Wednesday, November 17, 2021

From Ian:

Biden’s Middle East Dilemma
Its determination to reenter the 2015 Iran nuclear deal was left unmentioned, but it was hard not to notice that the revival of negotiations with the still more vicious theocracy in Tehran coincided with renewed public scapegoating of the House of Saud. If the Obama administration had acquiesced to the Saudi intervention in Yemen in 2015 to ease Riyadh’s panic over the nuclear deal, the restoration of the deal seems to provide the regional policy framework for the Biden team’s approach to relations with Saudi Arabia—this time, by freezing out the “murderous maniac” crown prince in order to “put human rights back at the center of our foreign policy.”

And indeed, as president, Biden has refused to engage directly with MBS, who he’s said has “very little social redeeming value.” He released an intelligence report in February that claimed (but did not demonstrate) that the Khashoggi murder was approved by the crown prince. He has held offensive weapons sales to the kingdom in suspension, reduced U.S. support for Saudi operations in Yemen, and withdrawn missile defense systems from Saudi soil, even as Houthi rockets and Iranian drones menace Saudi cities and oil facilities. His “foreign policy initiative” is backed by feverish legislative activity, too: Pending in the 117th Congress are no less than 10 bills meant to hit the Saudis in general, and MBS in particular, for Khashoggi and Yemen.

It’s possible an American Metternich could persuade Riyadh to engineer an oil price collapse that would aid his own political survival while continuing to whip it in public for crimes against morality and aligning with its strategic rival. But Joe Biden probably can’t. There seems to be some dawning recognition, in fact, of the Saudis’ limited but real ability to scupper both the Iran deal and Biden’s political fortunes: In recent weeks, the State Department approved the potential sale of $650 million worth of air-to-air missiles to Riyadh (Rep. Ilhan Omar has filed legislation to block it) and a U.S. bomber (accompanied, at different times, by Saudi and Israeli fighter jets) conducted a patrol mission around the Arabian Peninsula. Ahead of upcoming nuclear negotiations with Iran, the White House is also sending Special Envoy Robert Malley to Riyadh (and Dubai and Jerusalem) for “consultations.”

But if the administration expects these concessions (such as they are) to reassure the Saudis, they’ll likely be disappointed. The crisis threatening U.S.-Saudi relations is not that the president prefers to deal with the crown prince’s father, the 85-year-old King Salman, or that some House reps would like to pass the MBS Must Be Sanctioned Act (H.R. 1511), or that Democrats in general are striking an “increasingly standoffish attitude toward the kingdom,” as one typically navel-gazing U.S. press report put it.

The real crisis is of a different magnitude: Saudi Arabia is terrified not of cold shoulders or even of sanctions, but of the fact that the United States seems intent on reaching a diplomatic condominium in the Middle East with the kingdom’s existential enemy—even, if necessary, at the expense of Biden’s political fortunes; and even if it means—as it did in Kabul—watching its former allies fall.
Iran's Antisemitism Isn't Only About Israel
Anti-Zionism is antisemitism, and the Iranian regime's singular focus on denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination in the Jewish homeland is Jew-hatred, plain and simple.

One of America's most prominent universities shamefully regurgitated Khamenei's talking point. "The theocratic [Iranian] regime is neither irrationally messianic nor antisemitic in its hard power calculations," read a page on Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced and International Studies. It was deleted following condemnation on social media by many Iran observers, including this author.

Distorted images of the Iranian regime are by no means unique to the American academy. While the rest of Iran's Jewish community stays below the radar, one young rabbi—Rabbi Yehuda Gerami—has taken to calling himself the "chief rabbi" of Iran and posting his activities on social media. Gerami, who was educated in the U.S. before returning to Iran, is infamous for condemning Israel and making a "condolence visit to the family of Qasem Soleimani," following the Trump administration's elimination of the terror mastermind, according to Ynet.

During his rather strange tour of the United States this month, Gerami claimed that the Jews in Iran are thriving. "Even if someone is caught with wine on the street, if he says that he is Jewish and shows his Jewish identity card, there are no problems," he told Ami Magazine, seemingly with a straight face.

Try as some might to paint the Iranian regime as a rational or even tolerant actor, senior regime figures have a habit of exposing their virulent antisemitism. Iranian vice president for economic affairs Mohsen Rezaee last month threatened to take hostage the Jewish community of Iran: "The Israeli government knows very well that if it makes a mistake, the regime will treat the 10,000 Jews living in Iran differently."

This is an obvious threat to Jews—not in Israel, but in Iran, which has been home to Jews for over 2,500 years, pre-dating the Islamic conquest of Persia.

Ever since Ayatollah Khomeini's Islamic Revolution of 1979, Jews have not been treated as equal members of Iranian society. Some have been executed by the regime for no "crime" other than being Jewish.
Caroline Glick: Biden's Moment of Truth on Turkey
Then there is Jerusalem. Rather than permit Turkey to expand its hostile activities in Israel's capital, Israel could ban Turkish NGOs from operating in Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. Israel could easily couch this as a move on behalf of Jordan, which is concerned by the outsize role Turkey has arrogated to itself.

