Wednesday, November 10, 2021

From Ian:

Jonathan Tobin: Is there still hope for American bipartisan support of Israel?
Part of the reason for that is that the two parties have more or less exchanged identities on Israel in the past half-century. Democrats were once the solidly pro-Israel party. Now, its members are deeply divided over it with its left-wing activist wing increasingly influenced by intersectional ideology that falsely claims that the Jewish state embodies “white privilege” and that the Palestinian war to destroy it is somehow akin to the struggle for civil rights in the United States.

At the same time, the GOP is now nearly unanimous in its affection for the U.S.-Israel alliance. That trend reached its apotheosis under Trump, who can lay claim to being the most pro-Israel president to date, even if Democrats and the majority of Jewish voters give him no credit for it.

While the congressional leadership of the Democrats still firmly identifies as pro-Israel—as demonstrated by the determination of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer not to let the opposition of the so-called progressive wing of their party stop funding of the Iron Dome missile-defense system earlier this year—members of the party as just as likely to be found among Israel’s most fervent ideological opponents as its friends.

It is wrong to label all Democrats as being as bad as the “Squad.” But when push has come to shove on key issues of interest to the pro-Israel community, most of them fell short. That meant that some who are not only Jewish but who have long claimed to be Israel’s most ardent defenders either joined the other side on the Iran deal—as did former Democratic National Committee Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.)—or simply acquiesced to their party’s betrayal, as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer did.

With courageous exceptions to this standard few and far between, such as Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), who both opposed the Iran deal and called out Tlaib and others for their anti-Semitic invective during the House debate about Iron Dome, it’s possible to argue that perhaps those cheering Haley’s comments are right about AIPAC’s failure and the need to reject bipartisan advocacy.

Yet it’s both premature and unwise to completely write off AIPAC.

It is deeply wrong for Jewish Democrats to accuse their GOP counterparts of politicizing the issue of Israel since it was their party, and not the Republicans, which failed on Iran and Jerusalem, as well as by their cowardly refusal to reject the anti-Semitism of the progressives. But the goal of pro-Israel advocacy can’t be to convince all Jews to become Republicans. That would be true even if it were possible, which it isn’t, given the fact that most believe so-called social-justice issues are actually more important than Israel and fail to see that anti-Semitism is as much a danger on the left as it is on the right.

The objective for the pro-Israel movement is not to destroy the Democrats, but to get them to return to their former stance of strong support and revive a consensus that the left is destroying. That means that efforts to cultivate moderates and even some progressives—and to convince them to back the Jewish state—is still both the right thing to do and good politics must continue. At the moment, that looks like a losing battle, as the party’s growing progressive wing has fallen under the spell of toxic ideas like critical race theory that give a permission slip to anti-Semitism.

In American politics, change is a constant. The left may have thought the future was theirs after the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and the defeat of Trump. But the party’s radical tilt may herald its impending defeat in future elections and a necessary course correction that will eventually bring it back closer to the center. At that point, if AIPAC is still doing its job, pro-Israel Democrats will be there to reap the benefits.

That doesn’t mean Republicans shouldn’t continue to oppose the left’s anti-Israel invective and Biden administration policies that undermine the alliance. Yet in the long run, the pro-Israel community will be stronger if AIPAC is capable of vindicating its bipartisan strategy. If it can’t, then that will be a tragedy for the Democrats, the lobby and Israel.
Commentary Magazine Podcast: The Real Story of The Israel-Gaza War
The podcast crew is joined today by our pal Jonathan Schanzer, whose illuminating new book Gaza Conflict 2021 provides an eye-opening account of the hostilities earlier this year—and a guide to the state of play in the Middle East more broadly.
US Jews failed to anticipate antisemitic violence during Gaza conflict – study
A study of antisemitism in the US during Operation Guardian of the Walls in May found that Jewish communal organizations and leaders were taken by surprise by violence against Jews that took place during the conflict.

“This time the Jewish community was doubly surprised by the rapid transformation of protests by the American extreme left, especially the pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli groups, into outbreaks of violent antisemitic acts that had broad geographic distribution, and by the increased criticism of Israel among larger circles within the Democratic Party than in the past as well as among several civil social organizations,” wrote Shahar Eilam and Tom Eshed of the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.

