Monday, July 26, 2021

From Ian:

JCPA: Casualties in the 2021 Gaza War: How Many and Who Were They?
This article is part of the forthcoming Jerusalem Center research report: The Gaza War 2021: The Iranian and Hamas Attack on Israel.

During the 2021 Gaza War, the Hamas-run Ministry of Health in Gaza claimed there were 256 Palestinian casualties. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) concluded, “at least 253 Palestinians have been killed, 129 of whom were civilians.” That means 124 of the dead were combatants, close to a 1:1 ratio, an unprecedentedly low ratio in terms of civilians killed in urban warfare.

At least 680 Palestinian rockets fell short or misfired, landing inside Gaza. According to the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center in Israel, 9 children and 10 adults were killed by Palestinian rockets.

The New York Times provides a case study of inaccurate reporting on casualties among Palestinian children. On May 26, 2021, the Times published a front-page report entitled, “They Were Only Children,” which displayed pictures of 67 children in Gaza allegedly killed by Israel. It included 20-year-old Khaled al-Qanou and 15-year-old Muhammad Suleiman, both confirmed Hamas members engaged in violent anti-Israel activity. A stock photo of a young girl from 2015 was also included in the Times report.

Hamas is known to blur the lines between those who died of natural causes and those who died in the war. About 16 Gazans die of natural causes each day. Since Hamas tightly censors information, it is difficult to know if some natural deaths were falsely attributed to deaths from the conflict, especially during the time of the coronavirus pandemic. Moreover, some of those executed by Hamas as spies and collaborators with Israel may also be included in the civilian casualty toll.


Jewish Groups Praise Germany for Skipping UN Anniversary Event Marking Durban Conference
Major Jewish groups applauded Germany’s decision to boycott the event marking the 20th anniversary of the UN’s World Conference Against Racism to be held in Durban, South Africa.

First held in 2001, the conference has become notorious for serving as a forum for antisemitic materials and virulent anti-Israel activism.

This year’s 20th anniversary event is already being boycotted by the United States, Israel, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Hungary, Austria, Canada, Australia, and the Czech Republic.

American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris said Saturday, “Germany has again asserted leadership in the global fight against antisemitism,” adding that the country “laudably recognized the discredited nature of the original conference, held in Durban, South Africa. We hope other nations will follow suit.”

“Confronting true racism around the world is a noble cause, but singling out one country, Israel, and one group of people, Jews, for continual censure is grossly unjust, and undermines the global fight against antisemitism and other forms of bigotry and hatred,” Harris added.

B’nai B’rith International tweeted, “We welcome the news that #Germany will not participate in @UN commemoration of the 20th anniversary of Durban conference, which was overtaken by anti-Jewish, anti-Israel bigotry.”

“All democracies must do similarly,” the group said.
Palestinian Man Who Saved Jewish Family Granted Permanent Israeli Residency
Israeli Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked has granted permanent residency to a Palestinian man who saved the lives of three members of the Ettinger family following a terrorist attack in 2016.

The father of the family, Mark, lost his life in the attack, but wife Chava, son Pedaya and daughter Tehila survived thanks to the first aid provided by A. — whose full name has not been revealed — and his wife, who also alerted law enforcement.

News of A.’s actions quickly reached Ramallah, and A.’s family began to receive death threats. In an effort to protect his loved ones, he fled to Israel, leaving his parents, wife and newborn son behind. Sometime after, A.’s wife joined him in Israel, and in November 2019, due to public pressure, the Interior Ministry provided the couple with a temporary residence visa.

After granting the two permanent residency, Shaked said: “He who saves one life it’s as if he saved the entire world. A. saved the life of the Ettinger family in a deadly attack, for which he has been persecuted relentlessly. We will never turn our backs on a friend. That is why I approved his permanent residency in Israel.”


An Open Letter to Former UN Leader Ban Ki-moon
After all, South Korea and Israel are both countries that began with very little; unleashed remarkable growth and development in a relatively short period; preserved their democratic way of life; and became economic and technological powerhouses.

Yet, at the same time, both countries faced primordial threats from despotic neighbors, developing potent military capabilities and keeping everyone on high alert. Moreover, those neighbors collaborated with one another. While North Korea was fine-tuning its own nuclear and ballistic missile programs, it was also sharing its lethal technology with Iran and Syria, among other destabilizing actors in the Middle East.

