Tuesday, May 17, 2022

From Ian:

UN’s fixed inquiry is exposed
On May 27, 2021, following Operation Guardian of the Walls, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adopted a resolution that set the stage for the creation of what is potentially the most anti-Israel mechanism to date: "The United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry (COI) on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem and Israel."

The resolution mandated the COI to "investigate all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law leading up to and since April 13, 2021." The resolution further mandated the commission to "investigate all underlying root causes of recurrent tensions, instability, and protraction of conflict, including systematic discrimination and repression based on national, ethnic, racial, or religious identity."

The following five elements are some of the examples that portend the result of the upcoming and undoubtedly biased “inquiry” and its anti-Israel nature:
- The Committee of Inquiry is a UN entity: The UNHRC, much like most UN bodies, has been overrun with politically motivated agendas and bias. A review of the UNHRC's anti-Israel bias is enough to shatter any hopes of fairness and impartiality.
- There is no mention of Hamas: Looking at it from the outside, one can easily think an internationally recognized terrorist organization was not a party to this armed conflict and did not fire thousands of rockets aimed at civilians. The resolution does not mention Hamas even once.
- The COI is charged with investigating "all underlying root causes:” Such a limitless scope is unprecedented. Granting the COI such freedom to look limitlessly at the root causes of the conflict is essentially granting it the right to review spurious political claims and offer political conclusions masquerading as legal ones.
- The "inquiry" is open-ended: The COI has effectively been granted a platform to execute a bi-annual Israel-bashing event, virtually indefinitely.
- A known anti-Israel individual has been elected as Chair of the COI: Navi Pillay, who was chosen to chair the COI, has a known and well-documented history of anti-Israel bias. Among the numerous examples available, perhaps the most recent and outrageous one can be found in a letter Mrs. Pillay wrote to President Biden just before her appointment as Chair of the COI. In the letter, she referred to Israel's "domination and oppression of the Palestinian people," calling on the US to "address the root causes of the violence" by ending Israel's "ever-expanding discrimination and systemic oppression."

How the Palestinians Pay Terrorists as Biden Pumps Millions of Aid Dollars Into Their Government
The Palestinian Authority allocates hundreds of millions of dollars to terrorists and their families even as the Biden administration pumps U.S. taxpayer funds into the Palestinian government, according to a non-public State Department report issued to Congress and obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

The report, published on May 10, details how the Palestinian government runs afoul of a U.S. law that bars it from receiving American aid dollars until these terror payments, known as the "pay-to-slay program," are stopped. The PA in 2019, the most recent reporting period available, allocated over $150 million to convicted terrorists. Another $191 million was paid to the families of terrorists who were "martyred" while conducting attacks against Israelis and Americans. There is no sign these payments will end, with Palestinian leaders voicing support on the international stage for the program.

"The PA has not terminated payments for acts of terrorism against Israeli and U.S. citizens to any individual, after being fairly tried, who has been imprisoned for such acts of terrorism and to any individual who died committing such acts of terrorism, including to a family member of such individuals," the State Department concluded. The PA makes these payments in cash as part of an effort to obfuscate its actions and stop the international community from holding it accountable for awarding terrorists and their families, according to the State Department's findings.

The report comes as the Biden administration pushes to increase U.S. aid dollars to the PA, which were terminated during the Trump administration as a result of the "pay-to-slay" program. More than $360 million in U.S. funding was given to the PA in 2021, potentially in violation of a bipartisan law known as the Taylor Force Act, which prohibits the American government from giving the Palestinians aid as long as they pay terrorists. The Biden administration maintains that the aid programs do not violate the law, though it is unclear what safeguards have been put on the funding to ensure it is not used to pay terrorists and their families. The State Department confirmed that no "economic support funds" were withheld as a result of restrictions in the Taylor Force Act.

"The Biden administration is strongly opposed to the prisoner payment system and has consistently engaged the Palestinian Authority to end this practice," a State Department spokesman told the Free Beacon. The U.S. Agency for International Development's "assistance in the West Bank and Gaza is implemented consistent with U.S. law."

