Friday, November 18, 2022

From Ian:

Eureka! Arab lobby discovered
As I documented in my book, the Arab lobby, starting with State Department Arabists, has been active since the 1930s. My book focused on how the Saudis attempted, and sometimes succeeded in influencing U.S. policy. At the time, the other Gulf nations were far less involved in lobbying, but that has changed. The Post reported, for example, that since 2016, the UAE has spent more than $154 million on lobbyists, and “hundreds of millions of dollars more on donations to American universities and think tanks, many that produce policy papers with finding favorable to UAE interests.”

As of 2007, I wrote that Arab governments, and donors from Arab countries, had donated more than $320 million to American universities. Qatar had given $150 million, Saudi Arabia, more than $130 million, and the UAE $52 million. In a study published last year, I reported total contributions since 1986 had ballooned to more than $8 billion (most donated since 2015) with 80 percent coming from Qatar ($4.3 billion), Saudi Arabia ($2.1 billion) and the UAE ($1.1 billion).

Most of the Arab lobby is focused on Arab states, not the Palestinians. A tiny component of the lobby is pro-Palestinian. It is also the least influential. Even when the Arab states were lobbying the United States to oppose partition and, later, criticized support for Israel, their interest was never in the establishment of a Palestinian state. Even Jimmy Carter revealed in 1979, “I have never met an Arab leader that in private professed the desire for an independent Palestinian state.” Arab leaders might rant about Israel, but their primary interest was acquiring weapons, economic assistance, and promises of protection.

The UAE and the Arab lobby in general operate mostly below the radar. Unlike supporters of the Palestinians who make a lot of noise without having any influence, the Arab states prefer to remain invisible and quietly impact policy. The Arab states also lobby for something—their national interests—whereas homegrown pro-Palestinian groups primarily attack Israel.

Before deciding to finance political candidates, AIPAC also had a more Rooseveltian approach of speaking softly and carrying a big stick. The pro-Israel lobby, however, can’t avoid attention because of the conspiracy theories, sometimes promoted by the Arab lobby, about Jewish power and the constant media focus on Israel. By contrast, most Americans couldn’t find the Gulf states on a map let alone care about their lobbying activities.

Congress Eyes Investigation Into Anti-Israel Bias at Biden Justice Department
Garland is "using the FBI to attack and undermine one of our closest allies at the behest of the anti-Semitic Squad," Cruz said. "Merrick Garland has already done more damage to the FBI’s credibility and legitimacy than anyone in history, including [Richard] Nixon’s [attorney general] who was literally sent to prison."

Two senior congressional officials tracking the situation told the Free Beacon that the DOJ should prepare to face its own probe into politicized weaponization.

"We're going to find out who thought it was a good idea to unleash the FBI on Israel and reopen something that everyone else—including the president's State Department—had already resolved," said one of the sources, who was not authorized to speak on the record.

The second source, also not authorized to speak on record, said the DOJ’s probe is the result of the president hiring far-left progressive activists, including anti-Israel agitators, who are now working at all levels of government.

"Biden has seemingly filled every department with woke activists who hate Israel, and now they’re burrowing in," said the source, a veteran congressional official who works on Israeli issues. "They’re everywhere. It’s going to take years of investigations and work, and ultimately a new president, to even begin to fix the problem."

Pro-Israel organizations are also applying pressure on Congress to find out why the DOJ decided to reopen the Abu Akleh case.

"It is both shocking and appalling that the Department of Justice has allowed anti-Israel Members of Congress to pressure an allegedly independent arm of the executive branch into this investigation," Pastor John Hagee, founder of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), the nation’s largest pro-Israel advocacy organization, said in a statement.

A senior official with a pro-Israel organization told the Free Beacon the DOJ probe "smacks of politics." The probe was announced shortly after conservative Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu—who was close with former president Donald Trump—was reelected as the country’s prime minister.
The Caroline Glick show: The Biden administration is weaponizing the FBI against Israel
In this week’s “Caroline Glick Show,” author Lee Smith joins Glick to talk about the Biden administration’s newest move against Israel: the FBI’s probe of the death of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh. Glick also warns against the frightening mainstreaming of antisemitism in the U.S.

