Tuesday, November 09, 2021

From Ian:

Emily Schrader: Claims of Israel bulldozing Palestinian graves are libel
Palestinian factions issued a statement promising “bloodshed” of the “Zionists” over the incident, and the Palestinian Authority news agency WAFA claimed that “dozens” of bodies had been dug up by Israel, another unsubstantiated claim. Adding fuel to the fire, figures such as the head of the Committee for the Care of Islamic Cemeteries in Jerusalem, Mustafa Abu Zahra, claimed that Israel was “covering the cemetery with dirt.”

These false claims led to riots near the construction site throughout the week, which included violent attacks and rock throwing against Israeli police, as well as antisemitic calls to violence, with Palestinian crowds chanting “Khaybar khaybar ya yahud...,” a reference to when the army of Muhammad massacred the Jews in Khaybar.

Instead of investigating the issue thoroughly, social media spread the news of graves being “bulldozed” like wildfire in the West as well, thanks largely to celebrities such as Hadid, who shared false information about the Nababta case on her Instagram story to her 46 million followers. Similarly, her father, real estate mogul Mohamed Hadid, accused Israel of “not respecting the dead,” in a post that garnered over 42,000 likes.

Turkish news sources and Middle East Eye also shared stories with inaccurate information about the events occurring at al-Yusufiya Cemetery, intensifying the social media outrage.

While debating about the appropriateness of an archaeological park in Jerusalem is valid, outright incitement to violence and the spread of misinformation over these events on social media is unacceptable and dangerous.

Graves are not being excavated or demolished in al-Yusufiya, and those claiming otherwise are engaging in irresponsible reporting at best, and intentional incitement to violence at worst.

We cannot resolve issues between Israelis and Palestinians when misinformation continues to inflame the debate and twist the facts of the issue.
Lapid meets with congressional Democrats, ending Israel’s long snub of J Street
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid met Monday with a Congressional delegation brought to Israel by J Street, marking the first time in years that a senior Israeli cabinet member has engaged with the dovish Israel lobby.

Among the lawmakers making up the Democrat-only delegation in Israel are Reps. Rosa DeLauro, who heads the House Appropriations Committee, Mark Pocan, Barbara Lee, Melania Stansbury and Jamaal Bowman. The trip, which will also include meetings with Palestinian officials, was sponsored by the J Street Education Fund.

In a tweet, Lapid said he thanked the group “for supporting the replenishment of the Iron Dome missile defense system, and we discussed the importance of continuing to strengthen the US-Israel relationship.”

The meeting was the first between a minister and a J Street delegation in at least four years, according to Haaretz.

Meretz’s Minister of Regional Cooperation Issawi Frij also met with the group, and tweeted that J Street were “true friends of Israel and partners in promoting the two-states solution.”

Former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was in power from 2009 until June 2021, had a prickly relationship with the liberal group, and right-wing members of his governments pointedly stayed away from meetings sponsored by the group and from its annual conference in Washington.

Since the group’s first Congressional delegation to Israel in 2010, it has been consistently blackballed by members of Netanyahu governments. On that first trip, the top government official it met with was deputy minister Dan Meridor.


Ra’am party chief Abbas discusses 2-state solution with Jordan’s king
Islamist Ra’am party chief Mansour Abbas met with Jordanian monarch King Abdullah II in Amman on Tuesday, Ra’am party officials announced.

Ra’am official Walid al-Hawashleh confirmed the meeting, first reported by Israel’s Channel 12, to The Times of Israel, but declined to comment further.

In a statement, the Jordanian Royal Court said Abdullah and Abbas discussed the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. Abdullah reiterated his support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the court said.

Additionally, both Abdullah and Abbas stressed the importance of maintaining the status quo at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.

“Abbas expressed appreciation for His Majesty the King’s stances towards the Palestinian cause and Jordan’s tireless efforts to preserve the status quo in Jerusalem,” according to the Jordanian court.

The Jordanian monarch has never met an Arab Israeli party chief who was a sitting member of an Israeli government. Ra’am is the first Arab Israeli party to join an Israeli coalition in decades, while Abdullah has ruled since 1999.

