The European Union's deceit and the Israeli response
The EU insists that Israel should abide by the Oslo Accords, as it still believes that within this area, a Palestinian state should be established within the framework of a comprehensive peace agreement. At the same time, according to the leaked document, it tries to strip Israel of its rights per that same agreement.Bezalel Smotrich (WSJ$): Israel’s New Government Isn’t What You’ve Heard
So that’s where humanitarian law comes in; the very set of laws that are supposed to help the EU circumvent Israel’s authority in Area C. This means that the EU has found a way to fund construction in Area C without violating the Oslo Accords, or so we are tricked to believe. The claim is that the construction is meant for humanitarian ends and is not politically motivated. Yet the EU construction takes place in locations that are highly sensitive, precisely for the sole purpose of creating new facts on the ground and preparing the area for a Palestinian takeover without any final peace agreement.
Many times the political motivation is obvious, as the construction is conducted without permits and in such places where Israel has no choice but to demolish it, for example, a school adjacent to a dangerous highway or other construction in places where there are no facilities and thus are not considered habitable environments. The political motivation becomes even more obvious when the document explicitly states the EU’s plan to curb Israel’s archeological activities in order to minimize the Jewish connection to the land.
Moreover, the EU does not seem to consider building in Area A and Area B where all they would need is a permit from the Palestinian Authority. Apparently, in those areas, there is no need for humanitarian aid at all.
Needless to say, the news of the leaked document hit Israel really hard. Subsequently, a letter signed by 40 Knesset members was sent to EU leaders.
The letter, initiated by Likud MK Amichai Chikli, reminds the EU of Europe’s past when it used to taunt Jews to “go to Palestine,” and now, in essence, claims that Jews are foreigners in their own homeland.
The letter continues to state that the leaked document “completely ignores our people’s historical affinity to our homeland and completely ignores the status of the State of Israel in Area C.” Furthermore, the letter points out that no nation turns its back on its own heritage and reminds the EU that we have not forgotten our history.
Finally, the letter ends by calling upon the EU to immediately cease its illegal construction, halt the damage being caused to heritage sites and the nature in Judea and Samaria, and immediately desist from funding delegitimizing organizations that promote antisemitic propaganda, including Israeli organizations that serve EU interests.
The letter is, in fact, a fitting response to the leaked document and the reasons are twofold. For one, the EU has no jurisdiction in any of those areas and secondly, it has clearly misused humanitarian law and thus violated international law in broad daylight.
Now that the EU’s intentions are exposed, it should reconsider its positions, stop masking its political positions with laws and put its cards on the table for an honest discussion that is, in reality, a political and moral debate and not primarily about the law. They should do that before EU-Israel relations deteriorate any further.
As for Israel, it should invest more time and energy in defending its rights and preempt such initiatives, whether it comes from the EU, the United Nations or elsewhere.
Our reforms are aimed at developing the area’s infrastructure, employment and economy for the benefit of all. This doesn’t entail changing the political or legal status of the area. If the Palestinian Authority decides to dedicate some of its time and energy to its citizens’ welfare rather than demonizing Jews and funding the murder of Israelis, it would find me a full partner in that endeavor.Why World Media Must Wait to Criticize New Israeli Government
Additionally, we seek to halt the execution of the Fayyad plan, a massive European Union-funded project to facilitate the Palestinian takeover of Area C, the one part of Judea and Samaria where Jews are currently permitted to live under the Oslo Accords. The authority is building housing, infrastructure and more in areas that are outside its jurisdiction to surround Jewish communities and other strategic locations in Area C in an attempt at de facto annexation. The EU contends its funding is purely humanitarian, but recent reporting has revealed this is not the case. This unrestrained usurpation poses mortal dangers to Israelis living there and risks significant damage to the natural environment and to historical sites. Among other measures, we will beef up enforcement of existing laws and agreements to stop this deliberate abuse.
Israel’s justice system also needs urgent reform to restore democratic balance, individual rights and public trust. In the U.S., elected politicians appoint federal judges, including Supreme Court justices, making the bench at least indirectly responsive to the people. In Israel, sitting Supreme Court justices have veto power over new appointments to the court.