Republicans in Congress disagree with this assessment. Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), for example, says the Biden administration cannot guarantee that the PA is not using U.S. funds as part of its terror financing program. Since the PA moved to a cash system, it is even harder to track which tranches of money are being used to fund "pay to slay."

"The Biden administration is ideologically committed to elevating the Palestinian government and pouring money into Palestinian territories," Cruz told the Free Beacon. "They've been doing this while they clearly knew that the same Palestinian government was inciting terrorism and using fungible money to reward terrorism against Israelis and Americans. It's disgraceful and unacceptable."

Amb. Alan Baker: Does anyone really understand the two state solution?
The Oslo Accords, still the only valid and mutually agreed basis for resolving the dispute, determine that the permanent status of the territories remains an open negotiating issue. They contain no reference to a one, two or three state solution. On the contrary, in their September 9, 1993 exchange of letters, Rabin and Arafat declared that “all outstanding issues relating to permanent status will be resolved through negotiations.”

The two state solution mantra would thus appear, at best, to be wishful thinking, and at worst, an attempt to prejudge the outcome of the direct negotiating process.

As visualized by the Oslo Accords, core issues that are inherently bilateral, such as Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, water and mutual security, will only be resolved by negotiation and not by partisan political resolutions or political declarations, or utterances by international leaders, the UN, or any other source.

Similarly, agreement on a border can only be the result of negotiations and not the imposition of pre-1967 armistice delimitation lines that were distinctly not intended to serve as an international border.

Former Israeli prime ministers Rabin, Sharon and Netanyahu each visualized some form of Palestinian entity, possibly a demilitarized state, existing side by side in amity and mutual respect with Israel, with limited security and sovereign prerogatives.

Any such state would be expected to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, just as Israel would recognize a Palestinian state as the nation-state of the Palestinian people.

However, no such two state solution could materialize without cognizance of the necessary, basic components that a Palestinian state entity would need to meet, including political and economic stability, unified leadership, the ability to represent the entire Palestinian people, and the removal of terror elements and infrastructure.

Such an entity will need to commit to solid legal, political and security guarantees that it will not abuse its sovereign prerogatives and international standing in order to violate or undermine the agreements.

While the two state solution could logically be the ultimate outcome of negotiations, it cannot and should not be blithely spouted out as a meaningless mantra or buzzword.

It can only be achieved through bona fide negotiation between the parties to resolve the serious issues arising from the long and complex dispute between them.
Tlaib, Squad introduce resolution recognizing 'catastrophe' of Israel's creation
House members led by Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., introduced a resolution Monday calling for U.S. recognition of the "Nakba," a term meaning "catastrophe" that is typically used by Palestinians to refer to the establishment of the state of Israel.

The resolution was submitted a week and a half after Israeli Independence Day, which coincides with Palestinian commemoration of Nakba Day. It calls for the U.S. to "commemorate the Nakba through official recognition and remembrance," while claiming that this "refers not only to a historical event but to an ongoing process of Israel's expropriation of Palestinian land and its dispossession of the Palestinian people that continues to this day."

"The Palestinian people since the 48 Nakba have been living under oppression and violent racism. Silence + blank checks enables more death and violence," Tlaib tweeted, referencing the year Israel was created and recognized via a U.N. resolution, and U.S. financial support for the Jewish state.

Tlaib, who is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, submitted the resolution on behalf of herself and Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Cori Bush, D-Mo., Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., Marie Newman, D-Ill., and Betty McCollum, D-Minn. Tlaib, Ocasio-Cortez and Omar are among a group of left-wing Democrats known as the "Squad," which has often taken anti-Israel positions.

The resolution claims that Palestinians opposed the U.N.’s 1947 recommendation to partition the territory then known as Palestine into two states, one for Arabs and one for Jews. It states that prior to Israel declaring independence on May 14, 1948, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians had fled their homes "often after attacks by Zionist militias." It does not make reference to the use of some of those areas by invading Arab nations to attack Israel.
Emily Schrader: Abu Akleh case on social media: Where facts go to die
SO WE do not know who was responsible. We will only know after a thorough investigation – and perhaps not even then. Therefore, for any news source to be outright lying (Al Jazeera), or for public figures like Mehdi Hassan, Bella Hadid and Susan Sarandon to be accusing Israel of assassination is slanderous, unethical and incitement to more violence. Even more outrageous, US Congress members from The Squad, including Rep. Cori Bush, Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Rep. Ilhan Omar, immediately took to Twitter to bash Israel for the murder of a journalist and called for consequences from the US in the form of cutting or reevaluating aid to Israel.

