Thursday, November 17, 2022

From Ian:

Alan Baker: Palestinian leadership venturing into international legal field
In addition to their regular, annual shopping list of false and flawed political allegations directed to the court against Israel, the Palestinians are now requesting that the court, by means of a resolution that they initiated in the UN General Assembly’s Special Political and Decolonization Committee to weigh the legal consequences of prolonged annexation of what they claim to be Palestinian territory.

This is despite the fact that there has never been any internationally accepted legal determination that there exists Palestinian territory, as such. Similarly, this question remains an agreed negotiating issue by the Palestinians themselves, pursuant to the internationally endorsed Israeli-Palestinian Oslo Accords (1993-95).

In addition, the Palestinian leadership is also asking the Court to examine Israel’s alleged crime of altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, claiming the city to be solely Palestinian.

But more curiously, in this request to the world court, they are attempting to invent what they believe to be a new, curious international status of prolonged occupation. They are asking the court to determine the extent to which such a non-existent status of prolonged occupation has legal consequences for states and the UN.

In fact, no such status is recognized by international law.

Even the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which is universally acknowledged to be the ultimate arbiter of what constitutes international humanitarian law, has never determined a time limit for the occupation of territory.
Netanyahu: Israel-Saudi Normalization Could End Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Israel and Saudi Arabia reaching a formal peace agreement would “effectively end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu predicted in a new interview with “Call Me Back” podcast host Dan Senor.

“Understand that the Abraham Accords, the peace treaties that Israel had with four Arab states: the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco — that didn’t happen without Saudi approval, because at least some of these countries like to know what their big neighbor, Saudi Arabia, is thinking about [the agreements],” Netanyahu, who is likely to head Israel’s next government following elections earlier this month, said. “And I assure you, [Riyadh] wasn’t negative about it.”

Normalization with Saudi Arabia would “open up all sorts of possibilities,” Netanyahu told Senor, the co-author of Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle. The current opposition leader cited the physical results of such an agreement — ”connecting the Saudi rail system” — as well as the business perks — giving Saudis “direct accessibility to Israeli innovation and technology” — as benefits of a negotiated agreement between Jerusalem and Riyadh.

Netanyahu also addressed his previous government’s coordination with Russia in Syria, where Russian forces are on the ground — and where Israeli military units have often targeted Iranian and Syrian facilities and weapons transfers.
David Singer: MBS & King Abdullah keep Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine alive
The HKoP solution also offered the Arab populations of Gaza, the 'West Bank' and Palestinian Arab refugees in other locations:
· “a legal identity—a globally respected citizenship that allows a person to operate in the modern world. Labor in this day and age is mobile and having citizenship in a country that facilitates such mobility is critical to human development.”
· “Palestinians in Arab countries like Lebanon can then become citizens of this enlarged kingdom while also getting full residency rights in Lebanon, equivalent to what an EU citizen has in the European Union outside his or her home country. This would allow the Palestinians to gain full civil rights as legal foreign residents without impacting the local political or sectarian balance in these countries. The GCC, the EU, the US, Canada, and others can also help support this solution by granting this Jordanian–Palestinian passport easier access to their labor markets.”


The Saudi proposal’s author - Ali Shihabi – is a confidant of MBS and a member of the Advisory Board appointed by MBS to report to him on the building of a new US$500 billion mega city – Neom - in northern Saudi Arabia bordering Israel.

Shihabi had lamented on the absence of a response from any Israeli politician to his plan on 14 August.

This lack of Israeli interest was ongoing when the 21 September meeting agreed:
“to work with regional and international partners to shed light on the tragic situation of the Palestinians in light of the deadlock in the peace process and the absence of any glimmer of hopeand to urge them to take practical steps to support the resumption of dialogue on the basis of the Arab Peace Initiative, United Nations resolutions and relevant peace references, in addition to reviving the diplomatic track to overcome the despair and lack of a vision toward achieving the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and establishing their state with Jerusalem as its capital.”

MBS was not at this meeting but was subsequently appointed Saudi Arabia’s Prime Minister on 27 September.

MBS, King Abdullah, PLO Leader Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas Leader Ismail Haniyeh have not rejected the HKoP solution.

MBS and King Abdullah’s non-participation at Algiers offers the glimmer of hope that the Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine can soon become a conflict-ending reality.


Melanie Phillips: It’s time for Israel to untie the American apron strings
Israel’s situation now is very different. It has made peace and strengthened alliances with a number of neighboring states that were formerly its foes.