Jordan’s ruling Hashemite family has also traditionally had an adversarial relationship with local Islamist factions, especially the Muslim Brotherhood. Ra’am shares ideological ties with the Brotherhood, and draws inspiration from some of the same Islamist thinkers.


Ex-State Dept official says right and wrong are equal
A former State Department official says that with regard to Israel and the Palestinian Authority, it doesn’t matter “whose narrative is right and whose narrative is wrong.”

That is exactly why the State Department has always been so misguided when it comes to Israel—Foggy Bottom can’t tell the difference between right and wrong. Which is exactly why most American Jews have never trusted the State Department, and never will.

David Makovsky, formerly a senior adviser to Secretary of State John Kerry and right-hand man to Ambassador Martin Indyk, made that “there’s-no-right-or-wrong” statement during a recent public appearance in Virginia alongside a former representative of the Palestinian Authority, Ghaith al-Omari.

Makovsky “said that it is futile to determine whose narrative is right and whose is wrong. ‘Leave that to the historians’, he said,” according to the Washington Jewish Week’s reporter on the scene.

Makovsky is wrong. We can’t wait five or ten or twenty years to read some historian’s interpretation of our era, for one simple reason: it affects whether people live or die, right now. The policies that the State Department is currently pursuing could directly endanger the lives of Israel’s citizens.

Because the State Department is convinced that there is no right or wrong—that Israel and the PA both have equally valid “narratives”—it pursues an “even-handed policy” which actually translates into a pressure-Israel policy. Since State Department officials are unable to recognize that one side is basically right and the other is basically wrong, they pursue a policy of trying to gradually force Israel back to the nine-miles-wide borders and establish a deadly Palestinian state in Israel’s back yard.

The State Department does not see the PA as a threat to Israel. It doesn’t believe that the PA really means what it says when it talks about “liberating all of Palestine.” The State Department doesn’t think that nine-miles-wide borders are a danger for Israel, because it doesn’t recognize that the PA is hostile to Israel.

The Palestinian Authority is very open about its “narrative.” The problem is that State Department officials don’t want to believe it, because it doesn’t suit their diplomatic agenda.


UNSC is united against settlement activity, Palestinian envoy says
There is "consensus" among United Nations Security Council members when it comes to condemnation of Israeli settlement activity when it held closed-door consultations on the matter on Monday, Palestinian Authority Ambassador Riyad Mansour told reporters in New York late Monday.

"We understand that the discussion was constructive and useful in the informal consultation in the security council. There is consensus among the member in condemning settlement activities," Mansour said.

That kind of informal consensus is not enough, he explained as he called on the Security Council to implement its 2016 resolution 2334 that called on Israel to withdraw to the '67 lines.

"We will continue to engage to the security council to shoulder its responsibility" in enforcing this resolution, he added.

"We need these [UN] resolutions, including this one to be implemented," he said.

The UNSC, however, did not issue a formal statement on Israel after the meeting, despite the objections of its 15-member body to such activity.
European UNSC members press Israel for answers on NGO terror labeling
European members of the United Nations Security Council pressed Israel for answers on its decision to designate six Palestinian non-governmental groups as terror entities.

"These listings are a matter of serious concern, as they have far-reaching consequences for the organizations in political, legal and financial terms," the countries said after the UNSC held a closed door meeting on the matter in New York on Monday.

Signatories to the statement were Security Council members Estonia, France, Ireland and Norway as well as Albania, which will become a UNSC member in January.

"We will be engaging Israeli authorities for more information regarding the basis for these designations, which we will study carefully," the five European countries said. The United Kingdom, which is also a UNSC member, did not sign onto the statement.

European countries, particularly Ireland, have sought information from Israel to back up its charges against the six NGOs that include Al-Haq, Addameer, the Bisan Center, the Defense for Children International-Palestine, the Union for Agricultural Work Committees and the Union of Palestinian Women's Committees. Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told The Jerusalem Post last week that Israel had not provided him with credible information to back up its claim. Ireland provides funding for two of the NGOs, Al-Haq and Addameer.

