Tuesday, August 31, 2021

08/31 Links Pt1: Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Joe Biden is deaf, dumb and blind to the chaos the US has unleashed; Bennett kowtows to Biden and jettisons Trump; Bahraini Ambassador to Israel Announces Arrival in Hebrew

From Ian:

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Joe Biden is deaf, dumb and blind to the chaos the US has unleashed
In the eyes of the Taliban, the Afghans who worked with the Nato-backed Afghan government and those who worked in any capacity with US armed forces are traitors. The Taliban have already begun the work of retribution. Other jihadi and tribal groups in Afghanistan will be glad to lend a hand.

We’ve seen this throughout history. Think back to the French-Algerian war in the mid-20th century. There was a group of French citizens living in Algeria, the pieds-noirs, who supported the French in the war. There was another group of Algerian Muslims who supported the French too, known as the harkis. When war broke out, both groups were viewed as enemy collaborators by the Algerian Front de LibĂ©ration nationale. When the French withdrew, thousands of pieds-noirs and harkis managed to escape to France, but those left behind were hunted down and forced to face the Algerian nationals alone. In 2012, then French president Nicolas Sarkozy acknowledged that “France should have protected the harkis from history, it did not do so.”

The US has, itself, been in parallel situations. The Montagnards, a mountainous ethnic group from Vietnam, faced brutal reprisals for working with US Special Forces during the Vietnam War. After the war, many Montagnards fled to Cambodia, as the victorious North Vietnamese targeted them for working with the enemy. Several American Green Berets and veterans fought to evacuate their Montagnards allies to the US. Some got out, but many were captured, tortured, imprisoned or killed.

In Afghanistan, too, ethnic divisions will play a part in the conflicts that will follow the US exit. After the failure of the Soviet occupation, the USSR signed the Geneva accords in 1988, along with the US, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan, leaving tribal animosity to fester. The Taliban, consisting mostly of Pashtuns, rose to power in the 1990s and systematically targeted non-Pashtuns. As Amy Chua writes in her book Political Tribes, in 1998, “the Taliban massacred 2,000 Uzbeks and Hazaras (who for their part had massacred Taliban Pashtuns in 1997)”. Following the US invasion of 2001, the Americans allied with the Uzbek warlords of the Northern Alliance, which in turn took revenge on the Taliban soldiers by “mercilessly” killing thousands.

Earlier this week, US secretary of state Antony Blinken stated that the Taliban “have made public and private commitments to provide and permit safe passage for Americans, for third-country nationals, and Afghans at risk going forward past August 31.” But we’ve already heard many reports to the contrary. Some wishful thinkers would like us to believe that this is a newer, modern version of the Taliban. However, this is not the Taliban 2.0. They are showing us who they are before we’ve even left. Soon after the collapse of the Afghan government, reports stated that they were “going door-to-door and screening names at Kabul checkpoints as they hunt for people who worked with US-led forces or the previous Afghan government”.

The recklessness of the Biden team continues to astound me. It really is as if they are deaf, dumb, and blind – ignoring not only what is happening on the ground in Afghanistan but also what has happened in multiple similar situations throughout history.
David Singer: Bennett kowtows to Biden and jettisons Trump
Bennett articulated Israel’s national interests in Area C when presenting his comprehensive Israel Stability Initiative in February 2012:
1. Israel unilaterally extending sovereignty over Area C:
“Through this initiative, Israel will secure vital interests: providing security to Jerusalem and the Gush Dan Region, protecting Israeli communities, and maintaining sovereignty over our National Heritage Sites. The world will not recognize our claim to sovereignty, as it does not recognize our sovereignty over the Western Wall, the Ramot and Gilo neighborhoods of Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights. Yet eventually the world will adjust to the de facto reality.

"Further, the areas coming under Israel’s sovereignty will create territorial contiguity and will include the Jordan Valley, the Dead Sea, Ariel, Maale Adumim, the mountains above Ben Gurion Airport, and all of the Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria. As a result, residents of Tel Aviv, the Gush Dan Region, Jerusalem, and Israel will live in full security, protected against threats from the east.”

2. Full naturalization of the 50,000 Arabs living in Area C:
“This will counter any claims of apartheid. Currently there are 350,000 Jewish residents, and only 50,000 Arab residents of Area C. Irrespective of religion, all residents of the area will receive full citizenship. Based on this outline, no Arabs or Jews will be evicted or expelled from their properties.”

