Wednesday, August 31, 2022

From Ian:

Biden Admin Mum After Abbas Claims Israel Commits ‘50 Holocausts’ on Palestinians
The State Department will not say if it is considering any repercussions for the Palestinian Authority after the authority's president, Mahmoud Abbas, accused Israel of committing "50 Holocausts," comments that sparked an international diplomatic scandal.

"We recognize that President Abbas today has, quote, reaffirmed that the Holocaust is ‘the most heinous crime' in modern history, and we reject any attempts to draw false equivalencies or to minimize Holocaust atrocities," State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters who questioned him about the administration’s response to the scandal.

Abbas during remarks in Germany earlier this month claimed that Israel has committed "50 Holocausts" against the Palestinians since its creation in 1948. Distortion of the Holocaust remains heavily restricted in Germany, making Abbas's comments as he spoke next to the German chancellor unprecedented. While Germany quickly condemned the remarks, the Biden administration's State Department attempted to play defense for Abbas, telling reporters that the Palestinian president later apologized.

The State Department also would not answer a series of Washington Free Beacon inquiries about how it is responding to the issue and whether it is considering any type of diplomatic penalties for Abbas's comments, such as downgrading relations or withholding aid money to his government. Republican foreign policy leaders in Congress and Jewish community officials say the State Department's reaction is providing cover for Abbas as the Biden administration supplies his government with millions of dollars in U.S. taxpayer aid. The Trump administration froze that aid due to the Palestinian government's promotion of anti-Semitism.

"The Palestinians are so emboldened to make abhorrent statements like these because the Biden administration has made clear that the U.S. will continue to hand them money and carry water for them diplomatically no matter what they do," Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told the Free Beacon.

A State Department official would not say whether it addressed the issue with Abbas or other top Palestinian government leaders. The department also would not say if it is considering imposing diplomatic penalties on the Palestinian Authority for the comments.

Rep. Lee Zeldin (N.Y.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and one of two Jewish Republicans in Congress, said Abbas maligned the memories of more than six million Jews while standing in the country that perpetrated the crimes.

"To accuse the Jewish state and the only functioning democracy in the Middle East of committing '50 Holocausts,' while standing in Germany, is something that only someone with as little character and sense of morality as Abbas could rationalize," Zeldin said in a statement. "Six million Jews and millions of others were brutally murdered during the Holocaust. There has been absolutely no equivalence to that at any time anywhere in the world."
Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine:Gantz Ignoring or ignorant?
Two statements made this past week by Israel’s current Defence Minister– Benny Gantz – could see his run for Israel’s next Prime Minister ended after it has just started.

Gantz told Kan Reshet Bet:
"Those who, in a clear left-wing position, consider 'two states for two peoples' as a solution are living in an illusion, and those who, in a radical right-wing position, think of a state without Arabs in the 'West Bank', are living in a greater illusion,"

Gantz has apparently not heard of or read the 2022 Saudi Peace Plan published on 8 June – which provides for the merger of Jordan, Gaza and parts of the 'West Bank' into one territorial entity to be called The Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine.

Implementation of the Saudi plan in the 'West Bank' could possibly see:
- The State of Israel – sovereign in about 30% (designated green and yellow) on this leaked map - where 1% of the 'West Bank' Arab population live.

- The Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine – sovereign in about the remaining 70% (designated red) - where 99% of the 'West Bank' Arab population resides:
Constructing a network of tunnels and roads will enable this subdivision.

Gantz committed an even bigger gaffe - telling 103 FM Radio:
"I repeat and insist that Jerusalem is the unified capital of the State of Israel ... And I do not see how we can continue towards an arrangement [with the Palestinians] in the coming years, but we must begin by initiating processes to reduce the conflict and strengthen security ... There are villages in the east that the Palestinian [Arab]s call Jerusalem, and they are not in the metropolitan area of Jerusalem. It is possible to define them as a capital."


A Ceasefire Line Is Not a Border for a Palestinian State: Debunking the Green Line Myth
In a recent opinion piece for The Washington Post, noted Israeli activist and journalist Gershom Gorenberg referred numerous times to the Green Line as “Israel’s border.” Gorenberg is far from being the only one to refer to the line that separated Israel from its Arab neighbors between 1948 and 1967 as a “border” (see here and here). Even the European Union, in determining which Israeli entities are eligible for EU funds, refers to Israel’s “pre-1967 borders.”

