Wednesday, January 18, 2023

From Ian:

The terror authority
The P.A. has long been a strategic threat to Israel’s security and continues to be one. It has been involved in terrorism since it was established, while Israel continues to view it as a force for stability. In fact, due to its unprecedented lack of popularity and legitimacy on the Palestinian “street,” the P.A. is moving towards destabilizing actions, such as suing Israel in the ICC, taking the lead on U.N. resolutions targeting Israel and asking the ICJ to investigate the situation in Judea and Samaria, a clear violation of its Oslo commitments.

Most important are the aforementioned P.A. payments to terrorists. Such payments have been official P.A. policy for decades. The P.A. offers stipends of between $400 to $3,500 monthly for every Palestinian terrorist who murders or attempts to murder innocent Israelis. Payments are promised in advance and wired to the terrorist in Israeli prison or the family of a terrorist killed in the course of his attack. These salaries are lifelong, and even terrorists released from Israeli prisons continue to receive them. The P.A. also guarantees released terrorists a safe position in the P.A. infrastructure, whether as a ghost employee or an actual one, alongside free healthcare and education.

For the average Palestinian, this is like winning the lottery. A lifetime monthly salary of $3,500 is four times the average Palestinian wage and eight times higher than the minimum wage. A convicted terrorist makes five times more than teachers and engineers, as much as a Palestinian supreme court judge. The security threat this presents is clear.

The P.A. also engages in blatant antisemitic incitement in its schools. Its textbooks encourage young Palestinians to think of Jihad as a praiseworthy way of life. It names squares and streets after terrorists and openly praises terrorist attacks on its social media pages.

Finally, the P.A. works to radicalize Israeli Arabs, encouraging them to engage in terrorism by paying them stipends as well. As we speak, Israeli Arab citizens are receiving monthly paychecks from the P.A. for murdering or attempting to murder their Jewish fellow citizens. This situation is now being scrutinized by a pending bill that would strip these persons of their Israeli citizenship.

Openly praising Israeli Arabs for committing violence is also part of the P.A.’s strategy. Senior Palestinian officials arrived in Israel just last week to participate in a “welcome-home festival” for a released Israeli Arab terrorist, Karim Yunes, who participated in the brutal murder of Israeli soldier Avraham Brumberg in 1980. In response, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant denied them further entry to Israeli territory.

The truth is, the P.A. is a terror-promoting entity that has long since proven its commitment to the final objective of Israel’s annihilation. Its daily actions and well-calculated policy, anchored in law and endorsed in outspoken fashion by its senior leaders, have destroyed its credibility as a peace partner.

It is time for the new Israeli government to reconsider Israel’s long-standing policy of containment and preservation of the status quo, and pursue new, creative methods of governing the Palestinians in case the P.A. fails to change its ways.
NGO Monitor: Tunnels Under Schools: NGO Human Rights’ Monitoring for Palestinian Children Ends When Israel is Not to Blame
On November 29, 2022, UNRWA issued a statement, according to which, it “recently identified a man-made cavity underneath the grounds of an UNRWA school in Gaza.” UNRWA strongly condemned the construction under its facility, calling it “a serious violation of the Agency’s neutrality and a breach of international law,” which “exposes children and Agency staff to significant security and safety risks” and “jeopardize[s] the ability of UNRWA to provide support and protection to the 1.4 million Palestine refugees in need in Gaza.”

Indeed, the all-too-common practice of Gaza-based terror groups building tunnels under civilian areas is a grave violation of the human rights of Palestinians in Gaza, putting them at risk of being harmed in an Israeli strike on a military target. The violation is ever graver when schools and children are being exploited.

As such, one would think that Palestinian NGOs – that are proud to claim the human rights mantle when accusing Israel of violating the rights of children – would unequivocally condemn the groups responsible for the tunnels. Unfortunately, these Palestinian NGOs are silent. An examination of Al-Haq’s, PCHR’s, DCI-P’s and Al-Mezan’s statements shows that they have failed to condemn the November incident, as well as similar ones concerning Palestinian terror groups’ misuse of UNRWA facilities in such a way that endangers both children and staff.