3. A full Israeli security umbrella for all of Judea and Samaria:
“The success of the initiative is conditional on keeping the territories peaceful and quiet. Peace can only be achieved with the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] maintaining a strong presence in, and complete security control over, Judea and Samaria. If the IDF leaves, Hamas will rapidly infiltrate the area. This is how Hamas took control of Gaza, and how Hizballah took control of southern Lebanon”

Abandonment of these objectives by Israel’s present Government for the next four years can only be regarded as:
- an attempt to curry favour with Biden, the Democrat Party and his administration
- a missed opportunity to advance President Trump’s detailed peace plan to extend Israeli sovereignty into approximately 50% of Area C (see diagram following)

The mutual backslapping and expressions of self-admiration by Bennett and Biden for each other at their White House meeting on 27 August took place as the US was reeling from the deaths of 13 US military personnel, 18 more wounded and at least 169 Afghani citizens killed in two suicide-bombing attacks following Biden’s disastrous decision to unilaterally withdraw from Afghanistan.

Forgotten was Bennett’s own assessment of Trump in May 2020:
“Israel has never had a friend like Donald Trump. But it cannot guarantee that of his successors. His bold peace vision creates new possibilities that we believe should be pursued—but not at any price.”

Taking flight from – rather than fighting for – Bennett’s own and Trump’s carefully crafted proposals to provide Israel with secure, defensible and recognized borders – is not in Israel’s national interests.

Kowtowing to Biden and jettisoning Trump does not augur well for Bennett’s coalition Government or Israel.
Amb. Alan Baker: To Secretary of State Blinken: Repatriating Israeli Captives Is a Basic Humanitarian Right under International Conventions
UN Security Council Resolution 2474, unanimously adopted in 2019, called upon parties to armed conflict to take all appropriate measures to actively search for persons reported missing, to enable the return of their remains and to account for persons reported missing “without adverse distinction.”3

This landmark call for the return of missing persons and the remains of those killed “without adverse distinction” clearly emphasizes the importance for all involved parties to refrain from making such return conditional on other negotiating items, including obviously the passage of fuel and electricity.

These rights and obligations exist beneath and beyond specific tactical or strategic issues arising during negotiations for any political or military deal or settlement between conflicting parties. They cannot and should not be conditioned on such mundane issues as provision of fuel and electricity.

Clearly, trading the return of missing soldiers and civilians for other less humanitarian negotiating items is tantamount to ignoring or downgrading the basic humanitarian obligations to unconditionally return missing soldiers and civilians.

The return of Israel’s missing civilians and the remains of its soldiers should override all other matters in contacts between Israel, the UN, Egypt, Qatar and Hamas. It should not be relegated, conditioned or linked to negotiating issues such as civil economic and humanitarian development projects in the Gaza Strip or transfer of funds to Hamas.

Since the obligation to repatriate the missing is fully accepted by the international community, and is an inherent element in the world’s great religions, it is incumbent upon all countries and organizations to do everything in their power to bring the missing soldiers and civilians back to their families, without any condition or adverse distinction, and without any political connection.

One might hope that Secretary Blinken will be correctly briefed by his advisors as to the genuine, internationally accepted humanitarian priorities, and will refrain from sanctioning a false and dual standard regarding Israel’s missing civilians and remains of its soldiers.

Noah Rothman: ‘Ended’ But Not Over
In effect, our hope—the best-case scenario—would be to consign Afghans to an internal conflict between the Taliban and its al-Qaeda allies and the ISIS terrorists with whom they are at odds. That bleak prospect and the failed state that would be the result would do little to preserve either Americans’ safety or that of our allies. As a bleak SIGAR report on the woeful state of Afghan civil society that opponents of America’s mission in Central Asia love to quote from concedes, “there will likely be times in the future when insurgent control or influence over a particular area or population is deemed an imminent threat to U.S. interests.” Joe Biden has already established the predicate to respond proactively to such threats. We should expect that he will.

But the metastatic terror threat is not the only aspect of the American mission in Afghanistan that will continue long after the war’s “end.” In his haste to meet his own self-imposed deadlines and retain the Taliban’s good graces, Joe Biden has left Americans behind enemy lines. The U.S. citizens trapped in Afghanistan after America’s bugout number at least more than 100, but that doesn’t include the permanent residents (whose jobs, families, homes, and bank accounts are here), visa holders, and tens of thousands of visa-eligible applicants who languished on a sprawling waiting list for years before the fall of the Afghan government. They did not remain in Afghanistan of their own accord, as the administration pretends. They sought to run a Taliban-manned gauntlet to get to American custody and failed. As one Afghan veteran observed, we have left them behind to hide in holes from a vengeful militia—changing houses every few hours to avoid being subject to summary execution or to be used as a bargaining chip in the Taliban’s ongoing efforts to extract capital from the West.