However, the term “border” is a misnomer, connoting an agreed-upon permanent demarcation between two sovereign entities.

In actuality, the Green Line came about as the result of an armistice agreement between the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Arab armies at the conclusion of the 1948 War of Independence.

In this piece, we will take a look at the history of the Green Line, its status after the Six Day War in 1967, and what it means for any future peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).

As the War of Independence was coming to a close in early 1949, Israel and its belligerent neighbors (Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon) entered into ceasefire talks in an effort to end hostilities and establish armistice agreements.

Between February and July 1949, Israel finalized armistice agreements with each of its neighbors. As part of these agreements, armistice lines were established, delineating the territory that separated Israeli military forces from the armed forces of its neighboring Arab countries.

These armistice lines ultimately became known as the “Green Line” due to the color of the pen that was used to mark these lines on the map.

However, at the insistence of Egypt, Jordan and Syria during the ceasefire negotiations, each of the armistice agreements features clauses that state unequivocally that these lines are not official borders and will not prejudice any future territorial claims made by any country.

The armistice agreement that was signed between Israel and Jordan states that “The Armistice Demarcation Lines…are agreed upon by the Parties without prejudice to future territorial settlements or boundary lines or to claims of either Party relating thereto.”

It also states that the agreement is “dictated exclusively by military considerations” and would have no effect on a future peace settlement.

Similarly, the armistice agreement between Israel and Egypt reads “The Armistice Demarcation Line is not to be construed in any sense as a political or territorial boundary.”


Rabbi Abraham Cooper: The Iran Nuclear Deal Is a Dangerous Con
Jews learned the hard way in the 20th century that when a tyrant says he is going to kill every one of you—believe him.

Such a war would wreak devastation throughout the Gulf and threaten Egypt and Turkey as well. The drums of war are already beating, the preparations are already underway.

Right now, no one in Jerusalem, Saudi Arabia, UAE, or Bahrain, is sure that the U.S. will have their back.

On the contrary, the U.S. and European powers are greenlighting Tehran's agenda, and insanely, they are relying on the same Russia that's invading Ukraine to be the primary intermediary with the Iranians. It is mindboggling.

Walking away now—at 11:59pm—might just give the Iranian regime pause, demonstrating that the Biden administration isn't prepared to absorb a bigger debacle and self-inflicted disaster than what happened in Afghanistan one year ago.

The alternative is grave. A U.S.-led epic surrender to the Iran will guarantee the worst-case scenario for Israel and the Arab nations of the Middle East. There will be more carnage there, but also on the streets of Europe and the United States.

Please President Biden, we beseech you, to stop the madness. It's not too late to stop the Ayatollah's war on peace before it literally goes nuclear.

How?

The U.S. should leave the bazaar in Vienna, dispense with the Russian and Chinese interlocutors and let the world know we stand with our allies and friends. It's time to deliver ultimatums backed by snap-back sanctions. The Iranians can start with removing their hit teams from our streets. Otherwise, the Vienna charade will continue ad infinitum until Iran has extorted every single cent possible from the naïve West leveraging every second to rapidly prepare its nuclear and military capabilities for the windfall coming.

If the Biden administration does anything less than crush Tehran's maleficence, then congressional leaders must send a bipartisan message that any Iran deal will be treated like a treaty, fulfilling the Constitutional requirement that the Senate must give its advice and consent—ratified by a supermajority—before going into effect.

Congress knows well that a useless piece of paper, accompanied by pallets of taxpayer cash, will not motivate Iran to roll back their terrorist infrastructure around the world. In fact, it is an invitation.

The only language this regime understands is strength.
Caroline Glick: Israel is on its own against Iran
If President Joe Biden concludes his deal with Iran, Israel cannot expect any significant assistance from the United States.

To discuss the consequences of the new agreement, on this week’s “Mideast News Hour” Caroline Glicks hosts Richard Goldberg, a senior advisor at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a senior official in the National Security Council during the Trump administration.

