Friday, August 27, 2021

From Ian:

John Podhoretz: As We Mourn Today
As we mourn the losses of American servicemembers today in Kabul, please keep this in mind: They would not be dead if Joe Biden had not chosen to pull American forces out of Afghanistan.

The number of deaths today in Afghanistan is greater than the entire number of Americans who died there in 2020. They mark the first service deaths in Afghanistan since February 2020. The change here was the deliberate and conscious decision to “end a war” in which Americans were not suffering combat casualties.

The status quo held. And then Joe Biden, in between licks of his ice cream cones, heedlessly and vaingloriously smashed it to bits. He wanted to be the bringer of peace; he is instead the bringer of chaos. And we haven’t seen anything yet.

I am heartbroken by the news coming out of Kabul. I send my deepest condolences to the families of the Americans and Afghans who were killed. Israel honors the brave US service members who gave their lives to save so many.

Gantz Condemns Kabul Terror Attacks: ‘We Stand With Our American Partners’
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz condemned the terror attack at the international airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Thursday, reiterating that Israel “stands with our American partners.”

“My thoughts and prayers are with the US troops and the Afghan people in Kabul, following the attacks that recently took place. I extend my condolences for the lives lost and pray for the rapid recovery of the injured. We stand with our American partners,” he posted on Twitter.

According to The Washington Post, at least 12 US service members and dozens of civilians were killed in the blast outside Hamid Karzai International Airport on Thursday.

“We can confirm that a number of US service members were killed in today’s complex attack at Kabul airport,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement. “A number of others are being treated for wounds.”
IDF ‘Stands With US Service Members’ After Kabul Attacks
The Israel Defense Forces added to the expressions of solidarity with those affected by the terrorist attacks outside the gates of Kabul airport Thursday, which killed at least 85 people, including 13 US soldiers.

“My deepest condolences go out to the families of the victims of the horrific terrorist attack in Kabul,” IDF international spokesperson Amnon Shefler said on Twitter on Monday. “The IDF stands with the US service men and women who risk their lives to make our world a safer place.”

The extent of the casualties from the bombings, which have been claimed by ISIS, was still being assessed on Friday. The US military said that at least 18 service members were wounded in addition to the 13 killed, while the toll of Afghan deaths rising to at least 72.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who was set to meet with US President Joe Biden Friday in a meeting that was postponed due to the attacks, also gave his condolences.

“On behalf of the people of Israel, I share our deep sadness over the loss of American lives in Kabul,” Bennett said Thursday. “Israel stands with the United States in these difficult times, just as America has always stood with us. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of the United States.”

NYTs: Israel’s Spy Agency Snubbed the U.S. Can Trust Be Restored?
The cable sent this year by the outgoing C.I.A. officer in charge of building spy networks in Iran reverberated throughout the intelligence agency’s Langley headquarters, officials say: America’s network of informers had largely been lost to Tehran’s brutally efficient counterintelligence operations, which has stymied efforts to rebuild it.

Israel has helped fill the breach, officials say, its robust operations in Iran providing the United States with streams of reliable intelligence on Iran’s nuclear activities, missile programs and on its support for militias around the region.

The two countries’ intelligence services have a long history of cooperation and operated in virtual lock step during the Trump administration, which approved or was party to many Israeli operations in its shadow war against Iran.

That changed after the election of President Biden, who promised to restore the nuclear agreement with Iran that Israel so vigorously opposed. In the spring, Benjamin Netanyahu, then Israel’s prime minister, even curtailed intelligence sharing with the United States because he did not trust the Biden administration.

The challenge for the two countries — as Israel’s new prime minister, Naftali Bennett, meets with Mr. Biden at the White House on Thursday — will be whether they can rebuild that trust even as they pursue contradictory agendas on Iran. The Biden administration favors a diplomatic approach, reviving and building on the 2015 nuclear agreement, while Israeli officials say that only force can stop Iran from building an atomic bomb.

A key goal for Mr. Bennett will be to determine whether the Biden administration will continue to support Israel’s covert operations against Iran’s nuclear program, senior Israeli officials said.

Israeli officials hope that any new deal with Iran will not limit such operations, which in the past have included sabotage of Iranian nuclear facilities and the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists.

