Thursday, May 19, 2022

From Ian:

What’s to become of the Palestinians? We need to talk about Khaybar.
What about the Palestinians’ friends in the west and elsewhere, who amplify all those same slurs? They do matter, but not because they can deliver Israel bound & gagged. They can’t. They matter because they bear a good share of responsibility for leading the Palestinians into the quicksand and keeping them there, prolonging everyone’s misery. By encouraging them to keep fighting a war they’ve long since lost and by adopting every malformed phantasm of Palestinian resentment, they’ve walked with them hand in hand. The difference of course, is that it’s the Palestinians that are paying the price. Israelis are often lectured that it’s the duty of a friend to put them straight when they are going wrong. Where was the tough love for the Palestinians?

When the army of the Prophet swept through the Khaybar oasis, hate put the spur to his horses and sharpened the edge on his swords, and set the relationship between Muslims and Jews for the next millennium and a half, but impotent hate only clarifies its target’s vision and hardens his resolve. The Palestinians can see that what power they have is trickling away, it’s obvious in their panicky response to the Abraham Accords and any other sign of Arab “betrayal”, and even their fury at the suggestion that UNRWA might outsource some of its activities to other agencies. Hate on top of powerlessness weakens their position, but in defeat they can’t give it up.

So what is the future for the Palestinians? Where does all this leave the two-state solution, first of all? It leaves it dead. Israel has been told endlessly that it mustn’t do certain things because they will destroy the prospects for two-states, but nobody thought to tell the Palestinians that they mustn’t hate for the same reason. People who want to will put the blame on Israel, but the end result will be the same: Nations don’t choose suicide willingly and while would-be murderers of Israel may be plenty their means are insufficient. Beyond that, predicting the future is for fools but there’s little sign that Palestinian dreams will come true. Israel has been getting stronger, not weaker. More and more Arab countries, quietly or in public, are deciding that they can’t subordinate their own interests to Palestinian ones forever. Even Arab-Israelis are gradually starting to integrate more, joining the economy and the army and embracing politics that aren’t zero-sum dead ends. If Israel responds thoughtfully those numbers will only grow. If the Arab world moves on without the Palestinians there’s little reason for Europe and America not to follow suit. Do the Palestinians understand their bind? I doubt it, but they can’t leave their cage by either possible exit and I can’t see how anyone else can get them out. I truly wish they could; I don’t enjoy their suffering and a perpetually bitter and hopeless Palestinian enclave is going to continue lashing out at Israel forever. But not all stories have happy endings.

In medicine there exists something known as a sequestrum. A piece of tissue dies and, instead of the usual process of breakdown and resorption, it mummifies in place. It has no future role in the surrounding body except as a source of inflammation and pain. Is that what the Palestinian people have to look forward to, to be a permanent, irreducible focus of inflammation and hurt in the Middle East? How do we spare them and the Israelis that?

This piece was written before the death of the Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in Jenin, but if I’d started writing it today it would have come out exactly the same. From the shrieks of Murder! by everyone from Mahmoud Abbas to Rashida Tlaib to the right-on Susan Sarandon; from the forthright libels of Al Jazeera, the “news” source to which Abu Akleh lent her services for 25 years, to the more veiled insinuations of once-reputable outlets like the BBC and Associated Press, it’s the proof you didn’t need. The Palestinians demonstrate their enduring ability to bruise and blacken Israel, and they get … nowhere. It couldn’t be clearer that the PA, never mind Hamas, is not thinking about coexistence. For all their talk of fairness, justice and rights, the West’s thought leaders’ stampede toward verdict before trial shows again how flexible their principles are in service of their politics. In the process, they make any thinking Jew wonder what future there is for the diaspora. And so we go on, hate and pointless violence that serves only to take the Palestinians further from a future worth having. The pain they inflict and suffer has become their substitute.
JPost Editorial: Israel cannot abandon the two state solution
Due to the loss of hope that there is a viable solution, some people on both the Israeli and the Palestinian sides are starting to believe that their side should be in control, while the other should be deported or eliminated.

It is true that it is not possible to make peace with the aging and intransigent Mahmoud Abbas, who barely controls the West Bank, and without Israel’s help would be toppled by Hamas that wishes to wipe out the State of Israel.

But one day, Abbas will depart from this world, and what then?

Does Israel want to maintain a situation in which millions of people live under the control of its military while being refused citizenship? Or does it want to make those people citizens and lose the Jewish majority?

For over a decade, Israel made great efforts to weaken the Palestinian Authority and to strengthen Hamas. At the same time, it allowed Hamas to develop military capabilities that could terrorize the country.

It is time for Israel to strengthen its ties with moderate Palestinians and keep cooperating with pragmatic Israeli-Arabs.

Having Ra’am in the coalition is a huge and historic step in that direction.

Its leader, Mansour Abbas, has said multiple times that he recognizes Israel as a Jewish State, and that “it will stay like this.”

It is time to start talking again about solutions to the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians. Ignoring it does not serve Israel’s interests of remaining a Jewish and democratic state.

Dutch Foreign Ministry Denies Sponsoring Public Meeting Advocating Prosecution of Israel by ICC
The foreign ministry of the Netherlands has flatly denied that it is sponsoring a public meeting in The Hague on Monday pushing for alleged Israeli war crimes to be tried at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not involved in this event,” a spokesperson for the foreign ministry told the Dutch Jewish news outlet NIW. “It has been reported that the ministry is financially supporting the event, but that is not correct. That will be rectified: the reference to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be deleted.”