The two cover what is known about the deal and how its restrictions on Iran nuclear capabilities are even weaker than those of the deal signed in 2015 with disastrous effects for Israel and the world.


Compensation Agreement Reached Between Families of Munich Massacre And German Government
The family members of the 11 Israeli athletes murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics were reported to have reached a compensation agreement with the German government on Wednesday, just days before an official commemoration ceremony which relatives had earlier threatened to boycott.

In a formal statement, Steffen Hebestreit, the spokesperson for German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, said that it had been “possible to agree with the relatives on an overall concept for the 50th anniversary.”

Hebestreit explained that under the terms of the agreement, archive files concerning the massacre of the athletes on Sept, 5, 1972 would be released for the review of a commission of Israeli and German historians. There would also be further “recognition payments” paid to the families by the federal government, the Bavarian state and the city of Munich, understood to be in the region of $30 million.

Additionally, the German president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, is expected to become the first official German representative to issue an apology over security lapses at the 1972 Games, the Suddeutsche Zeitung reported. During the hostage crisis, the German-led attempt to free the Israelis ended with all the athletes murdered on the tarmac of the Fürstenfeldbruck airbase.

Wednesday’s announcement came a fortnight after two of the athlete’s widows sent a furiously worded letter to the prime minister of the state of Bavaria confirming that they would boycott the 50th anniversary commemoration ceremony being staged in the city.


PMW: ”Jews not allowed!” - in shops in the Salfit District
Remember the signs in Nazi Germany saying “Jews not allowed” at the entrance to some shops?

Now Salfit District Governor Abdallah Kamil has “issued a series of important decisions” of which one brings the term “Jews not allowed” to mind. It specifically “forbids” Palestinian businesses to “receive any settler” – i.e., Israelis/Jews. Whoever violates this rule risks closure of his business by the PA Security Forces:
It is completely forbidden to have commercial relations with the settlers, according to Law No. 4 of 2010. It is forbidden to receive any settler in our places of business. We have conveyed clear instructions to the relevant [PA] Security Forces to close any store that violates this decision and to put its owners on trial.

All signs written in the Hebrew language placed in the various places of business and workshops must be removed within a week at the latest. The required legal procedures will be taken against those who do not fulfill this.

We emphasize once more that one must not carry out any action of selling lands, and specifically in Area C (i.e., land under full Israeli administration according to the Oslo Accords), without first receiving security permission from the district.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 28, 2022]


These decisions in force in the Salfit district in the northwestern West Bank have been made to hinder any kind of peace building between Palestinians and Israelis/Jews as their goal is “to fight the settlement enterprise and the relations with the settlers in the district.” District Governor Kamil added that the Palestinian people “will not agree to any manner of coexistence or normalization with the settlers.” The PA routinely refers to all of Israel as "occupied Palestine" and all Israelis as "settlers."

Palestinian Media Watch has reported extensively on the third rule above. It is forbidden by PA law to sell land to “the enemy” –i.e., Israelis/Jews. The law has been reinforced by a religious ban – a fatwa – issued by the PA Supreme Fatwa Council, led by PA Grand Mufti and Supreme Fatwa Council Chairman Sheikh Muhammad Hussein.

In addition to these rules being in force in the Salfit district, in all PA schools any trace of the existence of Israel has been erased and thus there are “no Israeli products and products from the settlements in the school kiosks.” This was apparently verified by no other than PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh, who together with deputy ministers and directors-general of the Ministry of Education “examined the preparations and preparedness of the [PA] Ministry of Education for the start of the school year.” [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 29, 2022]
Qatar-Israel Talks Fail Over Israeli Demand to Go Public
With less than three months to go before the 2022 soccer World Cup kicks off in Qatar, Israel has been upping its efforts to facilitate the arrival of thousands of Israeli soccer fans to the Gulf country, with whom Israel has no diplomatic relations.

i24NEWS learned that secret negotiations between the two nations fell apart ahead of a planned phone call between Israel’s Foreign Minister and interim Prime Minister Yair Lapid and his Qatari counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani.

Lapid’s insistence on making the call public, a demand that Doha firmly rejected, was the cause of the talks collapsing.

