africa says he won’t do the same for Israel
A year into his return to Congress, Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D-MD) joined Jewish Insider’s “Limited Liability Podcast” co-hosts Richard Goldberg and Jarrod Bernstein to discuss his early experience in Baltimore politics, the state of Black-Jewish relations and why he opposes the BDS movement that targets Israel. Mfume, who represents Maryland’s 7th Congressional District, first represented the district, which covers parts of Baltimore and Howard County, from 1987 to 1996, before stepping down to become CEO of the NAACP. He was reelected in the May 2020 special election following the death of Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Mfume’s friend and successor to the seat.

First Job: Growing up in Baltimore, Mfume, now 72, lived near a grocery store owned by a Jewish man, whom the Maryland representative described as a “father figure” to children in the neighborhood. At 14, Mfume began working in the store, when one day he asked the owner about his unusual arm tattoos. “They were numbers that he was branded. And he began to tell me about the Holocaust, which was hard for me to conceive, because it was hard enough for me to understand slavery at 14 years of age, and how people could do this to other people. And I began to hear those stories. It was like slavery times five, and the fact that so many, many people were murdered. And he told me how he had gotten into this country with a little bit of money. That he and his wife, Hannah, started the store. And I knew that I had touched a nerve. And I didn’t really know what it was. But he began to tell me about the ‘Jewish exodus,’ and how the homeland [Israel] was established in 1948 and why it meant so much. So I got up after he finished, he wiped the tears from his eyes, he rolled his sleeves back down the way he always kept it. And I went downstairs, and did not really comprehend it until much later in life — until I got a chance to go to Auschwitz in the early 1980s and I walked under that big arch sign and walked inside past the suitcases of shaved hair and shoes, and all the memorabilia and then went in and touched the actual ovens. And I understood in a way that I have never understood before, what that must have been like. So I always assumed and have made the association, that those were the two greatest evils that I could think of perpetrated on mankind, and that tolerance, and the lack of tolerance creates those kinds of situations.”
BBC Radio 4 promotion of the apartheid smear – part one
The BBC Radio 4 programme ‘Analysis’ self-portrays as a “Programme examining the ideas and forces which shape public policy in Britain and abroad, presented by distinguished writers, journalists and academics”.

The July 5th edition of that twenty-eight-minute programme was called ‘Stalemate: Israel and the Palestinians after Gaza’ and according to its webpage, it will remain available online for over a year. Its synopsis provides a list of contributors and their affiliations which is more extensive than the information given to those who listened to the programme directly on Radio 4.

Around two minutes into the programme, presenter Edward Stourton describes its supposed aim:
Stourton: “In this programme we’re going to explore how Israel and the Palestinians reached a place where there’s more talk about a new apartheid than a peace process. Politicians and activists on both sides in this long conflict now seem perilously divided and we’re going to explore what that might mean for the long-term future of the region. Could it even – and we’re not the only people asking this question – threaten the very foundations of the State of Israel? And when will the current troubled status quo, already punctuated by violence, turn critical?”

Any serious and objective examination of the reasons for the failure of past ‘peace processes’ would of course include discussion about the effect that the Oslo Accords’ parachuting of Arafat and the PLO into the Gaza Strip and Judea & Samaria had on the chances for peace. It would relate to the predictable corruption that has dogged the Palestinian Authority since its creation and Arafat’s decision to launch the terror war known as the second Intifada.

Such a discussion would be obliged to note the bitter rifts between Palestinian factions that agreed to the Oslo Accords and those that reject the concept outright. It would examine the effects of the decade and a half-long Hamas-Fatah split and ask why Hamas won elections in 2006 and looked likely to beat Fatah again in the elections scheduled for May 2021, but cancelled by Mahmoud Abbas, despite – or perhaps because of – the fact that it rejects any ‘peace process’ and the existence of the Jewish state.