The White House meeting comes just weeks after William J. Burns, the C.I.A. director, traveled to Israel to meet his counterpart, David Barnea, as well as Mr. Bennett, a sign of the importance of intelligence cooperation to the bilateral relationship.

“The sharing of intelligence and operational activity between Israel and the United States is one of the most important subjects on the agenda for the meeting,” said Maj. Gen. Aharon Zeevi Farkash, a former director of Israeli military intelligence. “Israel has developed unique capabilities for intelligence collection in a number of enemy countries, capabilities that the United States was not able to grow on its own and without which its national security would be vulnerable.”
Kabul airport attack death toll rises to 108, as evacuation flights resume
The death toll from Thursday’s attacks on Kabul airport rose to at least 108, including 95 Afghans and 13 US troops, officials said Friday, as evacuation flights from the country resumed.

Two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans flocking to the airport, transforming a scene of desperation into one of horror in the waning days of an airlift for those fleeing the Taliban takeover.

The US general overseeing the evacuation said the attacks would not stop the United States from evacuating Americans and others, and flights out were continuing. General Kenneth McKenzie, head of US Central Command, said there was a large amount of security at the airport, and alternate routes were being used to get evacuees in. About 5,000 people were awaiting flights on the airfield, McKenzie said.

The blasts came hours after Western officials warned of a major attack, urging people to leave the airport. But that advice went largely unheeded by Afghans desperate to escape the country in the last few days of an American-led evacuation before the US officially ends its 20-year presence on August 31.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the killings on its Amaq news channel. The IS affiliate in Afghanistan is far more radical than the Taliban, who recently took control of the country in a lightning blitz. The Taliban were not believed to have been involved in the attacks and condemned the blasts, in which it said 28 of its fighters were killed.

In an emotional speech from the White House, US President Joe Biden said the latest bloodshed would not drive the US out of Afghanistan earlier than scheduled, and that he had instructed the US military to develop plans to strike IS.

Afghanistan's lessons for Israel
However, America's poor track record at nation-building in the Middle East is mirrored by its poor track record predicting outcomes in that region. The Oslo Accords ended in a bloody intifada; disengagement from Gaza ended in Hamas capturing the coastal enclave and turning it into a terror platform. De-Ba'athification in Iraq ended in a bloody insurgency, and the withdrawal from Afghanistan yielded a rapid Taliban victory that apparently caught the Biden administration by surprise.

The world now has one more fundamentalist Islamic state: the Taliban-run Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. There is little doubt a future Palestinian state would be the same. According to recent polls, Hamas would still win Palestinian elections, but in the Middle East, more important than ballots are bullets, as the 2021 Taliban takeover of Afghanistan and the 2007 Hamas takeover of Gaza clearly show.

The US military kept the Taliban at bay in Afghanistan, and the IDF keeps Hamas from taking over Judea and Samaria. While a fundamentalist Islamic victory is surely a tragedy for liberty, tolerance and human rights, it is first and foremost a security threat. A Taliban-run Afghanistan harbored Al-Qaida, resulting in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Many fear that it will once again become a safe haven for terrorists and that the next big attack is only a matter of time.

For Israel, a Hamas-run state bordering Israel's major population centers, economic centers and an international airport would pose an existential threat. All of Israel would be within range of a variety of short- and long-range rockets, mortars and sniper fire, and easily infiltrated through tunnels. In the 21st century, oceans are no guarantee of national security, but at least for now, the Taliban or Al-Qaida cannot fire volleys of rockets at Washington, DC, from Afghanistan.

The US withdrawal from Afghanistan tells the world's dictators and terrorists that America is no longer interested in its post-World War II role as the military guarantor of freedom. Any country would be wise to understand that it can ultimately only rely on its own power. "The strong do what they can, and the weak suffer what they must." If Israel severely weakens its ability to defend itself by withdrawing its forces to create a Palestinian state, then it must understand that it will assuredly be left to suffer what it must when that state falls to Islamic fundamentalists, as history and the facts on the ground strongly predict.
Biden Just Prepared the Public for Abandoning Americans in Afghanistan
When asked about the trust that his administration has given to the Taliban, he responded that it isn’t as though he trusts them, but that he trusts them to work in their self-interest. He explained, “It’s in their self-interest that we leave when we said and that we get as many people out as we can.”