The planned phone call between Lapid and Al-Thani was considered a preliminary conversation ahead of a future phone call between Lapid and the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. Negotiations were aimed at opening an Israeli consular office in Doha that would manage affairs for Israeli nationals attending the World Cup.

Israel was hoping that the office would then continue operating in Qatar as a permanent presence in the Gulf state.

A response from the Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry to i24NEWS said that “the story is not true.”

The absence of an Israeli consular office in Doha during the games would mean that Israeli nationals will be left without assistance in case of lost passports, arrests or severe medical conditions.

Back in June, Israel announced that its nationals will be able to attend the games in Qatar, saying the move would open “a new door” to a country with whom Israel does not have formal diplomatic relations.
i24NEWS EXCLUSIVE: Secret Qatar-Israel talks fail over Israel's demand to make them public
Israel and Qatar were in talks to open a consular office in Doha ahead of the World Cup, but the negotiations fell apart after Doha refused to allow Jerusalem to make them public.


MEMRI: IRGC Commander Salami In Interview For Supreme Leader Khamenei's Website: 'The Palestinians Are Ready Today For Ground Warfare – Israel's Major Weak Point... Missiles Are Excellent For Deterrence... But They Do Not Liberate The Lands; A Ground-Based Force Must Be Deployed, And Must Liberate The Land, Step By Step... Hizbullah And Palestine Will Move On The Ground In A Single Military Formation'
On July 23, 2014, the eve of Qods (Jerusalem) Day which is marked every year by the Iranian regime on the last Friday of Ramadan, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said: "The only solution for [the problem of the Israeli regime] is its annihilation and liquidation. Of course, until that time [comes], the determined and armed Palestinian resistance, and its spread to the West Bank, are the only way to deal with that bestial regime… Therefore, it is my belief that the West Bank should be armed just like Gaza. Anyone who cares about the fate of Palestine, and who is capable of doing something, should provide arms to the people [of the West Bank] too…"[1]

Two weeks ago, on August 19, 2022, the website of Supreme Leader Khamenei published an interview with Hossein Salami, commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). In the interview, Salami reiterated Khamenei's instructions to the Palestinian resistance movements to arm the West Bank, including the cities of Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah, Tulkarm, and the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem – just as Iran had helped Gaza arm itself with missiles and weapons – and to continue their armed struggle against civilians in Israel's cities, including from within the West Bank.

Noting that the process of arming the West Bank with Iran's help is ongoing, he said that in order to defeat Israel there is a need for ground warfare that includes a joint front of Palestine and Lebanon in which the Palestinian young people in the West Bank and Gaza and the Hizbullah fighters will both participate.

Boasting of the achievements of the Palestinian Islamic resistance, he said that these are expressed by the many Israeli dead in recent months. He argued that the Palestinians and Hizbullah must launch a "ground war," explaining that this is "because, while missiles are excellent for deterrence or for waging static wars, they do not liberate the lands." Even though Israel's army is equipped with modern weapons, he added, it lacks the faith and religious fervor of the Palestinians and of the resistance movement. The Zionists have no ethnic, linguistic, or national unity, he said, and thus they will flee Palestine the moment that fighting on the ground begins.

The following is a translation of Salami's interview for Khamenei's website: [2]
IRGC Commander Salami: "It Is Vital To Continue The Jihad... The Struggle Is Spreading Within The Occupied Territories… Hundreds Of Thousands Of Missiles Are Deployed Against Israel And They Can Attack, In Unlimited Volume, Anywhere In The Zionist Regime – In The North And West From The Gaza Strip, And In The North By Hizbullah"
Are Palestinians better off under Abbas than Arafat?
PLO leaving Lebanon: 40 years on

Debate between Ashraf Al-Ajrami, former PA minister, Samer Sinijlawi, Chairman of the Jerusalem Development Fund, and Jacques Neriah, former deputy head of assessment for the Israeli military intelligence.


Palestine 194 Distracts from Abbas’ Despotism
The Palestine 194 campaign converged with the PA’s increasingly authoritarian tendencies when the UN Committee Against Torture (CAT) released its report on the “State of Palestine” last month. This was a routine review triggered by the PA’s 2014 accession to the UN Convention Against Torture. While CAT, a subsidiary of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), is meant to review all convention signatories every four years, this was its first review of the PA.

