Friday, March 03, 2023

From Ian:

Lee Smith: Biden Sets Israel on Fire
Obama’s button men have made the “Get Bibi” machinery a permanent part of the Israeli political landscape: It’s how they dress their never-ending Iran deal campaigns in the garb of domestic Israeli politics. After Obama’s second term ended, his ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, stayed in country to service the anti-Bibi infrastructure while warning Israelis that no matter how good Trump was for Israel—crashing the nuclear deal, moving the embassy to Jerusalem, etc.—they better not get too close to the Republican president, for there would be a price to pay once the Democrats returned to power. And now they have.

Netanyahu brought some of this punishment on himself. His March 2015 speech before a joint session of Congress warning against the Iran nuclear deal was celebrated by Republicans at the time as a bold gesture of defiance. They likened Netanyahu to Winston Churchill, with Obama scripted as the grand appeaser, Neville Chamberlain.

In retrospect Bibi’s speech was a mistake. First, it was an announcement to the world that having gone all out—short of taking out Iran’s nuclear facilities—Bibi lost. Second, it signaled that the crucial decisions about Israel’s future were made not in Jerusalem but in Washington. This is what galvanized Bibi’s domestic opposition.

Israel’s anti-Bibi establishment was pleased to do Obama’s bidding. It didn’t matter that he was empowering Iran. If America wanted a deal with the clerical regime, they would have it. What Bibi’s domestic foes wanted was an imperial patron who would back their confrontation with the near enemy, Netanyahu, even as they continued to lose elections.

Now that there is no mistaking who is driving the coup against him, Bibi at least has a clearer picture of the game board before him. He can’t do much about the “ally” that has legitimized BDS on a grander scale than its academic proponents in the U.S. could ever hope for by filling Israeli streets with opponents threatening to take capital out of the country and shirk military service. The only way out of this mess is to reassert his freedom of action by zeroing in on the Obama-Biden faction’s favored foreign constituents, the regime in Tehran. If America wants to set fires in his backyard, Bibi can set fires, too.
Ruthie Blum: Disrupting Israeli democracy
Anti-government activists took to the streets across Israel on Wednesday to take part in a preplanned “Day of National Disruption.”

It was an apt name for the endeavor, whose purpose was to impose the will of the minority on the entire populace, most of which didn’t heed organizers’ previous attempts to paralyze the country through a general strike.

Like the other demonstrations held in the name of preventing the duly elected coalition in Jerusalem from becoming a “fascist theocracy,” this one made a mockery of the concept of democracy. And, like the rest of the ongoing protests, it was funded by foreign NGOs and dominated by the privileged classes.

Police at the protest
What caused it to be notable was its intensity, with the blocking of main highways and breaking down of police barriers. That these were erected to keep roads clear for commuters who didn’t enjoy the luxury of slacking off – and enable access to emergency-service vehicles – was of little concern to the flag-waving throngs. They were too busy denouncing the state’s leaders and the citizens who voted for them to care.

They’ve been happily highlighting the brutality of the men-in-blue on horseback, however, and showing off bruises sustained by stun grenades and trauma caused by water cannons. Anyone imagining that, as a result, they now grasp how haredi demonstrators feel in the face of even worse treatment is living in an alternate universe.

After all, being against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu means never having to say you’re sorry for hypocrisy or anything else.
A Bumbling Ambassador in Israel
Nides proudly claims spending “60% of my time trying to help the Palestinian people” – revealing that his role as Ambassador to Israel is undeserving of his attention. He proudly cites the Biden administration’s commitment to increasing financial aid to UNRWA, the United Nations organization charged with helping Palestinian refugees of the 1947-48 Arab war that was fought to annihilate the fledgling Jewish state. By now, however, UNRWA has become a scam. Nides is oblivious to the reality that there are as many UNRWA employees (approximately 30,000) as there are genuine Palestinian refugees still living.

Given Nides’ evident determination to inject himself into Israeli policy decisions it is hardly surprising that he would be sharply rebuked by Israeli Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli. “I say to the American ambassador,” Chikli advised, “slam the breaks on yourself and mind your own business.” It is unlikely that Nides will comply with Chikli’s recommendation.

Nides’ background helped to frame his current stance on Israel. After working for liberal American politicians Walter Mondale and Joe Lieberman among others, he became Managing Director of Morgan Stanley. From there he went to Credit Suisse before becoming Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources in the Obama administration. His talents in the financial world were evident. But Wall Street profits do not translate into expertise about the Middle East, least of all about Israel.

