Friday, June 17, 2022

From Ian:

A New Diplomatic Era: 5 Days. 6 Countries. No Palestinians
The Israeli prime minister cannot ignore the Palestinian issue, but Naftali Bennett made clear from day one to his coalition partners that he would maintain the status quo.

Bennett resolved to rebuff any diplomatic contact with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. His view was that nothing good can come of such an initiative because there is no one to talk to and nothing to talk about. And Hamas, clearly, is a non-starter.

Bennett later learned, to his surprise, the degree to which Arab states in the region had also given up on the Palestinians.

“Everyone understands,” a senior diplomatic source explained to me recently, “that there’s nothing to do. The Palestinians are divided. Half went with terror and the other half with corruption. With whom do you negotiate?”

But in Israel, it is also understood that for all the good that is happening, the momentum can only continue for only as long as there is calm on the ground.

The violence at Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan and the spike in terror attacks in recent months could well change the equation and give rise to a sense of instability – both inside Israel and in regional relations.

“This whole summit miracle took place when there was almost complete quiet on the security front,” a senior Israeli source familiar with regional diplomatic developments told me. “The Palestinian issue wasn’t bubbling over. Until now, everyone in the region is very happy with how we are handling the Palestinians, because they understand there’s nothing that can be done with them. But everyone also demands that the economic situation of the Palestinians be improved. This government has done a lot in that area, but if the security tension keeps rising – it will become increasingly complicated.”

And then, there is the very volatile political situation in Israel. The Bennett-Lapid government is in serious peril, and its continuance depends significantly on security developments.

Everything can change in a flash.

At the Kedma Hotel on March 28, the participants were certain that there would be a second summit. The foreign ministers had only to agree on a location. The jocular exchange on this topic was ultimately resolved in Blinken’s favor: Las Vegas was the chosen venue.

Desert. High risk. Long odds. Who knows?

Then again, as Ben Gurion famously said (and no doubt he kept a watchful eye on the Kedma gathering): “Anyone who does not believe in miracles is not a realist.”

5 lessons from Netanyahu's 30 years of strengthening Israel - opinion
Lesson 1: Paying a price
The first and most evident lesson is the willingness to pay a personal price for national achievements. Netanyahu could not have remained as relevant and strong as he is today without the achievements he has brought to Israel, fortifying its security and its economy, fighting indefatigably the Iranian threat and proving that peace can be made with Arab states, without first solving the conflict with the Palestinian Arabs.

Netanyahu is the one who made Israel’s economy, a small country in international relations, one of the most advanced and powerful economies in the world. Netanyahu turned the Israeli economy into a free-market economy, promoting competition, lowering prices and free trade lifting foreign exchange controls. He paid a personal price for this when he was Finance Minister. He made difficult economic decisions and thus dragged himself into opposition.

At the same time, Netanyahu led Israel to the best security decade Israel has ever known. As Prime Minister, he led an aggressive policy against the enemies of Israel, especially Iran. He paid a personal price for his relations with the United States. Still, thanks to his determined actions, both in the political arena and in military decisions, Iran does not have nuclear weapons to this day.

NETANYAHU HAS turned Israel into an emerging world power in the international arena. When Netanyahu said Israel would become a global cyber power, his political opponents mocked him. Today, Israel is a leader in the cyber field and is considered one of the world’s leading forces in high-tech.

Lesson 2: Innovation
The second is innovation. Netanyahu is the first to identify trends. If he was an advertiser, he would be a billionaire. Netanyahu was the first Israeli leader to understand the transition to multi-channel media and the first to use social networks. Whereas in 1992, there was only one television channel in Israel; whereas, currently there are a hundred outlets, more newspapers, many more radio stations and our social networks are thriving. Most importantly, he knows that the world moves forward constantly, and those who do not move ahead are left behind. So, he keeps reading and thinking about the next thing in policy and branding.
Mohammed Khalid Alyahya: The Young and the Restless
Adjusting to this new regional reality in which the firebrand conservative revolutionaries of the past have become octogenarian impediments to a more hopeful, youth-oriented future has taken many Western experts by surprise. After the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, young people throughout the 1980s and 1990s bought into reactionary-revolutionary clerical rhetoric and looked toward the Iranian regime as a beacon of hope in a region plagued with poor governance and corruption—turning the region’s religious conservatives into the odd bedfellows of would-be revolutionaries in the West. Yet both the Islamic Revolution in Iran and its Islamist counterparts in Egypt and Gaza have manifestly failed to deliver what young people in the region actually want: jobs, economic prosperity, and opportunities for personal growth.