Though Abbas has pursued international recognition to conceal his despotism, his accession to CAT has done the opposite. CAT’s report underscored the PA’s slide into authoritarianism by calling on the government to limit the duration of declared states of emergency, protect freedom of expression, and restore the PLC. Along with noting allegations of PA security force culpability in torture, lack of legal safeguards afforded to PA prisoners, and PA arbitrary arrests of critics, the review highlighted the 2021 death of Abbas-critic (and 2021 legislative candidate) Nizar Banat at the hands of Palestinian security forces. Apart from CAT, human rights advocates have accused the PA of shuttering critical websites, silencing journalists, and systematically using torture to silence critics (for example at the “Jericho Slaughterhouse”).

Two decades of Abbas rule have left the Palestinians divided, lacking democratic protections, politically hopeless, and on the precipice of an ugly succession battle. The aging Palestinian president’s increasing authoritarianism has gone hand in hand with his decreasing popularity. Western governments should make clear to Abbas that Palestine 194 is a dead end. The path forward must include curtailing authoritarian measures and cooperating with Israel on economic development and state building. Illusory international progress towards statehood cannot mask the Palestinian stasis.
Terrorist serving 29 years for shooting attacks and attempted kidnapping is hero says Fatah official
Sami Al-Hams, brother of terrorist Alaa Al-Hams: “The entire nation knows you well, [Alaa Al-Hams] “Abu Ibrahim.” You are a role model for us. You are the model for us, my brother. We ask Allah for a speedy release [from prison] for you…

Fatah official in the Rafah District Osama Qa’adan: “With full glory, might, and pride, we are proud of this fierce hero, fighter Alaa Ibrahim Al-Hams, the commander who embodied and still embodies the Palestinian struggle that clings to this holy land.” [Official PA TV, I Call You, July 5, 2022]

These statements were made when the official PA TV program I Call You visited the family home of Islamic Jihad terrorist prisoner Alaa Al-Hams.

Alaa Al-Hams – Palestinian terrorist and member of the Islamic Jihad terror organization who attempted to kidnap an Israeli soldier and was involved in shooting attacks. Al-Hamas was arrested in 2009 and is serving 29 years.


Israel sanctions 20 people and companies accused in Hamas money laundering front
Defense Minister Benny Gantz signed an order Wednesday imposing economic sanctions on 20 individuals and organizations accused of laundering money internationally for the Hamas terror group.

According to a statement from Gantz’s office, Hamas manages investments worth hundreds of millions of dollars through a network of shell companies “operating under the guise of legitimate companies and concealing Hamas’s control over their holdings.”

These primarily real estate and infrastructure projects operate in Sudan, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Algeria, the statement said, adding that local authorities and financial institutions were unaware Hamas was behind the companies.

The Defense Ministry, in conjunction with the Headquarters for Economic Warfare Against Terrorism and the IDF Intelligence Corps, estimated the scope of Hamas’s holdings at hundreds of millions of dollars.

Companies named include Al-Rowad for Real Estate Development Company Ltd. in Sudan; Anda, a Saudi real estate and construction company; and Algeria-based Sidar Company and Agrogate Holding.

The Defense Ministry identified Osama Ali, a member of the Hamas ruling council, saying he has headed the investment system since 2017, and has been designated a terrorist along with other Hamas officials involved in the laundering scheme. The Defense Ministry said that Ali maintains direct contact with Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh as well as other officials.
JCPA: Hussein al-Sheikh Plans to Take Over the Fatah Movement
Fatah officials also say al-Sheikh intends to weaken two main rivals in the succession battle by removing them from the movement’s power centers in the internal elections. One is Tawfiq al-Tirawi, former head of West Bank Palestinian intelligence and a Central Committee member. A report by a PA investigative committee accused him of corruption and nepotism. Another candidate, Marwan Barghouti, is the architect of the terror of the Second Intifada, serving five life sentences in an Israeli prison.

Barghouti is a member of the Fatah Central Committee and a bitter adversary of Abbas and al-Sheikh. Nevertheless, Palestinian opinion surveys show that he has public support as Abbas’ possible successor.