The May 23 event, titled “Palestine and the ICC Paralysis: Is Justice Still Possible for Palestinians?”, features Roger Waters, the former Pink Floyd vocalist and ardent anti-Zionist, and Shawan Jabareen, the executive director of Al Haq, a Palestinian NGO with alleged links to the terrorist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), among several speakers.

Initial publicity for the meeting stated that the Dutch foreign ministry was a sponsor alongside various pro-Palestinian NGOs, resulting in anger among pro-Israel advocates — as well as a series of parliamentary questions to Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra from the opposition PVV and Christian Union parties. However, according to NIW, none of the activists verified whether the claim was true. An inquiry by one of its journalists eventually resulted in the foreign ministry’s statement on Wednesday.

Controversy still stalks Monday’s meeting despite the foreign ministry’s clarification, with some pro-Israel members of parliament questioning why Al Haq, an organization affiliated with the PFLP, should be permitted to participate in a meeting in a member state of the EU, which has listed the Popular Front as a terrorist entity.

Other observers pointed out that, earlier this month, Hoekstra had explicitly rejected an Amnesty International report that caricatured Israel as an apartheid state — telling cabinet colleagues that the Dutch government “does not agree with Amnesty’s conclusion that there is apartheid in Israel or the territories occupied by Israel … In light of the above, the cabinet also rejects the recommendations made by Amnesty in the report.”
Israel summons Dutch envoy over FM Hoekstra's meeting with Al-Haq
Israel has asked the Netherlands to justify Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra's Ramallah visit with the Palestinian NGO Al-Haq, an IDF designated error group.

"Ambassador [Han] Docter would be pleased to reaffirm the Dutch position during the regular meeting with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs," the Foreign Ministry at The Hague stated on Thursday.

Hoekstra's introductory one-day trip to Jerusalem and Ramallah, his first since taking office in January, was designed to help tighten Dutch ties with Israelis and Palestinians.

The Al-Haq visit, however, overshadowed the trip, creating a contentious diplomatic situation between two otherwise strong allies. The upcoming Foreign Ministry meeting with Docter was characterized as a summons, whereas The Hauge downplayed it as a regularly scheduled event.

It said that "Docter was not summoned" but rather planned to go to the ministry for a prearranged meeting that he himself had requested to discuss honor support to Israeli and Palestinian NGOs.

"Ambassador Docter would be pleased to reaffirm the Dutch position during the regular meeting with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs," the Dutch Foreign Ministry said.

"This topic has also been discussed in-depth and in all transparency between Dutch FM Hoekstra and Israeli FM Lapid," it explained.

Donor support to Israeli and Palestinian NGOs is a regular topic of conversation between the two governments, the Dutch Foreign Ministry said.
The Nakba myth hijacks Congress
After the war, the Arab refugees went to other Arab nations: 100,000 to Lebanon, 75,000 to Syria and 70,000 to Jordan. 280,000 went to the West Bank, which Jordan annexed, and 190,000 went to the Gaza Strip, over which Egypt maintained military control. Not one of these Arab nations resettled these people. At the same time, Arab nations expelled their Jewish populations in droves, without the pretext of war in their lands. Morocco expelled 260,000, Iraq expelled 129,000 and so on. This is not to mention the hundreds of thousands of European Jews who were displaced after the Holocaust. None of these people languished in camps and demanded to be returned to their homes. They made their way to Israel, where a nation in its infancy – and still reeling from an existential war – resettled them and gave them full rights as citizens.

The Arabs continued their effort to destroy Israel and told the refugees situated in their countries not to worry – once all the Jews are dead, you can go home. All of this was under the watchful eye of the United Nations, which created useless organizations to help facilitate the continued oppression of the Palestinian people by other Arab nations and their own leaders. When Israel won the Six-Day War, they did not conquer Palestinian lands in the West Bank and Gaza Strip – they conquered Jordanian and Egyptian lands that contained a Palestinian population that had languished in refugee camps for two decades. Unlike Jordan and Egypt, they did not annex this land and leave the refugees as second-class citizens.

The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) then chose to launch decades of terrorism against the Jewish people. Israel attempted peace with the PLO and the Palestinian Authority many times over the years. When land was offered, it was rejected and terrorist attacks were launched. When Israel left Gaza in 2005, it became a safe haven for Hamas and thousands of rocket attacks.

The problems the Palestinian people face are numerous indeed. They lack resources, jobs, education and healthcare. This is not the fault of Israel. It is due to decades of exploitation by Arab nations that used them as political pawns until they realized that Israel isn't going anywhere. Now the Arab world is bored with the Palestinian "catastrophe" and has begun to sign peace agreements with Israel to ensure their survival against an emboldened Iran. Israel has become an economic and technological powerhouse with a military envied by almost every other country in the world. Yet the Palestinians are trapped in the past, and blame the Jews for the problems inflicted upon them by their own leaders.

