Friday, December 17, 2021

From Ian:

Ukraine recognizes Jerusalem as capital of Israel
Ukraine recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's "one and only capital" and will open a branch of its embassy in the capital in the upcoming year, Ambassador to Israel Yevgen Korniychuk said on Thursday.

Korniychuk's announcement came at the Kyiv Jewish Forum, an event marking 30 years of Israel-Ukraine ties, which was attended by Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze'ev Elkin, who grew up in Ukraine. Elkin is also the housing and construction minister.

The embassy branch in Jerusalem would be responsible for promoting bilateral trade and technological ties and will be inaugurated during a visit by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to Israel next year.

The aim of the annual Kyiv Jewish Forum – which was held online this year due to coronavirus restrictions – is to foster dialogue among leaders from around the globe that will help bring about solutions to such challenges as antisemitism, the rise of the anti-Israel boycott movement, and the effects of the ongoing pandemic. Discussions also centered on pressing issues facing Jewish communities worldwide, and relations between Ukraine, Israel, and the global Jewish community.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky attended the online event, as well as Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, Foreign Affairs Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Health Minister Viktor Liashko, in addition to Elkin, Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai and Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov, among other senior leaders and officials from Europe, Israel and the US.
Reopening Jerusalem consulate a priority for Biden admin. - Nuland
The US is still determined to reopen the Jerusalem consulate for the Palestinians and is still in dialogue with Israel about it, contrary to many reports, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland told Maariv.

She explained that, as clarified by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, reopening the consulate is seen as a priority for the Biden administration. This, she explained, would be a return to the longtime status quo, until former US president Donald Trump had closed the consulate down.

The Israeli government has been vocal in its opposition to reopening the consulate, as have some members of the opposition.
UN Watch: UN Completes 14 Resolutions on Israel, 5 on Rest of World Combined
The UN General Assembly will condemn Israel today in two separate resolutions, concluding the world body’s 2021 legislation with a total of 14 resolutions that single out the Jewish state, and five on the rest of the world combined.

There was one resolution each adopted yesterday for the regimes of North Korea, Iran and Myanmar, one on Crimea, while a draft resolution on Syria was deferred.

“The UN’s assault on Israel with a torrent of one-sided resolutions is surreal,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a Geneva-based non-governmental watchdog organization.

“It’s absurd that in the year 2021, out of some 20 UN General Assembly resolutions that criticize countries, 14 of them—70 percent—were focused on one single country: Israel. Make no mistake: the purpose of the lopsided condemnations is to demonize the Jewish state,” said Neuer.

Today’s Two Resolutions Against Israel
The plenary will vote today to ratify two one-sided resolutions against Israel that were adopted in draft form last month by the UNGA’s Second Committee.

The resolution entitled “Oil slick on Lebanese shores” singled out Israel as the only country to be censured under the “Sustainable Development” agenda item, and refers to an alleged incident from the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel. It is expected to pass by an overwhelming majority.

A second resolution condemns Israel for allegedly exploiting natural resources of the Palestinians, and in the Golan, also expected to be adopted by a wide margin. The text makes no mention of Hamas’ commandeering of international aid money to fund the construction of terror tunnels rather than to rebuild destroyed infrastructure; environmental pollution caused by Palestinian tire burning; destruction of flora and fauna with arson balloons and kites; and refusal to develop their own water resources and deal with their own sewage as required by the Oslo Accords.

Palestinian Self-Determination Resolution Adopted
Only yesterday, a resolution on “The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination” was adopted by a vote of 168 to 5, with 10 abstentions. Out of hundreds of self-determination claims worldwide, thee UNGA singled out one—the claim against Israel—while omitting Palestinian obligations to dismantle terrorist infrastructure before a state is to be created.

StandWithUs: The UN and Israel UN Secretary-Generals past and present all agree: The UN's disproportionate criticism of and obsession with Israel has to stop!

Caroline Glick: Netanyahu and Trump's well-defended goal
How are we supposed to understand journalist Barak Ravid's dramatic exposes regarding former US President Donald Trump's relations with Israel's former Prime Minister and current Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu?