In other words, who more than a South Korean leader should grasp Israel’s position and narrow margin for error?

But then I read your oped in the Financial Times on June 29th.

Could this really be the same Ban Ki-moon writing such a one-sided assault on Israel, raising questions about whether you truly are a friend, or, still worse, if you are even committed today to Israel’s very existence?

How else to explain your inflammatory introduction of the word “apartheid” into the discussion?

South Africa’s repugnant racial caste system has no bearing on an unresolved political conflict. As just one illustration, unlike Nelson Mandela, who spent 27 years in brutal prison conditions for challenging the South African power structure, Mahmoud Abbas, who heads the Palestinian Authority, travels the world freely, including to the UN, to make his case, garner political support and financial aid, and encourage legal actions against Israel.

Or how else to explain your neglect of the record — as if various Israeli governments hadn’t tried, on multiple occasions, to reach a two-state deal with the Palestinian leadership, only to be rebuffed time and again?
Seth Frantzman: America may be creating a power vacuum from Somalia to Afghanistan
Reports from Gulf media indicate concern that the US signaling a withdrawal from Afghanistan and troop personnel reductions in Iraq, could be part of a larger post-American power vacuum in the Middle East if things continue in this direction. “It seems that Washington has realized the danger of creating a vacuum in the hotbeds of tension, after terrorist organizations with different orientations and loyalties began to take advantage of the opportunity,” Al-Ain media reported on Saturday.

The report said that the US has been hastily packing its bags in Afghanistan and that this follows a pattern of the US drawing down troop numbers across a swath of territory from the borders of Pakistan to Somalia and the Sahel region in Africa. But the US has broken its “long silence” with new airstrikes “against those who exploit the vacuum left by its withdrawal.” This appears to refer to airstrikes in Somalia but also relates to the US using airstrikes in Syria against pro-Iran militias and the possibility the US will use airstrikes in Afghanistan to slow the Taliban.

“In the past period, al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab, the extremist Taliban and Iranian-backed militias have intensified their operations in Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq, respectively, taking advantage of a voluntary US withdrawal from the scene,” said Al-Ain. The US has realized that it may be withdrawing too fast, the article asserts, noting that terrorists are symbolically “eating the cake” left behind. If air power can fill the vacuum appears to be the question now.

US air power is now active in Somalia and Afghanistan. “Defense Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters that the strikes were in support of the Afghan security forces in recent days, without giving further details,” the report stated. “Observers considered the airstrikes an attempt by Washington to correct the mistakes of a hasty withdrawal, save Afghanistan from completely falling into the hands of the Taliban, and inflict strong damage to the latter that hinders its accelerated military operations.”

In Somalia, the US military forces operating in Africa, AFRICOM, launched an air attack on al-Shabaab terror sites for the second time in 4 days, the report says. “On Friday, air raids targeted al-Shabaab positions in Mudug governorate in Galmudug State in central Somalia, killing a number of al-Shabaab militants and destroying their weapons, according to press reports before being confirmed by the US authorities at a later time.”
Tunisian Democracy in Crisis After President Ousts Government
Tunisia faced its worst crisis in a decade of democracy on Monday after President Kais Saied ousted the government and froze parliament with help from the army in a move denounced as a coup by the main parties including Islamists.

It follows months of deadlock and disputes pitting Saied, a political independent, against Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi and a fragmented parliament as Tunisia has descended deeper into an economic crisis exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Parliament Speaker Rached Ghannouchi, the head of the moderate Islamist Ennahda party which has played a role in successive coalitions, decried it as an assault on democracy and called on Tunisians to take to the streets in opposition.

Supporters and opponents of the president threw stones at each other outside parliament on Monday morning leading to injuries with one man sitting on the pavement bleeding from the head. Tunisia‘s hard-currency bonds tumbled.

The army, which has yet to comment on Saied’s moves, deployed to the government palace in the Kasbah and stopped workers from entering the building on Monday. Troops also surrounded parliament and stopped Ghannouchi from going in.

Al-Jazeera television said police had stormed its Tunis bureau and expelled staff.
Algeria denounces African Union granting Israel observer status
Algiers on Sunday condemned the decision of the African Union to grant Israel observer status to the pan-African organization.

