Wednesday, July 28, 2021

From Ian:

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: America’s spiteful foreign policy
So when did it all go wrong?

On the campaign trail in 2008, Barack Obama set a precedent when he declared his intention to reverse the key foreign policy decisions of the George W. Bush Administration, promising “to remove US combat troops [from Iraq] within 16 months, leaving behind a residual force with limited responsibilities”. The effects of this withdrawal are well-documented — the most serious being the rise of Isis.

Eight years later, Donald Trump responded by resolving to do all he could to “dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran” — the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — which was portrayed by top officials in the Obama Administration as their biggest diplomatic achievement. And four years after that, Joe Biden indicated he would reverse key foreign policy decisions of the Trump Administration, particularly with respect to Iran and Saudi-Arabia. The Biden Administration has also decided to not only pull out of Afghanistan — prioritising haste over competence — but also to resuscitate the Iranian JCPOA deal, despite unrelenting provocations by the Iranian regime.

Indeed, the end of bipartisanship was all but confirmed in May, when White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki delivered a scathing verdict on the Trump Administration’s efforts in the Middle East: “Aside from putting forward a peace proposal that was dead on arrival,” she said, “we don’t think they did anything constructive, really, to bring an end to the long-standing conflict in the Middle East.”

In reality, last August’s Abraham Peace Accords represented an extraordinary step forward for the Middle East. The UAE and Bahrain recognised Israel’s right to exist, and with it the need for Arabs and Jews to join forces against the existential threat posed by Iran.
Republicans Want To Cut Funding for Palestinian Refugee Agency
Legislation filed in the House and Senate on Tuesday would cut off U.S. funding to UNRWA until the agency implements a series of reforms that include cutting ties to terrorist groups and ending its use of anti-Israel educational curricula and consents to a full-scale financial audit, according to a copy of the legislation obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. The bill would also require the Biden administration to certify in writing to Congress that UNRWA has ended its affiliation with all terrorist groups and rooted out anti-Semitism from its ranks.

The legislation comes just months after the Biden administration greenlit $150 million in U.S. taxpayer dollars to UNRWA, which saw its budget cut by the Trump administration in 2018. While it is unlikely that Republicans can pass the bill in a Democrat-controlled House and divided Senate, the measure will send a warning to UNRWA that if it does not reform, it will once again find itself iced out of U.S. aid if the GOP regains control.

The Senate version of the bill is spearheaded by Sen. Jim Risch (R., Idaho), the ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and already has 12 cosponsors, including Sens. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), Rob Portman (R., Ohio), and Marsha Blackburn (R., Tenn.). Risch requested in April that Secretary of State Antony Blinken reconsider U.S. funding to UNRWA, but the Biden administration declined. Rep. Chip Roy (R., Texas) is leading the House version of the bill, which has the early support of 28 members.

The bill also redefines what it means to be a Palestinian refugee. UNRWA claims there are more than five million Palestinian refugees who require its services, a number that has been used to justify UNRWA's skyrocketing budget. A classified report by the U.S. State Department put this number at closer to 20,000, according to reporting by the Free Beacon. Former secretary of state Mike Pompeo put the number at less than 200,000 in a tweet issued shortly before he left office.

Under the legislation, only those individuals displaced by the 1948 Arab-Israeli war would qualify for this status. This change would cut the number of refugees in need of UNRWA's services and set the stage for the embattled agency to be completely phased out—an effort UNRWA officials have pushed back against in recent years.

"When UNRWA was created, its specific purpose was to provide relief for refugees of the 1948 Arab-Israeli Conflict. More than 70 years later, the organization has employed individuals affiliated with Hamas, a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization, and its schools have been used to promote anti-Semitism and store Hamas weapons," Risch told the Free Beacon. "It is unacceptable that U.S. taxpayer dollars are being used to fund this agency."