No such topics however made it into this Radio 4 programme which conforms to the long BBC tradition of presenting Palestinians as agency-free victims of all-powerful Israel. The very transparent aim of Stourton’s ‘explorations’ is to convince the listener that there is no viable peace process because of Israel and that if there is no peace process, Israel is becoming an apartheid state.
BBC Radio 4 promotion of the apartheid smear – part two
Listeners are not informed that some Palestinian campaigners – including Barahmeh – promote (in whatever increasingly ‘progressive’ guise) the one-state solution precisely as a means of bringing an end to the Jewish nation state. They are however told that “for many Israelis” the lack of any progress in negotiations with the Palestinians “doesn’t really matter”.

Stourton’s last question is “what does the future look like?” if a two-state solution is not reached and once again the ‘apartheid’ smear is promoted.

Walles: “…the way that Israel in the past has avoided charges of apartheid and oppression and all of the charges that they face is by the fact that there was a negotiating process. If you don’t have the hope even of a way to resolve it – at least an agreed objective for the future – it’s much harder for Israel to avoid those charges.”

The formula behind this programme is very obvious. It lays the blame for the failure of negotiations squarely at Israel’s door without any effort made to inform listeners of the responsibility of Palestinian leaders for the lack of progress and the related internal politics within the Palestinian camp. It then promotes the notion that in the absence of a two-state solution, the outcome is ‘apartheid’ – without any serious effort being made to examine the political motivations behind the use of that trigger terminology. It goes on to suggest that the only way of avoiding apartheid is the ‘one-state solution’ without explaining why that concept is promoted by some Palestinian activists, including those inadequately presented in this programme.

Once again the BBC has prioritised promotion of a politically motivated narrative over its obligation to provide accurate and impartial content that builds audience understanding of this particular ‘global issue’.

On the Mediterranean: Russia, America — and Israel
Against the background of these rather predictable frictions, the US is in the process of exploring whether its new strategy vis-à-vis China might be antithetical to opening a window toward some collaboration with Russia. The risk for Washington, and it is a serious one, is that Beijing and Moscow will join together against American military and economic superiority.

Washington’s decision to waive sanctions on Nord Stream II warrants attention as it prompts the question of whether such a move will be replicated on other fronts, perhaps the Eastern Mediterranean. Russia will obviously exploit the situation to maximize benefits in line with its own national interests, not those of the US.

The Biden-Putin meeting took place during the new American president’s first European tour, which also included the G7, NATO, and EU-US summits. On the whole, the American administration wants to show the world that it is “back” and eager to collaborate with its partners. Ideas like the organization of a “Summit for Democracy” should be placed in the context of an ideological competition in which the US seeks to return to its position as protector of the free world.

Israel, Greece, and Cyprus, all democratic states, are supporters of this cause, but their first concern is their own neighborhood. During Biden’s tour, the phrase “Eastern Mediterranean” was uttered only once, in the EU-US Summit statement. The statement says that Brussels and Washington “resolve to work hand-in-hand for sustainable de-escalation in the Eastern Mediterranean, where differences should be settled through dialogue in good faith and in accordance with international law.” They also “aim for a cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship with a democratic Turkey.”

It is notable that Biden met his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the NATO summit but did not meet with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Turkish media report that Ankara will not change its position on its Russian S-400 missiles, for which acquisition it was sanctioned by Washington. Turkey is also interested in undertaking more responsibilities in Afghanistan, where China and Russia are active, though the Taliban oppose this.

Israel’s recent operation Guardian of the Walls, deliberations for the formation of the new Israeli government, parliamentary elections in Cyprus, and efforts by the Biden team to hammer out the priorities of the new administration have not allowed for much progress so far in the 3+1 dialogue. According to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, however, Washington remains committed to this format. The question is what role the Israel-Greece-Cyprus bloc will play in a geopolitical environment in which the stability of the American-Russian-Chinese tripod cannot be taken for granted.
Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah: The growing drone and rocket threats to Israel - Dr Seth Frantzman
Seth Frantzman, Jerusalem Post senior correspondent, author and military analyst, spoke to AIJAC Live Online about the threat posed to Israel and the wider Middle East by Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah. He focussed on the increased use of drone warfare in conflict now, and that drones will become increasing important in military battles in the future.

