Wednesday, October 12, 2022

10/12 Links Pt1: Israel’s far-left is no better than the anti-Zionist Arab parties; Israeli Security Cabinet OKs Lebanon maritime accord; The real threat to U.S.-Israel relations comes from anti-Semitic Democrats

From Ian:

Left-wing lawmaker causes uproar after saying IDF 'executes' Palestinian children
An Israeli lawmaker caused a firestorm Wednesday after footage emerged in which he accused Israeli troops of carrying out deliberate killings of Palestinian minors. MK Ofer Cassif, who represents that Arab-Jewish party Hadash in the Knesset, said in a speech on Tuesday that the recent deaths in Judea and Samaria have only one side to blame – Israel.

In the footage obtained by Israel Hayom on Wednesday, a day after it was filmed, the lawmaker can be seen saying that the recent spate of terrorist attacks on Israelis, including deadly shooting incidents in Jerusalem and Samaria in successive days, could be explained by Israel's overall actions throughout the years and that the real victims were the casualties on the Palestinian side who died during Israeli counterterrorism raids.

"The root cause is the occupation, it is an injustice in and of itself; 12 Palestinians were murdered in the occupied territories, including minors, children who were executed. This bloodshed is terrible, the occupation is a form of injustice," he said, ignoring the fact that Israeli troops targeted armed Palestinians during the raids.

During the event, which was attended by other lawmakers from Arab parties, the participants were asked whether they would agree that terrorist attacks on IDF soldiers should stop. Joint Arab List leader Ayman Odeh tried to evade the question, saying that "everyone is a victim of this wicked occupation... Arabs and Jews are dear to everyone and we do not want even one person to die. We have to end the occupation."

In the wake of Cassif's comments, Defense Minister Benny Gantz issued a harsh rebuke. "Cassif has once again crossed a red line with lies and incitement precisely when the IDF soldiers are protecting all Israelis – Arabs and Jews alike – from murderous terrorism. They have been doing this with professionalism, determination, and in accordance with IDF values and purity of the arms, and we should all praise them for this." Gantz vowed to provide "full backing" for the soldiers and added that "precisely because of statements like that no government will have the Joint Arab List in it," referring to the Nov. 1 election, from which he hopes to emerge Israel's prime minister.

In response to Gantz's comments, Cassif said, "If a war criminal like him attacks me, then I am in a good place."
Ruthie Blum: Israel’s far-left is no better than the anti-Zionist Arab parties
One campaign mantra of the camp of Israeli opposition and Likud leader Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu ahead of the Nov. 1 Knesset election is that interim Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid will not be able to form a coalition without the Arab parties.

Barring a miracle—or an egregious manipulation of the system similar to that which Lapid and Naftali Bennett pulled last year—this numerical given is a truism that the “anybody but Bibi” politicians have been trying to obfuscate.

Though having no choice but to lean on the support of Hadash-Ta’al and Balad in order to keep Netanyahu from returning to the helm, they are aware that the public is none too fond of MKs who openly side with Israel’s sworn enemies. As a result, they prefer to point to the one Arab parliamentarian, Mansour Abbas, who distanced himself from his more treasonous colleagues.

The United Arab List (Ra’am) chairman made a historic move by being the first of his ilk to join an Israeli coalition. In fairness to the head of the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Southern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, he did acknowledge that Israel is both a Jewish state and here to stay.

Still, Netanyahu has been highlighting Ra’am’s dubious record to admonish voters not to be lulled into considering it kosher. But there’s another party that warrants at least as much, if not more, negative attention: Meretz—without which Lapid also has no chance of coming even close to a 61-mandate majority.

Like Ra’am, Meretz is polling at four-to-five seats. In other words, each is straddling the electoral threshold.

Meretz, too, moderated its rhetoric when it became part of the now-defunct coalition. This is probably why its members penalized the faction’s top honchos in the Aug. 23 primary, and elected Zehava Gal-On to replace Nitzan Horowitz as party leader.

It was an ironic turnaround.

Horowitz brought the party out of backbench exile and into the glory of government, serving for the past year and a half as health minister. Gal-On, on the other hand, resigned five years ago from her post as chair of the far-left party, reappearing on the scene to resume her coveted spot.

