Wednesday, January 26, 2022

From Ian:

Congress members call for defunding of UN Commission of Inquiry into Israel
A bipartisan group of legislators in the House of Representatives is calling for the United States to defund the U.N. Committee of Inquiry (COI) on Israel.

Led by Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) and Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), the 42 members sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, according to a news release on Tuesday, calling the COI, which was recently approved in the United Nations, “outrageous and unjust.”

“We urge the U.S. to lead an effort to end the outrageous and unjust permanent Commission of Inquiry (COI) on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which was created by the UNHRC in May 2021,” the members wrote in the letter. “This commission will not only focus on the actions Israel took in Gaza as it sought to defend its citizens from unprovoked rocket attacks. It will also have a carte blanche mandate—in perpetuity—to investigate any allegations against Israel in the past or in the future; whether in the West Bank or Gaza or in all of Jerusalem and even within the recognized pre-1967 borders of the State of Israel.”

The letter recalled the administration’s stance against the COI when it controversially announced last year that the United States will return to the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC), despite having withdrawn from it under former President Donald Trump, with Blinken stating that the United States will oppose actions that unfairly target Israel.

“COI’s mandate is designed to accelerate the political, economic, and legal challenges to Israel and undermine its legitimacy by pressuring international legal institutions to take action against Israeli leaders,” the members wrote. “Shockingly, the COI resolution makes no mention of the terror group Hamas—which initiated the conflict by launching missile attacks on Israel—and does not include any mention of Israel’s right to defend itself.”
StandWithUs: The antisemitic roots of the UN's latest effort to harm Israel
Meet Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. He attended a meeting at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to promote a resolution introduced by his government targeting the world's only Jewish state with a new "Commission of Inquiry".

In May of 2021, he went on CNN and spewed anti-Jewish conspiracy theories. Only a week earlier, he was allowed to spread more hatred and misinformation against Israel at the UN.

The UNHRC is supposed to protect human rights around the world. However, in reality, it is a corrupt institution that perpetuates hate against Israel and the Jewish people. Its new "Commission of Inquiry" has no legitimacy because it is rooted in this systemic discrimination. UN: Your bias is showing. This is #UNjust and UNacceptable.

MEMRI: Kuwaiti Writer: It Is High Time To Put Aside Hatred Against Jews, Which Has Gotten Us Nowhere
In a January 17, 2022 article on the English-language website, Kuwaiti writer and poet Nejoud Al-Yagout notes that, when, in December 2021, the U.S. embassy in Kuwait wished the local Jews a happy Hanukkah, many Kuwaitis responded with fury. They used the incident not just to troll the ambassador, but to express hatred for any and all Jews. Al-Yagout wonders where "this cringe-worthy fear" towards Jews comes from, and why Kuwaitis are not ashamed of it, given that their country prides itself on tolerance and coexistance. She notes that this antagonism has caused most of Kuwait's Jews to emigrate, and the few who remain to hide their identity, which, she says, is a great loss for the country.

Al-Yagout adds that the Quran preaches diversity and refers to the Torah as a sacred book and to the Jews as People of the Book; therefore, Muslims who harbor resentment towards them cannot pretend to be following the principles of their faith. Moreover, Muslims who feel such hatred have no right to complain about Islamophobia, she says. Nor is there any legitimate political reason for harboring resentment towards Jews, she argues, since it is possible to support Palestine without feeling such resentment. She concludes that it is high time to put aside hatred, which has brought nothing but destruction and war, and become a more open and welcoming society.

The following are excerpts from her article:
"On November 28, 2021, there was quite a controversy when the US Embassy wished Jews in Kuwait a Happy Hanukkah on social media. Some commentators trolled the Ambassador, and anyone who responded to the message in a spirit of love was verbally abused. Some argued that there are not many Jews in Kuwait, so why would the US Embassy post such a message? The commentators used the message not only to accuse the ambassador of having an agenda but to attack Jews as a whole.

"What is this cringe-worthy fear we have toward Jews? We cannot use the excuse that we don’t celebrate the festivities of other religions, because many Kuwaitis love to celebrate Christmas, and a few celebrate Diwali with Hindus. We cannot say we are protecting Islamic principles, because Kuwait is filled with people of all faiths and no faiths. As such, is this who we have become in a country whose heritage prides itself on coexistence? What a pity. What a loss for us. How heartbreaking for our forefathers, a few of whom were Jews who lived here alongside us.

