Wednesday, November 16, 2022

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: The Biden administration weaponizes the FBI against Israel
Even if the crisis passes quickly, the incoming government needs to understand that so long as the Democrats are in power, the next crisis is just a progressive rally away. As the midterm elections demonstrated, today, there are two Americas, not one. The Republican America, led by the likes of Sen. Cruz, Gov. Ron DeSantis and former President Donald Trump, is the best friend Israel has ever had.

The Democratic America hates Israel and the Republicans. They view both as fundamentally illegitimate.

This state of affairs, where one America loves Israel and the other hates it, is unlikely to change for the better in the foreseeable future. The Abu Akleh affair makes clear that moderates in the Democratic Party—like Biden himself—have transferred policymaking power regarding Israel to their all-but openly anti-Semitic progressive base.

What awaits us will be even worse than what Israel suffered with Barack Obama. We can expect to see the Democrats’ America backing arrest warrants of IDF soldiers and commanders. Democrats can be expected to cut off critical arms supplies. We can expect them to do in public what they are already doing in private—namely funding Palestinian terrorists. We can expect them to support economic boycotts of Israel and to enable the passage of anti-Israel resolutions at the UN Security Council.

To contend with the threat posed by the Democrats’ America, the incoming government must move to swiftly diminish Israel’s strategic dependence on the United States. We should end our receipt of U.S. military assistance. We should move production lines for critical platforms, including Iron Dome missiles, from the United States to Israel, regardless of the economic cost. And we should withdraw the outgoing government’s offer to allow the United States to fund the completion of our military laser program. Full ownership and control over the critical program should be restored to Israel’s military industries, again, regardless of the cost.

Apparently, the FBI informed Israel that it was opening the probe a few weeks ago—presumably before the Nov. 1 election. Gantz and outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid hid the news from the public, for obvious reasons. For a year and a half, they had insisted that Netanyahu was the cause of Israel’s troubled relations with the Democrats. The Biden administration’s probe of our soldiers makes clear that this was never the case. Netanyahu was right to stand up to Obama, and he will be right to stand up to Biden. Israel cannot be beholden to those who view our boys and girls as murderers for defending our lives and our nation. We can only defy them, even when they are former friends in Washington.
FBI has a double standard for Abu Akleh, Israeli victims - comment
What is behind Washington's double standard?
In a way, this fits in with the way the Biden administration has treated other allies in the Middle East, as though the accidental killing of someone caught in a crossfire is akin to the horrific murder of columnist Jamal Khashoggi, whose body was dismembered and dissolved in acid, ordered by the Saudi leadership. The Washington Post also recently published details of a leaked National Intelligence Council report on Emirati efforts to influence US policy. It must be said that those countries are not democracies and the actions Washington is criticizing were not followed with cooperation and transparency, in contrast with Israel following Abu Akleh’s death.

Some have talked about it being a shot across the bow to prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu as he’s expected to form a far-right government, though Washington is expressing dissatisfaction at events that occurred under a government to the left of Netanyahu.

Another argument made is that this is about US politics. The midterms just took place and US President Joe Biden may feel freer to take more controversial actions than he did before. The left-wing of the Democratic Party pushed for a probe of Abu Akleh’s killing and, as Netanyahu says in his recently-published memoir, Biden professed to feeling pressure on Israel issues in what is “not Scoop Jackson’s Democratic Party.”

US Senator Ted Cruz certainly sees it that way, saying the FBI investigation “underscores how corrupt and blatantly politicized the Justice Department has become, and how entirely beholden to the radical left-wing Squad Democrats really are. This administration has spent its time in office weaponizing the DOJ to target their political enemies as a matter of policy, and now they have allowed that tactic to bleed into their obsession with undermining our Israeli allies.”

Whether it’s about the Biden administration’s moralistic approach to the Middle East or about Democratic Party dynamics, this just contributes to a broader sense that the FBI has used and abused as a political tool in recent years.

The Abu Akleh investigation announcement happened to take place in the week in which Commentary released an issue with a cover story by intelligence reporter Eli Lake about how the FBI is desperately in need of reform.