In an interview on Oct. 8 with the Mako Weekend magazine, Gal-On let her radicalism rip. This wasn’t novel. She’s never been one to hide her aversion to Jewkhaish settlement and sympathy for the “plight” of Palestinian terrorists “under Israeli occupation.”
Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians' New Enemy: British Prime Minister Liz Truss
The defamation campaign against the British prime minister is yet another sign of the ongoing radicalization of Palestinians not only against Israel, but anyone who dares to say a good word about Israel. This radicalization is the result of the massive campaign by Palestinian officials and media outlets to delegitimize Israel and demonize Jews.

The campaign coincides with the Palestinian leaders' continued talk about their commitment to the so-called two-state solution.

If the Palestinian leaders are so committed to the "two-state solution," they should cease and desist from their lethal incitement against Israel.

It is this campaign of hate that is the real obstacle for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. For many years, the Western countries that fund the Palestinians have utterly ignored Palestinian incitement against Israel.

Now, as is evident from the attacks on the British prime minister, Western leaders are themselves becoming victims of the Palestinians' smear campaigns. This is what happens when Western governments lavish untold millions of dollars on the Palestinians without requiring accountability and without demanding an end to the venomous Palestinian rhetoric against Israel and Jews.

Israeli Security Cabinet OKs Lebanon maritime accord
All the Security Cabinet (formally known as the Ministerial Committee on National Security Affairs) members voted in support of Lapid’s summary with the exception of Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, who abstained. Among those who voted in favor was alternate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Shaked’s former political partner.

The latest US-mediated proposal will reportedly draw a border between the two countries’ exclusive economic zones (EEZs) based largely on a boundary known as Line 23, and award a disputed area of around 840 square kilometers (324 square miles) to Lebanon, while recognizing Israel’s claim to the Karish gas field and to royalties (an expected share of about 17 percent) from the section of the Qana field that extends into the Jewish state’s EEZ.

Israel’s demand to preserve a five-kilometer line from the coastline into the sea, running north of Line 23, was accepted by Lebanon.

In a statement, Bennett said, “When I assumed my role as prime minister, I started the negotiation process with Lebanon over economic waters. I did this out of the desire to create a reality [promoting peaceful relations] of [gas] ‘field to field’ and in Israel’s economic, security and strategic interests. Not all that is good for Lebanon is bad for Israel. There are instances where it is possible both sides benefit.”

Bennett added that he saw value in reaching an accord, “but not at any price, and certainly not under threat. Now, we have reached a deal under different circumstances and through a different path than planned. Still, under the current circumstances, it is right to approve it. With deep familiarity with the elements of the deal with Lebanon, and after I learned all of the heads of security agencies’ views, I have decided to give my support.”

Israeli opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu has accused Lapid of caving in to Hezbollah. The Iranian-backed terror organization has threatened to attack Israel if it began extracting gas from the Karish reservoir before reaching an agreement with the Lebanese government.
Full text of the maritime border deal agreed between Israel and Lebanon

The real threat to U.S.-Israel relations comes from anti-Semitic Democrats
Shockingly, two of the most pro-Israel congresspeople in the Democratic Party, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), recently interfered in Israel’s upcoming elections. It was reported that Menendez privately threatened Benjamin Netanyahu over forming a government with a right-leaning party that is likely to become Israel’s third-largest.

Sherman went even further. On Twitter, he publicly called for “ostracizing” right-leaning Israeli electoral candidates, calling them “extremists.” Both Democrats outrageously threatened that failure to heed their threats would harm bilateral support for the U.S.-Israel relationship.

If Israel foolishly succumbed to Menendez and Sherman’s threats, it would likely be unable to form a strong, stable center-right governing coalition that protects Israel’s population. Israel could face another unworkable, likely-to-fail coalition of ideologically-opposed parties that absurdly relies upon the Hamas-allied Ra’am Party, and other Arab parties that oppose Israel’s existence, for its majority.

Israel would also likely be unable to undo the enormous harm to Israel’s security and sovereignty done by far-left interim Prime Minister Yair Lapid. Against the will of the majority of the Israeli people, and in violation of his role as interim prime minister, Lapid endangered Israel by endorsing and legitimizing a Palestinian-Arab terrorist state at the U.N. and by making a disastrous, unauthorized and illegal deal to give Israel’s gas fields to Hezbollah.

There has been extremely strong backlash against Menendez and Sherman’s interference in Israel’s democracy. On Twitter, Israel National News and other Jewish and Israeli news sites, as well as countless Israelis and American Jews, appropriately told Menendez and Sherman to stay out of Israel’s elections and focus instead on ostracizing the vicious, anti-Semitic, anti-Israel “Squad” in their own party.