Another area Israel has massive leverage over Turkey is natural gas. Israel has built a natural gas alliance with its fellow East Mediterranean producers Greece and Cyprus. The three governments agreed to build a pipeline to Italy—bypassing Turkey—to sell natural gas to Europe. Earlier this year, then-Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said Israel would cooperate with Turkey on the Eastern Mediterranean natural gas pipeline. That decision can, and should, be reversed so long as the Oaknins remain in custody.

Another area Israel could squeeze Turkey is in the international unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) market. Israel has been considering relaxing restrictions on the export of its UAVs. Turkey is currently building up its position as a major UAV supplier. An Israeli move to expand its position in the market would significantly decrease Turkey's market share, diminishing not only Erdogan's foreign currency reserves, but decreasing his leverage with Russia and other major powers.

Israel's ability to stare down Erdogan, both to secure the Oaknins' speedy release from Turkish jail and to disabuse Erdogan of the notion that he is well served by taking Israeli hostages, is dependent to a large degree on U.S. support.

Following the Gaza flotilla, the UN set up a commission to investigate what happened. In 2011, the commission largely exonerated Israel from blame for the death of the Turkish passengers who attacked IDF commandos engaged in the lawful effort to enforce a lawful maritime blockade. That should have been the end of Erdogan's demand for damages for the dead IHH attackers and the end of his assault on Israel. It certainly should have ended any thought in the Obama administration that it would be reasonable to pressure Israel to bow to Erdogan's demands, apologize and pay indemnities to the families of the IHH assailants who attacked Israel's naval forces.

But that isn't what happened. In 2013, then-President Barack Obama visited Israel. At the end of his visit, as he stood on the tarmac before boarding Air Force One to depart the country, Obama demanded that Netanyahu apologize to Erdogan in Obama's presence. The men sat down in a trailer at the airport, where Obama called Erdogan and put Netanyahu on the phone. Netanyahu apologized. Israel agreed to pay into a fund for the dead IHH assailants. And Obama left Israel with a "diplomatic achievement."

If President Joe Biden opts to follow in Obama's footsteps and coerces Israel to accept whatever demands Erdogan makes to secure the Oaknins' release, Biden won't simply be placing the lives of every Israeli tourist in jeopardy. He will demonstrate to U.S. allies worldwide that the U.S. will exploit their vulnerabilities to join their enemies in harming them.


Israel asks countries to defund Palestinians one day, then the opposite the next day
Israel has a law on the books that requires the government to deduct the amount the PA pays terrorists from the taxes and tariffs Jerusalem collects for Ramallah. One of the MKs who drafted that law is currently a member of the same government as Frej – Intelligence Minister Elazar Stern.

“For those who seek and are optimistic about the chances for peace, this incentivization to kill, murder and maim is a primary obstacle,” Stern wrote of the pay-for-slay program in The Jerusalem Post in 2018. “It motivates Palestinians to have greater financial security by killing Israelis, egged on by their leaders, and it demonstrates to many Israelis that the Palestinians have no interest in peace and will instead continue the war against them.”

Stern’s bill was meant to be the Israeli counterpart of the US’s 2018 Taylor Force Act, which Israel strongly supported, that stopped US donations to the PA as long as they continue “pay-for-slay.”

A senior diplomatic source admitted that there’s a contradiction in the policies: “We want the PA to stop paying terrorists, on the one hand, but we’re encouraging people to pay them. How can Israel support Taylor Force but tell countries to donate to the PA?”

The source pointed out that Israel is only encouraging donations to civil projects. But money is fungible – those donations just free up other funds that go to the “martyrs.”

The diplomatic source gave one explanation, which is that Israel prefers that the money go to the PA over UNRWA.

“If UNRWA runs out of money, [donor states] won’t give their donations to Hamas,” he said.

Still, the dissonance is strong here: Israel supported the US stopping donations to the PA over pay-for-slay, and deducts funds from the PA for the same reason – moves that members of this government supported – but is also asking other countries to fund the PA. Israel opposes donations to UNRWA because it supports terrorism and promotes a narrative it views as counterproductive to peace, but is asking governments to contribute to the PA, which supports terrorism and the exact same narrative.
UNRWA chief: We face collapse from political attacks and lack of funds
Those who argue against UNRWA, he charged, are exploiting these issues for political gain at the expense of services to refugees. “We need to do more to counter these attacks, to expose their political agendas and shield Palestine refugees from the crippling impact of these attacks,” said Lazzarini. “We need to address these attacks for what they are.”

Lazzarini said that their objective was “to erase the rights of over 5.7 million registered Palestine refugees as enshrined in international law and UN resolutions.”

The attackers, he said, want to “weaken the Agency through baseless accusations of politicization and incitement. This is both naïve and dangerous. If these threats are not addressed decisively, they will create a vacuum and a human disaster that this region simply cannot afford.”

UNRWA has faced a financial crisis this year, despite the Biden administration’s decision to restore funding to the agency, which had been halted by former president Donald Trump.