America’s elected officials and their functionaries insist that we will not abandon them; that is, we won’t abandon them twice. Our mission continues, but in what form? The White House claims that it has all the leverage in the world to apply to the Taliban, but it’s not clear how. The organization held and continues to hold at least one American in captivity while the U.S. relied on the group to ensure a speedy withdrawal from the country. If the Taliban is less than cooperative and American extraction efforts continue, they may take the form of special forces raids. That’s the best we can hope for. The alternative of abandoning our citizens, legal permanent residents, and allies entirely is unthinkable.

“A new chapter of America’s engagement with Afghanistan has begun,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken insisted. “It’s one in which we will lead with our diplomacy.” That would be great news for ISIS and al-Qaeda, if true, just as it would be a horrific admission from the perspective of the Americans we surrendered to the mercies of an Islamic militia. But it cannot be true—not if this administration is keen on seeing to its core responsibilities involving the preservation of Western security and the inviolable sovereignty of its citizens.

The “war” in Afghanistan is over only because we’ve unilaterally deemed it so. The mission is not.
Noah Rothman: Biden's Afghanistan troop withdrawal reveals risky obsession with deadlines
Thus, the administration at long last acknowledged that its objective — withdrawing all Americans and permanent U.S. residents and our allies — wouldn’t be secured on Aug. 31. Indeed, Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command, noted a lot of "heartbreak" Monday about the final departure flights. “We did not get everybody out that we wanted to get out,” he said. “But I think if we stayed another 10 days, we wouldn’t have gotten everybody out that we wanted.”

The administration also seems to be arguing, or at least implying, that U.S. citizens left behind have made a personal choice to stay. That argument is unlikely to age well. Some Americans have decided to stick around, but stories of U.S. citizens’ being harassed, beaten and blocked by the Taliban from entering into U.S. custody also abound. Those stories won’t end when U.S. soldiers aren’t around to impose moderation on our new partners in the Taliban.

It wasn’t long ago that Biden himself described how disastrous setting artificial deadlines for such a sensitive mission could be. “We will not conduct a hasty rush to the exit,” he contended in April. “We’ll do it — we’ll do it responsibly, deliberately and safely.” But as The Wall Street Journal’s Yaroslav Trofimov reported this month, NATO’s withdrawal left behind an Afghan army that was unable to secure its objectives. “In the wake of President Biden’s withdrawal decision, the U.S. pulled its air support, intelligence and contractors servicing Afghanistan’s planes and helicopters,” Trofimov reported. “That meant the Afghan military simply couldn’t operate anymore.”

The slapdash contingencies the White House implemented after the fall of Kabul left U.S commanders utterly dependent upon the Taliban’s good graces to ensure the evacuation of as many Americans and U.S. allies as possible. McKenzie said we have put our faith in the power of “mutual self-interest” — specifically, the desire shared by U.S. and Taliban officials to see America fully out of the country by Tuesday. If we extend our operations beyond that deadline, a Taliban spokesman claimed, the vengeful fundamentalist militia we’ve entrusted with our security will stop playing nice.

Thus Biden’s deadline — not our operational capabilities or a lack of political will — has rendered the U.S. hopelessly reliant upon and subservient to the Taliban. And this isn’t the first time a timeline has imperiled White House objectives. The president’s fondness for timetables has also robbed the White House of victories in its campaign to control the coronavirus pandemic.
The Biden regime is aiding and abetting our worst enemies
While the Biden junta leaves the regrouped Northern Alliance to fight the Taliban alone courageously in the Panjshir Valley, it wants billions of dollars in aid to continue to the area the Taliban controls – in deliberate circumvention of the Taliban’s designation as a terrorist group by the United States, as Reuters reported: “The sanctions freeze any U.S. assets of the group and bar Americans from dealing with them, including the contribution of funds, goods or services.”

In a 2002 executive order, the Taliban were designated a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist Entity” by President George W. Bush. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008 also specified the Taliban as a terrorist organization.

The National Counterterrorism Center also lists the Taliban as a “Terrorist Group” responsible for “the most insurgent attacks in Afghanistan”, from “low-level ambush and hit-and-run attacks” to “periodic high-profile attacks… The Taliban between 7 and 10 August 2015 conducted a series of attacks in quick succession in Kabul that resulted in at least 60 deaths, marking the deadliest stretch in the capital since the US-led invasion in 2001.”

In 1999, the United Nations Security Council designated the Taliban as a terrorist organization in Resolution 1267. The Security Council unanimously voiced its “deep concern over the continuing violations of international humanitarian law and of human rights, particularly discrimination against women and girls” under the Taliban, and condemned “the continued use of Afghan Territory, especially areas controlled by the Taliban, for the sheltering and training of terrorists, and planning of terrorist acts.”

“There is no doubt that the Taliban occasionally attacks civilians intentionally, not accidentally, and that’s the definition of terrorism,” James Dobbins, former U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, told VOA News.