Ravid's initial revelation – which was splashed across Yedioth Ahronoth's front page last Friday – had Trump cursing Netanyahu in the coarsest possible language for his belated congratulatory message to Joe Biden after Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential race. Although jarring, Trump's expletive-laced tirade against Netanyahu was easy enough to explain because it was textbook "Ravid" journalism. Barak Ravid is more of a left-wing activist than a reporter. And to advance his personal war against the right, he has a knack for making marginal bloviations the heart of his stories and for reducing major events into idle gossip.

In just one memorable example of "Ravid" journalism, in the summer of 2019, the Netanyahu government barred Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from entering Israel. The dramatic decision stemmed from the announced goal of their trip. Omar and Tlaib, who both reject Israel's right to exist, intended to use their trip to advance the antisemitic BDS campaign against the Jewish state.

The government's decision was a watershed event in the fight against progressive/Islamic Jew hatred. But for Ravid, it was nothing more than schoolyard politics. Ravid reported that the only reason Netanyahu barred the two women from entering the country was because Trump had pressured him to do so.

It wasn't a bid to isolate and delegitimize two powerful lawmakers who devote great efforts to popularizing and mainstreaming Jew-hatred in America and undermining US support for Israel. By Ravid's telling, Netanyahu was motivated solely his desire to please Trump. And Trump, for his part, was only interested in embarrassing two of his greatest critics in the House of Representatives.

Because in Ravid's world, everything right-wingers do is trivial, personal and political.

But if Trump's caustic language in reference to Netanyahu was easy enough to shove into the "Ravid gossip" file, Trump's characterization of PLO Chief and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on the one hand and his assessment of Netanyahu's substantive positions on the other was impossible to shrug off. Trump likened Abbas to his deceased father, and said that Netanyahu wasn't interested in peace.

The question is, what do we learn from Trump's statements about the two men?
The Caroline Glick Show: Ep30 – What Does Trump Really Think of Israel? | Guest: David Wurmser
In Episode 30 of the Caroline Glick Mideast News Hour, Caroline was joined by Dr. David Wurmser in Washington. They discussed Trump’s pro-Palestinian and anti-Netanyahu statements in his recently published interview with leftist Israeli reporter Barak Ravid and wht it tells us about his Middle East policies, his team, and the likely policies of a second Trump term in office.

They then discussed Trump’s decision to leave the 2015 nuclear deal, what it accomplished and how it has impacted the Biden administration’s efforts to reengage Iran in nuclear diplomacy from a position of weakness, and where it leaves Israel.

Lastly they moved to academia. On December 2, the Middle East Studies Association passed a resolution to support BDS. They considered what this liable to mean for future U.S. support for Israel and for the fight against anti-Semitism in America.

Melanie Phillips: Trump and Netanyahu: Allies No Longer?
Undeniably, there are people who want to tarnish the record of both Trump and Netanyahu.

And unless Ravid’s book is somehow discredited, it’s likely to do just that. It will tarnish Trump’s achievements, dishearten Israel’s friends and give heart to the enemies of the Jewish people in the Middle East and elsewhere.

This is all the more dismaying because of what has come after Trump. The Biden administration, elected as the antithesis to him, has shown itself to be no friend to Israel. It has weakened sanctions against Iran, falling over itself to restore the 2015 deal that would in effect fund Tehran to get its genocide bomb. It is denying Israel until 2024 the refueling aircraft it would need to attack Iran’s nuclear sites.

In the spring, it reportedly leaked that Israel was attacking Iranian oil tankers en route to Syria—a leak that revealed top-secret Israeli information.

It has done nothing to strengthen the Abraham Accords. It even tried in effect to redivide Jerusalem by proposing to reopen its Palestinian consulate there.

In Ravid’s book, Trump reasserts his deep love for Israel. His deeds have reinforced his words. The Biden administration professes to have Israel’s back — but it’s actually sticking its knife into it.

Political leaders should be neither blindly supported nor opposed. But ultimately, their words don’t matter. It’s their deeds that count.
The Israel Guys: REVEALED: Trump Slams Israel Over FALSE Allegations of Blocking Peace | Israel News
Former President Donald Trump came out with strong statements recently against former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the State of Israel. Although largely considered to be the most pro-Israel president the US has ever had, Trump’s personal ambition is clouding his reputation.