Until 2017, the first year of Trump’s presidency, the US had been the single largest donor to UNRWA, providing approximately $360 million in annual funding.

This year the Biden administration has pledged $318 million. The second top donor is the European Union, which has pledged $117 million, followed by Germany at $109 million, Sweden at $51 million and Japan at $49 million.

The renewed US funding, however, went to cover gaps left by countries that reduced their donations or chose not to donate.

Germany, for example, reduced its donation by $100 million, the EU by $30 million and the United Kingdom by $25 million.

Saudi Arabia, which last year gave $28 million, didn’t even make it onto the list of countries that donated $8 million or more.

Qatar and Kuwait, which were absent last year from that list, pledged $17 million and $11 million respectively this year. They were the only two Gulf countries on the list.
PMW: PMW releases new report in Norwegian Parliament on PA/Fatah child education
Today, as donor countries meet in Oslo to raise money for the Palestinian Authority, Palestinian Media Watch’s new report on PA/Fatah education of young Palestinian children will be released in Oslo to members of Norwegian Parliament by PMW Director Itamar Marcus.

Far from preparing its people for a future alongside Israel, the PA/Fatah is educating its children that Israelis are colonialist invaders, that Israel has no right to exist, and that Israel’s replacement by Palestine is inevitable. Terror and murder are glorified, and Martyrdom is presented as an ideal.

These are the clear messages documented in the new PMW report, which examines Fatah’s education of children ages 6-15 through its Waed magazine.

Below is the executive summary and introduction to the report:
The PA/Fatah Vision for Israel's Destruction
A study of Fatah’s Waed magazine
for children ages 6-15

Click here to read the full report as a PDF

Executive summary
Fatah, the ruling political movement of the Palestinian Authority (PA), runs a youth movement for Palestinian children ages 6-15 called the Lion Cubs and Flowers (for boys and girls respectively) which publishes a children’s magazine called Waed (the promise in Arabic). The magazine is published on the youth movement’s website and distributed at Fatah and PA activities and in PA schools.

Fatah's education of children through Waed is the antithesis of peace education. Whereas not all the material in the magazine promotes hatred of Israelis and Israel, all references to Israelis and Israel are hateful.

Waed’s fundamental messages are that Israelis are foreign colonialist invaders, and therefore, Israel has no right to exist. Palestinians led by Fatah will continue the heroic armed struggle until the defeated invaders leave. There is no hint of Israel's legitimacy, nor is there a possibility that Israel will coexist alongside a liberated Palestine, whose borders will include all of Israel.
Palestinian school magazine calls for ‘armed struggle’ against ‘Israeli monster’
Demonization of Israel and incitement to violence are rampant in Waed, a magazine published by Fatah’s youth movement and distributed in Palestinian Authority schools, a new study by Palestinian Media Watch found.

Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reviewed 17 issues of Waed published in December 2014-September 2021, and found that the magazine glorifies terrorists who murdered Israelis as heroes and anticipates a Palestinian state that will replace all of Israel, including the removal of Israelis from the land.

PMW distributed its report to Norwegian lawmakers on Wednesday, as the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee for funding to the PA met in Oslo.

The magazines include references to “the giant Israeli murder machine” and “the Israeli monster,” and accuse Israel of behaving like Nazis. Waed claims Palestinians have a “right to wage an armed struggle to take back its stolen homeland,” and “the liberation of Palestine will only be achieved through armed struggle.”

That struggle includes attacks on civilians, which is made apparent from the praising of terrorists such as Dalal Mughrabi, who took part in the murder of 37, including 12 children, in 1978, as “heroic fighters of Palestine,” “martyrs,” and “heroes,” while their terror attacks are called “daring self-sacrifice operations.”

Waed is a publication of Lion Cubs and Flowers, the youth movement of the PA’s ruling party Fatah. The movement is for Palestinian children aged 6-15, and its magazine is distributed at summer camps, schools and activities.
J Street Joins Anti-Israel Groups in Support of Gaza Amendment to Defense Bill
J Street has joined with several dozen largely anti-Israel groups, including some that support the BDS movement, in calling for the US Senate to adopt a Gaza amendment as part of the 2022 National Defense Authority Act (NDAA).

Proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the amendment would require the US Comptroller General to submit a report to Congress assessing the economic, humanitarian, political and psychological impact that Israel’s restrictions on movement and access are having on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. It would also report on the recovery and reconstruction in Gaza following Israel’s airstrikes this spring against Hamas and other terror factions, according to the group Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN).

Some 72 national and international organizations jointly signed the letter, including MoveOn, J Street, Churches for Middle East Peace, Arab American Institute, American Muslims for Palestine, Oxfam America, Norwegian Refugee Council, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International USA, Win Without War, National Council of Churches, Demand Progress, Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, IfNotNow, Al Haq and Eyewitness Palestine.

“The proposed Gaza amendment is a milestone in overdue recognition that America’s unconditional military and political support for Israel has helped enable the imprisonment and suffering of millions of Palestinians in Gaza during a 14-year Israeli blockade that stands as one of the longest-lasting acts of collective punishment in recent history,” said Raed Jarrar, advocacy director for DAWN.

