Thursday, January 12, 2023

From Ian:

Ground Rules for U.S.-Israel Relations
rrive soon in Jerusalem to hold talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The visit will serve as an opportunity to agree on "ground rules" for U.S.-Israel relations. Israel is a sovereign country that formulates its policies on its own in view of the responsibility that history has given it as the state of the Jewish people and with the realization that the struggle continues over its existence, stature and security.

A strong Israel is a boon for the U.S., security-wise, technology-wise, and economically. Israel will continue to use its power to defend itself and will not allow its existence to be threatened. The U.S. should at the very least have our back. As for domestic issues, Netanyahu should make it clear that Israel is a vibrant democracy that sorts things out through the democratic process. There is no room for meddling and foreign influence by any side.

Iran's involvement in the Ukraine war only underscores the threat posed by it. Just imagine what it would feel it could do if it had nuclear capabilities. Not only has Biden's policy not restrained Iran, it also allowed it to continue with its efforts to advance toward military nuclear capabilities and to continue with its subversive efforts in the region.

Washington must take the prospect of rejoining the 2015 nuclear deal off the table for good and actively lobby to have snapback sanctions on Iran re-imposed, while also creating a credible military option. Such a policy will reduce the risk of a war breaking out in the Middle East.
Walter Russell Mead (WSJ): How to Restore American Influence in the Middle East
With Tehran's utter rejection of Biden administration efforts for conciliation and its wholehearted embrace of Moscow, U.S. and Israeli views of Iran have become more aligned. The long European romance with Iran is cooling as the regime's brutality at home and its collusion with Russian aggression in Ukraine sour European hopes for profitable and peaceful relations with the mullahs.

Higher energy prices have sent floods of cash into the Middle East, boosting the confidence of local rulers. China is working to raise its economic and political profile in a region essential to its future. The White House, feeling overstretched against Russian aggression in Ukraine and Chinese ambition in the Indo-Pacific, wants to minimize its exposure to the Middle East.

Yet the region is too important to ignore - and the more the U.S. withdraws, the more influence it sheds. As America becomes less relevant, regional actors feel free to make more decisions that Washington dislikes, effectively undermining U.S. influence around the globe.

If President Biden wants to restore American influence in the region, he can still do so. The price, however, is a resolute and effective U.S. policy to disrupt Iran's ability to threaten its Arab neighbors. If combined with measures to ensure that Israel and its friends can, if all else fails, take military action to block Tehran's nuclear program, this would put the U.S. back at the center of Middle Eastern order. The cost of influence is high, but impotence is more expensive in the long run.
Caroline Glick: Democracy must be restored to Israel
“For years now, Israel has seemed to me like a man sleepwalking toward a cliff. Now we’ve fallen from it.”

So proclaimed author Hillel Halkin in a hysterical requiem for Israel published last week in The Jewish Review of Books.

Halkin’s metaphorical cliff is the right-religious bloc’s electoral victory on Nov. 1, 2022 and the formation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s sixth government two weeks ago. Halkin explained to his concerned readers that it isn’t that Israel stopped being a democracy on Nov. 1. Far worse. On that day, Israel lost its soul.

And Halkin identifies the culprit: Judaism.

In language redolent with antisemitic tropes, Halkin blamed “Judaism” for destroying “Zionism,” which he argued, oddly, “sought to cure us” of Judaism’s “fantasies and delusions … only to become infected with them itself.”

“Zionism wanted to make us a normal people,” he wrote. Alas, “It failed and grew warped in the process.”

American Jewish readers may have been shocked that the long-time Israeli darling of the neoconservative clique is now a hate-mongering leftist. But for Israeli readers, there was nothing original about Halkin’s essay. Since Nov. 1, the leftist-dominated Hebrew media has been consumed by the left’s collective nervous breakdown. Far more extreme messages than Halkin’s are shoved down the public’s throats 24-7. The charge is being led by politicians, retired generals and judges, and other members of Israel’s unelected, leftist establishment. The progressive U.S. foundation the New Israel Fund is reportedly funding and organizing the campaign.

Biden tells Israel to give money to terrorists, not terror victims
The Biden administration condemned Israel for giving $39 million in Palestinian Authority tax revenues to the victims of terrorism instead of the terrorists.

“It is morally just and important for the war against terror. There is no greater justice than using the funds for the victims of terror,” Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said of the move.

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price condemned Israel’s actions as a “unilateral response” that will “exacerbate tensions,” and warned that the administration will raise the issue with Israel.