The report, titled “Increased Antisemitism in the United States Following Operation Guardian of the Walls: Permanent or Short-Lived?” also found that American Jews were surprised by the difficulty they experienced “in enlisting their natural allies and partners” in the fight against antisemitism.

“The main question that occupied me was how it was possible that the US Jewish establishment was surprised, despite its deep experience in dealing with similar previous incidents of escalation as part of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, in which there also was a similar dynamic in the US theater,” Eilam told The Times of Israel. “Deep changes in American society are not supposed to surprise the Jewish community.”

Eilam said he was worried by the “delay in the identification and in the deep understanding of the trends, and the hesitance in absorbing their implications and in building appropriate responses by the Jewish community along with its different partners.”

The report argued that the issue of antisemitism is becoming politicized in the US, rendering it “more difficult to form a broad and united front to condemn and combat antisemitism of any type.”

The report is slated for publication on Wednesday.
Israel’s UK ambassador evacuated from event under heavy security amid protests
Israeli Ambassador to the UK Tzipi Hotovely was evacuated under heavy security from an event at the London School of Economics on Tuesday evening amid a large protest by pro-Palesestinian activists against her presence.

Video from the scene showed security guards rushing Hotovely, who was clutching a bouquet of flowers, into a vehicle, while others tried to fend off a group of jeering activists, who chanted, “Aren’t you ashamed?”

Hotovely had been invited by the prestigious university’s student union to take part in a debate forum.

“We will not give in to thuggery and violence,” Hotovely pledged after the incident, according to Ynet. “The State of Israel will send its representatives to every stage.”

Hotovely and the spokesman for Israel’s embassy in London both stressed that the hour-and-a-half event took place in full, and 200 students were able to hear what Israel’s envoy had to say.

“The extremists will continue to demonstrate outside – and the embassy will continue to speak directly with students inside,” the spokesman said.

The event drew widespread opposition from pro-Palestinian and other groups on campus for “platforming racism.”

The protests specifically targeted Hotovely, saying that she had “advocated for settler colonialism, engaged in Islamophobic rhetoric and has perpetuated anti-Palestinian racism.”

Britian’s Home Secretary Priti Patel and Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi condemned the “aggressive and threatening behavior” against Hotovely.

“This is deeply disturbing, I am so sorry Ambassador Hotovely,” Zahawi tweeted.

She later thanked the British government and others “for all the support I have received.”

US changes its UN vote from 'no' to 'abstention' on UNRWA affirmation
The Biden administration abstained – but did not reject – a General Assembly resolution affirming the right of return for Palestinian refugees to sovereign Israel.

In doing so, it broke with the voting pattern on Israel set by former US President Donald Trump in which all such texts received an automatic "no" vote.

The Obama administration, however, had traditionally abstained from this particular text, which comes annually before the UNGA. "This year, the United States returns to a position of abstention on the text 'Assistance to Palestine Refugees,'” American Deputy Ambassador Richard Mills told the UNGA's Fourth Committee late Tuesday afternoon.

He spoke as the committee gave initial approval to six anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian draft resolutions that will come up later this year at the UNGA plenum for a final vote.

Three of those texts affirmed the work of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which services 5.7 million Palestinian refugees in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Gaza, the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

All three of those resolutions call for the right of return for Palestinian refugees to sovereign Israel or for their receipt of compensation for the property they lost when they fled their homes.

Out of the three, the resolution titled "assistance to Palestinian refugees" is considered to be the most benign.

FDD: Saudi Arabia and Israel Tiptoe Toward Overt Security Cooperation
Israeli and Saudi fighter jets participated in the same patrol mission (albeit at different times) on Oct. 30, accompanying a U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bomber circumnavigating the Arabian Peninsula and attempting to send a deterrence message to Tehran.

Riyadh’s willingness to join a military mission involving Israel is the latest indication that the actions of the Islamic Republic of Iran are incentivizing some Arab capitals to tiptoe toward overt security cooperation with Israel.

The B-1B is a bomber capable of carrying a larger payload of conventional weapons than any other aircraft in the U.S. Air Force inventory. The aircraft’s flight path makes clear the mission’s purpose: assuring America’s allies and partners in the Middle East while sending a deterrence message to Tehran.