Earlier this year, Sanders introduced legislation to block scheduled arms sales to Israel amid the 11-day conflict between Israel and Gaza terror groups in May that began with Hamas launching rockets at Israeli civilian populations.


JPost Editorial: Photos of IDF officials meeting with Arab nation counterparts are important - editorial
The Abraham Accords in 2019 changed that dynamic. What these accords brought was a willingness on the part of Arab countries with whom Israel now had diplomatic relations to bring these ties – including military and intelligence ties – out into the open.

All of a sudden the Israeli Air Force commander meeting with counterparts from the Arab world is not rare, but part of the architecture of the Middle East. All of a sudden the Israeli defense minister visiting an Arab state is routine.

The importance of these meetings being documented by the camera is twofold.

First, it sends a deterrent message to common foes, such as Iran. And second, it signals to the Arab public that this type of cooperation is good and nothing to be ashamed of or hidden. It removes the stigma of cooperation with Israel – makes it normal and habituates the public to the idea.

One of the problems with Israel’s peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan has been that despite close cooperation at the top, Cairo and Amman wanted to keep it in the dark. As a result, the peace did not filter down to the public and remained in the rarefied air of discreet military-to-military consultations. Making these meetings public, shining a light on them, is one way that peace begins to seep down from the top.
US Intends to Move Forward on F-35 Sale to UAE, US Official Says
The United States intends to move forward with the sale of 50 F-35 stealth fighters jets to the United Arab Emirates but there must be a clear understanding of “Emirati obligations,” a US official said on Tuesday as progress on the sale slows.

“We continue consulting with Emirati officials to ensure we have unmistakeable, clear mutually understanding with respect to Emirati obligations and actions before, during and after delivery,” said Mira Resnick a deputy US assistant secretary of state, on a call with reporters, without elaborating on what the obligations were.

The sale of 50 F-35 warplanes to the UAE has slowed amid concerns in Washington over Abu Dhabi’s relationship with China, including use of Huawei 5G technology in the country.

The United States under then-President Donald Trump agreed to sell the warplane after the UAE last year established ties with Israel. President Joe Biden’s administration has said this year it would proceed with the sale.
UAE crown prince said to visit Israeli pavilion at Dubai weapons show
Abu Dhabi’s powerful crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, on Wednesday visited Israel’s pavilion at a major weapons show being held in Dubai.

Al-Nahyan, the deputy commander of the Emirati armed forces, spoke with the CEOs of Israeli defense firms Rafael and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) during the visit at the Dubai Air Show.

The crown prince has shown interest in IAI’s spy and communication satellites, Channel 12 reported.

The Defense Ministry sent an official delegation of Israeli defense contractors to the show this month in a sign of the growing military ties between Israel and the UAE after the two countries normalized relations in the Abraham Accords last year.

Seven Israeli firms, most of them state-owned, went to the defense exhibition in the Emirati capital, one of the premier weapons shows in the world.

Israeli Air Force chief Amikam Norkin also attended the defense exhibition, taking part in a meeting of international air force commanders.


PreOccupiedTerritory: Rest Of Region Hoping Israel Hurries Up, Occupies Them Already; ‘Could Only Be Better Than What We’ve Got’ (satire)
Residents of the Levant and beyond, who have absorbed more than a century of propaganda accusing Zionists of aiming to take over the entire area, voiced their impatience once again this week that such a development has not occurred, noting that Israeli control would, given the evidence to date, improve their lives in every imaginable way.

Interviews with citizens of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, Egypt, and parts of Libya revealed that deteriorating conditions and entrenched government incompetence, corruption, and authoritarianism in their respective countries have led them to realize that fears of Zionist colonization and occupation of the Middle East, around which national consciousness and policies have formed for the last hundred years across the region, must give way to an embrace of that prospect, because there’s no way things could be any worse under the Jews, and they might even be better.

“Just look at life expectancy and other indicators among Palestinians,” argued a Cairo bus driver. “Once the Jews took over, those numbers started getting better, while the rest of the region has lagged behind in every aspect: quality of life, overall health, economics, you name it. At first, we were all like, yeah those evil Jews can’t be allowed a foothold here or they’ll destroy everything, but after a while, it’s become pretty clear giving them control would be a net good for us. Can’t happen soon enough, if you ask me.”

Official appeals to Islamic, Arab, or national pride still stir emotions that militate against outright offers to let Israel take over, however. “It’ll take some time for the visceral pull of us-them to weaken,” acknowledged an Iraqi pollster. “The honor-shame culture of the Arab and Islamic worlds doesn’t give way easily, but I think they’ll come around within a century.”
Israel, Jordan to sign UAE-mediated energy and water agreement
Israel and Jordan are set to sign a cooperation agreement in the areas of energy and water in the United Arab Emirates, which helped mediate, next week.

The agreement states that Israel and Jordan will help each other deal with the challenges of climate change.

Israel agreed to examine the possible construction of a designated desalination plant to export more water to Jordan at full price, and Jordan will consider building a new solar field in the desert in Jordan to export clean energy to Israel, which is lacking in open space, and to test solar energy storage solutions.