The “Squad”—which includes Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), Cori Bush (D-Mo.) and others—is indeed the real problem here. Fear of the Squad’s growing power may explain why two traditionally pro-Israel U.S. Democrats attacked Israel’s democratic, sovereign right to choose her own government.

Biden Re-evaluating US Relationship with Saudis after OPEC Decision
President Joe Biden is re-evaluating the US relationship with Saudi Arabia after OPEC+ announced last week that it would cut oil production, White House national security spokesman John Kirby said on Tuesday.

“I think the president’s been very clear that this is a relationship that we need to continue to re-evaluate, that we need to be willing to revisit,” Kirby said in an interview with CNN. “And certainly in light of the OPEC decision, I think that’s where he is.”

Biden is willing to work with Congress on the future of Saudi relations, Kirby added.

Bob Menendez, the Democratic chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Monday called for a freeze on cooperating with Saudi Arabia, including on most arms sales, accusing the kingdom of helping to underwrite the Russian war in Ukraine after OPEC+ announced last week that it would cut oil production.

Biden was disappointed in the OPEC+ decision, Kirby said, and “he’s willing to work with Congress to think through what that relationship ought to look like going forward.”

“And I think he’s going to be willing to start to have those conversations right away. I don’t think this is anything that’s going to have to wait or should wait, quite frankly, for much longer,” Kirby added.

The issue does not only concern the war in Ukraine but it is a matter of US national security interests, Kirby added.

Ministers inaugurate work on contentious rope bridge to Jerusalem’s Mount Zion
The City of David Foundation has further cemented its controversial foothold in the historic Hinnom Valley with a ceremony to lay the foundation stone for a rope bridge that will connect Mount Zion, just below the Old City walls, with the mainly Palestinian neighborhood of Abu Tor.

A ceremony to lay the foundation stone for the bridge was attended last week by Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin, Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov, and Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion.

Elkin said the project, part of a wider initiative to turn the pastoral valley into a tourist venue, would strengthen the sense of “security and governance” in the area and help access to the Old City.

Lion said the bridge would allow “free and safe movement” between the ridges on either side of the gorge.

The project, costing an estimated NIS 20 million ($5.6 million), according to the Calcalist business daily, is opposed by the left-wing Peace Now, Emek Shaveh and Bimkom not-for-profit organizations, as well as Palestinians.

The first two unsuccessfully petitioned against the building permit for the bridge, arguing that it was given in an underhanded, fast-track fashion without any public consultation.

Sari Kronish of Bimkom — Planners for Planning Rights said the bridge would do nothing to address the pressing housing and other needs of local Palestinian residents.

The suspended bridge will join a growing list of other facilities in the valley advanced by the right-wing foundation, which works to increase the Jewish presence in and around Jerusalem’s Old City Basin, and is known in Hebrew as Ir David and by its acronym, Elad.

Shin Bet busts Hamas cell in West Bank accused of plotting shooting attacks
The Shin Bet security agency says forces arrested four Palestinians in recent weeks who planned to commit shooting attacks under orders of a Hamas member in the Gaza Strip.

According to the Shin Bet, the group was in contact with Belal Basharat, a Hamas terrorist who was released from an Israeli prison in the 2011 Gilad Shalit prisoner swap and deported to Gaza.

The Shin Bet names the two “main” suspects as Anas Maraeva, 25, from Ras Atiya, and Aslam Tubasi, 26, from Tamun. Tubasi is Basharat’s brother-in-law, according to the agency.

Belal instructed the pair to purchase weapons and obtain information in order to carry out shooting attacks against both civilians and Israeli soldiers, the Shin Bet charges.

A weapon in their possession, along with cash sent to them from Hamas in Gaza was seized, the Shin Bet says.
West Bank: Israeli Army Locks Down Nablus Amid Surging Violence
Israel’s army on Wednesday placed a closure on Nablus, limiting entry and exit to the northern West Bank city with roadblocks and security checks following a surge in shooting attacks by Palestinian militants on Israelis.

The decision “is part of the increased security activity in the Nablus area,” the Israeli army’s Spokesperson Unit said in a statement, adding that some routes were left open for Palestinians to enter and leave following “a strict security check.”

It was unclear how long the closure would last.

Palestinian media outlets reported that Israeli troops also blocked the entrance to the nearby town of Deir Sharaf and several other villages with dirt mounds. The Huwara and Awarta checkpoints were also closed.

The lockdown came amid a surge of violence in the northern West Bank in recent months, with recurrent incidents between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers or settlers.