The Taliban also closely collaborate with Al Qaida and the Al Qaida-linked Khalil Haqqani Network. “The Biden administration has entrusted airport security in Kabul to Haqqani and his operatives and has reportedly provided them with information about Americans trapped in Afghanistan,” John Hayward reports on Breitbart:

“The Taliban’s Kabul security chief Khalil Ur-Rahman Haqqani – his last name should have been a clue for the Biden State Department – was designated a terrorist in 2008 by the U.S. government, which offered a $5 million reward for information leading to his arrest.”

At least 13 US soldiers are now dead as a result of the Biden administration’s treasonous actions.

It is time for Joe Biden to face the consequences.
Biden Waived Congressional Mandate for Report on Afghanistan Withdrawal Risks
President Joe Biden waived a mandate in June that would have forced the Pentagon to provide a detailed report to Congress about the risks of leaving Afghanistan.

Under the federal statute, the administration was barred from reducing troops in Afghanistan below 2,000 without first briefing Congress about the expected impact on U.S. counterterrorism operations and the risk to American personnel. Biden waived the mandate in June, arguing that providing this information to Congress could undermine "the national security interests of the United States."

The Biden administration spent months assuring Congress that the U.S.-trained Afghan forces would be able to forestall a Taliban takeover when American troops left the country on a pre-determined deadline. That assessment was proven wrong days after the withdrawal, when the Taliban overran the Afghan National Army and seized control of Kabul, forcing a chaotic evacuation of U.S. personnel and allies.

National security experts and Republican lawmakers told the Washington Free Beacon that the waiver blocked Congress and the public from reviewing the administration's internal national security assessments prior to the withdrawal—details that could have been used to prevent or minimize the catastrophe currently unfolding in the war-torn country.

"If we had answers to these questions we might not be in the horrible debacle we're in now," said Bradley Bowman, senior director of the Center on Military and Political Power at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who in April wrote about the statute and the likelihood that the administration would try to dodge it.

"I think the fact that they used the national security waiver to refuse to answer these questions in the light of day tells me their answers could not have stood up to scrutiny," Bowman said.

Top Al Qaeda Member Returns to Afghanistan
A top member of al Qaeda and chief aide to Osama bin Laden on Monday returned safely to his home in Afghanistan after years in hiding.

Video footage shows Dr. Amin al-Haq, the former leader of bin Laden’s elite Black Guard, joined by a heavily armed group of Taliban fighters, entering a town in Afghanistan's eastern Nangarhar Province. The province sits between Pakistan and Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, making it a growing hotspot for Taliban activity.

Al-Haq is a longtime al Qaeda leader whose Black Guard served as the terrorist group’s "praetorian guard designated to protect Osama bin Laden." Guard members took a blood oath to defend bin Laden and were highly trained in combat. The 9/11 architect reportedly hand-picked squad leaders—such as al-Haq—for the guard.

Bill Roggio, senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and editor of Long War Journal, said the video shows increasing ambition from al Qaeda operatives since the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan.

"The video of al-Haq is evidence that al Qaeda commanders now feel secure enough to appear publicly in a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan," Roggio wrote. "The confidence to travel and operate out in the open—in plain sight for the first time in a decade—speaks to the marked change in Afghanistan over the last month."

Outrage over pro-Taliban social media accounts freely spreading Jew-hate
Twitter has been condemned by antisemitism campaigners for allowing the Taliban to spread “racist and dangerous misinformation”.

Accounts openly supporting the Islamist group have racked up thousands of followers from users around the world while attacking ‘Jewish overlords’.

One user identifying himself as ‘Malang Khosty’ who claims to live in Afghanistan remains on the social network despite posting extreme Jew-hatred.

His Twitter account claimed that ‘zionists’ were behind 9/11 and said that a video of American soldiers being passed a baby was in fact, “Americans stealing a fresh meal for their Jewish overlords”.

On Facebook, a cartoon implying that Israel created and controls the Islamic State was only removed after the JC alerted the social media giant.

The company also removed a group named ‘Talib Jan’, which had accrued over 73,000 members. Its posts included videos of Taliban fighters, users claiming that American soldiers are raping women who manage to flee the country, and calls to “pray for mujahadeen”.

A Facebook spokesperson told the JC they had removed the account and group for, “violating our policies against terrorism.”
Man Who Killed Lyft Driver ‘May Have Been Inspired By Foreign Terrorist Organization’, Dallas FBI Says
A note left in the vehicle of a Lyft driver who was shot and killed Sunday, August 29, suggests the murder suspect “may have been inspired by a foreign terrorist organization,” said Matthew DeSarno, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Dallas.

Authorities on Monday identified the Lyft driver and the shooter, who was later shot and killed by Plano Police at police headquarters.

