Thursday, May 12, 2022

From Ian:

From Muhammad al-Durrah to Shireen Abu Akleh
Immediately after the reports of Al-Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh's death, the IDF Spokesperson's Office, the Foreign Ministry, the Government Press Office, the Israel Police, and the Public Diplomacy Directorate in the Prime Minister's Office, which coordinates between the various bodies, shifted to an emergency footing. It was obvious that the incident was not good for Israel, and that a quick and clear response was imperative.

Unlike the Palestinians, however, who took the liberty of unequivocally determining that Israel was responsible without providing any factual evidence – Israel is an orderly country. To get caught in a lie down the road would be worse than claiming things right now that sound beneficial. Due to all the complexities involved, this was the chosen PR approach.

As a lesson learned from the Muhammad al-Durrah fiasco, Israel on Wednesday avoided the same trap of Arab propaganda and didn't admit that our soldiers were the ones who killed Abu Akleh. Moreover: At 8 a.m., just one hour after her death, the IDF Spokesperson had already issued a statement whereby, apparently, the Palestinians themselves murdered her in the midst of the gunfight. By 9 a.m. his words had been translated to Arabic and English and sent to international news outlets and foreign reporters. At the same time, a video was released intended to support the Israeli claim.

The swiftness of the response was critical. Compared to the Public Diplomacy Directorate's deafening silence during Operation Guardian of the Walls a year ago, the quick release of an Israeli version upended the Palestinians' exclusivity and established Israel's position.

Where do we still fall short in the court of international opinion, though? When the Palestinians passionately claim "Israel murdered" while we say "perhaps not" – the Israeli side isn't really able to turn the tables. Against the Palestinian "definitely," Israel only has a "maybe."

As representatives of a responsible country, however, Israeli spokespeople couldn't entirely rule out our involvement in the incident. The truth supersedes the interest.

Palestinian Forensic Expert: ‘Not Possible’ to Determine Who Killed Journalist as Probe Ongoing
A Palestinian forensic expert said “it is not possible” to answer whether an Al Jazeera journalist who was killed in the West Bank on Wednesday was shot by the Israeli military, as investigations are ongoing.

Shireen Abu Akleh, a 51-year-old Palestinian-American reporter, died while covering Israeli military operations in Jenin.

Responding to a journalist who asked whether there is “solid evidence” that Abu Akleh was shot by the Israeli military, Dr. Rayyan Al-Ali of the Forensic Medicine Institute at An-Najah National University in Nablus, said, “It is not possible to give this information now, because the team as the forensic laboratory has to study the evidence to answer this question,” according to a translation shared by an Israeli diplomat.

The Palestinian Authority has nonetheless already blamed Israeli soldiers for Abu Akleh’s death, with the Palestinian Mission to the United Nations claiming that “Israeli occupying forces murdered in cold blood a veteran Palestinian journalist,” and calling her death an “assassination.” PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh likewise asserted that Abu Akleh “was killed by the Israeli occupation.”

Israeli officials have cast doubt on that account, with Defense Minister Benny Gantz saying earlier Wednesday that preliminary findings from the IDF’s investigation, which is ongoing, “indicate that no gunfire was directed at the journalist.”

“Findings at this time indicate that there is a reasonable chance that the journalist was shot by Palestinian armed terrorists,” added the minister. “We have seen footage of indiscriminate shooting by Palestinian terrorists, which is likely to have hit the journalist.”

PMW: Why is the PA hiding the bullet that killed Shireen Abu Akleh?
While the Palestinian Authority and some in the international community are quick to condemn Israel for the death of Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, their unsubstantiated condemnations of Israel say more about their blind hatred for Israel than it does about Abu Akleh’s death.