Clearly, “as many people out as we can” is a climb down from evacuating all Americans.

In answer to another question, Biden emphasized, with regard to the withdrawal date, “I think what America says matters.”

And then he dismissed the idea that the military would be able to evacuate Afghans who helped the U.S. during the war.

“I know of no conflict, as a student of history, no conflict where when a war was ended, one side was able to guarantee that everyone that wanted to be extracted from that country would get out,” he said.

He added, “Getting every single person out can’t be guaranteed by anybody because it’s a determination all who wants to get out as well.”

This is clearly preparing for the inevitability that there will be people stranded in Afghanistan. He will claim that the remaining Americans did not want to leave and that it was simply impossible to extract all the Afghans.

Biden admits admin may have given Taliban 'kill list' of Afghans who aided US
A potentially deadly blunder by President Biden’s administration effectively handed the Taliban a “kill list” to target Afghans who aided the US, according to a report Thursday — and he admitted it may have happened when asked later at a White House briefing.

Following the Taliban takeover of Kabul, US officials there gave the Islamic extremist group the names of American citizens, green card holders and Afghan allies so they could be allowed to enter the Taliban-controlled perimeter around Hamid Karzai International Airport, according to Politico.

The decision reportedly was made despite the Taliban’s notorious reputation for brutally executing Afghans who helped the US military and other Western forces during the war and occupation that followed the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

“Basically, they just put all those Afghans on a kill list,” a US defense official told Politico. “It’s just appalling and shocking and makes you feel unclean.”

During a news conference about Thursday’s deadly terror attack at the Kabul airport, Biden acknowledged unspecified “occasions” on which the US military had contacted the Taliban to say, “for example, ‘This bus is coming through with X number of people on it, made up of the following people.'”

“And to the best of my knowledge, in those cases, the bulk of that has occurred. They’ve been let through,” he said.

“But I can’t tell you with any certitude that there’s actually been a list of names. There may have been, but I know of no circumstance.”
Details of Afghan staff, applicants were left behind at UK Kabul embassy
The UK’s defense chief promised Friday to “get to the bottom of” a security lapse that saw documents identifying Afghan staff members and job applicants left behind at the abandoned British Embassy in Kabul.

Times of London reporter Anthony Loyd said he found the papers scattered on the ground as he toured Kabul’s abandoned diplomatic district with a Taliban escort this week.

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said “clearly it’s not good enough” that the documents were left unsecured. He said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson “will be asking some questions” about what had happened.

“We’ll find out and get to the bottom of it,” Wallace told LBC radio.

Thousands of citizens who worked with Western forces have been trying to leave Afghanistan, fearing reprisals now that the Taliban control the country.

Loyd said the documents included the name and address of a senior embassy staff member, the contact details for other employees, and the resumes and addresses of people applying to be interpreters.

Why Is Congress on the Sidelines as Afghanistan Burns?
But the oversight -- the real-world exercise of the constitutional separation of powers, checking and balancing each other -- that is what our host leadership wanted to avoid.

Importantly, it was the leadership--not those who served under them, often on the front lines--who resented the very thought of oversight and resisted at every turn. The troops and embassy staff were always thrilled that we took the time and ran the risk to see first-hand what was happening... Members of Congress, on the other hand, were just everyday people who knew nothing about what needed to be done or how to do it.

People are dying. America is suffering humiliation. And the president and the bureaucracy are trying to get away with it. Hats off to Meijer and Moulton, both military veterans, by the way, for showing us all that Congress is an equal branch of government -- and for refusing to let the Biden administration cover up its catastrophic failure in Afghanistan.
The sordid secret behind the defeat of the Afghan military
In order to understand what happened in Afghanistan in the fight of ANDSF against the Taliban, we must first understand how the United States Armed Forces trained the Afghan military. The American military designed the ANDSF to follow an Air / ISR (Intelligence, Support, Reconnaissance) model. In simple terms that means that the Afghan ground troops rely heavily on both detailed and accurate intelligence and especially on strong air support. In other words, the effectiveness of the Afghan military is severely diminished without a functioning air force and efficient intelligence gathering and communication.