Tlaib's parents emigrated to America and appear to have infused their daughter with the falsehood that all the problems faced by their people were the fault of the Jews. The resolution she has filed has nothing to do with facts, history or the correction of injustices. It's about the use of her position as a member of Congress to settle her vendetta against a people who didn't have the courtesy to allow themselves to be pushed into the Mediterranean Sea. Tlaib has chosen not to use her power and position to help the Palestinians, she uses them as a weapon against the Jewish state. In doing so, she is as bad – if not worse – than the nations that refused to help her great-grandparents after 1948, and her actions will ensure that the Palestinian people continue to live in abject poverty for generations to come.
An Indelible Stain on Congress
Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), representing over 2,000 rabbis in matters of American public policy, today forcefully denounced a resolution introduced by Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) calling for recognition of “the Nakba (“catastrophe”),” a reference to the founding of the State of Israel. The rabbis called the resolution “openly antisemitic” and its introduction “an indelible stain on Congress.”

“Arab armies responded to Israel’s founding with a call for genocide,” said CJV Israel Regional Vice President Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, “and have continued with repeated wars and horrific acts of terrorism for the sole purpose of killing Jews and destroying the world’s only Jewish state. They proclaimed their intent in 1948 as a ‘momentous massacre,’ to kill all Jews in Israel as Hitler did in Germany, and what they call a ‘Nakba’ is that they fell 99% short of that obscene goal.”

Tlaib has a history of antisemitic remarks, beginning with referring to the only Middle Eastern country with a significant Jewish population as a “racist” country. Following hateful comments from her colleague (and co-sponsor of this resolution) Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), the House was unable to pass a resolution condemning antisemitism, but instead approved a resolution that submerged antisemitism in the middle of a long list of forms of hatred, watering it down so completely that Omar was able to portray its passage as a victory.

Over three years ago, CJV warned House Speaker Pelosi that to maintain Omar’s assignment to the House Foreign Affairs Committee was “tantamount to saying that antisemitism is acceptable to the United States House of Representatives.” It is to that committee that this resolution was submitted.
Rashida Tlaib Given Free Reign to Reimagine History While Defending ‘Nakba’ Resolution
Tlaib, as a lawmaker, is surely familiar with the concept of due process. Yet for her, that never applies to Israel. Instead, she jumps to an unfounded conclusion during her MSNBC interview, claiming that Israel killed Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.

For the record, Abu Akleh was shot by an as of yet unknown person during an arrest raid in Jenin following a spate of deadly Palestinian terror attacks in Israel — many of which were perpetrated by people from the West Bank city and the surrounding areas.

And this was not even Tlaib’s most outlandish accusation. She went on to accuse the Jewish state of being a “fascist regime,” and compared the country to Yemen, Syria, and Saudi Arabia — explaining that she understands the “connectivity” and vowing to always speak out against “war crimes.”

This fallacy is tantamount to an antisemitic dog whistle, one that seeks to paint the Middle East’s sole democracy and the world’s only Jewish state as totalitarian and evil.

True to form, antisemitic host Hasan did not bother to challenge any of the Congresswoman’s assertions. This is the same pundit who has incorrectly suggested that Israel killed 20 Palestinians at the Temple Mount, while dismissing deadly rock attacks by Palestinians as mere stone-throwing. As such, Hasan’s conversation with Tlaib was not so much an interview as an anti-Israel echo chamber.

The Palestinians Do Not Overshadow Israel-Morocco Relations
Israel's Ambassador to Morocco David Govrin is in constant contact with Moroccan authorities and journalists to relay trustworthy information and build trust. He says, "The Moroccan public deeply identifies with the Palestinians." At the same time, the Palestinians do not overshadow Israel-Morocco relations, but rather the subject "comes up occasionally, mostly in times of crisis. The Palestinian matter is not at the center of the public agenda in Morocco. In internal policy, the central matters are health, education and economic development, and in foreign policy, the most important matter is the [Western] Sahara."

A Moroccan human rights advocate said recent clashes between Israel and the Palestinians "have more of an influence on a media level....The official government level is separate. The Abraham Accords are here, they are a reality, government collaboration is continuing and official diplomatic ties are still ongoing." Ties with Israel "improved really fast, based on putting aside geopolitical differences and past conflicts and focusing on what Israel and Morocco can do."

Amb. Govrin added, "The feeling is that they want us here, they like us and they are embracing us....The Moroccan hospitality is extraordinary and it is nice to be in a place where tolerance and coexistence are very deep values."
< href="">Israel’s Ruling Coalition Becomes Minority After Meretz Lawmaker Quits
Israel‘s ruling coalition on Thursday became a minority in the Knesset when an Arab lawmaker from a left-wing party quit, leaving Prime Minister Naftali Bennett with a more precarious grip on power.

The defection by Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi, who in a letter circulated in Israeli media said she was pulling her support for the government on ideological grounds, leaves Bennett controlling 59 of the 120 seats in the Knesset.

Bennett heads a collection of left-wing, centrist, right-wing and Arab parties that was sworn in a year ago, ending Benjamin Netanyahu’s record 12-year run as prime minister.

It lost its slight majority last month when a lawmaker from Bennett’s own right-wing party quit the coalition.

The government is now more vulnerable and would need to find external support should the opposition bring a no-confidence vote in parliament.
Falsely accusing Israel ‘grossly irresponsible’
Those who make baseless claims that Israel targeted slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh “are themselves culpable for violence against Israelis”, decorated British officer Colonel Richard Kemp told The AJN this week.