Once reliant on American arms transfers, Israel now produces many of its most essential weapons domestically. In 1981, American aid was equivalent to almost 10% of Israel’s economy. As a result of Israel’s long economic boom, in 2020 it was closer to 1%.

Given the deep changes in American society and within its Jewish community—particularly the steady encroachment of anti-Western, anti-Jewish and anti-Israel feeling among the young—Israel cannot afford not to plan more actively for a drastic lessening of U.S. support.

Unquestionably, as things currently stand, any immediate lessening of U.S. military aid would be extremely difficult. Moreover, the importance of American support doesn’t reside primarily in funding Israel’s defense. It lies in the overall relationship between the two countries, including joint strategic planning, missile defense, joint exercises, an implicit security guarantee and the U.S. veto at the U.N. Security Council, which has repeatedly prevented sanctions on Israel.

Dependency, however, is not all one way. America needs Israel—and it will need it more and more. It’s not just that Israel is America’s beachhead and intelligence arm in the Middle East against the enemies of the West. In many respects, Israel—with its strong economy, high birthrate and unshakeable commitment to defend the nation—has become far stronger than America, where all those features are fast eroding.

The real question may not be whether Israel can survive without support from the United States, but whether the United States itself can survive at all.
Seth Frantzman: Israel’s incoming government will face hurdles
Today, Israel faces near-daily clashes in the West Bank, including with members of Islamic Jihad and a new militant group called Lion’s Den. Netanyahu’s coalition partners likely will include members of the Religious-Zionist party and it’s plausible that having a more right-wing coalition could lead to tensions with the Palestinians. Netanyahu will have to manage that conflict and keep an eye on whether the violence is boiling over.

Second, Israel continues to face Iranian threats and Iran-backed groups in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. Iran has been exporting drones to Russia over the past several months, which could mean that Iran is increasing its drone program. This could have implications because Iran could create new production lines for the drones that Russia is using to terrorize Ukraine. Iran may learn from Russia’s use of the drones and then put those same drones to use against Israel. Although Israel has advanced air defenses to defend against drones, Iran has shown in the past that it can put in play a variety of threats across the region.

Third, Netanyahu will have to concentrate on building on the Abraham Accords and the positive relations that the outgoing Israeli government has focused on. For example, the administrations of Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett successfully used the foreign ministry and Defense Minister Benny Gantz to conduct high-level trips to places such as Turkey and Morocco. Israel also has had important meetings with UAE leaders and participated in forums alongside the Gulf states. Israel’s defense industry, for example, showcased its technology at the Bahrain International Air Show in November and Israel Air Force Chief of Air Staff Brig. Gen. Eyal Grinboim participated in an air force commanders’ conference in Bahrain.

The kind of public events the Lapid-Bennett government had, including meetings with European countries and Middle Eastern states, were important and Netanyahu will have to make sure his coalition partners don’t derail this progress.

Lastly, Israel will have to manage relations with Ukraine, Russia and Saudi Arabia. There has been increasing pressure for Israel to supply Kyiv with defense weapons. Netanyahu will be reluctant to consent to this and he will have to explain Israel’s position. At the same time, Israel will have to manage its ties with Russia, which has forces in Syria. Israel and Saudi Arabia have grown closer over the years, but so far there has been no normalization in ties. Working with the Saudis will be another tightrope that Netanyahu will have to walk in the coming years.
Seth Frantzman: Why didn’t human rights groups give Israel’s center-left a break?
The new “apartheid” definition put forth by these organizations cancels 70 years of UN decisions including the 1947 partition plan, and erases the Jewish and Arab states that were supposed to exist here. This is all about the “river to the sea,” the traditional chant of Palestinian nationalists.

This is the perplexing paradox that Israel is now in. What worries human rights groups and critics in the West the most is an Israeli Center-Left government that is inclusive of Arabs and which might actually come to an agreement with the Palestinians.

Since the critics have not embraced a one-state concept, anything that takes Israel back from annexation and improves Palestinian rights is a threat to the “apartheid” narrative. That is one reason why Lapid’s government actually came in for more criticism for its actions, not less. Netanyahu’s right-leaning government fits better with what the critics want Israel to be, so they can foist their negative views on the emerging right-wing coalition, for this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy for their dislike of Israel.