A US Department of Defense Inspector General report to Congress at the end of 2020 emphasized that an international collection of private defense contractors supplemented these functions and were absolutely crucial to the maintenance of the Afghan air force. Without the private contractors, the report indicated that the Afghan military and the air force in particular would collapse almost immediately.

Similarly, Bradley Bowman, the senior director of the Center on Military and Political Power at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies as well as a former US Army officer and Black Hawk helicopter pilot who served valiantly in Afghanistan, concurred. In June of 2021 – two months before the fall of Kabul – Bowman declared to the media:

"We're talking about the more or less grounding of the Afghan air force... Air power is arguably the Afghan government's main edge in its fight with the Taliban. If we don't help them maintain those aircraft, then the Afghan security forces will be deprived of that advantage, and that could have a decisive impact on the battlefield and ultimately on the state of the Afghan government."

The Biden administration didn't listen.

By July of 2021 the 18,000 vitally-important private contractors – including the crucial collection of aircraft maintenance personnel – were diminished to well under 8,000 as part of Biden's withdrawal. The Biden administration essentially hamstrung the Afghan forces while they were actively engaged in heavy battle against the Taliban militants. In that context the Afghan military failed against – and in some cases fled from – the vicious Taliban onslaught. That is the sordid secret behind the failure of the ANDSF in their struggle against the Taliban.
Biden Subcontracts U.S. Security to Terrorists
Even as suicide bombers attacked the Kabul airport on August 26—killing, at this writing, at least 12 U.S. servicemen and scores of civilians—visitors to the Al Jazeera website could read an interview with Khalil Ur-Rahman Haqqani, the Taliban official and U.S.-designated terrorist who is responsible for security in the Afghan capital. "If we can defeat superpowers, surely we can provide safety to the Afghan people," said Haqqani, whose guards brandish the helmets, night-vision goggles, small arms, and camouflage the Americans left behind. "All of those people who left this country, we will assure them of their safety," Haqqani went on. "You’re all welcome back in Afghanistan."

He’s lying, of course. Lying is what terrorists do. Haqqani’s forces can’t protect the Afghan people from ISIS, or, apparently, from the Taliban itself. The Islamic militia is executing civilians and former members of the Afghan National Army, according to the United Nations. And Haqqani’s colleague, spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, warned Afghan women and girls the other day that they should avoid the outdoors and public spaces, since Taliban soldiers "have not been yet trained very well." And "We don’t want our forces, God forbid, to harm or harass women."

Just to subjugate them.

The massacre at Hamid Karzai airport was the consequence of President Biden's decision to rely on the Taliban for security. Despite the lunacy of taking the Taliban at its word, the Biden administration sounded in recent days as if Haqqani, Mujahid, and the rest of their deranged crew were U.S. partners. Not only did Biden's botched withdrawal result in America’s departure from Central Asia, Taliban rule in Afghanistan, a catastrophe for democracy and human rights, and a propaganda boon for the global jihadist-Salafist movement. It guaranteed our dependence on a gang of medieval holy warriors whose loyalty to al Qaeda is the reason the United States invaded Afghanistan in the first place. This historical irony is strategically dubious and morally debased. The loss of life in Kabul is a taste of what's to come.
Afghan Interpreter Begs US To Extend Withdrawal Deadline as Terrorists Strike Kabul Airport
An Afghan translator is pleading for the Biden administration to extend the troop withdrawal deadline, as the White House deals with terror attacks that have left at least 12 U.S. service members dead and scrambles to extract thousands of Americans and allies targeted by the Taliban.

Army Captain John Bockmann, who worked with the translator, connected him to the Washington Free Beacon in order to draw attention to his plight. Basel, who requested the use of a pseudonym out of concern for his family's safety, served for two years as an interpreter at the Kandahar air base in Afghanistan. He is now desperately trying to evacuate his family from Afghanistan, fearing almost certain death if he is captured by the Taliban. He spent 13 hours a day at the Kabul airport with his wife and four children this week begging coalition soldiers to evacuate him, to no avail. Having given up on the airport, he went into hiding on Wednesday—hours before suicide bombers struck the airport.