Jonathan Tobin: Israel’s new coalition shouldn’t write off American Jewry
It’s true that evangelical Christians provide most of the pro-Israel muscle in American politics nowadays. But relying entirely on them, or on the minority of American Jews who are Orthodox, ignores a vast reserve of people who are, or who might be, persuaded to back Zionism.

It wasn’t that long ago that Conservative and Reform Jewry were bastions of pro-Israel sentiment. That has changed in recent decades, with evidence mounting that even many rabbis are adopting fashionable liberal stands according to which Israel is an illegal occupier and human-rights abuser.

That 90 students at the Reform and Conservative rabbinical seminaries signed an outrageous letter taking sides against Israel in the spring of 2021, when the Jewish state was under assault from thousands of rockets and missiles launched by terrorists in Gaza, was a seminal moment.

Against this travesty, a movement of rabbis dedicated to reviving support for Israel has arisen. The Zionist Rabbinic Coalition faces an uphill fight against long odds. But it is clearly in Israel’s interest for the organization to succeed in pushing back against these toxic trends that are rooted in antisemitism and woke ideology.

Letting the religious parties win on the conversion and Law of Return issues would effectively ensure that its efforts will have been in vain. That’s why it’s likely that Netanyahu, who understands Americans much better than most Israelis, is not likely to concede.

He is aware that writing off the vast majority of world Jewry would be a catastrophe, as well as a blow to Israel’s efforts to maintain its standing in the United States and to mobilize support from those Americans who are interested in helping the Jewish State.

Can Netanyahu stop Biden from strengthening a tottering Iranian regime?
In this week’s episode of “Top Story,” JNS editor-in-chief Jonathan Tobin speaks with columnist Ruthie Blum about the fallout from both the Israeli election and the American midterm elections. Blum says Israel is ready for a shift in policy on dealing with terrorism and crime as well as judicial reform from a new government led by Benjamin Netanyahu.

The two argue that a main challenge for Netanyahu will be dealing with the Biden administration’s commitment to a policy of appeasing Iran, even though the regime there is tottering. They also discuss former President Donald Trump’s prospects in the 2024 presidential race agreeing that his ego-driven attacks on fellow Republicans have undermined his case for leadership of the GOP.

Why Is Israel Always Held to a Different Standard?
On March 13, 2022, in the Ukrainian city of Irpin, 25 miles outside Kyiv, documentary filmmaker named Brent Renaud was shot and killed. He was in Ukraine along with some fellow journalists, filming Ukrainian civilians as they evacuated to escape invading Russian forces.

Suddenly, without warning, they were targeted by Russian soldiers, and Renaud was shot in the neck. He died soon afterward. He was the first foreign journalist covering the war in Ukraine to die.

I doubt that many people were aware of Renaud’s death in Ukraine before reading about it here. And as it turns out, since the beginning of the war in Ukraine earlier this year, 15 journalists have been killed there, either in crossfire incidents or because they were involved in what the NGO Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) calls a “dangerous assignment.”

According to CPJ, 62 journalists have died so far this year in the course of their work, including some who were deliberately murdered. That’s an increase on the 2021 numbers — in 2021, 55 journalists were killed.

To my knowledge, the FBI has not launched an investigation into any of these reporters’ deaths — besides for one. Shireen Abu Akleh was a Jerusalem-born Arab journalist who lived in the US for a time, and obtained US citizenship.

In May, Abu Akleh, who worked for Al Jazeera, was in Jenin when the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were on a mission to apprehend terrorist suspects. During the course of a rather chaotic few minutes, as gunshots rang out from IDF soldiers and Arab terrorists, Abu Akleh was shot in the head. Soon afterwards she was declared dead; the CPJ website notes that Abu Akleh was killed while engaged in a “dangerous assignment.”
Abu Akleh Investigation Conflicts With Prior Assessment, Increases Risk for U.S. Military
Unprecedented Investigation Contradicts U.S. Security Coordinator
On July 4, 2022, the State Department released a statement noting that independent, third-party examiners — in a process overseen by Lieutenant General Michael R. Fenzel, the U.S. security coordinator (USSC) for Israel and the Palestinian Authority — “could not reach a definitive conclusion” regarding the origin of the bullet that killed Abu Akleh. “Ballistic experts determined the bullet was badly damaged, which prevented a clear conclusion,” the statement read.