Roy, in a statement, described UNRWA's definition of a Palestinian refugee as "nonsensical" and accused the agency of being "an obstacle to peace" between Israel and the Palestinians.
Rabbi Prof. Dov Fischer: The myth of "Occupied Palestinian Territories" -- Part 1 of 2
Until Arab proto-Nazis liquidated the Jewish presence in Ḥevron in 1929, it was a city where Jews had every right to live — and did.

The Woke argue: “OK, but you can’t turn back the clock. The Arabs took it from the Jews in 1929, and you have to move on.” Then the response is: “If that is your best moral argument stemming from the 1929 Ḥevron massacres, then consider that in 1967 the Jews took it back from the Arabs, and you can’t turn back the clock, and you have to move on.”

If suzerainty is determined by war, then the land is Israel’s. If rights are determined by history, then the land is Israel’s. If rights are determined by the simple principle that, if someone murders you and seizes your home, then your kids have a right to take it back, the land belongs to Israel. If rights are determined by international law, then the land the Romans seized two thousand years ago later was taken from them, ultimately transitioned to the Ottoman Empire, and the Turks then lost it in World War I to the French and British who cut up the Middle East between themselves.

At no point did Arabs ever lay claim to Judea and Samaria as a “Palestine” polity of its own. When the British and French colonialists were driven out of the land by the Irgun, the Lechi, and the Haganah anti-colonialist, anti-imperialist Jewish undergrounds that saw the British hang twelve of their leaders on the gallows and lash others in the underground as they whipped their unruly subjects in Africa and India, Jordan saw an opportunity in 1947 and grabbed Judea and Samaria. However, the Jordanian occupation was not recognized by world bodies. Nor did Jordan make a country of it. No “Palestine” was set up. They simply leveraged their manifestly illegal occupation to ban Jews from visiting the Cave of Machpelah in Ḥevron, barring Jews from climbing above the seventh step of the stairway to visit and worship at the Patriarchs’ and Matriarchs’ tombs. Similarly, Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser grabbed the Gaza Strip.

In 1964, Ahmad el-Shukairy convened a conference at which he created a terror movement called the “Palestine Liberation Organization.” The P.L.O. undertook to perpetrate terror acts against civilians to “liberate Palestine from the Israelis.” Yet, none of their terror was aimed at driving Jordan out of its occupation of Judea and Samaria, nor Egypt out of Gaza. Rather, to liberate the newly fabricated “Palestine,” all P.L.O. terror aimed instead at driving the Jews out of Tel Aviv, Haifa, Ra’anana, and other cities, towns, and villages in pre-1967 Israel and driving the Jews “into the [Mediterranean] sea.”

It always has been Arab Muslim Orthodoxy that “Palestine” actually is the entire country of Israel, not merely Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”). “Seeing is believing”: look at the following flags and logos of the “Palestine” terror groups whose claims Ben & Jerry’s favors over Israel:
The myth of "Occupied Palestinian Territories" -- Part 2 of 2
So it is challenging to convey simple truths in a society where the Woke and their media have a tale to perpetuate, notwithstanding its base falsehood. One example: When murderous Arab youths beat an American Jewish yeshiva student in Israel to a bloody pulp near-death on a side street, his life was saved by the heroic intervention of a non-Jewish Druze policeman who menacingly waved his baton at the thugs just in time. The incident was photographed. Yet the New York Times falsely captioned that it was an Israeli policeman beating innocent “Palestinians” on the Temple Mount. The lie was exposed only because the photo happened to show a gas station in the background. There are no gas stations on Mount Zion, the site of the Holy Temple.

That is what makes this fight for truth so impossible: its many layers, its complexity, and a powerful Woke political and mass-communications infrastructure that suppresses the Zionist message.