Trump seems to be deeply offended at former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for congratulating incoming U.S. President Joe Biden after he won the 2020 election. It turns out that contrary to Trump’s statement, Bibi was one of the last world leaders to send his congratulations to Biden. Trump even went so far as to accuse Netanyahu of being the reason that peace with the Palestinians was not achieved.

What was Trump’s true intention towards Israel? Was his personal ego the biggest factor in regards to his support for Israel?

What's in it for the US in its "foreign aid" to Israel?
1. The return on the annual US investment in Israel

*On October 2021 and January 2020, Israel's intelligence alerted the US of Iranian drone and missile attacks on US military installations in Southern Syria and Iraq. 200 US soldiers (in Syria) and 1,500 US soldiers (in Iraq) took effective shelter.

*The scope of Israeli intelligence shared with the US exceeds the intelligence provided by all NATO countries combined. It includes data on Iran's global terrorism and nuclear and ballistic programs; Islamic terrorism targeting the US and pro-US Arab regimes; battle tactics and military systems of US rivals and enemies; Israeli-developed technologies and battle tactics neutralizing hostile capabilities; Soviet nuclear-equipped intercontinental ballistic missiles; etc.

*According to General George Keegan, former Head of Air Force Intelligence: "I could not have procured the intelligence [received from Israel] with five CIAs." The annual budget of one CIA is around $15BN.

*Israel is the most cost-effective, battle-tested laboratory of the US defense industries, employing (with much gratitude!) hundreds of US military systems, sharing with the US manufacturers lessons (operation, maintenance, repairs), which are integrated as upgrades. These upgrades enhance US global competitiveness, spare the US billions of dollars and many years of research and development, increase US exports and expand US employment.

According to Lockheed-Martin (formerly GD), Israel's use of the F-16 has yielded over 700 upgrades, netting a mega-billion-dollar bonanza to the manufacturer. A similar bonanza is enjoyed by McDonnell-Douglas, the manufacturer of the F-15. The benefits to the US derived by the more sophisticated and expensive F-35 are substantially higher.
Congress Approves $200 Million for Israel’s Missile Defense Needs
Congress approved $200 million in funding for Israel's critical missile defense programs as part of the annual U.S. defense spending package, according to a review of the legislation that was approved earlier this week.

The National Defense Authorization Act, the sprawling yearly spending bill, allocates $108 million to Iron Dome, Israel's chief defense against rocket attacks from Hamas and other Iran-armed terror groups. This funding will allow Israel to procure the components necessary to keep Iron Dome operating in the face of mounting regional threats. Some of that money will also make its way back to the United States since the system relies on components made in America.

David's Sling, which is designed to intercept enemy planes, drones, and ballistic missiles—such as those fired by Iran—is slated to receive $30 million. The Arrow 3 Upper Tier Interceptor system, which is capable of destroying a ballistic missile in space, was given $62 million. The funding for all of these defense systems will provide a future bulwark against Israel's enemies, which continue to develop their own advanced weapons primarily with Tehran's assistance. The money will also help Israel maintain Iron Dome and its other systems after they were severely strained in May of this year, when Hamas fired thousands of rockets at civilian targets during several weeks of violence.

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R., Colo.), who spearheaded the funding initiatives and ensured they remained in the final version of the NDAA, told the Washington Free Beacon that it is important to prioritize Israel's missile defense in the face of mounting Democratic opposition to such programs. House Democrats on the party's leftward flank have become increasingly vocal in their opposition to U.S.-Israel security cooperation. Reps. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.), two of the House's most vocal anti-Israel antagonists, have sought to block military aid to Israel and have brought many other Democrats to their side in recent years.

"I was very pleased we fully funded the Iron Dome and other Israeli missile defense programs, which, historically, were never controversial," Lamborn said. "Unfortunately, in recent years leading voices in the Democrat Party have become increasingly anti-Israel, and so much so that they oppose providing our strong friend Israel an entirely defensive weapon system like Iron Dome created to protect civilian population centers."
After 70 years on the sidelines, AIPAC will now officially fundraise for politicians
It has been for decades a recurring confusion for some in Washington: does AIPAC, the country’s largest pro-Israel lobby, have a PAC?

Not until today.