Today, professors in Middle Eastern studies departments in American universities, and Western policymakers who see Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah or the leadership of Hamas as revolutionary icons representing the aspirations of the youth, are manifestly behind the times. On the ground in the Middle East, these figures are widely reviled by the people whose hopes and dreams they have shattered—especially the young. The shift is perhaps most noticeable among young Shia Arabs in Iraq and Lebanon who chant against the Iranian regime and its representatives among their own leadership. In Babel, in Iraq, young protesters defaced the image of Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. In Nabatea, Lebanon, protesters chanted “all of them means all them, Nasrallah is one of them,” implying that Hezbollah is just as venal and brutal as all the other Lebanese political factions.

The Iranian model is destined for failure, and any chance that the regime reforms itself is slim. The Iranian ruling order’s raison d’etre is to fight the West around the world, starting by dismantling American regional security order, putting it at odds with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the other Gulf States, and Israel. The regime’s most violent efforts are reserved for the Iranian people, on whom it must make war in order to sustain its grip on power.

The kingdom, on the other hand, is betting on its young people and a strong relationship with the West. It has sent hundreds of thousands of young people to study in Western universities, mostly in the United States, as it embarks on a visionary plan to open Saudi Arabia to the world by building new high-tech cities, allowing women unprecedented freedoms, encouraging large-scale concerts and sporting events that are attended equally by both men and women, and by promoting other cultural and social innovations that a decade ago would have seemed like sheer science fiction to outside observers of Saudi society.

JPost Editorial: Israel wants human rights at the center of international relations
Some are of the opinion that a small country like Israel can’t afford to anger major powers. They also believe that in a dangerous region like the Middle East, Israel can’t afford to sign on to human rights statements without first weighing whether Beijing and Moscow might back Iran even more or somehow retaliate against Israel in places like Syria. It would be a shame if China seeks to punish Israel for signing a statement that many countries back. Either way, Israel’s place in the world is with its friends in the West and by standing with the values upon which this country was established – freedom and equal rights – and not the persecution of a minority due to their religion.

Israel has work to do to repair its relations with some Western countries. With the coalition in crisis again, it is clear that Israel could end up with another government that feels more at home with authoritarian regimes than with democracies. That would be unfortunate. While Israel has a future in Asia, that future goes far beyond China. It is connected to Israel’s close relations with India, South Korea, Singapore, Australia and other states.

Israel has learned that it is important to stand on the right side of history. This is also the case in expressing sympathy for Ukraine or finally recognizing the Armenian Genocide. For too long there have been cases in which Israel was afraid to rock the boat when it came to matters of principle. Many people and countries look to Israel as a light unto the nations. While it is true that some anti-Israel activists will always hate Israel, many others want to see Israel take a moral stance.

The allegations of mistreatment of minorities in China are clear. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michele Bachelet was in China recently and was criticized for not speaking out enough on these subjects.

Israel now joins with those countries that want to see human rights remain center stage in international relations. We should learn from this and not be afraid to contribute to the international community on the issues that matter most.
Melanie Phillips: The EU’s Jerusalem charm offensive
For casting Israeli Jews instead as oppressors, thus erasing the unbroken line of antisemitism from antiquity to the Palestinians, gives the Europeans a free pass in their minds over the victimisation of the Jews in the Holocaust in which they feel at some deep level complicit.

In this respect, another remark by von der Leyen was as revealing as it was jarring. “Europe and Israel are bound to be friends and allies,” she said, “because the history of Europe is the history of the Jewish people”.

This was an extraordinary thing to say. The history of the Jews in Europe is one of centuries of murderous persecution, mass conversions, hideous pogroms and eventually the Holocaust. Historically, Europe was the epicentre of antisemitism and was described by Israel’s first prime minister, David ben Gurion, as “the graveyard of the Jewish people”.

Yet von der Leyen implied instead that Europe had always been bound together in friendship with the Jewish people.

No less startling was that Bennett chose to agree with her. “You said Israel and Europe are bound to be friends and allies because the history of Europe is the history of the Jewish people. I could not agree more,” he said.

Was Bennett choosing to accept her revisionism in the interests of better relations with the EU? His eagerness for such a development is understandable. But no Jewish leader should ever connive at sanitising Jewish persecution.