The driver, Isabella Lewis, 26, of Garland, was shot and killed by Imran Ali Rasheed, 32, when she went to pick him up, police said.

DeSarno said the Dallas FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force has joined in the investigation by the Plano and Garland Police Departments to see what led to the murder and if it was an act of terrorism.

“Rasheed may have been inspired by a foreign terrorist organization to commit these acts,” DeSarno said. “Haven’t found any evidence he was directed by or in contact with foreign terrorist actors. He was inspired by the rhetoric. He wasn’t directed to do this.”

Rasheed was also the subject of a counterterrorism investigation from 2010 to 2013.
JPost Editorial: Gantz was right to meet Abbas and work for stability
The meeting is important for several reasons, not least that it took place openly, even if late at night.

As those involved stressed, it concentrated on everyday and security issues rather than a peace process, a focus that makes sense. In the current circumstances, there is no way to move forward with a peace process with the Palestinians for the foreseeable future – but Israel cannot ignore them. It is a pragmatic approach that benefits both Israel and the Palestinians.

The security issues are of high concern to both Israel and the PA, especially as Hamas in Gaza is taking steps to increase tensions, such as the rallies along the border fence, the continued use of incendiary devices and the resumption of the so-called “Nighttime disturbances,” deliberately trying to make the lives of Israelis close to the border miserable.

It was no surprise that Hamas denounced the Gantz-Abbas meeting.

There is no love lost between Abbas and the Israeli defense minister, but the aging head of the PA, currently in the 16th year of what was meant to be a four-year term, knows he needs Israeli help to keep Hamas from taking over the West Bank.

Israel, too, needs the security cooperation with the PA to stop Hamas from taking over the West Bank.

The discussion of economic issues is important. The PA is dealing with a serious economic crisis, exacerbated by corruption and the coronavirus pandemic. Economic stability can help bring about broader stability and quiet, even without a peace process in sight.
Israel Says It Will Loan Palestinians $150 Million After Highest-Level Talks in Years
Israel will lend the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority more than $150 million after the sides held their highest-level meeting in years, Israeli officials said on Monday, while playing down prospects of any major diplomatic breakthrough.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who has overall responsibility for the West Bank, travelled to the Palestinian self-rule area of the territory for previously undisclosed talks on Sunday with President Mahmoud Abbas.

A source close to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the premier had approved the Gantz-Abbas meeting and deemed it a “routine” matter. “There is no diplomatic process with the Palestinians, nor will there be one,” the source told Reuters.

US-sponsored talks on founding a Palestinian state stalled in 2014. The Gantz-Abbas meeting took place as Bennett, a nationalist who opposes Palestinian statehood, returned from his first talks with US President Joe Biden in Washington.

PA official Hussein Al Sheikh said the talks with Gantz included “all aspects” of Palestinian-Israeli relations.

Abbas coordinates West Bank security with Israel. Both sides are wary of Hamas Islamists who seized the Gaza Strip, another Palestinian territory, from Abbas in 2007.

But Israel chafes at stipends the PA pays to militants jailed or killed in attacks on Israelis. In a protest measure, the Bennett government last month withheld $180 million from 2020 tax revenues it collected on behalf of the PA. A Gantz spokeswoman said that policy was unchanged.
Fatah-Hamas rift deepens as Abbas moves closer to US, Israel
LAST WEEK, a document leaked to Palestinian media revealed that Abbas had made it clear that he will not allow Hamas to join any Palestinian unity government unless the Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip accepted all international resolutions pertaining to the Israeli-Arab conflict.

This means that Hamas must recognize Israel’s right to exist and accept the two-state solution as a precondition for joining any Palestinian government – a demand that has been vehemently and repeatedly rejected by Hamas officials. The leaked document set off a war of words between Fatah and Hamas, with each accusing the other of foiling efforts to achieve national unity.

For now, Abbas and the PA leadership appear satisfied with the policies and measures of the Biden administration and the Israeli government. A senior PA official on Tuesday praised the recent agreements with Israel – especially family reunifications and financial matters – as a significant achievement.

Earlier, Palestinian officials said they were satisfied with the new approach of the Biden administration, namely to strengthen the PA. The three men running the PA – Abbas, Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh and General Intelligence chief Majed Faraj – are all known for their hostility towards Hamas. They have decided that the Palestinians are better off dealing with the Biden administration and the government of Naftali Bennett than joining forces with Hamas.
'If I win elections, Canadian embassy will be moved to Jerusalem'
Erin O'Toole, the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, vowed on Monday that if his party wins in the upcoming federal elections, Canada's embassy in Israel will be moved to Jerusalem.

"This was a commitment I made several years ago," he told reporters. "Israel is a close ally of Canada, a friend, a democracy in a place in the world that needs more democracy.