Diplomacy, especially with regard to Israel, is a different chapter in the Nides story. He realizes that the United States and Israel are bound together by “a sense of democracy and a sense of democratic institutions.” That sounds reassuring – until he says that “when we believe that those democratic institutions are under stress and strain, we’re articulating [our concern]. That’s what we are doing now.” He seems to believe that the Biden administration is the appropriate judge of Israel’s behavior.

Nides may have been successful in business. But he has yet to comprehend that Israelis are determined to define and defend their ancient homeland and modern nation – despite his discomfort and without his intrusion. As for Netanyahu’s plans and decisions, Nides should watch and listen before he indulges in more rants. He might even realize that he was appointed Ambassador to Israel, not its critic-in-chief.
Caroline Glick: Hady Amr’s transformational policy
According to Palestinian sources, Hady Amr’s visit this week to the Temple Mount marked a major shift in U.S. policy. Amr is the first U.S. official to carry out an official visit at the Temple Mount.

While Amr’s “Sheikh Azzam” isn’t directly implicated in any of the Hamas entities operating in the mosque, his web of ties to Hamas terrorists, including Kaye’s murderer, and Hamas’s central position in the Jordanian Waqf al-Khatib oversees, casts a dark shadow over Amr’s visit to the Temple Mount and over the Biden administration’s Israel-Palestinian policy that Amr leads.

None of Amr’s actions should come as a surprise to those who have followed his work over the years. Amr laid out his vision for U.S. policy in a paper he coauthored in 2018 for the Brookings Institution. In “Ending Gaza’s Perpetual Crisis: A New U.S. Approach,” Amr called for the United States to enable funding of Hamas entities by limiting the criminal consequences for U.S.-funded NGOs that work with those entities.

Amr also called for the U.S. to force Israel to stand down against Hamas by using a combination of direct pressure and European economic threats to compel Israel to cease fighting the terror group. Amr also called for the U.S. to support the establishment of a Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas along with Fatah.

In 2021, President Joe Biden appointed Amr to serve as deputy assistant secretary of state for Israel and the Palestinians. Last year, Biden promoted Amr to his current position of special representative for Palestinian affairs. Judging from Amr’s actions this week in Aqaba, Huwara and Jerusalem, he has carte blanche to advance the anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian terrorist vision he set out in his Brookings paper.

Issa’s letter to Blinken regarding the State Department-funded Hamas charity in Gaza exposed the tip of the iceberg. Amr exposed the iceberg itself this week. Under his leadership, the Biden administration has abandoned U.S. support for Israel in favor of support for Palestinian terrorists and their war against the Jewish state.

Lahav Harkov: Israel’s democracy is not in peril
Whether or not the court should have the authority it demanded in the Barak years is the central question of the current judicial reform. Supreme Court justices were mostly self-selecting in the years after Barak, so they almost exclusively chose new members of the court who agreed with them. Though a law passed in 2009 reducing the weight of judges’ votes in the committee that appoints their colleagues brought more political diversity to the bench, Barak’s activism remains dominant.

Most of the debate in the Knesset today is about the nitty-gritty of the reform and the rhetoric surrounding it — not about the broader concept of needing, once and for all, to democratically decide how judicial review should work in Israel. Few members of the opposition view the court as untouchable. In fact, two of the opposition parties supported or even proposed their own judicial reforms that are almost identical to what is currently on the table. One of them is led by Gideon Sa’ar, who, in his former capacity as interior minister in 2014, had his flagship plan to curb illegal immigration gutted by the court twice, a turn of events that helped to popularise judicial reform on the Israeli Right.

The vast majority of parties in the Knesset say the court’s power to strike down laws should be more limited, but not wholly eliminated. They also broadly agree that the Knesset should be able to re-pass laws that the court struck down, but are arguing over timing, context, permanence, and how big a special majority should do it. The current Bill suggests that the support of 61 out of 120 representatives should be required, meaning that any governing coalition could re-pass a law. The opposition is arguing for a larger majority, so that invoking the “override clause” would require working across the aisle.