NGO Monitor has documented at least 7 additional incidents from the past 10 years, in which terror tunnels and weapon caches were discovered under UNRWA schools or in their close vicinity. In each, they were completely ignored by the aforementioned NGOs. The following are some examples:
Elliott Abrams: Jewish Hysterics and Israel’s New Government
To end where we began, accepting the actual, existing Israel does not mean applauding the new government or approving the Religious Zionist Party’s leaders or policies. The new government will make many mistakes, and some of them may be egregious. Officials like Ben-Gvir and Smotrich may surprise us and may learn in office about governing, or they may prove the fears about them to be accurate. But opposition to the policies of this government is not the issue. The real issue is whether American Jews care more about their own illusions or about the Jewish state that actually exists and still struggles each day against enemies who seek every day to kill Jews.

Yossi Klein Halevi’s advice to Israeli opponents of this new government should help us understand that a majority of Israelis want a state that is not simply democratic but more importantly is Jewish. That is the raison d’etre for the state. To repeat what he wrote: “An Israel stripped of its Jewishness would lose its reason for being, its internal cohesion and the vitality that has enabled it to survive against the odds.”

It is easy to be pessimistic about the relationship between the American Jewish community and Israel. More and more Jews are what the Pew survey of Jewish Americans in 2020 called “Jews of No Religion,” and increasing numbers are drifting away from the Jewish community and any sense of Jewish identity. As Israel becomes an increasingly Jewish state—which has actually been happening for decades—the distance between the two communities may grow. Some American Jews will certainly fall away, offended as is Hillel Halkin by what they see as too much Judaism.

But American Jews should reject “leaders” (including rabbis) whose facile arguments “privilege” (to use today’s locution) their own ideologies over the realities of the Jewish state, and over the desire of the majority of its people to live in an identifiably Jewish state. As Israel’s president reminded newly elected officials and all Israelis recently: “We have only one State of Israel.” To slander and disparage it, to speak wildly and carelessly when every word spoken may become a weapon in the hands of Israel’s enemies, is a sin that American Jews should avoid at all costs.
The Commentary Magazine Podcast: Unpacking the Freak Out over Israeli Politics
Editor, author, and columnist at the Jewish News Service and the Jerusalem Post, Ruthie Blum, joins the podcast today to explain why so many American Jews, in particular, are in a panic over the alleged threat to democracy in Israel posed by the country’s new government.

Gil Troy: Israel's Right, Left need a chill pill and some humility
Saturday night’s protests furthered the frenzy. Since 1995, liberals have blamed Netanyahu for Yitzhak Rabin’s murder – because Netanyahu attended a rally with that infamous poster showing Rabin supposedly wearing an SS uniform.

Yet, once again, when challenged about the Nazi analogies and Palestinian flags at these ant-Bibi rallies, many liberals claimed they can’t be responsible for every protester. Then, what about a speaker, Dan Netanyahu, the prime minister’s cousin, who compared the proposed judicial reforms to Nazi Germany’s “enabling act?”

Another banner – photographed in The Washington Post – declared “Iran is here.” Really? Surely, it was a misprint. Patriotic protesters needed banners saying “Iran is still there,” reminding everyone to ratchet down the rhetoric and remember our true enemies.

Such restraint, alas, is less fun than a hissy fit, as Haaretz anticipates “the destruction of the state itself.”

Not every reform threatens democracy. Reflecting this new oppositional tic, the Jerusalem Journalists Association called the communications minister’s shrinking the public broadcasting budget “another coup,” reflecting “the salami technique of dismantling democracy.”

POPULAR MYTHOLOGY claims religious Jews blocked a constitution to respect the Torah. In fact, the super-secular Ben-Gurion derailed constitution-writing attempts in 1949. He feared distracting the new nation with divisive theoretical debates when millions of Jews had to be defended, absorbed, empowered.

He opposed a “reactionary” court or constitution subverting the people’s will. He embraced Israel’s Proclamation of Independence as a defining document. And, ultimately, he trusted the Jewish people’s deeply democratic “instincts.”

I am too American, too enamored of the delicate, power-diffusing dance between the president, the courts, a bicameral legislature, the states, and the Constitution, to accept one untrammeled parliament. We’re seeing just how corrupting concentrating too much power can be. But there’s much room for prolonged, reasoned and thoughtful debate – without this government’s brute impatience or the opposition’s panic.

