Tuesday, October 19, 2021

From Ian:

The most important lesson Yitzhak Rabin taught us
For me personally, the most profound and enlightening statement former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin ever made about Israel is that it "must fight terror as if there is no peace, and make peace as if there is no terror."

In his characteristically laconic way, the war hero and tragic victim of radical politics gave our nation a guiding principle by which to follow.

Israel, however, finds itself sandwiched between a corrupt Palestinian Authority administration in Ramallah — masquerading as representatives of the Palestinian people — and the theocratic extremist regime of Hamas, sitting on endless stockpiles of guns, rockets, explosives and bodies to throw into the fray.

The aftershock of Rabin's assassination and the subsequent collapse of peace talks between the Jewish state and the Palestinians have put Israeli leaders on the defensive, unwilling to accept even the smallest overture or possibility that one day, God forbid, both parties might sit together in the same room and talk about anything other than security issues.

So now that peace is no longer an option, fighting terror is the only thing that matters.

But Rabin understood something very fundamental about the two sides of this conflict — without peace, there is only terror. If both sides do not show any willingness to talk, the radicals would rise up and take control.

Both Israel and the Palestinians have decided that the dangerous and bloody status quo is good enough for them.

Israel continues to occupy the West Bank and blockade the Gaza Strip because there presently seems to be no other way to maintain security, while Fatah enjoys international recognition for perpetuating the suffering of its people and Hamas draws the sword of Jihad and death.
A Symbolic Consulate in Jerusalem-What will the dilettantes think of next?
As improbable as it may seem, the US State Department proposes to open a Consulate in the heart of Jerusalem dedicated to serving the PA and its exclusively non-Jewish, so-called Palestinian residents, of the areas in Judea and Samaria, governed by the PA.

Why not open the Consulate in Ramallah, where the PA maintains its government offices? It makes no rational sense to open a Consulate to the PA in what amounts to a foreign country. Moreover, apparently, the approximately 60,000 US citizens who live in Judea and Samaria (including parts of Jerusalem beyond the so-called Green Line) who are Jewish would effectively be excluded.

Besides being invidious discrimination of the most sordid variety, it is hard to imagine why the US would actually reward the PA for being Judenrein, including their jailing those convicted of violating their noxious laws prohibiting the sale land to a Jew. Is this ‘Jim Crow’-like paradigm the new policy of choice of the State Department?

The whole notion of opening a separate official Consulate office outside of the regular US Embassy in a country is for the purpose of serving as a convenience to US citizens and other legitimate US business purposes in a foreign country. Why then open a Consulate in a location that is not convenient for the intended constituency to be served?

Noah Rothman: The Rising Terror Threat Is Another Consequence of the Afghanistan Debacle
Perhaps. But why now? Domestic and international law enforcement have identified a conspicuous uptick in chatter among aspiring terrorist actors linked to the Taliban’s successful reconquest of Afghanistan. “That’s where they see this rallying cry and their opportunity. Now it’s ‘time to buy a gun, run people over with a car,’ do whatever they’re going to do,” one FBI official told Defense One reporter Jaqueline Feldscher.

Among those who might be enthralled by terroristic violence but find the Taliban uninspiring, the revivified Islamic State presents an attractive alternative. “ISIL has unmistakably positioned itself as the uncompromising rejectionist force in Afghanistan and has the potential to recruit quite a lot of people on that basis,” the FBI official continued. “You may see ISIS grow significantly in Afghanistan.”

Indeed, you’re likely to see every manner of radical Islamist organization enjoy a recruiting boom, particularly inside Afghanistan. That became apparent to foreign intelligence agencies mere hours after the collapse of the Afghan government. “Foreign intelligence officials said they are detecting signs that the Taliban’s victory has energized global jihadists,” the Washington Post reported one day after the fall of Kabul.

Although the ideological distinctions between groups like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State matter a great deal to Westerners, they don’t seem to preoccupy those inclined toward violence as long as violence is the result. “God willing,” on al-Qaeda militant quoted by the Post said, “the success of the Taliban will be also a chance to unify mujahideen movements like al-Qaeda and Daesh.” Just as the Islamic State’s short-lived caliphate in Syria and Iraq inspired acts of self-radicalized terrorism all across the globe, the reestablishment of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is likely to have the same effect.