On Tuesday, 21-year-old First Sergeant Ido Baruch of Israel’s army was killed in a drive-by shooting near the Shavei Shomron settlement. The attack was claimed by the Lion’s Den militant group, which formed in Nablus as a response to the almost daily arrest raids in the area as part of the Israeli army’s Operation “Break the Wave.”
The Terror Triangle: What You Need to Know About the West Bank City of Nablus
An elite Israel Defense Forces soldier died on October 12 after being shot near the community of Shavei Shomron in the northern West Bank. Staff Sgt. Ido Baruch, 21, was attacked by gunmen who opened fire from a passing vehicle as his unit was “conducting operational security activity in the area,” the IDF said.

A relatively unknown Palestinian armed faction operating out of the nearby city of Nablus, the Lion’s Den, soon claimed responsibility for the killing of Baruch, warning Israel that “the volcano of our operations has begun and only God will extinguish it.”

Tuesday’s deadly shooting was the latest in a string of recent attacks carried out by terrorists from Nablus that targeted Israeli security forces and civilians. On October 2, the Lion’s Den in two separate West Bank shootings injured an Israeli taxi driver and a soldier.

As Jerusalem reportedly told the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) that it is considering a raid of Nablus with an eye to saving Israeli lives, it is imperative that journalists provide their readers with proper context regarding Nablus’ bloodsoaked history and how ruthless terror groups continue to run the city’s streets to this day.

The ‘Triangle of Terror’: Nablus’ History as an Epicenter of Radicalism
Located between the biblical Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim in northern Samaria, Nablus (identified with the ancient Jewish city of Shechem) is home to about 150,000 people, making it the second-largest locality under Palestinian Authority jurisdiction.

Nablus’ history as a hub for anti-Jewish terrorist activity far predates the founding of the modern State of Israel. In a 1921 report, a British Mandate official already denounced the Nabulsi attitude as “fanatic” and “bigoted,” citing, in particular, the city’s “hostility to the Jews.” Notably, the bloody Arab riots of 1936-39 were in part triggered by the slaying of two Jewish men near Nablus at the hands of Sheikh Izz ad-Din al-Qassam supporters.

Soon after the attack, on April 20, 1936, the Arab National Committee of Nablus declared a general strike and boycott of Jewish goods, a call heeded by Arabs throughout the Mandate’s territory. During the six-month strike, some eighty Jews were murdered in terror acts, with a total of 415 Jewish deaths recorded during the entire 1936-1939 Arab Revolt period.

Palestinians heed militia's call for general strike
Palestinians on Wednesday observed a one-day general strike in protest at the closure of Shuafat Refugee Camp and its surrounding neighborhoods since the shooting attack in which IDF soldier Noa Lazar was killed.

The camp, which is located within the municipal boundaries of the Jerusalem Municipality, has been sealed off by Israeli security forces since last Saturday night’s attack, in which another security guard was severely wounded. Since then, hundreds of police officers have been conducting a manhunt for the shooter, whose identity is known.

According to Palestinian sources, some 130,000 Palestinians live in Shuafat camp and the nearby neighborhoods of Ras Khamis and Dahiyet al-Salam, which are also located within the Jerusalem Municipality borders.

The vast majority of those who live in the three areas are permanent residents of Jerusalem – a status that affords them the same privileges as Israeli citizens, with the exception of voting for the Knesset. They are entitled to travel to any part of the country, unlike Palestinians living under the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, who need permits to enter Israel.

The general strike was called by the Nablus-based militia Lions’ Den, whose members have carried out a series of shooting attacks against IDF soldiers and Israeli citizens in the last few weeks.

Dozen of Palestinians protesting the closure
Dozens of Palestinians held noon prayers near the checkpoint at the entrance to the camp and called for the closure to be lifted. Clashes erupted during the day between Palestinian rock-throwers and policemen, who responded by firing tear gas and rubber bullets.

How Israel nearly failed to spot Syria’s nuclear reactor, from the man who found it
“Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan was the seed of calamity. Wherever he went around the globe, you needed to be sniffing around.” So began Dr. Amnon Sofrin, the head of the Mossad’s intelligence division in the mid-2000s, as he retold the story of Israel’s discovery that Syria had secretly built a nuclear reactor and was close to bringing it online.

Some 15 years after the destruction of the reactor in Deir Ezzor, Sofrin revealed in an interview with Zman Israel, the Times of Israel’s sister site, how Israel came to carry out the strike, as well as how close it came to committing one of its biggest intelligence blunders.