Colonel Kemp has commanded troops on the front lines in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Balkans and Northern Ireland, experiencing firsthand the realities of battle.

In an exclusive interview, Kemp outlined that when the Israel Defence Force operates in a place like Jenin, they come under attack “almost invariably”.

“They were in a very dangerous and difficult situation with fire coming from many different directions. Any situation like that does lead to confusion and very often does lead to inadvertent casualties,” he said.

“The journalist could have been shot by the IDF or by Palestinian terrorists. It could have been either way.”

Kemp said his inclination is that she was more likely shot by a Palestinian.

“The IDF, when they’re accused of something like this, they carry out an immediate and thorough investigation. If that investigation shows their own people were responsible, they always admit that and they then do a more detailed investigation to establish whether it was a criminal action or just an accident,” he said.

He added that the video footage suggests that Palestinian terrorists were shooting and then claimed someone was killed, and since no IDF soldier was killed, that “leads to the possibility that they killed that journalist”.

In addition, he said that in the video the terrorists are seen “shooting randomly in many different directions, often spraying wildly”.
IDF says gun used in reporter’s killing possibly identified, bullet needed to verify
The Israeli military has identified a soldier’s rifle that may have killed Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, but said it cannot be certain unless the Palestinians turn over the bullet for analysis, a military official said Thursday.

The announcement marked a small sign of progress in the investigation into the killing of Abu Akleh, who was fatally shot on May 11 while covering an Israeli military raid in the northern West Bank city of Jenin.

Palestinian officials, along with fellow journalists who were with Abu Akleh, have said Israeli troops stationed nearby killed her. The Israeli army says she was shot during a battle between troops and Palestinian gunmen, and it cannot be determined who fired the fatal bullet without a proper analysis.

Israel has called for a joint investigation with the Palestinians. But the Palestinians, who have the bullet taken from her body, have refused, saying they don’t trust Israel. They say they are conducting their own investigation and that they are ready to cooperate with any country except for Israel.

The military official stressed that while the source of the shot is still unclear, “we have narrowed down the IDF weapon that might be involved in the fire exchange near Shireen.”

He renewed the call for the Palestinians to release the bullet. If they do so, he said, Israel will “hopefully be able to compare the bullet to that barrel and check if there is a match.” He spoke on condition of anonymity under military briefing guidelines.
Palestinian mob prevents hearse from receiving body of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh
PA TV reporter: “For half an hour there is strong opposition to the removal of [Shireen Abu Akleh’s] body except by foot. The hearse is waiting for the transfer, so dozens of those who managed to get here refuse to permit it [to pass]…

Tell me about what's happening now.

Member of the National Action Committee in Jerusalem Ahmed Al-Safadi: The [Arab] residents of Jerusalem want Shireen Abu Akleh to be carried [on shoulders] out of respect, as she was carried on shoulders in Jenin, Nablus, and Ramallah. The young people of Jerusalem, despite all the interference, want to carry her.

PA TV reporter: Here is her brother.

Al-Safadi: [The Israeli Police] scare the residents of Jerusalem, so that she will be taken by car. But there are suggestions that she will be taken in a hearse slowly beside the young men and women of Jerusalem. I think this is a good suggestion, that half of [the procession] should be by car and half by foot, so that all parties are satisfied…

The Rush to Demonize Israel After Fatal Shooting of Al Jazeera Journalist
Al Jazeera’s Palestinian-American correspondent Shirin Abu Akleh, 51, was shot to death on May 11th during clashes between armed Palestinians and Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in the West Bank city of Jenin. Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, and their enablers have exploited the journalist’s tragic death as fodder for a malicious propaganda campaign against Israel. They have charged, without a shred of evidence, that Israel deliberately targeted Ms. Akleh for assassination.

The Qatar-owned Al Jazeera itself blamed Israeli forces for its correspondent’s killing, labeling it "a blatant murder, violating international laws and norms." Al Jazeera accused Israeli soldiers of assassinating Ms. Akleh in “cold blood” and “targeting her with live fire,” prior to the completion of any credible, transparent investigation.

It is one thing for the media outlet to mourn the loss of one its own and demand such an investigation. It is quite another for Al Jazeera, which claims in its Code of Ethics that it endeavors “to get to the truth,” to immediately convict Israeli soldiers in the court of public opinion with no established basis in fact.

Israeli authorities want to get to the truth of what happened during Israel’s counter-terrorism operation. They are considering the possibility that one of IDF’s own soldiers could have accidentally shot Ms. Akleh while trying to target one of the Palestinian gunmen who were firing barrages of bullets at the Israel Defense Forces. But Israeli authorities are also considering the alternative possibility that one of the Palestinian shooters might have killed Ms. Akleh, who was nearby and caught in the crossfire.

IDF soldiers were in Benin in the first place to root out dangerous Palestinian terrorists from their home bases. Palestinian terrorists have murdered multiple Israeli civilians in recent weeks. It defies common sense to suppose that the IDF would have diverted their attention for even a second to deliberately target an unarmed journalist when the Israeli soldiers were under constant attack by armed Palestinian militants.

Israel offered to conduct a joint investigation with Palestinian authorities in the presence of impartial observers. However, the Palestinians refused the offer and are also withholding key evidence such as the bullet recovered from Ms. Akleh’s body.