On Monday Ireland's Ambassador to the UN Geraldine Byrne Nason repeated that statement to reporters in New York. "This is a matter that concerns us deeply. We weren't alerted to this," she said.
Will UNRWA donor countries see the light next week?
Since the international donor conference plan to deal with all UNRWA policies, we would like to know if these nations have the following six UNRWA policy questions on the table:

• Will donors insist that the UNRWA curriculum, which incorporates principles of Jihad, martyrdom and "right of return" by force of arms, be cancelled in UN schools, which are supposed to advance the UNRWA slogan of "Peace starts here"?

• Will donors insist that paramilitary training cease in all UNRWA schools, which should demonstrate commitment to UN principles for "peace education"?

• Will donors insist that UNRWA dismiss employees who are affiliated with Hamas, in accordance with laws in Western nations, which forbid aid to any agency that employs members of a terrorist organization?

• Will donors insist that UNRWA cancel its contract with "youth ambassador" Mohammad Assaf, who travels the world encouraging violence? Would this not be the appropriate time for donor nations to ask that UNRWA cancel that contract with a harbinger of war?

• Will donors insist on an audit of donor funds that flow to UNRWA? This demand would address widespread documented reports of wasted resources, duplication of services and the undesired flow of cash to Gaza-based terror groups, which gained control over UNRWA operations in Gaza over the past 18 years.

• Will donors insist that UNRWA introduce UNHCR standards in order to advance the resettlement of Arab "refugees", after more than 70 years? Current UNRWA policy is that "refugee" resettlement would interfere with the so-called “right of return” to Arab villages that existed before 1948, a euphemism for overruning Israel..


Guardian obfuscates UNRWA's antisemitic education materials
Naturally, the Guardian journalist failed to ask Lazzarini why millions of people of Palestinian descent who are not refugees and enjoy full citizenship in other states should be considered “refugees” and granted aid from his agency.

Further into the article, the Guardian briefly notes that UNRWA has “faced by repeated criticism of anti-Israeli bias in the school curriculum”, and then accept’s Lazzarini’s weak denial of this ‘accusation’ at face value. The journalist fails to explain that President Biden’s restoration of the UNRWA aid – which was cut by the previous admistration – was specifically made contingent upon UNRWA implementing reforms, such as “combating incitement and antisemitism in its educational curriculum” and assuring that their “facilities are not used by terrorist organizations and its staff are not affiliated with them”.

In fact, earlier in the year, the watchdog group IMPACT-se’s report found that UNRWA educational materials have depicted Jews as “enemies of Islam”, include “mathematics problems using martyrs from the First Intifada to calculate equations”, and implore students “defend the motherland with blood”. The organisation also showed that UNRWA materials characterise Dalal Mughrabi, who took part in the 1978 Coastal Road Massacre, which killed 38 civilians, 13 of them children, as a role model. Further, in August, UN Watch exposed more than 100 teachers, principals and other employees that share extreme antisemitic material, including praise for Adolf Hitler, and support terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians, on social media.

Another report released in June financed by the European Union similarly found antisemitism in UNRWA educational materials. “Jews” the report documented, are often “demonised”, portrayed as “dangerous and deceptive” and as Muslims’ “primary adversaries” who “attempted to kill the Prophet”.

The Guardian report omitted all of this easily available evidence – representing another example of how, regardless of the facts, the media outlet insists on adopting the pro-Palestinian narrative whilst obfuscating the myriad of evidence documenting their society’s continuous glorification of violence and endemic anti-Jewish racism.
Ministers expedite immigration of 5,000 Ethiopians to Israel as conflict worsens
Immigration Absorption Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata and Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked said Tuesday they agreed to accelerate the stalled immigration of 5,000 Ethiopians claiming Jewish descent, amid intensifying fighting in the African nation.

Those included in the agreement have first-degree relatives in Israel and were eligible to immigrate under a 2015 government decision, under which 9,000 people would be brought to the Jewish state.

There had been a reported suspension of a planned airlift of 800 people following what was said to be a “difficult” meeting Monday between Shaked and Tamano-Shata, according to Channel 13 news.

The Haaretz daily said Tamano-Shata, who herself is of Ethiopian descent, threatened to quit her post if no more people were airlifted.