As former National Counterterrorism Director Michael Leiter wrote recently, the U.S. and its allies “have made incredible strides” in the struggle against Islamic radicalism since 9/11. We are “vastly safer” now “than we were the last time the Taliban ruled Afghanistan.” But that didn’t happen by accident. It was an unfinished labor involving the development of local informants, friendly governments, actionable intelligence, and, of course, well-placed military assets capable of executing kinetic operations in a timely manner.

Bennett meets UAE, Bahrain envoys, is invited to Abu Dhabi for state visit
UAE Ambassador to Israel Muhammad Mahmoud Al Khajah invited Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to Abu Dhabi for an official state visit on Monday, on behalf of UAE Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The invitation was extended during a lunch meeting Bennett held with Khajah and Bahrain Ambassador to Israel Khaled Yousif al-Jalahma.

The three discussed expanding ties between the nations and further strengthening the Abraham Accords.

“The stronger the bonds of our countries become, the stronger regional security and stability will become,” said Bennett.

While he was in New York City in September to address the United Nations General Assembly, Bennett met with UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Khalifa al-Marar and Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani at his hotel. Bennett told Zayani that he was looking forward to meeting with Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa at some point in the future.
Israel, US, UAE, India agree to launch joint economic forum
The foreign ministers of Israel, the United States, the United Arab Emirates and India have agreed to establish a forum for economic cooperation.

In a video conference on Monday evening, they agreed to meet in person at the Dubai Expo 2020 in the coming months.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid hosted his Indian counterpart, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, in Jerusalem for the quadripartite meeting.

“Synergy is what we are going to create, starting from this meeting,” Lapid said. “Synergy is what will help us work together on infrastructure, digital infrastructure, transportation, ports, trains and maritime security.”

The ministers agreed to appoint a professional to form a joint working group on possible cooperation in these areas.

“The key to success is how fast we can go from ‘government-to-government’ to ‘business-to-business,’” Lapid said. “How fast can we turn this into a process that will put boots on the ground to change infrastructure around the world.”

The meeting was “fruitful,” Jaishankar said.

“Discussed working together more closely on economic growth and global issues,” he tweeted. “Agreed on expeditious follow-up.”
Knesset speaker announces Israel-India inter-parliamentary friendship group
Israel and India will soon form a parliamentary friendship group, Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy announced Tuesday, when he hosted India’s external affairs minister, Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, at the Knesset.

“It was my great honor to host India’s External Affairs Minister Dr. Jaishankar, in what marks another significant milestone in the great relationship between Israel and India,” Levy said. “The strong and unique bond between our two great ancient nations and vibrant democracies blossomed in recent years.”

Levy said he looked forward to working with his Indian counterpart, Speaker of Lok Sabha Mr. Om Birla, with whom he will establish the friendship group.

“I asked the minister to spread the message that Israel welcomes in open arms peace with more Arab and Muslim nations,” Levy said. “We both agreed we must fight radicalization together and additionally, I urged the minister that Hezbollah, a deadly terrorist organization that only promotes violence and instability both regionally and domestically, must be outlawed.”
Israel in talks to normalize ties with Comoros
Israel and Comoros, an island country off the eastern coast of Africa, are in talks to establish diplomatic relations, a senior diplomatic source confirmed Monday.

A Muslim-majority country about a 10th of the size and population of Israel, the Union of the Comoros is a member of the Arab League and the only Arab country entirely in the Southern Hemisphere.

The US brought Israel and Comoros together for normalization talks, and they have continued bilaterally.

Israel views the negotiations as a continuation of the momentum of the Abraham Accords, the peace and normalization agreements between Israel and four Arab states last year.
The Washington Post’s ‘World View’ Attacks the Abraham Accords
By any objective measure, the Abraham Accords have been a success. The normalization agreements between Israel and several Muslim majority nations, including the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco, have helped transform the Middle East, brightening the prospects for peace between the Jewish state and the rest of the region. Unsurprisingly, the Washington Post’s World Views columnist, Ishaan Tharoor, felt the need to minimize the Accords.