Price did not address whether the P.A. spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year to finance terrorist attacks against Israelis through its “Pay-to-Slay” program raises any tensions. The ruling PLO body spending millions to kill Jews is not unilateral, but Israel refusing to finance the murder of its own citizens is a dangerous move that will make peace difficult.

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh claims that if Israel doesn’t give it $39 million, that “will promptly lead to its collapse.”

The terror organization has been claiming variations of the same thing for over two decades.

“Palestinian Authority broke and in disarray,” the media agonized in 2004. “Palestinians threaten to collapse the Palestinian Authority,” they clamored in 2009. “Suspended tax transfers leave Palestinian economy on the brink” came the warnings in 2015. “Palestinian finances near collapse as cuts deepen,” we were told in 2019.

The PLO’s terror infrastructure is always on the verge of collapse, but sadly never does.

“Israel sells us everything, including water treatment, electricity and drinking water, and in fact profits from all of this,” Shtayyeh whined.

Why after 30 years can’t the aspiring terror state do anything for itself? The “Palestinians” have received an estimated $40 billion in foreign aid. Other estimates have put it at $50 billion.

Over $14 billion of that money went directly to the Palestinian Authority. What did all that money buy, apart from mansions for top terrorists?
US must stop Israeli sanctions that undermine PA, Shtayyeh tells US envoy Amr
The Biden administration must act swiftly to stop Israeli sanctions and other unilateral actions that threaten the Palestinian Authority and a two-state solution, PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh stressed during a meeting in Ramallah on Thursday with US special envoy Hady Amr.

“The US administration is required to move urgently to put an end to the unilateral Israeli measures and threats that undermine the [Palestinian] Authority and systematically end the possibility of establishing a Palestinian state,” Shtayyeh told the US envoy.

Shtayyeh briefed Amr on “the violations and unilateral measures taken by the new extremist Israeli government against the Palestinian people,” according to the PA’s official news agency Wafa.

Optimism about visits by Blinken, Sullivan
The Palestinian premier spoke in advance of the visit later this month by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan to the region. Those US officials, he said, should “carry a message of hope for the Palestinian people and a clear statement to the Israeli government of the need to stop violations and unilateral measures.”

The two men spoke less than a week after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's new government decided to sanction the PA both for its policy of providing monthly stipends to terrorists and their families and for its appeal against Israel to the International Court of Justice. The sanctions include the withholding of tax fees that Israel collects on behalf of the PA.

Shtayyeh repeated his demand for “real” American pressure on the Israeli government to stop all violations and release the Palestinian funds that it deducts from tax revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinians in response to payments made to the families of Palestinian prisoners and “martyrs.”

“The Palestinian people and their leadership will not accept the fait accompli, and we will move forward in the popular, diplomatic and legal struggle in the face of the Israeli measures,” Shtayyeh pledged.
MEMRI: Jordanian Journalists React To Israeli Minister Ben Gvir's Visit To Temple Mount: Only Confrontation, To The Point Of Martyrdom, Will Drive Out The Enemy And Purge Palestine Of The 'Despicable Nazi Occupation'; This Is A Death Sentence For The Oslo Accords
The January 3, 2023 visit of Israel National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir to the Temple Mount sparked furious responses in Jordan. The Jordanian Foreign Ministry harshly condemned the visit and warned of escalation and "a dangerous trend, which the international community should take immediate action to avert." Ministry spokesman Sinan Al-Majali said that the government of Israel bears responsibility "for the grave consequences of this escalation, which torpedoes all the efforts to prevent an increase in the violence." The ministry went so far as to summon the Israeli ambassador in Amman to lodge its protest against the visit.[1] Harsher responses were heard from Jordanian MPs, who called for severing relations with Israel and expelling its ambassador. Several MPs even demanded to open the border and enable jihad against Israel, and to allow the transfer of weapons to terrorist organizations in the West Bank – mentioning the Lions' Den militia in Nablus and Hamas' military wing, the 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades. Some of the MPs expressed willingness to become martyrs themselves.[2]

The Jordanian press published scathing articles and political cartoons condemning Israel. Among them was a particularly strident article by Rashid Hassan, a Jordanian columnist of Palestinian origin. In his January 8, 2023 column in the daily Al-Dustour, he praised "the lions" of Palestine – apparently a reference to the Lions' Den militia – for their commitment to the approach of fighting Israel until victory or martyrdom. Stressing that the way to liberate the Palestinian land and holy places from "the filth of the despicable Nazi occupation" is by means of blood, sacrifice and martyrdom, he described the leaders of the Palestinian Authority (PA) as "profiteers who sold the homeland cheaply" and stated that this path of uncompromising resistance is a death sentence for the Oslo Accords with Israel.