“FBI officials routinely deceive not only the public but also the institutions designed to protect the public from FBI overreach. Agents lie to supervisors. Supervisors lie to judges. FBI directors mislead Congress. And almost no one is ever punished,” Lake wrote, following it up with a litany of recent abuses.

FBI leaders who leaked to the press and went after certain politicians are feted, Lake pointed out, asking: “What lesson will others draw from this, except that there are no consequences for abusing authority against the right political targets?”
JPost Editorial: Would the FBI come to different conclusion of Shireen Abu Akleh's death?
We are dismayed by the news that the FBI is launching an investigation into the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in Jenin on May 11. Israeli officials confirmed media reports on Monday that the US Justice Department had recently informed Israel’s Justice Ministry of the move, and they also voiced their firm opposition to the probe.

Israel conducted several thorough investigations into the circumstances of Abu Akleh’s killing, with the IDF concluding in September that she was most likely killed in “unintentional fire” from an Israeli soldier who did not realize she was a journalist. The US even participated in one of the investigations, including examining the bullet that the Palestinians said was the fatal one. The results of all the investigations were shared with the US, and particularly with the State Department.

Why then does the US administration believe that a new FBI investigation is necessary? As Defense Minister Benny Gantz succinctly said in a statement, the FBI probe is a grave error and there is no reason for Israel to cooperate with its investigation, even though it has nothing to hide.

“The decision taken by the US Justice Department to conduct an investigation into the tragic passing of Shireen Abu Akleh is a mistake,” Gantz said. “The IDF has conducted a professional, independent investigation, which was presented to American officials with whom the case details were shared. I have delivered a message to US representatives that we stand by the IDF’s soldiers, and that we will not cooperate with an external investigation.”

Ted Cruz: Anyone involved in FBI investigation against Israel should be fired or impeached
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Senate Judiciary Committees, responded to news that the Biden administration seeks to open an FBI investigation into the death of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh.

Sen. Cruz said: “Joe Biden and his administration view Israel and Prime Minister-elect Benjamin Netanyahu as political enemies, and so they are responding to them the way they respond to all their political enemies: by unleashing the FBI. Our Israeli allies have, since the very beginning, cooperated closely with the United States in investigating this incident, and the State Department and Defense Departments had already drawn their conclusions."

“This outrage underscores how corrupt and blatantly politicized the Justice Department has become, and how entirely beholden to the radical left-wing Squad Democrats really are. This administration has spent its time in office weaponizing the DOJ to target their political enemies as a matter of policy, and now they have allowed that tactic to bleed into their obsession with undermining our Israeli allies.

“Everyone involved with this debacle should be fired or impeached – all the way up to Attorney General Garland,” Cruz said.

Seth Frantzman: Stray missiles: What Ukraine, Poland can learn from Israel
Ukraine has a variety of air defense systems. Russia also has a variety of missile and cruise missile systems. Overall, this means that many countries bordering Ukraine are within range of errant missiles. In March 2017, a Syrian surface-to-air missile was intercepted by Israel’s Arrow air defense after it apparently strayed off course and was heading toward Israel. Debris from the incident fell in Jordan, according to the BBC report at the time. In July 2019, a Syrian S-200 missile struck Cyprus, some 225 km from Syria. An S-200 also fell in Turkey in July 2018. In September 2018, Syrian air defenders shot down a Russian military plane by mistake. In April 2021 a more serious incident occurred when a Syrian air defense missile strayed into the Negev in Israel.

The long list of Syrian air defense missiles flying off course should be a lesson for what appears to have happened in Poland. S-300s and other types of air defense missiles can fly off course or they can be seeking out a target and the target may be neutralized by another air defense system and the missile may continue on its path. The whole details of how the incident unfolded is unclear.

At the end of the day, Russia’s use of missiles to strike at Poland is partly to blame for the incident in Poland, but having better air defenses may also be an issue for Ukraine. Ukraine has been asking for more air defenses over the past year. Ukraine recently received the IRIS-T air defense system from Germany.

Countries in the area will need more radars and perhaps better radars to confront the kind of threats that are being seen today. Russia’s use of missiles and drones is just one example of the emerging threat that air defenders need to contend with. Poland and other states will want to make sure that their own air defenses and warning systems are able to detect the kind of threat that happened this week. It’s not clear if installing sirens and other systems is helpful across a large frontier.