Thanks to social media, not only has the narrative spun out of control based on a completely unproven accusation, but now elected officials are even spouting off about consequences for Israel for an event (a murder) that didn’t happen. No matter who was responsible for the bullet that killed Abu Akleh, Palestinian terrorists or the IDF, it was not a murder nor was it an assassination.

This inflammatory rhetoric is intended to ignite rage against Israel and, just as we saw last May, leads to antisemitic violence in Israel and abroad. These public figures have a responsibility to encourage dialogue and cooperation, not to exacerbate tensions.

Perhaps the most absurd aspect of the whole incident is that, while it is incredibly tragic, there are dozens of journalists who have been killed in war zones while reporting. None, including the 23 journalists killed in Ukraine, have received the same level of attention or outrage as what occurred with Shireen Abu Akleh. This is a double standard being promoted by both public figures on social media and Al Jazeera itself.
The Caroline Glick Show: Could Paliwood blood libels lead to Israel’s annihilation?
In this week’s Middle East News Hour, Caroline Glick is joined by Amnon Lord, senior columnist at Israel Hayom and one of Israel’s foremost experts on the Israeli left. Caroline and Amnon discuss the Palestinian and international community’s use of blood libels to demonize Israel and legitimize the mass murder of Jews, in the context of the death of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh in Jenin last week.

Next, they move to the Israeli left’s abandonment of Zionism and what it means for Israeli democracy, for the country’s ability to withstand and defeat the political war the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and its partners are waging against it and for Israel’s survival more generally. And this includes a focus on the state of Israeli politics and its influence on national security.

EXCLUSIVE: Pallbearers at Funeral of Al Jazeera Reporter Were Convicted Terrorists
The funeral of Shireen Abu Akleh, a senior journalist and one of the icons of the Qatari Al-Jazeera network, was a show of forces by the Fatah movement in eastern Jerusalem, and the pallbearers were convicted terrorists, TPS has learned.

Abu Akleh was killed during an encounter between IDF forces and terrorists in the Jenin Refugee Camp last Wednesday, and her funeral turned into a demonstration, with mourners waving PLO flags and chanting anti-Israel slogans. The police’s clashes with the procession generated expressions of shock around the world.

However, conversations with Fatah activists and testimonies gathered by TPS, as well as information provided by Im Tirzu’s Arabic desk, indicate that the organization, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, came prepared for the event.

Quite a few Fatah officials competed for the carrying of Abu Akleh’s coffin, and a few were “honored to carry the coffin on their shoulders,” as some of them said in interviews with the media.

Rajay Haddad was honored to carry Abu Akleh’s coffin. His picture in a gray shirt was circulated on social media, and when it was doubted whether it was him or another activist, he posted the “original” picture on his Facebook page and announced that he had carried the coffin.

Haddad is one of Fatah’s senior figures in eastern Jerusalem, a terrorist who spent 20 years in Israeli prisons after participating in the 1998 murder of Gabriel Hirschberg in Jerusalem’s Old City and serving as an assistant to the terrorist Ayman Sharbati, also a Fatah activist.
“How sweet it is to kill Jews” – Palestinians chant at funeral of Al-Jazeera journalist Abu Akleh

Times of Israel Amends Erroneous Piece on Akleh Funeral
After communication with CAMERA, the Times of Israel amended a piece that had misrepresented tensions during the funeral of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.

The earlier version of the piece, written by Aaron Boxerman, argued that Israeli police violently rushed the funeral merely because attendees waved Palestinian flags.

Boxerman further suggested that the police lied about stone throwing by some at the funeral, suggesting that video footage belied the police claims.

But a detailed account in the Washington Post and footage of the incident paints a very different picture.