Frantzman is the author of a book "Drone Wars: Pioneers, Killing Machines, Artificial Intelligence, and the Battle for the Future".

Slovakia Warms Relations With Israel, Plans to Open Institute in Jerusalem
The Foreign Minister of Slovakia, Ivan Korcok, announced on Wednesday the opening of the Slovak Institute in Jerusalem on Sept. 1.

“Slovakia is deepening relations with #Israel,” Korcok wrote on Twitter. He added that Slovakia continues to support the resumption of peace talks to reach a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israeli Foreign Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid responded, also via Twitter, saying “your important decision” to open the institute “is a symbol of your friendship and it will serve to strengthen the relations between our countries.”

Slovakia and Israel signed a $180 million defense deal in January for the purchase of 17 radar systems produced by Israel Aerospace Industries.
Israel-Morocco ties strengthen with signing of first cyber-defense deal
Israel and Morocco signed their first-ever cyber-defense accord to signal that fledgling relations between the two countries have continued to advance.

Israel National Cyber Directorate Yigal Unna signed this week in Rabat a deal with his Moroccan counterpart General El Mostafa Rabii and the Minister Delegate in charge of National Defense Administration Abdellatif Loudiyi.

The Israeli Defense Ministry was also involved in the deal.

"The accord is for operational cooperation, research and development and the sharing of information and knowledge," the Foreign Ministry said. Unna's visit to Rabat follows that of Foreign Ministry Director-General Alon Ushpiz last week, where he met with Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita and invited him for a first ever visit to Israel.

Airlines from both countries are also expected to launch direct flights this month.

Israel and Morocco have long held secret ties, but have only held low level diplomatic ones from 1994-2000.

Article In Issue 17 Of ISIS Magazine 'Sawt Al-Hind' Calls India The 'Israel of South Asia,' Says: 'Mushrikeen [Polytheists] Of India Are Included Among The Top Countries With The Most Crimes Against Muslims'
An article in the latest issue of the jihadi magazine Sawt Al-Hind ("The Voice of India") compares India with Israel, accusing the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi of allowing crimes against Muslims in different regions of India.

Sawt Al-Hind is a monthly magazine published by Ansarul Khilafah in Hind ("Aiders of the Caliphate in India"). The Caliphate refers to the caliphate of the Islamic State (ISIS). The latest issue – Issue 17, the release of which corresponds with the Islamic month of Dhul Qadah 1442, beginning June 30, 2021 – was shared recently on Telegram.

The article, titled "Israel of South Asia," is part of a series called "From Brothers in Maldives." It says while many crimes are being committed against Muslims in India, such as in the regions of Kashmir, Lakshadweep, and Gujarat, the Muslim island nation of the Maldives is developing good relations with India. "As Muslims, we all must be against the disbelievers," it says.

Following is the text of the article:
"Violence Against Muslims In India Is Nothing New"; "For This Reason, It Can Be Said That India Is The 'Israel' Of The South Asia"

"For the past weeks, Muslims all over the world were roared against the atrocities that the Jewish state of Israel committed against Palestine, which had crossed all limits in the last ten nights of Ramadan [the holy month of fasting ending May 12, 201]. However, it was tragic to see how the noises have been decreasing, which is what happens mostly nowadays. Nonetheless, it shows that some people still care about what is happening to Muslims, even if it is for a few days.

"Our Prophet Muhammad described the state of the momineen [believers] as one body that feels the pain of the other parts of the body. The Prophet said: 'The similitude of believers regarding mutual love, affection, fellow-feeling is that of one body; when any limb of it aches, the whole-body aches, because of sleeplessness and fever' – (Sahih Muslim 2586).
Will Israel have a COVID-19 lockdown on Rosh Hashanah?
When it comes to Israel’s fourth COVID-19 wave, some experts believe that if stronger action is not taken fast, the country will spend another Rosh Hashanah under lockdown.