The known facts are straightforward but inconclusive. Shireen Abu Akleh was killed yesterday during a gunfight between Palestinian terrorists and Israeli soldiers in Jenin but it is not known who fired the bullet that killed her. Asked if there is “clear evidence that the bullet came from the Israeli army,” the PA’s chief pathologist who examined the body said he could not “declare any information” at this point:

Head of An-Najah National University’s Forensic Medicine Department Dr. Rayyan Al-Ali: “The case [of Shireen Abu Akleh’s death] was transferred to autopsy… in order to confirm the direct cause of death, and to attempt to find evidence that could be connected to the party responsible for the death of Martyr Shireen Abu Akleh.” …

Journalist: “Is there clear evidence that the bullet came from the Israeli army, thereby debunking the Israeli version [of events]?”

Rayyan Al-Ali: “It is currently impossible to declare any information because the partners from the forensic laboratory, each in their own field of expertise, will study the evidence that will be gathered.”

[Al-Jazeera YouTube channel, May 11, 2022]

Obstructing the determination of the truth, the Palestinian Authority is preventing Israel from carrying out its own inquiry by withholding the bullet that killed Abu Akleh. Checking the bullet's ballistics against the rifles used by Israeli soldiers yesterday could possibly confirm or rule out an Israeli connection to her death. However, as PA minister Hussein Al-Sheikh tweeted:
It seems that the Palestinian Authority is anxious to generate international condemnation of Israel over the death of the journalist even without evidence of Israel’s connection. Enabling Israel to examine the bullet, which may expose the truth, is not in the PA’s interest and they, therefore, refuse Israel’s request.

The fact that the professionals investigating this incident, including PA’s chief pathologist, do not know whose bullet killed Abu Akleh, does not stop the PA from libeling Israel for not only killing her but for “assassinating” her and committing “the crime of execution.”

JPost Editorial: A Journalist's Death
The killing of veteran Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh during a firefight between IDF soldiers and Palestinians in Jenin is a tragedy.

Some are wildly casting blame on Israel before an investigation has even begun.

The Palestinians are not willing to cooperate with Israel in a joint investigation.

Palestinians and their supporters immediately drew the conclusion that Israel killed her - and did so intentionally - without any physical evidence.

Those who think the worst of Israel will be willing to accept and believe anything about it.

A fairly simple joint pathological investigation - clarifying the bullet type and the angle of the bullet entry wound - would go a long way toward determining who fired the fatal shot. But the Palestinians are not interested.

What they are interested in now is the propaganda value that can be culled from the killing of a well-known journalist. An investigation could muddle up their narrative.
David Horovitz: The narratives are set in the death of Shireen Abu Akleh. We need the truth
The general in charge of the Central Command area that includes Jenin, Yehuda Fuchs, told Channel 12 Wednesday night that “hundreds, even thousands of bullets” were fired by the sides in the gun battle, and “I don’t know which bullet” hit Abu Akleh. “I am sorry for every innocent person who is hurt in the course of IDF operations. We do our best to avoid it…. And I’m sorry about the death of Shireen Abu Akleh.”

He presented himself as the officer who was responsible for the operation — in that “I am the Central Command general. I’m responsible for ensuring that terrorist attacks do not come out of Jenin. I’m responsible for sending combat troops, risking their lives, into Jenin refugee camp to extract people who are planning terror attacks, people who have carried out attacks, and people who are making weaponry to harm Israelis.”

Entering Jenin is always immensely risky, he said, since gunfire erupts from all directions. It’s not simple. It’s an urban area. And it’s dangerous.”

Asked about the concerted Palestinian campaign of blame against Israel, Fuchs was dismissive: “I don’t deal with [propaganda] campaigns. The only campaign I’m engaged in is to protect the state of Israel. In 99 percent of the operations against terror in urban areas, including in Jenin where we are fired on in all directions, we don’t hit innocents. We succeed at that. But sometimes… when you’re fighting in a refugee camp, and dozens of [gunmen] are coming at you and firing from 270 degrees, from almost all directions, sometimes innocent people do get harmed. The journalist Shireen, who was really very close to the line where the forces were — ours and the Palestinian terrorists — was hurt there.”