In an Oct. 13, 2021 article (“Biden carries forward a Trump-era Middle East Policy”), Tharoor omitted key aspects about the Accords.

Tharoor does refer to the Accords as “landmark normalization agreements” and notes their economic impact. “Normalization between the UAE and Israel has already led to at least $675 million in bilateral trade, direct flights between the two countries, an influx of tourists and expanded people-to-people contacts,” he writes.

Indeed, one would be hard pressed to think of downsides to the agreements. They are, in every sense, historic.

As JNS has noted, the Abraham Accords are the “first agreements between Israel and other Mideast nations since Israel’s peace with Egypt in 1979 and with Jordan in 1994.” Further, “the UAE and Bahrain are the first Gulf countries to normalize ties with the Jewish state.”
The Israel Guys: Is Israel STEALING from the Palestinians? (Revealing!)
Have you ever heard the myth that Israel steals water from the Palestinians? Get ready to have your eyes opened as Joshua cuts through the fog with some hard-hitting content from Israel.

In fact, you may just decide that if it weren’t for Israel, the Palestinians would not have water at all!

COVID: Israel passes 8,000 deaths. What do we know about them?
Since the beginning of the fourth wave in June, almost 1,600 people have died, the majority in August and September – 631 and 668, respectively. Another 224 individuals have died from COVID since the beginning of October.

While the number of victims during the fourth wave has remained significantly lower than during the previous wave – in January the virus killed 1,445, in February, 947 – the past three months were still among the deadliest since the pandemic hit the country last year.

Most victims were over the age of 60 and unvaccinated, the ministry’s data show.

In the past four weeks, only four vaccinated people under the age of 60 succumbed to the virus, while another four who died had been vaccinated but more than six months earlier, compared to 46 unvaccinated people who by this point represent a minority of the population.

Regarding people over the age of 60, 61 died in spite of the fact they were fully vaccinated, and 56 were inoculated but over six months earlier, compared to 218 unvaccinated – a very high number considering that out of 1.56 million Israelis over the age of 60, less than 110,000 are not vaccinated at all, and over 1.2 million have already received their booster.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, morbidity in the country continued to decline.

Some 1,483 new cases were identified on Monday, with only 1.42% of the approximately 105,000 people screened testing positive. The previous Monday the cases were 2,432, and a week before that there were 3,273.
Israel Approves West Bank Residency for 4,000 Undocumented Palestinians
Israel announced on Tuesday that it approved registration as West Bank residents for some 4,000 Palestinians who have been living for years in the territory without official status.

The decision affects 2,800 former inhabitants of the Gaza Strip who left the enclave after Hamas Islamist militants seized it in internal Palestinian fighting in 2007, Israel’s COGAT liaison office to the Palestinians said.

Some 1,200 other Palestinians, among them undocumented spouses and children of West Bank residents, will also receive official standing.

Inclusion in the Palestinian Population Registry, which Israel controls, will enable the group to receive identification cards. The documentation will enable passage through Israeli military checkpoints in the West Bank, an area captured in a 1967 war.

On Twitter, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said he approved the 4,000 residency registrations as a humanitarian gesture and “as part of my policy to strengthen the economy and improve the lives of Palestinians” in the West Bank.

Hussein Al Sheikh, a senior official of the Palestinian Authority (PA), said on Twitter that the 4,000 “obtained their right to citizenship” and would receive identification cards.

Under interim Israeli-Palestinian peace deals that established the PA, Israel committed to approve the residency in the West Bank and Gaza of some 4,000 new spouses of local residents each year under a family reunification program.
Right fumes after Gantz grants Palestinians permanent residency in West Bank
Right-wing lawmakers expressed outrage Tuesday after the Defense Ministry allowed the Palestinian Authority to register 1,200 undocumented Palestinians living in the West Bank as residents. The move comes after a recent meeting between PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

The 1,200 individuals will now be able to receive Palestinian passports. In addition, another 2,800 residents – who moved to the West Bank from the Gaza Strip before Hamas took over in 2007 – will be able to change their addresses.