Israel also lacks a written constitution, but in the 1990s the Supreme Court began striking down democratically enacted laws based on its own idea of what Israel’s constitution ought to be. This has created legal and economic uncertainty, precipitating a severe decline in the public’s trust in judicial and law-enforcement institutions. The Supreme Court ignores written law and, worse, invalidates government action even if it violates no law, but rather the court’s own notions of sound policy, or “reasonableness,” as it calls it. Moreover, the Israeli criminal-justice system also lacks basic procedural safeguards for defendants, such as the exclusionary rule, and there is no effective oversight on government prosecutors, who too often abuse their wide scope of authority.
Our emphasis on judicial reform is meant to bring Israel closer to the American political model with some limited checks to ensure the judicial system respects the law. We seek to appoint judges in Israel in a process similar to America’s; to define the attorney general’s scope of authority and relation to elected representatives in a manner similar to what’s set down in America; to develop effective oversight mechanisms for law enforcement to ensure they protect basic rights; and to restore the Knesset’s authority to define the fundamental values of the state and its emerging constitution.
All Americans should appreciate the wisdom and justice in these plans. They should shed their preconceptions and unite to support the resurgence of accountable government, prosperity, individual rights, and democracy in the Jewish homeland.
Israel has a long legislative process. To become law, bills must be passed seven times, four in the plenum and three in committee. The controversial laws already passed by the new Knesset are – of course – fair game for criticism, but the rest will take their time.
Plenty of governments never get around to passing even their core goals. The outgoing government intended to pass legislation that could have limited Netanyahu from running again but never completed the process. Leaders of all its coalition parties were willing to make significant changes to the Western Wall prayer site, but for various reasons, they did not.
The previous coalition had an anti-LGBT party in Ra’am (United Arab List), which had four seats in a coalition of 61 that ended up taking unprecedented steps to help the LGBT community.
This coalition has an anti-LGBT party in Noam, which has one seat out of 64. It has Israel’s first gay Knesset speaker in Amir Ohana and a prime minister in Netanyahu who has repeatedly promised to prevent any harm to the community.
If the past two months of infighting inside Israel’s right-wing bloc are any indication, the new government will be less homogeneous than previously thought. It will likely have trouble passing bills that most of the parties in the coalition agree on, amid fights over credit and disputes over which party is more hawkish than another.
The new government has come to power with one clear mandate: To improve the security of Israeli citizens. This is a relatively uncontroversial goal, and its success would improve the lives of Jewish, Christian and Muslim Israelis as well as Palestinians.
According to official IDF figures, in the month prior to the election, there were 382 terror attacks in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Jerusalem alone. That number includes shootings, stabbings, explosives and Molotov cocktails.
There were three European countries where Far Right parties gained strength in recent elections. But in France, Italy and Sweden, there were nowhere near 382 terrorist attacks in the month prior to the election, so the rise of extremists there is arguably harder to justify.
But will those countries come under as much international scrutiny as Israel? Probably not.
To its credit, the Biden administration in the US has been careful to give the incoming Israeli government the benefit of the doubt until it takes steps it deems problematic and unacceptable.
The international media should consider following America’s lead.
Yisrael Medad: Netanyahu must work with Jordan to solve Temple Mount conflict
WHAT THEN is possible for Netanyahu to do in the matter? If I were a member of his policy team, I would suggest the first thing he does is convey a memorandum of clarification to Abdullah. Among the points he should make are: Jordan should immediately discontinue employing provocative terms such as “Jews/settlers stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque” and “they engaged in Talmudic religious rituals.”
He should remind Abdullah that the so-called “Jordan’s special and historic role as custodian of the site” stems from a March 11, 1924, Oath of Allegiance (Bay’ah) his great-great-grandfather obtained, whereas the Jewish historic role is over 3,000 years old.
He should point out Jordan’s obligations according to Article 9 of the 1994 Jordan-Israel Peace Treaty, specifically that each party will provide freedom of access to places of religious and historical significance, and “the Parties will act together to promote interfaith relations... with the aim of working towards religious understanding... freedom of religious worship and tolerance” with the expectation that these be fulfilled within a short time.
Netanyahu should emphasize that the section of the 2013 Agreement between the Abdulla and Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that reads “Al Masjid Al Aqsa with its 144 dunams, which include... attached areas over and beneath the ground and the Wakf properties tied-up to Al Masjid Al Aqsa, to its environs or to its pilgrims” is unacceptable to Israel.