The reform also involves adding more political figures to Israel’s Judicial Selection Committee, so as to give politicians an advantage over jurists. The Bill’s proponents compare it to the United States, where Supreme Court justices are chosen by Democrats or Republicans, but that fact does not put the country’s democratic status in doubt; its opponents point out that the US has a constitution and argue that Israel’s lack of one could make judges beholden to politicians.

These are not debates about democracy or dictatorship. The discussion is, in fact, about the proper balance between different elements of a democracy. If politicians can work together to strengthen Israeli democracy, as both sides say they want to do, they could reach a compromise. But to do so, they’ll have to stop demonising each other.
Seth Frantzman: Is Israel's chaos a symptom or a goal?
Israel isn't in decline
THE POINT of the Hannibal story is that this was a period of chaos, not a period of peace. Netanyahu’s time in power has generally been one of economic prosperity and relative peace in Israel. This is the irony of the chaos doctrine, if such a doctrine exists: that the chaos enables some kind of status quo, that enables prosperity.

For instance, on large trends Israel is not a declining power. Israel does not have the demographic problems that China, South Korea and Japan currently face, where birth rates are falling to the point where many families have only one child. Israel has not faced the immigration crisis or rising crime rates of some countries.

However, for those who are concerned that the country is slouching towards authoritarianism and is increasingly being exploited or dominated by religious fanatics, the chaos doctrine indeed ends with a country that is irreversibly changed from what it was two decades ago. This is the same state of affairs that the opposition in Turkey finds themselves after decades of AKP rule.

For Israel’s key adversary today, the Iranian regime, the chaos inside Israel appears to embolden the regime. But to what end? The regime is enriching uranium, but the enrichment leads to an unclear future. Iran still has to weaponize its nuclear program.

For the Palestinians, the chaos in Israel hasn’t led them to any sort of success in Gaza or the West Bank. An aging Palestinian leadership has seen its power eroding and Hamas hasn’t brought Gaza anything but isolation and failure.

The Netanyahu doctrine of chaos and status quo has also ostensibly brought Israel better relations with much of the region. This is his vision of peace through strength. However, that doctrine generally didn’t bring Israel warm ties; it was under the Lapid-Bennett era that Israel had an unprecedented number of meetings with countries in the region, including developing concepts like the Negev Forum.

This mixed record leaves judgment of the chaos doctrine up to historians. Hannibal’s long war against Rome failed. Israel’s long chaos and status quo will need to lead to better results, if it is to prosper.
120 Israeli academics launch petition in support of government's judicial reform
A petition signed by 120 academics in support of the proposed judicial reform was launched on Thursday.

Signatories include professors, researchers and administrators from the Weizmann Institute of Science, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, the University of Haifa, Bar-Ilan University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv University and Ben Gurion University.

The initiative was supported by Israel Prize laureate Prof. Yisrael (Robert) Aumann, who spoke Thursday at the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee sessions on the reforms. Aumann had pushed for change in the composition of the judge selection committee but had advised against the override clause over concern of checks and balances and separation of powers between authorities.

Balance of power
This balance of powers between government branches was damaged by the High Court of Justice's 1990s constitutional revolution, argued the petition. The court had gained too many powers, including judicial review of both regular and Basic Laws and increased scope of the reasonableness clause.

It shouldn’t be allowed to harm the essential corrective process for the legal system, “which in recent years has had the limits of authorities redrawn,” said a statement announcing the petition.

Calling for negotiations
The petition also called for negotiations to create a broad agreement on the reforms, but not to capitulate on the core elements needed for correcting the system.

The signatories noted that there are many more academics who support the reform, and many more would sign the petition.

Where’s the anguish over Jews continuously murdered by Palestinian terrorists? - opinion
Without in any way diminishing the need to condemn the torchings in Huwara, one must ask: Where have all the sorrowful Jewish organizations been over the past year, and especially over the past month, as Israeli Jews living in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem have been picked off by Palestinian terrorists like ducks in a shooting gallery?

Would it have been too much for any of the liberal Jewish organizations abroad and multiple Israeli associations of the Left to issue a public call, at any time over the past year, that evinces a little more concern for the lives of Israeli civilians caught in the slingshots and gun-sights of Palestinian terrorists?

Might they have launched crowd-funding campaigns for Israeli victims of Palestinian terror, not just for Palestinian villagers targeted by Israeli extremists? (And yes, it bears repeating: Even one such extremist is too many.)

Might they vociferously have condemned the pay-for-slay Palestinian political culture that perpetuates terrorism and makes peace impossible, and marched on Washington to ensure that the US government truly pressures Ramallah to end this revolting policy?