This paradox was also clear when it came to the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh. Recent reports indicate that the US wants to continue to investigate the killing of the journalist, even though the US and Israel have already investigated the incident.

There is still lack of clarity regarding what the US investigation may entail, but Israel’s outgoing leadership has slammed the US decision. In this case, it’s clear that even an Israeli government that was working closely with the US and a defense minister who was from a centrist party was not able to placate the critics. This may indicate that no matter what Israel does it will face this kind of scrutiny and second-guessing of its institutions.

This is an irony and paradox as well, since Israel’s critics generally view Netanyahu and his incoming coalition partners as eroding the rule-of-law and institutions. However, if it were true that Israel was to be rewarded for having a centrist coalition that is transparent and into the rule-of-law, then it is expected that Israel would not be facing more investigations regarding the Abu Akleh killing.

Israel’s incoming government may be greeted with intense criticism in the West. This could involve new campaigns about areas like Masafar Yatta, scenes of confrontation near Hebron. However, it should be remembered that even during the Lapid era, when Israel had a more diverse coalition, the chorus of criticism did not diminish.

The anti-Israel agenda of some groups and commentators will not change regardless of who is in power in Jerusalem.
Israeli President Herzog to fly to Bahrain for first-ever state visit
President Isaac Herzog is set to fly out to Bahrain next month for a state visit at the invitation of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, a first for an Israeli president, Herzog's office said on Thursday.

On December 4, Herzog will depart for the capital Manama, where he is set to meet the Bahraini monarch. The following day, the Israeli president will continue his trip to the Gulf by paying a visit to the United Arab Emirates.

During his stay in Bahrain, Herzog will also speak with Bahraini government officials, along with members of the local Jewish community.

He will also visit the Bahrain Economic Development Board, accompanied by Israeli business representatives.

In the UAE, Herzog will meet his Emirati counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on the sidelines of the Abu Dhabi Space Debate, which he is set to attend.

It will be Herzog's fourth meeting with the Emirati president and former crown prince since taking office last year.
Estonia Changes Policy, Won't Side Against Israel in UN Votes
Estonia’s foreign minister says the Baltic country has changed its policy toward Israel and will no longer vote for U.N. resolutions condemning Israeli actions in the occupied Palestinian territories including the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Instead, the European country is looking from now on to align its U.N. voting position in such matters with Washington, its closest security policy ally.

According to a report published Monday by the Estonian public broadcaster ERR, Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said Estonia — an European Union and NATO member — recently voted together with the United States against the condemnation of Israel at the U.N.

Previously, Estonia has usually voted for resolutions condemning Israel at the U.N. together with several other countries.

Reinsalu said his country’s foreign policy has changed in this matter.

“Estonia is a member of the EU, and if the EU has a common political position including some U.N. resolutions as well ... then naturally we will act in accordance with a jointly agreed EU position,” he said.


UN Palestinian refugee agency warns it is in funding 'danger zone'
The global economic crisis has pushed UNRWA, the UN agency that delivers basic services to millions of Palestinian refugees, into a "danger zone" that could result in it no longer being able to fulfill its mandate, the agency's head said on Thursday.

UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini said stagnant resources as costs spiraled were pushing many of the 5.7 million registered Palestinian refugees in the Middle East - for many of whom the agency is a lifeline - to unprecedented poverty levels.

"There is an erosion of our capacity to deliver and at a given point if we continue on this trajectory we will reach a situation where we will not be able anymore to fulfill our mandate ... this a danger zone," Lazzarini told Reuters in an interview.

Multiple crises that had hit the region have been worsened by the impact of the war in Ukraine, meaning the plight of Palestinian refugees was "de-prioritized" by many donors, he added.


U.S. Decision to Investigate Death of Journalist in West Bank Is "Deeply Offensive" to Israel
The U.S. Department of Justice announced it will launch an investigation into the death of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. It is not every day that the U.S. launches an investigation into the armed forces of another country, and there is no recent precedent for such action regarding an allied country.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) said Tuesday: "In cooperation with the U.S., Israel has already conducted a complete and thorough investigation of this tragic incident. Israel, like the U.S., would rightly not accept an uncoordinated investigation of the actions of its troops by a foreign entity."

"This is outrageous," said Michael Oren, former Israeli ambassador to Washington. "It puts Israel on a par with the Islamists who murdered Daniel Pearl in 2002 - the only death of an American journalist overseas ever investigated by the FBI. This is an affront to Israel's military and judiciary, which thoroughly investigated Abu Akleh's tragic death, and a violation of Israel's sovereignty."

Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, said, "This is highly irregular and deeply inappropriate and will unquestionably be viewed by the IDF and the Israeli security establishment as not only unnecessary but deeply offensive. The IDF is a professional, modern military that conducts its own reviews and has often taken punitive action against soldiers that have acted in ways not in accordance with IDF guidelines."
Decision on FBI Investigation Undermines Pentagon and State Department
The decision by the FBI to investigate the Israel Defense Forces over the death of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh undermines the official positions of the Pentagon and the U.S. State Department, Prof. Eytan Gilboa of Bar-Ilan University, an Israeli expert on U.S.-Israel relations, told JNS. "Not only is it a vote of no confidence in the IDF's investigation, but also in the Pentagon, since the U.S. Coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Lt.-Gen. Michael R. Fenzel, himself welcomed the IDF's investigation....If it was Israeli fire, it's clear that it was an accident. The decision therefore to investigate is unprecedented," said Gilboa.

The FBI's decision harms American interests, too, by creating problematic precedents regarding unintentional deaths during armed conflicts. "According to a study by Brown University published in September 2021, during the campaign known as the global war on terror...680 journalists were killed. A body known as the Committee to Protect Journalists found that 13 journalists were definitely killed by the U.S. military in Iraq. Washington said that its soldiers did not violate regulations in any of these cases."

"In 2007, U.S. Apache helicopters killed noncombatants, including two Reuters journalists. The U.S. can't demand of us what it does not demand of itself....Israel has to stop this quietly, at a high level....Clearly, the FBI has no authority in Israel and can't investigate any [Israeli] soldier. The entire issue has [already] been examined in any case." Even if one assumes that it was indeed an Israeli bullet that killed Abu Akleh, it's obvious that her death was an accident, "so what is there to investigate?"
White House tells Israel Justice Dept opened Abu Akleh probe without its knowledge
The White House informed Israeli counterparts that it was not involved in the decision to open an FBI investigation into the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, an Israeli official told The Times of Israel on Wednesday.

The message appeared aimed at blunting Israeli fury over the investigation by assuring Jerusalem that the decision did not come from the top of the administration, the official speculated, confirming a report on the Axios news site, which revealed that even US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides was initially unaware of the development.

Even if the nuances surrounding the circumstances of the US decision were enough to satisfy the outgoing Israeli government led by centrist Prime Minister Yair Lapid, they are unlikely to impress the incoming government led by Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu, which is shaping up to be far more hawkish on issues pertaining to the Palestinians.

Regardless, the Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, speculated that the “practical implications of the investigation will be minimal,” given that the US already recognizes that Abu Akleh’s shooting was unintentional, even if it was an IDF soldier who was likely responsible.

Lapid and outgoing Defense Minister Benny Gantz have also made it clear that Israel will not cooperate with the probe, further tying the hands of the FBI investigators.
Israel records highest number of casualties since 2008 i24NEWS Defense Correspondent Jonathan Regev has the latest on the staggering terrorism numbers

Israel revokes entry permits from hundreds of relatives of Ariel terrorist
The military’s liaison to the Palestinians on Wednesday said it had revoked the entry permits to Israel from hundreds of family members of a terrorist who killed three Israelis and wounded others a day earlier near a West Bank industrial zone.

On Tuesday morning, 18-year-old Muhammed Souf went on a stabbing and car-ramming spree at the Ariel Industrial Park and on a nearby highway, killing three and wounding three others seriously.

The three victims were named as Tamir Avihai, 50, Michael Ladygin, 36, and Motti Ashkenazi, 59.

In a statement, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) — the Defense Ministry body responsible for Palestinian civil affairs — said the decision to revoke some 500 permits was made following an assessment held by Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

COGAT said Gantz approved the move “in accordance with the policy employed in the past year.”
Erdogan, who supports Hamas, extends condolences on Ariel terror attack
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan extended condolences to Israelis on Thursday following this week’s Palestinian terrorist attack in Ariel and promised to work towards bringing about a “new age” in ties between Ankara and Jerusalem.

In a phone call, Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu discussed “ways to significantly strengthen economic and diplomatic ties between the countries…[and] act in cooperation to establish a new age in relations between Turkey and Israel,” according to a readout of the conversation released by Netanyahu’s office.

Netanyahu similarly extended condolences to the Turkish people after a terrorist bombing in Istanbul on Sunday killed six civilians and wounded 81.