He should confirm previous understandings that all Wakf employees and expenditures must be vetted and authorized in coordination with Israel.
Lastly, the concept of a status quo applies to all parties. Creating new mosques, such as at the Golden Gate and the Barclay Gate, minarets or instituting new customs and institutions must be a mutually agreed decision.
These steps should contribute to a rhetorical atmosphere in which Jews are no longer just tolerated, if at all, and surely not discriminated against. At the very least, Israel will be reordering and reconstructing a more balanced, fair and honest conversation regarding the Temple Mount, which is not only an Islamic but very much a Jewish holy site.
Perhaps then @KingAbdullahII, Jordan ought to be cooling the tensions, instead of spreading lies against Israel and inciting such violence, that could precipitate another intifada? https://t.co/uO6AcZsJ5l— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) December 28, 2022
Did the extradition of Ahlam Tamimi for the murder of Malki Roth and 14 others come up? https://t.co/8abkbnmsD4— Len Khodorkovsky (@MessageFromLen) December 28, 2022
Israeli government guidelines envision settlement of Judea and Samaria
Israel’s incoming government on Wednesday published a list of policy guidelines that includes a vow to promote settlement throughout the country.Report: New Government to Expand Jewish Hebron, Expel Terrorists
“The Jewish people has an exclusive and inalienable right to all parts of the Land of Israel. The government will promote and develop the settlement of all parts of the Land of Israel—in the Galilee, the Negev, the Golan Heights and Judea and Samaria,” a clause in the document states.
It also reinforces a commitment to strengthening the status of Jerusalem, which by law is Israel’s unified capital.
The guidelines outline the incoming government’s desire to “preserve the Jewish character of the state and the heritage of Israel,” while “respecting the practices and traditions of members of all religions in the country in accordance with the values of the Declaration of Independence.”
The government also intends to maintain the status quo on issues of religion and state that has been in effect for decades, including with regard to the holy places.
At 8 AM Wednesday, I received a note from the Religious Zionism party saying their coalition agreement with Likud has been signed. And one day ahead of Benjamin Netanyahu swearing in his sixth government, Kan 11 News published parts of the agreement, revealing that the next coalition will promote strengthening the Jewish community in Hebron, and promote revoking the citizenship of Israeli Arab terrorists.
One clause in the RZP-Likud agreement concerns the Jewish community of Hebron. In the clause, the coalition undertakes to increase and expand the Jewish presence in the City of the Patriarchs. The Hebron clause is part of several items dealing with the bolstering of Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria.
The reason for introducing a specific clause that deals with the Jewish community in Hebron is related to the fact that Hebron has made headlines in recent months with an increased presence of left-wing agent provocateurs who come to the city to provoke conflicts with local Jews and security forces, then post video recordings of said conflicts to generate anti-Israel hatred.
Another reason for pushing the strengthening of Hebron is a response to demands from the left to evacuate Hebron. The clause is a statement that not only will the Hebron community not be evacuated, but would be expanded.
Yishai Fleisher, the International Spokesperson for the city of Hebron told JewishPress.com, “The incoming government’s decision to strengthen the nearly uninterrupted 3000-year-old Jewish presence in the city of Hebron is a victory over terror, and will ensure that Israel’s historical pillars, which bolster the Zionist narrative, continue to be strong.”
The new coalition will submit a bill based on the agreement with RZP regarding terrorists who are Israeli Arabs or residents of East Jerusalem. The bill makes it possible to revoke the citizenship or residency of convicted terrorists and subsequently deport them.
Amir will also become the first openly gay Speaker of the Knesset, in what is effectively the 3rd most senior public role in Israel, after the President and Prime Minister, and where he serves as the stand-in president when the sitting president is off duty. https://t.co/HI3gxgGtkr— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) December 28, 2022
Two Years to Israel-Morocco Normalization: Sustaining the Positive Momentum
On December 10, 2020, following on the heels of the Abraham Accords, Jerusalem and Rabat concluded an agreement to establish full diplomatic relations, reviving and expanding the low-level ties that emerged during the 1990s and were broken off during the second intifada. Simultaneously, the Moroccan government has invested in establishing Jewish museums—inaugurating two this year—and preserving historical Jewish sites. Pro-Palestinian sentiment nonetheless remains high in the country, and King Mohammed VI sees himself as the protector of the Palestinian people. Sam Millner, Morr Link, and Ofir Winter explain, and offer some suggestions to Israeli diplomats:Israeli President Herzog salutes late Moroccan king for protecting Jews
Attitudes toward Judaism are rooted in a broader agenda cultivated by King Mohammed VI to promote a national identity characterized by religious, cultural, and ethnic pluralism, as documented by the country’s 2011 constitution, which stipulates that Moroccan unity “is forged by the convergence of its Arab-Islamist, Berber [Amazigh], and Saharan-Hassanic components, nourished and enriched by its African, Andalusian, Hebraic, and Mediterranean influences.”