Was von der Leyen deliberately ignoring these unpleasant facts for the purposes of diplomacy? If so, that doesn’t inspire much confidence. If Europeans can’t acknowledge the crimes against the Jewish people in the past, they won’t be able to acknowledge the crimes being committed against them now or in the future.

The Europeans come and make nice with Israel’s government when they need what Israel has to offer them. They rely on Israel to do their dirty work for them in fighting off the Iranian regime.

But when it comes to acknowledging their obligation to defend and protect Israel against the enemies of the Jewish people and of civilisation itself, we shouldn’t hold our breath.
Ruthie Blum: A textbook case of EU funding
During her visit to Israel this week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen went to Ramallah for a powwow with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh. During their meeting on Tuesday, she delivered some welcome news.

The EC had voted the previous night to release the hundreds of millions of euros to the PA that had been delayed due to an argument among member states over the content of Palestinian textbooks. To be more precise, it surrounded the issue of whether the PA’s hate-filled curricula constituted sufficient cause for withholding the cash, the transfer of which had been postponed.

As the NGO Palestinian Media Watch has documented for decades, the PA education system, like its controlled media, indoctrinates children to hate Israel. It does this by bombarding its populace with propaganda that demonizes the Jewish state.

Neither this nor the European Union’s attempts to obfuscate it is new. By now, the only EU parliamentarians who deny or excuse it are those on the Left who invest more time in abetting the criminalization of Israel than in preventing the flow of their taxpayers’ money to terrorists. Literally.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas makes no bones about continuing his “pay for slay” policy of hefty monthly stipends to Palestinians who kill Jews, despite his waning coffers.
PMW: What is the “Status Quo” on the Temple Mount?
While no Israeli government ever ratified Dayan’s agreement, to this day, the “status quo” on the Temple Mount is that the internal part of the site is run by the Waqf and Israel is responsible for the external security and maintaining public order. Muslims are allowed to freely visit the site, in unlimited numbers, subject to fine tuning to take into account safety and security precautions. Jews are only permited to enter the site for limited hours of the day, and in limited numbers and are mostly not allowed to conduct individual or communal prayers.

Since its creation, the Palestinian Authority has continuously and consistently used the Temple Mount as a means to inflame religious fervor and as a rallying call for violence and terror. Repeatedly claiming that Israel is planning to destroy the “Al-Aqsa Mosque” which it deceivingly defines as being 144 dunams in size - i.e. the entire area of the Temple Mount - the PA misleads the Palestinians, and indeed the entire Muslim world, into falsely believing that “Al-Aqsa is in danger.”

While documents and 55 years of reality clearly demonstrate that Israel has no intention to even undermine, let alone destroy, any part of the site, the PA still claims, as shown by PMW, that “Since the June War (i.e., the Six-Day War in 1967) – we are talking about its 55th anniversary – there are [Israeli] intentions to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and build the alleged Temple.” [Official PA TV, June 6, 2022]. For the PA, which has no say whatsoever regarding the manner in which the site is run, allowing Jews to pray on the Temple Mount would be no less than declaring World War III. Similar empty rantings were also made by the PA before the US moved its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Since 1967 a lot has changed. Over the last decades, most western societies have developed and adopted a much more heightened sense and value of personal freedoms and rights, including freedom of religion and religious practice. The idea that the decision of one person alone –Dayan - could prevent all Jews from praying at Judaism’s most holy site would, today, be inconceivable. At the same time, over the years, the desire and willingness of Jews to enter the Temple Mount has increased dramatically.

Since it is now unreasonable to believe that Muslims are inherently incapable of recognizing the legitimate rights of Jews to pray on the Tempe Mount and expressing the religious tolerance required, maybe the time has come for Israel’s government to finally clarify, what exactly the “status quo” on the Temple mount was, is, and should be.
Tom Nides: Iran, the Temple Mount, and - finally - a visa waiver
Much can be said about US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides, but he's no icy diplomat. As soon as he enters the room, he tosses his jacket aside, and a second later he stretches out on a lounge chair, his long legs propped up on a nearby table. He's relaxed, a people person, someone who knows everyone. One of them, with whom he has been talked frequently lately, is former American Ambassador David Friedman. Despite the enormous differences between Trump and Biden staffers, the two have managed to maintain open and effective communication channels.