"For those of us who are fortunate to have Jewish friends and acquaintances, most of the Jews we know live abroad. This is because Jews who live here do not announce their religion for fear of being ostracized or offending the “sensitivities” of their cousins in religion. Or because they are such a rarity that, as a local Jew once stated, they don’t even know about each other. We could be sitting next to a Jew in a café and never know it.

"How did we get here? And more tellingly, why are we not ashamed?

Ruthie Blum: Is there any point in meeting with PA officials?
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid didn't boast on social media about his meeting on Sunday with Palestinian Authority honcho Hussein al-Sheikh. The latter did so immediately, however.

"I met this evening with … Lapid, and we discussed several political and bilateral issues," tweeted al-Sheikh, head of the PA's "General Authority of Civil Affairs" and member of the Fatah Central Committee. "I have highlighted the need for a political horizon between the two parties based on international legitimacy."

The last two words of the post reveal just what kind of "political and bilateral issues" were the focus of the talk between the powerful figure considered a possible successor to PA leader Mahmoud Abbas and the man slated to replace Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett next year. The false PA claim and commonly heard mantra that Israel violates international law as an "occupying power" – chanted in anti-Zionist circles around the world – is nothing new.

Nor is the often-obfuscated fact that it's not only Hamas that refers to the illegitimacy of the Jewish state within any borders.

Speaking of which, Abbas prefaced his address to the 76th session of the UN General Assembly three months ago by stating: "This year marks the 73rd anniversary of the nakba," the so-called "catastrophe" of Israel's establishment in 1948.
CAIR Warns of Threat from Jews and 'ProntPage Magazine'
A week before a Muslim terrorist attacked a Texas Temple in a bid to free CAIR’s favorite terrorist, Lady Al Qaeda aka Aafia Siddiqui, the hate group released another of its increasingly discredited “Islamophobia” reports seeking to cut off donations to Jewish and anti-terror groups.

The reports, originally titled, ‘Fear Inc’, started out bad and have only gotten worse over the years. The 2021 report, ‘Islamophobia in the Mainstream’, is a cynical campaign to smear pro-Israel groups like EMET, CAMERA, and MEMRI for calling out CAIR’s anti-Semitism.

In MEMRI’s case, the group is guilty of posting video clips of Islamic support for terrorism and anti-Semitism that make CAIR and its pro-terrorists look bad, like the CAIR-TX panel on Aafia Siddiqui in which Linda Sarsour described Lady Al Qaeda as a political prisoner as well as a CAIR rally in support of Lady Al Qaeda not long after the anniversary of September 11 at which a speaker blamed "Zionist judges" for the plight of Muslim terrorists in Guantanamo Bay.

CAIR complains that MEMRI "inaccurately translates news" and is guilty of "inflammatory representation", but the speakers at the CAIR events are using English and the only inflammatory materials are coming out of their mouths.

It’s understandable that CAIR wouldn’t want people hearing that a speaker at one of its rallies was accusing the Jews of being behind the imprisonment of Siddiqui only to have a Muslim terrorist attack a synagogue over her. The problem here isn’t islamophobia: it’s anti-Semitism.

The Coalition for Jewish Values, representing thousands of Orthodox Jewish rabbis, correctly responded to the latest CAIR smear campaign by calling it “both pro-terror and anti-Semitic”.
Masih Alinejad: Why I’m opposed to Ilhan Omar’s bill against Islamophobia
I should make clear: I have nothing against Omar personally. Like her, I have many relatives who are pious Muslims I love and respect. Like her, I identify as a feminist. And contrary to those who have tried to smear me as a partisan, I’m very far from being a Republican operative; human rights is a bipartisan issue for me.

The regimes that promote Islamist ideologies, such as those in Iran, Turkey or Saudi Arabia, have armies of well-paid consultants and lobbyists who can use the rights and freedoms offered in this country to undermine the principles that uphold those freedoms. I fear that the legislation sponsored by Omar will play into the hands of those who wish to curtail free debate and criticism. (The website Govtrack, which follows the progress of legislation, currently assesses the bill’s likelihood of passing the Senate as low.)

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “phobia” as an “exaggerated fear” or “an intolerance or aversion.” But many women who live in countries such as Iran, Taliban-controlled Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia have a rational fear of sharia laws. To call out laws that treat women as second-class citizens is not Islamophobia.