There are thought to be 7,000 to 12,000 Ethiopian community members still waiting to come to Israel, many of whom live in the Tigray region, at the heart of the conflict.

Others, who left their villages years ago, eke out livings near the Jewish community centers in Gondar City and Addis Ababa. Many have been waiting for decades to immigrate.

Pressure has been ramped up on Israel in recent weeks to bring thousands of members of Ethiopia’s Jewish community to Israel, as an insurgency by Tigray rebels intensified and neared the capital Addis Ababa.
Report: Son of Libyan warlord visited Israel seeking diplomatic ties
Saddam Hafter, son of Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar, secretly met with Israeli officials last week during which he offered to establish diplomatic ties in return for Israeli “military and diplomatic assistance.”

A private jet landed at Ben-Gurion Airport in central Israel, where it remained grounded for 90 minutes with Haftar and Israeli officials onboard, Haaretz reported.

Haftar, who is said to be in line for Libya’s presidency in its December elections, reportedly offered in exchange for Israeli assistance the promise that Libya will launch diplomatic ties with Jerusalem.

According to The Times of Israel (ToI), the report did not indicate who Haftar met with during his short visit.

However, it did disclose that he was previously in contact with a department of Israel’s intelligence agency which deals with countries that Israel does not have relations with.

The report further stated that Haftar carried the message from his father to establish a normalization process between the two countries akin to the Abraham Accords - which established relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco, ToI reported.
Colombian president downplays Jerusalem office: ‘We’re being practical’
Colombian President Iván Duque Márquez was in Israel this week to promote cooperation between his country and Israel, especially in the areas of innovation and entrepreneurship.

In that vein, Colombia opened the first office of iNNpulsa, its entrepreneurship and innovation agency, abroad in Israel - in Jerusalem, in fact.

Colombia joined countries like Brazil, Hungary and the Czech Republic in taking what Israel views as a step towards recognizing its sovereignty in Jerusalem.

And, in fact, Duque said in his 2018 election campaign that he would be open to moving the embassy to Jerusalem.

But Duque did not even visit his country’s new office in Israel’s capital and was more circumspect on the subject in an interview with The Jerusalem Post.

Asked why he made the move, Duque said encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship is one of his priorities.

“I was inspired by the concept of the ‘Start-Up Nation,’” he said. “Israel has its Innovation Authority in Jerusalem, and I wanted the office close to the agency here. Since we have the free trade agreement [signed last year] I wanted to connect the dots between our innovation system and Israel’s...[and] bring Colombian entrepreneurs to have an interaction with the agency.”
Yisrael Medad: Seidemann Corrupting History
In a recent mailing sent out by Kares Shapiro and Mark Gold of "Partners for Progressive Israel" on the issue of Sheikh Jarrah, they include an appeal by Danny Seidmann along with a clip of him speaking, ominously, about a renewal of the "Naqba" and quoting him about the legal aspect of the property dispute so:
They purchased the claims to the East Jerusalem property from the earlier Jewish owners and took the Palestinian residents to court in order to evict them—to make way, it must be noted, not for descendants of the Jewish residents, but for settlers who never lived there, and who ultimately seek to drive out Palestinian presence from the city.

The Arabs living there at present, it should be noted have no connection to that area of Jerusalem or the former resident either. They were resettled from other areas in the city. In fact, the history of Silwan itself, Kfar Shiloah in the Hebrew, is one of ethnic-leansing of its Jewish residents - not during the 1948 war, when the aggressive Arabs lost their intended war of Jewish extinction - but during the 1930s, during yet another round of Arab terror.

In other words, the Jewish expulsion resulted not from mutual hostilities or an attack by Jews on Arabs but by Arab aggression on Jewish civilians seeking to eradicate their existence in the neighborhood a decade prior to the Naqba situation (itself brought upon the Arabs by their lawlessness, their violence, their rejection of diplomacy and compromise).
Singer who performed at anti-Zionist event wants to represent Israel for Eurovision
Israeli-Turkish singer Linet Menashe said that she wishes to represent Israel for the Eurovision Song Contest, despite controversies that the singer had performed at an anti-Zionist conference, Ynet reported on Monday.