CJR Slides Towards Journalism In the Service of the Revolution
Why is Columbia Journalism Review, the flagship publication of Columbia University’s prestigious Graduate School of Journalism, advancing the collapse of ethical journalism in favor of what Arab journalists working under repressive regimes call “journalism in the service of the revolution?”

The guiding light of ethical journalism for more than a century, the Society of Professional Journalist’s Code of Ethics recognizes “public enlightenment [as] the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy” and “strives to ensure the free exchange of information that is accurate, fair and thorough.”

On the opposite end of the informational spectrum lies Sahafat Ath-Thawra, or journalism in the service of the revolution. This model mandates the withholding of information, and the sculpting of news to fit the regime’s agenda. When Israeli journalist Yoni Ben Menachem asked a senior Palestinian official why the Palestinians don’t adopt democracy and a free press given their public’s great admiration for these values, the Fatah official responded:
Our situation is different, our mentality is different. We are in the middle of a revolution to establish a state and criticism of the regime and the leadership harms our struggle, and so we adopted the term “journalism in the service of the revolution.” Every journalist in the Palestinian Authority territory knows his limits and exercises self-censorship in order not to exceed the red lines. Whoever crosses them is punished.

“Instead of fighting back against the demise of journalism, CJR takes part in it,” this researcher charged in June, when the prestigious journalism publication not only failed to denounce hundreds of renegade journalists who declared war on SPJ’s essential Code of Ethics, but also embraced the signatories’ partisan, counterfactual terminology and formulations. In “From journalists, to journalists: Why reporting on Palestine has to change,” signatories of the open letter claim a journalist imperative to report according to “contextualized truth,” that is filtering all coverage through the fallacious lens of “Israel’s military occupation and its system of apartheid.”

The open letter signatories reside in free counties while journalists in the service of the revolution live under repressive regimes, but their work ethic is identical: reporting according to a predetermined narrative which necessarily negates the free exchange of information.

Jon Allsop’s May 13 CJR article, “The killing of Shireen Abu Akleh,” represents another devastating CJR-inflicted blow against ethical journalism. A cursory peek under the hood of Al Jazeera, the media outlet where veteran journalist Abu Akleh had worked for decades, and a key source in Allsop’s piece, underscores the severity of Allsop’s turn against professional journalism. Allsop, it should be noted writes the CJR‘s daily newsletter.

Qatar’s Al Jazeera, akin to President Vladimir Putin’s propaganda outfit Russia Today, is the antithesis of ethical journalism.
A narrative and a libel on BBC WS radio’s Newshour
Listeners were not told the names of those ‘human rights organisations’ and of course heard nothing about the topic of Palestinian journalists who are also activists for terrorist organisations.

Later on in the same programme (from14:04) listeners heard a report from Tim Franks in Jerusalem.

In the later edition of the same programme, listeners once again heard (from 00:38 here) edited clips from Brown’s interviews with Samoudi and Zemet along with a long interview with a friend of Abu Akleh.

As we see, the May 11th ‘Newshour’ coverage of this story was no better that that seen on other BBC platforms (see ‘related articles’ below). BBC World Service radio adopted and uncritically amplified the narrative promoted by Al Jazeera while ignoring that outlet’s record on Israel. Questions posed by Audrey Brown in her token interview with an Israeli spokesperson repeatedly and uncritically cited the Al Jazeera producer’s claims despite their being unsubstantiated and notwithstanding the clear bias he expressed in similar interviews with other media outlets. Brown promoted the libel that Israel targets journalists which is frequently used by Al Jazeera and others seeking to delegitimise Israel.

The BBC’s obligation to provide accurate and impartial programming was once again side-lined in favour of promotion of the unverified politically motivated narrative that the BBC quickly embraced regarding the death of Shireen Abu Akleh.

PreOccupiedTerritory: Palestinian Islamic Jihad Introduces Uniforms With “PRESS” On Front (satire)
A militant terrorist group focused on removing Jewish sovereignty from the Levant in the name of Allah has commissioned new fatigues for its fighters in the wake of hubbub over a journalist killed during the group’s shootout last week in this Palestinian-governed city: trousers and dark, long-sleeve tops with a white-background, blue-letter logo of the word “PRESS” on the chest and back.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad leaders announced the uniform today after observing the reflexive blaming of Israel among international news organizations for the shooting death of Al-Jazeera correspondent Shereen Abu Aqleh, whose demise, later examination of the evidence showed, resulted not from IDF fire at PIJ terrorists but from the indiscriminate fire of the terrorists themselves.

“The next logical step is to shoot Palestinians en masse and just say Israel did it,” explained PIJ senior commander Massiqr Demal. “But we have to work our way up to that. The first step was well underway years ago with everyone blaming Israel for deaths that Palestinian negligence or actual cynical malice caused in Gaza, with rockets falling short or being stored right near kids; you know the drill. On occasion the death of a journalist might also happen, but there’s been no organized effort to kill reporters and blame Israel. That changes with this initiative.”

Initial plans call for an entire battalion of PRESS-clad fighters to provoke confrontation with the Israeli military. Any consequent casualties among the PIJ fighters will allow the group and Palestinian propagandists in general to display the dead or wounded to prove Israel slaughters journalists. From there, only small conceptual and logistical leaps remain before mainstream media outlets such as the BBC and CNN report as fact Israel’s guilt in massacring Palestinian civilians that Palestinians have killed with exactly that outcome in mind.
PMW: PA libel: Israeli PM said “Murder and abuse Palestinian people”
Here is a classic example of how a PA libel is created. Starting with a real event or statement, the PA twists and distorts it, turning it into a gross lie.