"I am very, very scared and each moment is very, very terrible. My parents, they are looking at me crying and say I put my life and put my family [sic] life in danger," Basel told the Free Beacon in a phone interview. His children could be heard crying in the background.

Bockmann, who deployed twice as a Black Hawk helicopter pilot and once as a physician assistant, said he grew close with Basel when they worked together at a military hospital in 2020. They have remained in contact throughout the drawdown and subsequent Taliban takeover of the country through WhatsApp—a messaging application that has proven a vital lifeline to those stranded in the war-torn region. The officer is now lobbying for Basel and his family to come to the United States.

"I know few Americans who are more pro-American than he is," Bockmann told the Free Beacon. "I told him that if given the opportunity, I would be proud to go back to get him."
Israel Haters are Curiously Silent on the Taliban
For decades, anti-Zionist “activists” have never missed an opportunity to speak out against Israel. Every incident involving the Jewish State – large or small, real or imagined – is greeted by a cacophony of content reinforcing a false and bizarre narrative that the only liberal democracy in the Middle East is somehow a serial abuser of human rights. Many of these “activists” overtly support Hamas and Hezbollah, terror organizations which exist for the (openly stated) purpose of destroying Israel and expelling its native Jewish population. These same people, who have the audacity to claim the moral high ground, have sat in silence as the Taliban recaptures Afghanistan and prepares to enslave 19 million women and girls.

The truth, of course, is that Israel is not only a champion for the rights of women and the LGBTQ+ community. It is in fact the only country in the region that can make such a claim. There are precisely zero legal restrictions on female participation in any aspect of life, culture, or society. Women are better represented in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, than in the legislature of almost any other democracy in the world. Tel Aviv is consistently ranked among the world’s most LGBTQ+ friendly cities and hosts the largest Pride Parade in Asia.

In Afghanistan under Taliban rule, things could not have been more different. Women were literally beaten in the streets if they were caught in public without a Burqa. They could not leave their homes without being escorted by a male relative. Mothers were stoned to death for teaching their daughters how to read. You can only imagine the punishments for homosexuality.

Now think how broken your moral compass would have to be to spend all your time griping about Israel and those perfidious Jews while remaining silent as the Taliban returns to power in Afghanistan.

We are witnessing the rebirth of a medieval slave state roughly the size of Texas (with a population 50% larger) and most of “rose emoji Twitter” would rather talk about anything else. Specifically, they would rather talk about Israel. This country is not perfect – no country is. But it’s a bastion of liberalism and tolerance in a sea of repression and bigotry. Women, gay, and trans people certainly have a better life here than they would anywhere else in the region.

MEMRI: Chinese Professor Wang Yiwei: The Taliban Are The 'Liberation Army' Of Afghanistan; They Are Demonized By The U.S., But Are China's 'Good Brothers'
Chinese professor Wang Yiwei, of Renmin University, said that the Taliban, though "demonized" by the U.S. and some of China's own press in the past, is like the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) during the Chinese Civil War, and that its defeat of the collapsing U.S.-backed Afghan government is just like the Chinese Communists' defeat the Nationalist government. He made his remarks in a video posted on Youjian Kezhan on YouTube on August 8, 2021 on the eve of Taliban gaining total control of Kabul.

Wang Yiwei also mocked the U.S. for "achieving nothing" in Afghanistan after more than ten years. He later stated that the Taliban made pledged to China that under their rule, Afghanistan "will protect China's core interests, and Afghanistan will not become a country that undermines China's stability, and will not protect the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM)." The Taliban will seek China's cooperation to control the situation in Afghanistan, said Wang.

To view the clip of Chinese professor Wang Yiwei on MEMRI TV, click here or below.

"The Stability Of Afghanistan [Is] Relevant To Central Asia, Our Xinjiang, The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, And The Construction Of [A Secure] Environment Around All Of China"

Professor Wang Yiwei: "As you know, Foreign Minister and State Councilor Wang Yi met with the main leaders of the Taliban. There is a saying in China's diplomacy: 'We can unite all forces that can be united and mobilize all positive factors that can be mobilized.' As we seek to build a community of shared future for mankind, of course we should begin with our surrounding areas, which are our places to settle down and to build foundations for development and prosperity.