When someone murders you and seizes your home, your kids have a right to take it back. Israel does not sit on one inch of “Occupied Palestinian Territory.” But Vermont sits on land that belonged to the Algonquian-speaking Abenaki, the Iroquoian-speaking Mohawk, and the Algonquin Mohican Native American peoples. Ben and Jerry and Bernie Sanders — three Woke Jews from New York who preach about “Occupied Palestinian Territories” — left New York’s rich demographic diversity to occupy that land that has been rendered virtually apartheid. They have made millions there from its soil, its non-GMO cows, and the grass of occupied Native American tribal lands on which they graze. When Ben & Jerry’s sold to Unilever, Ben Cohen came home with $41 million, and Jerry Greenspan $9.5 million.

Multi-millionaire Bernie Sanders owns three houses. They preach shamelessly and, as anti-Semites have achieved successfully for centuries, jealous masses overlook them as resentful eyes get diverted instead at “The Jews,” in this case Israel.

It is a price Israel pays for existing. It is a price that committed Jews pay for existing.

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

Each victim’s estate should receive NIS 400,000 plus lawyers’ fees for the decades-long legal fight, the court said. Channel 12 first reported the decision, and The Jerusalem Post independently obtained a copy of the ruling.

Four Palestinian terrorists hijacked the Italian ship Achille Lauro in October 1985 as it was en route to Alexandria and demanded the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons.

The terrorists shot Leon Klinghoffer, a disabled Jew who was strapped to his wheelchair, and threw him overboard.

They also hurt other passengers, including Sofi Chiser and Anna Shneider. Their families, represented by Shurat HaDin (Israel Law Center), initiated legal proceedings against the PLO to obtain damages 21 years ago.

Hopefully, “this historic judgment... will deliver a measure of justice to these Jewish-American families,” Shurat HaDin founder Nitsana Darshan-Leitner said in a statement. “While everyone knows the infamous story of the murder of elderly New Yorker Leon Klinghoffer, who was killed by the PLO in cold blood, few people remember that there were other victims held hostage on the ship who were threatened with being shot merely because they were also Jews.”

“The defendants tried to argue that the PLO didn’t carry out the attack, only the PFLP,” she said. “But we were able to establish once and for all that the PFLP under Mohammad Abbas’s command perpetrated this heinous hijacking as a full terrorist operation coordinated with Arafat’s main PLO factions.”
Israeli and Palestinian Government Ministers Meet for First Time in Years
Ministers from the governments of Israel and the Palestinian Authority met Wednesday for the first time in years, Walla reported.

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz and Minister of Environmental Protection Tamar Zandberg met with their Palestinian counterparts in Jerusalem, at the initiative of the Minister of Regional Cooperation Issawi Frej, who is seeking to encourage a renewal of ties with the PA after years of estrangement.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office confirmed that he was aware and approved of the meeting.

Throughout the tenure of former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, contacts between Israel and the PA steadily deteriorated, and for the past 18 months the only contacts have been through security officials and former president Reuven Rivlin.

The last time Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas spoke was in 2017.

Relations have picked up since Netanyahu’s replacement, however, with four telephone conversations between Abbas and senior Israeli officials, including President Isaac Herzog and Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

Bennett and Abbas have yet to speak, but the prime minister has said both publicly and to the US administration that he is interested in promoting civil and economic cooperation with the Palestinians in some form.
Elliott Abrams: Biden should reconsider planned reversal of bipartisan US policy on Jerusalem
Opening a new U.S. consulate now is therefore a stark departure not merely from the Trump administration’s policies, but also from the consistent position of the U.S. government over many decades.

The move may in fact be illegal, and the United States likely needs permission from the Israeli government to proceed.

Most jarring, however, is that it amounts to a de facto division of Israel’s capital and represents a distinct infringement on the sovereign rights of the Israeli state. In simple terms, the Biden administration is seeking to open a diplomatic mission serving a foreign entity in what the United States now rightly recognizes as Israel’s capital city.

The consulate could instead be opened in Ramallah, where the Palestinian Authority is headquartered. The decision to open it in Jerusalem delivers a dangerous and ambiguous signal that this administration may well support a divided Jerusalem.

