Tuesday, November 22, 2022

From Ian:

Hold Abbas accountable
We should recall here that last March, then-ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced the launch of an investigation into suspected crimes committed in the territories of Judea and Samaria, in east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip since June 13th, 2014. Her announcement followed a preliminary investigation in the wake of a Palestinian complaint that determined – contrary to Israel's position – that the court has the jurisdiction to deliberate on such complaints. Israel called this decision a moral and legal disgrace and officially informed the court that it would not cooperate with it.

It should be noted here that ICC investigations enable arrest warrants to be issued against suspects without any public notification. The court's signatories are required to cooperate with the investigation, honor arrest warrants, and hand over suspects located in their territory to the court. Beyond immediate harm to such persons, the opening of processes against could impact its comportment in the international arena and severely damage its international standing. In any event, in practical terms the investigation against Israel has yet to commence and this is also something that the Palestinians wish to advance through the move at the ICJ.

In fact, what Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his people are trying to achieve is a decision that the "occupation" is permanent and that it is in its entirety (not just measures within its framework) is illegal and therefore Israel should be subjected to pressures and a price should be exacted for its continued presence in Judea and Samaria. The ICC will find it hard to ignore an advisory by the ICJ that adopts these conclusions in their entirety or in part.

At present the ICJ should be busy dealing with the war in Ukraine and events in Georgia, Afghanistan, Africa, and elsewhere. But Israel should not count on the court being too busy to deal with it.The ICJ (once the UN General Assembly officially turns to it) will approach Israel, which will be required to answer the question of whether it is willing to cooperate. It would seem that the considerations that in the past led to a decision to turn down any such request, still hold.

Without any connection to all of the above, Israel will have to consider changes to its approach to Abbas and the Palestinian Authority. It should weigh measures that will make it clear to Abbas and the PA that there will be consequences to the incessant campaign to negate Israel's legitimacy. The means at Israel's disposal are not meagre. If they don't deter Abbas, they should at the very least encourage a rethink of his approach among leaders who support it.
The history of apartheid proves Israel is not an apartheid state
By contrast, in Israel, there is an official policy of affirmative action administered by the Israeli government aimed at including minority Israelis in all aspects of public life. The Arabs who chose to stay in Israel during and following the 1948 war are Israeli citizens and are entitled to the rights granted to all citizens under the law. Arab Israelis serve in public institutions as ministers, Supreme Court judges, parliament members and governmental clerks. Furthermore, the former parties of the Joint List, an Arab-Israeli political bloc, hold seats in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament. For the first time, in 2019, the Joint List endorsed a candidate to become prime minister of Israel.

It is also common to find many Arab Israelis holding only Israeli citizenship. Between 2011 and 2013, Professor Sammy Smooha, a researcher from Haifa University, conducted a poll among Arab Israelis, asking if they identify as Israeli or Palestinian. More than 20% responded “Israeli” or “Israeli-Palestinian.” Furthermore, according to his findings, when Arab-Israeli participants were asked if they would move to a Palestinian state if it is formed, 65– 77% percent of them replied that they would not.

A walk through the streets, shopping malls and hospitals of Israel will permit one to see and appreciate the integrated society that exists within all of Israel. People of all religions, all races and all beliefs are treated with respect in all public places; have access to all religious places; are protected in their right of prayer and assembly; have full access to healthcare treatment without regard to their race, religion, sexual orientation or beliefs; and enjoy freedoms not known anywhere else in the Middle East.

Where South Africa intended to and did impose a segregationist regime and called it apartheid, the allegation that Israel is similarly an apartheid state originated not from fact or from governmental policy but from Israel’s enemies as an intentional distortion of her commitment to building a wholesome society where diversity is cherished and rights are protected by the rule of law. Applying the moniker of apartheid to Israel today is another example of an antisemitic double standard applied exclusively to the Jewish state and ignores much greater injustices suffered by minority ethnic and religious groups around the world.