The positive momentum in Israel-Morocco relations cannot be taken for granted in light of the challenges that these relations face, chief among them Morocco’s position toward the Palestinians.
Israel should capitalize on the overlapping aspects of its history with Morocco to develop bilateral relations further, especially in civilian ties: in sports, academia, arts, and culture, where people-to-people connections are paramount. This way, the countries’ shared heritage and cultural affinity could serve as a lever for enhancing dialogue and cooperation.
A final recommendation stems from a broader understanding of the Abraham Accords and the values they embody. Hardline religious discourse encumbers the ability to promote dialogue and construct mutually respectful and tolerant narratives. Israeli representatives are therefore encouraged to promote ways to engage with Moroccan discourse on religious and cultural pluralism, and consider concrete policies and activities that could advance these ideas, such as promoting dialogue and coexistence between Jews and Muslims in Israel and beyond. Such policies could increase Israel’s ability to develop ties with Arab and Muslim countries—and benefit Israeli society as well.
Former Israeli lawmaker Yossi Yonah breaks down the warm ties between Morocco's royal family and the Jews.
What’s behind Oman’s BDS push?
This effort has so far passed largely under the radar outside of Israel, thanks to the fact that most of the Western world is on break for the Christmas and New Year holidays. The last thing Muscat wants or needs is negative attention from the United States or the United Kingdom, its primary interlocutor ever since colonial days. The US has traditionally praised Oman's role as a key ally in securing freedom of navigation and as a host of the US Navy on multiple Omani bases through the Oman Facilities Access Agreement. This has allowed US naval ships to engage in naval exercises with other regional allies; to seize contraband headed to Yemen; and to provide security to the trade vessels passing through the Strait of Hormuz to the Red Sea en route to the Horn of Africa. Most recently President Biden praised Oman’s energy and climate policies in light of his administration’s vision and other forms of cooperation. But there is more to the story than trying to sneak in this measure behind the backs of the US Congress and the UK Parliament.
Due to its close ties to Iran and to the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen, Oman has played the role of a diplomatic intermediary on assorted regional issues, including the war in Yemen and the effort to revitalize nuclear deal policies with Iran. Just a few days ago, Oman sent a delegation to Sanaa to present the Saudi truce proposal to the Houthi leadership.
Iran’s influence in Oman is substantial. It is one of the top trading partners and investors in the struggling Omani economy, and a supporter of Oman’s role as home to the Shia Muslim-adjacent religious minority, the Ibadi. Oman reportedly hosts secret Iranian intelligence and military bases, and turns a blind eye to Houthi arms smuggling into Yemen.
This boycott bill may be Iran’s message to the international community and to Israel, especially in response to the recent diplomatic measures against it, which include a wide array of sanctions and its ousting from the United Nations Women’s Rights Commission. More than just a tit-for-tat, however, Iran’s manipulation of its regional proxies may be aiming to disrupt the Abraham Accords in general.
A minyan of useful idiots. https://t.co/eOWDDyHqSl— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) December 28, 2022
The Palestinian Authority has long supported the Palestinian Martyrs Fund, awarding a pension to the family of any terrorist killed or imprisoned in the course of their heinous acts. This pay-to-slay program meant American aid to the PA was used to reward acts of terror. (2/5)— Mike Pompeo (@mikepompeo) December 27, 2022
Hey @AlJazeera— David Collier (@mishtal) December 28, 2022
Whilst you were busy stitching up British Jews with your conspiracy film 'the Lobby' - how did you not see the $millions used by Qatar to buy EU influence?
A real corrupt 'lobby' buying influence from your own backyard. And that you didn't catch.