The fact that the United States is even considering such a move is another unfortunate example of Israel being held to a different and discriminatory standard by the international community. Other nations, including the United States, would not allow a foreign country to divide their capitals or open consulates therein serving a third party or foreign entity. We should not need reminding that Israel is a sovereign nation with the right to determine its own capital, just like any other country. The United States has historically been a voice against such discriminatory treatment of the Jewish state. It is therefore gravely concerning that in this latest case the United States is leading the charge.

The Biden administration has at times seemed intent on reversing Trump administration policies regardless of the consequences. In this case, however, the Biden team would be reversing longstanding bipartisan U.S. policy and law — not to mention undermining the long overdue decision by a previous administration to fulfill promises made repeatedly.
IDF Says Human Rights Watch Report ‘Recycled Disproven Claims’ to Allege Israeli War Crimes During Hamas Conflict
The HRW report published the findings regarding three incidents that it said killed 62 Palestinian civilians.

In response to the first accusation in the HRW report — that an Israeli-guided missile on May 10, shortly after 6 p.m., struck near four houses of the al-Masri family near the town of Beit Hanoun, killing eight civilians, including six children — the IDF reiterated that the strike was a “failed launch attempt by a terror organization in Gaza.” On that day, it has said, the clashes were triggered by Hamas firing rockets towards Jerusalem after a 6 p.m. “ultimatum” elapsed which had called for Israel to withdraw security forces from the Temple Mount.

“Regarding the claims of an anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) strike, an IDF examination of the matter found that the IDF did not carry out any strikes in the area at the relevant time, including the use of ATGMs,” the IDF said.

The Israeli military also published a series of graphics that it said illustrated the trajectory and other details of the errant rocket responsible for the May 10 strike in Beit Hanoun.

According to the second incident, on May 15, the report found that an Israeli guided bomb destroyed a three-story building in the Al-Shati refugee camp, killing ten civilians, including two women and eight children from two related families.

“The IDF carried out a strike against a number of Hamas terror organization senior officials in an apartment used as terror infrastructure in the area of the Al-Shati refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip. Tragically, the strike led to the deaths of civilians. The details are under review,” the IDF said in response.

“Hamas deliberately embeds its military assets in densely populated civilian areas, endangering Gazan civilians in order to cover its unlawful terror activities that put civilians directly in harms way. At the same time, the IDF takes all feasible precautions to avoid harming civilians during its operational activities,” the Israeli army added.
NGO Monitor: HRW Pretends Hamas Doesn’t Exist in Gaza
Sweeping Claims Without Access to Evidence
HRW levels sweeping claims relating to Israeli targeting, without having any access to the necessary information or intelligence. Regarding Israeli strikes against Hamas’ tunnel network, HRW claims that the destruction of an adjacent building was a war crime and that it “did not find any evidence of a military target at or near the site of the airstrikes, including tunnels or an underground command center under al-Wahda street.” The basis for this conclusion is not provided.

In contrast, experts quoted by the New York Times concluded that the damage was consistent with Israel’s explanation that, in attacking a tunnel complex, “the bombs exploded deep underground [and] they unexpectedly dislodged the Abul Ouf Building’s foundations.”

Indeed, Israeli officials labeled the incident a “freak event” and highlighted that Israel did not believe its strikes would cause the building’s collapse.

Palestinian misfires and the Al-Masri family
The HRW publication makes only cursory mention of Palestinian rockets that fell short in Gaza, downplaying the resulting deaths and destruction. The refusal by HRW to investigate casualties potentially attributable to “misfired” rockets is also not in keeping with standards required by objective research and reporting, and reflects the political factors that continue to drive HRW’s agenda, under the façade of human rights.

Errant rockets fired by Hamas and Islamic Jihad – directed at Israeli civilians and thus war crimes – also killed Palestinians and caused property damage in Gaza, including to infrastructure. According to the IDF, approximately 15% (680/4,300) of the rockets and mortars launched by Palestinian groups landed within Gaza.