However, the USSC received full access to the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) own investigation and concluded that gunfire from IDF positions was likely responsible. Notably, said the State Department, the USSC “found no reason to believe that this was intentional but rather the result of tragic circumstances during an IDF-led military operation against factions of Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization.

All of this ignores the larger question of why Israel was in Jenin in the first place — to counter Tehran-sponsored terrorists following a wave of attacks that killed 14 Israelis — and the importance of holding terrorists and their sponsors responsible for civilian deaths in situations like these.

U.S. Military at Risk?
The International Criminal Court’s (ICC) governing treaty authorizes it to investigate only alleged crimes by persons whose national justice systems are “unwilling or unable” to investigate. That is why, in 2020, the ICC closed a preliminary investigation of alleged U.K. war crimes in Iraq, noting there was insufficient evidence that Britain had been “unwilling genuinely” to investigate and prosecute its own alleged crimes.

While America and Israel are not ICC members, the court has insisted that it maintains jurisdiction over both countries. The ICC is undertaking an investigation of U.S. troops and CIA officers for alleged crimes – relating to the war in Afghanistan — which occurred in Afghanistan, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania. It is separately undertaking an investigation of Israeli officials for alleged crimes in the disputed territories. The Justice Department’s investigation may supply new fodder for those investigations, providing evidence that the U.S. government lacks confidence in the ability of democracies to investigate themselves willingly and ably.

US envoy ends settlement boycott to make condolence visit for terror victim
US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides ended his policy of refusing to visit any settlements in the West Bank on Thursday, making a condolence visit to the family of one of the three Israelis killed in a terror attack earlier this week.

“I came here to show respect. I think it’s the right thing to do, and that’s why I’m here,” Nides told the relatives of Tamir Avihai at their home in the northern West Bank settlement of Kiryat Netafim, in a recording obtained by Kan news.

Avihai’s relatives thanked Nides for paying his respects and said that they planned to continue living in the West Bank, arguing that leaving would hand a victory to those who had carried out the terror attack.

Upon taking the job a year ago, Nides said he “absolutely won’t” make any visits to the settlements, restoring traditional US policy that had been maintained until then-US president Donald Trump appointed David Friedman to the role in 2016. Friedman made a handful of trips beyond the Green Line and was a staunch advocate for Israeli settlements before, during, and after his tenure.

“I take upon myself exactly what I’ve asked other people to do — try not to do things that agitate and inflame the situation,” Nidese told The Times of Israel last February. “So it’s not about ideology. I think for me to go to the settlements right now would, in my view, agitate people, and I’m trying not to do that. Same thing: I try not to do things at the Western Wall that might agitate people.”

Asked to comment on Thursday’s visit, a spokesperson for the US embassy in Jerusalem said, “The ambassador visited all three victims’ families from the terror attacks in Ariel to sit shiva today. This is after nearly another 20 shiva visits/condolences for terror victims (not all of whom were Jewish) that he has done over the last few months.

Azerbaijan to become first Shi'ite Muslim country with embassy in Israel
Azerbaijan is set to become the first Shi’ite Muslim-majority state to open an embassy in Israel, following parliamentary approval on Friday.

The new embassy, which The Jerusalem Post reported was in the works last month, will be in Tel Aviv, where the country already has a Tourism Office and a Trade Representative Office. Israel and Azerbaijan have had relations for 30 years, and there has been an Israeli embassy in Baku since 1993.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid praised the decision, calling Azerbaijan “an important partner of Israel and home to one of the largest Jewish communities in the Muslim world.

“The decision to open an embassy reflects the depth of the relations between the countries,” Lapid added. “This move is the fruit of efforts by the Israeli government to build strong diplomatic bridges with the Muslim world.”

Tension with Iran and Armenia
Baku’s decision comes amid tensions with Tehran.

Arzu Naghiyev, a lawmaker and member of the Azerbaijan-Israel parliamentary friendship group, tied in an interview last month the potential embassy in Israel with Iran opening an additional consulate and declaring close ties with Armenia, with which Azerbaijan fought a war in 2020.

In Iran, which has a large Azeri minority, state television aired a song threatening Israel and Azerbaijan, with the lyrics “Israel... don’t dig your own grave with your own hands... Iran declares this so that Azerbaijan knows and understands... anyone who looks at Iran the wrong way must be destroyed.”