So let’s support Herzog’s noble attempt to mediate. Other grownups – including some right-wing lawyers critical of the Court – should echo his calming calls.

And let’s all take a Zionist chill pill, with a humility chaser. Synthesize Ben-Gurion’s majoritarianism with Aharon Barak’s rights-based constitutionalism, lightened with Israel’s 300 days of annual sunshine and 75 years of an unwritten constitution that has kept Israel free. Wash it down with Jeremiah 9’s modesty-inducing warning to the seemingly wise ones of the Left: don’t be too dazzled by your wisdom; and to the strongmen of the Right: don’t be too dazzled by your temporary might.

Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Return of American Anti-Zionism with Caroline Glick
Israel's new government appears at odds with Washington over policies. How serious or novel is this tension? How has the history shaped the present situation? Ultimately, what should the two states’ dynamic be?

Israel’s High Court of Justice Rules Aryeh Deri Can’t Serve as Interior, Health Minister
Israel’s High Court of Justice ruled on Wednesday that Shas party leader Aryeh Deri – who has several convictions – can’t serve as the Jewish state’s interior or health minister.

Amid reports that the court was leaning toward opposing his nomination, Israel’s recently sworn-in government coalition, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, warned that the decision would lead to serious consequences.

Immediately after the decision, the ultra-Orthodox Shas bloc responded: “The entire Shas movement is shocked by the arbitrary and unprecedented decision of the High Court of Justice, contrary to law and justice, and sees it as a serious violation of the right to choose and be elected, which is the lifeblood of democracy.”

“The Supreme Court, which claims to take care of minorities, today threw away the voices and votes of 400,000 voters of the Shas movement, which represents the underprivileged in Israel, who went to the polls just two months ago,” Shas spokesman Asher Medina continued.

“Today, the court actually ruled that the elections are meaningless. The court’s decision is political and tainted by extreme improbability. The scandalous disqualification of the Shas chairman from a ministerial position is not only a personal injury to Deri, but a severe and stinging injury to all Shas voters and supporters. Wide sections of Israeli society today feel excluded by the court.”
US links Israel visa-waiver to West Bank travel for Palestinian-Americans
The United States expects Israel, under a visa-waiver deal being discussed between the allies, to enable free passage for Palestinian Americans into the West Bank, the US ambassador said on Wednesday.

Among territories where Palestinians seek statehood, the West Bank has seen a surge in violence over the past year. It is peppered with Israeli military checkpoints and patrols.

Ambassador Thomas Nides said he expected an announcement soon on whether the number of Israeli applicants who were refused recent requests for US visas had been kept to 3% or fewer, as required for a waiver deal. Israel would also have to ratify such a deal.

"Number three, we have to be clear about reciprocity. Reciprocity will mean that Palestinian-Americans will be able to freely travel from Detroit to (Israel's main airport) Ben-Gurion to Ramallah," Nides told Ynet Radio, referring to the West Bank hub city that is the seat of the Palestinian government.

"And Americans who live in Ramallah will be able to go from Ramallah to Ben-Gurion back to Detroit," he said.

"When we get all those pieces working together, hopefully, then Israelis will not have to stand in line ever again to get a tourist visa - a visa to come to the United States."

Russia’s Lavrov says West seeking Hitler-style ‘final solution,’ sparking protests
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused the US and Europe on Wednesday of seeking a “final solution” to “the Russia question” comparable to Adolf Hitler’s plan to wipe out the Jews in World War II, drawing anger from Israel, Germany and some of Moscow’s other Western adversaries.

“Just as Napoleon mobilized practically all of Europe against the Russian Empire, just as Hitler mobilized and captured… the majority of European countries and sent them against the Soviet Union, now the United States has organized a coalition,” Lavrov said at an annual press conference.

Western countries, he said, are “by proxy through Ukraine waging war against our country.”

“The task is the same: the final solution of the ‘Russian question.’ Just as Hitler wanted to finally solve the Jewish question.”

Israel said Lavrov’s remarks were “unacceptable.”

“Any comparison or relating current events with Hitler’s final solution plan for the extermination of the Jewish People distorts the historical truth, desecrates the memory of those who perished and the survivors and should be strongly rejected,” said the Foreign Ministry.

Under Hitler, Nazi Germany and its collaborators murdered around six million Jews in the Holocaust.