By American standards, the US Embassy compound in Jerusalem isn't up to snuff for its lofty status, but Nides praises his predecessor for leading the historic move to relocate it from Tel Aviv. On the other hand, Friedman was the one who moved the ambassador's residence from Herzliya to Agron St. in Jerusalem, with the goal of establishing an ambassador's residence in the capital, as American law dictates, but also to make sure that the Agron compound would not revert to an American consulate serving the Palestinians.

The gambit worked, and thus far, the Biden administration has not managed to reopen the consulate. But all that comes at a price. From the time he arrived in Israel until very recently, Nides had to live in a hotel, and hated every minute of it. So he's enjoying his new residence, which the US government leased for him the city's German Colony.

Every facial expression and every time he mentions Jerusalem, and he does so frequently, reveals that Nides is in love with the city. Rumor has it that he often visits the Western Wall to pray for a friend who is battling cancer. Nides is a passionate Jew, whose identity prompted him to choose the role of ambassador to Israel.
Dan Senor PodCast: Saudi Arabia, Biden & The Nobel Peace Prize – with Amb. Ron Dermer
The Biden administration has announced that the President will take his first trip to the Middle East as president. His first stop will be in Israel to meet with Israeli leaders and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, before heading to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he will meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The U.S.-Saudi relationship began nearly eight decades ago between FDR and King Ibn Saud. With varying degrees of tumult, the relationship has survived – and sometimes thrived – through 14 U.S. presidencies.

Has all that now changed? Has there been a sense in Riyadh – and across the Middle East – that the U.S. (through recent Democratic and Republican administrations) is downgrading its focus in the Middle East.

Is there a risk that China gradually replaces the U.S. as the most important geopolitical partner of Saudi Arabia?

And will Saudi Arabia join the Abraham Accords? And, could President Biden engineer it and win the Nobel Peace Prize?

Former Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer served as Israel’s chief envoy to the U.S. from 2013 to 2021 – working with three U.S. administrations.
Jordan is attacking the Abraham Accords to push Biden
Consequently, Biden indeed should encourage expansion of the Abraham Accords, especially with Saudi Arabia. Aside from cementing a coalition of moderate countries in the region (which advances US strategic goals for regional security and energy stability), the ascension of the Saudis would signal to Palestinian leadership that the time to compromise with Israel irrevocably has come.

Perhaps Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) can help convince Palestinians to accept the Jewish people’s historic rights in Israel and cut an amicable settlement with Israel.

In short, expansion of the Abraham Accords can only improve, rather than impede, prospects for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. The accords need not “sideline” the Palestinians (as Muasher charges) if the Palestinians don’t sideline themselves.

In this regard, let’s hope that Biden listens less to Abdullah and Muasher (and to the discredited leader of the PA, Mahmoud Abbas, and to stuck-in-Oslo-mindset European leaders), and more to Israeli Prime Minister Bennett and Gulf Arab leaders.

And while tacking towards Bennett and MBS, Biden also might want to take their views into account regarding Iran. Whatever happens in Vienna, Iran will remain a ruthless foe of the West, of Israel and of the moderate Sunni Arab world. So, it is time for the US to prepare military deterrence and credible military attack options to ensure that Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon and to guarantee a drawback in Iran’s regional hegemonic machinations. Will Biden truly be listening?
‘Funded by a Foreign Nation Who Is Not Our Friend’: Cruz Blasts Biden USAID Nominee for Taking Money From Qatar
President Joe Biden's nominee for a top role at the U.S. Agency for International Development faced tough questioning during her Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday for taking funding from Qatar and criticizing historic peace accords between Israel and Arab states.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing called the White House's decision to nominate Tamara Cofman Wittes "concerning" and evidence of the "profound anti-Israel bias of the Biden administration."

Wittes, who is seeking the committee's approval to become assistant administrator of USAID, is facing scrutiny over her role as director of the Middle East Policy Center at the Brookings Institution, which during her employment raked in over $22 million from the Qatari government.

The questions about Wittes's background and ties with Doha, the capital of Qatar, took on a greater urgency after former Brookings Institution president and retired general John Allen last week stepped down amid a federal investigation into his alleged work as an unregistered lobbyist for Qatar.

"The president of Brookings has resigned over this, but you ran the Middle East Center at Brookings," said Cruz. "Should the American taxpayers be concerned that President Biden wants to put in charge of distributing millions of dollars of taxpayer money someone who has spent years being funded by a foreign nation who is not our friend?"