Iran and Azerbaijan share a 420-mile border, and there has long been speculation that Israel has launched covert operations in Iran from its northern neighbor. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian accused Israel of having “established its presence in several regions of Azerbaijan,” which Baku denied.

Soon after, Iran staged a military drill with thousands of soldiers along the border. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev responded by having himself photographed with Israeli Harop kamikaze drones, which are produced in his country. Tehran has held further military drills near its border with Azerbaijan in recent weeks.
Cypriot airline receives final green light for direct Israel-Qatar World Cup flights
Cyprus-based TUS Airways has received final permission to operate non-stop flights to Qatar from Israel during the FIFA World Cup, a source at TUS told Reuters on Friday.

In all, TUS will operate six flights between Tel Aviv and Doha, beginning on Sunday, the source said.

FIFA announced last week that Qatar would admit the first direct flights from Israel for the World Cup, on which Palestinians could also travel, but final details needed to be worked out.

TUS Airways is a subsidiary of Israel's Knafaim Holdings Ltd.

Israel has also sent diplomats to help its citizens attending the World Cup in Qatar as the countries find a measure of accommodation for the soccer tournament despite having no formal relations.
JPost Editorial: Israel must develop new strategy to fight lone wolf terrorism
Lone wolf attacks are difficult to track and predict due to the very nature of the attacker, who operates alone. That means that, in essence, one of the major databases wherein the planning for the attack happens is not in a war room or on a map, but in the mind of the attacker. So how can this be predicted and stopped?

Lone wolves do not belong to Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Lions’ Den or any other terrorist group that raises its ugly head against Israelis.

These are individuals whose ages vary, inspired by vicious incitement from social-media networks and traditional media on television screens and radios. They feel as though they have nothing to lose – or know that they might very well lose their lives for it – and can randomly choose, at any given moment in the day, to use whatever weapon is closest to them to brutally murder victims chosen at random.

In Souf’s case, he came armed with a knife and killed two civilians before he chose another weapon – a stolen car – to kill another one.

Attacks by lone wolves, the IDF has admitted, are much more challenging to thwart than those planned by groups. If you don’t have an organization, you don’t have the signature of the preparedness of the specific attack.

It’s important to note that the IDF and Israel’s other security forces thwart terror attacks – even lone-wolf attacks – every single day. It is these more shifty ones that fly under the radar that nevertheless get perpetrated.

Since lone wolf attacks are carried out by those who feel that they have nothing to lose, this could provide yet another way to narrow the search down.

Once Israel manages to perfect its behavioral analysis and track down the signs – mostly online – then perhaps the next stabber or shooter who would have previously flown below the radar will now be caught before another family has to bury a loved one.

This is a huge challenge that the new government will need to confront; a new strategy is needed.
Israel offers 'life-saving aid to Gaza' after deadly fire
A fire set off by stored gasoline in a residential building killed 21 people Thursday evening in a refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, the territory's Hamas rulers said, in one of the deadliest incidents in recent years outside the violence stemming from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The blaze erupted on the third floor of a three-story building in the crowded Jabaliya camp, according to the Palestinian militant group Hamas. No one inside the house survived.

The Civil Defense in Gaza, which is run by Hamas, attributed the cause of the fire to gasoline that was being stored in the building. It was not immediately clear how the gasoline ignited. Officials said an investigation was underway.

Flames were seen spewing out of the windows of the burning floor as hundreds of people gathered outside on the street, waiting for fire trucks and ambulances.

Gaza, ruled by Hamas and under a crippling Israeli-Egyptian blockade, faces a severe energy crisis. People often store cooking gas, diesel and gasoline in homes in preparation for winter. House fires have previously been caused by candles and gas leaks.

Deceased Islamic Preacher Gets Equally Radical Successor Who Also Hates Israel
Ali al-Qaradaghi already followed his mentor, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, as host of one of Al Jazeera’s most popular television programs. And he is the general secretary at the Muslim Brotherhood affiliated, Qaradawi-founded International Union for Muslim Scholars.

So it makes sense that much of the Islamist world now sees al-Qaradaghi as the Brotherhood’s de facto spiritual leader after Qaradawi’s September death.

Al-Qaradaghi disdains Christianity, and calls it a “heresy.”

“They [Christians] are trying to exact revenge [against Muslims] just to satisfy their desire for revenge, which is a part of a misguided drive full of evil,” he wrote in a 2012 article.