The bomber flew in or near the airspace of Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, while skirting along almost the entire southern maritime border of Iran. It flew over the strategic Gulf of Aden, Bab el-Mandeb Strait, Red Sea, Suez Canal, Arabian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, and Gulf of Oman. These waterways mark some of the world’s busiest shipping routes and have been plagued by numerous Iranian-sponsored attacks on oil tankers and nearby refineries.

Admittedly, U.S. bomber flights in that region are not uncommon. The U.S. Air Force headquarters responsible for the Middle East said the bomber flight was the fifth so-called “presence patrol” in 2021, following a series of flights in 2020. Both the Trump and Biden administrations have used the bomber flights to reassure Washington’s friends and warn Tehran.

While the bomber’s patrol through the Middle East was not particularly newsworthy, the participants were. During the five-hour flight, the American bomber was escorted (at different times) by fighter aircraft from Israel and three Arab countries. That includes F-16s from Bahrain and Egypt and F-15s from Israel and Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi contribution is the most interesting part. That’s because Saudi Arabia — unlike Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates — has not normalized relations with Israel. Saturday’s flight represented only the second time that Riyadh has participated in a U.S. bomber patrol mission that included Israeli aircraft. In March, two U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress bombers flew a similar patrol in the Middle East and were accompanied at different points by Israeli, Saudi and Qatari aircraft.
MEMRI: Saudi Writer: Had The Terrorist Iran-Backed Militias Emerged In The West Instead Of The Middle East, The West Would Not Have Been So Complacent
In an article titled "The School of the Greatest Treason" in the Saudi daily Al-Watan, journalist Khalid Al-'Owijan condemns the global silence in the face of the terrorist Iran-backed militias that are deployed throughout the Middle East, such as Hizbullah in Lebanon, the Shi'ite militias in Iraq, Hamas in Gaza and the Houthis in Yemen, militias that betray their countries and destabilize them and the region as a whole. He states that the West in general and the Security Council in particular employ a double standard in addressing criminals of this sort: they take a firm stance against whoever threatens Western interests, but keep silent when Iran-backed militias threaten the Arab region. This silence, he says, only strengthens these militias and turns them into role models for other forces that purport to be political but are actually terrorist, forces that will eventually grow powerful and target the West.

The following are translated excerpts from his article:[1]
"When a traitor becomes complacent and flaunts his treason openly, he perceives this as the pinnacle of courage. But the truth is different, because this courage likely stems from the minimal cost paid by the one who has hired him and uses him to carry out his orders, realize his agenda, etc. Many know the truth about [this traitor], and examples of people who perform this sick role in the Arab world are unfortunately numerous.

"From Lebanon to Yemen, through Baghdad and Gaza, [these traitors] have become a false symbol for some wretched people in the circles of Arab opinion-shapers… Such a [traitor is Nasrallah] in Lebanon, who opposes the policy of his country and opposes everything – from the formation of governments to heeding the will of the people… and even fights the independence of the judicial system, but at the same time supports the aspirations of the Syrian leader [Assad], who rules by the force of arms… This is also the conduct of the one who tore Gaza apart and missed many opportunities [to advance] the Palestinian cause because his movement, Hamas, adopted perceptions that range from those of Muslim Brotherhood to those of the [Iranian] Jurisprudent. And it is also the conduct of the Yemeni caveman [i.e., the leader of the Houthi movement, 'Abd Al-Malik Al-Houthi], who staged an armed coup against the government using weapons that came from outside [his country, i.e., from Iran], and dared to attack the noble [city of] Mecca while defying over one billion Muslims and disregarding their feelings, so as to realize the goals of those who grant him a paltry amount of political capital, reflecting his small worth.

"The existence of such people requires a correct reading of the arena. How? By realizing… that international law is based on factors of [political] climate and on a lack of rigor, on division and injustice, and on a failure to place all the world's criminals in the same basket [in terms of] international judgement and the scales of human justice. Proof of this climate is that some bitter wars broke out largely based on political fraud, like the war on Iraq, which some call 'the American occupation,' or the fact that multinational forces, led by the U.S., entered Afghanistan and caused a war that lasted over two decades, which many regard as 'an invasion, pure and simple'…
Morocco’s national carrier Royal Air Maroc to launch direct Israel flights
Morocco’s national carrier Royal Air Maroc said Tuesday it would start regular direct flights to Israel, taking off a year after the kingdom normalized ties with the Jewish state.