The Post report notes that the coffin was essentially wrested from the deceased’s family by Palestinians who defied their wishes about the funeral, and makes clear that police were acting to prevent the coffin from being carried away from the family. Video footage, meanwhile, clearly shows that the police were pelted by objects prior to using batons.

To its credit, the Times of Israel updated its piece to reflect this information.
BBC Radio 4 and the Al Jazeera narrative – part one
BBC Radio 4’s initial reporting on the death of Shireen Abu Akleh on May 11th in the ‘Today’ programme was previously discussed here:

As the day progressed, that story was reported in several additional BBC Radio 4 programmes and recurring points and issues became increasingly apparent.

One of those issues is the BBC’s unquestioning amplification of the narrative pushed by Al Jazeera, Qatar and the Palestinian Authority according to which – without any proof presented – Israel is responsible for Shireen Abu Akleh’s death. Notably, rather than clearly clarifying to audiences that the circumstances and facts behind the incident are unknown, the BBC chose to promote the theme of their being ‘disputed’.

Another issue is the alacrity with which the BBC gave unqualified amplification to the equally unproven claim from the same sources that she had been deliberately killed – in some versions by a “sniper” – rather than accidentally hit by an errant bullet from one side or the other.

The fact that Abu Akleh was wearing a bullet proof vest marked ‘press’ and a helmet at the time of her death was emphasised repeatedly by BBC journalists as though that attire would have prevented her being caught in crossfire.

In two programmes listeners heard that Abu Akleh was in Jenin with the Israeli forces. CAMERA UK has found no confirmation of that claim, including from official sources.

BBC reporting consistently skirted around the relevant context of Jenin as a stronghold of various terrorist groups and the fact that several perpetrators of recent terror attacks against Israeli civilians came from that area.
BBC Radio 4 and the Al Jazeera narrative – part two
Coomarasamy then presented a recording of the Israeli embassy in London’s spokesman Ohad Zemet who noted the existence of video footage of Palestinians firing weapons during the incident and clarified that it is absurd to claim that Israel is targeting journalists. Notably, in 13 hours of BBC Radio 4 coverage of the story, that was the first time that listeners had heard an Israeli point of view.

Coomarasamy: “In a divided society two versions, two videos of what happened have been circulating online. Shaina Oppenheimer from BBC Monitoring in Jerusalem explained what we know about these two videos and what different stories they tell.”

Oppenheimer described the videos, concluding that as to the source of fire, “we can’t really say right now”.

In the final part of the item listeners heard from Dalia Hatuqa – a Palestinian-American journalist based in Jordan who was Abu Akleh’s friend.

As we see, all BBC Radio 4’s coverage on May 11th gave considerable amplification to claims from Al Jazeera, Qatar and Palestinian sources which included repeated promotion of notions such as “execution”, “state-sponsored terrorism”, “blatant murder” and “assassination”. In three of the five programmes listeners heard from Al Jazeera’s managing editor and in two from another Al Jazeera journalist. Only in one of the five programmes did listeners briefly hear an Israeli point of view.

Supposed BBC editorial standards of accuracy and impartiality were sadly lacking in all BBC Radio 4’s very generous coverage of the incident on the day the news broke, with reporters and presenters alike clearly entirely unconcerned by the fact that the claims, statements and assignments of blame they repeatedly and uncritically promoted were – and still are – entirely unproven.
Guardian erases Palestinian violence from story on journalist's funeral
A May 13th Guardian article avoids even the pretense of objectivity by completely omiting evidence of Palestinian violence at the funeral in Jerusalem on Friday for al-Jazeera’s Shireen Abu Aqleh, and failing to provide readers with Israel’s side of the story.

The piece, written by the Guardian’s US weekend editor Ramon Antonio Vargas, employs a headline (“US condemns Israel’s attack on Shireen Abu Aqleh’s funeral”) that, like many media outlets, frames what occurred as an Israeli “attack” of a funeral procession. In the text of the article, Vargas actually describes events as an Israeli “storming” of the funeral procession. Such tendentious and misleading language suggests thuggish, unprovoked Israeli violence on mourners, whilst obfuscating the fact that police were responding to Palestinian violence when they began using force – a clash which lasted about a minute.