To put it bluntly, the attempt to equate Israel with South Africa is defamatory and disingenuous. Moreover, calling Israel an apartheid state under these circumstances does great injustice to Israel’s vibrant democracy and further disrespects the real and genuine struggle against the racism of the apartheid regime in South Africa. Moreover, the accusers against Israel who are in the Palestinian territories are obligated to look at their own leadership, and to look inward, as they essentially call for the future Palestinian state to be judenrein—free of Jews.

Who is it that is practicing apartheid?
'The New York Times’ demonstrates why Israelis have turned right
From Abdulrahim’s previous dispatches for the Times, it is clear that she has visited Gaza. That means either she is suffering from hallucinations that Israel is “controlling” things there, or she is fully aware that it is not, but wants to give the impression that it is in order to blame Israel for the Gaza fire.

Either of those two possibilities should be grounds for immediately firing her.

Not that Ms. Abdulrahim’s journalistic misbehavior relieves her editors of any responsibility. After all, they knew what they were getting when they hired her earlier this year. She had previously received awards from the anti-Israel organization CAIR after she wrote a letter denying that Hamas and Hezbollah are terrorist organizations.

A staff reporter for one of the world’s most influential newspapers maliciously smears Israel with a blatant falsehood, and her editors look the other way.

This is one reason Israelis have been turning more hawkish in their voting preferences. No matter how many concessions they make, no matter how many risks they take, no matter how many territories they withdraw from—they still get blamed for anything and everything.

You can’t blame Israelis for feeling like, no matter what they do, they just can’t win. Israel’s critics will never play by the rules. They will lie and smear in order to turn public opinion against the Jewish state. They want to see Israel isolated, hated and harangued. And when Israel is threatened, they want the international community to stand idly by.

That leaves Israelis to conclude that their only hope for survival is to strengthen their military resolve and fortify their security policies—in other words, to vote for parties on the political right.

Israel’s critics complain that such thinking represents a “siege mentality.” Maybe that’s because Israel really is under siege—including in the information war, where combatants such as Raja Abdulrahim, pretending to be journalists, hurl dart after dart at the Jewish state without the slightest regard for the facts.

Report: Mossad was behind intelligence tip to UK’s MI5 over Iranian terror threats
It was Israel that tipped off the United Kingdom’s MI5 domestic intelligence agency regarding Iranian terrorist threats to British citizens and residents, Kan 11 reported on Monday.

Journalists were among the prime intended targets of Iranian attack plots, according to the report.

On Nov. 16, MI5 Director Gen. Ken McCallum stated during an annual threat update at his agency’s London headquarters that “Iran projects threat to the UK directly, through its aggressive intelligence services.”

This threat “includes ambitions to kidnap or even kill British or U.K.-based individuals perceived as enemies of the regime,” he said, adding, “We have seen at least 10 such potential threats since January alone. We work at pace with domestic and international partners to disrupt this completely unacceptable activity.”

McCallum continued: “The Foreign Secretary made clear to the Iranian regime just last week that the U.K. will not tolerate intimidation or threats to life towards journalists, or any individual, living in the U.K.”
Intel chief: Iran could attack World Cup, protests may lead to more aggression
The head of Military Intelligence on Monday said Iran was mulling an attack on the World Cup in Qatar, as it faces increasing pressure at home amid nationwide anti-regime protests.

Speaking at an Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) conference in Tel Aviv, Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva said the protests sweeping Iran are “extremely exceptional” and have transformed into a “civilian rebellion.”

“The death toll, the attacks on national symbols — this is very troubling for the regime, especially combined with sanctions, the existing international pressure, and the difficult economic situation,” he said.

The protests were sparked by the death of a young woman, Mahsa Amini, after her arrest by the morality police in Tehran in September, and have since spread across the country. Authorities have responded with a crackdown that Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights says has left almost 400 people dead, half a dozen sentenced to death, and more than 15,000 arrested.

“There is a real concern within the regime that it endangers the regime. At this stage, I do not see a risk to the regime…. but as the pressure on Iran increases, including internal pressure, the Iranian response is much more aggressive, so we should expect much more aggressive responses in the region and in the world,” Haliva said.