"The stability of Afghanistan is not only relevant to Central Asia, our Xinjiang, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, and the construction of such security environment around all of China. During the dialogue with China in Tianjin, the United States made a lot of requests. The issue of Taliban and the stability of Afghanistan are an important aspect.

"Recently, China sent a special envoy to Afghanistan, Ambassador Yue Xiaoyong. I knew him well because he wrote a preface to my book on public diplomacy. We visited Turkey together and so on. Well, China has become the focus of the Afghanistan issue. The U.S. has worked there for more than ten years and hasn't achieved anything.

"Some people say that China will fall into the quagmire of Afghanistan, and that's like 'gauging the heart of a gentleman with America's small-mindedness.'

"The Taliban [Are] Like The [Chinese] People's Liberation Army during the [Chinese] War Of Liberation" And Were "Demonized By The Americans"

Biden, Israeli PM Begin Talks in Shadow of Afghan Attack
President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett searched for common ground on Iran at their first White House meeting on Friday, even as the US leader grappled with the aftermath of a deadly suicide bombing in Kabul during a chaotic US evacuation from Afghanistan.

After a one-day delay due to the Islamic State attack that killed 13 US soldiers and 72 Afghans, Biden and Bennett met to reset the tone of US-Israeli relations and narrow sharp differences over how to deal with Iran’s nuclear program.

Tensions complicated relations between Bennett’s predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, who was close to former President Donald Trump, and the last Democratic administration led by Barack Obama with Biden as his vice president.

But the meeting, the first since the two men took office this year, was eclipsed by Thursday’s attack outside Kabul airport during a US withdrawal that has posed the worst crisis of Biden’s young presidency.

“The mission there … is dangerous and now it’s come with a significant loss of American personnel, but it’s a worthy mission… We will complete the mission,” Biden told reporters after his one-on-one talks with Bennett.

US forces helping to evacuate Afghans desperate to flee new Taliban rule were on alert for more attacks on Friday.

In brief remarks to reporters before they were ushered out, both leaders touched on Iran, one of the thorniest issues between the Biden administration and Israel.
'As we watch the rise of the Taliban, US-Israel alliance is more critical than ever'
US Jewish organizations were following closely as the drama was unfolding. Even before Thursday’s terror attack, it was already clear that the Afghanistan withdrawal will overshadow the meeting between US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

But the deadly attack near the Kabul airport made it clear that the administration’s attention is currently elsewhere, as the President and his close staff monitored the developments from the situation room, postponing the meeting to a later timing.

William Daroff, CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, told The Jerusalem Post that “as we watch the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan, the alliance and partnership between the United States and the State of Israel is more critical than ever.”

Speaking about the meeting, Daroff said that he expected the two new administrations “to make significant progress on issues of mutual and fundamental importance to all Americans and Israelis during Prime Minister Bennett’s first US trip to Washington since assuming office — the first opportunity for the two leaders to meet face-to-face during their many years in public service.”

“These priorities include sharing knowledge and resources to counter the COVID-19 virus and its variants, how best to deter Iranian aggression and hold its nuclear program accountable and in check, and defending and promoting Israel’s security, peace, and stability,” he said.

Dan Mariaschin, CEO of B’nai B’rith International, told the Post that with the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban and all of the strategic uncertainty that it has unleashed, “events would hopefully dictate a further closing of the ranks between Washington and Jerusalem on Iran and the Palestinian issue.”
The Israel Guys: Ahead of Meeting Biden, Israeli PM Says Settlement Growth Must Be Slowed
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett traveled to Washington DC this week to meet with President Joe Biden. His number 1 priority? No, it was not Iran. Find out on today’s “Israel News” episode of The Israel Guys.

The Palestinian Authority has always been full of corruption, but now the world is beginning to find out. Two journalists for the Washington Post were threatened, beaten and their camera stolen by PA police officers while they were reporting on a protest in Ramallah last week.