Fuchs said the IDF had no choice but to continue anti-terror operations, and would continue to do so with caution and professionalism — in contrast to the “wild gunfire” it encounters. “That’s our responsibility to the people of Israel,” he said.

It’s a first rule of public diplomacy that you don’t put grizzled, gruff-talking generals in front of the cameras. Fuchs, with his no-nonsense candor, proved rather an exception. No media-trained spokesman, he came across as straightforward but far from callous — as he spelled out precisely what he understood to have occurred and why.

This was an authentic Israeli narrative — not spin or PR. Delivered, obviously, in Hebrew, and doubtless too forthright anyway for international consumption. But resonant, at least, with the watching Israeli public. Who also, not incidentally, need to understand what’s being done in their name and for their defense.
The Search for Truth in the Death of a Journalist
The Palestinians and Al Jazeera don't want the truth behind the death of reporter Shireen Abu Akleh.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas wish to leverage her death for political and propaganda purposes, and that is why they reject any offer for an objective investigation.

Even if such an investigation is launched, they will make sure to destroy any shred of evidence that might point to the probable scenario that the Palestinian militants who were firing wantonly were the ones who killed her.

The Palestinians rushed to declare the journalist a martyr because it serves the constant war of propaganda which Abbas and Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar lead against Israel.

But their assertions are grounded in nothing except deafening victimhood that is aimed at painting Israel as the aggressor.
The death of an antisemitic journalist - should we mourn?
Here are some examples that the ADL cited of statements published by the media agency that Shireen Abu Akleh represented:

— Al Jazeera recently published “an article on its Arabic news webpage targeted at youth to decry the supposed ‘control of the Jews over the pornography industry’.”

— Al Jazeera has published articles referring to the Holocaust as “the alleged Holocaust.”

— An Al Jazeera writer called Israel a metastasizing “cancerous gland.”

— Al Jazeera broadcast a speech by Hamas official Fathi Hamad “in which he encouraged ‘the cleansing of Palestine of the filth of the Jews’ by 2022 and called for the establishment of a Caliphate ‘after the nation has been healed of its cancer, the Jews’.”

— Al Jazeera “also routinely glorifies violence against Israeli Jews,” calling dead terrorists “martyrs,” praising live terrorists as “resisters,” and defending terrorist groups as “the resistance.”

— Another Al Jazeera article “accused the Jewish people of ‘killing the Prophets,’ and falsely asserted that the historical existence of a Jewish Holy Temple in Jerusalem is a malicious fabrication.”

This is the media agency that Shireen Abu Akleh represented. This is the hate machine of which she was a proud and longtime part. She could have resigned in protest at any time. She never did. That was her choice.

If Akleh had represented a media network that promoted the hatred of, say, African Americans, that would be reprehensible. The fact that she represented a media network that promoted the hatred of Jews is equally reprehensible.

So while I’m not organizing any parties to celebrate Akleh’s death, and I would certainly not have proposed seeking her death, please excuse me if I don’t sit shiva for her. I’m not going to pretend that she was a normal, responsible journalist whose death we should mourn. She chose to be part of what is probably the world’s largest antisemitic media network. She went out to a battlefield. We don’t have to honor her, or her choices.
Israeli Prime Minister: Journalist Likely Shot by Armed Palestinians
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Wednesday: "According to the information we have gathered, it appears likely that armed Palestinians - who were firing indiscriminately at the time - were responsible for the unfortunate death of the journalist [Shireen Abu Akleh]. Palestinians in Jenin were even filmed boasting, 'We hit a soldier; he's lying on the ground.' However, no IDF soldier was injured, which increases the possibility that Palestinian terrorists were the ones who shot the journalist."