“The only religion of monotheism is the religion of Islam,” he wrote, “and it is the monotheism of God Almighty.”

Like Qaradawi, al-Qaradaghi has a visceral hatred for Israel, and is not shy about publicly expressing it.

He calls any normalization with Israel “high treason.” But he has not mentioned Turkey’s recent rapprochement with the Israeli government.

“Reconciliation or recognition of Israel means accepting the deduction of more than half of the blessed land of Palestine, and its expulsion from Islamic lands. The land of Palestine was liberated by Omar (Ibn al-Khattab), purified by Saladin, and watered with the blood of millions of Muslims throughout history” wrote Al-Qaradaghi for the Islamonline outlet. “If Hamas had to choose between recognizing it [Israel] or relinquishing its prime ministry, it would have to choose the second option. The fatwas of all trustworthy scholars during the last century agree on the prohibition of conceding to Israel and recognizing it.”

One of his radical tweets in 2020 criticized a video of a little Emirati girl saying words of peace in Hebrew to Israelis after the signing of the Abraham Accords.
Seth Frantzman: Where are Palestinians getting M-16 rifles from?
The photos of the rifles lead to many questions. One obvious question is where do the weapons come from? The IDF releases details on detaining illegal weapons. In early November three suspects, two men from southern Israel and one Palestinian from the West Bank, were arrested attempting to smuggle handguns from Jordan. Weapons were also seized on November 9. These included pistols and pieces of AK-47s, as well as an old shotgun. On November 10 more weapons were seized, including an M-16.

Despite the military attempting to crack down on weapons smuggling, sources have told The Jerusalem Post that the years without a strong barrier between Israel and the West Bank allowed for a significant amount of weapons to flow into the hands of gunmen. “There was a lot of smuggling, you can just imagine what went through,” one source said, adding that “now we have to fix those years of mistakes.”

Nevertheless, guns and automatic weapons continue to make their way into the hands of Palestinian gunmen via Hezbollah in Lebanon or smuggling routes in the Jordan Valley. Those weapons usually originate from Syria or Iraq. Other weapons are stolen from IDF bases or other areas inside Israel and then smuggled into the West Bank through holes in the security fence. Palestinians have also locally produced arms, including M-16 styles and not only the Carl-Gustav submachine gun.

But with the IDF cracking down on weapons smuggling there has been a dramatic 300-400% increase in the price of ammunition and weapons. If for example, a bullet for an M-16 used to cost NIS 3, it now costs NIS 20. According to the source, the price for an M-16 has also skyrocketed. One M-16 can cost between $30,000-$40,000, which not many can afford. Yet, the cost of these weapons are usually funded by terror groups including Hamas which continues to funnel money into the West Bank to promote and carry out acts of terror.

The rising costs lead to questions about the types of weapons in the photographs and videos. In our initial attempt to investigate this question it became clear that many organizations do not monitor the illegal weapons trade in the West Bank or take note of the presence of firearms. This would appear to be an overlooked problem, especially considering that a plethora of human rights groups, international organizations and governments are active in the West Bank and Palestinian Authority areas.

If armed terror groups or independent armed groups of gunmen are more well-armed then the Palestinian Security Forces, this would present a threat to the security of the PA and of Israel.

MEMRI: Gaza-Based Islamist Preacher Nabil Al-Halabi Condemns Pope's Visit To Bahrain, Says Interfaith Dialogues Are Part Of U.S. Campaign Against Islam Aimed At Softening Islam, Stripping Muslims Of Their Religion, Identity
On November 12, 2022, Al-Aqsa Call YouTube channel published a video of Gaza-based Hizb-ut-Tahrir-affiliated preacher Nabil Al-Halabi giving a Friday sermon in which he criticized the recent visit of Pope Francis to Bahrain as part of the "Bahrain Dialogue Forum: East and West for Human Coexistence," saying that such dialogues are organized within the context of the U.S.-led campaign against Islam and Muslims. In the sermon, Al-Halabi accused Muslim clerics and scholars who participate in such dialogues of abandoning the concepts of reinstating the Caliphate, waging jihad, and Hudoud (i.e., the Islamic penal code).