I have recounted my own struggles with sharia laws many times — including the challenges that I have had, and still have, with my own family. My mother is a devout Muslim who wears hijab all the time. I, on the other hand, challenged clerical rule with my journalism until I was thrown out of Iran. I launched a campaign against compulsory hijab, demanding that Iranian women be given the freedom of choice to decide their own destiny.

Will such criticism of compulsory hijab be labeled as Islamophobia?

Even before this legislation was introduced, many Iranian dissidents were feeling pressure from U.S. social media platforms to tone down their criticisms of Iran and the Taliban. Some activists have seen their social media posts removed, their accounts suspended. Criticizing the ugly practices of Islamists all too often earns you a demerit. If you criticize some aspect of Islam, you receive death threats from the zealots — and censorship and cancellation from the well-meaning liberals who don’t want to offend anyone.

Weeks after the Women’s March, I reached out to some of the organizers to seek their help for my campaign against compulsory hijab. I found that hardly anyone was willing to support my campaign lest they be accused of promoting Islamophobia.

The women of the Middle East can speak for themselves. Recently, I launched a campaign on social media using the hashtag #LetUsTalk. I simply put up two photographs: One showed me as a child in hijab. The other showed me as I am today, an adult who is free to choose how I wish to live. I urged women from the Middle East and Afghanistan to tell their own stories about how sharia laws restrain and harm women and girls. Hundreds have already shared their stories. Let’s not impose further burdens on their ability to do so.
Jeremy Corbyn barred from rejoining UK Labour Party
Jeremy Corbyn, a Labour Party MP and the United Kingdom’s former opposition leader from 2015-2020, was not reinstated as an MP in the party following a vote on Tuesday, international media reports.

Corbyn, from the left-leaning Labour Party, served as leader of the opposition for the better part of the 2010s. He was suspended by the party in October 2020 after stating that antisemitism in the party had been overstated for political reasons – as it was embroiled in accusations of organizational antisemitism. He has yet to be reinstated by his replacement as party whip, Keir Starmer, and lost his latest appeal on Tuesday morning.

Corbyn, who has been accused of antisemitism by many across the United Kingdom – including the late Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and former PM David Cameron – was initially suspended amid a party-wide review of antisemitic practices – such as 23 counts of inappropriate involvement in antisemitism complaints – by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

He publicly stated the allegations were "dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media" on a Facebook post and was suspended by the party shortly thereafter.

The former whip faced several charges of antisemitism during his nearly six-year tenure – most notably when he said that he was criticizing Zionists "in the accurate political sense and not as a euphemism for Jewish people," which he followed up with: “They [British Jews] clearly have two problems. One is they don’t want to study history and, secondly, having lived in this country for a very long time, probably all their lives, they don’t understand English irony either.”

Former Chief Rabbi of England, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, said the remarks were "the most offensive statement made by a senior British politician" in 50 years.
The Demise of the EastMed Pipeline
As a foreign policy matter, Turkey and Russia heavily disapproved of the entire EastMed project, which did not include either of them. Although Israel has said more than once that Turkey should be included in the consortium, Ankara has adamantly declined because it claims part of the energy resources of Cyprus as its own. Russia, for its part, would be happy to scuttle the pipeline to ensure its monopoly in Europe.

Russia already has enormous leverage. It is January and it is cold. Europeans are now facing shortages of natural gas, as Russia reduced its exports to Europe by more than 41 percent from the level of January 2021. It's not that Russia can't deliver more; it just chooses not to. The EU's competition commissioner said she is "eagerly awaiting" Gazprom's response to questions about insufficient deliveries. But International Energy Agency (IEA) executive director Fatih Birol had the answer, saying European countries "face significant risks" by relying heavily on one supplier. "We see strong elements of 'artificial tightness' in European gas markets, which appears to be due to the behavior of Russia's state-controlled gas supplier."

It had been U.S. policy in the prior administration to stymie the Russians as much as possible—and so, it not only supported EastMed, but also opposed the Nord Stream II pipeline. The Biden administration's operating philosophy is different.

The final foreign policy element in the EastMed story is the Russia-U.S.-NATO standoff over Russian threats to Ukraine. The West has very few good options—threatening Russia with a war in Europe over Ukraine is not a winning strategy. The Biden administration may be trying other ideas, such as enticing Vladimir Putin into a more conciliatory position by removing a thorn in Russia's side—even as the Russian president makes it clear to Europe that as cold as they are, he can make them colder. Or, more ominously, the administration may be encouraging Turkey to support the Ukrainians with weapons the U.S. cannot supply—Turkey has supplied drones and other equipment, angering Russia.