The following are translated excerpts from Rashid Hassan's column: [3]
"One of the most wonderful things which the glorious revolution of the [Palestinian] lions embodied, presented, and emphasized is the necessity to confront the Zionist enemy and to continue the confrontation until achieving either victory or martyrdom. Although this idea is not new in essence, it underscores the strategy of this tremendous revolution, namely that there is no turning back from resistance and confrontation and no substitute for this path of resistance, i.e., for expelling the enemy and liberating the land and the holy places from the filth of the despicable Nazi occupation. Confrontation until martyrdom.

"It should be stressed that confrontation is not a ruse or idle talk, or concocting theories from a distance that have no grounding in reality. It is shahada and istishhad – martyrdom and sacrifice – which the [early 'Abbasid Egyptian] poet Muslim Ibn al-Walid called… 'the most exalted sacrifice,' which elevates the value of this powerful emblem [i.e. martyrdom] among our jihad-fighting people, and especially among the members of the revolutionary younger generation which has chosen this difficult path, the most illustrious path, sealed in blood, the path of eternity.

"These lions have turned the tables on the tyrannical enemy, on those who are derelict [in their duties] and on the profiteers who sold the homeland cheaply, for a handful of pennies.
Unpacked: Who owns the Temple Mount?
Sacred and significant to Jews and Palestinians alike, the Temple Mount has a long and tumultuous history.

For Jews, the Temple Mount is known to be the holiest site in Judaism and the place where King Solomon built the Temple. For Palestinians, the Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound is considered the third holiest site in Islam.

From its origins as a symbol of legitimacy for various empires and groups to its current role as a flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Temple Mount continues to represent the complexities and tensions of the region.

What do US Jews think of Israel's new government

Have the Abraham Accords changed attitudes toward Israel in the Middle East?

Police arrest member of anti-Zionist sect for meeting terror operatives in Jenin
Police on Thursday said officers arrested a man who entered the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank earlier this week along with two other members of the fringe anti-Zionist, ultra-Orthodox sect Neturei Karta, and met with Palestinians from local terror groups.

Elhanan Lax, 38, from the central city of Petah Tikva, was detained on suspicion of “supporting and associating with a terror group” and illegally entering Area A of the West Bank, where Jenin is located. Israeli citizens are barred from entering Area A, as it is under the Palestinian Authority’s civilian and security control under the Oslo Accords.

The three men were filmed meeting with prominent Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group officials as well as families of terrorist attackers on Monday. Jenin is seen as a hotbed of Palestinian terrorism.

Police said they are seeking to arrest the other two men. The investigation is being led by the Beit Shemesh police station, as the pair at large are reported to be residents of the city or of Jerusalem. The trio could face lengthy prison spells if convicted of supporting terror.

Police in a statement slammed their “serious and irresponsible conduct contrary to the law.”

“Whether this stems from an unacceptable extremist ideology or because of religious extremism, or otherwise, it will be handled with decisiveness and with zero tolerance by police,” the statement added.
Women from Israeli Undercover Unit Share Their Experiences
In the early 2000s, during the Second Intifada, women were incorporated into the undercover Yamas unit in Israel's Border Police.

Sunny, Shir and Gali were among the few who completed the grueling training in counter-terrorism, fighting in built-up areas, and undercover training.

Sunny: "A woman raises less suspicion. In their culture, a woman doesn't constitute a threat."

Gali: "A man can't embed himself in a crowd of women, in a clothes shop, public restrooms....I've disguised myself as a teenage girl, a student and sometimes as an adult woman. In Arab culture, a man isn't supposed to look at a woman directly in the eyes. You'll go into a shop, and the man won't actually look at you. That's an advantage."

Gali: "I've arrested a lot of wanted women and carried out body-searches on suspected women. Before women were in the unit, Arab women took advantage of the situation and thought they were being clever by concealing things in their clothing, even in their underwear - because men wouldn't search there. But, as a woman, I can't be tricked."
Senior PLO Official: ‘Martyrs’ and Prisoners are ‘Most Precious Jewel’ for Palestinians
The Palestinian “martyrs” and prisoners, as well as their families, are the Palestinian people’s “most precious jewel,” PLO Executive Committee Secretary-General Hussein Al-Sheikh said at a ceremony celebrating Palestinian Martyr’s Day on Jan. 7.