"Israel has called on the Palestinians to conduct a joint pathological analysis and investigation, which would be based on all of the existing documentation and findings, in order to get to the truth. So far, the Palestinians have refused this offer."
What is known and unknown so far about tragic death of Al Jazeera journalist in Jenin
The Israel Defense Forces’ investigation into the tragic death of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh on Wednesday in Jenin is ongoing, and no final determination has yet been made over where the shot came from that struck Akleh.

While the identity of the shooter remains a question mark at this time, Israeli military sources did provide details about the counter-terrorism raid that soldiers took part in on Wednesday morning, as well as the broader context surrounding the nature of the Jenin Refugee Camp where the gun battles raged—and not for the first time in recent weeks.

An IDF spokesperson detailed the core, life-affirming and democratic values that are encoded into the Israeli military’s protocol when he described Akleh’s death as “a tragedy which should not have occurred.” The source also affirmed the IDF’s commitment to freedom of the press and the sanctity of human life.

The spokesperson declared that “the IDF will never deliberately target non-combatants. These are values reflected in the IDF protocol.”

As a result of those values, the IDF’s General Staff and the entire chain of command, including Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, are involved in the operational investigation into the incident.

The IDF’s request for the Palestinian Authority, whose Health Ministry received Akleh’s body, to hold a joint autopsy and share forensic data has been met with refusal so far, significantly impeding the investigation.

Israel’s counter-terror raid in Jenin cannot be seen as an isolated event, but rather, the result of a violent wave of Palestinian terrorism that has raged in Israeli cities in the past month, which has resulted in the murder of 19 people.

Many of the worst attacks, such as the March 28 Bnei Brak shooting spree targeting civilians, the April 7 attack by a terrorist gunman at a Tel Aviv bar and the deadly May 5 ax rampage through Elad by a two-man terror cell, were committed by people from the Jenin area.

In fact, more than 50 percent of the IDF’s intelligence alerts regarding terror plots in the midst of formation originate from the Jenin area.

Abbas at Al Jazeera reporter's funeral: 'We will take Israel to ICC, we don't trust them'
The funeral of Palestinian Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh began on Thursday in Ramallah. Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas said he will go to the ICC to "punish the criminals" as her body travels from Ramallah in the West Bank to Jerusalem where she will be buried.

The Palestinian Authority confirmed on Thursday that it won't allow Israel to examine the bullet that killed Abu Akleh, even though it is one of the steps needed to determine culpability in her death.

It has also rebuffed requests by Israel to hold a joint investigation into Abu Akleh's death. The veteran journalist, well known throughout the Arab world for her coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, was fatally shot in the also she was shot in the ear while wearing a helmet by a sniper while covering an IDF raid on Jenin on Wednesday.

"Israel has requested a joint investigation and to be handed over [sic] the bullet that assassinated the journalist Shireen, we refused that, and we affirmed that our investigation would be completed independently," Palestinian Authority Minister and General Authority of Civil Affairs head Hussein al-Sheikh tweeted on Thursday morning.

"We will inform her family, #USA, #Qatar and all official authorities and the public of the results of the investigation with high transparency. All of the indicators, the evidence and the witnesses confirm her assassination by #Israeli special units," al-Sheikh emphasized.

Israel Advocacy Movement: Who killed Shireen Abu Akleh?
Shireen Abu Akhleh was fatally shot reporting on a clash between the IDF and Palestinian gunmen in Jenin. We reviewed the evidence and tried to determine who was responsible for her death.

Journalist Was 150 Meters (328 Feet) Away from Israeli Military Forces
An initial investigation by the Israel Defense Forces shows that journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was about 150 meters (328 feet) away from Israeli military forces when she was killed. The bullet which struck her was shot from an M16 rifle, but such rifles are used by both the IDF and Palestinian cells in the West Bank.

During the IDF operation in Jenin, hundreds of bullets were shot at Israeli troops, who responded by firing dozens of bullets at specific targets. Most of the Israeli fire was directed southwards, while Abu Akleh was positioned to the north of the Israeli forces.