Wittes said she had "no knowledge of any of these disturbing allegations regarding General Allen." She said she attended one fundraising meeting in 2012 with Qatar alongside former Brookings vice president Martin Indyk, during which they asked the Qatari government to extend its funding.

Catalonia adopts resolution condemning Israeli 'apartheid' against Palestinians
Catalonia's parliament in Spain passed a resolution on Thursday condemning Israel for what it called was "crimes of apartheid against the Palestinian people."

It is the first European parliament to pass such a motion, according to Ynet.

The resolution calls on both the Catalonian and Spanish government to refrain from providing any "aid or assistance" to Israel and use political and diplomatic tools to force Jerusalem to implement recommendations issued by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

In February, Amnesty International released a report that labeled Israel and "apartheid state." It has since been criticized by Jewish leaders and lawmakers worldwide for anti-Israel and anti-Jewish bias and attempts to isolate Israel internationally.

Representatives of Amnesty International in Spain also presented highlights of their reports to the Catalonian parties with the resolution being submitted to the local government on March 21.

Spain previously adopted several anti-Israeli motions on the regional and municipal levels. In 2018, the City Council of the Spanish town of Sagunto voted in favor of joining the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions campaign against Israel, declaring itself an "Israeli apartheid-free space." Earlier in 2017, Valencia became the first Spanish region to boycott Israel as an official policy.
IDF expands Abu Akleh probe, issues fresh call for PA to handover fatal bullet
The Israel Defense Forces said Friday that they were expanding a probe into the death of Al Jazeera TV journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and issued a fresh call to the Palestinian Authority to hand over the bullet that killed her.

Abu Akleh was shot and killed last month during clashes between IDF troops and Palestinian gunmen while covering an Israeli army operation in Jenin in the West Bank.

A Palestinian probe said that an Israeli soldier deliberately shot her dead. Israel says it cannot definitively say who killed her until it examines the bullet, which the Palestinian Authority is refusing to share.

An IDF statement said that Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi had ordered the team investigating the incidents of May 11 to be enlarged “in order to deepen the study of documentary evidence from that night.”

The team has now been joined by “a senior officer with specialized technological abilities from the intelligence department.”

The army also reissued a call for the Palestinians to share the findings from the bullet recovered during Abu Akleh’s autopsy.
Al Jazeera allegedly obtains photo of bullet that killed Abu Akleh
An image of the bullet allegedly used to kill Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh has been obtained by the network following an investigation, Al Jazeera reported on Thursday.

The photograph for the first time shows the type of ammunition used to kill the longtime Palestinian correspondent in the West Bank last month, the network claimed.

Al Jazeera reported that the bullet, extracted from her head, is a "green tip" round. A Palestinian official told the network the government will keep the bullet for further investigation.

Previous reports indicated that such a round type caused Abu Akleh's death. The green tip SS109/M855 bullet is commonly used in most rifles in service with the IDF, but is also used by Palestinian armed factions.

Al Jazeera also reported that the weapon used in the killing of Abu Akleh was an M4, a firearm in the AR-15 family. These weapons are used both by IDF forces and Palestinian gunmen.

The claim of the M4 being the weapon used in Abu Akleh's death comes in contradiction to earlier reports by the Palestinian Authority, who asserted the Mini-14 was the killing firearm.

Initial Palestinian reports claimed that a sniper killed Abu Akleh, but 5.56 rounds are not used by IDF snipers, and M4s are not sniper weapon platforms.

Al Jazeera repeated its previous allegations that IDF soldiers deliberately targeted Abu Akleh.

Violence at Al Jazeera reporter's funeral included calls to attack Jews
After the Israel Police presented Public Security Minister Omer Barlev with a report on the use of force to quash rioting at the funeral of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh, Israel Hayom has learned that the unrest included calls to kill Jews.

Israel Hayom has also learned that the government instructed the Israel Police commissioner not to make the report public, for fear it would spark escalation.

The violence at the funeral drew international condemnations and added to the sense of grief and outrage across the Arab world that followed the death of Abu Akleh, who was killed on May 11 while covering IDF clashes with armed Palestinians in Jenin.