The PAC in AIPAC stands for Public Affairs Committee, not political action committee. But after countless explanations over the years, the group is getting into the fundraising business.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee on Thursday launched a regular political action committee, which funnels $5,000 maximum donations to designated candidates per race, and a super PAC, which can raise unlimited money for a candidate. AIPAC PAC will be the name of the regular PAC, while the super PAC has yet to be named.

“The creation of a PAC and a super PAC is an opportunity to significantly deepen and strengthen the involvement of the pro-Israel community in politics,” AIPAC spokesman Marshall Wittmann said in an email. “The PACs will work in a bipartisan way.”

Wittmann would not provide further comment. But one function of the PACs could be to allow AIPAC to more robustly favor Democrats who are close to the lobby, to counter an impression in recent years that has deeply troubled the lobby: that it is more inclined to do battle with Democrats than Republicans. Additionally, coming out with an initiative that is emphatically bipartisan is a means of rejecting pressure on the lobby from Republicans to shun Democrats.
Israel’s UN envoy Erdan brings group of visiting ambassadors to Hezbollah tunnel
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan led a group of 12 UN ambassadors on a tour of Israel’s northern border with Lebanon on Thursday to show them a Hezbollah tunnel made for carrying out terror attacks in Israel.

The delegation, consisting of ambassadors from Albania, Argentina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Ecuador, Hungary, Nauru, Palau, South Korea, Samoa, Uruguay and Zambia, toured the tunnel on the border and heard from security officials.

Erdan said the visit was designed “to show them the murderous and extremist plan of the terrorist organization Hezbollah, whose goal is to burrow into the territory of the State of Israel and to kill or kidnap as many citizens as possible.”

“Hezbollah has been planning this for years, but the IDF uncovered it,” he added, according to a statement released by his office.

The tunnels were found and sealed off in 2018 and 2019 in a highly-publicized operation. Israeli military officials regularly give visiting dignitaries tours of tunnels on its borders with Lebanon and Gaza to demonstrate the threats it faces.

Erdan said he expects the UN and the international community “to hold the government of Lebanon responsible for what will happen in the next conflict in the North.”
Uncovered documents expose Qatari terrorism financing
When it comes to hijacking headlines, Qatar is no stranger, hosting the upcoming soccer World Cup, and even writing the world’s headlines through its state-financed Al Jazeera network. Doha’s natural-gas wealth has bolstered Qatar’s influence, helping it fund US universities to the tune of $5 billion, lobby the US Congress, and subsidize the highly influential Brookings Institute.

Whether via high-profile spectacles, writing the headlines, or coercing those defining them, Qatar has managed to suppress its dark side – its terrorism financing.

Qatar has provided billions of dollars to Muslim Brotherhood regimes and affiliates, such as Hamas, and to Islamists who have fueled civil war in Libya and Syria, such as Ahrar al-Sham, which executed attacks alongside the successor of Jabhat al-Nusra, an offshoot of al Qaeda.

Receipts uncovered from Qatar’s state-run Eid charity – perhaps the world’s largest “Salafi-controlled relief organization” – by the Middle East Forum, a US-based think-tank, suggest that the black hole of Qatari Islamist financing plunges deeper than previously thought. The receipts indicate that Qatar has provided 45,000 grants worth billions of dollars to charities in more than 70 countries – over a third of the world.

Beneficiaries include organizations in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, but also some in Canada, Mexico, the UK, France, Germany – and even the US state of Colorado.

Though many Eid Charity beneficiaries have yet to be audited, some preliminary findings further reveal Qatar’s ties to Middle Eastern radical groups including Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Hamas, and Ihsani Yardim Vakfiih (IHH). Collectively, these groups and their referenced affiliates have received about US$75 million from Qatar’s Eid Charity.
Seth Fratzman: Could the Abraham Accords make a good movie?
The Abraham Accords are now the subject of several books and a recent documentary that has been airing on Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). The momentous and important agreement appears ideal for a dramatized feature film or multi-part series on Netflix, HBO or a similar platform. How should such a project be undertaken and what might be its pitfalls?

Author Joel Rosenberg was the first to write a book on the subject. The 400-pager was published by Tyndale in September. It is called Enemies and Allies: An Unforgettable Journey Inside The Fast-Moving and Immensely Turbulent Modern Middle East. There are likely to be a number of other publications and media releases related to the Accords.