Last year, Barghouti announced his intention to run in the upcoming PA elections. Abbas and al-Sheikh asked the Biden administration and Israel to make sure he would not be freed in any new prisoner exchange with Hamas, explaining that he was a terrorist who would undercut the PA’s security coordination with Israel and the United States.

Another move al-Sheikh is planning is utilizing the Eighth Fatah Conference to appoint his associate, General Majid Freij, as a member of the Fatah Central Committee. He also wants to appoint other associates, such as Adnan Ghaith, governor of the Jerusalem district, and Ahmad Assaf, Palestinian communications minister, to high positions in Fatah.

The assessment in Fatah is that al-Sheikh will soon bring about the convening of the Eighth Fatah Conference. Abbas had already given his consent in principle, and the PA succession battle could escalate dramatically and violently. The Palestinian street fears stepped-up assassinations in the West Bank because al-Sheikh’s political rivals have armed militias in different locales.

The Israeli defense establishment is watching from afar and not intervening in the succession contest. Fatah officials say, however, that Israel supports Hussein al-Sheikh’s measures.


Feds Pinpoint Nearly 30K Mexican Passport Holders With Middle Eastern Names in Fraud Investigation
Federal law enforcement officials have identified a high number of individuals with Middle Eastern names traveling with Mexican passports, according to an internal Department of Homeland Security memo obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Since the beginning of 2022, nearly 30,000 Mexican passport holders were flagged as part of the investigation into passport fraud, the memo states, adding that each identified individual will be further evaluated. A senior official at DHS who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the agency will likely investigate whether any of the individuals have traveled to the United States and whether there are any other patterns in their travel.

The concern over fraudulent passports comes as a surge of illegal migrants at the southern border overwhelms the immigration system. With hundreds of thousands of migrants attempting to enter the country each month, Border Patrol and other law enforcement agencies often lack resources to properly vet who is entering the country. DHS secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said last year that the United States risks losing its "first line of defense" because of the "unsustainable" amount of illegal immigration at the border.

There are fears that terror groups such as al Qaeda could take advantage of the strained immigration system. Last April, for example, two Yemeni nationals on the terrorist watch list were apprehended at the southern border. Law enforcement officials appear concerned that bad actors could abuse the legal travel system to enter the country with passports obtained from Mexico, and enter the United States legally. Roughly 20 million Mexican citizens easily travel to the United States as tourists each year, according to the U.S. Travel Association.

"This investigation highlights that criminals often use legal travel to facilitate criminal activity," the senior DHS official told the Free Beacon. "The nexus to Mexico should cause the public and lawmakers to reflect on how a porous border can be even more dangerous."

The Department of Homeland Security did not respond to a request for comment.
JCPA: Iran Is in No Hurry to Sign: “In Two More Months, when Winter Comes to Europe, We Can Get a Better Deal”
Iran is still scrutinizing the U.S. response to its statements on a “final document” that Europe conveyed to the Americans. It appears that within Iran, too, there are disagreements over what stance to take, particularly regarding the date to sign the deal and whether it is worth extending the Vienna talks into the winter to score further achievements. In any case, Tehran apparently is in no hurry to sign. It asserted publicly that the nuclear deal would not affect its economic-rehabilitation program and is not part of it. Also publicly, Iranian spokesmen said the examination of the U.S. response would “continue at least until the weekend.”

Meanwhile, Qatar’s efforts to mediate between the Iranian and European-American sides continue. Qatar’s deputy foreign minister spoke by phone with the EU top negotiator for the Vienna talks, Enrique Mora, and met (August 27, 2022) in Tehran with Ali Bakri Kani, head of Iran’s negotiating team. In June, Qatar hosted two days of indirect U.S.-Iranian talks. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian also spoke with the foreign minister of Oman (where preliminary Iranian-U.S. contacts were held toward the signing of the 2015 nuclear deal). He told him Iran would state its position after weighing the U.S. response.

The Issues That Have Remained “Sensitive and Fateful”
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kanaani said (August 28) that Iran would submit its response after its “experts” finish their confidential discussions on the details of the U.S. response. He asserted that Iran is conducting itself “responsibly” and said the latest round of talks in Vienna were “positive and making progress…most of the issues have been resolved, but those that remain are very sensitive, important, and fateful.” He stressed that Iran wants an agreement because it will serve its interests. He criticized the negotiating team under the previous government of President Hassan Rouhani and said the current team had discussed Iran’s red lines for the negotiations.