The service linking the countries’ respective commercial capitals Casablanca and Tel Aviv will take off on December 12, two days after the first anniversary of Morocco’s “resumption of relations” with Israel under a deal brokered by the previous United States administration.

The service aims to “respond to the needs of the Moroccan community in Israel which has strong links with its country of origin,” the airline said in a statement carried by the official MAP news agency.

“It also aims to allow tourists and businesspeople to travel between Morocco and Israel,” it said.

The airline said it would offer three flights per week, later moving to five.

The decision comes after the first direct commercial flight between the countries, by Israeli airline Israir, landed in Marrakesh in July.
Seth Frantzman: Israel’s air power and Syria: Endless cycle or increased success?
Recent reports in Syrian media have said that Israel carried out another round of airstrikes in Homs countryside on Monday. Video posted online, allegedly from Syria, claimed to show Israeli missiles intercepted in the sky. Does that mean the attack was unsuccessful, or partially successful? The reports from Syria accuse Israel of several rounds of airstrikes in the last weeks. On October 30 missiles struck Syria in a rare midday attack near Damascus.

What do we know based on the Syrian and foreign reports? The attack is late. October allegedly hit near Dimas and Al-Mezzah airbase and may have struck air defense sites. Ynet reports that “a midday attack outside Damascus that was attributed to Israel by the Syrian military targeted a shipment of advanced weapons intended for Hezbollah as it was making its way to the border between Syria and Lebanon, Syrian media reported Saturday evening." Advanced weapons destined for Hezbollah may have been hit. At the time media said that a Tamuz surface to surface missile had been used to hit a convoy.

Alma Research and Education Center had said on October 24 that Iranian UAVs may have been transported to Sharyat Airport. Among those who count the number of alleged airstrikes, it is the third strike in two weeks or the seventh in two and a half weeks. These include an attack on November 2 involving surface-to-surface missiles that struck near Rif Damishq and Ad Dhamir. On October 24 there were also reports of an airstrike near Quneitra. There were strikes near Damascus in early September as well.

As usual, the death tolls in airstrikes or missile strikes are low. In mid-October, France24 said that four fighters were killed in Syria. Those strikes triggered Syrian air defenses as well. Two were reportedly killed in an airstrike near the T-4 airbase on October 8.
Blow to PA: Sheikh Jarrah Arab Squatters Reach Deal with Jewish Owners
One Arab family of squatters homes in the Shimon Hatzadik/Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood has reached an arrangement with the Jewish owners of the home where they live, Israel Hayom reported Wednesday.

The arrangement, which a few days ago was given the force of a final ruling by the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, may also serve as a precedent for the other Arab families in the neighborhood. It is a blow to both the PA and Hamas, which are putting a lot of pressure on the Arab residents of Shimon HaTzadik (Sheikh Jarrah’s Hebrew name) not to reach understandings and arrangements with the Jewish owners of the homes in the area.

The standalone deal was signed while the parties to the struggle over the Jewish-owned homes in the Shimon Hatzadik are awaiting the Supreme Court’s decision regarding the fate of the Arab squatter families living there—following a visit by senior Palestinian Authority and Fatah officials to the seven families who subsequently rejected the compromise they had agreed to (Update: After Visit by PA Officials: 7 Arab Sheikh Jarrah Families No Longer Accept Court’s Compromise).

The family in question is not part of the appeal filed by the Arab squatters to the Supreme Court against the District Court’s decision to evict them. Under the reported arrangement, this family will eventually leave the house, but only in many years from now.

Following the legal battle over ownership of several homes in the Shimon HaTzadik neighborhood, the Jerusalem District Court ruled that the Jewish owners have rights to the homes where the Arabs live illegally, following which eight Arab families in the neighborhood appealed the decision to the Supreme Court.
BBC silent on Sheikh Jarrah property dispute developments
In early May of this year the BBC began promoting a one-sided narrative concerning “the threatened eviction of Palestinian families” which consistently failed to provide audiences with the full details of the decades long Sheikh Jarrah property dispute. When Hamas exploited that dispute as an excuse to spark conflict on May 10th, the BBC adopted and promoted the terror group’s narrative. In early August BBC audiences were provided with multi–platform coverage (some pre-emptive) of a court session that had been postponed.

It is hence all the more remarkable that the BBC has to date totally ignored the November 2nd rejection of the proposed compromise by the families at the centre of its previously extensive coverage – and not least the involvement of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority in that rejection.