Sofrin, who began his career in Military Intelligence and then after his discharge joined the Mossad spy agency, described, step by step, the tortuous developments ahead of a decisive conversation he had with then-prime minister Ehud Olmert, during which the Israeli premier was informed that within a few weeks Syria was set to become a nuclear-capable nation.

First warning sign: The Libyan surprise
“In December 2003, the British and Americans announced that after several months of negotiations, they managed to convince [Libyan leader Muammar] Gaddafi to give up his plans for nuclear weapons — in exchange for lifting sanctions,” Sofrin said.

“I look at this incident and ask myself: Did we know about it? I understood that there was some kind of infrastructure in Libya, but we were very far from understanding the situation and how close Gaddafi was to a nuclear [weapon]. We all understood that Israel was excluded from the process and this required us to draw immediate conclusions,” he said.

It turned out that the Libyan nuclear project was at a very advanced stage. The person behind the project was Khan, a Pakistani physicist who sold his nuclear know-how to anyone who wanted it. At least two countries were known to have bought Khan’s services — Iran and Libya.

Behind the concealment of the Libyan project was the Swiss Tinner family, which supplied the construction materials to centrifuge enrichment sites using forged bills of lading presented to Swiss authorities.

The two main nuclear sites in Libya were hidden in a school and a rural farm. At some point, information about the Tinner family’s involvement reached the CIA, making them, effectively, double agents providing information on the progress of the Libyan nuclear project overseen by Khan.

This was the intelligence upon which the US and Britain relied when they approached Gaddafi and threatened to attack the facilities. Gaddafi did a quick calculation and realized that his fate would be the same as Saddam Hussein’s in Iraq, and he agreed to reveal the entire project and allow UN inspectors to dismantle it.

Israel, which was excluded at all stages — from the intelligence to the secret negotiations — was shocked.
Is Iran’s regime teetering on the brink of collapse?
Revolutionary fervor against the ruthless strongmen who rule the Islamic Republic of Iran has gripped large swaths of the vast Mideast nation.

Social and labor unrest have entered into their fourth week after the morality police allegedly murdered a young woman for failing to “properly” wear a hijab to cover her hair.

The pressing question is: Will this latest wave of protests sweep the regime into oblivion?

“We are seeing the beginnings of a revolution in Iran,” Alireza Nader, an expert on Iran and American policy in the Middle East, told JNS. “The scale of the people’s anger against the regime is unprecedented. Iran hasn’t witnessed such large and intense anti-regime demonstrations since 1979. It appears people are intent on overthrowing the Islamic Republic.”

Until now, aside from some strikes among students at around 10 universities and among owners of small shops, labor unrest did not spill over into the main hub of Iran’s ailing economy, the oil and gas sector.

That has now changed.

On Monday, work stoppages hit Iran’s vital energy sector in the oil-rich province of Bushehr on the Persian Gulf.

According to the U.S.-based Center for Iran Human Rights in Iran, the Contractual Oil Workers Protest Organizing Council wrote on its Telegram channel: “To our colleagues in oil, gas and petrochemical projects, in all refineries and petrochemicals; in the oil platforms as well as the drilling sites, we declare that now is the time for widespread protests and to prepare ourselves for nationwide and back-breaking strikes.”
Israeli MK to Christian parliamentarians: ‘Demand your govts. sanction Iran’
Israeli lawmaker Sharren Haskel on Tuesday night called on Christian parliamentarians from around the world to demand their governments sanction Iran, in a dramatic address that culminated with her cutting her hair in a show of solidarity with Iranian women.

“Demand that your governments and elected officials stand by the Iranian people at this time, support their protests and help them attain the freedom which they deserve,” Haskel said. “Demand that your countries impose sanctions on the leaders of Iran, the dictators who are leading us to a regional war and who murder and abuse their citizens.

“How long will it take for the world to step in and truly make a difference?” she asked. “The answer depends on some of the people in the room here today.… We must channel our Judeo-Christian values of justice, morality and righteousness into a global voice of life and freedom for all.”

Haskel then joined the Iranian women demonstrating against state-sanctioned violence following the death of Jina Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by Tehran’s “modesty police” for violating hijab laws and later died in custody.

Chanting, “Jin, jiad, azadi; women, life, freedom,” Haskel cut off two large chunks of her hair.

“May next year we have [at this event] … women representatives from Iran as well,” she concluded.

The chair of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, Haskel was addressing a room of some 2,000 Christian supporters of Israel, who convened at the Pais Arena in Jerusalem for the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem’s (IECJ) annual Feast of Tabernacles celebration.

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