Concerning the U.S.-Israeli talks on the nuclear deal, Kanaani said, “We have to wait and see if the American administration keeps awaiting the stance and the order of priorities of the Zionist regime or will grant priority to the interests of the American people”—that is, sign the deal. Iranian sources indicated that Tehran would provide its response by the weekend. In any case, most of the Iranian print and broadcast media are highlighting Israel’s efforts to derail the agreement and its heavy pressure on Washington not to sign it and thereby return to the framework of the 2015 deal.1
What should Israel’s strategy be for the day after a nuke deal with Iran?
While Israel has urged the United States not to return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran nuclear deal, recent signs point to a revived agreement. This has shifted discussion in Israel from how to prevent a deal to what strategy to adopt the day after one is signed.

Israel has made it clear that it does not consider itself bound by any agreement that might be reached. Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid told foreign correspondents on Aug. 24, “If a deal is signed, it does not obligate Israel. We will act to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear state.”

Many analysts believe this action must be military.

“If we cannot stop Iran from having a nuclear weapon by other means, we shall have to do it militarily,” Israel Defense Forces Brig. Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, told JNS.

Kuperwasser is less worried about Israel’s technical capability to conduct a strike than its political ability, noting Israel will have to make the decision in the face of American opposition. “We’re caught in a very difficult tension between our commitment to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear … state and our commitment to our relations with the United States,” he said.

He outlined a four-part action plan for Israel in a post-deal reality:
1. Israel must continue its covert operations to undermine Iran’s capabilities;
2. Israel must continue warning the United States that it reserves the right to take action against Iran;
3. Israel must build up its military capabilities for the time when it’s required to take action
4. It must work with the Gulf States to make sure they “don’t cross the line,” meaning drift into Iran’s orbit.
New deal likely to remove ‘freedom of action against Iranian nuclear infrastructure’
The revival of a nuclear deal with Iran will most likely hamper the future freedom of action by Israel and the United States to act against Iranian nuclear infrastructure, a former senior Israeli intelligence officer has warned.

Brig. Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, an ex-Israel Defense Forces Intelligence Research Division head and a former director-general of the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs, told JNS that while there are “advantages and disadvantages” to the two main scenarios of a deal and no deal, “it is clear to me that the current reality is much better than the reality in which a deal would be signed.”

Kuperwasser, today the director of the Project on Regional Middle East Developments at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, said the primary reason for this is that while Israel and the United States currently have freedom of action to derail the Iranian nuclear project and paralyze its infrastructure, that freedom would vanish after the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—originally signed in 2015 and exited in 2018 by the Trump administration—is revived.

“Now, there is freedom to act for those who want to move against the Iranian nuclear program and to prevent them from achieving an ability to build nuclear weapons. This freedom exists for both Israel and the United States,” said Kuperwasser.

“Certainly, every military maneuver against Iran would have a price; there are no free meals. But there is nothing to prevent such action, which would be aimed at disrupting the creation of a strategic threat to the world and to Israel’s security,” he stated.


Lawmakers Push Back Against Biden Effort to Close Probe Into Iranian Nuclear Sites
Republican foreign policy leaders in Congress are pushing back against an effort by the Biden administration and its European partners to nix an International Atomic Energy Agency investigation into Iran’s atomic weapons program as part of concessions meant to entice Iran into signing a new nuclear agreement.

Five Republican lawmakers led by Rep. Claudia Tenney (R., N.Y.) wrote to the IAEA that its probe should continue until it has sufficient answers from Iran about its atomic weapons program. Iran has blocked IAEA inspectors from accessing its contested nuclear sites for years, with the international organization disclosing possible Iranian violations of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as recently as last week. Iran has also removed cameras that monitor its nuclear sites.

With outstanding concerns yet to be addressed, the Biden administration and its European allies "are considering acquiescing to Iran’s demand that the IAEA’s ongoing safeguards probe be terminated before the nuclear deal can be revived," the lawmakers wrote Wednesday, according to a copy of the letter obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. "This probe should be terminated only when all outstanding technical issues and concerns have been addressed and sufficiently resolved."