“Taken without the benefit of broad prior consultations with all member states, this decision has neither the vocation nor the capacity to legitimize the practices and behaviors of the said new observer which are totally incompatible with the values, principles, and objectives enshrined in the ‘Constitutive Act of the African Union,” said the Algerian Foreign Ministry in a statement, without explicitly mentioning Israel.

“The recent decision of the President of the Commission of the African Union (AU) to welcome a new observer who falls under its administrative prerogatives is not likely to alter the constant and active support of the continental organization to the just Palestinian cause,” declared the press release relayed by the official APS agency.

The ministry dismissed what it said was “media agitation around what is more of a ‘non-event.'”

Israel on Thursday obtained observer status at the AU, which it has been demanding for years, a diplomatic victory for the Jewish state.

Israel, which maintains relations with 46 African countries, had observer status within the Organization of African Unity (OAU) until its transformation into the African Union in 2002.

“Palestinian Territory” already enjoys this observer status at the AU, where it has significant support, especially in matters relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Amir Hayek Named Israel’s First Ambassador to United Arab Emirates
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid announced on Sunday the appointment of Amir Hayek as Israel’s first ambassador to the United Arab Emirates.

Hayak has previously served as director-general of the Economy and Industry Ministry and the Israel Manufacturer’s Association, as well as president of the Israel Hotel Association and chairman of the ELA Recycling Corporation.

“With his vast experience and knowledge in the fields of economy and tourism, Amir Hayek is the right person to establish the bridge between Israel and the Emirates. Following the opening of the embassy, the time has also come to appoint the first ambassador to the United Arab Emirates,” said Lapid in a statement.

Hayek thanked Lapid, saying it was a “great honor for me to be the first ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and represent the State of Israel.”

“The United Arab Emirates is an entire world of joint economic opportunity. This is an important and exciting mission, and we have a lot of work ahead of us. I have no doubt I will have the full cooperation of all government ministries and together, we will succeed in establishing diplomatic and economic cooperation between both countries,” he said.

Earlier this month, the UAE officially opened its embassy in Tel Aviv in a ceremony attended by Israeli President Isaac Herzog and UAE Ambassador to Israel Mohamed Al Khaja.
UAE officials warn: Nixing pipeline deal could harm relations
Officials in Abu Dhabi warned Sunday of possible diplomatic repercussions between the United Arab Emirates and Israel if Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg's decision to delay the implementation of a proposed oil transport deal, with the UAE isn't reversed.

The deal between Israel's state-owned Europe Asia Pipeline Company and the UAE was part of the peace deal crafted between the two countries in September 2020.

Within the framework of the deal, Gulf oil would be brought to the Red Sea port of Eilat by tanker, then moved by the Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline through mainland Israel to the Mediterranean port of Ashkelon, from where it would be shipped to Europe and beyond.

Green groups have warned the deal could inflict massive environmental damage.

Zandberg's intention to repeal the agreement was first reported by Israel Hayom last month.

In the wake of Zandberg's decision, senior officials in Abu Dhabi told Israel Hayom: "With the establishment of the government in Israel, we understood this scenario could unfold. This is an agreement that was signed after all the tests were done, and its annulment could certainly lead to an erosion of the ties being formed with the Israeli government and with Israeli commercial companies.
Abraham Accords: UAE patient to get a kidney from Israeli woman
The historic Abraham Accords will mark another milestone this Wednesday when an Israeli woman donates a kidney to a patient in the UAE.

Shani Markowitz Manshar, 39, is slated to undergo surgery this Wednesday to donate one of her kidneys, giving a second chance at life to a patient in Abu Dhabi as part of a wider organ donation programme between the two countries.

“There will be more organ transplants and medical tourism like this coming down the line in the next couple of months,” says Steve Walz, global media spokesperson for Sheba Medical Center who spoke exclusively with Khaleej Times.

The procedure is a three-way kidney exchange as part of the same donor programme between the two countries. Manshar’s mother is also in need of a kidney transplant and will be hospitalised at Sheba for her own procedure this week, while a patient at Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa will receive a transplant from a donor in the UAE.

Following Wednesday’s three-hour operation which will be filmed in part according to Sheba’s spokesperson, Manshar’s kidney will be flown directly to Abu Dhabi making history as the first Israeli organ transplant to an Abu Dhabi resident.