Energy Minister Karin Elharrar is set to sign the agreement on Monday, along with Jordanian Water Minister Mohammed al-Najjar, and the mediators, US Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry and Emirati Climate Change Envoy Sultan Al Jaber. National Security Adviser Eyal Hulata will also take part in the ceremony, as well as other Jordanian and Emirati ministers.

The energy agreement is based on the Water and Energy Nexus, a project of EcoPeace Middle East, which brings together Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian environmental experts and activists.
2 border cops stabbed in Jerusalem’s Old City; attacker shot dead
Two Border Police officers were wounded on Wednesday in a stabbing attack in Jerusalem’s Old City, police said.

The Palestinian assailant was shot dead by a security guard and other Israeli forces at the scene.

The attacker was a 16-year-old from East Jerusalem, according to a police statement.

Police said one of the officers was moderately wounded and the other was lightly hurt.

The two were taken to Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus in Jerusalem to be treated.

Magen David Adom emergency services said one of the injured officers was a 19-year-old woman and another was a man aged 20.
Turkish paper aligned with Erdogan issues anti-Israel travel guide
The conservative Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak, known for its pro-Palestinian views and hardline support for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, published a Jerusalem travel guide Wednesday that carried strong anti-Israel sentiment.

The paper – considered a mouthpiece for the Erdogan government – called for a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in order to "not only perform the commandment but to support its Muslim residents whose lives are becoming increasingly difficult every day under the occupation."

The paper called for a complete boycott of Jewish-owned businesses in the capital, encouraging travelers to only "stay at a Muslim-owned hotel and shop at Muslim-owned businesses."

In what might sound like incitement to terror, it also encouraged future pilgrims to "provide assistance to the relatives of martyrs and prisoners," claiming "all this is far more important than any slogan and speech." It further said that "this should be done quietly, thoroughly, without informing anyone. These are types of activities that anyone can take do, far from the politics of countries and the damned balance of the international system."

Yeni Sakaf has long denied Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem and even described the capital as belonging to "us, to the Muslims." It has also referred to Turkish anti-Israel organizations operating from Jerusalem, such as Mirasimiz.
Knesset Education Committee in Historic Statement: Israeli Schoolchildren Must Visit Temple Mount
Responding to aggressive lobbying by the Beyadenu movement (Dani Dayan’s Daughter Sings Hatikvah Quietly on Temple Mount), the Knesset Education Committee on Tuesday debated the place of the Temple Mount in the country’s education system.

Coalition and opposition MKs alike agreed that the Israeli education system is failing to convey information about the Temple Mount to students.

Committee Chairwoman MK Sharren Haskel (New Hope) said that the education system does not mention the existence of the Temple Mount in a national and religious context, despite being one of the most important places for the Jewish People. She added: “This is not a political issue and therefore support should be given to teaching about the importance of the Temple Mount among Israeli students.”

MK Emily Moati (Labor) also said the Temple Mount is not a matter of right and left. We must teach our national history, and it includes the Temple Mount.

Tom Nissani, executive director of Beyadenu, told the committee: “The Temple Mount is one great tragedy of ignorance. This ignorance is dangerous and produces generations who do not know the Temple Mount, neither as a must-visit site nor as even an optional site.”

MK Nir Orbach (Yamina) said: “The Western Wall is less important than the Temple Mount. The discussion is very important. There is clear ignorance. The answers of the Ministry of Education indicate that there is a basis that exists, but it must be expanded.”
US Marines train in urban warfare with Israeli military
The Israel Defense Forces and U.S. Marine Corps completed a two-week exercise in Israel that included joint urban-warfare training, the IDF announced on Saturday.

In the past two weeks, the forces learned “various methods with an emphasis on open and urban field combat at the ground forces training bases,” said the IDF in a statement.

“In addition to the exercise, annual discussions between the IDF and Marines were conducted, led by infantry officer and chief IDF paratrooper Brig. Gen. Guy Levy, establishing the 2022 joint training framework,” it added.

Marines have arrived on Israeli soil for drills in the past, including in 2018, when they met with the IDF’s Egoz commando unit to gain information about its combat experiences in the Middle East.
Israel’s next-gen robots could replace ground troops on front lines
“If you want to send robots where you don’t want to send soldiers, you need a solution for that,” said Elad Levy, CEO and founder of Roboteam.

His company, together with Elbit Systems, on Tuesday, announced the debut of what they are calling “the mothership of unmanned vehicles”: ROOK, a multi-payload military 6x6 Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV).

The UGV’s innovative design and built-in autonomy suite offers improved capacity, maneuverability and agility from its previous models, creating “a human machine” that is “really part of the team,” said Yoav Poizner, the senior director of Elbit C4I and Cyber.

He said the ROOK is the next step toward enabling “everything that happens in the sky” through use of drones and aerial robots to occur on the ground and in the field where soldiers need it, too.

The ROOK was developed based on the operational experience accumulated through fielding of the 4x4 PROBOT UGV systems, which became operational a few years ago through a first collaboration between the two companies.