Under the Oslo Accords, the Israeli government must approve permanent residency requests for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza and any change in the Palestinian population registry, including change of residence.

The ministry stressed that all applications were approved on humanitarian grounds and that each applicant was thoroughly vetted. It further stressed that every applicant had been residing in the West Bank for an extended period of time.

Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak approved 35,000 such applications during his time in office. The move sparked outrage among right-wing circles, with some saying this was tantamount to granting the Palestinians a "right of return."

PMW: PA: Palestinians murdering Israelis is Palestinian culture
While people around the world see the arts, sports, and music as expressions of culture that could be highlighted during a “culture week,” the Palestinian Authority chose the murder of Israelis as its expression of Palestinian culture with which to launch its “Arab Culture Week.”

As “the start of the activities of the Bethlehem: Capital of Arab Culture 2020-2021 week,” the PA Ministry of Culture and the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs set up an exhibit featuring pictures and names of numerous terrorist prisoners who murdered at least 46 Israelis, and terrorist “Martyrs” responsible for the deaths of at least 136.

Bethlehem was chosen as capital of Arab culture 2020/21 by the Conference of Arab Culture Ministers, and it was PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas himself who launched the year-long event in April. [Website of the Arab League Educational, Cultural, and Scientific Organization, April 21, 2021]

It is a very significant statement about the PA’s self-image, its chosen values, and its revering of terrorists that it launches “Arab Culture Week” by honoring mass murderers as its expression of Palestinian culture.
PA rewrites history: No Jewish artifacts found on Temple Mount because “they were not here”

Top PA official: Jews visiting the Temple Mount “defile Allah’s house;” Netanyahu is a “great satan”

Hezbollah backers claims US-Zionist-Geagea conspiracy in Lebanon - analysis
Gunfire erupted during a massive protest in Beirut last Thursday. The shooting led to the death of six people. It took place as Hezbollah and Amal supporters tried to topple a judge investigating the deadly blast last year at Beirut Port that killed 200 people.

The judge has dared to try to actually do his job, and because of that, and due to Hezbollah preferring a lawless corrupt state it can digest, the Hezbollah supporters oppose him.

It is not clear who the snipers were who targeted the protesters, but the armed protesters responded by shooting up buildings in the capital city. It may even be that trigger-happy soldiers and protesters shot at invisible, nonexistent snipers.

Nevertheless, blame has been cast on Sunni extremists and the Lebanese Forces, a Christian group. Pro-Hezbollah and pro-Iran media have alleged a conspiracy. Press TV in Iran even claims an employee of the US Embassy was one of the “snipers.”

The more favored conspiracy is to blame Samir Geagea, a Christian leader of Lebanese Forces, as being behind the violence. The conspiracy claims he is a “traitor” allied with the US and “Zionists.” “According to reports and evidence, militants from the Lebanese forces led by Samir Geagea were the main perpetrators of the attack,” a pro-Hezbollah media outlet reported.
Hezbollah 100,000 fighters is a symbolic lie - analysis
When protests caused Syria to leave the country in the wake of the murder, Hezbollah plotted to attack Israel with direct support from Iran and its henchman Qasem Soleimani. Soleimani, Nasrallah and Imad Mughniyeh plotted and a war broke out in 2006. When that was over, Hezbollah used the destruction it wrought to increase power over construction, housing and its own phone and telecommunications network. When the parliament tried to take away the telecommunications network, Hezbollah invaded areas in Beirut in 2008 and showed off its new muscles. Soon, it was keeping a new president from being appointed, forcing Christians to make a choice: Lose their remaining power, or ally with the Islamist group. Michael Aoun chose to work with Hezbollah and got the presidency. Other Christians like Samir Geagea did not agree and neither did Sunnis like Saad Hariri.

Hezbollah systematically assassinated rivals, and intellectuals like Lokman Slim. It also sent fighters to Syria during the civil war and expanded its arsenal from 13,000 rockets to 150,000 rockets, missiles and drones. It also sent forces to the Golan to prepare for expanding the war against Israel.