Apparently, they need reminding that there is no moral equivalence whatsoever between Palestinian terrorists and Israeli settlers, even the most violent among them. Terrorism against Jews and Israelis is widely supported by Palestinian Arabs and their political parties. Whereas in Israel, support for vigilante violence against Arabs is limited to the tiniest of tiny segments of Israeli opinion; and those who engage in it are subject to denunciation and prosecution.

Perhaps some people need reminding (and that includes some foreign governments who profess to be friends of Israel) that the enemies of peace are Palestinian terrorists, the type of people who this week murdered Elan Ganeles, and Hallel and Yagel Yaniv; not the overwhelmingly peaceful and law-abiding Israeli residents of Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.
Following U.S. citizen’s killing in West Bank, Cotton plans to reintroduce Taylor Force Act follow-up
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) plans to reintroduce legislation next Tuesday cracking down further on Palestinian Authority payments to the families of terrorists, Cotton spokesperson James Arnold told Jewish Insider yesterday. The move follows the killing of American-Israeli citizen Elan Ganeles in a terrorist attack in the West Bank on Monday,

Cotton’s bill, the Taylor Force Martyr Payment Prevention Act, takes aim at foreign banks involved with the PA’s so-called “martyr payments” by restricting banks that facilitate such payments or provide services to Hamas from doing business in the U.S. or with U.S. dollars. The bill’s title references Taylor Force, a U.S. army veteran killed by a Palestinian in 2016. A previous Taylor Force Act, passed in 2018, largely cut off aid to the PA as long as it continues the payments.

The Cotton bill was first introduced in 2021, garnering 17 Republican co-sponsors in the Senate. A companion bill in the House by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) picked up 20 Republican and two Democratic sponsors. It’s unclear that the bill would see a different fate in the Democratic-controlled Senate this year. Lamborn did not respond to a request for comment.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the lead Senate sponsor of the original Taylor Force Act, told JI that he believes the original act is largely working as intended, and that he is not currently focused on further legislation relating to the martyr payments.

“I think it’s actually working,” Graham said of the original bill. “Nobody suggests to me the Taylor Force Act is inadequate to the task.”

Graham was an original co-sponsor of Cotton’s bill in 2021. He told JI his attention is currently focused on establishing a joint U.S.-Israel mutual defense agreement with an eye toward the threat from Iran.
UN Watch: Exposed: Top UN Human Rights Official’s Hatred of Israel
The director of OHCHR’s New York office accuses Israel of “racism,” “racist domination,” “racist violence,” and “racist oppression,” as well as of committing “right-wing white ethno-nationalist terrorism” that “is murdering people.”

In Mokhiber’s view, Israel’s policies toward the Middle East peace process, as expressed by the U.S. peace plan, amount to “the crimes of the 20th Century,” including “ethno-nationalism,” “apartheid,” “colonialism,” “racism,” and “subjugation.”

Beyond virulently accusing Israel of the worst possible crimes and atrocities, Mokhiber is notably silent about any actions against Israelis, whether by Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Iran or the Palestinian Authority.

These demonstrate a very clear lack of neutrality on human rights issues related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

This overt bias is particularly problematic due to Mokhiber’ direct involvement in OHCHR initiatives on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. After serving as a senior advisor in the Palestinian territories from 1996-1998, Mokhiber was centrally involved in some of the UN’s most influential events related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including planning the anti-Israel 2009 Durban Review Conference and introducing five reports to the UN General Assembly that demonized the Jewish state. He was also involved in the process leading to the establishment of the Human Rights Council.

In addition to his anti-Israel statements and actions within his official capacity, Mokhiber’s social media presence demonstrates that he is not able to fulfill his mandate objectively. The consistent use of hate-mongering rhetoric by a senior official of Mokhiber’s stature normalizes anti-Israel sentiments across the UN human rights system. The posts, therefore, constitute a violation of his obligations to the UN.

Mokhiber’s social media posts have been categorized accordingly and are documeented below:
1. Accusations of “Genocide,” “Ethnic Cleansing,” “Large-Scale Atrocities”
2. Allegations of Apartheid, Racism, and International Law Violations
3. Targeting Supporters of Israel
4. Promoting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement
5. Denying Israel’s Right to Exist
Top UN human rights official accused of 'extreme' anti-Israel bias
A high-ranking UN human rights lawyer has been accused of antisemitism and “extreme bias” against Israel after controversial tweets were exposed.