Israel has successfully used a system of sirens to alert people to threats; and Israel has perfected a level of precision with these warnings so that the country is divided into polygons of warning areas, meaning that only areas under threat are warned.

Unfortunately for countries now on the frontline, or close to the frontline, the US abandoned a decision to put in place a missile defense system in Europe in 2009. At the time the White House was trying to work with Russia and also focusing on Iran. It appears today that 13 years later it would have been better to put in place the kind of air defenses needed to stop the threats that are now emerging.
Dershowitz says US-Israel ties could reach 'doomsday scenario'
A conference on Monday organized by the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), Reut Group and The Israeli Institute for Economic Planning featured prominent speakers with wide-ranging experience, including former high-ranking officials from Israel's national security establishment and strategic ministries. The conference's title was: "Israel-US Relations: Trends and Looking Ahead".

President Isaac Herzog, who delivered the keynote address at the opening plenary, hailed the strong bond between the two countries and recalled his recent visit to the White House, "at the invitation of my friend Joe Biden." Herzog, who delivered his speech via video message due to last-minute political developments in Israel, said that "it is no secret that the future of the relationship is increasingly dependent on the next generations, and it is where we have an immense challenge. He cited recent trends showing eroding pro-Israel tendencies among younger demographics in the US, and said that sometimes this can be attributable to a lack of understanding regarding the Jewish state. He took aim at a piece by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who warned that the results of the Israeli election mean that "The Israel we knew is gone". Herzog said "such columns do great injustice to Israel."

Renowned pro-Israel legal scholar, Professor Alan Dershowitz, echoed Herzog and said that while right-wing extremists in the US should be countered by law enforcement when they act with violence, Israeli efforts should focus on left-wing extremists because they pose a real danger to US-Israel relations.

"The bad news is that the future Israel-American relationship is in grave danger," Dershowitz said. "Not for today, not necessary for tomorrow but for the day after tomorrow. For our children's and our grandchildren's generations; if nothing is done to change the current trend the relationship will suffer; Israel must prepare to go to it alone without the support of the US, and it must adopt a doomsday strategy in relation to US-Israeli relation; it can and it will because Israel has the will to survive and it will survive." He added that "the primary goal of the anti-Israel movement is very strong, it is to sever the relationship between US and Israel. It starts with Students for Justice for Palestine, which is not so much a pro-Palestine situation as it is an anti-Israel and deep down anti-Jewish," Dershowitz added.
A breakable alliance? Israeli conference spotlights worrying socio-political trends in US
It’s referred to as the “unbreakable alliance,” but a conference in Tel Aviv on Monday painted a more disturbing picture, of a U.S.-Israel relationship headed for trouble.

The conference, titled “Israel-U.S. Relations: Trends and Looking Ahead,” became a call to arms as speakers insisted the matter was now at the level of a national security threat. It was sponsored by The Reut Group, the Israeli Institute for Economic Planning (IEP) and the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), and featured politicians, public figures, former IDF officers, analysts and U.S. Jewish leaders.

“This conference is a warning conference,” said IDF Maj. Gen. (res.) Tamir Hayman, executive director of INSS. “We expect a reality that within five to 10 years the superpower support that Israel enjoys will be at risk.”

Warning of a world where the United States no longer vetoes anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations, or helps replenish Israeli weapons stockpiles, philanthropist and high-tech entrepreneur Yossie Hollander, who helped organize the conference, said, “The present situation between the government and the elite is still good, but the situation we’re moving toward is catastrophic.”

Among the currents within the United States working against Israel highlighted during the day-long conference were American political polarization, a new generation whose values are at odds with the Jewish state, and the rise of a radical, progressive ideology that has swept through America’s institutions.
US reportedly pressuring Netanyahu on formation of future Israeli government
The Likud party is denying reports that Netanyahu may reach out to Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid to form a unity government, as negotiations with Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich appear to stall.

Will a right-wing government stop the wave of terrorist attacks?