All this is a long way of saying that Hezbollah’s real power is now through strangling parliament and the presidency and running Lebanon’s foreign and military policy. Now it even imports gas.

But it doesn’t have 100,000 fighters. That is because the overall Shi’ite community Hezbollah draws on for support is divided, with many backing Hezbollah ally Amal. To have 100,000 fighters you would need several million Shi’ite Hezbollah backers. Where are those people? Where are the trained fighters? How would you feed all those men?

The fact is that even though Hezbollah is a powerful terror army, has precision guided weapons, drones, bunkers and its own communications network – and runs drugs all over the world, stockpiles ammonium nitrate, destroys cities, bankrupts Lebanon and robs it of its future – its 100,000 figure is just in Nasrallah’s imagination.

Why aren’t attacks on mosques in Afghanistan a crime against humanity?
Recent mass murders of Muslims in attacks on mosques in Afghanistan have led to the deaths of hundreds. On October 8, a targeted attack led to the murder of more than 100 Muslims. Then another attack on Friday in Kandahar on October 15 led to the deaths of almost 50 people.

These are targeted attacks, during Friday prayers, designed to commit genocide against Shi’ite Muslims. However, such attacks are generally ignored by the international community. Countries that have backed the kind of extremism that leads to attacks on Shi’ites, such as Pakistan’s support for extremists like the Taliban, generally prefer not to condemn these attacks. Yet the same countries tend to speak out about “Islamophobia” in the West and condemn attacks on mosques in places like New Zealand.

Why aren’t attacks on mosques in Afghanistan considered a crime against humanity? This is one of the enduring questions that linger over how the international community confronts genocide. Targeted attacks against religious and ethnic minorities, which the Hazara Shi’ites are, usually would be defined as genocide. In addition, the kind of ethnic cleansing and discrimination against Hazaras that groups like the Taliban, al-Qaeda and now ISIS have conducted would tend to fit into the definition of genocide.

This begs the question of where the war crimes trials are in The Hague or other locations for members of ISIS and other groups that have targeted religious and ethnic minorities in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria and many other countries. ISIS, for instance, committed genocide against Yazidis in Iraq, ethnically cleansing half a million of the community and selling women and children into slavery.
Iran says it defeated US in region, mocks Israel failure against Hamas
Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Commander Maj.-Gen. Hossein Salami this week celebrated the “retreat” of Iran’s enemies in the region. “We are witnessing obvious retreats of enemies and great powers from the region,” he was quoted by Iran’s Tasnim News Agency as saying. He was referring to the US leaving Afghanistan.

“These days, we look at the retreat and the last months of the US presence in Iraq,” he said. “We see their failure in the dangerous Lebanese project. We see the defeat of enemy targets on the Syrian front; we see the defeat of the enemy’s goals and movements in the sanctions against Iran, and we see the defeat of the enemy in the political and economic siege of our system.”

Salami bragged that the US is losing on all fronts. “We see the symbols of victory and the signs of retreat and defeat of the enemy,” he said. While he sees positive portents of Iran’s victory, another Iranian supporter was also giving an interview to Tasnim. Talal Naji, secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command, looked at the recent May battle between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

He praised Qasem Soleimani, the late commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force, for his “prominent role in countering US-Zionist conspiracies and strengthening and advancing the defense of resistance groups in the region, especially Palestine, Syrian relations and the resistance, and [removing] obstacles to the advancement of Palestinian national unity.”
Raisi: 'Muslim world must prioritize Palestinian issue'
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Tuesday urged the Muslim nations to fight to promote the Palestinian interest, saying, "The Palestinian issue must always be a top priority for the Muslim world."

Raisi, dubbed the "'Butcher of Tehran," is under US sanctions over his involvement in the mass execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988." He spoke at the 35 International Conference for Islamic Unity, attended by delegations from 52 countries.

"Global arrogance has supported weak governments in the Muslim world in order to realize its interests and the interests of the Zionist entity," Raisi said.

On Monday, Raisi said he believes the nuclear talks with six major powers should be "result-oriented."