“We are now able to do things that weren’t possible before thanks to the Abraham Accords, and helping citizens in the Gulf is a top priority for us,” says Walz.
After welcoming Sephardic Jews, Spain rejects thousands of citizenship requests
Spain has been widely rejecting applications for citizenship by the descendants of Sephardic Jews expelled from the country more than 500 years ago, according to The New York Times.

The Spanish government has extended citizenship to 34,000 people since advancing the 2015 law to redress the “historical mistake” Spain committed when it forced its Jewish population to convert or go into exile in 1492.

But according to The New York Times, which cited Spanish government data, while just a single applicant was denied citizenship before this year, 3,000 applications have been suddenly rejected in the past few months and 17,000 others have received no response.

The Spanish Justice Ministry defended the rejections, telling the paper that those who met the criteria “are welcome again to their country, but similarly, those who don’t meet the requirements will see that their application is rejected just like they would be in any other process.”

“It felt like a punch in the gut,” Maria Sánchez, 60, of New Mexico, whose application was rejected, told the paper. “You kicked my ancestors out, now you’re doing this again.”

Both Portugal and Spain passed laws in 2015 granting citizenship to the descendants of Sephardic Jews, measures both governments said were intended to atone for the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Jews from the Iberian Peninsula during the Inquisition.
MEMRI: Saudi Journalists Encourage Local Judoka Al-Qahtani To Show Up For Match With Israeli Opponent
Saudi judoka Tahani Al-Qahtani is slated to face Israeli judoka Raz Hershko on July 30, 2021 in the Tokyo Olympics. Users on social media have been debating whether Al-Qahtani should show up for the match or should forfeit it, following the example of Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine, who withdrew from the games several days ago in order to avoid facing an Israeli opponent, on the grounds that he identifies with the Palestinian people and opposes normalization with Israel.[1]

Alongside Saudis and Palestinians who called on Al-Qahtani to withdraw from the games,[2] many Saudi journalists and intellectuals on social media encouraged her to be sportsmanlike and show up for the match with the Israeli opponent. Sports bring peoples together, and are no place for politics, they said; moreover, withdrawing from the match will be a "disgrace" and will not do Israel any harm. One journalist posted the news about Israeli taekwondo athlete Avishag Semberg winning the bronze after beating a Turkish opponent, and added sarcastically: "A Turkish athlete is allowed to compete with an Israeli, but a Saudi is not."[3]

According to a report in the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq A-Awsat, the Saudi delegation has given Al-Qahtani permission to compete against the Israeli athlete, in order to protect her and the Saudi Judo Federation from facing sanctions by the International Olympic Committee, like those that have been issued against the Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine. The deputy head of the Saudi Judo Federation, Nabil Hassan, told the daily that Al-Qahtani is at the beginning of her career and it is important to ease the pressure on her, encourage her and trust her. [4]

This report presents some of the social media posts encouraging the Saudi judoka to stay in the games and face the Israeli opponent.

Liberal Saudi intellectual Turki Al-Hamad tweeted: "I fervently hope that our Saudi champion will not avoid facing the Israeli judoka in a sporting spirit and let her immediately win [by default]. After all, this is only a sports [match] and Israel will not cease to exist following such a withdrawal. The evil tongues [calling on Al-Qahtani to withdraw] will continue to wallow in the quagmire of evil, whether she withdraws or shows up for the match."[5]
2nd judoka pulls out of Olympics in apparent move to avoid facing Israeli
A second judoka has pulled out of the Olympics judo competition seemingly to avoid facing Israeli Tohar Butbul, days after his scheduled opponent in a previous round was suspended for doing the same.

Butbul was listed as having “No competitor” in what should have been a bout with Sudan’s Mohamed Abdalrasool in the men’s 73-kg division.

Olympic officials say Abdalrasool didn’t show up to face Butbul in their round, despite weighing in for the bout earlier.

The International Judo Federation didn’t immediately announce a reason why Abdalrasool didn’t compete, and the governing body didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Sudanese Olympic officials also didn’t immediately comment.

In January, Sudan signed onto the Abraham Accords with the United States, paving the way for the African country to normalize ties with Israel, but a report earlier this month said that Sudan was disappointed with the outcome of the normalization agreement. The agreement was widely protested in Sudan.