True and authentic news from Israel with an emphasis on the biblical heartland.
What does Israel really want to do with Iran and Gaza?
In the operation in Gaza in May, for example, no soldiers needed to cross into the Hamas-controlled territory. In total, on the Israeli side, 12 civilians were killed and one soldier. This style of warfare gives the impression that wars can be fought and missions carried out with very little price.

Then there is the length to which Israelis are willing to go to save a single soldier. On the one hand, this is exemplary, and shows the value that we as a people put on every single life. But this also leads to situations like the prisoner swap for Gilad Schalit, which saw the release of 1,500 Palestinian prisoners for one single soldier.

And so we have to ask ourselves: if the person shot on Saturday had been a farmer working his field near the border, would it have received as much attention? Would the TV stations have dispatched camera crews to the hospitals for several days in a row? Would the prime minister have called the family? Would the chief of staff had needed to visit?

We all know the answer. But this is something to ponder since it touches on the role of the military and what our soldiers are meant to do. Tactical incidents will continue to happen, especially when soldiers need to be deployed along a volatile border to protect civilians, which, after all, is their primary job.

Can this be corrected? I don’t know. But what can be done is something far easier: have the government explain to the public what it is doing and what it wants to achieve; and not just when it comes to Iran, but also when it is closer to home, along the border with Gaza.
10 good reasons NOT to reopen another US Consulate in Jerusalem
With Prime Minister Bennett set to meet with US President Biden it is critical to discuss the American intention to reopen a consulate in Jerusalem that will serve only Arabs – and undermine Israel’s sovereignty in its capital city.

Three months ago, when US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Israel and the PA, he declared that the Biden administration would reopen its consulate in Jerusalem. Until it was closed in 2019 by the Trump administration, following the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem, the consulate had served as a de facto embassy for Arabs of the Palestinian Authority.

Prime Minister Bennett must make it clear that Israel will absolutely oppose the consulate’s reopening. Here are ten reasons why.

1. It undermines already-beleaguered Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem.
Based on past experience, we know that a new consulate will serve as a de-facto embassy for Arabs of the Palestinian Authority and even of Jerusalem – and this essentially undermines Israeli sovereignty in its capital city.

“The act of establishing a Palestinian consulate in Jerusalem means recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine. [This is] a dangerous decision… a red line that cannot be crossed.” So said former Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, and they are the sentiments as well of most of the Israeli Knesset, both opposition and coalition members.

Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Aryeh King called the initiative “a spiteful move that seeks to undermine Israel’s absolute sovereignty over Jerusalem” – sovereignty that continues to be under fire from those who wish to see Jerusalem become the capital of a new Arab state.
US Army decides not to buy Israel's Iron Dome interceptor system
The US Army has decided not to buy Israel’s Iron Dome to counter aerial threats, despite the United States military having successfully carried out a first live-fire test of the missile defense system, according to a report in Defense News.

According to the report, the US Army chose Leidos-owned Dynetics’ launcher after a shoot-off between the two systems last month at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

The Dynetics system, called Enduring Shield, has 360-degree detection and can fire at multiple threats simultaneously. The system is simple to operate and can be fully integrated with the army’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System.

Israel’s Defense Ministry and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems told The Jerusalem Post that they would not be commenting on the Defense News report, but if confirmed, it is expected to be a significant setback for the ministry.

According to a report in Calcalist, though, the average price of an Iron Dome system is around NIS 27 million ($8,400,000). Israel Aerospace Industries said that each system is customized according to need, and it therefore does not have a fixed price.

IAI, which manufactures the radars for Iron Dome, made a record $4.2 billion in 2020 in international sales from the multi-mission radar. Some 150 MMR radars, the brains of the system, have been sold to customers around the world, Calcalist said.

‘Arab Zionism’ Buys Up Israel’s Historic Settlements, Erasing Jewish Presence in Galilee
Rafik Khuri is the owner of a real estate firm called RKA Group specializing in selling dozens of land units on agricultural land covering an area of 2,700 to 13,000 square feet near the historic settlements of Poria (established in 1912), Yavneel (1901), Ilaniya (purchased in 1899, settled in 1902), and other locations, each one filling up many pages out of the history books of Zionist resettlement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

According to Yair Kraus’ Friday report in Makor Rishon (讻讱 诪讗讘讚转 讛爪讬讜谞讜转 讗转 讗讚诪讜转 讛讙诇讬诇), when he called Khuri and the latter found out he was a reporter, he assured him all his properties were sold out. Khuri then burst out laughing and suggested: “Why don’t you give us some publicity, write that the Arabs are buying up Kfar Tavor.”