At the bottom of the morass of economic, energy and foreign policy, a few well-known axioms are striving to make themselves heard: energy independence is best, energy diversity is good, working with your friends and allies on both is crucial. EastMed should be supported.
US Reps question withdrawal of US support for EastMed pipeline from Israel
Withdrawing US support for the EastMed Pipeline undercuts US allies and the European Union’s push for energy independence, US representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-Florida) and Nicole Malliotakis (R-New York) wrote to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

“The administration must realize the significant economic, environmental, and national security implications that are at stake in this matter and reconsider its decision to withdraw support for this critical project,” Bilirakis said this week.

The US Biden administration informed Israel, Greece and Cyprus in recent weeks that it no longer supports the proposed EastMed natural-gas pipeline from Israel to Europe, in a reversal of US position from that of the Trump administration. The project was announced in 2016, and several agreements on it have been signed between the three countries that aim to complete the €6 billion ($6.8b.) project by 2025, though no financing has been secured.

Europe is facing a surge in energy prices, the representatives pointed out, arguing that the continent will primarily rely on natural gas for energy for decades. They noted that the EU considers the EastMed pipeline a “special project.” SteelSeries Arctis 5 2019 Edition - Black SteelSeries Arctis 5 2019 Edition - Black. ... Sponsored by JW Computers

“The surge in energy prices has ironically led to the increased use of coal to meet demand,” they stated. “Since natural gas is a cleaner energy option over other fossil fuels, it is a crucial energy source for government policies seeking to transition into greener energies. The European Union recognizes this and has even declared the pipeline a special project. The EastMed pipeline project would not only alleviate future shortages of natural gas to Europe, but would promote energy independence and economic prosperity for our strategic allies of Greece, Israel and Cyprus.”
Turkey Hit By Unprecedented Power Outages As Iran Halts Gas Flows
Turkey is undergoing massive power cuts to industrial customers this week at an unprecedented level never seen before after the country’s natural gas supplies dipped following a disruption of imports from Iran. Major industrial zones and clusters and major production sites, including those of foreign car manufacturers, are being hit by power outages after Iran said at the end of last week it would halt natural gas exports to Turkey for ten days, due to technical issues.

On Friday, Iran announced that gas flows were restored, but Turkey said supplies were very low and at low pressure.

“The system is being disrupted due to the low amount and pressure. The compressor stations on the Turkey side are ready, operational, and there are no technical issues on the Turkish side,” a Turkish official told Reuters on Friday.

Gas supply from Iran to Turkey has yet to fully resume, which puts major industries under power cuts this week, according to Turkey’s main electricity distribution company TEIAS, cited by Bloomberg.

As of Monday, Turkey’s industrial production will stop completely for at least three days, Daily Sabah reported on Sunday.

Gas accounts for more than half of the country’s electricity generation, and Iran’s halting of flows comes at a time of surging gas imports for Turkey, which have become much more expensive due to the crumbling Turkish currency, the lira.
Richard Kemp: Call the Houthis What They Are — Foreign Terrorists
Following last week's Abu Dhabi attack, Biden said he will consider reversing the decision. That would be the right move and he should do it immediately.

Biden's moves were a classic example of the failure of appeasement. Inevitably, the Iranian ayatollahs were not won over by these and other US placations. Instead they have become increasingly hard-nosed, demanding more US compromises in exchange for fewer restrictions on their nuclear weapons project -- a typical Iranian regime response to perceived weakness.

Ansar Allah still represents a direct terrorist threat to the US. In the past it has taken American citizens hostage and in 2016 fired anti-ship missiles at US vessels off the coast of Yemen.... Ansar Allah also jeopardises wider American interests in the region, as well as its allies.

So far the West has proved impotent in helping to end this devastating war, with all efforts at agreeing a negotiated settlement frustrated largely due to Ansar Allah's intransigence. Its violent offensive against Yemen's Marib Governorate that began last February is further evidence that — with Iranian backing — it continues to seek only the path of war. As events since Biden became president have shown, appeasement is the opposite of the answer.

It is essential that the US renew its strong opposition to Iran's expansionist actions, countering them at every opportunity.... An implacably hard-line stance towards these terrorists is essential to reassure US allies that there are consequences for violence against them.

Re-designation would not prevent Iran from continuing to fuel the Yemen insurgency but it would send a message of US strength to Tehran, one sorely needed in the months following the Afghanistan debacle and the administration's open desperation to renew the nuclear deal at almost any price.

