Friday, September 10, 2021

From Ian:

Matti Friedman: The Next Lebanon War
Spending time on the border with Yitzhak Huri, a lieutenant colonel who’s the second-in-command of the army brigade in this sector, I asked if he thought Lebanon’s disintegration and the desperation of its citizens made war more or less likely. Does the crisis lead the Lebanese to pull back to avoid further mayhem, or go for broke? “When a person has nothing to lose, you can’t know what he’s capable of,” Huri said. “The same goes for countries.”

I put the same question to the Lebanon watcher David Daoud, who was born to a Jewish family in Beirut and lives in Washington, D.C., where he works with the Atlantic Council and the advocacy group United Against a Nuclear Iran. Hezbollah has never wanted Lebanon to be a prosperous state “like Israel or Singapore,” Daoud said, because that would limit its autonomy. But at the same time, he said, the organization’s interests aren’t served by another civil war or the kind of state collapse that would be hastened by a war with Israel at this moment. The group is more likely, Daoud thinks, to try to use the current crisis to make itself even more central to the lives of its followers by doing what it has always done: providing services that should be provided by the state but aren’t. Hezbollah is already distributing bread and fuel, and if it plays its cards right, it will emerge stronger. “The crisis hasn’t weakened Hezbollah, but it has constrained them to such an extent that they must act responsibly on the border,” Daoud said.

That’s why, for example, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah quickly announced that his group’s recent 19-rocket barrage was purposely aimed at open fields, not at Israeli civilians or even soldiers. He’s trying to project strength to his followers, insisting he’s unafraid of war, while calibrating his actions to avoid an explosion he won’t be able to handle. But it’s a hazardous game. Both sides may not want a war, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be one. Things could easily slip out of control no matter how closely each side watches the other.

What do Israelis see when we look into Lebanon? A place with beautiful forests and beaches, where different groups of people share a strip of Levantine coast, one that could have been as successful as Israel or more so—the “Switzerland of the East,” as people said in the ’50s and ’60s. Some of us see a country that has been an arena for misguided Israeli policies or the backdrop for a potent chapter of our own young lives as soldiers. Many see a continuous threat.

But there’s another story we might see across the fence this summer, as we struggle to emerge from an unprecedented period of political dysfunction of our own, with four elections in two years and no national budget, with political leaders who’ve tried to convince us to see each other as enemies, and with internal divisions that feel less bridgeable than ever before. Lebanon is a country that allowed itself to be hollowed out. Its different sects failed to create a national story about citizenship that superseded other loyalties, and the state was paralyzed until the fragile edifice corroded, until the forces of progress faded or emigrated and were replaced by religious and tribal powers not just indifferent to modernity but openly contemptuous of it. It’s a story of state collapse, which is one of the themes of this region in our times. The forces of disintegration are weaker in Israel than they are in Lebanon, but they’re present and will win if we let them. The neighbor across the fence isn’t just a problem or a threat. Lebanon is a possible future.
Noah Rothman: Joe Biden’s ‘Mission Accomplished’ Moments
And if the United States has been made more secure by the debacle in Afghanistan, the visuals to which American audiences are being treated don’t suggest that at all. The Taliban has indicated that it will formally inaugurate its new government in Afghanistan on the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks against the U.S. The date is surely designed to humiliate the United States as much as to reinvigorate the terrorist elements that spent the last two decades evading American vengeance. In fact, many of those same terrorists will serve in the new Afghan government.

Sirajuddin Haqqani, Afghanistan’s new interior minister charged with maintaining domestic security, heads the Haqqani Network, a U.S.-designated terrorist group with close operational ties to al-Qaeda. Haqqani is wanted for his involvement in several terrorist attacks, some of which targeted and killed Americans. Mullah Yaqoob, the son of the infamous Taliban commander Mullah Omar, is in charge of the country’s defense. He oversaw the field commanders who led the insurgency against the Afghan government and is complicit in the Taliban’s atrocities against the Afghan people. Hibatullah Akhundzada, a hardline cleric who encouraged his own son to execute a suicide-bombing attack, serves as the Taliban’s supreme commander. And the country’s prime minister, Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund begins his tenure as head of state on a United Nations sanctions list.