Strange, no? pic.twitter.com/1Y8acYSH01
PMW: Bursting the bubble of another PA lie: The Campbell-Bannerman conspiracy
As Palestinian Media Watch has repeatedly exposed, an integral part of the Palestinian Authority’s “narrative” to undermine Israel’s legitimacy is to claim that Jews lack any historical connection to the land of Israel and that the creation of Israel was nothing more than an act of western colonization. To support their historical revision, PA leaders and officials often claim there was a secret plan formulated by British Prime Minister Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, to plant “a foreign body in the middle of the people of the Arab nation in order to fragment its solidarity, steal its resources, and prevent its revival.” This according to the PA historical revision is the sole reason for the establishment of the state of Israel. Similar to many other parts of the PA narrative, the claim regarding the Campbell-Bannerman conspiracy is a complete lie lacking any factual or evidentiary basis. In fact, honest Muslim-Arab scholars who have tried to prove this document’s authenticity eventually admitted that no such document exists.PLO official: Israel will be destroyed because “Palestine… will return to its owners”
An article written by Prof Dr. Mohsen Mohammad Saleh, who heads the Al-Zaytouna Centre for Studies and Consultations, a Lebanese research institute that “focuses on the Palestinian issue and the conflict with Israel as well as related Palestinian, Arab, Islamic and international developments,” wanted to determine the origins of the so-called “Campbell-Bannerman document”.
Although his goal was to attempt to authenticate the document, Salah was disappointed:
“In short, I became curious about the issue. In one visit to Britain, I therefore set out to investigate, it but found no trace or source of it!!”
[Website of Al-Zaytouna, Political Analysis: Is the “Campbell-Bannerman Document”: Real or Fake?, Sept. 29, 2017]
In the article, Salah exposes how Dr. Anis Sayegh (who Salah refers to as “one of the leading researchers in modern Palestinian history, and head of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Research Center between 1966 and 1976”) discovered the origin of the alleged document. According to the account, the document was first referenced after an incidental discussion between an Egyptian named Antoun Canaan (“the first Arab to reference the Campbell-Bannerman document in a published work”) and an unidentified Indian man, sitting next to him on a plane:
In his account, he mentions when he served as chairman of the PLO think tank, that he was keen to reach the “important document,” but could not find a single established source for it in dozens of references and books citing it, including works by reliable writers such as Buhran al-Dajani, Munthir Antabawi, Khairi Hamad, and Shafiq Irshidat. Each of them referenced another in a sort of a circular way.
For this reason, Dr. Anis Sayegh decided to dedicate time to research the document in Britain, spending a whole month in the British National Archives, the British Museum library, and Cambridge University where Campbell-Bannerman had studied and deposited his entire private documents collection. Dr. Sayegh also examined the archives of The Times newspaper covering the period 1904–1907, and found thousands of references to the imperialist colonial conference, but found nothing about the document itself.
Palestinian National Council Secretary Fahmi Al-Za’arir: “Rest assured that Palestine is soon returning to its owners. This is indisputable and undebatable. If not in our time then in the time of the coming generations, but this state will be established and this land will return to its owners.”
[Official PA TV, Topic of the Day, Dec. 5, 2022]
The Palestinian National Council (PNC) is the legislative body of the PLO
Palestinian Authority seeks to stop gunmen from holding public rallies
The Palestinian Authority security forces have stepped up the pressure on Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank as part of an effort to stop them from holding public rallies, Palestinian sources said on Wednesday.
The rallies, most of which have been taking place in the areas of Nablus and Jenin over the past year, have embarrassed the Ramallah-based Palestinian leadership in the international arena, especially Western donors, the sources said.
The PA leadership has come under heavy pressure from the US and some European Union states to take real measures to end the phenomenon of gunmen roaming the streets of Palestinian communities, the sources added.
A Palestinian official in Ramallah, however, said there was no decision at this stage to use force to dismantle the armed groups or prevent them from holding "military parades."
Does the PA want armed Palestinian gunmen to surrender and join the PA security forces?
The official said the PA was working to convince many of the gunmen to surrender and join the PA security forces.
According to the official, nearly all of the Fatah-affiliated members of the Nablus-based Lions’ Den armed group have turned themselves in to the Palestinian security forces.
Most of the current members of the group, who are affiliated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad, are refusing to follow suit, the official said.