The first episode of the documentary The Abraham Accords, produced by the Christian global Trinity Broadcasting Network, aired earlier this year. The second episode aired on December 3 and former Ambassador David Friedman, the executive producer of the series, tweeted that he was putting the finishing touches on episode 3 of the documentary, which will appear in January. Friedman is also writing a book called Sledgehammer: How Breaking With the Past Brought Peace to the Middle East, which will be released in February 2022.

At the same time, a new book by Barak Ravid about the peace deal has been making the rounds. He has also been doing a podcast called How it Happened at Axios. His book, announced in early December, is called Trump’s Peace: The Abraham Accords and the Reshaping of the Middle East. What this means is there are a variety of accounts already out there that relate to the accords. Each has its own perspective. This is because the accords are like an elephant, where each person can only see part of it. Israelis involved in the process, such as those close to former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have one way of looking at the road that led to the normalization agreements. The team around Trump has another view and likely within that team there are differing views as well. The Gulf leadership, from Bahrain to the UAE and leaders in Saudi Arabia, has yet another side to tell.

‘A huge loss’: Yehudah Dimentman, 25, named as victim of West Bank terror shooting
The fatality of Thursday’s terror shooting was named as Yehudah Dimentman, 25, a father of one from the West Bank settlement of Shavei Shomron.

He was a student at the yeshiva, or religious school, in the Homesh outpost in the West Bank, near where the attack took place.

He leaves behind a wife and son, a 9-month-old infant, according to Hebrew media reports.

Dimentman and two others were fired on while driving a car as they left Homesh on Thursday night. A military official said the car had been ambushed from the side of the road.

The other two passengers sustained light injuries in the attack from broken glass.

One of the other passengers, Aviah Entman, 22, told reporters about Dimentman from the hospital.

“He was my friend. He was a really good guy. He was a very sweet person and was welcoming to everyone who wanted to speak with him. We got to talk a lot,” Entman said. “He was fun to have as a friend. We didn’t have any fear of a shooting. We didn’t think it could happen.”

“It’s hard for me to believe he’s no longer with us. Just in our last conversation today he came to me all happy and said, ‘Today I won something.’ I asked him what happened and he told me his wife had asked him to take care of his child for a while. He said he was happy he would be with the child.”

Hundreds join funeral procession for terrorist shooting victim Yehuda Dimantman
Hundreds of mourners joined the funeral procession on Friday morning for Yehuda Dimantman, who was murdered Thursday in a terrorist shooting attack in the Homesh outpost in Samaria.

Dimantman, a 25-year-old yeshiva student, is survived by his widow and infant son, who is a year and a half old.

Dimantman's funeral procession departed from Homesh at 9 a.m. Friday morning and the funeral itself is scheduled for 12 p.m. at Har Hamenuhot in Jerusalem.

Neria Shlomo Perlzman, 25, who was wounded in the same attack that claimed Dimantman's life, was driving the car when the terrorists opened fire. Speaking to Israel Hayom, Perlzman said that the shooting was taken place at the exit from the outpost.

"We were hit with a round of billets, and I realized right away that it was shooting. I turned the car to the left and hit it toward the road, while another round was being fired. The bullets hit the wheels and caused a flat tire, so we drove like crazy to Shavei Shomron, where the responders treated us," Perlzman said.

Perlzman said that the yeshiva in Homesh had reached out to security forces, asking them to handle the fireworks and rocks thrown at residents along the road near the outpost, but the request had been "ignored."

"I hope they won't start talking about a need to leave the outpost because of the attack – the opposite, we need to increase our presence and approve the settlement," he said.

Perlzman described Dimantman as a "very good" friend.

"I can't believe I'm talking about him in the past tense. It doesn't make sense. This is a nightmare. He always took care of his friends. He has a year and a half year old son, who didn't do anything to deserve being left fatherless."
Terror victim's brother to Bennett: Don't let Yehuda's blood be spilled in vain
Yehuda Dimentman was a soldier without a uniform who dedicated his life to rebuilding the Homesh settlement and who was killed in a terror attack as he descended from that hilltop he so loved, recalled those who eulogized him on Friday.

"Don't let Yehuda's blood be spilled in vain," the terrorist victim's brother Shlomi cried out, as he spoke during the first leg of the day-long funeral that began under a black tent in Homesh.