Abdalrasool is the world’s 469th-ranked judoka in his weight class, while the accomplished Butbul is seventh.
Seth Frantzman: Will Russia try to close Syrian airspace to further Israeli airstrikes?
Russia could be moving to pressure Israel to stop airstrikes in Syria. Reports began to surface this weekend, beginning with an article at London-based Asharq al-Awsat that cited a “well-informed” Russian source.

The report was carried in Turkey and other media in the region with interest. According to these reports, Russia might even strengthen the Syrian regime’s air defenses.

What do the reports say? The Russian source hinted at the possibility of “closing Syrian airspace” to Israeli planes, Asharq al-Awsat reported. This comes in response to allegations that Israel has “intensified their raids in the past two days against Iranian and Hezbollah sites in northern and central Syria.”

Russia released two statements in the wake of a raid “targeting a research center in the countryside of Aleppo, and the other on a site for Iranian forces to be stationed in Al-Qusayr, near Homs,” the report said.

“This is directly related to the talks that were launched with the United States following the first summit that brought together presidents Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden last month,” the Russian source told the Arabic website, adding that “Moscow was calculating its reactions in the past because Tel Aviv [Jerusalem] is coordinating all its movements with Washington, while the Russian communication channels with Washington were cut off, and it appeared, from the current contacts with the American side, that Moscow obtained confirmation that Washington does not welcome the continuous Israeli raids.”
IDF Attacks Gazan Targets After Incendiary Balloons Launched From Enclave
Israel’s air force struck targets in the Gaza Strip late Sunday in response to incendiary balloons earlier in the day, according to the IDF.

The IDF spokesperson’s unit said fighter jets hit a Hamas military base and infrastructure used for terrorism. The base is located near a school, the statement said.

Gazan residents posted footage on social media of the strikes on several points in the coastal enclave. Terrorists fired machine guns at Israeli planes in response, Arabic media sources said.

The IDF earlier announced a reduction in the Gazan fishing zone in response to incendiary balloons, which started fires in southern Israel in farming communities near Gaza.

Israel’s stated policy is to not tolerate any attacks emanating from Gaza, and holds the Hamas terrorist organization that rules the Strip responsible for hostilities originating from the territory.
IDF Strikes Gaza After Incendiary Balloons Were Sent To The South
IDF hits military base, infrastructure used for terrorism

Israel's air force struck targets in the Gaza Strip late Sunday in response to incendiary balloons earlier in the day, according to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

The IDF spokesperson's unit said fighter jets hit a Hamas military base and infrastructure used for terrorism. The base is located near a school, the statement said.




Court: PLO must pay ship hijacking victims nearly NIS 1m.
The Jerusalem District Court on Sunday ruled that the Palestine Liberation Organization must pay nearly NIS 1 million to the estates of two Israeli victims of a 1985 ship hijacking.

The breakdown of the damages is NIS 400,000 to each victim’s estate as well as attorneys fees for a decades long legal fight.

Channel 12 first reported the decision, but the Jerusalem Post independently obtained a copy of the ruling.

It was October 1985, when on its way to Alexandria, four Palestinian terrorists hijacked the Achille Lauro at sea and demanded the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons.

During the hijacking of the ship, the terrorists shot a disabled Jew named Leon Klinghoffer while still strapped to his wheelchair and threw him into the water.

They also harmed various other passengers, including Sofi Chiser and Anna Shneider, whose families, represented by Shurat Hadin, initiated proceedings against the PLO around 21 years ago, to obtain damages for those harms.


PreOccupiedTerritory: Rajoub Threatens To Pull Palestine Olympic Team Unless Allowed To Bomb Israeli Team (satire)
The head of the Palestinian Olympic Committee upped the ante on demands of the organizers of this year’s Summer Olympiad, warning that his delegation of athletes will withdraw from and boycott the once-every-four-years contest if a participant born in Israel is not permitted to list his country of origin as “Palestine,” but that the International Olympic Committee must permit his delegation to perpetrate terrorism against the Israeli athletes, in keeping with Palestinian Olympic tradition.