Media reports, quoting the IDF, attribute the May 10 deaths of members of the Al-Masri family to short-falling rockets, while HRW blames Israel. Moreover, contemporaneous accounts of the incident by Palestinian NGOs were uncharacteristically noncommittal and vague, merely describing the incident as “a blast.” Had Israel been the likely source of the strike, these NGOs would have issued detailed and sharply worded condemnations.

Human Rights Watch’s New Report a Dud as anti-Israel Charges Fizzle
HRW knows that Hamas executes alleged collaborators, and in the wake of the May fighting plans to execute more alleged collaborators, which would tend to argue both that Israel had good intelligence backing up its targeting, and that Israel must do everything possible to protect its assets within Hamas. This, of course, would include not providing Human Rights Watch with the specific intelligence that led it to target a site.

And if it’s a site that Israel denies hitting, does it not occur to HRW that Hamas might have cleaned the site, removing evidence that Hamas munitions caused the damage, and planting evidence of Israeli munitions that had been collected elsewhere? Such may well have been the case in the Beit Hanoun incident.

Furthermore, who are these HRW investigators operating in Gaza, all of whom are local Gaza residents? Why, in the interest of transparency, doesn’t HRW disclose their names? Do any of these people also work for Hamas or Islamic Jihad or similar groups, or do they have family members who do? Even if they wanted to, could the local HRW investigators safely provide evidence that Hamas would prefer to keep secret?

Did HRW have unfettered access to Gaza? Could it go wherever it wanted, whenever it wanted, and without official “guides” or “minders”? If not, shouldn’t HRW disclose just what limitations it agreed to and how it justifies accepting these limitations?

Did HRW ask to see Hamas tunnels and underground facilities, to independently judge with expert help if they would tend to undermine the buildings above?

Did HRW ask to see Hamas tunnels and underground facilities to determine if underground Hamas sites were indeed targeted and damaged by Israeli strikes? If not, why not?

Did HRW investigators ask Hamas to prove that its tunnels are not hidden underneath residential areas? If not, why not?

Did HRW investigators descend into the Gaza roadways that collapsed into deep craters after bombings, to see if indeed there was evidence of underground Hamas facilities? If not, why not?

Blinken Voices Outrage After Swastika Etched at State Department
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday voiced outrage and promised renewed efforts to combat antisemitism after a swastika was found etched in an elevator at the State Department.

Officials said they had launched an investigation into how the symbol of Nazi Germany was scraped into the wood paneling of an elevator in the Harry S. Truman Building, the secure headquarters of American diplomacy in central Washington.

Blinken, who is on a visit to India, sent a message to State Department employees to call the graffiti discovered late Monday “completely abhorrent.”

“It’s a painful reminder that antisemitism isn’t a relic of the past; it’s still a force that we’re dealing with in the world and unfortunately we’re dealing with it close to home,” State Department deputy spokeswoman Jalina Porter said as she quoted Blinken’s message.

“It has to be said that antisemitism has no place in the United States and certainly has no place in the State Department.”

Blinken, a secular Jew whose stepfather survived Nazi death camps, last month on a visit to Berlin launched an effort with Germany to combat resurgent antisemitism, including by stepping up education on the Holocaust as survivors pass away.

MEMRI: Israeli Tourists Greeted By Traditional Musicians As The First Israeli Plane Lands In Marrakesh, Morocco
The first Israeli airplane to land in Marrakesh, Morocco was greeted by a band playing traditional Moroccan music. In a report posted on Hespress on YouTube on July 25, 2021, a woman at the airport said that Moroccans have been waiting a long time for this, and they had hoped for and wanted this relationship. She thanked everyone who "took part in this step (towards) peace." She further said that the King of Morocco strives "to gather all his Moroccan children together." She said: "May Allah bless you. This is your country. Welcome, my brothers and sisters." An Israeli passenger said that this is a good thing that will support tourism between Israel and Morocco.