Solely using her first name as her official stage name, Linet, 46, is a contestant on season 4 of X Factor Israel, a reality TV singing competition that will pick the Israeli representative to the Eurovision Song Contest, Ynet news reported back in April.

Linet received harsh criticism from Israeli audiences as a result of this information.

The next Eurovision Song Contest is set to be held in Italy in 2022.

Linet appeared at an anti-Israel conference in Turkey approximately 11 years ago. While she was born and native to Israel, she has Turkish roots, living in the country for many years and developed her musical career there.
Police chief: Nearly 90% of police resources dedicated to fighting crime in Arab sector
The Israel Police invests staggering resources in fighting the crime running rampant in the Arab sector, Commissioner Yaakov Shabtai revealed on Tuesday.

"The Israel Police cannot be everywhere at any given time, but we know how to deal with crime waves and send the perpetrators to jail, and we will continue to do so," he said during a conference of mayors in northern Israel.

The government has been increasing its efforts to curb the spike in gun violence in the Arab Israeli community, which has so far claimed 106 victims.

In October, Public Security Minister Omer Barlev announced that an additional 1,100 police officers will be recruited for the purpose of quelling community crime, fueled mostly by gang violence and organized crime. Later that month, the cabinet approved legislation seeking to expand the power of the Israel Police to operate in the Arab sector as part of the fight against crime.

The police commissioner noted that "Almost 90% of the Israel Police's resources are directed to the Arab sector. This pressure [on criminal elements] is not going to stop. It will only grow stronger until we complete our task."
65 arrested as police take down massive gun-running network
A two-year undercover operation has resulted in the arrest of some of the most high-profile gun smugglers and illegal weapons dealers in Israel, the police announced on Tuesday.

Sixty-five suspects were arrested in raids on 25 localities across Israel, breaking up a massive gun-running network, the police said in a statement.

According to available details, some 1,600 police officers, including Border Police and special forces units, were involved in the operation, and numerous illegal weapons were seized.

The operation was made possible by a confidential informer who had been sentenced to prison for prior involvement in organized crime.

As part of the sting, the agent purchased various firearms from Arab weapons dealers, including 53 rifles from, two machine guns, two explosive devices, and large quantities of ammunition. Overall, the agent carried out 48 different purchases amounting to 4 million shekels ($1.3 million).

So far, 78 gun dealers have been indicted as a result.

Authorities believe that the majority of the illegal weapons were smuggled into Israel from Judea and Samaria, Jordan, and Lebanon, while some of the weapons are believed to have been stolen from IDF bases.

"We are fighting crime and violence in the Arab sector with every mean at our disposal," Northern District Police Commander Shimon Lavi told reporters on Tuesday.
Israel turned down ‘road map’ for prisoner swap, Hamas claims
A senior Hamas official claimed on Monday that Israel has turned down an offer to receive information about the condition of four Israelis held in the Gaza Strip in return for the release of Palestinian prisoners.

The offer was relayed to Israel through the Egyptians, who continue to serve as mediators in the indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas to reach a prisoner-exchange agreement.

The alleged Israeli rejection of the Hamas offer came against a backdrop of reports suggesting that progress has been made toward striking a prisoner-swap deal.

Last week, Egyptian General Intelligence Chief Abbas Kamel was quoted as saying he speaks every day to Israel and the Palestinians on several issues, including a potential long-term ceasefire deal that would include a prisoner exchange agreement.

Kamel said such a deal should start with the release of elderly, female, teenage and sick Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons.


HonestReporting: Climate Change: The Palestinians' Newest Anti-Israel PR Weapon
Anti-Israel activists used the COP26 climate change summit as a platform to falsely accuse the Jewish state of "Greenwashing" its alleged pollution of Palestinian-claimed territories.

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh spread lie after lie, while insisting that Israel poses "the most critical threat" to the environment. But an exclusive HonestReporting investigation revealed that Shtayyeh's PA actively supports ecoterrorism in the West Bank. This year, "popular resistance units" from the Palestinian town of Beita burned over 80,000 tires, destroying swaths of land and posing a grave health risk to Arabs and Jews alike.

In the Gaza Strip, Hamas terrorists have consistently deployed incendiary balloons as weapons against Israel, causing widespread devastation to surrounding nature.