According to the report, one of the main reasons the police resorted to the use of force was that the reporter's family did not abide by agreements they had made with the police. The report said that the original plan was for the procession to depart from the hospital and include approximately 20 vehicles, but rioters penetrated the hospital grounds and attempted to walk Abu Akleh's coffin out.

"Rocks were thrown at police forces and shahids [martyr] were praised in song, even though she [Abu Akleh] was Christian," the report said.

"Even before it began, the funeral turned into a large-scale campaign of incitement and calls to attack Jews, which demanded that the police use force," officials in the Public Security Ministry, which oversees the police, said.

While the report cited some misuse of force by the police, the team praised the officers.
Israel Police will not release probe of Akleh funeral conduct

Palestinian officials concerned over warming Israeli-Saudi ties
Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah are wary of warming ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia, following various reports on recent developments in the diplomatic arena. The Palestinians, however, haven't dared criticize the Saudi monarchy publicly, mainly so as not to raise the ire of officials in Riyadh and exacerbate their already fragile relations with them.

Palestinian leaders are concerned that Israel and Saudi Arabia are moving toward diplomatic normalization that wouldn't include guarantees regarding the Palestinian issue.

"There is growing trepidation in light of reports about significant rapprochement between Israel and Saudi Arabia ahead of the US President Joe Biden's visit to the region on July 13. The [Palestinian] leaders cannot stomach the idea that Israel is advancing its relations with Arab countries before a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is achieved, which would represent a violation of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative that Saudi Arabia spearheaded and the Arab League adopted. The concern is that [Saudi] Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman will leave the Palestinians behind," said one Palestinian source.

On Wednesday, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said: "The fact that President Biden will fly directly from here to Saudi Arabia indicates an improvement of relations in the region. Ultimately, we aspire to a peace agreement with Saudi Arabia."

It should be noted that throughout the past year, senior PA officials have sought to better relations with the Saudi monarchy and meet with Saudi officials, but the Saudis haven't shown particular interest in doing so and have even bristled over the Palestinian position toward the United Arab Emirates in the wake of the Abraham Accords. As a reminder, the Palestinians described the Israeli-UAE peace agreement as a "betrayal and knife in the back."
MEMRI: Canada-Based Senior PFLP Official Khaled Barakat: Canada Must Abolish Its Terrorist List; Armed Struggle, Missiles Are The Only Way To Achieve Palestinian Rights
A Canada-based senior official of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Khaled Barakat, who is also the leader of the Samidoun organization, said in a June 3, 2022 speech at the International League of People's Struggle (ILPS) Assembly in Ottawa that Canada must abolish its terrorist list. He said that he would not deny his support for the Palestinian and Lebanese "resistance" to please Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, exclaiming: "F*ck Trudeau!"

Barakat expressed his support for "resistance groups" in Palestine, Lebanon, Yemen, and the Philippines, including the PFLP, Hamas, Hizbullah, and the Philippine Communist Party. In addition, he said that the Palestinian identity is based on armed struggle, and that armed struggle and missiles are the only way to achieve Palestinian rights. Barakat's speech was streamed live on the ILPS Facebook page.

PFLP, Hamas Have Never Committed Crimes Against Canada And Its Interests; Israel Has Killed Canadians In Lebanon, But No One Cared Because They Are Brown

Khaled Barakat: "We challenge the Canadian government and we say: Why are you listing, for example, the Popular Front on your terrorist list? What has the PFLP actually done against Canada and Canada's interests, or [did it] commit any kind of crimes against Canadians here or abroad? Zero, nothing.

"But Israel has killed Canadians in Lebanon in 2006. An entire Canadian family was wiped out, but they didn't care because they are brown, they are Lebanese, they are not 'real Canadians.'

"The same thing [happened] in Gaza, Israel killed Palestinian Canadians in Gaza — Canada didn't care — but yet Hamas is on the terrorist list.

We Must Mobilize "To Erase This Shameful List Called The Terrorist List[;] It Has To Be Abolished"

"We have to be honest with ourselves even when we talk to the enemy, and say: 'Look, you are making a big mistake by listing these organizations on your so-called 'terrorist list.' Why is the Communist Party in the Philippines on your terrorist list? Why are you listing Hizbullah on your terrorist list? We have to ask these questions and mobilize in order to erase this shameful list called the terrorist list. It has to be abolished... That's the only way we can...
Israeli Security Forces Thwart Terrorist Squad As Three Palestinians Killed in Armed Clashes
Israel’s military said on Friday that it had thwarted a terrorist cell following raids in two areas in the northern West Bank town of Jenin, during which three Palestinians were killed in violent gunfire clashes.