“I am telling you that the Iranians are now considering attacking the World Cup in Qatar as well,” he said. “The only thing holding them back is how the Qataris will react.”
Inevitable strain in US-Israel ties does not mean rupture - analysis
With Benjamin Netanyahu returning to Balfour Street and a Democrat in the White House, writes Herb Keinon, we can expect to read “story after story about how U.S.-Israel relations are deteriorating and entering crisis mode.” But Keinon urges caution:

First, Joe Biden is not Barack Obama, and his feelings for Israel are deeper and more heartfelt than Obama’s ever were. Further, he does have a personal chemistry with Netanyahu that Netanyahu never shared with Obama. Secondly, two of the major sources of friction between Israel and the U.S. that existed during the Netanyahu-Obama years are not immediately on the agenda: Iran and the Palestinian issue.

While Biden’s team seemed hell-bent in the late summer to re-enter the nuclear deal with Iran, efforts to that effect later stalled and the negotiations broke down. Nevertheless, there was an expectation that—with the administration keen on finalizing a deal—the negotiations would resume after the midterm elections. But now the midterms are over, and much has transpired in the interim to render overwrought concern that Washington is on the verge of a new deal with Iran.

The same is true of the Palestinian issue. Biden is the first president in recent memory who has not put brokering an Israel-Palestinian deal at the top of his agenda.

While there is unlikely to be friction over the marquee issues, there will be constant friction over settlement building—as there has been for the last 50 years—and instances where Israel uses force that Washington will deem “disproportionate.” And each time this friction will come to the fore, there will be dire warnings in some quarters about a crisis in ties and the inevitability of a breakdown in the U.S.-Israel relationship. But all this should be taken with a grain of salt. Not every dispute, nor even every public slap on the wrist, presages a crisis.
IDF chief gets 6th-highest honor in visit to US
The IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi, who is nearing the end of his term, got a special honor on Monday during his visit to the US when his counterpart awarded him the Legion of Merit.

Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley cited Kochavi's "deepening the strategic partnership between Israel and the US" during an honor guard ceremony at Fort Myer, near the Arlington National Cemetary in Virginia.

"Kochavi exemplified the spirit of collaboration and cooperation in furthering the strategic partnership of the United States and the State of Israel," read the text of the award. "Kohavi solidified Israel's status as a capable and effective regional security leader in the Middle East. Kohavi clearly established and shared Israel's strategic defense objectives, in close alignment with US national interests and strategic objectives. Kochavi's superior efforts, outstanding leadership, and personal initiative reflect great credit upon himself, the Israel Defense Forces, and his country," it continued.

The award, which is the sixth-highest in the US, can be awarded to those who have "distinguished themselves by exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services." Some of Kochavi's predecessors have also been awarded the same citation.
Ben-Dror Yemini: Far-right government would be a gift to Israel boycott movement
Quietly, and with little public debate, the emerging coalition government has already began working to authorize illegal West Bank outposts established over the past two decades. Each one of them will now likely have a local council, a head rabbi and new infrastructure - all to fulfill the vision of the Land of Israel.

Public discourse is preoccupied with important matters such as revamping Israel's legal system through so-called Override Law, and paving the way for twice-convicted Shas leader Aryeh Deri to hold a senior ministerial post by introducing questionable legislation.

But, off all matters that are now being debated, the most important one – which may lead to the end of the Zionist dream – is being overlooked.

This was not the case in previous governments, even those led by Benjamin Netanyahu in tandem with right-wing parties. Netanyahu back then knew that to authorize illegal outposts is to shoot himself in the foot.

He is not a supporter of a Palestinian state, despite previous public claims, but the incoming prime minister has always feared a one-state solution, understanding full-well how bad that would be for Israel.

Netanyahu knows it would be a violation of commitments made in 2003, to remove all illegal outposts. He also knows that the only thing worse than a Palestinian state, is a one-state option.