The US administration could overcome this [problem of delivering humanitarian aid] by granting broad licenses and waivers to organizations and companies operating in and around Yemen, enabling essential supplies including food, fuel and medicines to be delivered. This would also need to take account of Ansar Allah's demands for bribes from aid agencies, and their propensity to steal aid for their own profit. This is a challenge the US administration has so far side-stepped but must now clarify.

US Policy Towards the Yemeni Conflict Must Change
As for Israel, it has a triple role to play. Direct military meddling in Yemen should be considered impractical at present and even harmful to the Saudi-led coalition’s interests.

Even though the Houthis (unlike Iran, which pretends to distinguish “Jews” from “Zionists”) openly wave the anti-Semitic banner – a “curse upon the Jews” – intervention of any sort in a remote and unfamiliar country would probably not end well, at least until Israel builds a solid intelligence foundation for potential action. .

While Israel must prepare defensive options against missile or drone raids or attacks on shipping, let alone the danger of a more systemic disruption in the Bab al-Mandab straits, the immediate efforts in response to the escalation should be three-pronged.

First, and most importantly, Israel should encourage the act of re-designation of the Houthi, and yet convey to the US and other countries that there are other ways for delivering humanitarian assistance.

Second, intelligence cooperation should be strengthened with the Saudi-led coalition, and Israeli collection capabilities should be tasked to monitor the Iranian and Houthi threat. Iran’s arms supply routes to Yemen are of specific importance, primarily by sea.

Finally, being a global powerhouse in the field of drone and counter-drone technologies, Israel should stand ready to provide solutions to specific challenges.

It is worth noting that at the analytical level, assessing the threat, JISS held a webinar on this subject – with a detailed presentation by Dr. Uzi Rubin, a leading authority on missile defense and UAVs, which can be viewed here.

Such acts of assistance, in turn, would also serve to further cement the Abraham Accords and perhaps expand their scope.

By taking a firm stand on this issue, Israel can once again demonstrate its strategic value as an ally – a goal also served by acting in Syria unrelentingly against Iranian assets.
'Eva Braun' interviews Polish PM on country's role in Holocaust
A large public relations campaign titled "No Story, History" was recently launched in Poland to remind people of the Holocaust and the established historical facts ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Thursday, January 27.

The campaign, which was backed by Israeli NGO "Chasdei Naomi," is centered around a "fake news" segment in which a virtual representation of Eva Braun, the wife of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, interviews the real-life prime minister of Poland, Mateusz Morawiecki, about Poland's role in the Holocaust and modern-day antisemitism.

The campaign is being conducted amid the Polish government's efforts in recent years to deny the country's role in the annihilation of Europe's Jews. The image of the very same "Eva Braun" has also been plastered on billboards across the country.

Chasdei Naomi said its "fake vs. fake" campaign was produced under a veil of considerable secrecy together with Polish advertisement agencies. The video, which employs "deep-fake" technology, is meant as a message about reality fabrication. The video ends with a link to, a website that presents the truth about the Holocaust through survivors' testimonies.

Chasdei Naomi is the largest welfare NGO in Israel and has operated 40 branches throughout the country for the past 35 years. "No Story, History" is its first international campaign dealing with Holocaust survivors, thousands of whom live in meager conditions and are supported by Chasdei Naomi through food deliveries, medication funding, home upkeep, and more.
Foundation Honoring Holocaust Hero Jan Karski Among Groups Blacklisted by Controversial Polish Education Official
A foundation named in honor of the World War II Polish resistance hero Jan Karksi has been included on a blacklist of more than 200 organizations deemed by a regional educational official to be implementing the “destruction of social norms” in Poland’s schools.

The Jan Karski Educational Foundation was among 203 non-governmental organizations blacklisted by Barbara Nowak, the controversial education superintendent for the Malopolska province in southeastern Poland, which includes the city of Krakow. Nowak’s past outbursts have included an attack on the museum at the Auschwitz concentration camp for supposedly emphasizing the “foreign, not the Polish narrative” in its exhibitions.

The Karski Foundation’s main goals are the protection of human rights and the promotion of tolerance and openness. Karski himself fought in the Polish army in 1939 when he was captured by the German invading forces. While being deported to a POW camp, he escaped, and went on to serve the Polish underground resistance.

In 1942, Karski was smuggled into the Warsaw Ghetto on two different occasions, providing essential eyewitness accounts of the suffering of its Jewish population. The following year, Karski met with President Franklin D. Roosevelt in Washington, DC, famously recounting afterward that the American leader had asked about the condition of horses in Poland, but not the country’s Jews.