IDF soldiers from the Golani Brigade operated in two different locations in the Jenin refugee camp and confiscated illegal weapons and military equipment, the military said.

“At the first location, Palestinian assailants fired heavily toward the soldiers and hurled explosive devices at them,” the IDF said in a statement. “The soldiers responded with live fire.”

As IDF troops entered the second location, soldiers spotted a suspicious vehicle parked at the side of the road. Armed men sitting inside the vehicle began shooting at the soldiers, who “responded with live fire to neutralize the assailants,” the IDF said.

Avichay Adraee, the IDF’s Arabic-language spokesperson described the Palestinian men, who were killed as “terrorist saboteurs.”

Three Palestinians – Baraa’ Lahluh, Laith Abu Srour, Yousef Salah – who were together in the same car were killed in the exchange of fire. At least eight others were injured during the military raids, according to Palestinian media reports. Both the Hamas terror group, which controls the Gaza Strip, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movements acknowledged that the terrorists were affiliated with their organizations and warned that the killings will not go unpunished.

Palestinian gunmen abduct, beat reporter for Iranian news site in West Bank
A Palestinian reporter working for an Iranian news agency was briefly abducted, beaten and threatened by Palestinian gunmen after covering the violent dispersal of an Islamist student demonstration in the West Bank earlier this week.

The Tasnim news agency says the men forced Samer Khuaira into a car at gunpoint on Tuesday, beat him and threatened him. The men said his coverage harmed the Palestinian Authority and the secular Fatah movement that dominates it, Tasnim said. He was released around a half-hour later.

Khuaira identified one of his abductors as a member of Palestinian security forces, Tasnim reported Thursday. The Palestinian Journalists Union condemned the attack on their colleague.

There was no comment from Palestinian officials.

Security guards at al-Najah University in Nablus had violently dispersed the Islamist students earlier on Tuesday. Videos circulated online showed the guards beating students and what appeared to be plainclothes security forces firing into the air near the university.

Fatah dominates security agencies that operate in the parts of the West Bank where the PA has limited autonomy.

Is Israel’s new not-so-secret strategy against Iran a winner?
Israel is increasing its pressure on Iran. That is an official policy now, as Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Israel would go after the head of the Iranian “octopus,” as opposed to just fighting the tentacles. Yet Israel is still fighting the tentacles.

Airstrikes on Damascus International Airport, which Syrian media blamed on Israel, were recently carried out. But is this a successful and winning strategy, or is it more of the same? Is it just increasing the “mowing the grass” policy by making a larger lawnmower? Isn’t this just more “whack-a-mole” in Syria?

Syria’s regime is already repairing the damaged tarmacs at the airport. This means that Syria is willing to go back to normal. But the regime is not retaliating. In essence, that means that Syria is still an open zone for Israeli strikes.

Besides the Syria policy, part of the “war between the wars” campaign, Israel is also blamed for increasing attacks inside Iran. These have included foreign reports alleging Israel assassinated several IRGC officers in the last month and a half. This includes IRGC officers allegedly involved in drone programs and also involved in plots against Israelis and Jews abroad. The sheer number of attacks that have been revealed, either in Iranian media or foreign reports, point to a major increase of pressure on the IRGC.

Is this the “head” of the octopus strategy coming into view?

Let’s recall that the IRGC increased its involvement in Syria after the Syrian civil war began in 2011. It set up shop and entrenched, initially to fight the Syrian rebels and help prop up the Syrian regime. After Russia also intervened in Syria in 2015, it became clear the regime would win. The IRGC then shifted to begin more work setting up Hezbollah and Iranian proxies throughout Syria. Iran moved weapons and technology to Hezbollah and brought drones to Syria. It also tried to bring air defenses.
US administration holds secret meeting on plan B against Iran

Iran building underground nuclear facility near Natanz - NYT
A new underground Iranian nuclear facility is under construction deep into mountains south of the Natanz nuclear complex according to Israeli and US intelligence sources, The New York Times reported on Friday.

The construction of a complex tunnel network at Natanz has been monitored by intelligence officials using satellite imagery.

The report, citing intel assessments, claimed the underground facility constructed is designed to withstand cyberattacks and bunker-penetrating bombs.