I can already hear the outrage, claiming the voters have spoken and the pending decision is the will of the people. After all, the right-wing and religious bloc was given a clear majority in the last elections.

But, most of those voters did not support the policies promoted by Religious Zionists party leader Bezalel Smotrich. The majority backed Netanyahu, the same prime minister who avoided annexing parts of the West Bank, opted instead to sign peace deals with Arab Gulf nations, and was a instrumental in the articulation of a peace plan put together by former U.S. President Donald Trump, which included the establishment of a Palestinian state.

He was also the same prime minister who demolished illegal structures in the former West Bank settlement of Homesh.
Israel and Japan advance toward free trade agreement
Israel and Japan are advancing initial steps for the signing of a free trade agreement in a move which is expected to bring down tariffs and lower the prices of Japanese-made cars, toys and other imported goods.

“This morning in Tokyo, we agreed to take a first step toward the signing of a free trade agreement between Israel and Japan, which means discounts for products and goods from Japan for the benefit of the Israeli market and increasing Israeli exports to Japan, the third-largest economy in the world,” said outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid. “This year, we are also celebrating 70 years of relations between our countries and this is further proof of their growing strength – diplomatically and economically.”

With Israel and Japan having forged diplomatic ties back in 1952, economic activity has been expanding and defense relations have been warming in recent years. Japanese companies have invested a total of $13 billion in the Israeli tech industry since 2000, and over 85 Japanese companies are currently operating in Israel, according to Israel’s Foreign Ministry. Japan accounts for 15.8% of all foreign investments in Israeli tech industry, compared to just 1.8% in 2016, and 12% of total investment (foreign and Israeli), according to estimates by consulting firm Harel-Hertz Investment House.

At the end of August, Israel and Japan signed an agreement for closer cooperation on defense technology and military equipment.

Lapid hailed the advancement for a free trade agreement as “an important achievement for Israel’s economy and Israel’s standing in the world.”
UK Lawmaker Says No Plans to Move Embassy to Jerusalem
British lawmaker Shailesh Vara confirmed on Monday that the UK has no plans to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the Jordan News Agency reported.

Vara was leading a delegation from the British Group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union to Jordan, where she met with members of the Jordanian Senate.

The delegation was led by Senator Hani Mulki, who told the British Group Inter-Parliamentary Union (BGIPU) that the Palestinian cause remains a "central issue" in the Arab world. He stressed the importance of "bringing Israel to the negotiating table in order to achieve peace through the two-state solution and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state based on the borders of June 4, 1967, with East Jerusalem as a capital."

“The choice of headlines and quotes shows again how much the Jordanian government wants to be seen as pushing for a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is still a central message that Amman wants to broadcast outwards," i24NEWS senior diplomatic correspondent Owen Alterman said.

The Israel Guys: Ron DeSantis Says the WEST BANK is NOT OCCUPIED
Florida Governor Ron Desantis spoke at the Republican Jewish Coalition political conference Saturday night, at the conference he declared that Judea and Samaria is NOT OCCUPIED. Benjamin Netanyahu also spoke at the event reiterating that the Palestinians Do Not Want Peace with Israel. A stabbing attack was foiled near Hebron, and Ayala Ben Gvir sparks controversy for carrying a gun.

IDF troops come under fire in Nablus; 16 Palestinians arrested in overnight raids
Israeli troops came under gunfire in the early hours of Tuesday morning during an arrest raid in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, the military said.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, troops operated extensively throughout the West Bank overnight, arresting 16 wanted Palestinians, including one in Nablus.

“During the operation, shots were fired in the area, troops fired back at the source of the gunfire,” the army said, adding that no soldiers were hurt in the incident.

There were no reports of Palestinians hurt in the incident either.

This spring, the IDF launched a major anti-terror offensive mostly focused on the northern West Bank to deal with a series of Palestinian attacks that have left 29 people in Israel and the West Bank dead since the start of the year.