Palestinian Authority likely to abolish pay-for-slay, Frej says
The Palestinian Authority is likely to abolish its policy of providing monthly stipends to jailed terrorists and the families of terrorists who have killed Israelis, Regional Cooperation Minister Esawi Frej told Israel Radio on Wednesday morning.

"I believe that in the coming months this [PA] policy will change," Frej said, adding that a different mechanism would be created that would be acceptable to everyone. It was an allusion to past proposals to sway the PA to change its method of payment, which now provides the largest financial reward for those who have committed the most serious terror attack and the least reward for those only marginally involved in terror. The international community would prefer a social welfare system for Palestinians jailed by Israel that provided equitable payments based solely on financial needs.

Frej spoke prior to Wednesday's meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) meeting in Oslo. It's a 15-member body chaired by Norway that meets at least twice a year to oversee donor funding to the Palestinians.
HonestReporting: In The Media: HonestReporting Explains Investigative Work On Prize Honoring Palestinian Violence
While the Israeli government is reportedly requesting that international donors save the Palestinian Authority from economic collapse, arguments for sustaining financial pressure on Ramallah are mounting once again. Indeed, the PA continues to insist it will never end the "Pay-for-Slay" policy that incentivizes the killing of Israelis.

And, most recently, Mahmoud Abbas' administration explicitly rewarded the residents of the West Bank village of Beita for their violent and antisemitic riots. The Yasser Arafat Foundation during a ceremony last week presented its annual Achievement Award to Beita. Explaining the decision, Endowment Committee Chair Ola Awad praised the town for its "popular resistance" against Israel. As HonestReporting has repeatedly highlighted, Beita's "resistance" involves violent riots, ecoterrorism, setting off of powerful explosive devices and burning swastikas.

During the award ceremony, Beita received a check for $25,000 from Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh.

All this, while international agreements require the PA to combat terrorism.


PMW: Father of dead boy: “I’m so happy my son died as a Martyr and I’m leading him today as a groom”
Official PA TV newsreader: “Our people in Nablus accompanied to burial Martyr child Muhammad Da’das, who ascended to Heaven [killed] by the occupation bullets yesterday during confrontations” …

Father of Muhammad Da’das: “In the name of Merciful Allah, this is a source of pride for us. This raised our heads. A source of pride for us, for Palestine, and for the sake of supporting the prisoners… I’m very grateful. I’m so amazed and happy that my son died as a Martyr and that I’m leading him today as a groom. He is going to meet the prophets, the Martyrs, and the righteous. The angels will carry him and say: “We brought you a Martyr today.” It’s incredible how good the feeling and joy of the prophets and Martyrs is.”

[Official PA TV News, Nov. 6, 2021]

A Martyr's funeral is considered his wedding to the 72 Virgins in Paradise in Islam.


Spanish woman sentenced to 13 months for passing funds to Palestinian terror group
A Spanish woman was sentenced to 13 months in Israeli prison and fined NIS 50,000 ($16,000) on Wednesday for unknowingly working at an organization Israel charges transferred funds to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror group.

Juana Ruiz Sanchez Rishmawi, a Spanish citizen married to a Palestinian, had worked for the Health Work Committees since 1993. The Israeli military issued an order in January 2020 declaring the group to be illegal. Rishmawi, along with several others, was arrested soon afterward.

Israeli authorities charged that the Health Work Committees had transferred millions in funding from European governments to the PFLP. The nonprofit, which denies the accusation, says it seeks to advance Palestinian access to health care, including by running a network of clinics.

Rishmawi was technically convicted of providing services to her now-banned employer, as well as illegally bringing money into the West Bank. Like many Palestinians in Israeli courts, Rishmawi chose to negotiate a plea bargain with Israeli military prosecutors.

“Even though [Rishmawi] suspected that the organization for which she worked and raised large sums was PFLP-affiliated, she continued working there. She kept working there after the group was banned by a legal decree,” military judge Eti Adar wrote in her sentence.
PMW: Young Palestinian woman’s engagement to terrorist serving life is “message of defiance and hope”
Official PA TV host: “This is for prisoner Mahmoud [Abu] Wahdan (i.e., PFLP terrorist)… who got engaged to Aya Dababseh, who is also a released prisoner. She decided to get engaged to a prisoner who is sentenced to life. This is a message of defiance and hope through [our] program Giants of Endurance” …

Caption:“ Song added by PA TV
Lyrics: “All the love and importance, everything, Mahmoud... You are overcoming the prison guard, a free person, the greatest lion. On your birthday I present you Abu Wahdan with words of strength and determination adorned with flowers, words of gunpowder... Your voice calls us, Mahmoud. Words of splendor are written on his weapon.”

Caption: “The marriage contract of prisoner Mahmoud Abu Wahdan”

[Official PA TV, Giants of Endurance, Oct. 28, 2021]

Mahmoud Abu Wahdan - Palestinian terrorist and member of the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades (PFLP's military wing) who is serving 3 life sentences for planning suicide bombings during the PA terror campaign (the second Intifada, 2000-2005).