Moroccan Woman: "We Would Like To Welcome All The Israelis Who Are Coming To Our Country... This Is Your Country; Welcome, My Brothers And Sisters"

Moroccan woman: "An Israeli airplane landed here in Morocco. We have been waiting for this for a long time. This is what we hoped for. We wanted this relationship. We would like to thank all those who took part in this step [towards] peace, and thank His Royal Highness the King – May Allah protect him – who [strives to] gather all his Moroccan children together. This is an important thing. We, Moroccans, should be together. We would like to welcome all the Israelis who are coming to our country. May Allah bless you. This is your country. Welcome, my brothers and sisters."

Israeli Tourist: "Now Moroccans [Can] See The Holy Places [In Israel], And Vice Versa; This Is Great"

Israeli tourist: "I came on the first plane on the line between Tel-Aviv and Marrakesh. It is a good thing that will support tourism between Israel and Morocco. Now Moroccans would be able to see the holy places [in Israel], and vice versa. This is great. This is truly great. This is not something new for the Moroccans who are known for their hospitality."

Can a Bangladeshi Visit Israel Now?
Recently, the government of Bangladesh dropped the infamous phrase "this passport is valid for all countries of the world except Israel" from its new passports. Those words had been prominently inscribed since the country's independence from Pakistan in 1971. Six months ago, when Bangladeshi government introduced a new machine-readable passport with an electronic chip, the "except Israel" clause was quietly erased with no public announcement. The change was, in a sense, classified.

In early May, a man went to the passport department headquarters to collect the passports of his mother and brother, when he noticed that the clause had been omitted. Through social media, the news went viral. Now it has become a national issue of debate.

Having been informed of the news, the deputy Director-General for Asia and the Pacific with the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Gilad Cohen, joyfully tweeted: "Great news! #Bangladesh has removed travel ban to Israel. This is a welcome step & I call on the Bangladeshi government to move forward and establish diplomatic ties with #Israel so both our peoples could benefit & prosper." The reactionary comments to his tweet from Muslims are notable.

The Jerusalem Post wrote: "Bangladesh has reportedly lifted its travel ban in an unexpected move...." In Bangladesh, however, several cabinet members, especially the home minister and the foreign minister, apparently felt pressure. The reaction had been enormous.
Israel to give work permits to 16,000 more Palestinians in bid to strengthen PA
The Israeli government is set to increase the number of work permits for West Bank Palestinians by 16,000 amid calls by Israeli officials to strengthen the ailing Palestinian Authority economy.

According to the Defense Ministry, the Israeli military body charged with handling Palestinian civilian affairs — known by its acronym COGAT — informed senior Palestinian officials on Wednesday of the intention to offer additional permits.

The plan was first announced by Regional Affairs Minister Issawi Frej, who said he had developed the initiative along with Housing Minister Ze’ev Elkin. But while the proposal was originally set to be approved by the government this past Sunday, it was subsequently delayed due to “technical issues” with the Defense Ministry, Frej’s office said.

Around 87,000 Palestinians work legally in Israel, according to official figures, and another 35,000 work in Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The vast majority work in agriculture and construction.

Most of the new permits — some 15,000 — will be issued specifically for construction workers, according to the proposal. Another 1,000 will be granted for Palestinians who work at hotels across Israel.

Congress Members Call on EU to Designate Hezbollah in Entirety a Terror Group
A bipartisan group of members in the US House of Representatives initiated a resolution on Monday urging the European Union to remove its official distinction between Hezbollah as a political and military organization, and to designate the entire group as a terrorist organization.

According to a news release, the resolution was introduced by Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), along with Reps. Kathy Manning (D-NC), Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.) and Peter Meijer (R-Mich.). It was co-introduced by Reps. French Hill (R-Ark.), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), Ritchie Torres (D-NY), Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) and ranking member of the Middle East, North Africa and Global Counterterrorism Subcommittee Joe Wilson (R-SC).