Germany said the statement was “appalling.”

US will reimburse Israel for weapons transferred to Ukraine
The Biden administration will replenish any US weapons it recently transferred to Ukraine from an American stockpile long located in Israel, an IDF source confirmed on Wednesday.

The weapons transfer would not in any way impact Israel’s readiness for any emergency situation or conflict, the source explained, hours after The New York Times published an article on the depletion of the stockpile, designed to quickly help the Jewish state access arms during wartime

Israel has kept a neutral stance when it comes to Russia’s war against Ukraine, which began last February. It has opposed sending any Israeli arms or defensive military equipment to Ukraine.

Earlier Wednesday morning, the New York Times was the first to report the US transfer of weapons and ammunition to Ukraine that it regularly stores in Israel for use in the event of a sudden conflict in the area.

The US weapons transfer does not reflect any change in Israel’s stance of neutrality in the Russian-Ukrainian war, in which it has denounced Moscow’s invasion but has not joined the West in sending arms to Ukraine.

American manufacturers have not kept pace with Ukraine’s military as it defends itself against Russia’s invasion in a war that appears to have no end in sight.
Jordan needs to answer questions on Temple Mount
This deadly libel has been circulated sporadically for almost a century now, and is taken out and dusted off whenever both the Palestinians and the Jordanians feel it is important to stir up their people against Israel.

Such was the case on Sept. 23, 1996, when a tunnel was chiseled out of ancient rock on the periphery of the Temple Mount-Western Wall complex. The tunnel opened in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City next to a Franciscan Monastery.

Despite being told the exact location of the tunnel, the then-Mufti of Jerusalem Ekrima Said Sabir immediately telephoned Yasser Arafat and said, "The Jews are digging under the Temple," causing an immediate riot. Palestinians set a car and an ambulance on fire and hurled stones from the Temple Mount on to Jews praying at the Western Wall.

King Abdullah of Jordan has played a rather specious and duplicitous role in this constant exploitation of the Mount for political purposes.

Jordan is one of the largest recipients of US foreign aid. During fiscal year 2023, the Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Act (2023) will provide Jordan "not less than" $1.65 billion in US taxpayer dollars.

Yet the Jordanians have refused repeated American requests from several members of Congress – which my organization, EMET, has supported for years – to extradite Ahlam Tamimi. Tamimi is a notorious terrorist who masterminded the horrific Sbarro pizzeria bombing in 2001. Fifteen innocent civilians, including two Americans – Malki Roth, 15, and Judith Greenblum, 31 and pregnant at the time – were murdered. While Jordan signed an extradition treaty with the United States on March 28, 1995, they now claim they never did and consistently reject the idea of permitting Tamimi to face justice.

Although there is no official census data on the subject, it is usually estimated that up to 75% of Jordan's population is Palestinian. Abdullah understands just how fragile his hold on power is and he appeals to hostile Palestinian sentiments towards Israel in order to ensure his own survival. He does so instead of educating his population towards peace and tolerance, as should have been the case since the signing of the Israel-Jordan peace treaty in 1994. Abdullah may simply want to save his own skin, but fanning the flames of anti-Israel hate is no way to ensure long-term peace and stability in the region.
Israel Calls on World Leaders to Help Secure Release of Hamas Captives
Israel’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday revealed that it had sent a letter to world leaders calling on them to help secure the release of Israelis being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The letter was sent to U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross Mirjana Spoljaric Egger,and Pope Francis, among others.

Hamas on Monday released an undated video purportedly of Israeli captive Avera Mengistu, who crossed into the Gaza Strip on his own accord in 2014.

Hamas is also holding Israeli Hisham al-Sayed, who in 2015 also crossed into Gaza of his own volition, as well as the bodies of two IDF soldiers, Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, who were killed in action during “Operation Protective Edge” in 2014.

In the missive, the ministry noted that Mengistu has been held for over eight years “in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law, without providing information about his health condition and without providing any way for him to contact his family or receive visits by the Red Cross.”
UN rights officials mum on Hamas use of captive Israeli civilian for propaganda
The UN Human Rights Council remains mum after the Hamas terror group released a video yesterday of captive Israeli Avera Mengistu for propaganda purposes.