Will the death of Palestinian journalist Abu Akleh shake up the region?

BBC WS 'Newsday' reporting on journalist's death in Jenin
Once again listeners were not informed that recent IDF operations in the Jenin area are linked to a wave of violent terror attacks against Israelis. Neither were they told that the part of Jenin which is still classed as a ‘refugee camp’, despite being under exclusive Palestinian Authority rule for over a quarter of a century, is at the same time indeed a “stronghold” for terrorist groups – as the Palestinian Authority knows only too well.

Copnall then again misled audiences with regard to the title of his next interviewee:
Copnall: “Well for more on the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh, we spoke to someone who knew her: Palestine’s ambassador to the UK, Dr Husam Zomlot.”

As ever, the diatribe presented by Husam Zomlot went unchallenged by the BBC presenter. Zomlot described Abu Akleh’s job as “covering Israeli brutality in Palestine” and claimed that she was from “the occupied city of Jerusalem”. Referring to Copnall’s earlier reference to the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), Zomlot ranted:

Zomlot: “And there is nothing defence about Israeli forces…those are occupying forces. They were invading the Jenin refugee camp.”

Copnall failed to challenge Zomlot’s unevidenced claim that “an Israeli sniper shot her in the head” or the later claim that “medics are being targeted”. He failed to react to Zomlot’s allegation that the incident “is a war crime” before ticking the ‘impartiality’ box.

Copnall: “The Israeli military is saying that its forces came under attack with heavy gunfire and explosives. It’s investigating the event. It’s looking into the possibility that the journalists were hit by Palestinian gunmen.”

Zomlot: “Well the Israeli forces are always in a campaign of misinformation and disinformation, covering up their crimes. Their crimes are very well documented. Her colleague, a journalist who was standing by her and who carried her, was shot as well but luckily did not die. He gave a full account of what happened, that they were directly targeted by the invading military. In a refugee camp you don’t have an equivalence of two sides. It is only one side that is the occupying force invading via armoured vehicles, heavily armed and they are in full control of the area. Shireen was vividly and clearly shown as a press person, as a journalist and therefore we consider this to be a direct, deliberate assassination of a prominent Palestinian journalist and we demand justice and accountability. Israel does this for 74 years for one reason: a lack…a lack…”

Copnall could have pointed out at that time that even if it is proved that Abu Akleh was killed by Israeli fire, there is still a big difference between that and a “deliberate assassination”. He could also have clarified that the majority of journalists killed in the region since 1992 were caught up in crossfire rather than ‘assassinated’. Instead he told Zomlot “I understand the point you wish to make” before asking him about Abu Akleh herself. Zomlot as ever picked up on that cue to advance more of his typically dramatic propaganda.

Walter Russell Mead: A Chance for the U.S. to Rebuild an Alliance Crucial to Its Security
The war in Ukraine hurts Russia in the Middle East and helps the U.S. because Putin's failure to crush Ukraine makes him look like a loser, and weakness is the one unforgivable sin in Middle East politics. Every day that Russia fails to make significant progress, and every day that the Western response to Russian aggression grows more robust, Putin looks weaker and America looks stronger.

The U.S.-Israel relationship is one of the most intimate and effective partnerships in the world. The integration of Israeli and American defense and tech industries contributes substantially to the security and the prosperity of both countries, and widespread public support for Israel among American voters helps inoculate American foreign policy against isolationism.

The Biden administration's reluctance, so far, to accept maximalist Iranian demands as the price for reinstituting the nuclear deal leaves many Israelis hoping for a more robust American policy in the region. The example of Ukraine's Jewish president electrifies many Israelis. And as Putin seeks to rally Russian nationalism behind him in his struggle with the West, his henchmen are revisiting anti-Semitic tropes that resonate in Russian nationalist circles but remind Jews about the deep roots of anti-Semitism in Russian history and culture.