The operation has netted more than 2,000 arrests in near-nightly raids, but has also left over 130 Palestinians dead, many of them — but not all — while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces.

The suspects arrested early Tuesday were taken to be questioned by the Shin Bet security agency.

PMW: Fatah turns murderers of babies into heroes for kids
For Fatah, the party of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, it is not sufficient to murder Jews. It is not even sufficient to glorify the terrorists who murdered Jews. For Fatah, it is no less important to poison the minds of young Palestinians, by turning such murderers into heroes, and enlisting kids to demonstrate solidarity with them.

On Oct. 30, 1988, 3 Palestinian terrorists attacked an Israeli bus with Molotov cocktails. Rachel Weiss and three of her children were burned to death. David Delrosa, a 19-year-old Israeli soldier who rushed into the burning bus to try and save Rachel and her children, died a month and a half later of the burn wounds he sustained. David said that he heard Rachel saying “Shema Yisrael” – a Jewish prayer said twice daily declaring the Oneness of God, which is also said when death approaches. Rachel, he said, positively chose to stay with her children, instead of saving herself and leaving them to die alone.

To celebrate the murderers, Fatah’s Lion Cubs and Flowers children's movement, which focuses on kids aged 6-15, organized a “demonstration of solidarity” for two of the murderers - Jum’a Adam and Mahmoud Abu Kharabish - who they referred to as “heroic prisoners.” Pictures of the children participating in the event were then posted on the Lion Cubs and Flowers movement’s Facebook page:
Posted text: “The boys and girls of the Jericho and Jordan Valley area, the children of the Ein Al-Sultan administrative area, are organizing a demonstration of solidarity with our heroic prisoners. We commemorate the veteran prisoners of Jericho, Jum’a Adam and Mahmoud Kharabish, after they began their 35th year under the occupier’s oppression. Release is near for our heroic prisoners.”

[Fatah's Lion Cubs and Flowers children's movement, Facebook page, Nov. 8, 2022]

Terrorists Adam and Kharabish were arrested the day after the attack (Oct. 31, 1988) and have been in prison for 34 years. During that time, and through December 2022, the PA will have paid each one of them 1,798,200 shekels ($519,359) in reward for their attack. When the murderers reached 30 years in prison, the PA raised the monthly salary it pays them by 20%, from 10,000 to 12,000 shekels per month.
Palestinian Christians in Bethlehem, Ramallah fight over Christmas festivities
The Palestinian Authority has been forced to call off a press conference that was supposed to take place in Ramallah later this week regarding the upcoming Christmas festivities after protests by the Bethlehem Municipality and Christian leaders.

Several Christian residents of Bethlehem accused the PA of attempting to “hijack” their holidays and marginalize the city’s role in organizing and overseeing the celebrations. Announcements about Christmas festivities have always been made from Bethlehem, they said.

The dispute between Bethlehem and Ramallah over Christian holidays is unprecedented.

The PA’s Higher Presidential Committee of Churches Affairs in Palestine had issued an invitation to local and foreign journalists to attend a press conference at PLO headquarters in Ramallah to announce the launching of Christmas festivities in Bethlehem and other parts of the West Bank. The press conference was supposed to take place on November 24.

The committee is headed by Ramzi Khoury, a veteran Palestinian official who also serves as director-general of the Palestinian National Fund, which was established in 1964 to finance the PLO’s various activities.

The invitation to hold the press conference in Ramallah angered many Christians in Bethlehem, who said their municipality and local leaders and organizations have always been responsible for announcing plans for Christmas celebrations.

Several Christians took to social media to express outrage over the PA’s attempt to shift attention from Bethlehem to Ramallah ahead of Christmas.
Seth Frantzman: As Turkey gears up for Syria, Iraq invasion, can the US stop them? - analysis
Turkey is gearing up for a new invasion of Syria and possibly expanded campaigns in Iraq, claiming it is a fight against terrorism. A recent bombing in Ankara was blamed on Kurdish groups in Syria, but it appears Ankara arrested a perpetrator who is not linked to any Kurdish group.