In an attempt to appease the donors and other international parties, the PA has been dispatching senior security officers to the refugee camps in the Jenin and Nablus areas to meet with members of the armed groups operating there.
Interesting to see how Hamas has refrained from publicly lauding Aslam Faroukh, an Islamic State sympathizer who is charged with carrying out the Jerusalem bombings. They and other groups were quite vocal in their approval of the bombings back in November, not so much now.— Joe Truzman (@JoeTruzman) December 27, 2022
The pro-Hamas news program on al-Jazeera that regularly airs documentaries about Palestinian militant activity in Gaza is now showing a promo for groups in the West Bank. Maybe we will see how militants in Jenin are getting their hands on weapons stolen from IDF bases. pic.twitter.com/2UArlAEO83— Joe Truzman (@JoeTruzman) December 27, 2022
Mohammed Majdi Banat (left), a cousin of slain human rights activist Nizar Banat, has been arrested by Palestinian security forces. Mohammed is a witness in the trial of the officers accused of beating Nizar Banat to death. pic.twitter.com/rDwx1OIkBr— Khaled Abu Toameh (@KhaledAbuToameh) December 28, 2022
MEMRI: At Event Marking Hamas' 35th Anniversary At Al-Quds University In East Jerusalem: Calls For Jihad To Liberate Palestine 'From River To Sea'
Hamas' student organization, the Islamic Bloc, is very active in the Palestinian universities in the West Bank, where it openly incites armed struggle and terrorist activity against Israel. Recently, Islamic Bloc members held mass-events at several West Bank universities to mark the 35th anniversary of Hamas' founding. At one of these events, which took place on December 11, 2022 at Al-Quds University in Abu Dis, a village in the Jerusalem area, students marched through the campus carrying flags and emblems of Hamas and of its military wing, the 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, the emblem of the Lions' Den militia, and signs bearing slogans such as "resistance," "I sow fear" and portraits of martyrs. The event was attended by young children.
In a pre-recorded speech played at the event, Hamas' spokesman for Jerusalem affairs Muhammad Hamada warned that "the [young] generation of the resistance is coming like a raging torrent to liberate Jerusalem, and no occupier or invader will stop it."
A statement issued by the Islamic Bloc on the occasion of the anniversary asserted that Hamas would not stray from the path of jihad and resistance, whatever the number of victims may be, until it liberates all of Palestine from the River to the Sea.
This report reviews the event held by the Islamic Bloc at Al-Quds University.
Address By Hamas Spokesman At Al-Quds University Event: "The [Young] Generation Of The Resistance Is Coming Like A Raging Torrent To Liberate Jerusalem"
As stated, in a recorded address played at the event, Hamas' spokesman for Jerusalem affairs Muhammad Hamada warned that "the [young] generation of the resistance is coming like a raging torrent to liberate Jerusalem, and no occupier or invader will stop it." He also praised Al-Quds University, calling it "the university of martyrs and resistance fighters" and urging the members of the Islamic Bloc to continue in the footsteps of "the heroic martyrs ['Adel] 'Awadallah and [Mahmoud] Abu Hunoud." The goal of the resistance and of the struggle of the people in the West Bank, he added, is "to liberate Palestine from the River to the Sea and restore Jerusalem to the Palestinian people, as a unified and purged capital city."
Senior Hamas Official Mahmoud Al-Zahar: The Jews Were Banished from Every Country in the World, Sent to Palestine to Weaken Our Historic Islamic Movement; Ukraine Is a Jewish Country #hamas #Palestinians pic.twitter.com/TV2UNQ2ept— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) December 28, 2022
No me digas? Hamas has been on a noticeable campaign this year attempting to woo Christians and apparently Catholics to its cause. pic.twitter.com/yMjBe4PdOA— Joe Truzman (@JoeTruzman) December 27, 2022
Lebanese Sunni Scholar Dr. Hassan Moraib: Lebanon Is On the Verge of Civil War; We Are Ready to Fight "Like Everybody Else," Do Not Fear Hizbullah or the Christians pic.twitter.com/qyYu58AQQx— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) December 28, 2022
US in major effort to choke Iran’s drone program, end supply to Russia — NY Times
The US has launched a major effort to stifle Iran’s ability to manufacture and deliver drones for Russia to use in the war in Ukraine, akin to its years-long push to halt Tehran’s drive toward nuclear weapons, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.EMET welcomes passage of the 2022 Masih Alinejad Hunt Act
Citing multiple security officials in the US, Europe and the Middle East, the paper said the program also aims to give Ukraine the ability to shoot down any “kamikaze” drones that Russia does manage to acquire, as well as to target their launch sites.