The president insists that this iteration of the Taliban will be unable to govern Afghanistan, but they have so far ruled with an iron fist. Moreover, the administration betrays this as more hope than expectation when its members dangle the idea that the United States could one day recognize the legitimacy of a Taliban-led government. The notion that America would even contemplate acknowledging the validity of the Taliban’s ascension to power through force of arms isn’t just a moral atrocity but also an act of abject cowardice that leaves Americans at home and abroad exposed.

The reconstitution of the Taliban does not inspire confidence that the United States is in any way safer because of the Biden administration’s actions. And, if recent history is any guide, this administration will suffer political consequences as a result.
Noah Rothman: Yes, Biden blew it
Clearly, America’s vaunted capacity to disrupt and deter terrorist operations in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region from bases in the Persian Gulf and without reliable intelligence in the area is a matter of some dispute.

The apparent imprecision of the intelligence that informed the planning around these strikes has not dissuaded the Pentagon from entertaining the possibility of further cooperation with the Taliban on counterterrorism issues. “As far as our dealings with them, in war, you do what you must in order to reduce risk to mission and force, not what you necessarily want to do,” Milley said in a statement that called into question just how “over” the war in Afghanistan truly is.

Whether this nascent relationship blossoms into something fruitful or not, the threats to American interests from within Afghanistan will persist. The Taliban’s reconquest of Afghanistan “is encouraging many jihadists to think about traveling to Afghanistan now instead of Syria or Iraq,” one British official told the Washington Post . “We are now back to 1998, where the Clinton administration was launching missiles at desert camps and hoping to hit something,” one Trump-era counterterrorism official said. “That wasn’t enough to prevent 9/11, and returning to that is not a recipe for success.”

Ultimately, the evacuation effort Biden took so much pride in and credit for failed in its single mission: getting American citizens, legal permanent residents, visa holders, and eligible applicants out. The Biden administration admitted to leaving only between 100 and 250 American citizens behind, though it has previously claimed that there is no way to know precisely how many Americans were in Afghanistan when Kabul fell. The number of green card holders left to the Taliban’s mercies is also unknowable, but it is estimated to be in the thousands . Many more NATO and non-NATO allies are struggling to evacuate their stranded nationals.

Even the herculean multinational effort to get as many people out of Afghanistan as possible could become an albatross around Joe Biden’s neck. Of the over 120,000 people evacuated from Kabul’s airport, only 8,500 were Afghans. “Hundreds of children were separated from their parents. Rogue flights landed without manifests,” the New York Times reported. “Security vetting of refugees was done in hours or days, rather than months or years.” U.S. officials are investigating widespread reports that Afghan children were “married ” off to able men so that both would be eligible for evacuation. And despite all this, on Sept. 1, the State Department finally conceded that the United States left behind “the majority ” of Afghans who either had visas or were eligible for them, along with their families, but languished on a waiting list. One estimate places that number at around 100,000.

So, yes. This could have gone better. From the beginning of the U.S. drawdown and at almost every haphazard step along the way, the Biden White House stumbled into disaster after disaster. And in the end, all America managed to secure were circumstances that leave Americans less safe at home, less respected abroad, and stained with the dishonor of the broken promises we made to the Afghans who foolishly trusted in the United States. There’s nothing to be proud of in that.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Why Afghan women are fighting back
Many will suffer severe punishments. Violence will be unleashed against them in a magnitude that those in the West do not comprehend. Body parts will be chopped off. Sexual harassment, rapes, honour violence and murders will become the norm. More from this series

But, unlike before, this time is different. The women of Afghanistan will fight back. They’ve already begun. Protests are erupting across the country. Women of all ages are standing firm against the Taliban. In Kabul, women attempted to march to the presidential palace, “demanding the right to work and to be included in government”. They were attacked for it, with videos and photos revealing the bloody violence they faced at the hands of the Taliban. At a subsequent protest in Kabul, one woman stated: “We don’t care if they beat us or even shoot us. We want to defend our rights. We will continue our protests even if we get killed.”