The UNHRC and its special rapporteur tasked with investigating the conflict, Francesca Albanese, do not respond to Times of Israel requests for comment on the incident. The special rapporteur, who has a history of antisemitism, has publicly commented on Israeli evictions since the Hamas video was released.

UN officials regularly criticize Israel for its actions against Palestinians. Israel and the US accuse the world body in New York, and the UNHRC in Geneva, of bias against the Jewish state.

International law forbids taking civilians captive, and bars using any prisoners for propaganda purposes.

Mengistu has been held in Gaza for eight years after he entered the Strip of his own volition. His family says he suffers from mental health issues.
Mom of Gaza captive Mengistu_ 'His voice is different, I want to look into his eyes'
The mother of Avera Mengistu, an Israeli civilian held captive in the Gaza Strip by Hamas for more than eight years, said Tuesday that she wanted to see her son again, and that while footage released the day before appeared to show him, his voice sounded different.

In a short clip aired by the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group, a man said to be Mengistu was seen seated, wearing a button-down shirt, fidgeting and crossing his arms as he recited a short message in a low voice. In response to the video, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that Mengistu “is alive.”

Mengistu is one of two Israeli men being held by Hamas, alongside the remains of two soldiers killed during Israel’s war with Hamas in the summer of 2014. Israeli authorities have been quietly engaged in fruitless negotiations for their release for years.

“It’s not my son’s voice, I know his voice. I raised my son. I recognize that part of the head,” Agurnesh Mengistu told Channel 12 news in Amharic. “They showed me the video on the phone, several people showed it to me from all kinds of places. It’s his head but the voice is different.”

“It’s not easy after all these years. I raised him. When I was in the US with the Americans — I was there several times — I saw everything, but I don’t know. My children and I are sad,” said Mengistu, whose family has campaigned for Avera’s release, raising awareness of their cause on the international stage.
Hamas ramps up pressure by releasing footage of hostage MengistuSamer Sinijlawi, Eitan Dangot and Moty Cristal discuss new Avera Mengistu footage and what this means for his possible release.

‘Test of our sovereignty’: Ben-Gvir orders police to prevent celebrations for soon-to-be released terrorist
Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir on Tuesday ordered the Israel Police to prevent any celebrations ahead of the expected release of terrorist Maher Younis.

Maher and his cousin Karim Younis, both of whom are Israeli citizens, murdered Israel Defense Forces Cpl. Avraham Bromberg in the Golan Heights in 1980. Both Karim and Maher Younis were sentenced to life in prison in 1983, but in 2012 then-Israeli President Shimon Peres commuted their terms to 40 years.

Earlier this month, Karim received a hero’s welcome in the northern village of ’Ara upon his release from jail. He then visited his mother’s grave, stating, “I am prepared to sacrifice another 40 years for the freedom of our people. My consolation is that today prisoners are united against the barbarity of the occupation.”

Ben-Gvir on Tuesday called Maher Younis’s impending release “a test of our sovereignty,” adding, “We must in no way allow the serious offenses of encouraging and supporting terrorism anywhere in the State of Israel.”

In a statement, Israel Police Commissioner Yaakov Shabtai vowed to prevent a repeat.

Shin Bet arrests man in connection with May 2021 riots

Palestinians clash with IDF during pilgrimage to Joseph’s Tomb; 7 arrested overnight
Several Palestinians were reported wounded during clashes with Israeli troops late Tuesday and early Wednesday as Jewish worshipers entered the religious site of Joseph’s Tomb, in the West Bank city of Nablus.

The Israel Defense Forces said Palestinians hurled explosives, Molotov cocktails, and stones at troops as they escorted the pilgrims to the site. Troops responded with riot dispersal means, the IDF said.

“Also, the soldiers fired at gunmen who fired at them,” the military added.

The Nablus-based Lion’s Den terror group said in a statement that its members were involved in opening fire at the Israeli troops.

Footage showed Palestinians hurling firebombs at an IDF armored bulldozer that was placing dirt mounds in the area to block off traffic ahead of the pilgrimage. Another clip showed a gunman firing a single shot toward the Israeli troops.

The official Palestinian Authority news agency WAFA said several Palestinians were wounded in the clashes, mostly from tear gas deployed by soldiers.