Ankara’s threats are not new. It has been threatening and carrying out invasions of Syria, often targeting Kurdish areas, routinely since 2016. Turkey’s policy in Syria is not just about attacking Kurds; it is also about reducing the US’s role in Syria.

That means Ankara’s real conflict is partly with the US and that Washington is the only powerful country that might reasonably prevent another Turkish invasion. History shows Ankara has been demanding to invade and destroy Kurdish areas of Syria since 2016, and the US generally has been able to slow down or prevent these invasions.

Turkey's historic invasions of Kurdish areas of Syria
After the Syrian civil war began in 2011, both the US and Turkey, along with Russia and Iran, played a role in Syria. Iran and Russia backed the regime, while the US and Turkey backed the Syrian rebels.

In 2014, however, the Syrian rebels were so chaotic that extremist groups transited Turkey and began joining ISIS and al-Qaeda-linked groups. ISIS ostensibly was an Iraqi-based extremist organization, but it moved into Syria and then back to Iraq, conquering a swath of both countries and carrying out genocide against the Yazidis.

ISIS also laid siege to Kurdish areas, and the US intervened with a bombing campaign and special forces, designed to slow the ISIS advance.
UN says Iran situation ‘critical’ as authorities intensify protest crackdown
The United Nations on Tuesday denounced Iran’s increasingly harsh and deadly crackdown on mass protests that have been rocking the country for more than two months.

“UN Human Rights Chief Volker Turk says the rising number of deaths from protests in Iran, including those of two children at the weekend, and the hardening of the response by security forces, underline the critical situation in the country,” spokesman Jeremy Laurence told reporters in Geneva.

“We urge the authorities to address people’s demands for equality, dignity and rights, instead of using unnecessary or disproportionate force to suppress the protests,” he said.

“The lack of accountability for gross human rights violations in Iran remains persistent and is contributing to the growing grievances.”

His comments came after Iranian security forces on Monday intensified their crackdown in western Iran’s Kurdish-populated regions, directly shooting at protesters, using heavy weapons and killing a dozen people over 24 hours, rights groups said.

The Kurdish-populated provinces of western and northwestern Iran have been hubs of protest since the death in custody of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini on September 16, after she was arrested by morality police in Tehran.
Israel has one job when it comes to the Iranian uprising
Most of what IDF intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva said on Monday was already known. Iran is slowly but surely moving along the path of increasing uranium enrichment while constantly testing the West’s containment efforts. This includes the ongoing deliberations in Iran on whether to reach weapons-grade purity of 90%. All the while, Iran continues to tease the West about seeking a return to the 2015 nuclear deal.

But Haliva did offer some new insights. He said Iran already has enough enriched uranium for four nuclear bombs, and that it might perpetrate terrorist attacks in the U.K. and the U.S.

He also hinted, yet again, that Israel could one day launch a strike on Iran, and noted that IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi’s visit to the U.S. was crucial for making sure there is no daylight on this issue. However, it appears that what he was actually implying was that Israel could go it alone if its security demands are not met. To be more precise, he was sending the West the following message: Reach a better nuclear deal that would truly curtail Iran’s activities or else.

This was not unlike previous messages from Israel’s security and political echelons over the past several months, which have had very limited success.

Haliva also presented his assessments regarding the ongoing popular unrest in Iran. Although Israeli intelligence has not had a stellar track record in recent decades when it comes to understanding social undercurrents in the region and in Iran in particular, listening to Haliva you could get the sense that his organization has been right on the mark this time, both in terms of a sober assessment of the domestic situation in Iran and in its cautious approach to the situation.
Iran Caught Again Trying to Kill Israeli Civilians Abroad
A History of Iranian Plots Against Israelis Abroad
Operatives acting under Iranian guidance have attempted to murder Israelis in multiple countries. On October 4, 2021, Israel accused Iran of orchestrating a plot to murder Israelis in the Cypriot capital of Nicosia. Local authorities reportedly conducted surveillance on a 38-year-old Azeri national using a Russian passport for several weeks before they arrested him. They found a pistol and a silencer in his rental car.