At another protest in Herat, calling for girls’ education, one of the organisers, Basira Taheri, explained: “The women of this land are informed and educated. We are not afraid, we are united.” Pashtana Durrani, the Executive Director of Learn Afghanistan, a bulwark for Afghan women’s rights, said; “We are going to make sure [girls] get to go to school, they get to go to work. If not on the terms that we want in public, we’re going to make it happen anyways.”

As the saying, often attributed to Thomas Carlyle, goes: “Once the mind has been expanded by a big idea, it will never go back to its original state.” The Taliban cannot undo the last 20 years. These women and girls are refusing to submit to a new Dark Age. That glimmer of hope, sparked after 9/11, has not been extinguished. Even with the Taliban in control, America’s girls aren’t going to give up.

And now the world is watching. Before 9/11, the atrocities committed by the Taliban on the women of Afghanistan received very little coverage in the West. Now, everyone knows names like Malala and Bibi Aisha. And we will come to know more names, like Basira Taheri’s, as we cheer them on. Two decades on, these women may be the most enduring achievement of the American intervention that followed 9/11.

They are defiant. And, as a former defiant girl, I can say with conviction that they can’t beat or cut that defiance out of you.
PragerU: What Radical Islam and the Woke Have In Common
You’d think that Islamist extremists and leftist radicals would have nothing in common. But noted human rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali has good reason to believe this is no longer the case. She explains in this eye-opening video.

Remembering the Gains of the Afghanistan War
The end of a war is a time to reflect. So is a milestone anniversary like the 20th anniversary of September 11. Now, in September 2021, the two are bound up together—the end of the U.S. war in Afghanistan, not coincidentally, taking place in close proximity to the milestone anniversary.

For Lawfare, the two events are also intimately tied to the history of the site itself. Lawfare surely wouldn’t exist but for the September 11 attacks and the war in Afghanistan. The early years of the site were far more concerned with issues arising out of that conflict than they were with cybersecurity, disinformation, authoritarian populism, and the other issues that predominate on the site these days.

It is probably not possible to over-reflect on the withdrawal and the anniversary. But it is possible to draw the wrong conclusions from reflections on what went wrong in the Afghanistan war—which ended, as it began, with the Taliban in control of the country. And with Afghanistan today facially seeming like Afghanistan as it was on September 11, it is possible to reflect one’s way to the conclusions that the invasion of Afghanistan was a mistake, that it accomplished nothing and that Americans died in vain. It is possible to conclude that any gains were ephemeral, that only the civilian casualties and the policy blunders had lasting consequences, that 20 years of keeping the Taliban at bay was worth nothing and that the destruction of Al Qaeda’s base of operations was all an exercise in squandered blood and treasure.

A great many sober, serious people have embraced these gloomy conclusions—in some cases selectively, in many cases as a morose, defeatist package. The instinct to evaluate the war in binary terms is understandable. People tend to think of wars as won or lost. And watching the chaotic evacuation from Kabul, it certainly didn’t look like a win. It didn’t even look like a stalemate. It looked like a rout.

The final scorecard looks bad too. The vicious gambler played by George C. Scott scoffs at the young pool shark played by Paul Newman in the movie, “The Hustler,” for suggesting he had been way ahead in a game against the world’s best player before losing it all. “This game isn't like football. Nobody pays you for yardage,” the gambler says. “When you hustle you keep score real simple. The end of the game you count up your money. That's how you find out who's best. That's the only way.” By this standard, certainly, the Taliban bested us. United States forces smashed them for years, but at the end of the game, they have Afghanistan—and the government we supported evaporated just like Paul Newman’s early lead.