"And we will move our embassy and respect the capital being established in Jerusalem. We will exhibit leadership. It's important for Canada to once again emerge on the world stage as a country that will stand by our values, that will be a defender of human rights, and will commit to a strong, principle-based foreign policy," he said.

At the same time, O'Toole stressed that the move would not contradict a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.
What the new style of normalization looks like
The first Emirati ambassador to Israel, Muhammad Mahmoud Al Khaja, inaugurated the first embassy of his country in downtown Tel Aviv a month ago, alongside Israeli President Isacc Herzog. Unlike his Tel Aviv-based Egyptian and Jordanian counterparts, Al Khaja was not shy about appearing in a conference, where he spoke in Arabic about peaceful relations between the two sides.

He then began posting on Twitter in Arabic, English, and Hebrew about his public meetings with various Israeli officials and religious leaders, thereby cementing relations on the bureaucratic level and in the public mind.

In parallel, local Emirati TV stations and newspapers covered the historical opening in a similar tone of collaboration and excitement, hosting Emirati commentators alongside Israeli counterparts.

Unlike Egypt and Jordan, whose relations with Israel are still defined by past wars and the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians, the UAE is not subject to the same historical or political baggage – sharing no borders with the Jewish state and never having fought a war against it, there are no remnants of battle or human losses in the Emirati collective memory.

While Egypt and Jordan make no attempts to acknowledge at home their diplomatic ties with Israel, the Emirati government is actively branding the normalization deal, particularly pointing to Israeli technological advances and futurist initiatives that could hold future vast payoffs for its citizens.
First-Ever Bahraini Ambassador to Israel Announces Arrival in Hebrew
Khaled Al Jalahma, the first-ever Bahraini ambassador to Israel, kicked off his tenure on Tuesday with a trilingual social media post.

“I am honored to announce that I will be arriving in Tel Aviv today to begin my post as #Bahrain’s first Ambassador to #Israel,” Al Jalahma tweeted in Hebrew, Arabic and English.

Bahrain officially appointed Al Jalahma to the role at the end of June, with King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa issuing a royal decree. Al Khalifa reportedly wished Al Jalahma—who had been serving as director of operations at Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry and was previously deputy chief of mission at Bahrain’s embassy to the United States—success in promoting the message of peace and tolerance.

Al Jalahma’s arrival comes a year after the establishment of the Abraham Accords—agreed to by Israel and the United Arab Emirates on Aug. 13, 2020 and then officially signed on the White House lawn on Sept. 15, with Bahrain becoming a signatory. The normalization deal between the Jewish state and these Gulf neighbors was soon followed by agreements with the Muslim-majority countries of Sudan and Morocco.

In the past year, Bahraini and Israeli officials and members of the business community have been engaged in cooperation efforts. Earlier this month, for instance, secretary-general of Bahraini Supreme Defense Council Sheikh Abdulla bin Ahmed Al Khalifa paid an official state visit to Israel, where he met with Israel Defense Forces Strategic Planning and Cooperation Directorate head Maj. Gen. Tal Kelman.

Shin Bet investigation uncovers Palestinian who shot IDF soldier in May
An investigation launched by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), Israel Police and the IDF succeeded in solving the mystery of an IDF soldier who was shot during a violent riot in the Hebron area during Operation Guardian of the Walls.

The incident took place on May 12 near the village of Si'ir in the Hebron area. In the middle of a riot, an IDF soldier was shot twice. Miraculously, the soldier was unharmed, with one bullet hitting his helmet and the other hitting his walkie-talkie.

A complex investigation by the Shin Bet, Israel Police and IDF identified the shooter as 31-year-old Si'ir resident Muhammad Jabarin. A member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Jabarin had used an M-16 rifle belonging to Si'ir Christian resident Mahmoud Hussein Jabarin.

The shooter was arrested and the rifle confiscated. He has been sentenced to 10 months in jail.
Thousands Attend Funeral of Slain Israel Border Police Officer
Thousands attended the funeral of Israel Border Police Sgt. Bar-El Hadaria Shmueli at the Kiryat Shaul military cemetery in Tel Aviv on Monday evening.

Shmueli, 21, a sniper in the undercover unit of the Border Police’s Southern District, succumbed earlier that day to wounds he sustained during riots along the Gaza border on Aug. 21., when he was shot in the head by a Palestinian rioter at point-blank range.

“We gather as one whole family, with heavy grief and a shared partnership that envelops us all with Bar-El’s passing,” Israel Police Commissioner Maj. Gen. Yaakov Shabtai said in his eulogy.

Earlier in the day, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said, “I was deeply saddened to receive the bitter news about the death of … Shmueli, who fell defending Israel’s security. [He] was a fighter in life and death. He fought for his life until the last moment, as all Israel prayed for him.”