Meanwhile, Israel's CO2 emissions account for a mere 0.16% of the total global output, and Jerusalem is still taking dramatic steps to reduce its carbon footprint. The same cannot be said about the Palestinian leadership.

Shtayyeh's egregious claims were deemed unnewsworthy by most media outlets, even as another international forum was hijacked by those more interested in demonizing Israel than bettering the world.


PMW: “We are proud of all” the terrorist murderers, says Fatah deputy chairman
While PA and Fatah Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is keen to present himself as “moderate” and “peace-seeking” to the international community, the statements by the person he appointed to be Fatah Deputy Chairman tell a different story.

Fatah’s no. 2, Mahmoud Al-Aloul glorifies terrorists and murderers of Israelis and promotes them as unequalled in “value.”

Thus Al-Aloul praised all imprisoned Palestinian terrorists as “a large group of beloved people,” noting that Palestinians are “proud of them all.” Al-Aloul made this statement while sitting next to the PA’s terror mom - Um Nasser Abu Hmeid – a Palestinian woman famous and honored by the PA for being the mother of 5 terrorist prisoners who are responsible for at least 10 murders and all serving life sentences. Accordingly, Al-Aloul praised her as “a giant of endurance”:
Fatah Deputy Chairman Mahmoud Al-Aloul: “I’m completely happy that next to me is sitting a giant of endurance, who I don’t at all think there is anyone who exceeds her endurance and stamina: The mother of five prisoners and also the mother of Martyrs (sic., one terrorist son was killed) – of course, Um Nasser Abu Hmeid… We can’t speak about all the prisoners, but we are proud of them all, of dear Marwan [Barghouti], of dear Karim [Younes] (i.e., both terrorist murderers), of Fuad Al-Shubaki (i.e., weapons smuggler), and of the large group of beloved people… They live in the heart, conscience, and awareness of every Palestinian.”

[Official PA TV, Giants of Endurance, Oct. 21, 2021]


Later, Al-Aloul praised one of Um Hmeid’s imprisoned sons responsible for the murder of 7 Israelis as “a national figure of stature,” stressing the unsurpassed “value” of the imprisoned terrorists:
“Al-Aloul noted that prisoner Abu Hmeid is a national figure of stature, and that he is one of five brothers who are dealing with life sentences in the Israeli occupation’s prisons. Al-Aloul emphasized that Fatah’s highlight in its struggle during the current stage will be the cause of the prisoners, and foremost among them prisoner Abu Hmeid. He added that nothing equals the value of the prisoners, and that there is no greater sacrifice than the sacrifice of freedom.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Nov. 2, 2021]




'Less for More' Is the Worst Deal of All
On top of that, the Islamic Republic will likely get more sanctions relief than the Biden administration will ever admit. The Iranian economy is already rebounding from the severe pressure of the Trump administration's "maximum-pressure" campaign. Positive economic indicators, like a return to GDP growth, $70 billion in non-oil trade, surging oil sales and stabilizing inflation stem from the Biden administration's decision not to impose additional economic sanctions or enforce most of the existing ones.

A smaller deal will likely give Iran even more sanctions relief, leading to a greater economic recovery, greater immunity to peaceful Western pressure and more resources to fund terrorism, missile proliferation and regional aggression alike.

The administration hopes that Tehran will be more amenable to a "longer and stronger" deal after getting major nuclear and economic concessions in exchange for a "shorter and weaker" deal. This is an illusion. Iranian leaders understand leverage better than President Biden and his team do. They see that Washington is loath to respond to their regional belligerence, including repeated Iranian proxy attacks on American soldiers. Why would the clerical regime agree to severe restrictions on its nuclear and missile programs when it gets almost everything it needs through a return to JCPOA or a smaller deal? Why would the regime stop its nuclear advances when Biden repeatedly refuses to wield American force as a credible deterrent?

To stop Iran from becoming a threshold nuclear country, Washington must place hard limits on all three crucial elements of Iran's illicit nuclear weapons program: production of fissile materials, weaponization and the means of delivery, and maximum economic pressure backed by a credible military threat. "Less for more" fails to achieve these objectives on all fronts. It sends a signal to the clerical regime that the West will acquiesce to Iranian intransigence.