Yet there is more to be said on behalf of America’s two-decade-long effort in Afghanistan than these crude analyses allow. We certainly don’t mean to suggest that the war was a complete success. It was not: many Americans lost their lives fighting there (and far more Afghans died); the United States spent trillions in a vain effort to build the Afghan state. But here it’s not just the end point that matters but the nature of the curve that led to that endpoint. And there’s a great deal of area under the curve of the Afghanistan war, area one shouldn’t throw away lightly.
Accountability for Afghanistan
The disappointing fact is that there is a long and rich list of potential targets. It begins with President Joe "The Buck Stops Here" Biden as the obvious choice. The President bears ultimate responsibility for making the decisions that led to America's surrender and leaving our citizens behind. The President should be held accountable.

Also, near the top of the list of those who must be held accountable are those individuals who hold Senate-confirmed positions. They were the architects of this disaster: Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley. Together, these individuals either counseled the President that they would execute his direction effectively and safely, or they developed and implemented a strategy that they knew would not work. Either scenario would demand that they also be held accountable.

Some may legitimately ask, what about Jake Sullivan, Susan Rice and others? In other attempts to hold people accountable (think recent impeachment actions) the efforts were seen as overreach. The results, partisan bickering and nothing happening.

The alternative is the path we already seem to be heading down, no one being held accountable.
Taliban Say Open to Relations With US, Regional Countries but Not Israel
The Taliban said it would support a normalization with the United States as well as with regional actors, yet ruled out establishing ties with the Jewish state.

“Of course, we won’t have any relation with Israel,” a spokesperson for the Islamist group told the Russian Sputnik outlet. “We want to have relations with other countries, Israel is not among these countries … We would like to have relations with all the regional countries and neighboring countries as well as Asian countries.”

Yet “if America wants to have a relation with us, which could be in the interest of both countries and both peoples, and if they want to participate in the reconstruction of Afghanistan, they are welcome,” Suhail Shaheen was quoted in the report.

World powers have told the Taliban the key to peace and development is an inclusive government that would back up its pledges of a more conciliatory approach, upholding human rights, after a previous 1996-2001 period in power marked by bloody vendettas and oppression of women.
New Lebanese PM: We’ll work with any country, ‘except Israel, of course’
Lebanon’s new Prime Minister Najib Mikati pledged Friday to gain control of one of the world’s worst economic meltdowns, saying he was willing to cooperate with any country except for Israel.

Holding back tears, Mikati, one of the richest men in the country, said he recognized the pain of Lebanese mothers who cannot feed their children or find aspirin to ease their ailments, as well as to students whose parents can no longer afford to send them to school.

“The situation is difficult but not impossible to deal with if we cooperate,” Mikati told reporters at the presidential palace, where the new government line-up was announced.

Still, their pain was apparently not enough to accept aid from Israel.

Asked during a press conference if he would be willing to cooperate with Syria to address the economic crisis, Mikati responded that the government “will deal with anyone for the sake of Lebanon’s interest, with the exception of Israel, of course.”

Israel had formally offered humanitarian aid to Lebanon in July, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said.
A Missed Opportunity in America's Refunding of UNRWA
Unfortunately, the benefits derived from the Biden administration’s renewal of contributions to UNRWA, as set forth in the 2021–2022 cooperation framework, are remarkably similar to those supposedly provided by the 2017 framework—as well as by similar such agreements reviewed by the author while serving as legal advisor/general counsel to UNRWA in 2002–2007. In return for renewing its generous funding, the United States could have, inter alia, demanded that UNRWA:
- Check its staff, beneficiaries, and contractors against the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control list—which at least would have reduced the likelihood of the agency using U.S. funds to support persons under sanctions
- Take immediate action with regard to the decades-long saga of improper content in UNRWA textbooks—e.g., by paying for separate print runs of local textbooks, modified to be suitable for use by UNRWA students
- Begin the process of identifying those persons on UNRWA’s rolls who actually meet the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) definition of a refugee
- Move from a status- to a needs-based provision of services to refugees