Is it time to sound the alarm, or can Israel expect to see another decrease in the infection rate with minimal changes?

As the country leading the world in vaccination, herd immunity and research on the pandemic, Israel has almost no one to ask but itself. The question came to the forefront this week after an official who attended the coronavirus cabinet meeting on Tuesday told a local TV station that if the public does not adhere to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s basic health directives – mask wearing, vaccinating, and staying away from large gatherings – a lockdown could be rolled out just in time for the Jewish New Year.

Rosh Hashanah starts only a few days after the school year in 2021 – on September 6.

The current data are in fact cause at least for a raised eyebrow.

At that same cabinet meeting, a report showed that 2% of those diagnosed with coronavirus are developing a serious case of COVID-19. Based on the current number of new cases per day – more than 700 – this means Israel could have 1,000 serious cases in the next six to seven weeks. At the country’s COVID peak, there were around 1,200 severe cases.
'Pfizer COVID vaccine significantly less effective against Delta variant'
The effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine against the Delta variant is “weaker” than health officials hoped, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Friday, as 855 people tested positive for coronavirus and more countries were listed as places of high infection.

“We do not know exactly to what degree the vaccine helps, but it is significantly less,” Bennett said.

The prime minister held a meeting of top health officials and ministers to discuss the next steps for managing the virus in light of the numbers in Israel and what Bennett described as “the Delta mutation leaping forward around the world, including in vaccinated countries such as Britain, Israel and the US.”

He said that “Britain, in recent days, we have seen a jump in the number of children who are being hospitalized on a daily basis. This is a development that we are aware of; we are dealing with it rationally and responsibly.”

The highest number of coronavirus cases since March were diagnosed on Thursday, with 1.52% of tests returning positive, the Health Ministry said in a Friday announcement.

While the spike in daily cases continues, the increase in serious morbidity has remained limited.

Of those infected, 52 were in serious condition, two less than the day before. A week earlier, there were 41. In April, with about 5,900 active cases, a similar number as now, more than 340 patients were in serious condition.
US, Israel Sign Air Defense Cooperation Deal
Israeli Air Force (IAF) representatives met this week in Israel with air defense officials from the United States to discuss improving air defense systems during emergency situations for both countries, according to a statement from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Spokesperson’s Unit.

The meetings were led by the commander of the IAF’s Air Defense System, Brig. Gen. Gilad Biran; Commanding Officer of the joint mission headquarters, Brig. Gen. (res.) Doron Gavish; and Brig. Gen. Greg Brady, commander of the 10th US Army Air and Missile Defense Command.

“The purpose of the meeting was to improve the collaborative readiness of the forces for the joint defense of the State of Israel,” the statement read.

The two countries signed a deal for updated air defense operational cooperation.

Israel’s air defense capabilities were tested in May during the country’s 11-day conflict with the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip when thousands of rockets were fired indiscriminately at Israeli territory and in response the IAF sent nightly aerial missions into the coastal enclave to bomb terrorist targets.
UAE, Israeli soccer clubs to face off in practice match in Serbia
Israeli and Emirati soccer squads will face off next week for a practice match at a training camp in Serbia in the latest demonstration of friendly ties between the two countries that normalized relations less than a year ago.

Ironi Kiryat Shmona will take on Sharjah FC next Thursday in one of the first matches between teams from Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

Earlier this month, Maccabi Netanya faced off against an Emirati squad of up to 23-year-olds.

The UAE’s Al-Ain club had been scheduled to play Israel’s Maccabi Haifa earlier this year, but the match was canceled due to the pandemic.