It held only a fraction of the mourners that came to bid farewell to the father of a toddler who studied at the small Homesh Yeshiva. At times one could hear sobs from the and at others angry shouts of "revenge!"

The IDF evacuated the small northern Samaria hilltop community in 2005, after it pulled out of Gaza. Activists have since built a small illegal yeshiva at the site, to hold the land for that a time when they could sway the government to rebuild the settlement.

"Yehuda was only nine when that happened," recalled Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan. "As a young boy he chose to carry the banner of that struggle so he could bring us home," said Dagan, who is an evacuee of the nearby Sa-Nur settlement that was also destroyed in 2005.

IDF chief says Israel will expand West Bank manhunt until terror shooters are found
Military chief Aviv Kohavi on Friday toured the site of a deadly terror shooting that occurred the previous night, vowing to expand the manhunt until the Palestinian gunmen are found.

“The Israel Defense Forces and security forces continue to pursue the terrorists involved in the attack,” Kohavi said while visiting the site near the West Bank outpost of Homesh, according to a statement released by the IDF.

“Along with using intelligence capabilities, we will also increase combat forces and will continue to act and expand operational activities as needed,” Kohavi said.

“We will not stop until we capture the terrorists,” he added, as he surveyed the area with senior military and security officials.

Clashes in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah; cop hurt, 2 arrested
Fresh unrest was reported Friday in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, which has been a flashpoint for demonstrations and rioting in recent months.

Police said dozens of people were rioting and hurling chairs at officers at the scene. A cop was lightly hurt after being hit in the head with one of the chairs and was taken to receive medical care.

Police said they arrested two suspects, one for throwing the chair that hit the policeman and another for making threats.

Sheikh Jarrah, a neighborhood that is a 10-minute train ride away from Jerusalem’s city center, has emerged as a symbolic flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Over the past few years, a handful of Jewish nationalists have moved into the mostly Palestinian neighborhood, mostly through complex eviction cases.

Tensions in the neighborhood have risen in recent months due to long-simmering court battles over dozens of homes in the neighborhood in which Palestinian families have lived for decades, but which Jewish groups claim legally belong to them.

Many Palestinians and their supporters see that conflict as part of a larger effort by Israel to expunge their presence from the contested capital. The dispute — along with clashes at the Temple Mount — played a role in the Hamas terror group’s decision to fire a barrage of rockets at Jerusalem in May, sparking a brutal 11-day conflict between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

IDF General Rassan Aliyan to Gaza Residents: ‘Hamas Is Selling You for Cheap’
The coordinator of government operations in Judea and Samaria, Major General Rassan Aliyan, had a message on Thursday for the people of Gaza: “Hamas is selling you for cheap. For NIS 350, it risked thousands of trade permits for Gaza residents. ”

The message was said in Arabic on his Facebook page. The General’s comments came in response to the latest case of terrorism that has been uncovered.

On Thursday, TPS reported on how a joint operation by the Shin Bet security service and the Israel Police led to the exposure of two Arabs who spied on Israeli military targets on behalf of the Hamas terror organization, with an apparent focus on the Iron Dome defense system.

Hussein Biari, 30, an Israeli citizen from Jaffa with a family in the Gaza Strip, and Mahmoud Ahmad, 33, a resident of the Gaza Strip, were arrested on November 29, the Shin Bet cleared for publication on Thursday.

The findings of the investigations indicate that the two were recruited by Hamas’ espionage infrastructure based in the Gaza Strip, which employs agents inside Israel, guided by terrorist operatives from Gaza, including Muhammad Halawa. Halawa’s name has come in precious Shin Bet investigations.

“Mahmoud and the terrorist organization Hamas endangered the tens of thousands of Gazans who hold trade permits,” wrote Aliyan. “Hamas risked millions of shekels that Gaza traders bring to the Gaza Strip from work in Israel for 350 shekels.”
MEMRI: Defying Ban On Military Activity On Campus, Students At Palestinian Authority Birzeit University Hold Military Parades With Mock Rockets, Explosive Belts
In the past few days two military parades were held on the campus of Birzeit University in the West Bank, at which participants, wearing mock explosive belts and carrying mock rockets, called to continue the struggle against Israel. On December 13, 2021 the student organization of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) held a large-scale military parade to mark the 54th anniversary of the movement's founding, at which dozens of masked and uniformed activists marched on campus wearing mock explosive belts and carrying PFLP flags and emblems, mock rockets, and signs bearing the portraits of terrorists and terror leaders, including former PFLP leaders George Habash and Abu 'Ali Mustafa, Hamas founder Ahmad Yasin and Palestinian Islamic Jihad founder Fathi Shaqaqi.