Here’s how Vargas describes events:
Dozens of Palestinians were packed around the coffin, some waving Palestinian flags and chanting, “with our soul and blood we will redeem you Shireen”.

When they began walking toward the gates of St Joseph’s hospital, Israeli police officers, in an apparent attempt to stop them proceeding by foot rather than taking the coffin by car, burst through the courtyard gates and charged at the crowd. Some beat pallbearers with batons and kicked them.

At one point the group carrying her coffin backed against a wall and almost dropped the casket, recovering it just before one end hit the ground as stun grenades detonated.

The show of force came after people circumvented roadblocks in occupied East Jerusalem to join the slain Al Jazeera reporter’s funeral procession. Mourners chanted “Palestine!”, sang the Palestinian national anthem and waved Palestinian flags before Israeli police cracked down on the procession, accusing participants of disrupting public order.

However, detailed accounts, by reporters on the scene, published in the Washington Post and other outlets, official statements by Israeli police and video footage paint a completely different picture from what the Guardian is trying to sell.
JPost Editorial: Herzog's Emirati condolence call signals hope for the Middle East - editorial
Images of Israel’s leaders being greeted warmly by their counterparts in the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco never cease to amaze, even 20 months after the signing of the Abraham Accords.

Video footage from the condolence call President Isaac Herzog paid on Sunday to new UAE President Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan (MBZ) after the death of his brother, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the former president, was no exception.

This visit came in the midst of a mini-wave of terror in Israel, heightened security alerts and anxiety, after weeks of clashes on Temple Mount days after international condemnation of Israel’s police for its behavior at the funeral of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.

And amid all that bleakness, there were Herzog and MBZ exchanging kisses on each other’s cheeks; there they were in what looked like a warm conversation, hands clasped together; there was Herzog presenting two members of the government to the UAE president – one from the Right flank (Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel), and one from the Left (Regional Cooperation Minister Esawi Frej).
MEMRI: Israel's Collaboration With Qatar – Morally Disgraceful And Strategically Damaging
Qatar is a great supporter of major extremist Islamic organizations and ceaselessly acts against Israel on the regional and international levels. Enlisting its help to achieve a temporary calm in Gaza is a self-inflicted strategic blow, as well as a moral disgrace.

For decades, Qatar has extended economic and political support, whether direct or indirect, to all the major extremist Islamist organizations: the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Qaeda, and even organizations affiliated with the Islamic State (ISIS). Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradawi, a prominent Islamic jurisprudent known for his antisemitic and extremist views and for justifying the extermination of the Jews in the Holocaust, has for years operated in Qatar and enjoyed its sponsorship. Qatar has also harbored other jihadi leaders, and its educational system is rife with incitement to jihad and martyrdom. Its media, entirely state-sponsored, frequently spreads antisemitism and Holocaust denial.

In 1996, the U.S. government informed the Qatari emir personally that its agents had arrived in the country to arrest Khalid Sheikh Muhammad (KSM), a terrorist involved in the planning and execution of serious attacks in Asia who had found safe haven as an employee of the Doha municipal water department. Within hours, KSM disappeared, only to resurface five years later as the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. Had Qatar not harbored him and facilitated his escape, 9/11 might not have happened. Qatar has also long supported the Taliban, and last year it helped it overthrow the democratically elected Afghan government and violently take over the country. Today, it makes every effort to legitimize the Taliban regime and secure international aid for it.

The Al-Jazeera TV channel, which is owned and operated by the Qatari regime, has since its inception functioned as a mouthpiece for jihadi terrorist organizations, and constantly broadcasts anti-Israel incitement. The claim that Qatar has helped to maintain calm between the Palestinians and Israel is ludicrous, and reflects profound ignorance. Amid the recent violent clashes at the Al-Aqsa compound, Al-Jazeera, the most-watched channel in the Palestinian territories, claimed that Israel intends to hold "Talmudic prayers" and make animal sacrifices in Al-Aqsa mosque itself, which naturally intensified the violence.