According to a MEMRI report, a possible successor to Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and considered a “moderate” who deals closely with Israel, claimed the Palestinians would spend every single dime they have on the so-called martyrs (dead terrorists) and their families as well as imprisoned terrorists. The ceremony was broadcast on the P.A.’s Awda TV.

Sheikh said, “I would like to reassure you of our firm and unwavering commitment: Our martyrs, prisoners, and their families are where we cross the line.”

He added, “Even if we have one penny left, it will be spent on the families of the martyrs and prisoners…They are our purest, most permanent, loftiest, and most precious jewel.”
MEMRI: Recently Released Israeli-Arab Terrorist Karim Yunis: We Do Not Recognize The Green Line; Palestine In Its Entirety Is Ours, Including Mount Carmel, The Negev, And Coastal Plain
Recently released Israeli Arab terrorist Karim Yunis, who is also a member Fatah’s Central Committee, told Palestine TV on January 7, 2023 that the Palestinians do not recognize the Green Line and that Palestine belongs to them in its entirety. He also said that the Israelis want to tear Palestinians apart but will fail. Yunis was released from Israeli prison on January 4, 2023 after serving 40 years for murdering of Israeli soldier Avraham Bromberg in 1980.

"We Do Not Recognize The Green Line Or The 1949 Armistice Line"

Karim Yunis: "We do not recognize the Green Line or the 1949 Armistice Line, because we are one people. They wanted to tear us apart, but they will never succeed.

Palestine In Its Entirety Is Ours: Mount Carmel, The Jezreel Valley, The Coastal Plain, The Negev, The Galilee, And The Triangle Region

"We are marching on and we will seize our rights. I say once again: Palestine in its entirety is ours. Palestine in its entirety is ours: Mount Carmel is ours, the Jezreel Valley is ours, the Coastal Plain is ours, the Negev is ours, the Galilee is ours, and the Triangle region is ours as well."
Palestinians Recruit Minors as Terrorists, Then Condemn Israel for Shooting 'Innocent Children'
Palestinian terror groups are recruiting minors to carry out terrorist attacks while Palestinian leaders and international organizations are screaming that "innocent children are being killed."

The Palestinian Authority... glorifies terrorists and rewards them and their families with monthly stipends -- essentially a "jobs program" that solicits murder....

Those who send minors to carry out terror attacks should be held responsible for committing a crime against the Palestinians, for deliberately placing their children in danger, and not only Israel.

Ayyad, who was killed during violent clashes with Israeli soldiers, had even written a will expressing his desire to die as a "martyr."

"I'm happy that God has fulfilled one of my dreams: martyrdom." So much for being an "innocent child."

Palestinian children are brainwashed against Israel from the cradle and are deliberately placed in harm's way, while the UN and the rest of the world look the other way.

The UN members who held an emergency session to discuss the visit by a Jew to the Temple Mount are the biggest hypocrites of all. These supposed purveyors of virtue do not want to acknowledge that the Palestinian recruitment of children as soldiers is the real threat to peace and security, and not a Jew walking on the grounds of a holy site in Jerusalem.

It would have been better for the UN and all those who rushed to condemn Ben-Gvir's visit had they called an emergency session to see why Palestinian children are being sent by their own people to die in clashes with the Israeli army.

It would also have been better had the UN held a special session to discuss the Palestinian leadership's responsibility for its ongoing incitement against Israel and encouraging minors to seek death as "martyrs."

The blood of the next Palestinian child killed in battle will be on the hands of the liars in the corridors of the UN and the offices of major newspapers around the world, which continue to ignore Palestinian atrocities against their own people.

India: Videos Claiming Israel Police Killed Palestinian Boy Were from Incident in Sweden
Claim Several videos claiming to show an Israeli police officer suffocating a Palestinian boy to death are going viral on Facebook. The caption in Hindi also claims that the teenager was killed for protesting at the US Embassy in Jerusalem, and that he recited Kalima-e-Shahadat, an Islamic prayer during his final moments. The full caption reads,

This false claim is being revived predominantly when the clashes between Israel and Palestine make the news.

Fact BOOM found that the video is from Sweden, not Jerusalem. A reverse image search of the keyframes led us to videos from 2015 when the incident first took place. Captions suggested that the video was from Sweden, and shows a security guard assaulting a nine-year-old boy for travelling in the train without a ticket. We also found news articles by The Local, a Sweden-based news outlet and by The Independent that have reported the incident. According to these reports, the security guard detained the boy and his 12-year-old friend for travelling without a ticket in Sweden. Ever since this incident, the video has been revived multiple times and used to share false claims related to the Israel-Palestine violence.
Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan Rank among the "World's Angriest Countries"
Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan ranked among the world's angriest countries in Gallup's latest annual Global Emotions Report.