A statement issued by the PFLP on the occasion of its 54th anniversary said: "It is necessary to adhere to the option and the plan of resistance, which has proved to be effective in the struggle against the Zionist enterprise and in uniting our Palestinian people everywhere, [including all] its national forces and parties, as was evident in the Sword of Jerusalem campaign [the May 2021 round of fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza]…"[1]

On the following day, the Hamas student organization held a similar event on campus to mark the 34th anniversary of Hamas' founding. At the event, attended by dozens of masked activists, Hamas student leaders declared that they will remain loyal to the path of resistance.[2] Activists also saluted the "body parts scattered" in suicide bombings in Israeli cities, and praised Yahya 'Ayyash, a Birzeit graduate who was a cofounder of Hamas' military wing and one of the initiators of the policy of suicide bombings.

It should be mentioned that these events took place despite the ban passed by the university in 2019 against military-style activities and displays on campus. This ban led to a severe crisis between the university and the student organizations, which insisted on continuing these activities. During the recent PFLP parade university staff tried to seize the mock rockets, but without success, and during the Hamas event students broke into a lecture hall that had been locked. The Assistant Dean of Student Affairs, Fadel Al-Khalidi, explained that the university had banned all student activities on campus due to the Covid pandemic, but the PLFP and Hamas student organizations said this was only a pretext to ban their activities.[3]
Kidnapping and rockets: Hamas holds large-scale military exercise in Gaza
Hamas operatives simulated raids on military bases and the kidnapping of soldiers in a large-scale military drill Thursday.

At least three rockets were launched into the Mediterranean Sea from the Gaza Strip during Hamas' so-called "Shield of Jerusalem" exercise. The Hamas-aligned al-Resalah TV station published a series of videos and images in which terrorists can be seen taking part in the drill by firing machine guns and mortars and practicing abducting Israelis soldiers.

A member of Hamas' military wing told al-Resalah that "the exercise is aimed at showing our willingness and determination against the background of the Zionist occupier's continued violations of the Palestinian rights in Gaza."

FDD: Exploiting America’s Declining Pressure: Iran’s Nuclear Escalation Over Time
Iran’s nuclear advances have grown in scale and scope since it began overtly violating the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May 2019. As the timeline below indicates, Tehran has made its most significant nuclear moves since the election of President Joe Biden, who has softened U.S. policy toward Iran and seeks re-entry into the JCPOA. Many of these steps, such as enriching uranium to 20 and 60 percent purity, producing uranium metal, and operating advanced centrifuges, provide Iran with irreversible knowledge relevant to atomic weapons production. In addition to sanctions relief, Tehran now appears to seek nuclear-threshold status, a position that may render other states unable or unwilling to prevent Iran from producing a nuclear weapon should it decide to do so.

Israeli General and Former Security Chief: Iran ‘Target Map’ is Psychological Warfare
An Iranian newspaper that published a map of Israel filled with red dots marking targets amounts to “psychological warfare” and little else, former National Security Council head Maj. Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland told Army Radio on Thursday.

“They did not invest too much in choosing the targets,” said Eiland, noting that “those who prepared the map did not notice that it also marks Palestinian cities.”

Still, he added, “the ‘scary’ message has been passed; this is psychological warfare.”

Eiland said Iran had limited abilities in directly attacking Israel from its territory, but that the firepower capabilities of its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah, as well as its attempts to arm proxies in Syria and western Iraq, form the bulwark of an authentic and serious threat.

On Wednesday, the Tehran Times, which is linked to Iran’s foreign ministry, ran a front-page article with the headline “Just One Wrong Move!” An accompanying graphic featured the map with red dots.

“An intensification of Israeli military threats against Iran seems to suggest that the Zionist regime has forgotten that Iran is more than capable of hitting them from anywhere,” said the article.

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