MEMRI: Palestinian Islamic Jihad Representative In Iran: 'Ayatollah Khamenei Is The Leader Of Us All'; Saudi Intellectuals In Response: Palestinian Leaders Are Hostile To The Arabs
According to a recent report by the Iranian news agency Mehr, Nasser Abu Sharif, the representative of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in Iran, stated in a meeting with Javad Ghenaat, the governor of Iran's South Khorasan Province, that "we, the Palestinian people, believe that [Iran's Supreme Leader] Ayatollah [Ali] Khamenei is the leader of us all." He also lavished praise on the late Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, who was assassinated by the U.S. three years ago, saying that "the virtues of the martyr Hajj Qassem Soleimani should be presented as a model for the Shi'ite and Sunni youths, so that they turn to address the real problems of the Islamic nation and know how to free the Islamic countries from the enemies' claws."[1]

Abu Sharif's remarks drew fire from Saudi journalists and intellectuals on social media, who accused the PIJ of serving the interests of Iran, not of the Palestinians. They soon extended their criticism to all the Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Fatah, slamming them for their relations with Iran and pro-Iranian forces. Supporting Iran, the critics said, is tantamount to displaying hostility to the Arabs and especially to the Gulf states. One remarked that the Palestinians tend to form alliances with the wrong parties and that their leaders use their plight to gain wealth.

It should be noted that the PIJ has received funds and weapons from Iran since its founding, and its leaders frequently express their gratitude to this country and to its leader, Khamenei, for their active support.[2] These statements often spark condemnations in the Gulf countries, which regard them as ingratitude for the Arabs' support of Palestine and even as a betrayal of the Arab nation.[3]

The following are some of the responses from Saudis to Abu Sharif's statements.

Saudi Researcher: The PIJ Serves Iran; We Must Distance The Palestinians From Iran For The Sake Of Peace
Saudi journalist Hussein Al-Ghawi shared Abu Sharif's remarks, tweeting: "[According to] the PIJ movement, the entire Palestinian people believes that the Imam Khomeini [sic] is its leader."[4]

Saudi intellectual 'Abd Al-Hamid Al-Hakim, the former head of the Middle East Center for Strategic and Legal Studies in Jeddah, responded to Al-Ghawi's tweet, commenting: "That is a lie, because all the Palestinians are Sunnis, and the PIJ has turned Palestinian blood into a means for realizing Iranian interests. Our role is to refute these false claims. In our capacity as the Palestinians' religious and political [compass], we can distance Iran from the Palestinian cause and 'receive the keys' to this [issue], which Israel and the Biden administration regard as the most crucial [condition] for making peace [in the Middle East]."[5]

Are Gazans becoming disillusioned with Hamas?

‘Is This Real..??’: UN Lebanon Envoy Thanks Hezbollah for ‘Tour’ Eliciting Rebuke From Israeli Diplomats
The UN’s Special Coordinator for Lebanon Joanna Wronecka on Monday thanked a representative of Hezbollah for giving her a “tour d’horizon” of Lebanese issues, eliciting a strongly-worded rebuke from Israeli officials.

“I thank Mr. Ammar Moussawi of Hizbullah for a tour d’horizon on issues of priority for Lebanon, including the election of a new President, the functioning of state institutions and the impact of regional and international developments on the country,” Wronecka wrote in both English and Arabic.

Moussawi is the head of international relations for Hezbollah, which is recognized as a terrorist organization by the US, UK, Germany, Japan and others. In December, Hezbollah handed over one of its supporters who shot and killed an Irish UN peacekeeper in an incident that Hezbollah’s security chief called “unintentional.” A Hezbollah spokesperson told Reuters at the time that the murder suspect was a supporter, but not a member, of the Iran-backed militia.

Israeli diplomats on Tuesday criticized Wronecka’s decision to meet with Moussawi and for her choice of words in thanking him.

“Is this real..??,” Tweeted Joshua Zarka, Head of Strategic Affairs in Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “An official Senior UN Representative thanks the terrorist organization responsible for the murder of a UN peace keeper for ‘a tour d’horizon’!!!”

“So how does it feel to be indoctrinated by a terrorist? Care to share with us?” asked Yaki Lopez, Head of Public Diplomacy at Israel’s embassy in Berlin.