Craig Mokhiber, director and deputy for the assistant secretary-general (ASG) for human rights in the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), has tweeted support for the Boycott, Divest, Sanctions (BDS) movement, accused Israel of “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing”, and accused the press of of hiding “endless atrocities committed against Palestinian civilians”.

Mokhiber has also advocated a one-state solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict and openly opposed the widely accepted International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, calling it a “politicised and cynically instrumentalised ‘definition’.”

Mokhiber’s tweets were exposed by Jewish activist group GnasherJew. They said his tweets were “highly biased and violate UN rules regarding impartiality, objectivity, and independence”. They also accuse him of spreading misinformation and holding Israel to a higher standard than any other country.

In tweets in 2015, 2020 and 2021, Mokhiber expressed support for a one-state solution, calling for the creation of “a single, democratic, secular state”. He also described Israel as an “apartheid” state and expressed support for BDS.

He has tweeted numerous times that Israel is conducting a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians.

Hungary to Move Israel Embassy to Jerusalem – Report
Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban would back his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu by moving its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem next month, Israeli media reported Friday.

If the plan goes through, Hungary would be the first European Union member state to establish an embassy in Jerusalem, which Israel claims as its capital but is not acknowledged by most nations and whose legal status is in question.

Hungarian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mate Paczolay did not confirm The Times of Israel’s report, but said the ministry would provide updates on any changes to the embassy in all cases.

“We have already moved the commercial department of our Israeli Embassy to Jerusalem years ago,” he said in response to a Reuters question. “The inauguration of the foreign trade representation was jointly announced by Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.”
Israel to open permanent embassy in Turkmenistan, 12 miles from Iran
The embassy's inauguration is intended to send a message to Iran that Israel is a present and growing influence in the region

Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen is expected to soon leave for Turkmenistan – the central Asian country that shares a long border with Iran – to officially inaugurate a permanent Israeli embassy in the capital city of Ashgabat.

The embassy will be the closest official Israeli mission to an Iranian border, only some 12 miles away.

Turkmenistan, a Muslim-majority country, established relations with Israel in the run-up to its declaration of independence in 1991. About a decade ago, in light of good relations between the two states, Israel opened a temporary embassy there with a temporary structure, now permanent.

The permanent building was built specifically for the to-be-inaugurated embassy, like the Israeli mission in Azerbaijan, which also shares a border with the Islamic Republic.
Israel Tells Top US General it Sees Need to Cooperate Against Iran
Israel hosted the top US military officer, Army General Mark Milley, on Friday for discussions that it said included the need for cooperation on denying Iran nuclear weaponry.

Milley made the previously unannounced visit ahead of a trip to Israel by Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin that will also include neighbouring Egypt and Jordan – US-aligned Arab states that have influence on Israeli-Palestinian affairs.

“Ongoing cooperation is required in order to prevent Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon,” Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant’s office quoted him as telling Milley, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Amid its long-stalled negotiations with world powers on renewing a 2015 nuclear deal, Western powers say Iran has made advances with technologies that could potentially yield it a bomb. Tehran denies having any such plan.

The roots of the tragic template of Palestinian Arab terror
The recent surge in Palestinian terrorism illustrates how commonplace the murder of Jews remains. But according to JNS editor-in-chief Jonathan Tobin, part of the problem is the way we regard the history of the conflict.

While the international media seems to be ignorant of everything that happened before last week, the Palestinians still seem intent on trying to erase all events of the past century, says Tobin. Meanwhile, Jews and Israelis are still confused about what conclusions to draw from events, especially since the minimum demands of each side—for the Jews, a Jewish state, and for the Palestinian Arabs, no Jewish state—are irreconcilable.

That, continues Tobin, is the context in which the recent terrorist murders of Jews—and a Jewish riot in reaction to those crimes—must be understood.

Tobin is joined by historian Oren Kessler, the author of the new book Palestine 1936: The Great Revolt and the Roots of the Middle East Conflict. The book explores a topic that has been largely neglected by historians—namely, the way Jews and Arabs contended for control of what was then the British Mandate for Palestine, providing insights into the way the same battles continue to be fought today.