The following month, Quds Force operatives conspired against Israelis visiting Ghana, Senegal, and Tanzania. Under the guise of studying religion, five suspects arrested by local authorities reportedly trained in Lebanon, where the Iranian proxy Hezbollah constitutes the dominant political force. Among the targets whom the suspects scouted were Israelis on a safari in Tanzania.

In June 2022, Turkish intelligence in cooperation with Israel’s Mossad thwarted an Iranian plot to kidnap Israeli tourists, including former Israeli Consul General in Istanbul Yossi Levi-Sfari and his partner. Local police and Turkish intelligence arrested 10 suspects consisting of Iranian intelligence assets and IRGC operatives who posed as students and tourists.

Iran’s Relationship with al-Qaeda
Despite sectarian differences, al-Qaeda and Iran have a history of cooperation when mutual interests intersect. The IRGC and Lebanese Hezbollah have provided al-Qaeda operatives with weapons, including explosives training. In August 2022, a photograph surfaced of al-Qaeda leaders, including Saif al-Adel, a possible successor to former emir Ayman al-Zawahiri, in the capital of Tehran.
MEMRI: Iranian Official Abbas Haji Najjari: The Arrogant Western Powers Are Behind the Riots in Iran
Abbas Haji Najjari, who serves as an advisor to the cultural deputy of the Iranian Chief-of-Staff, said in a November 14, 2022 interview on Mayadeen TV (Lebanon) that the Western “powers of arrogance” are behind the riots in Iran. He said that “the enemy” wants to cause an internal war in Iran by using “terrorist groups” based in Iraqi Kurdistan, and he explained that this is why Iran recently carried out strikes against targets in Iraqi Kurdistan (see MEMRI TV Clip No. 9936). Najjari also said that Israel extremely afraid of Iran and that because in recent military exercises, Iran’s armed forces effectively targeted a model of the Dimona nuclear reactor. He added that all of Israel’s “sensitive facilities” are within Iran’s reach. In addition, he said that all the American bases in the region are within Iran’s range and that this is one of the reasons that the U.S. withdrew from Afghanistan and Iraq.

Iran Aids Russia’s Imperialist War Against Ukraine
Tehran has agreed to help Moscow produce hundreds or even thousands of Iranian drones in Russia, according to new intelligence reports cited by The Washington Post and CNN. This agreement could boost Russia’s stocks of Iranian loitering munitions, commonly called “kamikaze drones,” which are helping Russian forces wreak havoc on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, and exacerbating Kyiv’s shortage of air defense systems and interceptors.

The Russian-Iranian agreement, reportedly reached in early November, is just the latest form of Iranian support for the Kremlin’s imperialist war against Ukraine. Since August, the Islamic Republic has supplied Russia with multiple types of drones, along with Iranian advisors to train Russian operators, helping Moscow compensate for its limited drone production capacity and dwindling supply of cruise missiles.

These drones include the Shahed-136 and its smaller cousin, the Shahed-131, which the Russians rebranded as the Geran-2 and Geran-1, respectively. The Russian military has reportedly fired at least 400 of these drones, and is seeking to acquire many more, along with Iranian short-range ballistic missiles. In return, Moscow has reportedly given Tehran captured US and British weapons to study.

Russia uses its Iranian-supplied loitering munitions primarily for long-range strikes against fixed targets. In addition to attacking military targets, Russia frequently employs these munitions in strike packages against Ukrainian critical infrastructure, particularly the electrical grid, but also water systems, as part of a campaign launched in early October.
Australia’s Silence on Iran Is a Boon to Russia and China
The EU, the UK, and the U.S. have all recently imposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic for supplying Russia with drones to use against Ukraine. But Australia, despite its close diplomatic and security ties with all three, has declined to do so. Similarly, Canberra has condemned Tehran for its murderous attempts to curb dissent, but refrained from following its Western allies in imposing sanctions. Oved Lobel comments:
No coherent explanation has been given for why Australia consistently chooses to isolate itself from its allies when it comes to Iran, both rhetorically and practically. Yet whatever the rationale, it sends a very dangerous signal to China, whose rise and increasing belligerence constitutes a most serious long-term national-security concern.