Some of the families concerned obviously realised that it was in their best interest to accept the proposed compromise but were pressured to reject fifteen years of security, minimal rent and upgraded protected tenant status by parties keen to retain them as a political card to be used at their convenience to incite tension and violence.

That of course is an important side of this story that BBC audiences are unlikely to be told.
MEMRI: Egyptian Journalist: Yitzhak Rabin Truly Wanted Peace; Had He Lived He Would Have Implemented The Two-State Solution
On the occasion of the 26th anniversary of the assassination of Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, Sanaa Al-Sa'id, an Egyptian media figure and journalist, published an article about an interview she did with him in 1994. Al-Sa'id was visiting Israel at the time as part of delegation headed by then Egyptian foreign minister 'Amr Moussa. She writes that the visit itself was not an obvious matter for her, because she hated Israel at the time and attacked it at every opportunity. Therefore, she had planned for her interview with Rabin to be confrontational. But to her surprise she discovered a courteous and humble man, whose statements caused her revise her opinion and regard him as "the Israeli politician who most truly strove for peace." She writes that today, on the anniversary of his death, she regrets his absence, because she feels peace could have been achieved had he not been assassinated.

The following are translated excerpts from Al-Sa'id's article: [1]
"November 4, [2021] was the 26th anniversary of the death of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated in Tel Aviv on November 4, 1995 during a rally in support of peace… when an extremist Jew named Yigal Amir shot him to death… The anniversary reminds me of my visit to Israel in September 1994 [which took place] although I had never imagined I would set foot in that oppressive entity which trampled international resolutions and formulated an aggressive policy against the countries of the region.

"During the first week of September 1994 [Egypt's] foreign minister at the time, 'Amr Moussa, made an official visit to Israel and I happened to be part of the team of journalists that accompanied him. I was initially reluctant to join the team because I hated Israel and had long been attacking it in my articles in numerous Arab newspapers and on the BBC, but the minister persuaded me. He convinced me to come along [saying] I might have the opportunity to interview [Israeli] politicians and confront them with all the criticism I had of their positions on Middle East issues. And so I went, and I did have the opportunity to conduct interviews with [Israeli] president Ezer Weizman and foreign minister Shimon Peres. But the highlight was my meeting with prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, one of the most important Israeli figures to play a significant role in the history of the Arab-Israel conflict. On the day of the interview I decided to attack him with provocative questions, especially since in July of that year he had made declarations in which he threatened Syria with fierce war. When the Egyptian ambassador to Israel at the time, Mohammed Bassiouni, learned that I was about to interview Rabin, he warned me on that very day, saying, 'Don't ask provocative questions, because Prime Minister Rabin is known to be irritable and is likely to terminate the interview the minute you do.'

"I went to interview Rabin at his office in Jerusalem. He welcomed me in the early hours of the morning. Intending to seem hesitant at the start of the interview, and I said to him, 'Two things: First, they warned me not to ask you provocative questions so you wouldn't terminate the interview; second, your bureau chief has given me only a half hour.' At that point Rabin smiled and said, 'Ask whatever you like, I promise I won't terminate the interview. And take as much time as you like.' I saw a completely different Rabin from the one I had perceived in the past. He was friendly, calm, and very humble, and it was enough that he gave me sufficient time to conduct the interview , which was published in Al-Ahram on September 10, 1994.
US Tests Israel’s Iron Dome Defense Missiles in Guam
U.S. military officials in Guam are testing Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system in anticipation of a cruise missile attack from China.

The missile defense system, which the United States purchased in 2019, is part of the Pentagon's push to counter China in the Pacific, according to the Wall Street Journal. In June, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered military forces to speed up efforts to deter Beijing in the region. The U.S. Army completed its first test of the system in New Mexico in August, destroying eight cruise missile targets.

The dome system is designed to destroy short-range targets within a 40-mile radius. The United States is considering additional missile defense plans for Chinese missiles launched from space.

"If we can’t defend Guam—the air base and the other things there—it's really hard to project power into the Pacific," said Tom Karako, director of the Washington, D.C.-based Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Guam, a U.S. territory, has the closest American military base to China and is home to nearly 200,000 U.S. service members and civilians.