Following are excerpts from the sermon.
Al-Halabi started his sermon by describing the conferences that are "organized every now and then" to promote "interfaith unity," an "alliance of civilizations," or "religious rapprochement" including the conference recently held during the visit of Pope Francis to Bahrain, which was attended by the sheikh of Al-Azhar as part of "the assault on Islam and Muslims and within the context of the U.S. campaign targeting your religion and your Islam."

He criticized Muslim scholars who take part in these conferences for not inviting the priests and rabbis with whom they meet to leave their religions and convert to Islam. He said: "Instead, they convene under the banner of advancing coexistence and then those scholars would abandon the greatest aspects of Islam: the Caliphate, Jihad and hudoud, as being extreme concepts and they would accept democracy, freedom, and Western culture from their counterparts as concepts of tolerance and progress."[1]

Al-Halabi further explained that these meetings and conferences mean "accepting the existing regimes and their man-made constitutions. These meetings mean that Muslims should remain calm and unconcerned as they see the Jewish entity taking control over this blessed land. According to their terms, they are our cousins and they are the sons of Abraham; therefore, accepting them in the region should be normal. These meetings mean that we should not condemn those who commit apostasy as it is a freedom that they should enjoy. This means that we should not describe others as unbelievers, as they are Muslims and this is how the deception begins."

Countering the argument of those who consider the followers of Abrahamic religions to be Muslims, he argued that the revelations, which Allah stated in the Quran that he had revealed to other prophets as well as to Prophet Muhammad, do not mean that their religions are the same but rather that they are similar when it comes to their monotheistic foundations. According to Al-Halabi: "the shari'a of Muhammad is different from the shari'a of Moses, Jesus, Jacob, and other prophets and the word 'Islam' to which they referred in the verses they cited from the Quran means submitting to Allah and means compliance in the linguistic sense. After Islam was revealed to Muhammad, the word has come to mean that when we use the word 'Muslim' it would only mean those who believe in Islam, the religion whose prophet is Muhammad."

Al-Halabi then claimed that these types of conferences seek to accomplish three things: "They seek to equate Islam with the religions of unbelief and other abrogated religions. They seek to equate between truth and falsehood... Why do we equate those who call for the implementation of Allah's shari'a with those who call for the implementation of the rule of tyrants... This means that Muslims are not allowed to call other people to convert to Islam, as they are considered believers in a religion that is accepted by Allah. The second thing that they aim to accomplish from these conferences is the acceptance of others without labelling them. It would not be allowed to call Christians, Jews, Sikhs, and Hindus unbelievers. You should accept them the way they are. This goes against the teachings of the Quran... The third thing that they aim to accomplish and unfortunately, some clerics support them in that regard, is that they seek to find a common factor inspired by all the religions that would be called a human denominator that all people can accept... This is unacceptable in the religion of Allah. It is unacceptable that Islam be equated with these religions..."

Seth Frantzman: The US is focusing more on Iran’s attacks in the region
Two recent incidents, an Iranian drone attack on a ship in the Gulf of Oman, and a rocket attack on US forces in Syria, have received quick responses from US Central Command (CENTCOM).

The responses come in the form of verification of what happened and also determination regarding the threats. On the surface, this could appear routine, but evidence shows that in the past it often took longer for the US to respond to these types of incidents. CENTCOM's eye on Tehran

CENTCOM is only one part of the US government’s focus on the Middle East, which includes diplomats and other offices; but it is an important part of the overall American footprint. It is also an important part of the information nexus, meaning it puts out statements about its activities and this apparently includes acknowledging attacks in the region.

On November 16, CENTCOM put out a page-long statement about the “Shahed-series UAV” strike on a commercial vessel, the Pacific Zircon.

The quick determination that this was a Shahed series drone matters. These drones have been used by Russia against Ukraine and they are made by Iran. This means there is increased awareness this year about the types of drones involved and Iran’s nefarious activities involving the use of drones against ships and against the US and partner forces in the region.

Iranian drones, for instance, have targeted US bases and facilities in the region in the past and they have targeted Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Israel, and Iraq.

What matters, in this case, is that CENTCOM commander General Michael Kurilla was recently in Israel. US Central Command said that “during the visit, Kurilla…visited the Rosh HaNikra crossing point on the Blue Line between Israel and Lebanon and the Alpha Line between Israel and Syria on the Golan Heights.” He was provided with an overview of the threat posed by Hezbollah in the area, and the IDF's focuses on security.
Israel Completes ‘Successful’ Interception Test of Naval Iron Dome
Israel said Thursday it completed the interception test needed for the operation of a naval model of the Iron Dome air defense system.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz called the test a “groundbreaking technological process” marking a “significant milestone” for Israel’s naval defense abilities.