Aya Dababseh – female Palestinian arrested in 2007 at the age of 11. She was sentenced to 3 years but released early as part of a deal between Israel and Hamas in exchange for a recording of then Hamas hostage Gilad Shalit in 2010. PMW was unable to determine the specific nature of her crimes.




MEMRI: Hamas Military Exhibition Showcases Weapons, Allows Children to Simulate Liberating Al-Aqsa Mosque
On November 14-15, 2021, Al-Jazeera Network (Qatar), the A24 News Agency YouTube channel, and the Al-Resalah YouTube channel aired reports about a military exhibition titled “Generation of Jerusalem,” held in Gaza by Hamas and its student wing, the Islamic Bloc. The exhibition allows teens, students, and the general public to see a wide array of Hamas weapons and to simulate the liberation of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Senior Hamas official Ismail Radwan said in an interview that the event commemorates the “martyrdom” of Ahmad Jaabari, a top Hamas military commander who was killed by Israeli forces on November 14, 2012. Radwan also said that the exhibition aims to prepare the “generation of Jerusalem and Palestine” to liberate Palestinian prisoners. Sa’id Al-Luqta, the head of the Media Office of the Islamic Bloc in Gaza, said that the exhibition has hours that it is open specifically to middle school, high school students, and university students, and that students visiting the exhibition can use virtual reality games to simulate using weapons and attacking Israeli military posts.

The head of the Islamic Bloc in western Gaza, Abd Al-Latif Zughra, explained that these simulators are the same ones used in training by Hamas’s Al-Qassam Brigades. He also explained that visitors can simulate the liberation of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Shehab drone attacks against Israeli settlements. In addition, he said that the exhibition showcases locally manufactured weapons, including the Qassam M-75 rocket, the Al-Ghoul sniper rifle, drones, hand grenades, and bombs.




The tangled web of Hezbollah's drug cartel
The radical Shiite axis is working tirelessly to strengthen and increase its offensive power from Syria and Lebanon. The Iranians, through their Quds Force, are working closely with Shiite militias and Hezbollah to place advanced weapons of war on Syrian and Lebanese soil. Precision guided surface-to-surface missiles, cruise missiles and UAVs constitute a weapons arsenal that is an increasing challenge for the enemies of the Shiite axis.

In the arsenal of the Shiite axis, there is another weapon of attack, and this is the "weapon" of drugs. Drugs are a valid weapon for all intents and purposes, from which Hezbollah and the other proxies of the Axis benefit in three main respects: first, as a direct weapon against the population of enemy countries and against a local hostile population. The second, as an economic source of income, and the third aspect as a platform that supports terrorist activity in the target countries (smuggling of weapons based on drug smuggling routes and the drugs themselves are an economic incentive and a substitute for money).

Recently we have witnessed many publications (some more detailed than others) about the thriving drug manufacturing and smuggling industry in Syria. An industry that operates under the auspices of the Syrian regime, the radical Shiite axis in general and Hezbollah in particular. Sometimes the production processes take place in Lebanon and Syrian territory is only a geographical platform for smuggling and sometimes Syrian territory is both a production platform and a smuggling platform.

In any case, the raw materials come mostly from Lebanon’s Bekaa area near the Syrian border and sometimes the raw materials even come from Iran itself through Iraq.
MEMRI: Lebanese Journalist Calls on Arab Countries to Oppose Hizbullah, Iranian Influence in Lebanon
In a November 5, 2021 interview on MBC 1 (Saudi Arabia), Lebanese journalist Tony Abi Najem called on the Arab countries to oppose Hizbullah and the influence of Iran in Lebanon and the region. Abi Najem said that Iran has been using Hizbullah to advance a “Persian plan” to bring chaos and destruction to the Arab world, and he stressed that there can be no peace as long as Hizbullah controls Lebanon. He also said that a joint front of the Arab countries would be able to confront Hizbullah and pressure it to disarm in accordance with U.N. Security Council resolutions. In a reference to recent tensions between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, Abi Najem urged Saudi Arabia not to withdraw from Lebanon because many people in Lebanon are Saudi Arabia’s allies and need its support. For more information about Tony Abi Najem, see MEMRI TV Clip No. 9002.




US consulting with Israel ahead of Iran nuclear talks
The US has been talking with Israel ahead of the upcoming Iran nuclear talks and will continue to do so, the State Department said. “During the previous six rounds of indirect negotiations in Vienna, [we] have regularly briefed them [Israeli and Gulf partners] on the course of those discussions,” State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said at Tuesday’s press briefing. “And as we prepare for the resumption of those talks, the seventh round in Vienna, this is an opportunity to compare notes and to prepare for that seventh round.”

Price said that Special Envoy Rob Malley had “excellent engagements” with Israeli officials during his visit to Israel, and that “close consultation and coordination will continue as we get closer to November 29 and of course once those negotiations resume.”

Malley’s trip to the Middle East comes two weeks before the next round of Vienna talks, the first round of indirect negotiations since May. Richard Goldberg, senior advisor to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, said that it’s important for the Biden administration to consult closely with key allies in the region before any engagement with Iran.