Hezbollah is considered a terrorist organization by the United States; however, the European Union splits the group into two branches—a political wing and a military wing.

The military wing of Hezbollah is on the EU’s list of sanctioned terrorist organizations, but not what it defines as the political wing.

According to Julie Rayman, senior director of policy and political affairs at the American Jewish Committee, that distinction allows the branch designated as the political wing of the Iran-backed terrorist organization Hezbollah to spread its influence outside of the Middle East and create a terrorist infrastructure across Europe.

The United States doesn’t recognize this distinction and includes the entire Hezbollah entity on its US Foreign Terrorist Organization list.

JPost Editorial: Crunch time to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons
Israel’s problem is not in Paris, but rather, in Washington, which – as Malley admitted – was willing to give up all its sanctions leverage to get the 2015 deal reinstated.

Prime Minister Bennett is expected to travel next month to the US for his first meeting with President Joe Biden.

While it is understandable that Bennett will want this meeting to go as smoothly as possible to get relations with Biden off on the right foot and show the Democratic administration that he is not Netanyahu, someone with whom many of those in the administration had a rocky relationship, Bennett will need to stand firm and inform the president that allowing the Iranians to remain as close as they are now to a nuclear weapon is completely unacceptable to Israel.

Israel has little leverage over the Americans when it comes to Iran, as was evident in Netanyahu’s high profile – but ultimately unsuccessful – attempt in 2015 to scuttle the deal. If Washington deems that reentering the deal, even under worse conditions than in 2015, serves its interests, it will do it.

What Israel can do, however, is to articulate its continued strong opposition to such a deal. To try to get commitments from Washington on how it will act if Tehran crosses certain red lines, to probe whether the US may be willing to “compensate” Israel by providing it with more advanced weaponry to deal with an increased Iranian threat, and make it clear that come what may, Israel’s policy will remain as it has been for the last 25 years: do all it can to ensure Iran never gets the bomb.
Iran’s Khamenei Blames ‘Cowardly’ US for Pause in Nuclear Talks
Iran’s supreme leader on Wednesday declared Tehran would not accept Washington’s “stubborn” demands in talks to revive a 2015 nuclear deal and said the United States had failed to guarantee that it would never abandon the pact again.

“The Americans acted completely cowardly and maliciously,” state TV quoted Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as saying.

“They once violated the nuclear deal at no cost by exiting it. Now they explicitly say that they cannot give guarantees that it would not happen again.”

Since April 9, Tehran and six world powers have been in talks to revive the nuclear pact ditched three years ago by then US President Donald Trump, who argued it favored Iran.

The sixth round of indirect talks between Tehran and Washington adjourned on June 20, two days after hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi was elected president of the Islamic Republic. Parties involved in the negotiations have yet to announce when the next round of negotiations will resume.

Like Khamenei, Raisi has backed the revival of the nuclear pact but officials have said that his government might adopt “a hardline” approach. Khamenei, not the president, has the last say on Iran’s state matters, including the nuclear policy.
Seth Frantzman: Iran-Israel media information laundering - analysis
Iranian and Israeli media have an ecosystem of quoting each other and also quoting other regional sources, such as Arabic language media. This can be part of the war of words in the region or used to spread information and misinformation, or in other cases to confirm and affirm what is already known. This sometimes creates a kind of laundered affect for information, whereby Iran boasts of various threats that then get reprinted in Israeli media and then get “reported” on in Iran, as if Israel is concerned about the threats. The threats become facts through this process, such that Iran can pretend that its threats paid off, whether they did or didn’t.

This was the case today in a report by Iran’s Tasnim media that said that Iran’s nuclear threat and new missiles in the Hezbollah arsenal were a threat to Israel and a “strategic challenge” to the “Zionists.” This was based on an Israeli think tank’s report, that Iran’s Tasnim quoted but didn’t actually mention by name correctly. “The Zionist think tanks reported strategic challenges to the head of the Zionist regime, saying that Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas are the most important challenges of this regime.”