Jibril Rajoub, the Palestinian Minister of Sport – and holder of the rank of Lieutenant General in the Palestinian preventive Security Forces – threatened Sunday to pull the “State of Palestine” Olympic team from the Tokyo events if a member of his delegation born in Jerusalem – and who therefore bears an Israeli identification card – is not permitted to list his birthplace as “Palestine.” He further demanded Monday that the athletes and their ancillary staff under his aegis be permitted to bomb, shoot, kidnap, mutilate, or otherwise terrorize their counterparts from the Israeli delegation, or else Palestine will boycott the 2021 Olympics.

“Our demands are as clear as they are just,” pronounced Rajoub at a press conference. “The Committee has twenty-four hours to decide; absent the public announcement of a decision on the Committee’s part, we will pack up and leave.”
Palestinians threaten to resume Gaza-Israel border protests
Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have threatened to resume weekly protests near the Gaza-Israel border if there is no progress in talks to improve the economic and humanitarian situation in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

The threat was relayed to Israel through Egypt, Qatar and other mediators, according to Palestinian sources who said the groups were “running out of patience” because of a lack of progress in efforts to ease restrictions imposed on the Gaza Strip.

The 2018-2019 Gaza border protests, dubbed by Palestinian organizers as the “Great March of Return,” were a series of weekly demonstrations during which Palestinians clashed with soldiers.

The demonstrators demanded that the descendants of Palestinian refugees be allowed to return to their former villages and cities in Israel. They also protested against the restrictions imposed on the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian groups have decided “to step up pressure along the borders of the Gaza Strip” after a period of relative calm during Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice), the Hezbollah-affiliated newspaper Al-Akhbar reported.

The planned escalation aims to push forward the ongoing discussions on the issues related to the Gaza Strip, particularly the humanitarian and economic situation, the report said.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Will Lebanon Fall into the Hands of Iran?
There is growing concern among the Lebanese and other Arabs that Iran is planning to exploit the severe political, economic and financial crisis in Lebanon to complete its takeover of the country.

Iran already has a political and military presence in Lebanon through its terrorist proxy, Hezbollah. The current crisis, however, is likely to facilitate Iran's mission of adding Lebanon to the list of countries it already occupies: Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

"Iran is already very dangerous without a nuclear bomb. The region is witnessing a state of chaos and agitation by fundamentalist forces, which threaten all Arab countries without exception." — Mishary Dhayidi, Saudi writer, Al-Arabiya, July 21, 2021

The Arabs appear clearly worried about the perceived apathy of the US and other Western powers towards Iran's scheme to extend its control to Lebanon. They seem particularly alarmed that Lebanon will meet the same fate as Iraq, Syria and Yemen.... thanks to Iran's continuous efforts to export terrorism and the "Islamic Revolution" to the Arab countries.

[T]he mullahs in Tehran are doubly dangerous: they aspire not only to develop nuclear weapons, but also to occupy Arab states.
Israel Issues Stark Warning to US: Iran’s Crossing Nuclear Threshold Imminent
Israel issued a bleak warning to the United States recently, highlighting that Iran is on the verge of becoming a nuclear threshold state, i.e. one that could begin to manufacture atomic weapons, according to a report on Kan 11 News on Sunday.

The lull in the talks that have taken place over several rounds in Vienna regarding Iran’s nuclear program does not mean that the situation is static.

Indeed, several senior Israeli officials, including Foreign Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, relayed the message of the Jewish state’s concerns to their US counterparts — Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett supposedly said in internal meetings that Iran is in fact accelerating its actions on the nuclear issue, reported Israeli outlet Arutz 7.

A senior diplomat said, “Something needs to happen regarding the negotiations with Iran. This ‘limbo’ cannot continue a time when Iran is advancing rapidly to the point where it is a threshold state.”
Dennis Ross: To Deter Iran, Give Israel a Big Bomb
With negotiations paused until a new hardline administration takes office in Tehran, the chances of reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal anytime soon are not bright. Even successful talks might not stop Iran's leaders from pursuing nuclear weapons.

Moreover, the fact that the Biden administration hopes to reach a "longer and stronger" follow-on agreement reflects its recognition that the JCPOA is not sufficient.

If the U.S. cannot persuade Iran to temper its nuclear ambitions using carrots, which seems unlikely given Iran's determined pursuit of a large nuclear infrastructure, it must find more effective sticks.