“So the fact that Malley is doing this trip is positive,” he said. “The question, of course, is whether he is checking a box for the diplomatic optics, or whether any of the concerns and objections he hears are being taken into consideration. To date, signs point to the former.” Israel and the Gulf countries likely have a lot of questions to Malley, said Goldberg.

“Will the United States press forward with a resolution censuring Iran at the upcoming IAEA board meeting?” he asked. “Will there be a deadline to walk away from indirect talks with Iran and return to sanctions enforcement? Will the US entertain anything less than a return to JCPOA – that is, will Malley be open to negotiating a different deal that offers Iran sanctions relief for even more limited nuclear concessions than the JCPOA?”
Iran restarts nuke parts production at facility Mossad accused of blowing up - report
Iran has resumed production of equipment for advanced centrifuges at the Karaj nuclear site that it accused the Mossad of blowing up in June, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

The report cited Western diplomatic sources who expressed concern that Iran could start to secretly divert advanced centrifuges to undeclared sites if it wished to clandestinely move closer to a nuclear weapon.

Centrifuges enrich uranium for potentially making a nuclear weapon, and some of Iran’s more advanced models can speed up that process by a rate of four to five times compared to older models.

These concerns are exacerbated by the fact that the IAEA admitted in September that it has been blind to what is going on at Karaj since June because of the Islamic Republic’s refusal to grant the nuclear inspectors access to the site or explain what happened to the monitoring cameras.

Although Tehran has claimed that postponing IAEA access relates to its investigation of the June sabotage attack in which the site was attacked by a drone, allegedly directed by the Mossad, IAEA Director-General Rafel Grossi has already said in September that such an explanation no longer holds water.
Report: Iran alleges Israel sabotaged nuclear site in Keraj

Iran Still Denying Inspectors ‘Essential’ Access to Workshop: IAEA report
Iran has still not granted UN nuclear inspectors access to re-install surveillance cameras at its TESA Karaj centrifuge-parts workshop, a step “essential” to reviving Iran’s nuclear deal, an International Atomic Energy Agency report said on Wednesday.

With indirect talks between the United States and Iran on reviving the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, due to resume on Nov. 29, the IAEA said its inability to re-install the cameras hindered its task of monitoring Iran’s nuclear activities.

“This is seriously affecting the Agency’s ability to restore continuity of knowledge at the workshop, which has been widely recognized as essential in relation to a return to the JCPOA,” the confidential report seen by Reuters said.

The workshop at the TESA Karaj complex makes components for centrifuges, machines that enrich uranium. It was hit by apparent sabotage in June in which one of four IAEA cameras there was destroyed. Iran removed them all, and the footage from the destroyed camera is missing.

TESA Karaj was one of several sites where Iran agreed on Sept. 12 to grant IAEA inspectors access, to service IAEA monitoring equipment and replace memory cards due to fill up with camera footage and other data.

That arrangement helped avoid a diplomatic escalation at a time when talks were paused on reviving the JCPOA, which imposed restrictions on Iran’s nuclear programs in return for the lifting of international sanctions against Tehran.


GOP Resolution Condemns Iran’s 2019 Crackdown of Protesters That Killed 1,500
House lawmakers on Wednesday will unveil a resolution that marks the two-year anniversary of the Iranian government's brutal crackdown on protesters, which took the lives of more than 1,500 anti-regime demonstrators.

The resolution, which is being spearheaded by Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R., Minn.) and a coalition of 24 Republican lawmakers, condemns the Iranian regime's brutal 2019 crackdown on protesters who stormed the streets in anger over the country's ailing economy, which was suffering under the weight of U.S. sanctions. Some of those sanctions have been unwound by the Biden administration as it seeks to strike a revamped version of the 2015 nuclear accord.

The resolution, a copy of which was exclusively obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, also calls out the Biden administration's State Department for altering a Trump-era report that acknowledged the more-than-1,500 citizens, including 400 women and 17 children, who were killed. The Biden administration in March revised that report, lowering the death count to 304. Republican hawks see this revision as an attempt by the Biden administration to whitewash the Iranian regime's mass human rights abuses.

The resolution would stand as Congress's first official recognition of the 2019 massacre, which became known among the Iranian dissident community as "Bloody November." The measure also takes direct aim at the Iranian regime's ongoing human rights abuses and efforts to stamp out any signs of unrest. Republicans are expected to overwhelmingly support the measure, while Democrats are expected to vote against it to avoid agitating Tehran as the Biden administration pursues diplomacy with the regime.

"President Trump's State Department released a report that confirmed 1,500 civilians were killed, yet the Biden Administration chose to minimize the severity of this attack by revising the initial report with a lower death toll," Hagedorn told the Free Beacon. "This false narrative being pushed by the Biden Administration is a slap in the face to all those who were killed that day as well as their families. We are urging this administration to revise its report to accurately reflect the lives that were lost in this deadly massacre."

One provision of the measure explicitly calls out the Biden administration for lowering the official estimate of those killed during the 2019 crackdown.











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