As Kessler explains, the Great Revolt helped solidify a separate Palestinian Arab identity. It was also the first time their national movement made a concerted effort to prevent the Jews from securing their foothold in the country. Their economic boycott and terror campaign secured real political gains in terms of the first proposal for partition of the country and convincing the British to curtail Jewish immigration, and foreclosing the possibility of a Jewish state in the infamous 1939 White Paper.

But ironically, the outcome of the violence and the infighting between hardliners led by Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, and his more moderate opponents exhausted the Arabs. It also had the effect of galvanizing Jewish efforts at self-defense and creating a separate economy, both of which largely made the successful outcome of the 1948 War of Independence a decade later a foregone conclusion.

Netanyahus Pay Condolence Call on Yaniv Family, Who Lost Two Sons to Terrorism
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, visited the community of Har Bracha in Samaria to pay a condolence call on the Yaniv family, two of whose sons were killed in a shooting attack on Sunday.

Esti and Shalom Yaniv spoke about their sons, who were motivated by the values of volunteerism and charity. They also spoke about the last family Sabbath that they all spent together just before the terrorist attack.

Hallel, 21, and Yagel, 19, were shot at point-blank range by a Palestinian terrorist while stuck in traffic in the Arab village of Huwara near where they lived.

“If they could, they would murder us all, but they want to uproot us. I say that our answer is to strike at them and deepen our roots,” the prime minister said.

“We have made a series of decisions recently, in the face of an international reality that is not a simple one, to deepen our roots, to deepen settlement and to expand our hold on our homeland. This is the battle in which we find ourselves. These two splendid youths fell in the battle for our homeland,” he added.

The Israel Guys: Local Palestinian Support of Terrorism is EXPLODING in the WEST BANK
The overwhelming majority of Palastinians support terrorism as a means of ridding jews from not only the so called west bank but from every part of Israel. If you don't believe me, hang tight for a disturbing dive into local Arab news!

You can't make this stuff up - collecting money for the candy eaters
Every Jew that drives through that area understands what I am telling you and they are living there anyway. They believe with all their heart and soul that this Land was G-d given, and that any sacrifice is worth it to grow and prosper and build up the Holy Land. They are certain, and they have lost enough friends and relatives to these barbaric terrorists to know that the only response is to evacuate the town.

Move them elsehere.They will never ever live in peace with the Jews, even though there is ample space for everyone. Because it is not about land or space, it is about our very existence in this Land.

I have written before about the dichotomy between the Jew and the Israeli, this is the real struggle and it manifests in many dimensions throughout society. Are we living in the Holy Land, the promised land of the Jewish people, or a state like any other that represents its citizens? Are we a secular democratic state or a JEWISH state? Are we the homeland of all the Jewish people and therefore required to be pluralistic so as not to offend Diaspora Jewry! Or are we first and foremost responsible to the Jews who live here and vote and fight for this Land? Can we be all things for all the people? Are we having an identity crisis perhaps?

Huwara is the guillotine we Israelis stick our neck under. And this guillotine can be released at any time anywhere on civilian Israelis. However on road 60 in Huwara it is at its most extreme. There is no bypass road…only this very narrow death trap.

Restraint? Of course. We have an army and it is their job under the instructions of the government to provide security for our people, ALL of our people wherever they are in this Land, by confiscating weapons, treating rock throwers as the criminals they are and by deporting all those that celebrate the murder of Jews. And relocating all of them.

Yes, all of them. A deterrent must be restored. In spite of how they behave, few if any want to live in Gaza or even Jordan. Israel is very generous to its Arab citizens. One only needs to visit any university or college in Israel to see that almost half of the student body are Arabs! But if they murder Israelis, Mahmoud Abbas is even more generous. With hard cash.

To speak of Huwara without any understanding of where or what it is, is not simply ignorant, it is also damaging. This is a glimpse into the reality on the ground.
Owner of Huwara Car Lot Jews Set on Fire a Released Terrorist
Hakol HaYehudi’s investigation revealed that Eid Makharev, owner of a car lot for spare parts that was set on fire earlier this week, is a released terrorist who spent five years in security prison during the 2nd Intifada.

Makharev managed to put up a post in support of the drive-by shooting that killed Hallel and Yagel Yaniv Hy’d – just hours before his business was set on fire. In his post, the released terrorist boasted that the real Aqaba summit was run by the killers of the two Jewish brothers in Huwara and that Ben Gvir was welcome to join the summit.