To start, the Biden administration should reframe its stated objective and be clear the U.S. is determined to stop Iran not just from acquiring a nuclear weapon, but from being able to produce a bomb quickly. Since Iran is a threat to its neighbors, it must not be in a position where it could effectively present the world with a nuclear weapons fait accompli at a time of its choosing.

The U.S. must make the costs of pursuing a threshold capability far clearer. To do so, the Biden administration should consider providing Israel the GBU-57 Massive Ordnance Penetrator, a 30,000-pound mountain-buster, as well as leasing the B-2 bomber to deliver it. Such a weapon could be used to destroy Fordow, the underground Iranian enrichment facility, as well as other hardened nuclear sites.

This would send a powerful message. The Iranians may doubt whether the U.S. would follow through on its threats; they won't have any trouble believing the Israelis will.
Jordan has been attacked by Iranian-made drones - King Abdullah
Iranian-made drones and missiles have attacked Jordan in increasing numbers, King Abdullah told CNN on Sunday, as he described the dangers the Hashemite Kingdom and the region faces from the Islamic Republic.

"Unfortunately, Jordan has been attacked by drones that have come out that are Iranian signature that we have to deal with," Abdullah told CNN's Fareed Zakaria. He clarified that the drone attacks had taken place over the past year and had increased.

Abdullah listed a number of issues related to Iran, including the nuclear program, ballistic missile development, cyberattacks, and skirmishes along Jordan's borders.

Iran's "ballistic technology has improved dramatically. We've seen that, unfortunately, against American bases in Iraq. We've seen Saudi being the recipient of missiles out of Yemen. Israel from Syria and Lebanon, to an extent," the king said.

"What misses Israel sometimes lands in Jordan... Add to that [the] increased cyberattacks on many of our countries. The firefights on our borders have increased almost to the times when we were at the high end with Da'esh [ISIS]," Abdullah stated as he highlighted the dangers to his kingdom.
How Turkey and Iran Infiltrate Young American Minds
Iran, Turkey, and Islamic terrorist organizations have intensified their efforts to infiltrate the minds of susceptible young Americans through the anti-Israel movement. On June 18, the Center for Islam & Global Affairs (CIGA) at Turkey's Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University launched a five-day international conference on Palestine that featured lectures by Western professors and anti-Israel activists.

The host of the event was Sami Al-Arian, a former professor at the University of South Florida who pled guilty in 2006 to assisting the U.S.-designated terror organization Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and was subsequently deported to Turkey. Perhaps most worrying is that eleven American professors spoke at the conference, nine of whom teach at public universities.

Six months earlier, Iran joined 60 anti-Israel groups and a number of U.S.-designated terrorist organizations for two virtual events based out of Gaza and Tehran. Many of the groups promoting the event enlisted American students as dutiful soldiers in their crusade against Israel. These groups serve as an ideological backdoor for radical Middle Eastern extremism into the U.S.


'Death to the dictator!': Anti-government protests reach Tehran
Protests in Iran are entering their third week, with widespread arrests of protesters and deadly use of force in response.

Protests began on July 15 in response to the severe drought and water crisis suffered by Iran’s Arab Ahwazi citizens in Khuzestan. Protesters describe that water is only a trigger for the movement in addition to a long history of repression by the Iranian government.

Since then, protests against the regime and country-wide drought have spread across the country, including to the capital city of Tehran. Protesters also object to Iran’s foreign policy agenda, especially given the lack of necessities domestically.

A video shared on social media showed protesters marching down the streets shouting slogans, such as "Death to the dictator" and "Neither Gaza nor Lebanon, I will sacrifice my life for Iran."

According to Amnesty International on Friday, in response to the protests, security forces have killed at least eight protesters, including a teenage boy, in seven different cities.

The Iranian Mehr News Agency reported on Monday that shopkeepers began protesting after an hours-long power outage in parts of Tehran. A spokesman for the electricity provider stated that the power outage was caused by excessive power consumption in a building in the area.

“Iran’s security forces have deployed unlawful force, including by firing live ammunition and birdshot, to crush mostly peaceful protests taking place across the southern province of Khuzestan,” Amnesty International’s statement described. “Video footage from the past week, coupled with consistent accounts from the ground, indicate security forces used deadly automatic weapons, shotguns with inherently indiscriminate ammunition, and tear gas to disperse protesters.”











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