So here we go, as requested.

First, for the record, Kfar Tavor, at the foot of Mount Tavor, in the Lower Galilee, was established in 1901.

“And we should note another minor detail: RKA Group is located in I’billin (an Arab village in Upper Galilee – DI), and all its publications are in Arabic,” Kraus pointed out.

Khuri explained: “There are no lands in our [Arab] sector. The government is not expanding either the field of construction or agriculture, and there’s nowhere to settle and plant a tree. In Nazareth, for example, a dunam of land (roughly a quarter of an acre) costs NIS 4 million ($1.25 million). Because of this policy, people are looking outside Nazareth and buying land in Ilaniya (1899) or Sde Ilan (1949). It all turned upside down for those who locked up the Arab villages and cities inside a ‘prison.’ For the Jewish sector, the Lands Administration is handing out lands for pennies, and to the Arabs they don’t, so they go to the surrounding lands and buy up at normal prices.”
Israel, PA discuss potential aid to Ramallah amid fears of economic collapse
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government has been in talks with the Palestinian Authority to send hundreds of millions of shekels to Ramallah amid the latter’s growing budget crisis, sources in Jerusalem and Ramallah told The Times of Israel.

A tentative agreement for an Israeli financial package worth NIS 800 million ($247 million) to the PA has been formulated, an Israeli official said on Friday, with another official familiar with the matter describing the deal as “practically done.”

There had been plans to announce the package before Bennett’s trip this week to Washington, where the Biden administration is looking for Israel to act on rhetoric in favor of “deescalating the conflict” with the Palestinians and to advance measures that strengthen the PA. However, the financial package was not finalized in time for that.

Senior PA official Ahmad Majdalani confirmed that talks on financial support were ongoing between the two sides. He said the funds would not be a loan, rather an advance on tax revenues Israel collects on Ramallah’s behalf.

“There’s discussion around an advance on what we are owed, not a loan,” Majdalani said.

Both the Israeli and Palestinian Authority finance ministries could not immediately be reached for comment.
Police seize large arms cache, dozens of firearm parts in West Bank raid
Police announced Friday morning that officers seized a large cache of firearms and dozens of weapon parts in an overnight raid in the West Bank.

Ten pistols, four rifles, over 130 magazines, weapon sights and other unassembled weapons were uncovered inside a Palestinian home near Hebron, police said.

No suspects were immediately arrested in connection to the cache, but police said an investigation was underway to locate those involved.

“I commend the activity of the forces,” district commander Chief Inspector Yossi Golan said. “The operation has led to the confiscation of many weapons which had big potential to cause danger to the public and to the safety of our forces.”

Since the beginning of the year, some 200 firearms, as well as a number of weapon lathes and other arms assembly equipment, have been seized in the West Bank, police said.

Hamas leaders in Jordan for first time in years to attend funeral
The leaders of the Hamas terror group traveled to Jordan on Friday for the first time in many yers.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and former leader Khaled Mashaal came to attend the funeral of Ibrahim Ghosheh, who served for many years as the organization’s representative in the country.

Jordan closed Hamas’s offices in the country in 1999. The Hamas leadership at the time was accused of meddling in the kingdom’s internal affairs.

In the past 15 years, it has largely banned Hamas officials from its territory, except for humanitarian purposes such as familial matters.

Izzat Muhammad al-Rishq, the head of Hamas’s Arab and Islamic Relations Office, thanked King Abdullah II in a statement “for his approval of the brothers’ entry to participate in the funeral of the deceased.”

Hamas’s political leadership was once based in Amman. It later moved to Qatar but was expelled from the Gulf country as well. In recent years, for the first time since the terror group’s founding, Hamas’s most senior leaders are currently living inside the Gaza Strip.


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