The irony here of Iran is that it is the regime saying it is a major threat to Israel and then as “proof” showing off reports from Israel. The key here is that Iran’s media is saying its precision guided missiles are a major threat to Israel, a fact that has been reported in the past by commentators in Israel and abroad. Iran apparently wants its own readers to know this. “The Israeli regime’s Internal Security Institute issued a report on strategic challenges,” the report says. “The report is based on developments in the world, the region and domestically over the past six months, and includes developments such as the establishment of a new US administration, Biden’s decision to return to a nuclear deal with Iran, and the establishment of a new regime. Israel has dealt with internal tensions in the regime, as well as clashes between Palestinian Arabs and Jews in the occupied Palestinian cities.” This report, Iran says, was presented to Israel’s president.

Now Iran has a chance to learn about its own threats, the ones that it openly boasts of. Among these are Iran’s Tasnim assessment that Iran has a nuclear enrichment program. “Researchers at the Israeli Institute of Internal Security [sic INSS – Institute for National Security Studies] have argued that the regime has a duty to secure a military option against Iran and to prepare for a ‘failure to reach an agreement with Iran over its nuclear program.’”
Documents Reveal Iranian Plans for Cyberattacks on Western Targets
Documents detailing the cyber activity of a covert Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps unit and obtained by Sky News revealed Iran’s planned targets, with the unit focusing on targets in the United States, Britain and France in particular.

According to a security official quoted in the Sky News report, the information laid out in the 57-pages of documents offers a glimpse into the activities of the Shahid Kaveh unit, including plans to attack shipping.

“They are creating a target bank to be used whenever they see fit,” said the official. The documents — comprising of five reports marked “very confidential,” with one dated Nov. 19, 2020 and another dated April 19 the same year — provided detailed information on satellite communications used by the international shipping industry and a computerized system used in smart buildings around the world, according to the report.

Interestingly, most of the pages contained the following quote from Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: “The Islamic Republic of Iran must become among the world’s most powerful in the area of cyber.”

Six pages in the report pertained to a system for tracking the flow of gasoline at gas stations, with particular focus on an American company by the name of Franklin Fueling Systems, which the report’s authors noted “support many customers in Europe, Africa, America, and the Middle East.” The report further noted that an “explosion of these gas pumps is possible if these systems are hacked and controlled remotely.”

The documents also detailed a kind of satellite technology used for maritime communication by the global shipping industry.

Saudi Olympic Delegation Allows Star Judoka to Face Israeli Opponent
The Saudi Arabian Olympic delegation wants to spare its star judoka from additional pressure during her first Olympic games and to allow her to gain experience looking ahead to the 2024 Olympics in Paris, so it gave her permission to compete against an Israeli athlete. Tahani Al-Qahtani, 19, is scheduled to face Israeli judoka Raz Hershko on July 30, and with her and with this blessing from her superiors she will be there, the London-based Saudi daily Asharq Al-Awsat reported. The decision comes after an Algerian athlete and a Sudanese athlete each withdrew from competition against Israeli athletes. On Tuesday, former Iranian judoka Saeid Mollaei, who is representing Mongolia after escaping to Germany from the World Championship in 2019, won a silver medal in the final of the men’s judo 81-kilogram division. Meanwhile, two Egyptian taekwondo athletes, Hedaya Wahba and Seif Eissa, have each won bronze medals in Tokyo. Tunisian swimmer Ahmed Hafnaoui, 18, on Monday won a gold medal in the 400-meter freestyle race. He joins fellow countryman Mohamed Khalil Jendoubi, who won a silver medal in taekwondo over the weekend. Kuwait’s Abdullah Al-Rashidi, who is 57 and has competed in six other Olympic games, on Monday won a bronze medal in skeet shooting. Israel Judoka Sagi Muki, winner of the 2019 judo world championship, lost his match in the quarterfinals on Tuesday morning in Tokyo, ending his medal hopes.


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