The Israel Guys: FBI OPENS INVESTIGATION Into the Death of Al-Jazeera Journalist Abu Akleh
In a horrific terror attack in Ariel yesterday, three people were killed and three others wounded, the US has said they are going to open an investigation into the death of the Al-Jazeera journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh, and Benjamin Netanyahu is still unable to form a coalition because of disputes over different ministerial positions.

MEMRI: Kuwaiti Journalist: The Islamic Nation, Which Claims To Be The Best Nation On Earth, Is Failing In Almost Every Area
In his October 13, 2022 column in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Qabas, liberal journalist Ahmad Al-Sarraf listed a long list of problems from which the Islamic countries suffer, including the absence of democracy and justice and of respect for human rights and minority rights, lack of freedom of religion, as well as corruption and dishonesty, and high birth rates despite rampant poverty, unemployment and low living standards. He stated that Muslim countries send their young people to study abroad, and use the inventions of other countries, yet curse the inventors and the products of those countries based on a false sense of moral superiority. Furthermore, he said, wherever Muslims live their situation is always the worst, yet they continue to call themselves the best nation on earth.

The following are translated excerpts from Al-Sarraf's column:[1]
"The great thinker Taha Hussein [an Egyptian writer and intellectual, d. 1973] is credited with saying that 'a nation that fights poverty with prayer, ignorance with religious studies, backwardness with fatwas, corruption with mosque sermons, social disunity with sectarianism and takfir [accusations of heresy] and unemployment by [encouraging] marriage and childbirth is a dead nation, and the dead must be buried to preserve their honor.' The nation of poverty has children without thought or planning. It brings more and more victims and wretches into the world, and everyone arms himself with the saying '[babies] bring their own livelihood.' But I see only vagrancy and unemployment, hunger and homelessness, [people] naked and barefoot, droves of released prisoners and millions of [prisoners still] in jail. Therefore, it is not hard to understand why the nation of 1.5. billion [Muslims] fails in almost every area.

"We have… ancient, well-rooted universities like Al-Zaytouna [in Tunis], Al-Azhar [in Cairo], the Shi'ite religious seminaries in Al-Najaf, Qom and Karbala, and dozens of similar religious institutions, in addition to thousands of religious schools in which hundreds of thousands of teachers teach Islamic culture to billions of students every year. In addition, there are billions of hours of religious programs on radio and television, as well as mosque sermons, and lessons of [religious] preaching and guidance. Yet despite all this, there are no successful Islamic states – except for a few cases [that are different] for well-known reasons – and no democratic Islamic countries, with two or three exceptions. Most of the [Islamic] countries lack a fair judiciary and human rights, but are known for having countless prisons and for degrading human dignity.
No airline agreed to fly from Israel to Qatar for World Cup
No airline agreed to be the first ever to fly directly from Israel to Qatar by Tuesday, with only five days left until the World Cup begins in the Gulf State, the Foreign Ministry confirmed.

Israel and FIFA, the international soccer body, released enthusiastic statements last week that Qatar permitted direct flights from Israel. Israel and Qatar do not have diplomatic relations, but Doha had to allow Israelis to attend the tournament as part of FIFA’s terms for it to host.

“The Foreign Ministry built a platform by which private airlines can request to fly directly from Israel to Qatar,” but none have availed themselves of that option as of yet, National Public Diplomacy Directorate head Lior Haiat explained.

Cypriot Tus Airways will be operating flights separately from the Foreign Ministry’s arrangements that will fly from Tel Aviv to Larnaca for a “diplomatic layover” - meaning that the plane will wait a short time on the tarmac - before continuing to Qatar.

FIFA and Qatar also said that Israel would permit Palestinians to fly on direct flights from Ben-Gurion airport, which seemed unlikely to actually happen.
IDF map home of Ariel terrorist overnight, operate across West Bank
IDF, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and Israel Border Police personnel operated in the village of Hares overnight to map the home of Muhammad Murad Sami Souf who murdered three Israeli civilians and wounded an additional three in a terror attack in Ariel on Tuesday.

The mapping was carried out to examine the possibility of demolishing his home.

The victims of Souf’s attack were identified as 50-year-old Tamir Avihai, a father of six from the settlement of Kiryat Netafim; 36-year-old Michael Ledigin, a father of two who moved to Israel with his family five years ago and lived in Bat Yam; and 59-year-old Mordechai Ashkenazi, also from Bat Yam.