President Isaac Herzog also issued condolences.

“Over the past week, I have been in continuous contact with [Bar-El’s] mother, Nitza, and together with the whole nation of Israel, we prayed for his recovery. My wife, Michal, and I embrace his family and share in their deep grief over the passing of such a beloved, dear son. May his memory be a blessing.”

‘Letters to God’ Bound for Western Wall Tripled During Coronavirus Pandemic
The average number of letters from around the world addressed to God and sent to Israel for placement in the cracks of Jerusalem’s Western Wall has tripled over the past 12 months, Israel’s post office has said.

“Dear God, please make an end to the coronavirus pandemic,” wrote one boy from Germany. “Please, make my parents buy me a new iPhone and JBL speaker,” he added.

The coronavirus pandemic led to an almost complete halt of tourists visiting Jerusalem, but many sent their wishes, prayers and calls in the form of letters — which have landed in Israel’s post office throughout the year. Many prayed for bringing COVID-19 under control, while others asked for atonement and forgiveness. There were also many requests for new friendships, most likely as a result of the isolation during coronavirus-led lockdown periods, the post office said.

On Monday, Israel Postal Co. CEO Dany Goldstein, together with Rabbi of the Western Wall Shmuel Rabinovitch, placed hundreds of notes between the stones of the last remaining wall of the Temple Mount, ahead of the Jewish New Year holiday next week. The nature of requests is diverse, ranging from humorous letters to those asking for the victory of their favorite sports team, good health wishes, prayers for peace and messages to relatives who have passed away.

The letters sent by writers of different religions arrive from all over the world, including Kenya, Spain, India, Belgium, the United States, Japan, Canada, Ecuador, Denmark, Germany, France, Poland, and Russia.
Israel passes grim milestone of 7,000 COVID-19 deaths
Israel on Monday crossed the grim milestone of 7,000 COVID-19 deaths as the Health Ministry on Tuesday reported 7,043 Israelis had died of the coronavirus since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Of the 91,085 people tested for the virus Monday, 6,622 were confirmed to have the disease, for an infection rate of 7.8%. Since the beginning of the outbreak, approximately 1,060,000 Israelis have been infected.

Israeli currently has 80,183 active cases. There are 738 people in serious conditions, 169 of whom are on ventilators.

Meanwhile, over 5.97 million Israelis have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, while over 5.48 million have received two doses. Over 2 million have received a recently approved third booster shot.
Health Ministry ups restrictions as daily COVID cases spike to 11,000
After showing signs of abating, the Delta variant wave seems to be on the rise in Israel again. The Health Ministry reported Tuesday that of the 145,868 Israelis it screened for the virus the day before, 10,947 (7.65%) tested positive, compared to the weekend, when an average of 8,000 Israelis were found to carry the virus.

There are 83,542 active cases in the country, with 1,122 Israelis hospitalized. Of those, 217 are in critical condition and 172 are on ventilators. according to the Health Ministry.

Israel has reported 1,066,352 cases since the outbreak of the pandemic last year. Thus far, 7,043 Israelis have lost their lives to the virus, 526 of them in August alone.

Meanwhile, the Coronavirus cabinet approved new restrictions on Monday, including limiting the number of worshipers for Selichot prayers at the Western Wall to 8,000 participants.

The prayers, which have already begun at the Western Wall Plaza, are chanted nightly during the Hebrew month of Elul leading up to the High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

The cabinet also decided to divide worshipers into 18 sections with the obligation to wear a mask outdoors.
Israel hands every child a DIY virus test, in bold bid for safe school restart
In one of the world’s largest deployments of home COVID tests, Israel is asking families to screen all children under the age of 12 before schools and kindergartens reopen on Wednesday following summer vacation.

Over-12s who are unvaccinated are also being given tests, and some schools are also distributing the test kits to vaccinated pupils, as the Delta variant has broken through immunity on numerous occasions.

The initiative is an ambitious attempt to identify and isolate kids who are infected but don’t realize it before they head to classrooms and infect other children as well as staff. Infection from the Delta strain commonly goes unnoticed among youth, and the country is still deep in the throes of a wave of the highly infectious variant. More than 10,900 new cases of COVID were confirmed in Israel on Monday, marking a record one-day high since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Parents have picked up test kits from school and have been asked to swab their kids’ nostrils by Tuesday and check results on a module that looks similar to a home pregnancy test.

“This program has great potential to reduce the extent of infection arriving in classrooms,” Prof. Miri Yemini, an expert in health and the education system, told The Times of Israel. “The idea is to identify undercover or asymptomatic COVID by getting all children of all ages tested, and getting parents to sign a document saying that the result was negative.”
EU removes Israel from safe travel list, backs travel restrictions
The European Union recommended Monday that its 27 nations reimpose restrictions on tourists from seven countries, including Israel, because of rising coronavirus infections there.