It adds that the construction of a new sheltered facility came in response to the alleged joint US-Israeli operation targeting the internal power system at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz referenced the new nuclear infrastructure at a conference last month, stating Iran is producing some 1,000 advanced IR6 centrifuges at the facility. "Iran is working to complete the production of the centrifuges in her nuclear facilities, including a new underground complex near Natanz," Gantz said.

Middle East tensions
NYT's report comes ahead of US President Joe Biden's planned trip to the Middle East in July, in which he will visit Israel and Saudi Arabia, Iran's regional adversaries.

Tehran's developing nuclear program has also been the subject of a critical resolution of the Islamic Republic passed by the IAEA Board of Governors last week. In response, Iran told the agency it would shut off 27 surveillance cameras at several key nuclear facilities, a move IAEA chief Rafael Grossi warned would be a "fatal blow" to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Third IRGC officer reported dead within a week in Iran
A lieutenant in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps died in the northwest of Iran on June 15, according to a mourning poster for the man posted and shared on social media.

Wahab Premarzian was an officer in the guard’s aerospace division, and apparently died in the city of Maragheh.

The IRGC has not commented on the death.

There has been a slew of mysterious deaths of Iranians linked to military projects recently.

Two members of the IRGC, who were also part of the aerospace division, died as “martyrs” in Iran in separate incidents last weekend, Iranian media reported on Monday. The term is typically a designation given to those on important assignments.

An unidentified source told the UK-based opposition outlet Iran International that Ali Kamani and Mohammad Abdous were “developing arms” for Iran-backed Hezbollah and that the two men “were not killed in accidents,” as had been reported by Iranian media.

The deaths come as tensions remain high over Iran’s tattered nuclear deal with world powers and its uranium enrichment program, which is now the closest it has ever been to weapons-grade levels. While authorities offered no suggestion of foul play in the men’s deaths, Israel has been accused of killing other high-ranking Guard members amid the growing crisis.

Israelis have been warned by the government to refrain from or exercise caution when traveling to Istanbul, Turkey, over fears that Iranian agents are attempting to avenge the alleged assassinations by kidnapping or murdering Israelis.
MEMRI: Friday Sermon In Titkanlu, Iran By Preacher Reza Hassanzadeh: Israel Is Nearing Its End, Many Israelis Are Buying Land In South America, Leaving Israel; Iran Will Retaliate With An Iron Fist To Any Attack
Iranian preacher Reza Hassanzadeh said in a Friday, June 10, 2022 sermon in Titkanlu, Iran that the days of American and Israeli "hit and run" operations and that Iran will be retaliating with an iron fist. He said that 16 years ago, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had predicted that Israel would not survive 25 more years, and that Israel itself has now "reached the same conclusion." Hassanzadeh claimed that even former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had admitted that "the Jews cannot rule more than 80 years." In addition, Hassanzadeh claimed that many Israelis are purchasing land in Argentina and Chile, and that 850,000 Israelis have already left Israel.

The U.S. And Israel "Do Not Understand That The Times Of Hit And Run Are Over"; If They Attack Us, They "Will Be Faced With The Iron Fist Of Our People"

Reza Hassanzadeh: "The Americans and the Israelis have no shame. They do not understand that the times of hit and run are over. If you kill one [of us], we will take one from you. If you take Hajj Qasem [Soleimani], surely you cannot sleep soundly. We will turn Ayn Al Asad [airbase] into a graveyard. If you behead Hojaji, rest assured that we will retaliate forcefully. We will annihilate the evil descendants of Abu Sufyan and bring ISIS to extinction.

"I would like to reiterate that the days of hit and run have ended. Wherever you make such a mistake, you will be faced with the Iron fist of our people.

"Many Israelis Have Started To Emigrate From Israel"; They Understand Israel "Is Nearing The End"

"[Khamanei] said that Israel would not survive the next 25 years. After 16 years, you have also reached the same conclusion — that your end is near and, God willing, very soon your shameful child-killing record will end.

"I want to repeat a sentence from Netanyahu. In October 2017, during a Sukkot celebration, he said: 'I will make every effort so that Israel will celebrate its 100th year, but I am not so sure, because the Jews cannot rule more than 80 years.'

"They have understood that they are nearing the end. Many have purchased land in Argentina and Chile, and many Israelis have started to emigrate from Israel. By God's grace, about 850,000 Israelis now live outside of the occupied territories."

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