Israelis will especially remember how Al-Jazeera celebrated – live on-air – the release from prison of the terrorist Samir Quntar – who in 1979 murdered four-year-old Einat Haran by smashing her head on a rock at Nahariya beach in front of her father and then killed him as well. The party featured fulsome praise for Quntar, in addition to a large cake, an orchestra, and fireworks.

Qatar has perpetuated Hamas's rule in Gaza with financial support in the hundreds of millions of dollars; according to a May 1, 2022 report in Israel's Haaretz daily, this support has totaled $5 billion over the last decade. The Israeli government allows the delivery of these funds, ostensibly to be handed over to the Gazans, not to Hamas itself. This attempt to buy temporary quiet with "other people's money" enables Hamas to build up its military capabilities, including tunnels, rockets, drones, and units comprising thousands of fighters.
In first, Russian military said to fire S-300 missiles at Israeli jets over Syria
Russian forces opened fire on Israeli jets with advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missiles at the end of an alleged IAF attack on targets in northwestern Syria last week, Channel 13 news reported Monday, in what could signal a significant shift in Moscow’s attitude to Israel.

According to the unsourced report, the unprecedented incident occurred on Friday night, when the Israeli Air Force bombed several targets near the city of Masyaf in northwestern Syria.

At least five people were killed and seven were hurt in the airstrike, Syria’s state news agency said. Other media in the country said six were killed, all crew members of a Pantsir air defense system who attempted to take down the Israeli missiles.

The report said the Syrian military fired off dozens of anti-aircraft missiles, which have been largely ineffective at halting the hundreds of Israeli strikes on Syria in recent years.

However, this time the S-300 batteries also opened fire as the jets were departing the area, Channel 12 said. The report noted that Syria’s S-300 batteries are operated by the Russian military and cannot be fired without their approval.

The report said that the S-300 radar did not manage to lock onto the Israeli jets and thus did not present a serious threat to the IAF fighter jets.

Israeli forces thwart stabbing attack near Nablus in West Bank
The Israeli military on Tuesday thwarted an attempted stabbing attack near the West Bank city of Nablus.

According to the military, a man arrived at an IDF outpost in the Judea and Samaria Square, just north of Jerusalem, while brandishing a knife.

"Following the initial report about the stabbing attack near the entrance to the city of Nablus, an assailant armed with a knife charged toward IDF soldiers stationed in the area," said the IDF Spokesperson's Unit in a statement.

"The assailant attempted to stab the soldiers, who responded with live fire."

He was shot and neutralized by the forces, and no IDF troops had been hurt in the incident.

The condition of the assailant is described as serious and he is said to be suffering from wounds to his upper body.

PMW: Israeli prisons are “an identical copy of Auschwitz and the death camps”- Jibril Rajoub, senior PA leader
When Israeli soldiers tried to restore order at the Temple Mount during the violent Palestinian riots during Ramadan, official PA TV’s “Israeli affairs expert” Fayez Abbas presented it as an expression of Israeli Nazi-like ideology that Jews are a superior “Aryan” race. The alleged expert on Israel continued to say that “Israeli leaders are prized students of Goebbels, the minister of propaganda in the period of Nazi Germany”:
Official PA TV “Israeli affairs expert” Fayez Abbas: What is happening now in the Al-Aqsa Mosque plaza and what will happen tomorrow or in two days at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre plaza is the greatest proof that Israel has declared religious war against Islam and Christianity at the same time... A religious war and Israeli apartheid... This policy that the Jew is the “Aryan,” as happened in Germany- It is the same policy, the same ideological thought. I think most of the Israeli leaders are prized students of Goebbels, the minister of propaganda in the period of Nazi Germany.”

[Official PA TV, Palestine This Morning, April 21, 2022]

Known to be fond of the comparison of Israelis to the Nazis, senior PA official and Fatah Central Committee Secretary Jibril Rajoub recently claimed that Israeli prisons are “an identical copy of Auschwitz and the death camps”:
Fatah Central Committee Secretary Jibril Rajoub: “We hope that [Subhiya Younes’ death] will constitute a message that will awaken the world’s conscience, so that it will come out against the new Nazis who are committing acts of terror officially, and whose prisons are an identical copy of Auschwitz and the death camps.”