The 2021 framework agreement may carry minor benefits by highlighting a few embarrassing problems raised publicly by UNRWA critics (e.g., staff misconduct, textbook concerns), but the agreement mostly focuses on process-related items, such as reporting modalities, and on aspirational statements. More effective would have been to use UNRWA’s tenuous financial position to compel specific, tangible, and constructive actions such as those just outlined. These changes would help UNRWA better reflect U.S. interests, UN principles of behavior, and UNHCR definitions of refugeehood. The easing of financial pressure on UNRWA—through an effective gift of $318 million—without securing such guarantees represented a squandered opportunity to strengthen the efficacy of U.S. foreign aid, including by focusing the agency’s assistance on its UNHCR-defined refugees who are truly in need.
EU Commission directorate condemns antisemitism in Palestinian textbooks
Acting Director Henrike Trautmann, whose EU Commission directorate oversees all aid to the Palestinian education sector, condemned antisemitic and violent content in Palestinian textbooks in a meeting of the EU Parliament’s Working Group Against Antisemitism on Thursday.

In a review of a recently released study on Palestinian Authority textbooks, Trautmann said that “It is very clear that the study does reveal the existence of very deeply problematic content…changes to the curriculum are essential...Full compliance of all educational material with UNESCO standards of peace, tolerance, coexistence and non-violence must be ensured as must any reference of antisemitic nature need to be addressed and taken out.”

“It’s totally clear that even a little bit of antisemitism is not ok…this is why the commission is determined to instill a process here with concrete progress and we will consider appropriate measures as necessary in this regard if progress is not seen in the roadmap we are setting up, ” said Trautmann.

The Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) mission is to promote EU values, policies and assistance in neighboring and candidate states. According to its website, it "manages the bulk of the Union’s financial and technical assistance to the neighborhood and enlargement countries."
Bennett Promises Settlements’ Leaders: No Construction Freeze
Naftali Bennett on Thursday met for the first time as Prime Minister with the heads of the Yesha Council for a working session during which they discussed developing the settlement in Judea and Samaria and strengthening local authorities there. Judea and Samaria’s heads of councils were not invited to the meeting which was limited to the senior level only: Yesha Council Chairman (Bennett’s his old job) David Elhayeni, Amana Secretary-General Zeev Hever (Zambish), Yesha Council Director-General Yigal Dilmoni, and Yesha Council Deputy-Chairman Matanya Shapira.

The Prime Minister stressed that he is committed to the settlement enterprise and had made it clear to the Americans that there would be no construction freeze. He also reassured the same Americans there won’t be an annexation or the application of sovereignty on his watch either. Bennett reminded the four leaders of his clear statement regarding this policy in his NY Times interview (On Eve of Meeting Biden, Bennett Rejects Palestinian State, Favors Hard Line on Iran). He said he had also conveyed this message in another meeting with Hever only.

Despite the tension among the men around the table, they agreed to continue working together to advance several issues, including the development of settlements. The settlers’ leaders wanted to continue building in Judea and Samaria as part of the plans that are already completed, to enter directly into the discussion and get them on the agenda—including plans that had been postponed following the cancellation of the Supreme Planning Council (MTA) meeting over to a staff strike, before Bennett’s meeting with President Joe Biden. Bennett promised to look into this, but no specific plans were picked.

Dilmoni told Kippa News after the meeting: “It was a very good meeting and a positive atmosphere, the meeting dealt mainly with the issue of construction plans. It was promised that our issues would be examined and in the coming weeks we will know how it progresses.”

Members of the Palestinian Authority were unhappy with the statements made by Bennett at the meeting.