“Israel is continuing to build and strengthen its defense and attack capabilities – and will continue to keep its defensive edge in the area, protect its assets, its infrastructure and first and foremost – the lives and safety of the citizens of Israel,” Gantz stated.

In a joint statement, the Israeli Navy, the Defense Ministry’s Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO), and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems announced that the advanced interception test of the C-Dome Naval Iron Dome system was conducted aboard the Sa’ar-6 class INS Oz corvette missile ship.

The C-Dome is part of Israel’s multi-tier defense array developed against advanced threats from Iranian proxies with the capability to intercept rockets, cruise missiles and drones launched from the sea and the air to guard the country’s strategic assets, including off-shore natural gas rigs.
Biden Tries to Make Peace with the Saudis, Partly to Counter Iran
Recent Saudi efforts to appease the Biden administration in the wake of the kingdom’s backing of last month’s OPEC+ oil production cut take on added significance in the wake of this week’s US midterm elections that have strengthened Joe Biden and weakened former president Donald Trump.

Saudi insistence on a two million barrel a day cut in the wake of Biden’s failed effort to persuade Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to delay the cut, if not increase production, in advance of the elections, was widely seen in Washington as an effort to bolster the Republican Party.

If that was the Saudi strategy, it backfired, when the Democratic Party fared far better in the elections by holding onto control of the Senate and losing the House of Representatives to the Republicans by a much smaller margin than expected.

Saudi Arabia has consistently denied the allegation, insisting the cut was economically prudent and constituted neither an attempt to sway US voters nor support Russia despite its invasion of Ukraine.

In the six weeks since the cut, Saudi Arabia has made several conciliatory gestures, including a vote in the United Nations General Assembly in favor of a resolution declaring Russia’s annexation of swaths of eastern Ukraine illegal, and significantly increased humanitarian aid for Ukraine.

MEMRI: Palestinian-American Activist Nerdeen Kiswani On Iranian TV: Fighting, Resistance Are Beautiful, Should Be Celebrated; That's The Only Way To Liberate Palestine; Lion's Den, Jenin Brigade Are Involved In Active Resistance, Not Just Self-Defense
Palestinian-American activist Nerdeen Kiswani of the Within Our Lifetime organization said in a November 5, 2022 show on Press TV (Iran) hosted by former British MP Chris Williamson that resistance is the only "political process" that has been effective for the Palestinian people. She said that active resistance by groups considered by Israel and the U.S. to be terrorist groups is the only way to fully "liberate" Palestine, and she praised the recently-formed "Lion's Den" and "Jenin Brigade" terror groups for taking matters into their own hands.

Later in the show, Kiswani said that the Palestinians should not describe their struggle solely in terms of human rights because they are "fighters" rather than "passive victims." She added that this is "something beautiful" that should be celebrated by people in the West.

"The Only Political Process That We've Seen Be Effective [For Palestinians] Is Through Resistance"

Nerdeen Kiswani: "Because of all of the oppression that Palestinians have been under for over 70 years, the only political process that we've ever seen be effective, is through resistance. And we have seen the resistance lead us, you know, through the intifada and get us even a seat at the table, to begin with.

"And we don't have any elected leadership that truly represents our desire for the right of return and full liberation of Palestinian land from the river to the sea, except for ourselves. Except for, you know, political parties, maybe, that are considered by the U.S. and Israel to be quote, unquote 'terrorist groups.'

"The Palestinian Authority Does Not Protect Us Because They Are Collaborating With The Zionist Entity"

"So, the Lion's Den, and you know, similar innovations like the Jenin Brigade, as you mentioned, are really a form of protection for the Palestinian people when there is no one to protect us, when the Palestinian Authority does not protect us because they are collaborating with the Zionist entity. So, it has emerged because Palestinians are taking matters into their own hands, and we have mentioned the May 2021 Unity Intifada earlier which really brought Palestinians together.

"It has emerged as a form of protection for the people of those cities. But also, as a form of resistance and not just self-defense, actually actively resisting the occupation every day. So, you know, I think that this is going to be continuous until all of Palestine is free.

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