In a 1981 speech in Washington, DC, Karski — who was a devout Catholic — reflected that his “faith makes me say that humanity has committed a second original sin by allowing the Holocaust.”
Israeli Air Force Holds ‘Long-Range’ Strike Drill With F-15s
The Israeli Air Force held a drill to practice a long-range strike using a squadron of long-range F-15 fighter jets, Army Radio reported on Tuesday.

The sortie by the 69th Squadron was reportedly joined by IAF Commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin.

Army Radio cited the military as saying that the drill “sharpens the abilities and skills of aircrews against a range of threats in various arenas.”

The year 2022 has been designated as the year that the IAF prioritizes its long-range strike capabilities against Iran’s nuclear program sites at the top of its priority list, according to the military.

The IAF is involved in detailed planning regarding intelligence, ammunition selections, aerial platforms and refueling capabilities.

In late November last year, Norkin told Channel 13 that the IAF is the “insurance policy” against Iran’s nuclear program.

“We’re the insurance policy; we make mistakes; we’re improving,” he said. “We’ll do whatever is required.”
Gantz’s Al Ahmar Evacuation Plan is an Israbluff, Guaranteeing Future Palestinian State
The Regavim Movement petitioned the High Court of Justice more than a decade ago for the evacuation of Khan al Ahmar, the illegal squatters’ camp encroaching on Route 1 and the Jewish community of Kfar Adumim. On Tuesday night, Channel 12 reported that the Bennett-Lapid government intends to relocate the squatters only 300 meters away from their current location (Exclusive: Khan al-Ahmar Residents Say They’re Unaware of Government’s Evacuation Decision).

Regavim’s Director-General Meir Deutsch issued a statement saying: “This harebrained scheme hatched by the Defense Ministry will turn the Palestinian Authority’s flagship outpost in Judea and Samaria into a permanent, recognized Palestinian settlement. The PA targeted this point on the map precisely because of its critical strategic value as the link between Bethlehem, Ramallah, and Jericho – an area where there is no Palestinian Arab presence. Enabling the takeover and de facto annexation of this strategic location will be a fiasco for the security and strategic integrity of the State of Israel.”

Deutsch continued: “The Israeli government invested millions preparing an alternative location for Khan al Ahmar on Israeli state land in Jahalin West near Abu Dis. The relocation of the squatters has been stalled solely due to European pressure. It is inconceivable that the very same members of this government who repeatedly attacked Netanyahu for his failure to evacuate the squatters of Khan al Ahmar are now responsible for this bizarre, pathetic alternative – one that is far worse in every way. The planned relocation will do little to improve the lives of the squatters, but it will set a dangerous precedent of state-sanctioned annexation for the dozens of illegal squatters’ camps throughout the region that were established according to the Khan al Ahmar model.”

Deutsch is absolutely on the money. Whoever controls Khan al-Ahmar controls the future of a Palestinian State, since the illegal outpost, with a transient population of fewer than 180 nomads assembled and supported by the PA and the EU, is located smack in the narrowest part of Judea and Samaria. If Khan al-Ahmar is allowed to remain and thrive, it would ensure a contiguous Palestinian State. If it is removed—and its dwellers are given proper homes miles away—Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim will eventually be united by Jewish urban sprawl, cutting any future Palestinian state in the middle.
PMW: Go to prison and pick a career: Convicted murderer of 5 supervises university studies of terrorist in Israeli prison
For imprisoned Palestinian terrorists, their prison sentence has become their path to a career. As Palestinian Media Watch has reported, terrorist prisoners enroll in and study at Palestinian universities while serving time for attacking and even murdering Israelis.

This happens despite Israel having cancelled their entitlement to higher education in 2011. This prohibition was made because of the appalling conditions Hamas imposed on kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit who suffered in isolation, compared to the numerous benefits including education enjoyed by Palestinian terrorist prisoners.

The following statements by released terrorists confirm what PMW has previously reported: Advanced university studies are taking place within the prisons and Marwan Barghouti – convicted of orchestrating attacks in which 5 Israelis were murdered - teaches an MA program in “Israel Studies” to fellow inmates:
Islamic Jihad terrorist and released prisoner Hussein Suleiman Al-Zre’i: “I thank Dr. ‘Abu Al-Qassam’ Marwan Barghouti (i.e., terrorist who planned murder of 5) who supervised [my] master’s degree in regional studies and regional affairs…”

Released prisoner Muhammad Al-Najjar: “I started imprisonment having approximately 10 [years of education]. When I entered prison I completed [high school] matriculation, Allah be praised, and I completed many courses. After matriculation I went straight to university. I studied at Al-Aqsa University and I studied at Al-Quds Open University. One of the most important courses was a course in journalism and media. Allah be praised, I completed it with honors.”