Ashkenazi was laid to rest in Yavne in a private funeral as the family requested. One of Ashkenazi’s friends told Ynet that it was a “respectful and modest ceremony just as Motti was in life.”

Ledigin was buried a few hours later in Bat Yam.

US expresses alarm over Israeli, Palestinian civilians killed in West Bank
The US State Department on Tuesday expressed alarm over the spike in killings of Israeli and Palestinian civilians and urged the parties to take action to restore calm.

“The United States is deeply concerned by the increased violence in the West Bank,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

“We convey profound condolences to the families and loved ones of the Israeli and Palestinian civilians, including children, who have been killed in the past 48 hours,” Price said in a relatively rare statement that was released independently from the day’s press briefing hours earlier.

Price highlighted the terror attack that took place in the northern West Bank settlement of Ariel on Tuesday in which a Palestinian terrorist killed three Israelis and wounded three others.

According to the IDF, the Palestinian terrorist stabbed a security guard near the entrance to the Ariel Industrial Park. The attacker then stabbed three people at a nearby gas station, before he fled in an apparently stolen vehicle.

Palestinian gunmen fire at settlement, causing damage to home
Palestinian gunmen fired a hail of bullets Wednesday afternoon at a settlement in the northern West Bank, the military said.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, slight damage was caused to a home in the settlement of Shaked, which is located close to the security barrier, about 10 kilometers west of the Palestinian city of Jenin.

There were no injuries in the attack. The settlement has been targeted several times in recent months.

The IDF said troops launched a manhunt for the suspects, who fled the scene. The bullets — at least 39 rounds — were fired from outside the settlement.

In surveillance camera footage published by the Samaria Regional Council, heavy gunfire could be heard during the attack.
Israeli Arab teen indicted for affiliation with Islamic State, plans to make bombs
Prosecutors on Wednesday filed an indictment against an Arab teen from northern Israel over his alleged affiliation with the Islamic State terror group, the Justice Ministry said.

According to the charge sheet, over the past two years, the 16-year-old was in contact with several members of the jihadist group via the Telegram messaging application and other social media sites.

The indictment, citing the teen’s interrogation by the Shin Bet security agency, said in 2020 he was interested in swearing allegiance to IS and potentially joining its ranks abroad.

In 2021, the teen swore allegiance to the group, and continued being in contact with members, who provided him with instructions to build explosive devices and makeshift weapons, the indictment read.

The teen also attempted to convince several of his friends to join IS as well, however, they declined, according to the indictment.

As he is a minor, the suspect’s name and other identifying details, such as when he was arrested, were barred from publication.

The prosecution has asked to keep the suspect held until the end of legal proceedings.

Arafat death probe head says people trying to silence him
Over the past week, hundreds of testimonies and documents from the Palestinian investigation into the circumstances of the death of Yasser Arafat have been leaked to social media and Palestinian media outlets.

Information from the probe over a decade ago continues to leak and every day new testimonies of persons who appeared before the investigative committee have been made public. Senior Palestinian officials testified that Arafat saw Mahmoud Abbas—now the head of the Palestinian Authority—as a collaborator with Israel and the United States and feared a conspiracy was being weaved against him at the time of the siege of the Muqata’a—the Palestinian presidential compound in Ramallah—during the Second Intifada before he died in mysterious circumstances in a French hospital in November 2004.

The leaks and the Arafat file which was never closed are just part of the story. Another element pertains to infighting within the Palestinian leadership and the battle to succeed President Mahmoud Abbas. It isn’t clear who is responsible for the leak. While Abbas’s camp blames Gen. Tawfik Tirawi, a former head of the Palestinian General Intelligence Service (GIS), other elements in the PLO claim that interested parties from Abbas’s camp or even elements associated with a third party could be attempting to cause a divide between the Palestinian Authority president and Tirawi. Ties between the two men were already tense before the leaks.
PMW: PLO and Fatah celebrate the terrorists who are part of the PA Security Forces
As a general rule, most societies are horrified when members of its security forces engage in simple crimes, and are shaken to the core when those same security forces participate in violent acts of terror. The Palestinian Authority is an exception to the rule. In the PA, the participation of members of the PA Security Forces in acts of terror against Israel, Israelis, and anyone else who happens to be in their path, is the source of tremendous pride.