Following several terror attacks, murders of Israelis, and violent riots during Ramadan, as well as continued Palestinian attempts to harm Israeli citizens, Israeli PM Naftali Bennett instructed the Israeli army and Israeli police to go after the Palestinian “terrorists wherever they are.” Bennett specifically emphasized the target as “terrorists”:
“The instructions are clear – to harm terrorists wherever they are, with all kinds of weapons… We are giving the Israeli army and Israeli police full backing to harm every terrorist – in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and everywhere else in the land. Whoever raises a hand against an Israeli civilian or Israeli soldier – their blood is on their own head.”

[Israeli daily Maariv, May 17, 2022]

However, to demonize Israel and PM Bennett, and to incite Palestinians to even more violence and terror by creating a sense of danger, which then “justifies” Palestinian terror as “self-defense,” the PA distorted Bennett’s statement. It claimed he instructed Israeli soldiers and police officers “to murder and abuse Palestinian people at their free will” and “use excessive force against the Palestinians wherever they are”:
“The Palestinian Presidency today warned against… Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's statements calling on his occupation army to murder and abuse Palestinian people at their free will.”

[WAFA, English edition, official PA news agency, May 17, 2022]

Headline: “Bennett instructs the occupation army to use excessive force against the Palestinians wherever they are!”

“Israeli occupation Prime Minister Naftali Bennett instructs to use excessive force against the Palestinians wherever they are and with all kinds of weapons.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 18, 2022]

“The [PA] Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates today criticized statements by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in which he called on his army and police to use excessive force against the Palestinians wherever they are, saying such statements are incitement to violence against the Palestinian people.”

[WAFA, English edition, official PA news agency, May 18, 2022]

Hamas Appeals to Russia for Support in Confrontation with Israel
A Hamas delegation led by Moussa Abu Marzouk visited Moscow on May 4, where it held talks with Russian officials.

Walid al-Mudallal, a professor of political science at the Islamic University of Gaza, told Al-Monitor, "Hamas needs to strengthen relations and develop cooperation with Moscow as a superpower in the world. It finds the Russian-Ukrainian crisis an ideal opportunity to do so. Friendly relations between Moscow and Hamas will benefit both parties."

"Such support can be done in indirect ways, through Iran and Hizbullah, which have forged an alliance with Moscow in the face of the United States on many international issues, most notably the Syrian issue."
Hamas wins Birzeit University student council elections
Hamas scored a landslide victory in elections Wednesday for the student council at Birzeit University in the West Bank.

The Hamas-affiliated Islamic bloc won 28 seats on the council, while the Martyr Yasser Arafat Bloc, associated with the ruling Fatah faction, got only 18 seats.

This is not the first time Hamas has won elections at the university, located north of Ramallah.

The student council consists of 51 seats.

A list tied to the PLO’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) won the remaining five seats. Voter turnout was 78%.

The results of the elections came as no surprise amid Hamas’s growing popularity in the West Bank.

On the eve of the vote, Israeli security authorities arrested seven students from the Hamas list, a move that is said to have contributed to the Hamas victory.

Last year, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called off the elections for the parliament and presidency, citing Israel’s alleged refusal to allow the vote to take place in Jerusalem.

MEMRI: Egyptian Media Figure: Pakistani Terrorist Afia Siddiqui, A Neuroscientist By Profession, Could Have Used Her Knowledge To Help Humanity Instead Of Serving Terror Organizations
In his April 26, 2022 column on Ahram Online, the English-language website of the Egyptian state daily Al-Ahram, journalist and political scientist Ahmed Al-Moslemany, president of the Cairo Center for Strategic Studies and former advisor to Egyptian president 'Adly Mansour, draws a comparison between two women neuroscientists: the Pakistani Afia Siddiqui and the Norwegian May-Britt Moser.

Afia Siddiqui studied at MIT and earned her Ph.D. in neuroscience from Brandeis University. However, she went on to become affiliated with Al-Qaeda and apparently helped this organization to develop chemical and biological weapons. She was eventually sentenced to 86 years in prison for assaulting U.S. servicemen with a rifle while in custody. In 2014 ISIS offered to release American journalist James Foley in return for her release, an offer which the U.S. refused. As for May-Britt Moser, she studied at the universities of Edinburgh and Oslo, and in 2014 was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her part in the discovery of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain.

Siddiqui, writes Al-Moslemany, could have used her knowledge, as Moser did, to serve humanity and her country, for example by establishing a modern institute of neurosciences in Pakistan. But instead she chose to use her knowledge in the service of terrorism. "Siddiqui was trying to develop neuroscience for the sake of death, and May was trying to develop neuroscience for the sake of life," he says, which is why the former ended up in prison, and the latter on the podium in Oslo.