The creation of a Middle East alliance network including both Arabs and Israelis that preserved vital American interests at limited cost was one of the great American achievements of the Cold War. The question is whether the administration can construct a realistic framework for renewed American primacy in the Middle East.
The Czech Republic replaces Russia on the UNHRC
The Czech Republic, which has a strong history of supporting Israel, has replaced Russia on the 47-member UN Human Rights Council.

The move comes in advance of the UNHRC’s 50th session that opens in June, when it is expected to receive its first report from the open-ended Commission of Inquiry against Israel.

The Czech Republic has opposed the commission, voting against its creation last year, while Russia supported it.Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based NGO UN Watch, said that “the Czech Republic has the strongest record in Europe in opposing anti-Israeli hatred.”

Israel fears that the report could either examine the question of whether the Jewish state has committed crimes of apartheid, or pave the way for such a question to be probed in the future.

The General Assembly voted to place the Czech Republic on the Human Rights Council on Tuesday. Russia withdrew from the council last month after the GA suspended its membership to protest Moscow’s military invasion of Ukraine. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres at the opening of the UNHRC's 40th session (credit: screenshot)

Why Israel Is Planning a National Guard
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke at Sunday's cabinet meeting about setting up a National Guard to deal with rioting Arabs and road closures during times of war and smaller military campaigns.

In recent years, the public has come to realize that there are vast tracts in the country - from kibbutz fields in the Arava, to Bedouin areas in the Negev, to agricultural communities in the Galilee and Golan, to Arab cities in the Triangle - where Israeli sovereignty is simply not applied, and where semi-autonomous areas have emerged where the central government has little sway.

One of the main lessons from the May 2021 mini-war with Gaza was that a radicalized segment of the Israeli Arab population will likely become involved in any future confrontation.
Two suspects arrested by Israeli security forces for aiding Elad terrorists
Security forces operated in a number of areas throughout the West Bank to arrest wanted persons suspected of terrorist activities, including in the Palestinian villages of Madama and Katabiya as well as in the city of Hebron, arresting seven on Wednesday night.

The forces also operated in the villages of Bruqin and Romana in the Menashe Territorial Brigade area and arrested two wanted persons suspected of aiding the terrorists who carried out the terror attack in Elad.

Two more were arrested by the end of the night, totaling nine, in addition to several illegal weapons that were confiscated. They were all transferred for questioning.

Molotov cocktails were thrown toward Border Police forces in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya, Palestinian media reported on Wednesday night.

Videos shared on social media show the incendiary weapon hurled toward the Israeli officers, who appeared to escape unharmed.

Innovative Neck Protector Saved Border Policeman's Life
An innovative neck protector saved the life of Master. Sgt. M., a Border Police officer who was wounded on Sunday in a stabbing attack at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem.

The new protective wear was developed after a Palestinian terrorist killed Border Policewoman Staff Sgt. Hadas Malka at Damascus Gate four years ago.

A senior police official said, "On Sunday, the force of the stab was very strong and the knife was extremely sharp. Thanks to the Hadas neck protector, a far more serious injury was prevented."

Palestinian Shot After Charging Israeli Officers While Yelling ‘Allahu Akbar’ in Jerusalem
A Palestinian man was shot after lunging at Israeli officers in the Old City of Jerusalem on Wednesday evening while shouting “Allahu akbar,” local media reported.

The officers, who were stationed near the Cotton Merchants’ Gate to the Temple Mount, responded by opening fire. The assailant was hit and evacuated to a hospital. No other injuries were reported. Police were seen rushing to the area after the event.

The incident follows multiple attacks by Palestinian assailants in and around the Old City of Jerusalem in recent weeks — including a stabbing outside the same Cotton Merchants’ Gate in March that left two Israeli officers injured. Earlier this week, a Palestinian man charged border police officers with two knives outside Damascus Gate, stabbing one in the neck before being shot and evacuated to a hospital for medical treatment.