[Official PA TV, May 5, 2022]
Fatah official calls on Palestinians to continue riots in Al-Aqsa

Fatah official: Al-Aqsa is for the Muslims only… We will anoint agreements in blood and with Martyrs

PLO and PA TV deny Israel's existence in TV quiz

Biden's Unwise Attempts to Save the Iran Deal
Mr Biden's hopes of pressing ahead with the nuclear talks suffered a significant setback the other week when a bipartisan super-majority of US Senators voted to endorse a Republican-led measure insisting that any future agreement with Tehran must address Iran's support for terrorism in the region, and that Washington should not lift sanctions against the IRGC. Tehran is unlikely to concede to either measure.

Iran's refusal to clarify the true extent of its undeclared nuclear activities is entirely consistent with the uncooperative stance it has adopted in its dealing with the IAEA over many years.

In an indication of how desperate the Europeans are to revive the deal, Mr Borrell said the EU was giving serious consideration to the ludicrous proposition whereby the terrorist designation against the IRGC was lifted, but kept in place on other parts of the organisation, which has several arms across the security apparatus and a sprawling business empire.

The EU initiative is not dissimilar to other hare-brained options being considered by the Biden White House, with analysts recommending that one compromise option for the US is to lift the terrorist designation against the IRGC while keeping it on the Quds Force, the unit responsible for the IRGC's foreign operations and which arms and backs militant groups throughout the Middle East.

The lengths to which some naive politicians on both sides of the Atlantic are prepared to go to revive the nuclear deal is nothing less than shameful, especially at a time when the world is struggling to deal with another tyrannical regime following Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

Hopefully, the more Iran refuses to cooperate with international bodies such as the IAEA, the more it will become clear that any hopes of securing a new deal with Tehran would not only upend the region but the president's legacy as well.
Iran Working on 1,000 Centrifuges at New Underground Site, ‘Weeks Away’ From Material for Bomb, Israel Says
Iran is seeking to finish the production and installation of 1,000 advanced IR6 centrifuges, including at a new facility being built at an underground site near Natanz, Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Tuesday.

“Iran continues to accumulate irreversible knowledge and experience in the development, research, production and operation of advanced centrifuges,” Gantz stated. “It stands just a few weeks away from accumulating fissile material that will be sufficient for a first bomb.”

Gantz warned that Iran holds 60 kg of 60 percent enriched uranium, produces metallic uranium at an enrichment level of 20 percent, and is preventing the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from accessing its production facilities.

“The amount of long-term strategic weapons held by Iran has increased significantly in the past year,” Gantz cautioned. “The price of stopping Iran is now lower than it will be in a year.”

Gantz’s warning comes as indirect talks between Iran, the US and European officials to revive the 2015 nuclear deal have stalled since March, mainly over Tehran’s demand to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from the US list of designated terrorist organizations. On Friday, the EU’s foreign policy chief indicated that “enough progress” has been made to relaunch talks on renewing the deal, which would provide economic sanctions relief in exchange for restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program.

Commenting on Tehran’s efforts to transfer weapons to its proxies in the region, Gantz noted that the quantity of strategic weapons in the hands of Iranian allies has increased significantly over the past year.
Israel to simulate striking Iran in massive IDF drill
The Israeli military will simulate striking targets far from Israel’s borders with a large number of planes while simultaneously acquiring new targets on various fronts in real-time during its largest military drill in history.

According to the IDF, the drill is unique and unprecedented in scope and will enable the army to maintain a high level of readiness in an ever-changing region. It aims to improve the military’s capabilities in an intense, multi-front and prolonged war on all its borders.

During the drill the Air Force will also drill on striking targets far from Israel’s borders while troops continue to contend with a multi-front war on its borders.

The military, which is seriously planning several military options against Iran should the nuclear talks between the West and the Islamic Republic fail, will drill on one of the possible options during the exercise.

The military will also implement all lessons learned from Operation Guardian of the Walls throughout the entire month.