[Official PA TV, I Call You, Dec. 22, 2021]

Abbas rival Dahlan arranges delivery of 1 million vaccine doses to Gaza
One million doses of coronavirus vaccine arrived in the Gaza Strip from the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday, the latest donation facilitated by an exiled rival of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Mohammad Dahlan, a Gaza native now based in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi, was once a top Palestinian Authority official who served as Abbas’s security chief in the coastal enclave before its takeover by the Hamas terror group in 2007.

Gaza health ministry spokesman Mahmoud Hammad told journalists that the consignment of one million doses of the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine marked the largest single shipment of COVID-19 vaccines to the territory.

The vaccines were delivered through Gaza’s Rafah crossing with Egypt, which is under Egyptian control.

The same route was used for previous shipments organized by Dahlan, who has increasingly sought to position himself as a benefactor for the Palestinian people.

Dahlan had been expected to emerge as a key player from Palestinian elections scheduled for last year, but the polls were postponed indefinitely by Abbas in a move that also infuriated Hamas.
BBC News ignores pro-Houthi rally in the Gaza Strip
Two days after the appearance of Marcus’ article another attack on the UAE took place but it has yet to receive any BBC coverage.

Despite the BBC being one of the few foreign news outlets to have a permanent bureau in the Gaza Strip, its audiences have seen no reporting on that PIJ rally in support of the Houthis or the comments made by occasional BBC interviewee Mahmoud Zahar.
Lebanon ready to resume maritime border talks with Israel, president says
Lebanon is ready to resume talks over a maritime border dispute with Israel, the country’s president, Michel Aoun, said on Wednesday.

Longtime foes Israel and Lebanon have no diplomatic relations and are technically in a state of war. They each claim about 860 square kilometers (330 square miles) of the Mediterranean Sea as being within their exclusive economic zones.

The two countries started indirect negotiations through a US mediator in 2020 at a UN peacekeeping base in Lebanon’s Naqoura, but the talks have stalled several times. The last round of talks on the matter was held last May.

Lebanon has sunk deep into an economic and financial crisis that started in late 2019 — a culmination of decades of corruption and mismanagement by the political class. The small Mediterranean country is eager to resolve its border dispute with Israel, paving the way for potential lucrative oil and gas deals.

Israel’s Energy Ministry said in response that it is ready to resume talks, with Israeli officials quoted by the Kan public broadcaster as saying, “For us, the negotiations never been stopped. But Lebanon must stop raising new demands.”
UNIFIL Patrol Comes Under Assault in South Lebanon Village; One Soldier Injured
UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) personnel came under assault while on patrol in a village in southern Lebanon, a UN spokesperson said Tuesday, adding that one soldier sustained injuries.

UNIFIL spokesperson Andrea Tenenti was quoted by L’Orient Today as saying that peacekeepers “on routine patrol were attacked west of the village of Ramyeh in south Lebanon after their cars were intercepted.”

Tenenti said unknown individuals “attacked two UNIFIL vehicles and stole a number of objects,” adding that “the Lebanese army was present on the scene and was able to eventually ease the tensions.”

The UNIFIL spokesperson stressed that “the Blue Helmets were not on private property but on a public road they usually take” as part of their framework of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 “to maintain stability in southern Lebanon.”

“Under Resolution 1701, UNIFIL enjoys complete freedom of movement and the right to patrol in its area of operations,” said the spokesperson.

The incident represents the second assault on UNIFIL personnel within a month.

On Jan. 5, unknown suspects assaulted a group of UNIFIL personnel in the Hezbollah-dominated village of Bint Jbeil. Attackers vandalized vehicles and stole official items, according to an Associated Press report that quoted a UN official.
Split-up of American negotiation team means weaker stance on Iran - analysis
The departure of Richard Nephew, the deputy leader of the US delegation to the negotiations with Iran to return to the 2015 nuclear deal, over differences in approach with the top American envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, indicates that Washington is unwilling to increase pressure on Tehran in order to reach an agreement.