Since March, Israel has grappled with a renewed surge of attacks by Palestinian and Arab Israeli perpetrators that has left 19 people dead and multiple injured.
Israeli Police Not Prepared for Day After PA’s Abbas
The Israeli security forces have been preparing for the day Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, will no longer preside over Palestinian politics.

The police have expressed concern that the death of Abbas would beget chaos across the West Bank and drew up two potential operational plans. The forces have even conducted exercises to practice possible scenarios on the ground.

However, a recent change of guard in the ranks of the local police force in the West Bank could leave the commanders and officers unprepared as some officials warn that the police had not held any drills to simulate their response to the passing of the Palestinian leader since 2018.

Ynet's sister publication Yedioth Ahronoth was given access to these plans. Officials said local commanders assigned since were not versed in past or new operational plans, raising concerns that the police forces will be caught off guard.

The first plan is code-named "Sunset", and lays out the course of action immediately following Abbas's death, including troop deployment in major West Bank junctions, and coordination with the IDF in case of violent clashes.

The blueprints outline instructions for the rescue of Israeli settlers caught in dangerous situations, including stone-throwing, firebombing and live fire.

One potential scenario raised within the framework of this plan is IDF and police forces being tapped to escort Abbas' coffin. Another scenario deals with the possibility of the PA president being hospitalized in Jordan and dying there, which would require a police escort through the Allenby Bridge border crossing and its safe passage to Ramallah.

The second plan, dubbed by police "Game of Thrones", focuses on different potential scenarios during the liminal phase between Abas's death and the ascension of a new leader in Ramallah.
Hamas Seeks to Open New Battlefront within Israel
Hamas is working to move the confrontation with Israel inside its borders. On April 30, Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar called for Palestinians to carry out operations inside Israel: "Whoever has a gun should prepare it, and whoever does not have a gun should prepare his cleaver, ax or knife." Sinwar also urged the Arab community in Israel to take part in operations and expand their scope to include all Israeli cities.

Ayman al-Rafati, a political analyst specializing in Israeli affairs, told Al-Monitor, "Hamas was very impressed by the spontaneous role that the Palestinians inside Israel played during the last war between Gaza and Israel on May 10, 2021." Talal Okal, a political analyst for Al-Ayyam in Ramallah, told Al-Monitor, "I believe that Sinwar's tackling of the importance of the Palestinians inside Israel...aims at motivating them to confront Israel and carry out guerrilla operations.
Turkey Has Not Expelled Any Hamas or Muslim Brotherhood Members
Turkey has not expelled members of the Palestinian Hamas movement and isn't planning to kick out the Muslim Brotherhood presence in the country either, a senior Turkish official and other sources told Middle East Eye.

Last week, Israeli media, citing a Palestinian source, alleged that "dozens of people identified with Hamas" had been deported in the last few months, upon an Israeli request.

Sources close to Hamas confirmed that none of their members in Turkey were deported, though there were restrictions on Hamas' military wing.

Countering Iran's Regional Strategy
The connection between the extremist ideology of the Islamic Republic and its evolving military capabilities renders it a dangerous country that undermines regional and global stability. This buildup includes its pursuit of nuclear capability and weapons while developing strong and advanced conventional military capabilities, including long-range precision fires, and the proliferation of regional proxies, militias, and local forces under its control.

A shift in approach is needed to prevent Iran from achieving its ambitious goals. The objective should be to generate comprehensive pressure on Iran and to weaken the IRGC, the regime's center of gravity. It is necessary to crack Iran's sense of immunity by conducting flexible direct deterrent reprisals in accordance with a measure-for-measure principle. The assumption is that Iran will be deterred when it understands that it alone does not get to write the rules of the game or dictate its limits.