Gulf Air to Launch Israel-Bahrain Route on October 4 With Two Flights a Week
Bahrain’s national carrier, Gulf Air, will begin operating twice-weekly flights from Israel starting on October 4, Bahrain’s former ambassador to the United States confirmed via Twitter.

Houda Nonoo said that the Tel Aviv-Manama route will take place on Mondays and Thursdays.

The announcement comes just days before the one year anniversary of the signing of the Abraham Accords at the White House that normalized relations between the Gulf state and Israel. The US-brokered deal also included the United Arab Emirates, later adding Morocco and Sudan.

The route was initially announced in April and was originally scheduled to start on June 3 but was postponed.

“We are delighted to announce the launch of our Bahrain–Tel Aviv route as part of the historic initiation of Bahraini–Israeli relations. As the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain; we take great pride in supporting our leadership and Kingdom in their role of preserving peace and prosperity in the region,” Zayed Bin Rashid Al Zayani, chairman of Gulf Air’s board of directors, said in April.

According to the commercial aviation website Simple Flying, the 2 hours and 50 minutes flight from Bahrain International Airport will depart at 9 am local time, arriving to Tel Aviv at 11:50 am. The aircraft will then spend 3 hours and 30 minutes on the ground at Ben Gurion Airport before departing Israel at 3:30 pm and arriving back in Bahrain at 5:55 pm. The flight time for the return trip is 2 hours and 35 minutes.

Algerian judoka gets 10-year ban for refusing to compete against Israeli in Tokyo
The International Judo Federation (IJF) has banned Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine and his coach, Ammar Benkhalaf, from participating in activities or competitions for 10 years after the athlete withdrew from the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games to avoid fighting an Israeli opponent.

The ruling goes into effect starting from July 23. Nourine and his coach have 21 days to appeal, according to Middle East Monitor.

Nourine was scheduled to fight Sudan’s Mohamed Abdalrasool in July in the men’s 73-kilogram weight class at the Tokyo Olympics. If he won, he would have had to face Israeli judoka Tohar Butbul in the next round; instead, Nourine refused to compete in the first draw to avoid a possible match-up.

Nourine said he made the decision with the help of his coach in order to “support the Palestinian cause.”

Shortly after their move, the IJF temporarily suspended Nourine and Benkhalaf. The Algerian Olympic Committee withdrew their accreditations and sent them home from the Olympics.
While the BBC has not yet reported that development either on its sports site or its news website, the story has been covered by several Algerian media outlets, one of which reports Nourine’s reaction as follows:
It remains to be seen whether the BBC will produce any follow-up to the story it reported in July and if so, whether its reporting will inform audiences of Nourine’s ridiculous conspiratorial allegations.
Jpost Editorial: Israel's Hebrew new year resolution: Clear COVID-19 rules - editorial
Health correspondent Rossella Tercatin has run a series of reports in recent weeks in this paper about the ongoing confusion regarding corona regulations for would-be travelers to Israel. As we observe the Yamim Noraim (Days of Awe) between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we urge the government to take stock of the situation and clarify when foreign nationals will be allowed into the country and what they will have to do.

When the Health Ministry announced a welcome change in its quarantine policy for Israelis from September 10, Tercatin writes, they rushed to make reservations for vacations abroad and many hoped the policy would apply to foreign visitors as well. The new policy exempts from full isolation individuals who have received a third shot; who have been vaccinated twice or recovered in the last six months; or who have recovered and received one shot.

For now, Israel does not yet recognize foreign vaccinations or recovery documents. The one category of foreigners who may visit as tourists are vaccinated or recovered first-degree relatives of Israeli citizens. Still, they are required to obtain an entry permit issued by Israel’s Population and Immigration Authority.

Once in Israel, if they want to be considered immunized, they need to undergo a private serological test to prove the presence of antibodies in their blood. Once they do, they receive an Israeli recovery certificate, specifying that the document was released based on the serology test performed in Israel and not elsewhere.