The Jewish state has used the Iron Dome to defend itself against rockets fired by Palestinian terror groups. The defense system intercepted thousands of missiles fired during Israel's 11-day conflict in May with Hamas militants.
Unpacked: Does the United States fund Israel? U.S. Foreign Aid Explained
Americans tend to overestimate how much the U.S. gives to other countries in foreign aid. Many assume that the U.S. gives 25% of their budget to other countries through foreign aid, but in reality that budget is less than 1%, around $40 million, and is split into three categories: humanitarian, economic, and military.

Unlike other countries in the Middle East, U.S. aid to Israel is almost exclusively military aid that functions kind of like “gift certificates”. The U.S. produces military equipment and gives money to other countries, like Israel, to use to purchase equipment from American manufacturers. This helps boost the U.S. economy, creates jobs and strengthens its military relationships with these countries.

1973 was the first year the U.S. provided $492 million in military aid to Israel, but just a year later that raised to $2.6 billion due to the Yom Kippur war, when Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Israel. The U.S. launched Operation Nickel Grass to help Israel and sent them 22 thousand tons of ammunition, helping them win the war. The historical events that have transpired since then have raised awareness to U.S. politicians on the importance of having Israel as their active ally in the Middle East.

Overall, U.S. foreign aid given to Israel has bipartisan support, however not everyone approves this policy. Some Americans on the progressive left feel that aid to Israel should be conditional, while some Israelis have argued that receiving this aid makes Israel too dependent on the U.S.

Khaled Abu Toameh: How Palestinian Leaders Inflict Pain on Their People; EU Shrugs
The peaceful protests were swiftly and violently crushed by the Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces. Again, those protests and the crackdown did not seem to be of any interest to many in the international community, especially the Western donors that fund the PA. Had the demonstrations taken place against Israel, they would doubtless have received extensive coverage and howls of outrage from the mainstream media in the West.

The protesters have appealed to the European Union for help, to no avail. Attempts by the protesters to gain the attention to their plight from the international media have also been totally ignored. This is the same EU that is quick to criticize Israel over the issue of construction in the settlements....

Abbas's sanctions... have made the civil servants and their families vulnerable to extreme poverty. — Salah Abdel Ati, head of the International Commission to Support the Rights of the Palestinian People,, November 3, 2021.

According to [Hamed] Abu Wadi, the PA leadership cut off the salaries as a means of silencing and punishing its critics.

"You are the ones who provide aid to the Palestinian Authority, which is depriving us of our salaries and rights in violation of the law." — Hamed Abu Wadi, civil servant affected by Abbas's sanctions, addressing the European Union; Facebook, October 25, 2021.

Palestinian leaders are punishing their own people as part of the power struggle between the PA and Hamas. Again, this is happening as the world turns away from the perpetrators and fixes its obsessive gaze on Israel.

If the Biden administration is serious about reviving a peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, it should start by trying to make peace between the Palestinian mini-state in the Gaza Strip and Abbas's PA entity in the West Bank.

If the EU really cares about ending the suffering of the Palestinians, it first needs to hold Abbas responsible for imposing sanctions on his people and to demand that Hamas cease using the Gaza Strip as a launching pad for waging jihad (holy war) on Israel.
Lawyer accused of ‘slandering’ PA as crackdown on activists continues
Muhanad Karajah, a prominent Palestinian lawyer, was interrogated on Wednesday by the Palestinian prosecutor-general in Ramallah on charges of stirring up sectarian strife, participating in an illegal gathering and slandering the Palestinian Authority.

The move is seen as a first step toward filing an indictment sheet against Karajah.

Karajah, an outspoken critic of the PA, heads a group called Lawyers For Justice, which monitors and documents human rights violations in the West Bank.

In the past five months, Karajah and his group have been waging a campaign on social media platforms in protest of the death of anti-corruption activist Nizar Banat, who was beaten to death by PA security officers in Hebron last June.

The group has since issued several statements condemning the killing of Banat and demanding that the perpetrators, who belong to the PA security forces, be prosecuted.

Fourteen Palestinian security officers are currently standing trial before a PA military court in Ramallah for their role in the killing of Banat, who was famous for posting videos on Facebook in which he accused Palestinian leaders and officials of embezzlement and financial and administrative corruption.