On Tuesday, three Israelis were killed and three others seriously wounded when Palestinian Muhammed Souf went on a stabbing and car-ramming rampage in and around Ariel, located in Samaria.

Erdogan has long been a champion of the Palestinians and his government harbors members of Hamas.
How To Lie With Statistics (Palestinian Version)
Is Israel now a mad-dog tyrannical state, arresting Palestinians in numbers that far exceed the arrest numbers In other democracies, or do the statistics show that the Israeli police arrest far fewer people than are arrested elsewhere ? More on this can be found here: “Israel haters lying with statistics, part 1: Arrest statistics,” Elder of Ziyon, November 13, 2022:

Remember what Laith Hanbali, of Al-Shabaka -The Palestinian Policy Network, tweeted ? “Israel arrested 690 Palestinians in October. That’s about 1 Palestinian arrested every hour for a whole month!”

Compare that “1 arrest per hour” among the Palestinians to the 5 per hour in Philadelphia, 18 per hour in Chicago, and 56 per hour 56 per hour in Houston.

Of course, there is another factor which makes even more impressive the comparatively low number of arrests made by Israel. The kind of crimes people are arrested for in Philadelphia, Chicago, Houston, or London, are what we would expect – robbery, burglary, arson, rape, murder. Economic crimes predominate. But in Israel, many of the arrests are connected to terrorist attacks – both those who plan attacks, and those who carry them out. These crimes are most common, and a constant challenge to the security services, in Israel. Terrorist attacks in Houston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Chattanooga are virtually non-existent. Because of a nonstop campaign of terror in Israel, a large number of the arrests made by the police and the IDF are terrorist-related, often involving the breakup of a terrorist cell before it can act, leading to the arrest, in one fell swoop, of five-to-ten members of a terrorist cell. This burden on the Israeli police to arrest terrorists, both those who have committed such acts and are now on the run, and those who are still in the planning stages of such acts, certainly adds to the numbers of arrests. And that makes a figure like “690 arrests in one month” even more impressively low.
Palestinian Authority denounce intention to legalize outposts
The Palestinian Authority on Thursday warned that legalizing illegal settler outposts in the West Bank would undermine any possibility of achieving peace and establishing an independent Palestinian state.

The warning came in response to reports to the effect that Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu and Otzma Yehudit head Itamar Ben-Gvir agreed to a number of legislative initiatives, including the retroactive legalization of the outposts within 60 days of the government being sworn in.

Netanyahu and Ben-Gvir also reportedly agreed to change the 2005 Disengagement Law so as to allow the legalization of the Homesh outpost and yeshiva in the northern West Bank.

In response, PA presidential spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudaineh warned that the planned Israeli measures would be harmful to the two-state solution.

Abu Rudaineh pointed out that the Netanyahu-Ben-Gvir understanding would “deepen the settlements and lead to the confiscation of more Palestinian land.”

He said that all Israeli settlements are “illegal” regardless of who is in power in Israel. “These understandings contradict all resolutions of international legitimacy and international law,” the PA official added.

Abu Rudaineh called on the international community to assume its responsibilities and stop Israeli settlements. The Palestinians, he stressed, continue to adhere to their demand for the establishment of a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines with east Jerusalem as its capital.

The Palestinian Foreign Affairs Ministry condemned the understandings, saying that, if implemented, they would undermine international and regional efforts to restore mutual confidence between the Palestinians and Israelis.
MEMRI: Hamas' Musab Al-Hashlamoun Urges West Bank Palestinians: Use YouTube, Social Media To Learn How To Use Weapons So That You Can Kill As Many Israelis As Possible
In a November 5, 2022 show on Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas-Gaza), Gaza-based Hamas terrorist Musab Al-Hashlamoun called on Palestinians in the West Bank to carry out attacks against Israelis. He said that they should use YouTube and social media to learn how to use weapons effectively so that they can kill as many Israeli "occupiers" as possible before being "martyred". He also said that the people of Hebron should use the M-16 rifles in their possession to carry out such attacks, adding: "You have this weapon in your hands. Allah is going to ask you about it. Don't miss out."

Al-Hashlamoun is originally from Hebron and has been involved in several terrorist attacks. Notably, shortly after being released from an Israeli prison as part of a 2004 prisoner exchange deal, he was involved in an attack in Beer Sheva, Israel that left 16 civilians, including one child, dead. Al-Hashlamoun was again apprehended and imprisoned, but was again released and deported to Gaza in 2011 as part of the Shalit prisoner exchange.