The decision by the European Council reflects growing anxiety that the rampant spread of the virus in these countries could jump to Europe. The guidance issued, however, is nonbinding, and member countries will keep the option of allowing fully vaccinated foreigners in.

Israelis should expect a mishmash of travel rules across the continent since the EU has no unified COVID tourism policy and national EU governments have the authority to decide whether or how they keep their borders open during the pandemic.

"Nonessential travel to the EU from countries or entities not listed [on the safe list] ... is subject to temporary travel restriction," the council said in a statement. "This is without prejudice to the possibility for member states to lift the temporary restriction on nonessential travel to the EU for fully vaccinated travelers."

Travelers would have to be immunized with one of the vaccines approved by the bloc, which includes Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson&Johnson.

The EU recommendation doesn't apply to Britain, which formally left the EU at the beginning of the year.
PMW: PA TV libel: Israel wanted to destroy Gaza’s agriculture during 2021 war
Official PA TV and guests on its program Anew completely ignored the fact that the terror organizations Hamas and Islamic Jihad fired over 4,300 rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip in May 2021, killing 12 and wounding hundreds, when discussing Israel’s response to the rockets. Whereas Israel's response targeted the terror leaders and terror infrastructure in the Strip, PA TV and the guests claimed it was a deliberate way to harm Palestinian civilians by targeting Gaza’s agriculture.

Interviewing a nursery owner and a farmer in Gaza, a PA TV host libeled and demonized Israel, suggesting that during the Fatah/Hamas riot and rocket war earlier this year Israel intentionally bombed agricultural nurseries to put an end to Gaza farming. The nursery owner and farmer both readily concurred:
Official PA TV host: “Do you think that the occupation wanted to bomb the agricultural nurseries in order to stop the agricultural process and cycle?”

Nursery owner: “Yes.”

Farmer Ahmed Al-Louh: “Yes. In the last war in the Gaza Strip the occupation wanted to destroy the agricultural cycle completely. Why? Because the nurseries are considered the supporting pillar of the farmers and the agriculture in the Gaza Strip… If the nursery is destroyed, the agricultural industry will not grow.”

[Official PA TV, Anew, Aug. 21, 2021]

MEMRI: Hamas Journalists, Former Officials Discuss Lessons Of Taliban Victory: Uncompromising Resistance Is Only Way To Expel Occupiers
Following the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Taliban's rise to power there, Hamas, its leader Isma'il Haniya and other officials in the movement were among the first to congratulate the Taliban on "expelling the occupiers" by means of their "jihad," while claiming that this was proof of the effectiveness of resistance. The movement also hastened to publish photos of a meeting between Isma’il Haniya and Taliban officials in Doha, Qatar, as a message of support for the Taliban, and thereby exposed Hamas’ longtime contacts with this movement.[1]

In the days since then, former Hamas officials and journalists affiliated with the movement published articles discussing the lessons Hamas must draw from the events in Afghanistan regarding its own struggle against Israel. The writers claimed the Taliban managed to dictate terms to the enemy, and to impose a humiliating withdrawal on a strong superpower like the U.S., thanks to its persistent resistance and refusal to compromise with the American occupiers and their agents. The Palestinian resistance, they said, must follow a similar path: it must reject any proposal of ceasefire or compromise, and persistently pursue its goal of expelling the occupation and establishing an independent state.

Addressing the issue of the Taliban's negotiations with the U.S., one of the authors, Yousuf Al-Lidawi, wrote that negotiations were just another form of struggle for the Taliban, a means of achieving goals "that cannot be attained by force or by means of the gun." The concessions made by the Taliban for the sake of their people and country are only proof of their greatness as resistance fighters and of their strong will, he added. He remarked, however, that while the Taliban’s negotiations with the U.S. were legitimate, Palestinian negotiations with Israel constitute treason and compromise. Al-Lidawi added that, with the Taliban controlling Afghanistan, and in light of Hamas’ relations with it, Afghanistan may even become another base of operation for Hamas.

Another writer, Gazan journalist Fayez Abu Shamala, criticized the Gazan resistance leaders for agreeing to ceasefires with Israel. The Taliban's experience in Afghanistan, he said, as well as Hizbullah's experience in Lebanon and the past experience of the Palestinian resistance itself demonstrate that the resistance must not agree to any ceasefire or truce with the enemies, which removes the sword from their necks. He called on the resistance leaders in Gaza to launch an ongoing war against Israel, even if this means that Gaza will suffer daily bombings until the goal is achieved.