During the 11-days of fighting last year, there was heavy rioting in those areas as well as in mixed Israeli-Arab cities such as Lod and Jaffa. Two people were killed and several civilians were injured.

As part of the drill it will simulate scenarios where there is even heavier rioting, two times the level of violence seen last year.
Israel Pledges to Stop Iran From Transferring ‘Advanced Capabilities’ to Regional Proxies
Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Monday pledged that Israel will stave off attempts by Iran to route “advanced capabilities” to its proxies in the region.

“We will continue to act against anyone who threatens us and we will prevent the transfer of advanced capabilities from Iran that endanger the citizens of Israel and harm the stability of the entire region,” Gantz vowed during a visit to the IDF’s Northern Command, which took place amid a large-scale exercise launched by the military last week to train against a multifront war with Israel’s enemies.

The month-long training, dubbed “Chariots of Fire,” simulates combat scenarios in the air, at sea, on land, and on the cyber front.

“We are preparing for different scenarios against our enemies in the various arenas, and against Hezbollah and Hamas, which also operates from Lebanon,” Gantz announced. “The combination of training, operational activity, and strengthening civil resilience makes up our complete concept of protecting the north and the entire State of Israel.”
US Charges Venezuelan Doctor With Selling Ransomware Used by Iranian Group to Attack Israeli Firms
A Venezuelan cardiologist who taught himself computer programming sold software that was used by an Iranian hacking group to attack Israeli companies, US prosecutors said on Monday in bringing criminal charges against him.

Moises Zagala, 55, licensed his software to cybercriminals who deployed it to extort victims for money, according to a complaint filed in federal court in Brooklyn, New York.

Zagala advertised his Jigsaw v. 2 tool on an online forum for $500, and offered to sell the underlying source code for $3,000, the complaint said.

Breon Peace, the US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York said in a statement that Zagala bragged about successful attacks using his programs, “including by malicious actors associated with the government of Iran.”

Zagala faces two counts of attempted computer intrusions and conspiracy to commit computer intrusions. He lives in Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela, and has not been arrested by US authorities. A message Reuters sent to an Instagram account for Zagala’s clinic in Ciudad Bolivar was not immediately returned.

In late 2019, he started offering another product, Thanos, to hackers in exchange for some profits from their ransomware attacks, according to the complaint, which was written by FBI agent Chris Clark. Clark bought a license for the program and downloaded it to a computer in the United States.
Iran Caught Off Guard by Surging Economic Protests
Iran’s rulers are alarmed at the prospect of nationwide mass protests, as the hot summer months approach. Prices of some basic goods like bread, dairy products, and chicken skyrocketed as much as 300 percent overnight. There have already been nightly protests in the oil rich province of Khuzestan, and protests are spreading to neighboring provinces.

Last week, a leaked audio file from a senior Iran state TV executive demonstrated the depth of the regime’s concern. “The country is going through an exceptional situation, the soaring prices, frustration with the officials and so on,” Alireza Habibi tells producers and presenters. “… but we should try to calm the public’s anxieties, not incite it further …. Don’t go and make programs highlighting these problems. This is not the time for making such programs. Wait till things calm down.”

To make sure his instructions were understood clearly, Habibi added “the slightest dissent in this regard will be unforgivable, because this is a national security issue. So make sure you yourself and your channel don’t suffer as a result of your actions.”

These concerns were also echoed last Tuesday by Khuzestan MP Qassem Sa’edi. “People are struggling to make ends meet,” he said. “They want to be loyal to the regime, but there is a limit to how much they can take. There is a good likelihood we face a bigger danger than the previous nationwide unrests.”

Sensing the brewing tension and fears of mass protests, Khuzestan’s Security Maintenance Council — a body that assesses current trends and takes preemptive actions to avert social unrest — announced the football match between Khuzestan Steel FC and Tehran’s Independence FC will be held without spectators.

Despite all the efforts to maintain order, protests erupted Wednesday night in several cities in Khuzestan province, which is in southwestern Iran. In Ahvaz, protesters called for Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to resign: “Raisi, you liar,” they chanted. “What happened to all those things you promised?”

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