"Open YouTube And Write: 'How To Use A Weapon'; Learn The Very Simple Basics That Will Protect You, So That you Can Keep Killing The Occupiers"

Musab Al-Hashlamoun: "The message I want to convey to everyone is this: You have YouTube. You have social media. Do not use it to communicate, but learn from it, use it to your benefit. It is a double-edged sword.

"Open YouTube, and write: 'How to use a weapon.' You do not have to say: "I don't know how to use weapons." Take an axe.

"Most of our young guys who are martyred are being martyred because they are burning with zeal to kill the enemy.


Scrap the Iran Nuclear Deal Once and for All
As thousands of Iranians rising up for freedom and dignity have made clear, now is not the time to revive a nuclear deal that would entrench and legitimize Iran's current regime.

European decision-makers soon may follow America's lead in classifying the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization. This is the exact opposite of what Iran would demand in exchange for a revival of the 2015 nuclear deal.

Then there are the Iranian drones in Ukraine, killing civilians and destroying critical energy production infrastructure. The supply of drones violates the UN's missile embargo on Iran, a central tenet of the nuclear deal and its establishing mandate, UN Security Council Resolution 2231. That violation will grow even more menacing if Iran delivers advanced ballistic missiles to Russia.

Instead of negotiating with Iran, America and its allies must now take urgent steps to stop the regime's human rights abuses, block its support for Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and prevent it from building nuclear weapons.

For too long, the U.S. and Europe have given the Iranian regime a free pass on human rights violations and regional meddling in the name of keeping Iran from building a nuclear weapon. But this approach has only strengthened the regime while failing to halt its development of advanced nuclear capabilities.

The West must draw a firm line in the sand and get serious about preventing Iran from ever possessing nuclear weapons.
IAEA board passes resolution ordering Iran to cooperate with probe
The U.N. atomic watchdog’s 35-nation Board of Governors on Thursday passed a resolution ordering Iran to cooperate urgently with the agency’s investigation into uranium traces found at three undeclared sites, diplomats at the closed-door vote said.

The resolution is the second this year targeting Iran over the investigation, which has become an obstacle in talks on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal because Iran has demanded the probe be ended. Tehran bristles at such resolutions, and has suggested that because of this one it will scrap a meeting with the International Atomic Energy Agency on explaining the traces.
Israel thinks Iran 2 years from being able to detonate nuke - exclusive
Top Israeli sources confirmed to The Jerusalem Post what has only been hinted at until now, that Jerusalem is banking on a mix of global pressure and a two-year breakout time it believes Iran would need to master nuclear weapon detonation and delivery, which means that a large-scale attack on Iranian nuclear facilities is not likely in the cards, even to prevent Tehran from crossing the threshold of 90% weaponized uranium enrichment.

Nuclear detonation refers to a specialized process required to achieve an atomic bomb detonation which differs from standard explosives, while nuclear delivery refers to unusual adaptations needed to be made to a ballistic missile for it to carry a nuclear warhead.

The Islamic Republic has been enriching uranium to the very high 60% level since April 2021 and had enough low-enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon, if enriched to higher levels, as early as March 2020.

For years, prime ministers Benjamin Netanyahu, Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid have been willing (if uneasy) to live with Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei approaching the nuclear threshold.

However, Iran has avoided jumping to the 90% weaponized level, either because of Israeli military threats or US or broader Western economic threats.


It Is Time for NATO to Confront Iran
For decades Tehran has consistently lied about the true extent of its nuclear ambitions, so it should come as no surprise that Iran's instinctive response when confronted about its military support for Russia has been to issue a denial.

Iran's belated admission that it is actively supporting the Russian war effort is certainly an alarming development, one that completely destroys the argument that Iran's malign activities are solely confined to the Middle East.

The implications of Iran's deepening involvement in the Ukraine conflict can no longer be ignored, as they now constitute a direct threat to European security, a development that Nato leaders need to take on board as a matter of urgency.

Nato has already demonstrated a welcome display of unity in providing vital military support for Ukraine in its battle to defeat Russian aggression. Nato leaders must now take similar measures to support all those states, whether they are in Europe or the Middle East, who want to protect themselves against Iran's intimidating conduct.
US CENTCOM confirms: Iran behind drone strike on oil tanker off Oman
An Iranian-made drone was used to attack the oil tanker Pacific Zircon off the coast of Oman on Tuesday night, U.S. Central Command said on Wednesday.