On PA Chairman Abbas’ direct orders, the PLO has purchased more than 100 embassies for the PA
General Supervisor of the Official PA Media Ahmad Assaf: “The truth is that this embassy [in Tunis] was born from the Palestinian-Tunisian collaboration, and according to direct orders and instructions from His Honor [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas that we have headquarters for the State of Palestine’s embassies in the various world states and that they be owned by the Palestinian people… Also, it is true that the effort building this embassy is… part of a comprehensive effort that President Mahmoud Abbas has made to ensure for us ownership over embassies worldwide. Today we the State of Palestine has more than 100 embassies and ambassador residences, some of which contain residences for employees. This exists around the entire world and in various states in the world, and this [happened] during the years that have passed... These headquarters, embassies, ambassador residences, employee residences, and all these buildings that have come under the ownership of the State of Palestine are a national treasure for the Palestinian people, and certainly this treasure is the property of the Palestinian people… It is the Palestinian people’s right to be proud of this great achievement, which was realized as a result of great effort and attention by His Honor the President and was carried out by the Palestine National Fund.”
[Official PA TV News, Oct. 23, 2021]

The Palestine National Fund (PNF) is a part of the PLO and manages the financial aid received by the organization, using it to provide funding. Among other things, Palestinian Media Watch has proved it funds the salaries of imprisoned Palestinian terrorists and the allowances for the families of Palestinians killed while committing acts of terror.

MEMRI: Palestinian Historian: The Jews Were “a Pile of Garbage”; Europeans Tried to Dump Them on the Arabs
Palestinian historian and political scientist Dr. Ashraf Al-Qasas said in a November 2, 2021 show on Alkofiya TV (Gaza) that the Europeans wanted to get rid of the Jews by dumping them on the Arabs. He referred to the Jews as “human surplus” and as a “pile of garbage” because they “controlled the economy, media, and politics.”

The MEMRI Lantos Project exposes anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial in the Middle East region and Middle Eastern communities in the West with the aim of supporting legislation and educating media and the general public.

MEMRI: Lebanese Druze Leader: The Saudis Do Need to Apologize to Lebanon – We Should Apologize to Them
Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt said in a November 10, 2021 interview on Russia Today TV that despite what has been said by a senior Hizbullah official, Saudi Arabia does not need to apologize to Lebanon for expelling the Lebanese ambassador in light of Lebanese Information Minister George Kurdahi’s recent expression of support for the Houthi rebels in Yemen. Rather, he said that Lebanon should apologize to Saudi Arabia. Jumblatt said that Kurdahi’s resignation would be a step towards repairing Lebanon’s relations with Saudi Arabia (for more information, see MEMRITV clip 9152).

In addition, Jumblatt said that Saudi Arabia has the right to “respond to insults” against it, and that Hizbullah doesn’t care about Lebanon’s long-standing relations with Saudi Arabia. Later in the interview, Jumblatt spoke about Lebanon’s maritime borders and said that through the United Nations, Lebanon had previously reached an agreement with Israel that would allow Lebanon to extract oil and gas, but that President Michel Auon demanded a larger maritime zone and has taken Lebanon “back to square one.”

Lahav Harkov: What to Expect From Bennett’s Iran Policy
The “Begin doctrine”—that Israel will take preemptive action to stop its enemies from attaining nuclear weapons, which it did when it bombed nuclear reactors in Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007—still appears to stand, even if its implementation has become less dramatic. Israel doesn’t always claim responsibility for such actions, but some are more obviously the work of Israeli forces and intelligence (such as targeted killings of Iranian nuclear scientists) than others (like mysterious power outages at Iranian nuclear sites). But these kinds of covert and quasi-covert attacks are a direct continuation of a policy that is at least 40 years old.

As Bennett tells it, the difference now is that Israel’s approach consists of “not just apocalyptic warnings, but initiative. We mean what we say.” In the Knesset two weeks before his U.N. speech, Bennett referred to the “gap between [Netanyahu’s] rhetoric and speeches and action.”

Indeed, the new state budget, approved by the Knesset last week, adds billions of shekels to prepare for the nightmare scenario of a nuclear-threshold Iran. Defense Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Benny Gantz told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee recently that the budgetary boost will “invest in our offensive and defensive capabilities, improve our technological superiority, and accelerate our efforts in order to ensure that—despite the fact that Iran is foremost a global and regional challenge—Israel will always have the ability to defend its citizens with its own forces.”