'Criminals are walking free' - Beirut blast victim's families slam lack of justice

Seth Frantzman: A 'sea of blood': Iran reveals its new military doctrine
Has Iran become a regional drone and missile power?
Sheikh moves on from discussing the doctrine of an offensive defense to discussing how Iran has become a regional drone and missile power. In this assessment, he is discussing things that Iran has actually succeeded at. Tehran has exported drones to Russia, although he doesn’t mention this. He discusses how Iran used drones in recent drills and also how it used them to target a mock-up of a ship. He mentions the Karar drone as one of those used.

The interviewer at Fars News also asks the commander about their recent Zolfikar drill in which they created a mock-up of an Israeli Sa’ar 6 ship. The interviewer asks specifically about the “replica of the Zionist ship.” The commander doesn’t discuss Israel but notes that two drones were used in the drill to attack the ship and a mock-up building and that this shows the precision of Iran’s drones.

Next, the Iranian discusses the air defense operations of the regime.

He notes that the country has successfully created a complex multi-layered air defense system, including defenses like the 3rd Khordad system. Iran used that system to down a US Global Hawk drone in 2019. While the Iranian commander acknowledges some “problems” during the recent drills and the critique of the drills for being very costly (when Iran is facing sanctions), he nevertheless justifies them and says the air defenses performed well. Clearly, Iran is trying to integrate its radar and detection systems alongside the air defenses. It knows that in 2020, it mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian civilian airliner over Tehran.

This was because Iran’s air defenses were on alert for US airstrikes and mistook the civilian plane for such a strike or one using a cruise missile. Iranian air defenders also made a mistake by not alerting civilian planes and redirecting them. This led to mass murder by the Iranian regime by downing the airliner. Clearly, the regime wants to learn from this mistake but won’t admit it.
Iranian Military Leader Threatens Destruction of US and Israel
An Iranian military leader said on Tuesday that the Islamic Republic is strengthening its military infrastructure and will soon oversee the destruction of Israel and the United States.

Brigadier General Ali Fadavi, the deputy commander in chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Tehran's chief terrorism force, said that "very soon" the world "will witness the destruction of the Zionist regime." Iran, he said, is equipping Palestinian militant groups such as Hamas to wage war against Israel. "The Zionists," Fadavi said, "are taking actions under the guidance of the United States, but soon the great Satan [the United States] will also be destroyed."

Fadavi's remarks come as Iran amplifies its threats to attack Israel and the United States amid a breakdown in diplomatic talks between the hardline regime and Biden administration. Nationwide protests in Iran also have challenged the clerical government's grip on power, with dissidents taking to the streets to demand regime change. The Iranian government has reacted to the protests with violence, including by killing protest movement leaders. These actions have been punctuated by a more hardline foreign policy stance against Israel and the United States, which Iran sees as fueling the protest movement.

The IRGC, which is responsible for killing hundreds of Americans, is not only supporting Palestinian militant groups, Fadavi said, but also amassing the military might needed for a strike against the United States and Israel.

"What our enemies know about us is little, and they will truly understand when we use our power against them," Fadavi said in comments carried by Iran's state-controlled press.

Fadavi also praised Iranian general Qassem Soleimani—who was killed in a 2020 drone strike ordered by then-U.S. president Donald Trump—for his efforts to arm various Palestinian factions.
European Parliament Calls on EU to Designate IRGC as Terrorist Group
The European Parliament on Wednesday voted to call for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to be designated as a terrorist group, in a major move which comes amidst the regime’s violent crackdown on protesters following the death of Mahsa Amini in September.

The amendment, which passed by a vote of 593 in favor, 7 against, and 29 abstentions, also requests that the IRGC’s subsidiaries including the Basij militia, used for domestic repression, and its international wing the Quds Force be added to the terrorist list.

Currently, the EU only lists the IRGC’s Aerospace Force as a terrorist entity for its role in supplying drones to Russia against Ukraine.

The decision to add countries to the EU terrorist list lies with the EU Council, made up of the leaders of the 27 EU member states, and must be decided unanimously.

EU leaders have previously said that they are considering sanctioning the IRGC without committing to any specific action. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Tuesday said she supported designating the IRGC.

“We are looking indeed at a new round of sanctions and I would support also listing the Revolutionary Guards. I have heard several ministers asking for that and I think they are right,” van der Leyen told reporters at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

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