“On Nov. 15, at approximately 10:00 p.m. in the Gulf of Oman, an Iranian-made unmanned aerial vehicle conducted a one-way attack against the Pacific Zircon, a Liberian-flagged commercial tanker,” CENTCOM said in a statement.

“This unmanned aerial vehicle attack against a civilian vessel in this critical maritime strait demonstrates, once again, the destabilizing nature of Iranian malign activity in the region,” said CENTCOM commander Gen. Michael Kurilla according to the statement.

Two U.S. Navy vessels, the British Royal Navy’s HMS Lancaster and several other ships responded to the incident.

The oil tanker was owned by Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping, a company owned by Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer.
Seth Frantzman: Why Iran’s drone attacks at sea are hard to prevent - analysis
Iran’s drone attack on Tuesday in the Gulf of Oman is its second this past year. Last July, it attacked the Mercer Street oil tanker, killing two crew members.

These attacks are so hard to prevent because the ships are simply vulnerable. They cannot easily be armed with air defenses and it’s unclear how they would be able to detect and escape strikes by kamikaze-style drones. What we know about the November 15 attack is as follows.

US Central Command announced after the attack that an Iranian Shahed-series UAV struck the civilian commercial tanker, the Pacific Zircon. The vessel was damaged but no crew members were harmed.

The drone flew out of the IRGC’s regional command center in Chabahar in southeastern Iran.

These are the types of kamikaze drones that Iran has perfected over the last few years. It may be similar to the Shahed-136 drones that Iran exported to Russia.

The US called the attack “destabilizing,” pointing out that it has a number of ships in the region, including patrol aircraft, and recently interdicted a shipment of 70 tons of missile fuel that was transported to Yemen to the Iran-backed Houthi group. “This type of shipment and just the massive volume of explosive material is a serious concern because it is destabilizing,” Commander (Cmdr.) Timothy Hawkins, a spokesperson for Navy’s Mideast-based 5th Fleet, told The Associated Press.

“The unlawful transport of weapons from Iran to Yemen leads to instability and violence,” he added.
Seth Frantzman: Drone attack on Israeli-owned tanker launched from Chabahar in Iran
Iran using its own territory to target ships is a new escalation.

In November 2021, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz revealed details about two Iranian drone bases that had been used for Iran’s threats at sea. One was located near Chabahar and the second one was on Qeshm Island.

The use of Chabahar by the Islamic Republic shows not only an escalation but also reveals that officials in the region are closely monitoring Iran’s threats.

The drone attack this week on the tanker was quickly followed by analysis and conclusions about the type of drone and from where it was launched. The CENTCOM report and the latest info about where the drone originated show that the region is taking the emerging Iran drone threat against ships seriously.


As Israel’s F-35 fleet grows, IDF accelerates preparations against Iran
The growth of Israel’s F-35 fleet increases Israel’s deterrent power against Iran and its nuclear program, a former commander of the Israeli Air Force commander told JNS.

On Sunday, Israel received three additional F-35 stealth fighter jets from their U.S. manufacturer Lockheed Martin. The fifth-generation aircraft gives the Israeli Air Force several significant capabilities, from avoiding radar detection to carrying the most state of the art munitions. The jet’s ability to collect, receive and distribute intelligence through high speed data networks is also seen by the IAF as critical, said Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Eitan Ben-Eliyahu.

Despite the rapid progress being made by Iran in its accumulation of fissile material and construction of advanced centrifuges, it is still estimated to be between 18 months to two years from being able to construct a nuclear weapon, he said.

While Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi said on Tuesday that the Israeli military is speeding up preparations for Iran, according to Ben-Eliyahu, the decision regarding whether to mount a strike against Iran may not be around the corner.


The Gender Apartheid State of Iran
When President Barack Obama promoted the original Iran deal, his pitch was that the normalization of ties with the Islamic Republic would improve the welfare and freedoms of ordinary Iranians. The exact opposite happened. Even with injections of billions in cash into the regime’s coffers, the people grew poorer and the state more repressive. The so-called “moderate” former President Hassan Rouhani presided over the killing of over 1,500 protesters. That President Joe Biden wants to obtain a watered-down version of that deal with Raisi in Rouhani’s office, and with the supreme leader still in power, shows the moral vacuity of a foreign policy that aligns itself with the most repressive tyrants on the planet, even as they murder women, gay people, political liberals, journalists, and anyone else who dares to assert the most basic claims to their own humanity.