In early 2021, the State Department said that “clear-eyed experts with a diversity of views” will comprise the negotiating team for talks to return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which restricted Iran’s uranium enrichment while gradually lifting sanctions.

Nephew was a major player in the 2006-2013 sanctions that pressured Iran to the point of bringing it to the negotiating table with world powers, and the author of a book called The Art of Sanctions, about how to implement the tool effectively.

When Nephew’s appointment to the US delegation was announced, the Iranian newspaper Vatan-e-Emrooz doctored a poster from the 1997 film The Devil’s Advocate, with Nephew standing in for an attorney for Satan, played by US President Joe Biden, as opposed to Keanu Reeves and Al Pacino in the original.

Iranian lawmaker Ahmad Naderi called Nephew the “architect of the oppressive sanctions,” and said his part in the delegation shows “Americans’ hatred of Iran is not limited to Republicans or Democrats.”
Germany's Iran problem — and ours
Germany has allowed Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy and U.S.-designated terrorist group in Lebanon, to "raise funds and recruit new members" on German soil. Former Chancellor Angela Merkel spent years refusing U.S. demands to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, trotting out the fiction that the group had separate "political' and "military" wings — a claim that terror analysts called "frankly laughable" in sworn testimony before the Congress. Germany, however, indulged the idea until 2020, when it belatedly listed Hezbollah.

Germany’s reluctance to take Iran and its proxies to task is noteworthy.

In 1992, regime assassins murdered four Iranian dissidents at West Berlin’s Mykonos restaurant. Iran’s Berlin Embassy, a subsequent four-year trial revealed, was a "headquarters for a government intelligence gathering operation largely focused on the activities of the exiled [Iranian] opposition." The two assassins were sentenced to prison, and Iranian Ambassador Seyed Hossein Mousavian and 14 members of his staff were expelled.

Incredibly, Mousavian is now a professor at Princeton University, where he has celebrated the regime’s death threats against U.S. officials.

There are good reasons for Germany to take these terrorists more seriously. In addition to training terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps's Quds Force is responsible for many of the improvised explosive device attacks that murdered and maimed U.S. and NATO forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Of course, Iran has also called for the destruction of Israel. Tehran finances terrorist groups that attack the Jewish state and is seeking nuclear weapons to initiate another genocide. In 2008, Merkel said Germany "has a special historical responsibility for Israel’s security."

She didn’t always live up to her words. But her successor must.

MEMRI: Parents of Casualties of Ukrainian Flight 752 Shot Down by IRGC: They Downed the Plane Intentionally
Mohsen Asadi-Lari and Zahra Majd, the parents of two passengers who were killed when the IRGC shot down Ukrainian Airlines Flight 752 on January 8, 2020, said in an interview that was posted on on January 8, 2022 that the IRGC had intentionally shot down Flight 752, killing all 176 passengers and crew members on board. The couple said that they are gathering evidence to prove that the "accident" was intentional, and they claimed that the plane was used as a “human shield” to prevent war with the U.S. after Iran targeted American military bases in Iraq in response to the U.S. assassination of IRGC Qods Force Commander General Qasem Soleimani a few days prior. They said that the IRGC explicitly said that had the plane not been downed, there would have been a war with America that would endanger 10 million Iranian lives, and they added that IRGC Commander-In-Chief Salami had insisted on paying them a condolence visit. The couple emphasized that the downing of Flight 752 was “no accident,” that the investigation was "fixed" by "reverse engineering," and that the trial held in Iran of those responsible would not serve justice. They described how none of their children's possessions from the wreckage were returned to them, including electronics, and they speculated that this may be because the electronics contained information about what happened on the flight. They also said that bulldozers cleared the crash site very quickly after the disaster.

The parents also said that they do not know the identity of any of the defendants in the trial, except for one man identified as Mr. Seyyedoun, who they said is a deputy to IRGC Aerospace Force Commander General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh. Mr. Asadi-Lari said that he curses General Hajizadeh every day, and said that his curses should be published, and Mrs. Majd added that Hajizadeh had initially been indicted, but proceedings against him were halted abruptly.

Mrs. Majd also said that perhaps this interview could not be published “now,” but that the regime can no longer intimidate them, since they have “already lost everything.” Mohsen Asadi-Lari had served as Deputy Health Minister for International Affairs, but was fired from his job after Flight 752 was shot down. He said that he had initially not believed the claims that the plane was downed by IRGC missiles because he believed the IRGC was supposed to defend Iranians.

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