Lebanon topped the list, with 49% reporting feelings of anger the previous day. Since 2019, Lebanon has been in the throes of a financial crisis which has wiped 95% off the value of its currency and left much of the population below the poverty line.

Michael Young, a senior editor at Carnegie Middle East in Beirut, noted, "The system simply does not work, at any level. People feel constantly robbed."

Julie Ray, managing director of Gallup World Poll News, reported that a record 63% of Lebanese adults said "they would leave if they could."

Iraq came fourth with 46%. Jordan came sixth at 35%.

U.S.: Return to Iran Deal "Not on the Agenda" because "Iranians Reneged on Commitments"
State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said Monday: "The Iranians killed the prospect for a swift return to compliance with the JCPOA. A return to compliance with the JCPOA isn't on the agenda."

"It's not on the agenda for primarily one reason; that's because the Iranians turned their back on it, the Iranians reneged on commitments they had made."
Iran Sentences Former Deputy Minister With UK Nationality to Death for Spying
Iran has sentenced a former deputy defence minister who holds dual Iranian-British citizenship to death on charges of spying for Britain, Iranian state media reported on Wednesday.

Britain described the death sentence on Alireza Akbari as politically motivated and called for his immediate release.

Akbari was a close ally of Ali Shamkhani, who is currently the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council and served as Defence Minister from 1997 to 2005, when Akbari was his deputy.

“He was one of the most important agents of the British intelligence service in Iran who had access to some very sensitive centres in the country,” Iran‘s Intelligence Ministry said. “Akbari had fully knowingly provided information to the enemy’s spy service.”

British foreign minister James Cleverly called for Akbari to be freed.

“Iran must halt the execution of British-Iranian national Alireza Akbari and immediately release him,” Cleverly wrote on Twitter. “This is a politically motivated act by a barbaric regime that has total disregard for human life.”

Iran To Station Warships in Panama Canal
Iran"s navy is set to station warships for the first time in the Panama Canal, a critical trade route in America"s backyard that has never before seen an Iranian military presence.

Rear Admiral Shahram Irani, the commander of Iran"s navy, said on Wednesday that his forces will establish a presence in the Panama Canal later this year, marking the first time Iran"s military has entered the Pacific Ocean.

Iran in recent years has placed a greater focus on moving its military into Latin American territories as it strengthens relations with anti-American dictators in the region, most notably in Venezuela. Iranian vessels have docked more frequently in Venezuela as Tehran"s hardline regime seeks to prop up dictator Nicolás Maduro. These moves are meant to provoke the United States and signal that Tehran has the ability to station its military apparatus a stone"s throw from U.S. territory.

Joseph Humire, a national security analyst who focuses on Latin American issues as executive director of the Center for a Secure Free Society think tank, said Iran has been laying the groundwork for this type of voyage by holding joint exercises with allies such as Russia and China, two nations that have also been strengthening their ties with Latin American countries.

"This is what Iran has been building in Latin America for the past 30 or 40 years" by establishing embassies and bilateral agreements with a host of nations, Humire said.
Schoolchildren at British mosques given lessons in praise of Iranian terror ‘martyr’
SCHOOLCHILDREN were given special classes in praise of Iranian terrorist mastermind Qasem Soleimani at British mosques, it can be revealed.

At least six mosques across the country organised events honouring Soleimani, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) commander, as a “martyr” after he was killed in a US drone strike in January 2020.

As commander-in-chief of the IRGC’s Quds Force, Soleimani oversaw Iran’s funding and direction of terror groups, including Hamas and Hezbollah.

Despite this, mosques in London, Luton, Birmingham and Manchester, which have charitable status and benefit from UK tax breaks, organised the events including at least two where children were encouraged to learn about Soleimani’s life.

On the day after Iran’s terror chief’s death, another UK-registered charity, Majlis e Ulama e Europe, a network of Shia mosques and scholars closely linked to Iran, also issued a statement condemning the attack that killed him.

The statement said it wished to pay condolences to the Iranian leader Ayatollah Khamenei and the family of the “martyr” Soleimani.

The revelations comes as the British government continues to work towards proscribing the IRGC, which also controls Iran’s nuclear weapons and missile programmes, as a terrorist organisation — a move that will mean events in praise of its leadership would be outlawed.

Photographs posted on social media by those involved show children sitting on the carpet of an unnamed mosque while being taught about the terror chief, and reveal that a similar event took place at the Masjid-e-Ali Centre in Luton.

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