Gantz has long advocated for a Lapid-like policy of working closely with the Americans without making Israeli security interests too dependent on them. When Netanyahu pushed a mutual defense pact with the United States in 2019, Gantz opposed the proposal on grounds that it would subordinate Israel’s military needs to American interests and “limit Israel’s ability to protect the country from the threats it faces.”

Recent reports have shed more light on what Israel plans to do with increased appropriations for the Iran file, including a 5 billion shekel ($1.5 billion) shopping list that includes “bunker buster” munitions designed to reach underground targets, and the kind of aircraft needed to carry out these “massive ordnance penetrators,” which Israel does not currently have. According to Israel’s Channel 12, Jerusalem is eyeing the GBU-72 Advanced 5K Penetrator that the U.S. Air Force successfully tested in October, and which may be capable of damaging Iran’s Fordow nuclear facility, buried deep in a mountain. For its part, the Israeli Air Force has set aside funding and time next year to begin training for strikes on Iranian nuclear sites. Completing such plans of attack is reportedly the IAF’s top priority, but they are still being drafted, and some could take over a year to become viable.

Bennett’s Iran policy is, in short, to ensure Israel is prepared for a military strike, while working as closely as possible with Washington to make sure it will never be necessary. Call it the Mel Brooks doctrine: Hope for the best, expect the worst.
Seth Frantzman: Why Iran can't risk war
While Israel has indicated there are “red lines” regarding Iran’s nuclear program, the question that should be asked is whether Iran would ever risk a war with the United States or Israel. So far, the evidence indicates that Iran prefers the kind of propaganda stunts the IRGC carried out in the Gulf of Oman — hijacking a tanker, but not fighting the U.S. Fifth Fleet. This is because Iran can’t risk a real, conventional war. Iran hasn’t fought a major war since the 1980s when it fought Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Iran’s government is poor and its regime is relatively weak under sanctions. The only real card that it holds is its nuclear blackmail, which it uses to score points diplomatically. It also arms dangerous proxies around the Middle East, in Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria.

Iran’s real strength, therefore, lies with its proxies, the militias that receive Iranian drones and missiles. Iran has used drones to attack U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria and targeted a tanker off the coast of Oman in July. These types of attacks give Iran plausible deniability. It never says it carried out the drone attacks. The U.S. has shown evidence of Iran’s role in Yemen, but trafficking parts for missiles or gyroscopes for drones isn’t exactly how a country prepares for a major conventional war.

Iran’s navy is small and its ships keep catching fire and sinking. Its infrastructure is beset by problems and its IRGC tends to do the job that the Iranian army should be doing. In short, Iran has outsourced war-making powers to the IRGC and proxies, none of whom are prepared for a major conflict. If Iran can’t afford a major conflict, then the chances that the lack of an Iranian nuclear deal could lead to “war” are reduced. What might happen is that absence of a deal would mean continued tensions in the region.

However, after the previous Iranian deal in 2015, there was increased Iranian involvement in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. The Houthis pushed to take over swaths of Yemen in 2015 and Iranian-backed militias in Iraq set up shop in Syria to transfer weapons in 2017 and 2018.

Deal or no deal, Iran will continue its malign activities. This won’t lead to a large, conventional war, but rather, more of the same proxy conflicts that the Middle East has weathered for decades.

Kazakh jiu jitsu competitor squats during ‘Hatikvah’ after losing to Israeli
Israeli jiu jitsu competitor Amit Burshtein, 17, picked up a gold medal Tuesday at the youth world championships in Abu Dhabi.

But when the Israeli national anthem “Hatikvah” began to play during the medal ceremony, Burshtein’s Kazakh opponent — who took home the bronze in the round — squatted down on the podium.

It was not clear why he struck the pose and another Kazakh competitor, who took home silver, remained standing, in video of the incident posted on social media.

“We are proud of our athletes who represent Israel in the best way possible and bring us great honor. We were surprised to see the video,” Arik Kaplan, the head of Ayelet — the Federation of the Non-Olympic Sport In Israel, told Channel 12 news.

“We immediately asked our representatives in Abu Dhabi to examine the matter, out of hope that this was not an act of protest against the national anthem,” Kaplan added.

Israeli athletes frequently face opponents in international sporting competitions who refuse to compete against them, shake hands or directly address them. Many athletes from Muslim nations have been punished for unsportsmanlike conduct for such incidents, including at the Tokyo Olympics earlier this year.


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