Israel is, of course, the country that will pay the ultimate price. Iran continues to threaten its very existence. The Israelis must, then, consider military force or other coercive tools. A "less for more" deal makes it harder to pursue such options. Israel will face global condemnation for strikes against a program legalized by an international agreement, even if a fatally flawed one.

Israel's leaders now have no choice but to speak in one voice explaining why a return to the 2015 nuclear agreement is impossible, and why any smaller deal is even worse. American opponents of the deal must do the same. Anything less will send the wrong signal to Iranian and American negotiators and make Iran's nuclear weapons program a dangerous reality.


Iran’s Cash Reserves Soar Under Biden
Iran's stockpile of hard currency has skyrocketed during the Biden administration, rising from just $4 billion at the end of 2020 when sanctions were at their height, to more than $31 billion by the end of 2021, according to projections by the International Monetary Fund.

The Biden administration's decision to pursue diplomacy with Iran and unwind the Trump administration's sanctions has helped the country recover from its cash shortage, according to the IMF’s projections. The group says Iran's cash reserves will top $31 billion by the end of the year and increase up to $42.9 billion by the end of 2022. This number could be even higher if the United States reenters the 2015 nuclear deal and removes all sanctions imposed by the Trump administration. Iran had $122 billion in cash reserves in 2018, when the Trump administration began to tighten the economic noose on Iran. That number dropped to $4 billion by the end of 2020, during the height of the former administration's "maximum pressure" campaign.

Iran's access to cash has been bolstered by the Biden administration's lax enforcement of sanctions on the country's illicit oil trade, which has increased to record levels amid a buying spree from China, the number-one importer of illegal Iranian crude oil. While Tehran's oil sector is still sanctioned by the United States, experts told the Washington Free Beacon last week that the Biden administration has turned a blind eye to Tehran's exports, enabling countries such as China, Russia, and Syria to provide the hardline regime a financial lifeline.

The IMF's projections are the clearest sign to date that the Biden administration is serious about helping Iran's hardline regime claw back from the brink of economic collapse. Republican leaders in Congress, who are widely critical of the Biden administration's approach to diplomacy with Iran, maintain that the further removal of sanctions will embolden the ruling regime and help it fund terrorist groups across the Middle East, including those responsible for conducting a drone strike late last month on a U.S. military outpost in Syria.

Gabriel Noronha, a former State Department special adviser for Iran under Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, said the Biden administration gave up U.S. leverage on Iran by unwinding sanctions before it extracted assurances from Tehran that Iran will stop its nuclear buildup and end its support for terrorism.
Turkey: Drifting Further into Russian Orbit
Sanctions are mandated by law for "any entity that does significant business with the Russian military or intelligence sectors" — Office of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Chair Robert Menendez, Daily Sabah, September 28, 2021.

"Any new purchases by Turkey must mean new sanctions." — U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, referring to a December 2020 U.S. decision to impose CAATSA (Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) on Turkey for its acquisition of the S-400 missile system, Twitter, September 28, 2021.

In addition, Ankara and Moscow would discuss Russian know-how and construction of two more nuclear energy plants for Turkey, in addition to a $10 billion nuclear reactor already being built on Turkey's Mediterranean coast.

All that strategic planning will further increase NATO ally Turkey's dependence on Russia, also Turkey's biggest supplier of natural gas.

"Putin and his administration are well aware of Turkey's weaknesses: a) economy goes from bad to worse; b) the Pandemic is not under control; c) gas prices on increase but Russia is ready to offer a friendly discount to Turkey; d) military acquisitions facing a hostile U.S. Senate." — Eugene Kogan, a defense and security analyst based in Tbilisi, Georgia; to Gatestone.

"The Turkish president will continue to play a spoiler role within NATO and provide Putin further opportunities to undermine the transatlantic alliance and its values." — Aykan Erdemir, former member of Turkey's parliament and now based in Washington D.C., email to Gatestone.

[Erdogan] will not step back from.... the Russia card in his hand, unless he sees that his love affair with Russia will come with a punishing cost.











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