This approach should have been adopted long ago - such as after the attack on Aramco's oil installations in Saudi Arabia, the attacks on U.S. bases, the attack on civilian merchant ships and the killing of civilian sailors, and the ballistic missile attack on Abu Dhabi. Conducting a joint covert campaign by aiding opposition groups and encouraging resistance on Iran's own turf and that of its proxies will be critical.
A Nuclear Iran Could Create a Middle East Nightmare
Most scholars agree that allowing an aggressive, expansionist regime that has described Israel as a "one-bomb country" to acquire nuclear weapons would be reckless and suicidal. One rarely explored repercussion if Iran crosses the nuclear threshold is that Saudi Arabia will do everything possible not to be left behind.

Saudi Arabia's nuclear program has both capability and intent. Saudi Arabia began building a 30-kilowatt research reactor in 2018, although they have an abundance of fossil fuels. Moreover, the Saudis have not agreed to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Saudi Arabia has 90,000 tons of unmined uranium, likely enough fuel for that reactor as well as a weapons program.

There is credible evidence that the Saudis have an agreement with Pakistan to provide nuclear weapons in the event of a crisis such as Iran becoming a nuclear power. Saudi Arabia is long believed to have financed Pakistan's weapons program, which is assessed to have 160 warheads. Several U.S. and NATO officials indicated that a small subset of those weapons is earmarked for such a crisis.

Amos Yadlin, the former head of Israeli Military Intelligence, observed that if Iran acquired a nuclear weapon, "The Saudis will not wait one month. They already paid for the bomb; they will go to Pakistan and bring what they need to bring." Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bluntly noted in 2018, "Without a doubt, if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible."

There are indications that Turkey and the UAE are considering developing similar programs with the hope of establishing a deterrence. So Iran's acquisition of a nuclear weapon would be just the beginning of proliferation in an unstable region. We must consider such future nightmares while we debate what must be done now with Iran.
France demands immediate release of 2 citizens it says arrested in Iran
France said on Thursday that two of its citizens have been arrested in Iran and demanded they be freed immediately.

"The French government condemns this baseless arrest. It calls for the immediate release of these two French nationals," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

On Wednesday, Iran's intelligence ministry said it had arrested two Europeans for allegedly fomenting "insecurity" there, but it had not revealed their nationalities.

Christophe Lalande, federal secretary of France's FNEC FP-FO education union, told Reuters earlier that he suspected that one of his staffers and her husband – missing on a holiday in Iran – were the two individuals arrested.

While there was no "absolute certainty," there was a "strong presumption" that she has been arrested, Lalande said of his colleague, adding that she had been due back in France earlier this week.

The two French nationals have been accused of "organizing chaos and social disorder aimed at destabilizing" Iran in conjunction with foreign intelligence services, Iranian state TV citied Iran's intelligence ministry as saying.
Iran Spies on US Military Base in Bahrain
Iran is spying on regional U.S. military installations via its satellite arrays, according to military officials in Tehran.

Iran's Noor-2 satellite publicly released on Tuesday an image that it says is of a U.S. Navy base in Bahrain, with Iranian officials touting the photographs as proof that Tehran has knowledge of the American military's movements in the region.

"The mission of the satellite is reconnaissance," according to Iran's state-controlled press, which published color photographs of the U.S. Navy installation. The satellite was placed into orbit by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps's (IRGC) aerospace division. The IRGC is primarily responsible for arming militants and conducting terror attacks on U.S. outposts in the region, including most notably in Iraq.

"The new image taken by IRGC Aerospace's satellite which was released from a distance of 500 km from the ground shows the fifth U.S. Navy base in Bahrain," according to information released by Iran's minister of communications and information technology.

The images are meant to warn the United States against conducting operations against Iran and its contested nuclear program amid ongoing talks with the Biden administration about reentering the 2015 nuclear accord.

Iran's space launch and satellite program are widely believed to be a cover for its construction of advanced long-range ballistic missiles, which would be capable of carrying a nuclear armed warhead great distances.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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