Al-Moslemany adds that this is not just a story of two scientists. The Islamic world, he emphasizes, is faced with the same choice, between the path of progress and development and that of sabotage and destruction. "It is the tale of two opposing vocations and the future of two civilizations," he concludes.
Hizbullah Will Continue to Dominate Lebanese Politics in the Aftermath of the Elections
In Nasrallah’s address on May 18, he acknowledged his setback in the elections and his loss of a parliamentary majority. Nasrallah accused the Lebanese electoral system of being responsible for his loss because of its unfair representation of the Shiite community. In more than a hint, Nasrallah declared that the present archaic Lebanese electoral law should be modified and that a new, more equitable one should be adopted. His vision for a new electoral law would enable the just expression of the popular vote in parliament and would be based on the representation of the actual vote of the Lebanese population, which would, in fact, favor the demographic advantage of the Shiite community.

In this light, were Hizbullah not included in the next Lebanese government, it is highly likely that it would exert every effort to paralyze such a government as it has done in the past, until matters were settled in its favor. This logic is based on the attitude that Hizbullah’s inclusion in an elected government would reduce the chances of disarming its militia out of existence. This is in line with the strategic decision made by its sponsor and creator. Teheran continues to develop military capabilities for Hizbullah by further expanding its missile arm and its precision missile project. This is especially true in view of the latest Israeli threats of striking Iran and its nuclear facilities.

Finally, in his electoral agenda, Nasrallah accused Israel of stealing gas and oil from Lebanese natural resources in the Karish field. He claimed that Lebanon has rights there and threatened that if Israel would not allow Lebanon to issue tenders for international drillers, thus preventing Lebanon from drilling in the field, then Hizbullah would do whatever was needed to thwart any Israeli use of the Karish field. In the absence of a political breakthrough on the Lebanese domestic scene, the issues of Karish and disarming Hizbullah could therefore become the flag to rally around Hizbullah.

In summary, pursuant to the wave of Hizbullah criticism by its political rivals that portrayed a loss of Lebanese consensus regarding the Iranian-controlled movement, one could have expected that the election results might express the “waning” influence of Hizbullah and subsequently the reduction of its bargaining powers on the Lebanese body politic. The Shiite duo has been at the heart of flamboyant criticism and lost its position at the center of the Lebanese consensus. Hizbullah has been accused of taking over the Lebanese state and establishing a state within a state to neutralize its capability to effect any crucial decision relating to its domestic and foreign policy.

The results of the Lebanese legislative elections were published on May 17 and did not bring about any radical change in the political system. Hizbullah and Amal are still the dominant figures and their potential for nuisance is even greater than ever. For this reason, the results are in fact the ultimate expression of Lebanese despair in the aftermath of the 2019 October “revolution,” the disastrous economic crisis which catapulted almost eighty percent of the population below the poverty line, the pending non-investigation of the Beirut port explosion (which took 200 lives, injured more than 6,500, destroyed one-third of the capital, and created more than 300,000 homeless), and the Lebanese political deadlock.
Did the Iran nuclear deal scuttle DEA drug bust of Hezbollah traffickers?

Khaled Abu Toameh: Iran Trying to Force the US to Meet All Its Demands
Iraqi writer Farouk Yousef pointed out that after the US gave Iran $90 billion following the signing of the nuclear agreement with the Obama administration in 2015... the bulk of the money... was spent on terrorist groups run by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, and Syria, as well as terrorist groups run covertly in other Arab countries.

[Iran is] trying to delay the signing of the nuclear agreement so that the mullahs succeed in forcing the Biden administration to accept all their demands, especially the removal of the IRGC from the list of foreign terrorist organizations.

"Biden was not ignorant of the wrong way he started [dealing with Iran]. All the countries in the region were telling him that the resumption of talks with Iran must include Iran's missile program and its destabilizing activities in the region, including the activities of its militias that threaten stability in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen. Biden chose not to listen...." — Ali Al-Sarraf, Iraqi writer, Al-Ain, May 10, 2022.

"Biden could have told the mullahs that a return to the nuclear agreement would take place on the basis of three conditions: abandoning violations of the commitments in that agreement, curbing the missile program... and stopping the actions of militias that threaten the security and stability of the countries of the region.... The Revolutionary Guard is directly involved in the civil war and violence in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.... Iran's own actions will prove to him that he took the wrong path." — Ali Al-Sarraf, Al-Ain, May 10, 2022.

Like many Arabs, Al-Sarraf asked why the Biden administration was not defending the interests of America's allies.
Jonathan Tobin: Why are some Jews defending the IRGC?
So far, President Joe Biden, supported by the more moderate wing of his party, has resisted the appeal to lift the terrorism label from the IRGC. He understands – as perhaps his progressive allies do not – that this is the sort of gesture that would be understood by the American people as confirmation of his weakness and inability to stand up to the country's enemies and rogue regimes.

But with each passing week, the chorus of dissent about this decision from progressives has grown louder. And, to the chagrin of those who are hoping that Biden stands his ground, even the most senior officials in the administration have expressed their ambivalence about maintaining this stance.

For instance, when Secretary of State Antony Blinken testified before Congress recently about the Iran negotiations, he gave both sides of the argument reason to worry. He assured the House Foreign Affairs Committee that the designation would not be lifted unless Iran modified its behavior, presumably to halt the terrorist activity that has been integral to the IRGC's existence since it was founded shortly after the Islamist regime took over the country in 1979. However, he followed that up by saying that he thought the designation was largely meaningless.