On his Facebook page, Makharev expresses support for terrorists, including Shechem and Jenin terrorists. In addition, he describes his time in prison together with his friend Nasser Abu Hamad, one of the arch-murderers from the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, whom he regularly praises. He posts pictures of himself with a weapon and a picture from Megido prison where he served time.

His son Kassam also expresses support for terrorists and terrorism and posts photos of terrorists who were killed by the IDF. Like his father, he also posts pictures of himself brandishing a Kalashnikov.

After the attack in Jericho in which 27-year-old Israeli-American Elan Ganeles was murdered, Makharev expressed his joy live on Facebook, from a convoy of vehicles of Shechem Arabs who rejoiced over the murder. In the video, the person sitting next to Makharev is heard telling him that rumors say there were six murdered, and he joyfully responds: “May there be many more.”

FDD: Palestinian Authority Rejects Security Cooperation with Israel
Heightened Tensions
Al-Ahmad’s statement comes at a time of heightened tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. On Sunday, a Palestinian terrorist gunned down two brothers in their car as they drove through the Palestinian town of Hawara. In response, a group of Israeli settlers rioted in the Palestinian town where the brothers were murdered, killing one Palestinian, wounding dozens, and causing extensive property damage. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu called for calm after the riot, urging Israelis not take the law into their own hands.

2023 Has Witnessed a High Death Toll
In 2023, Palestinian terrorists have already killed 13 Israelis, including a dual Israeli-American citizen, and a Ukrainian national. During the same period, more than 60 Palestinians died, mostly in clashes with Israel. According to an FDD review of open-source data, more than two-thirds of the Palestinian fatalities in 2023 had participated in terror attacks or were affiliated with terror organizations.

The U.S. Role in Security Coordination
The United States has led the effort to create an effective security coordination mechanism for Israelis and Palestinians through the establishment of the Office of US Security Coordinator (USSC) in 2005. Founded in the wake of the Second Intifada, the USSC — based in Jerusalem and headed by Lieutenant General Michael R. Fenzel — has the mandate to “transform and professionalize” Palestinian armed groups, according to the State Department. Another primary objective of the USSC is to implement the security arrangements between the PA and Israel as envisioned in the Oslo Accords of the early 1990s.

Israel Prison Reforms Would End Cushy Conditions for Terrorists
Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir announced sweeping reforms to reverse allegedly cushy prison conditions for convicted Palestinian terrorists, sparking protests from the terrorist movement Hamas and prisoners.

Ben-Gvir said he wants to “ensure that the murderers of Jews are not getting better conditions,” adding Palestinian prisoners should no longer receive “fresh pita (bread)…every morning as if they were in a restaurant.”

According to the Israeli news agency TPS, Palestinian prisoners threatened last week to engage in a campaign of violence and disobedience, including a mass hunger strike during Ramadan, against Bev-Gvir’s new measures.

Israel’s public news organization Kan News reported that representatives of the prisoners sent a letter Ben-Gvir, declaring “blood will be spilled” if prisons conditions are changed. The prisoners added that they will respond “with a war of liberation.”

Earlier this month, the minister ordered the shut-down of bakeries run by inmates in two prisons. He also ordered the Israel Prison Service (IPS) to reduce shower time to four minutes and restrict usage of running water to one hour for each prisoner wing.

The EU’s view on the Iran nuclear deal and standoff
The Jerusalem Post recently visited Brussels along with a group of journalists meeting with a wide range of top EU officials.

During the various meetings, the European Union’s view on the Iran nuclear standoff, with a number of significant revelations, became clear. The EU isn't as worried as Israel

Starting with the most recent news, it would seem that the EU was worried by the February 20 leaked initial IAEA report about Iran’s enrichment of uranium to the 84% level, but still not as intensely worried as Israel.

First, the 84% for Israel was immediately smoking-gun evidence of Iran’s desire to break out to a nuclear weapon, since it is the equivalent of inches away from the 90% weaponized level.

In contrast, the EU view has been a wait and see approach to what the final IAEA report will say, while praying that it will not be terribly significant or will leave room for the whole thing being an accident – just as Iran has tried to spin the situation.

At the same time, the Post understands that the EU is furious with Tehran at a level probably not reached since long before the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known as the Iran nuclear deal.