While Palestinian Media Watch has regularly exposed the involvement of members of the PA Security Forces in terror, it is sometimes difficult to quantify just how many of the PA security force personnel have taken an active part in terror.

A statement released by the PA-funded Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs clarified that no fewer than 355 members of the PA Security Forces have actively participated in terror and been arrested by Israel:
“In an official statement… the [PLO] Commission of Prisoners’ [Affairs] revealed that the number of prisoners from the Palestinian Security Forces has reached 355 prisoners who are scattered in all the Israeli occupation’s detention facilities and prisons.”
[Facebook page of the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, Oct. 12, 2022]

The statement shamelessly continued to declare that the reason there are so many members of the PA Security Forces being held in prison, is because they “led … the Al-Aqsa Intifada”. The Al-Aqsa Intifada is the name the PA gives to the 2000 – 2005 PA-initiated terror wave during which Palestinian terrorists carried out thousands of terror attacks, including dozens of suicide bombings, which resulted in the murder of over 1,100 Israelis and the injury of tens of thousands more.

“The commission explained that a large percentage of prisoners being detained from among the Security Forces members were sentenced to long terms and life sentences based on the principle of deterrence, and this is because they led those who rose up to defend our people and resist the occupation’s crimes, especially at the start of the Al-Aqsa Intifada.”

[Facebook page of the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, Oct. 12, 2022]
Palestinian children wear necklaces with pictures of dead terrorist “role models”
Official PA TV reporter: “The Martyrs die, but their life stories remain in the Palestinian landscape. In the heart of the old city of Nablus, Hisham strives to create necklaces of Martyrs. A necklace of cord with a picture of one of the Martyrs, which is printed on a protective amulet. The Martyrs themselves customarily wear it from time to time…

Storeowner Hisham: “Every [Martyr] has his own status, but Muhammad Al-Azizi, Abboud [Abd Al-Rahman] Sobeh, Ibrahim Al-Nabulsi, Wadi’ Al-Houh, and Tamer Al-Kilani – you could say that there is a special demand for them...”

Official PA TV reporter: “Many children, young people, and youth come to Hisham’s store for necklaces and national products. Each one comes here to choose a necklace with the picture of the Martyr who is their role model.” [Official PA TV News, Nov. 5, 2022]

FDD: The IDF is Holding Hamas Responsible for Rocket Attacks
Islamic Jihad Likely Responsible for Rocket Attack

Islamic Jihad likely launched the rockets in retaliation for an Israeli operation in Jenin earlier this month that resulted in the death of Farouk Salameh, a senior member of Islamic Jihad’s branch in the West Bank. Following the rocket attack, Hamas’ internal security services reportedly arrested two militants from the Salafist-jihadi group Army of Islam. The Army of Islam has been operationally inactive for more than a year and has not claimed responsibility for the attack, so the arrests may be a diversion. IDF is Holding Hamas Accountable for Rocket Fire from Gaza

Given that Hamas has controlled Gaza since 2006, the IDF is holding the group responsible. The IDF responded to the indiscriminate rocket fire on November 3 by destroying an underground weapons facility in Gaza described as a Hamas “rocket development & manufacturing complex.” The IDF stated that Hamas would be held responsible for all terrorist activity emanating from Gaza. Hamas Has Sights Set on the West Bank
Hamas fought a 10-day war with Israel in May 2021, which depleted the terror organization’s weapons cache and funds. Since then, Hamas in Gaza has shown little appetite for a similar conflict with Israel. However, over the past year, Hamas has focused on inciting and fomenting unrest in the West Bank by directing its operatives to plan and execute attacks against Israeli targets. For example, Israeli security forces arrested Hamas member Imran Salman, who was suspected of carrying out an armed attack on an Israeli bus. Hamas is also suspected of aiding smaller militant groups that carry out attacks against Israelis.

Hosting CENTCOM chief, Kohavi says Israel and US forming joint abilities versus Iran
Hosting a top US general, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Aviv Kohav said Wednesday that the two countries were developing “joint” capabilities to counter Iran.

Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla, head of the United States Central Command (CENTCOM), wrapped up his fourth official visit to Israel since entering the role in April on Wednesday.

In remarks published by the IDF, Kohavi said Israel and the US were “developing joint military capabilities at an accelerated rate” against Iran and other threats across the Middle East.

The IDF said Kurilla held a meeting with Kohavi and other senior officers regarding Israel’s efforts against Iran’s ambitions of establishing a significant military presence in Syria and its weapons transfers to the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah.

The other generals participating in the meeting were Oded Basiuk, head of the Operations Directorate, Ori Gordin, head of the Northern Command, Tal Kelman, the military official in charge of Iran affairs, and Hidai Zilberman, defense attaché to Washington.

Maj. Gen. Gordin also gave Kurilla a tour of Israel’s northern frontier, detailing Hezbollah’s activities in Lebanon and of Iranian groups in Syria.

Kurilla was given a tour by Israeli Air Force chief Tomer Bar of the Nevatim Air Base in the northern Negev desert, where the IAF’s fleet of F-35i stealth jets is kept.
IAEA chief: There is Iranian nuclear activity we know nothing about
IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi on Wednesday said at a press conference that regarding Iran's nuclear program, that there is a "mass of activity about which we don't know anything."

Grossi's comments came on the sidelines of his speech to the quarterly meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors who he told that he sincerely wants to meet with the Islamic Republic to resolve nuclear violation and oversight issues, but that any such meetings should resolve the outstanding issues and not simply be opportunities to negotiate endlessly.

"I reiterated IAEA's readiness to work with Iran on addressing outstanding safeguards issues. I hope our planned technical meeting with Iran takes place, but I want to stress that this meeting should be aimed at effectively clarifying and resolving those issues," said Grossi.

The IAEA chief's comments came only a few hours after Iranian officials said they are not planning on hosting the IAEA for a visit anytime in the near future in a deadlock in talks going back now around half-a-year.
Seth Frantzman: Why can't Iran stop the ongoing street protests against the regime?
Iran can’t control the continued protests. In fact, the regime thought that the protests might end 40 days after Amini’s death; hoping that the traditional mourning period would bring them to an end on October 26. The regime was wrong, the protests are continuing.

It is hard to quantify the protests, but videos posted from Iran appear to show protests across the country and continued attacks on symbols of the regime. This includes recent videos of people chanting “death” the authorities, ransacking or firebombing government offices, burning the flags of Iran’s various IRGC proxies; or attacking statues and other visible evidence of the regime. For instance, images of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei are often seen on fire. Some of the protests have also taken place in smaller towns; showing that this is an awakening across the country and the regime doesn’t have enough forces to deal with all the protests.

Nevertheless, the crackdown continues. Live fire can be heard in some recent videos and some 15,000 people have been detained. While rumors that Iran wants to execute all the detainees have been exaggerated, the regime nevertheless looks to continue to detain people and will kill some of them.

Another problem for Iran is that it may be facing pressure economically from other sectors of society, such as merchants or workers in the energy sector. It is difficult to confirm the full extent of what sectors have joined the protests or gone on strike, but it does seem the authorities are not in control of parts of the country, especially after night fall.

Iran is also facing challenges abroad. Iran joined the UN’s so-called “UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)” in March but now there are calls for the regime to be removed. Iran has faced unprecedented critique abroad, especially from Western countries.
UN Watch: Draft Resolution: The deteriorating human rights situation ​in the Islamic Republic of Iran
Following is the draft resolution submitted for adoption by the UNHRC special session on Iran, to be held on 24 November 2022:
S-35/… The deteriorating human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran

The Human Rights Council,

PP1 Guided by the Charter of the United Nations, the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights and other relevant international human rights instruments,

PP2 Recalling all resolutions adopted by the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council on the situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, including General Assembly resolution 76/178 of 16 December 2021 and Human Right Council resolution 49/24 of 1 April 2022,

PP3 Taking note of expressions of concern about the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, special procedures mandate holders of the Human Rights Council, United Nations agencies and the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children, including the joint call on 26 October 2022 by a group of special procedures mandate holders,