"We are serious about result-oriented negotiations. ... If Americans are serious, they should remove unjust sanctions on Iran," Raisi told state TV.
GOP Lawmakers Concerned Biden Admin Delaying Iranian Agent Trial To Appease Iran
Republican lawmakers are concerned the Biden administration is delaying the trial of an accused Iranian agent as a bargaining chip to secure a return to the 2015 nuclear accord.

The Justice Department has for the second time this year postponed the trial of Kaveh Lotfolah Afrasiabi, an Iranian citizen and U.S. permanent resident who was charged this year with acting as an unregistered foreign agent for the Iranian regime. Afrasiabi allegedly posed as a neutral Iran expert and talking head for the better part of a decade but "was actually a secret employee of the government of Iran," according to the Justice Department.

The trial was postponed earlier this year at Afrasiabi's request and set to resume on Dec. 1. The United States has agreed to postpone the case again, however, so that Afrasiabi, who is representing himself in court, has time to review a voluminous amount of discovery materials related to the case.

The delays are angering some Republican members of Congress, who are concerned the case has become bound up in ongoing nuclear negotiations between the United States and Iran, which have stalled in recent months even as the United States unwinds economic sanctions and promises to remove all sanctions imposed by the Trump administration.

"Given the increasing tension between the United States and Iran, we are concerned that Afrasiabi is being used by the Iranian regime as a political tool for backdoor negotiations" with the Biden administration, the lawmakers write, according to a copy of their letter obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

The lawmakers late last week petitioned the Justice Department to explain why it will not move forward with Afrasiabi's prosecution.
Oberlin Clears Professor, Ex-Iranian Official Accused of Antisemitism, Covering Up Political Killings
Following an investigation, Oberlin College said it has cleared a faculty member accused of lying about mass political executions in Iran during the 1980s and of making antisemitic statements, according to a student newspaper report.

Professor of Religion Mohammad Jafar Mahallati, who served as Iran’s representative to the United Nations from 1987 to 1989, had been accused of concealing the 1988 killings of thousands of dissidents in an Oct. 2020 open letter, signed by families of the victims and two faculty members.

Later, reports of Mahallati’s declaring that “Palestine is an Islamic territory” under “occupation by Zionist usurpers” surfaced online, as well as statements disparaging the Baha’i faith — prompting the university to confirm that his past comments and conduct were under review.

The Ohio liberal arts college said its investigation did not find evidence supporting the allegations over the 1988 killings or antisemitic comments, the Oberlin Review reported Friday.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Iran Forfeits Quidditch World Cup Rather Than Face Israel (satire)
Enthusiasts of the wizarding world’s most popular sport burst into a fervor of animated discussion today following an announcement by the Islamic Republic of Iran that its team will refuse to compete in the championship game of the International League because the opponent in that game will be Israel, a country that Iran’s government refuses to recognize and has repeatedly threatened to destroy.

Director of Sport and Culture at Iran’s Ministry of Magic Ononat Dissaghen issued a statement Tuesday following Israel’s upset 160-20 victory over number-one-ranked Croatia two weeks ago in the semifinal match. Iran’s team had defeated Ireland, ranked at number three, two days before. “We will not grant the illegal, illegitimate Zionist entity the undeserved dignity of playing against its representatives in this competition. Our principles have always been, and will remain, stringer than any greed for accolades or trophies. The brutal occupation by foreigners of Islamic lands in Palestine must cease.” If Iran follows through on its threat to boycott the final, Israel will become champion by default, and Iran faces possible sanctions from the sport’s governing bodies.

Speculation that Iran might remove itself from competition rather than face Israel first occurred earlier this year, when both underdog countries overcame higher-ranked teams in a series of tight, often-brutal games. Most commentators and fans dismissed the possibility of Iran and Israel – ranked seventeenth and twenty-third, respectively – advancing far enough for such a matchup to become imaginable. However, after Iran pulled off a dramatic 200-190 upset over Indonesia in February, and Israel gave fifth-place Egypt a 330-110 drubbing, talk of a possible meeting between the two became a daily feature of sports analysis.


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