As negotiations over a revamped version of the 2015 nuclear deal reach their final stage, questions still remain about how close Iran is to building a nuclear weapon. It has been stockpiling highly enriched uranium—the key component in a bomb—while building out secret military bunkers suspected to house its weapons program. As part of the new nuclear deal, Iran will not be forced to disclose the nature of this work and will be given a greenlight to continue some of its most contested nuclear work, such as the joint construction with Russia of new nuclear reactors.

While the Biden administration said as recently as last week the IAEA’s probe must continue outside of a new accord, it appears to have walked back this demand in order to push the deal to the finish line. The issue remains one of the final sticking points in talks, with Iran saying it will not implement the deal so long as the investigation remains open.
Dozens of House Democrats set to express concerns on Iran deal to Biden
Nearly 30 House Democrats have signed onto a draft letter expressing fresh concerns about the Iran nuclear deal, which appears to be moving toward a conclusion following months of stalled negotiations.

The letter is being circulated by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), who previously marshaled the support of 18 House Democrats to publicly express varying degrees of concern about the negotiations. Twenty House Democrats have publicly expressed concerns about the looming agreement, with others who opposed the original 2015 deal staying silent pending finalized text.

The most recent letter, addressed to President Joe Biden, has picked up more than 40 signatories, a majority of them Democrats, an individual familiar with the letter told Jewish Insider. The letter began circulating on Sunday and will close for signatures on Wednesday, the individual said.

JI has learned that the letter expresses concerns about specific alleged provisions of the proposed agreement text that have been publicly reported. The lawmakers are set to argue that, given recent Iranian attempts to attack U.S. citizens on U.S. soil, any reduction or loosening of U.S. sanctions would be inappropriate. Without any sanctions relief — a key element of the 2015 nuclear deal — Iran would be unlikely to agree to a new deal.

The letter voices specific objections to reported provisions modifying U.S. sanctions targeting the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and lifting sanctions on Iran’s central bank, national development fund and national oil company.


Secret deals ending Britain's control in Gulf revealed
Secret dealings which brought to an end Britain's empire in the Middle East are revealed in a joint BBC News Arabic and Persian documentary. The film Secrets & Deals: How Britain Left the Gulf contains details of how it left Iran in control of contested islands, as well as eyewitness accounts of a British-organised coup.

The winter of 1967-1968 was a time of crisis for the British economy. Many Arab leaders were convinced Britain had secretly helped Israel to victory over its Arab neighbours in the Six Day War of June 1967. Israel had captured East Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, the Sinai Peninsula, and the Golan Heights.

In retaliation, the oil-rich Gulf states began selling off their holdings of the British currency.

The pound crashed. Desperate to save money, Harold Wilson's Labour government decided it was time to terminate Britain's imperial defence commitments in the Middle East.

Britain never officially had colonies in the Gulf, but it had been the pre-eminent foreign power there since the 18th Century.

The Arab emirates of Bahrain, Qatar and the Trucial States (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and their smaller neighbours) had signed treaties of protection with Britain.

This meant Britain controlled their defence and foreign policies, while local leaders mostly oversaw local affairs.

In 1965, the most politically, socially and educationally progressive of the ruling sheikhs in the Trucial States, Saqr bin Sultan al-Qasimi of Sharjah, fell foul of the British.

His offence was to have cosied up to Egypt's President, Gamal Abdel Nasser, the mainstay of the Arab nationalist movement.
A new battleground – the rain rivalry in the Middle East
Iran accuses Israel and the UAE of stealing their precipitation via cloud seeding, a rain-inducing method

Amid a searing drought and unprecedented heatwaves, Iranian officials are claiming that countries like Israel and the United Arab Emirates are stealing their rain from the clouds above

The claim is not a new one, according to i24NEWS Middle East correspondent Ariel Oseran, who recalled when a commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps accused Israel and the UAE in 2018 of making Iranian clouds void of rain.

Such an accusation is based on cloud seeding, a practice that countries across the Middle East and north Africa are using more and more to combat dry and hot weather.

The rain-inducing method – a practice also being used in places like China and Mexico – involves sending planes to the base of clouds and releasing chemicals in an effort to provoke precipitation.






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