Biden has been willing to stick Americans with extortionate gas prices in order to fight for Ukraine and trash our alliance with India by sticking up for “human rights” in the subcontinent. But when it comes to Iran, the president of the United States and leading officials in his administration have been eager to abandon young Iranians, women especially, who have been fighting courageously for freedom since 2009. The greatest asset America has for a peaceful Middle East is the Iranian people, and yet the Obama-Biden playbook is predicated on their permanent oppression under the heel of a brutal regime of America-hating, Holocaust-denying, theocratic misogynists who beat women to death for exposing their hair.

There is no telling whether this time the Iranian people will finally win. What is certain is that the Handmaid’s Tale regime that hates women and hates America is still being courted by the Biden administration, which is a failure not just of our morality but of our national interest. When you look at the photographs of beautiful young Mahsa Amini tortured to death, and when you watch videos of the same thugs who killed her attempting to beat her young compatriots for protesting for her life, remember that these are the thugs the United States is attempting to equip with more power, more cash, and more prestige, at the expense of people who desperately want to be free of their tyranny.
Iranian foreign minister: Israel, West sowing anti-regime protests
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on Thursday accused Israeli and Western politicians and intelligence agencies of sowing unrest in Iran, with the aim of toppling the regime.

“The security services, the fake Israeli regime and some western politicians who have planned for civil war, the destruction and disintegration of Iran, should know that Iran is not Libya or Sudan,” Tehran’s top diplomat wrote on Twitter.

“Today, enemies have targeted the integrity of Iran and Iranian identity. The wisdom of the people has disappointed the enemy. #Mighty Iran,” Amir-Abdollahian added.

Massive protests have engulfed Iran since ethnic Kurd Mahsa Amini died in September after being detained and allegedly badly beaten by the regime’s morality police. More than 350 people have been killed and 16,000 detained during the ensuing two months of protests, according to the Human Rights Activists in Iran watchdog group.
Protect Iran’s athletes by banning them from the World Cup
On Saturday, 32 national soccer teams are gathering in Qatar for the start of the FIFA World Cup. Among these nations is Iran, whose group draw includes England, Wales and the United States. These Western teams can expect to receive help from the unlikeliest of sources — Iranians themselves. If many of them have their way, they will convince FIFA not to allow their own national team to participate.

Amid the current protests, regime officials and supporters have threatened soccer players for supporting protesters.

The Iranian people are hardly self-hating soccer fans. But a coalition of Iranian athletes is opposing the Islamic regime’s brutal crackdown on citizen protests and the treatment of women by calling for Iran to be banned from the international sporting event.

The widespread demonstrations were sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who died in custody on Sep. 16 after the morality police arrested her for not properly wearing a hijab. The outrage has only continued in recent weeks, and it intensified when the Iranian parliament issued a letter of support for harsh punishment of protesters. Already, according to an Iranian news agency, at least one Iranian has been preliminarily sentenced to death in connection with the anti-regime protests.

Sadly, professional athletes are no exception to the Islamic regime’s brutality against their own people. The demonstrators are calling for FIFA to disallow their beloved “Team Melli” in order to call attention to a regime that hasn’t allowed women to watch soccer games, forces its female competitors to wear hijabs, prohibits its athletes from competing against Israelis and threatens those who don’t support its agenda with imprisonment, torture and even execution.


Dutch court convicts 3, acquits 1 over deadly MH17 plane downing
A Dutch court convicted three men and acquitted one on Thursday over the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 above Ukraine in 2014, as tensions still soar over Russia’s invasion eight years later.

Russians Igor Girkin and Sergei Dubinsky and Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko “are found guilty” of murder and intentionally causing an aircraft to crash, while Russian Oleg Pulatov was not guilty, head judge Hendrik Steenhuis said.

The first three were sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia.

None of the suspects were at the high-security court in the Netherlands for the verdict, while dozens of families traveled around the world to hear the judgment after a two-and-a-half-year trial.

All 298 passengers on board the Boeing 777 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur were killed when the plane was hit by a missile, fired by what judges said were Russian-controlled separatists as it flew over eastern Ukraine.

Prosecutors have demanded life sentences for the suspects although the men are unlikely to serve time if convicted.






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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 18 years and 38,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

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