Nonetheless, the two teams signed an agreement of cooperation in February that Al-Ain club chairman Mohamed Thaaloob said “will consolidate the policy of bridge-building and cooperation between the two major clubs in various fields including marketing, technical cooperation, investment, commercial activities, media and sport.”

“I am pleased to witness this important moment in the history of the Israeli and Emirati game, and for sport in general,” said Yaqoub Shahar, president of Maccabi Haifa.
Hamas: Israel 'playing with fire' with Tisha Be'Av events in Jerusalem
Hamas warned that Israel is "playing with fire" on Friday by allowing Jews to visit the Temple Mount and march around the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem on Tisha Be'av, which marks the day when the Temples in Jerusalem were destroyed.

The terrorist movement also spoke out against demolitions and planned evictions of Palestinians in the Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah neighborhoods of east Jerusalem.

Hamas affirmed that it would continue the confrontation against Israel and called on the youth of Jerusalem to mobilize at the gates of the Old City of Jerusalem and throughout the city to confront Israelis, starting on Saturday.

The terrorist group called on Palestinians from the West Bank and Arab-Israelis to visit al-Aqsa on Eid al-Adha, which begins on Sunday night. Hamas additionally called on residents of Gaza to "keep their fingers on the trigger" to defend Jerusalem. In May, tensions surrounding the evictions in Sheikh Jarrah, as well as clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians on the Temple Mount, came to a head on Jerusalem Day, when Hamas fired rockets towards Jerusalem, sparking an 11-day conflict called Operation Guardian of the Walls.

Lebanon Spins Further Into Crisis as Hariri Abandons Bid to Form Government
Lebanese politician Saad al-Hariri abandoned his months-long effort to form a new government on Thursday, dimming the chances of a cabinet being agreed any time soon that could start rescuing the country from financial meltdown.

Hariri announced his decision after meeting President Michel Aoun, saying it was clear they could not agree, underscoring the political squabbling that has blocked the formation of a cabinet even as Lebanon sinks deeper into crisis.

Hariri, a former prime minister and Lebanon‘s leading Sunni Muslim politician, was designated in October to assemble a government following the resignation of Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s cabinet in the wake of the Beirut port explosion.

Protesters blocked some roads near predominantly Sunni areas of Beirut after his announcement on Thursday, setting fire to trash and tires. Army troops deployed, firing in the air to disperse protesters who pelted the soldiers with missiles. One soldier was wounded, a security source said.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Lebanese leaders seemed unable to find a solution to the crisis that they had created, calling the failure to form a cabinet another terrible incident.

The secretary general of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, said the ramifications of the step would be serious.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Hariri’s decision was “disappointing” and urged Lebanese leaders to put aside their differences and form a government.

MEMRI: Anti-Israel, Antisemitic Slant Of Qatari Daily 'Al-Quds Al-Arabi,' As Reflected In Cartoons
In the recent years, the London-based Qatari daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi has taken a virulently anti-Israel and antisemitic line. Since its founding in 1989 by Palestinian businessman 'Abd Al-Bari 'Atawan, who lives in London, the paper has been known for its harshly critical stance against Israel and its allies and support for terror organizations such as Hamas, Hizbullah and even Al-Qaeda. But this tone grew even harsher after Qatar purchased the daily in July 2013, about one month after the ascent to power of the present Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad. This development caused 'Atwan, who refused to comply with the political line dictated by Qatar, to resign as the daily's editor.[1] He was replaced by his former deputy, Sana Al-'Aloul. Since then the paper has maintained an anti-Israel stance, very conspicuous in its articles,[2] which sometimes takes the form of flagrantly antisemitic propaganda against Israel and Israelis.