PP4 Stressing the need for accountability for human rights violations, which is critical for the prevention of further violations, and recalling the Islamic Republic of Iran’s obligation to ensure prompt, effective, independent, transparent and impartial investigations into all reported human rights violations,

PP5 Reaffirming the human rights of women and girls in the Islamic Republic of Iran in accordance with the State’s obligations under international human rights law,

PP6 Deeply concerned about allegations of pervasive human rights violations in the Islamic Republic of Iran, including reports of women and girls being arbitrarily arrested and detained, beaten and sexually assaulted for exercising their human rights and fundamental freedoms,
Iran tried to kidnap or kill at least 10 people in the UK - MI5 chief
Iran has tried to kidnap or kill at least 10 UK-based individuals since January, the director-general of the MI5 security service, Ken McCallum, said on Wednesday.

"Iran projects threat to the UK directly, through its aggressive intelligence services. At its sharpest, this includes ambitions to kidnap or even kill British or UK-based individuals perceived as enemies of the regime. We have seen at least ten such potential threats since January alone," said McCallum in an annual threat update.

"We work at pace with domestic and international partners to disrupt this completely unacceptable activity. The Foreign Secretary made clear to the Iranian regime just last week that the UK will not tolerate intimidation or threats to life towards journalists, or any individual, living in the UK."

McCallum added that the ongoing protests sweeping Iran could signal "profound change," but added that the trajectory is still "uncertain."

"For now, we see the regime resorting to violence to silence critics. An Iran that, with its proxies, remains a profoundly destabilizing actor in its region and beyond. An Iran providing support to Russia, including by supplying the drones inflicting misery in Ukraine," said the MI5 chief.

British journalists, activists threatened by Iran
British media has reported in recent weeks that hundreds of journalists and political activists in the UK have been warned by police that they may be targeted by Iran due to their opposition to the Islamic Republic.

On Sunday, London-based Iranian journalist Potkin Azarmehr told The Sunday Times that he had been told that Iran has “changed its modus operandi” and was potentially hiring criminals overseas to carry out attacks.

“These are not necessarily trained agents but professional hitmen may be paid to carry out assassinations,” said Azarmehr. “I was told it could be as simple as standing at a Tube station and somebody pushes you in front of a train. Or it could be a manufactured road rage incident. These could be people paid by the Iranian state.”
Iran drones said to contain many Western-made parts, possibly Israeli lenses too
A majority of the components in Iranian drones captured in Ukraine and analyzed by experts were produced by the United States, Japan and other Western nations — including infrared lenses that appear to be identical to those produced by an Israeli company — according to a report Wednesday.

The finding — which the Wall Street Journal report said has caused concern among Western analysts and prompted a US government probe — comes as the West is increasingly viewing Tehran’s fleet of unmanned aircraft as a threat, with some of them used by Russia to attack targets in Ukraine as part of its invasion.

It also comes despite one of the world’s most comprehensive sanctions campaigns, led by the US, against arms sales to the Islamic Republic.

The report, which cited industry officials and detailed intelligence documents compiled by Ukrainian investigators, said local experts believe 75 percent of components of Iranian drones felled in Ukraine were originally produced in the US.

The conclusion was based on an analysis of several downed drones, including a Mohajer-6 UAV that was hacked in midair and landed intact, the report said.

While the vast majority of the components studied by the experts were determined to have originated in the US or in Japan, others were produced in China or Germany.
Armed drone hits oil tanker operated by Israeli-owned firm near Oman
An oil tanker operated by an Israeli-owned shipping firm was struck by an explosive drone off the coast of Oman on Tuesday night, the Associated Press said on Wednesday.

Eastern Pacific Shipping said in a statement that its Pacific Zircon was “struck by a projectile” around 150 miles off the coast of Oman.

“We are in communication with the vessel and there [are] no reports of injuries or pollution. All crew are safe and accounted for,” the company said. “There is some minor damage to the vessel’s hull but no spillage of cargo or water ingress.”

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, a British sea traffic monitoring organization, said it was aware of the incident and that an investigation is underway.

The Eastern Pacific Shipping company, based in Singapore, is owned by Israeli Idan Ofer.

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