The Times reported that President Joe Biden’s administration is cooperating closely with Israel on the issue and is building on Jerusalem’s experience thwarting Iranian drone attacks.
According to a White House statement, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan discussed Iran’s military ties to Russia with top security officials last week. The release did not explain specific steps being taken on the matter.
Washington has described an extensive relationship between Iran and Russia involving military equipment, especially since Russian troops invaded Ukraine in February.
Western officials have warned in recent weeks that Iran is preparing to provide missiles to Russia and increase its supplies of drones, which have been apparently used in strikes on Ukrainian civilians and infrastructure sites.
Tehran has rejected it provided drones to the Kremlin for the war, though it acknowledged it has sent such arms in the past. Its assertion has been rejected by multiple top officials in the West.
The Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) welcomed Congress’ adoption on Friday of the 2022 Masih Alinejad Hunt Act.
The bill is named after Masih Alinejad, an Iranian-American journalist working as a presenter for the VOA Persian Service and as a correspondent for Radio Farda.
In July 2021, the Department of Justice announced charges against five Iranian intelligence agents who sought to kidnap Alinejad and take her to Iran. As part of the operation, Iranian officers conducted extensive surveillance of Alinejad using private investigators and intimidated her relatives living overseas in an attempt to lure her to a third country.
“For several years now, Iranian-American dissidents have felt under severe threat for simply exercising their First Amendment freedoms and speaking out against the brutal and repressive theocracy in Iran,” a press release from EMET stated.
The Masih Alinejad Hunt Act instructs the federal government to sanction individuals and entities who serve as agents of the Iranian government who harass Iranian dissidents and human rights activists in the United States. The Act also creates reporting requirements for the Secretary of State and the Treasury on the identity and activities of such individuals and entities.
“The purpose of this legislation is to finally put some consequences into the Islamic republic’s heinous actions. It identifies and imposes severe sanctions on those agents or persons who are responsible for or complicit in the abuses toward dissidents on behalf of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the organization said.
“This is not, however, only about Ms. Alinejad. There are hundreds of courageous expatriate Iranians throughout the world whose lives are in danger in various countries throughout the world, including Canada, Turkey and various European capitals,” the news release stated.
In March, Britain paid Iran $530m for hostages. In an effort to downplay the damage the Brits said the money would be fenced for humanitarianism - and the Iranians promptly, publicly, explicitly mocked them for it.— Omri Ceren (@omriceren) December 28, 2022
The Iranians use hostage taking because they're rewarded for it. https://t.co/28WRsT1Mls
PreOccupiedTerritory: Iran Announces Greater West Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere (satire)
Leaders of the Islamic Republic formalized an initiative this week in the mold of a Japanese plan before and during the Second World War to help the peoples of the region throw off the yoke of Western imperialism and colonialism, with itself in the lead role and with generous lip service to unity of the subject peoples, all to serve as euphemistic cover for its own territorial and hegemonic ambitions.
President of Iran Ebrahim Raisi announced in a speech to parliament the Greater West-Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, harkening back to an analogous scheme from 1930’s and 40’s Tokyo by a similar name. The latter-day Prosperity Sphere, in Raisi’s vision, sees Iran as the anchor, racial essence, and dominant force in the region stretching from East Africa to India and north into Central Asia, to “assist the peoples of the region free themselves from the oppressive, exploitative paternalism of American, European, and Zionist powers.” Instead, Raisi declared, Iran would forge the Middle East into an independent region free of interference from those outsiders, controlled from Tehran instead of Washington, New York, London, or Tel Aviv.
“The natural and human resources of this region belong to the people of this region,” he asserted. “The proven wisdom of Iran’s Supreme Leader and the Islamic Revolution will guide all the peoples of the region – the ones who belong here, not the usurper Zionists, for example – in the proper extraction, production, processing, and disposition of those resources, by which I mean securing the resources for Iran’s use, because we’re Aryans and that’s what the Second World War tells us Aryans do.” The country’s name derives from the Indo-European Aryan linguistic group.
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