This anti-Israel and antisemitic line is especially noticeable in cartoons published in the daily. Many of these cartoons represent Israel using the stereotyped figure of the bearded and hook-nosed Jew. Others feature classical antisemitic themes derived from Christianity or Islam, such as the Jew as the crucifier of Jesus, or the popular antisemitic hadith about the Muslims' war on the Jews at the end of days, which appears in the Sahih Muslim compilation of authentic hadiths. According to this hadith, Muhammad said: "Judgement Day shall not come before you fight the Jews and [every] Jew shall hide behind stones or trees, and the stones or trees will say: 'Oh servant of Allah, oh Muslims, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him – except for the gharqad tree, which is the tree of the Jews."[3] There are also cartoons that portray Israel and Israelis as vermin, such as spiders or ants, a theme used in European antisemitism to dehumanize Jews and associated them with danger and disease. Others compare Israel to Nazi Germany, or convey hope for its demise.

It should be noted that the daily's team of cartoonists includes the Palestinian Umaya Juha, known for her virulently antisemitic cartoons, which have often been removed from social media after being flagged as incitement.[4] Umaya Juha is affiliated with Hamas and is known as "the Wife of Two Martyrs," because she was the wife of two operatives of Hamas' military wing who were killed.[5] Another regular cartoonist for the daily is the Palestinian Mohammad Saba'aneh, who was arrested by the Israeli security forces on suspicion of providing services to hostile organizations during a visit to Jordan in 2013.[6]
Republicans Pressure Biden Admin To Prosecute Alleged Iranian Agent
Republican lawmakers are pressuring the Justice Department to follow through on the prosecution of an accused Iranian agent whose trial has been delayed several times since his arrest in January.

Kaveh Lotfolah Afrasiabi, an Iranian citizen and U.S. permanent resident, was charged earlier this year with acting as an unregistered foreign agent for the Iranian regime. Afrasiabi allegedly spent more than a decade pitching "himself to Congress, journalists, and the American public as a neutral and objective expert on Iran," according to former assistant attorney general John Demers. Afrasiabi, however, "was actually a secret employee of the government of Iran."

Since his arrest, Afrasiabi’s trial date has been delayed several times, leading three Republican members of Congress to warn the DOJ against dragging its feet on the case. Reps. Jeff Van Drew (N.J.), Yvette Herrell (N.M.), and Rick Crawford (Ark.) say it is "troubling" that "Afrasiabi’s trial date has been delayed multiple times since his arrest, and that the upcoming conference on his status has been rescheduled more than once at his request," according to a copy of the letter sent Wednesday to Attorney General Merrick Garland and obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

As the Biden administration negotiates with Iran in pursuit of a revamped nuclear deal, lawmakers and Iran watchers are worried Afrasiabi’s case could become a bargaining chip. The Obama administration freed seven Iranian-born prisoners and dropped charges on 14 Iranian individuals as part of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal's initial rollout.

Afrasiabi is well known in left-of-center foreign policy circles and is one of the most prominent experts found to be taking money from Tehran for unregistered lobbying activities. He claimed in a June 28 court filing that Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif provided personal guarantees that his lobbying efforts were legal, indicating that Afrasiabi could implicate senior Iranian officials as part of his defense.

A Justice Department spokesman confirmed that no trial date has been set. The case is in the pretrial discovery phase and the most recent status conference took place on Wednesday. The DOJ said that it had no comment on Afrasiabi’s June 28 court filing.

Not a drop to drink: Water shortages in Iran cause wave of protests
Street protests broke out overnight over severe water shortages in Iran's oil-rich southwest, according to Iranian news outlets and videos posted on social media on Friday, as the country faces its worst drought in 50 years.

Videos showed protesters setting fire to tires to block a road and security forces were seen trying to disperse the crowds as some shots were heard. Reuters could not independently verify the videos' authenticity.

"State television should report what we are saying and show the image of the buffaloes that perished from lack of water," an elderly protester said on a video carried by the regional Asrejonoob news website.

In May, Iranian Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian warned of water shortages in the summer, saying this year was "one of the driest in 50 years."

The water shortages have led to power blackouts and there were protest marches in several cities last week. During some protests, people vented their anger with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, chanting "Death to the dictator" and "Death to Khamenei."


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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