While the first statement about the new quarantine policy released by the ministry did not contain anything to suggest that the exemption from isolation would not apply to individuals holding such certificates based on serology results, subsequent versions did require recovery certificates to be based on a PCR test performed in Israel, Tercatin reports. It’s all very confusing.
Fewer than 1 million eligible Israelis remain unvaccinated against COVID-19
Israel's infection rate stands at 6.31%, according to Health Ministry data released Friday. Of the 134,778 people who tested for the virus Thursday, 7,813 were found to have COVID-19.

The reproduction rate has decreased to 0.8.

The country currently has 79,799 active cases of the virus. There are 672 people in serious condition, 173 of whom are on ventilators.

Although have 1,063,349 Israelis recovered from the virus since the outbreak of the pandemic, 7,319 have died.

Around 155,246 students in Israel's education system are in quarantine.

On the vaccination front, over 6,031,635 Israelis have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Over 5,531,637 have received two doses, and over 2,763,886 have received the full three doses of the vaccine.

Fewer than one million eligible Israelis – around 900,000 – have yet to be inoculated against the coronavirus, Health Ministry Director-General Nachman Ash told reporters at a press briefing on Thursday. He said Israel had not made "enough progress" on this end.
Police: Assailant shot attempting to stab cops in Jerusalem Old City, later dies
An assailant was shot and killed after he attempted to stab police officers in Jerusalem’s Old City on Friday afternoon, police and hospital officials said, amid heightened tension as security forces carry out an intense manhunt for six escaped Palestinian security prisoners.

The attempted stabbing occurred at the Old City’s Council (Majlis) Gate, on the northern side of the western Temple Mount wall, police said.

“Soon after 4 p.m., the assailant… armed with a knife arrived at the officers’ post in the Council Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem and tried to injure the forces there. A quick response by the officers and border guards, who opened fire at the assailant, neutralized him before he could carry out this intention,” police said.

The assailant’s knife was recovered at the scene.

According to police, the assailant was a 50-year-old Arab man, a resident of East Jerusalem. The Palestinian Authority identified him as Hazim al-Joulani, director of the al-Rayyan alternative medicine college in East Jerusalem and an expert in Chinese acupuncture. His Facebook page said he used to work in Israel’s Assaf Harofeh hospital outside Tel Aviv.

He was taken to the Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus in critical condition with a gunshot wound in the upper body, where he later died of his wounds, the hospital said.
Could Gilboa Prison escape help spark another intifada?
The dramatic escape of six Palestinian terrorists from Gilboa Prison in northern Israel on Monday carries the potential of a broader security escalation, a former defense official has cautioned.

Col. (res.) David Hacham, a former Arab-affairs adviser to seven Israeli defense ministers and a senior research associate at the Miryam Institute, told JNS that the breakout could lead to a chain of incidents and an escalation dynamic, although this is not a certainty.

He recalled a highly relevant precedent from the 1980s. In May 1987, six senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) security prisoners escaped from an Israeli prison in the Gaza Strip. In October of that year, a gun battle between Israeli security forces and five of the escaped prisoners erupted in Gaza’s Shejaiya neighborhood district. The cell’s members were killed, and an Israeli Shin Bet member, Victor Arajwan, was also killed in the firefight.

The PIJ to this day considers the incident to be a catalyst for the start of the First Intifada, said Hacham.

The Israel Guys: 6 Palestinian Terrorists Escape from Prison in Israel
The leaders of the Palestinian Authority constantly talk out of two sides of their mouth. Whilst wishing Israel a happy new year one day, the next, they call on the international community to hold Israel accountable for the war crime of holding terrorists in prison.

Israel is still searching for six high-profile terrorists who escaped from the Gilboa Prison. They escaped through a tunnel that was dug under their bathroom.

No escape from the growing Palestinian internecine tensions
Sheikh Bilal Abu Hassan, a mosque preacher from Jenin, was surprised last week to receive a letter from the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Waqf and Religious Affairs informing him of the decision to fire him.