China is part of a strategic alliance with Iran and Russia, helping keep both regimes afloat despite sanctions and, via proliferation agents, is “the most important overseas supplier of items and material for Iran’s missile program,” according to the U.S. State Department. Those same missiles China helps Iran build are now headed to Russia to help kill Ukrainians.

Australia has a moral and strategic imperative to join its allies in punishing Iran not only for its domestic crackdown, but for its material aid to Russia in killing Ukrainians, as well. This will not only provide practical help for Iranian protesters and Ukrainian civilians, but it will send a powerful message that Australia is willing to stand up for its principles and act in concert with like-minded countries. Conversely, an inability or unwillingness to take a stand on such a straightforward issue sends precisely the opposite message, whetting the appetite of an imperial power far more dangerous and far closer to home.
Iranian secularization sees soaring support for regime change - poll
Growing Iranian support for regime change has come together with widespread secularization, a new study published by the Tony Blair Institute found.

Polls conducted by The Group for Analyzing and Measuring attitudes in Iran (GAMAAN) show a clear connection between a majority of Iranians supporting greater secularization and seeking to overthrow the current Islamist regime.

Most Iranian men (70%) and women (74%) oppose the compulsory hijab, the issue that sparked the current mass protests across the country, after Iran’s morality police arrested Mahsa Amini for not covering enough of her hair. She died in custody under suspicious circumstances. Only 13% of women and 17% of men support the compulsory hijab.

Of those who oppose the compulsory hijab, 84% want regime change.

Over three-fourths (76%) of Iranians supporting regime change say religion is unimportant in their lives.Secularization trends cut across age groups and the rural-urban divide, the study found.

Only 28% of rural Iranians and 21% of urban Iranians support the compulsory hijab. Only 26% of urban Iranians pray five times a day, while 33% of rural Iranians do.

Among respondents aged 20-29, 78% opposed the compulsory hijab, 68% of those 30-49 felt the same, and 74% over age 50 did. Only 18% of 20-29-year-olds pray five times a day, 30% of those aged 30-49 do and 34% of respondents age 50 and up do so.
Iran commander threatens to kidnap and enslave Netanyahu
The Iranian regime’s commander of the Revolutionary Guards in the province of Isfahan said on Sunday that the theocratic state seeks to kidnap Benjamin Netanyahu and bring him to the Islamic Republic as a slave.

Iranian-regime-controlled Bahar News reported that Mojtaba Fada, the commander of Isfahan’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), said that “the former prime minister of the Zionist regime hoped that the protests in Iran would lead him to travel to Tehran [in a post-protest, Mullah-free Iran], but God willing, the Islamic Republic will prevail [and quash the protests, once again taking charge of the country] and will frog march that prime minister to Iran wearing a leash and a slave collar."

Fada also urged the destruction of the Jewish state, calling it "the child-murdering regime [of] Israel."

German-Iranian dissident Kazem Moussavi told The Jerusalem Post that Fada sought to conjure up an image of enslaving the prime minister.

The US government sanctioned the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization. The IRGC-linked Tasnim News Agency also reported on Fada’s tirade against the prime minister.

First Kosher kitchen opens in Qatar in time for World Cup
Rabbi Marc Schneier joins Laura Cellier to quash false reports that Qatar has banned Kosher food. With thousands of Israelis flocking to the World Cup tournament being held in the Gulf state, Rabbi Schneier shares his experience working with Qatari officials to provide observant Jews with Kosher food during their stay.

Qatar and Israel made landmark agreements to open a consular office for the duration of the soccer tournament to service Israeli nationals, and even set up a direct flight route between Doha and Tel Aviv.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 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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