Others on the left have echoed this argument, including Matt Duss, the foreign-policy adviser of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) who said that by sticking to the terrorist designation of the IRGC, Biden had fallen into a trap set for him by Trump that was intended to make it harder to revive the JCPOA.

But among the loudest voices on the designation are American Jewish critics of Israel.

The left-wing J Street lobby is eager for the IRGC to get off the list and has argued that Biden is wrong to think that he will pay any political price for doing so. Anti-Zionist polemicist Peter Beinart wrote in The New York Times that by being "afraid of the politics" of kashering the IRGC, Biden is failing "to make the world safer."

That argument is particularly disingenuous. A new Iran deal would actually make the world a lot less safe since, far from stopping Iran from getting a weapon, the original JCPOA and a new, weaker version would actually guarantee that it would get one once the terms expired in just a few years. In the meantime, the money it would get from the lifting of sanctions and the knowledge that the United States was abandoning the security interests of Israel and its Arab allies would make Iran even more dangerous.

Why, then, is J Street and some of its even more radical anti-Zionist allies on the left lobbying hard on behalf of the IRGC?

Part of it is a knee-jerk reflex to defend anything associated with the Obama administration and to reject the more sensible policies of Trump, who rightly understood that sooner or later, his predecessor's deal would have to be scrapped and replaced with something tougher that would actually strip Iran of its growing nuclear capabilities.
Window of Opportunity for Stopping Iran Nukes Is Narrowing
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Tuesday that Iran was just weeks away from obtaining enough fissile material for a nuclear bomb. According to Eli Bar-On, an expert on missiles and advanced weapons systems, "There is a difference between the amount of fissile material required for manufacturing a bomb and operational nuclear capability, and the gap between the two creates a window that could give Israel one last chance to stop the Iranians."

"Gantz revealed that the same famous window of opportunity, which the West has been relying on and is narrow to begin with, has gotten even smaller. This was the last call to the world to stop burying its head in the sand and to stop Iran before it's no longer possible."

While Israeli defense officials say Iran may take a year or two to learn to attach a nuclear warhead to a ballistic missile, a former senior official at the Negev Nuclear Research Center said it's possible to achieve nuclear capability even without using missiles. "When the Americans dropped the atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they didn't use missiles, rather just loaded the bombs on planes and released them from the air."
Gantz talks with US on Iran coincide with Saudi vice defense chief visit
Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in Washington on Wednesday to discuss the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear project and the progress made by the Islamic Republic.

The meetings came less than a day after Sullivan and Austin met with Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid Bin Salman.

The timing of both meetings led to speculation that Israel was coordinating its next moves on Iran with the US and Saudi Arabia.

Gantz’s meetings were attended by Israeli Ambassador to the US Mike Herzog, Brig.-Gen. (Res.) Dror Shalom, the head of the Political Security Division of the Defense Ministry, the minister’s chief of staff, Maayan Israeli and Military Secretary Brig.-Gen. Yaki Dolf.

During the meeting with Sullivan, Gantz “discussed Iran’s progression in its nuclear program alongside its destabilizing regional activities and emphasized the need to work closely and prepare for any future scenario,” a readout released by Gantz’s office said. Defense Minister Benny Gantz meeting with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, May 19, 2022. (credit: SHMULIK ALMANI) Defense Minister Benny Gantz meeting with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, May 19, 2022. (credit: SHMULIK ALMANI)

The defense minister’s visit comes as the talks between the United States, Iran and Western powers over Tehran’s nuclear program are at a stalemate.
U.S. Denies Involvement in Israeli Exercise Targeting Iran
A spokesman for U.S. Central Command, Army Col. Joe Buccino, said there was no connection between a U.S. Air Force refueling training flight off the coast of Israel Thursday and a major Israeli training exercise simulating an attack on Iran.

"The tanker refuel was not tied to" the Israeli exercise. There is no direct U.S. military involvement in that exercise, Buccino said. The timing of the refueling exercise was coincidental.
Iranian-Born Officer Trains Israeli Intelligence Analysts in Persian
Major M. was three years old when his family fled to Israel from Khomeini's Iran.

He served as a Persian language analyst in the Intelligence Corps and has been training the next generation of intelligence personnel in the Persian language.

He sees a dual mission: To help Israel fight its main enemy and to help the Iranian people escape the tyrannical regime in Tehran.

"From my perspective, we are saving Iran and we are trying to help it return to what it once used to be."

Shin Bet uncovers Iranian attempts to lure Israeli businessmen, academics
The Shin Bet uncovered operations by Iranian intelligence to lure Israeli businessmen and academics abroad in order to kidnap or harm them and to gather intelligence, according to an announcement on Thursday.

The Iranian operatives stole the identities of foreign and Israeli academics, journalists, reserve officers, businessmen and philanthropists and used the stolen identities and relevant cover stories in order to gather intelligence about Israelis and to lure them to locations abroad in order to kidnap or harm them.

The operatives would send an email from an email address that was similar to the authentic address used by the person whose identity had been stolen, changing just a letter or symbol, before asking the target to switch to a WhatsApp conversation. The operatives used real information which could be verified by a check on the internet.

The Israelis who were contacted did not respond and alerted security forces about the attempts.

In one case, an operative disguising himself as Swiss researcher Prof. Oliver Thränert, sent an invitation to an academic conference in Europe from the email address, which is similar to Thränert's real email.

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