Abu Hassan lost his job because of a khutbah (sermon) he recently delivered during Friday prayers at one of Jenin’s mosques and in which he heaped praise on the Palestinian factions, including Hamas, in the Gaza Strip.

Referring to the Israel-Hamas war last May, Abu Hassan applauded the “Joint Operations Room,” which consists of various Palestinian factions that operate as a quasi-army against Israel. “Our Joint Operations Room has unified the Palestinians,” he said from the minbar, a pulpit in a mosque where the imam (leader of prayers) stands to deliver sermons. “This is the true meaning of Palestinian national unity.”

The mosque preachers in the West Bank are appointed by the PA Ministry of Waqf and Religious Affairs. Every week, the ministry issues a directive to the imams concerning the Friday sermons.

The directive includes instructions about the topics the imams should address during the sermons. Occasionally, the ministry also issues instructions regarding the topics that the imams are prohibited from addressing. Those who defy the instructions of the ministry are often punished by suspension or dismissal, as in the case of Abu Hassan.

On Wednesday, as Palestinians were voicing support for the six Palestinian security prisoners who escaped from Gilboa Prison and protesting Israel’s punitive measures against the inmates in various prisons, the PA Ministry of Waqf and Religious Affairs announced that the topic of Friday’s sermon (September 10) will be: “High Morals in Islam.” The implicit message to the preachers: Ignore the fugitives who escaped from Israeli prison.

Report: Palestinians agree to help Israel track down escaped inmates
A report Friday claimed that the Palestinian Authority had agreed to cooperate with an Israeli manhunt for six inmates who escaped from prison earlier this week, some of whom are thought to be hiding out in the West Bank.

If correct, the report in the Lebanese paper al-Akhbar would mark a stark shift for Ramallah, which had joined the overwhelming chorus of support for the six escapees in the Palestinian street and had been seen as unlikely to possess the political will for cooperating with Israel on bringing them in.

For Israel, which has struggled to track the whereabouts of the former detainees and has contended with an upsurge of violence linked to the escape, help from the PA would provide a welcome boost to reach certain areas of the West Bank.

According to the report in al-Akhbar, which was based on an unnamed source in the PA, an agreement was reached earlier this week that will see the Palestinian Authority cooperate on finding the escapees, in exchange for an Israeli commitment to capture them alive and ease conditions for the thousands of Palestinians remaining incarcerated in Israel.

There was no comment from Israeli authorities on the report.

Iranian regime women's affairs vice president supports child marriage
The newly appointed vice president for women and family affairs in the Islamic Republic of Iran advocates the marriage of children in defiance of human rights critics who see the practice as sexual exploitation and abuse of young girls.

The Iranian regime’s President Ebrahim Raisi designated Ansieh Khazali in early September as the new official for women’s affairs. She confirmed the announcement in a September 2 tweet to her 589 followers as of Thursday. She tweeted an Arabic verse from the Koran, according to the news website IranWire. Her tweet derives from a section of the Koran in which Moses pleads with God: “O Lord! Expand my breast for me/... And loose the knot from my tongue,/ [That] they may understand my word.”

Khazal’s Twitter account is linked to the women and family website for the Islamic Republic.

Writing for IranWire, Roghayeh Rezaei noted in lengthy analysis that “Khazali married when she was 16. She also married off her daughters when they were very young. She has said she supports child marriage, accused women who do not want children of ‘seeking comfort,’ and called women who are entitled to sizeable dowries in the event of a divorce ‘hagglers.”’

Sheina Vojoudi, an Iranian dissident who fled the Islamic Republic of Iran due to repression, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday that "Women like Khazali endanger the whole society. Most of the early marriages force underage girls into marrying the middle-aged men. Ansieh Khazali by supporting child marriage is enabling a vast child abuse and it will have disastrous consequences in Iran and can be viewed from different aspects, especially under Iran's dire economic circumstances."

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