The two reasons have to do with the return to the deal being sabotaged by Iran’s negotiators in July-August, and then the ayatollahs providing drones to Russia to fight Ukraine.
Seth Frantzman: Iran’s diminishing returns on enriching uranium
This creates an interesting set of circumstances. Iran used to hold up uranium enrichment as a threat to achieve concessions and a new “deal” with the West. If it can’t use enrichment to threaten the West, then what is the point of more enrichment? Iran must consult with its partners in Russia and China about whether those countries actually back a nuclear Iran. Iran recently said it could supply air defenses to Syria, and it is rumored to be asking Russia for warplanes. If it’s offering air defenses to other countries, it doesn’t seem to be husbanding those resources at home to defend against airstrikes on its nuclear facilities. Similarly, without a relevant air force and with drones being exported to Russia, it appears more vulnerable than in the past.

This creates a problem for the Iranian regime. As it nears the 90 percent enrichment mark, it knows that it reaches a kind of “red line,” where it will have enriched too much to not proceed toward making a weapon. However, if it isn’t ready to “weaponize” the enriched uranium, it can’t continue to enrich for no reason. This is a diminishing return of enrichment. What’s the point of getting to 89.9 percent and not doing more? On the other hand, if Iran is concerned that its own partners will dissuade it from building a bomb and destabilizing the world, and if Iran is concerned about sparking a war over its weapons program, it runs into fewer choices in the future. Basically, it will have checked the enrichment box and now has to move on to some new stage.

For countries that are concerned about Iran’s nuclear program — including Israel, the U.S., European countries, Russia and China — there will be a lot of spotlight on what Iran does next. In addition, Iran may provoke Saudi Arabia, Turkey and others into a potential nuclear arms race. Clearly, Iran faces more difficult choices the more it enriches uranium. On the other hand, countries that oppose Iran acquiring a weapon will need to now work more closely together and be clear about how they intend to deter Iran from reaching the next stage.

More is now known about Iran’s nuclear program and, if enrichment no longer is a major issue, countries could send a message to Iran that any weaponization of uranium would be the new “red line” not to cross.
Iran seeks to receive S-400 missile systems from Russia
Iran has requested a new air-defense system, S-400s, from Russia, which could prove problematic for Israel.

Russia has yet to publicly confirm if it will supply the S-400s in question. If supplied, Iran will need only two years for the system to become operational.

The S-400 is a mobile, surface-to-air missile system created by Russia. It engages with aircrafts, unmanned aerial vehicles, and cruise missiles. It also has a terminal ballistic missile defense capability, according to the Center for Strategic and International studies.

Russia has been recieving ammunition from Iran for its invasion of Ukraine, which has helped solidify a military relationship. Now, it is expected that Russia will gift Iran military materials.

Ukraine has said that Russia received 2400 drones from Iran.

Israel, Russia and Iran
Israel has had a neutrality policy in dealing with Russia thus far. This has meant that Israel has sent only humanitarian aid to Ukraine but not military support or resources.

However, Israel has claimed responsibility for strikes against Iranian military factories. This has led to veiled threats, to Israel, from Russia.

“I think we are moving to the point that the chance of success for doing something effective militarily is getting slimmer,” Prof. Avner Cohen, a premier Israeli-American scholar on nuclear proliferation warned in an interview with The Jerusalem Post.

“The longer you wait, the harder that becomes,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said of a strike on Iran at a security conference in Tel Aviv. “We’ve waited very long. I can tell you that I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.”

Iranians protest as over 1,000 schoolgirls poisoned in more than 50 schools
Reports of Iranian schoolgirls being poisoned at school continue to stream in from across Iran, with over 1,000 students in more than 50 schools impacted so far, according to opposition reports this week.

The poisonings were first reported in late November, with the pace of reports rising in recent weeks. On Wednesday, at least eight schools throughout Iran reported poisoning incidents in one day, according to opposition media.

Iranian officials have varied in their responses to the poisonings, with some claiming the symptoms being reported are largely caused by stress and others stating that the incidents seem to be intentional and that security forces are investigating.

Footage from hospitals throughout Iran shows girls being brought to emergency rooms and put on oxygen. Footage from the schools shows girls sitting outside, some collapsing and others coughing heavily. Investigations launched 3 months after poisonings began

Iranian officials have stated that the poisonings are being investigated, with some officials calling the incidents "subversive operations" and "intimidations." The announcements of an investigation come three months after the first reports of poisonings.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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