Friday, March 10, 2023

03/10 Links Pt1: 3 wounded, including 1 critically, in central Tel Aviv terror shooting; Iran, Saudi Arabia to resume relations after years of tension

From Ian:

3 wounded, including 1 critically, in central Tel Aviv terror shooting
Three people were shot and wounded in a terrorist shooting near a cafe in central Tel Aviv on Thursday night, police and medics said.

Police said the Palestinian attacker opened fire at people outside the cafe on the corner of Dizengoff Street and Ben Gurion Street, an area typically bustling on Thursday night. He then fled the scene while shooting at other people in the area, before being shot dead in a shootout with police officers a short time later.

One victim was listed in critical but stable condition after undergoing surgery and was still fighting for his life, said doctors at Ichilov Medical Center, where the injured were taken. The other two were listed in serious and moderate condition, the Magen David Adom ambulance service said.

The hospital said the critically wounded victim was stabilized and was to undergo surgery along with the other man who was seriously hurt. Another two victims were brought to the hospital to be treated for anxiety.

Police said they were treating the shooting as a terror attack.

In graphic footage from the moment of the attack, a man in a black jacket can be seen walking briskly behind a group of three men before pulling out a pistol and opening fire at them from point-blank range. He can then be seen trying to flee as panicked cafe patrons take cover.
Tel Aviv terror victim in life-threatening condition, another undergoes neurosurgery
Two people severely injured in a terrorist shooting in Tel Aviv Thursday evening remained in very grave condition the following morning, doctors said.

Three friends in their 30s were injured on Thursday night when a Palestinian attacker opened fire at people outside a cafe on the corner of Dizengoff Street and Ben Gurion Street. He then fled the scene while shooting at other people in the area, before he was killed in a shootout with police officers a short time later.

Or Asher, 32, was hospitalized in critical condition at the emergency care ward at Ichilov Hospital, according to a Friday statement. A second man, Rotem Mansano, 34, was also in serious condition and being treated in the emergency neurosurgery ward, doctors said.

Both victims were sedated and breathing through a respirator.

The third victim, Michael Osdon, 36, who suffered light to moderate wounds, was hospitalized in the plastic surgery ward.

Dr. Or Goren of Ichilov told Kan public radio that Asher was wounded in the neck. According to the doctor, Mansano and Osdon’s conditions were not life-threatening.
Tel Aviv terror attack victim: We're here to stay and keep fighting
Michael Osdon, who was moderately injured on Thursday in the Tel Aviv terror attack and was taken to Ichilov Medical Center where his two friends are fighting for his lives, said that he and his two close friends were on their way to a wedding when the terrorist ran up to them and opened fire.

"Yesterday at 8:40 p.m., were went to Dizengoff from north to south on our way to a close friend's wedding, and just as we were getting to the junction, one of my friends who was to my left was hit with a bullet from behind," he said. "After that, the terrorist moved to my side and shot me from behind. I moved my head, and my cheek was hit instead of my head. He shot another bullet at my third friend."

Osdon said that after his friends fell on the road, he tried to run for help, but the terrorist kept chasing him.

"Unfortunately, my two friends are in a condition that they need to be prayed for very hard."

"He shot another bullet at me, but he missed," said Osdon. "I continued to the ice cream parlor and asked them to call an ambulance, and the incident kept going for another minute and half until security forces showed up. They took us to the hospital, and unfortunately, my two friends are in a condition that they need to be prayed for very hard."

Was the wedding disrupted by the attack?
Osdon may not have reached his friend's wedding, but he said the event happened despite the terror attack. "I'm very happy it did," he said. "We have to continue with our lives, and we cannot stop and give someone the understanding that we don't intend on staying and keep fighting.

Osdon concluded with another appeal for people to pray for his friends' recoveries.

The terrorist, a 23-year-old Palestinian affiliated with Hamas, was shot and killed by Israel Police officers shortly after the shooting.

Israeli Forces Detonate Explosive Device on Bus Near Beitar Illit, Search for Suspect
The Israeli Defense Forces Home Front Command is urging residents of Beitar Illit to remain inside and lock their doors as police hunt for a terrorist who planted a suspected device that failed to detonate on a bus on Thursday night.

After smoke billowed from a black bag on a bus nearby, officials neutralized the device, per reports. The man who placed the bag on the bus had already exited the vehicle, according to media reports.

Israeli security officials issued a Red Alert warning of an infiltration at 10:20 p.m. local time as they began a massive search for the terrorist. Beitar Illit is a haredi enclave of more than 9,000 families about 12 miles southwest of Jerusalem in the Gush Etzion bloc.

The ongoing security situation and intermittent warning sirens resulted in “numerous” emergency calls to the United Hatzalah dispatch center from those “suffering emotional shock and psychological stress reactions,” the organization stated.
Attempted Palestinian terror attack in West Bank thwarted by local - report
An Israeli settler shot dead a Palestinian man who the Israeli military said was a terrorist armed with knives and explosive devices on Friday near a city in the northern West Bank.

Tension in the West Bank has been surging for months, with the near-daily clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces and settlers.

Israeli forces also raided the town of Ni'lin in the West Bank overnight, intending on making arrests after one Palestinian resident from the town carried out a terrorist attack in Tel Aviv.

Palestinian officials confirmed a 21-year-old man was killed by an Israeli settler on Friday but did not immediately note any casualties from the raid in Ni'lin.

Relatives of the man killed told Reuters he was religious but were not aware of any membership in Palestinian terrorist groups. They said the military was still withholding his body.

IDF: Palestinian teen who hurled firebomb at West Bank army post shot dead
A Palestinian teenager who allegedly hurled a Molotov cocktail at an army post in the West Bank was shot dead on Friday evening, the military and Palestinian health officials said.

The Palestinian Authority health ministry said 16-year-old Amir Mamoun Odeh was shot in the chest on the outskirts of the West Bank city of Qalqilya.

A military spokesperson told The Times of Israel that the teen had approached an army post near the West Bank security barrier, close to Qalqilya, before hurling a Molotov cocktail at soldiers “from a close range.”

The troops, “who felt in danger,” opened fire at the teen, the spokesperson said, adding that the suspect was hit by the gunfire.

No soldiers were reported hurt in the incident.

'We promise more painful strikes,' Hamas says as terror continues
A Palestinian terrorist who entered a Jewish community in Samaria armed with knives and explosive devices was shot and killed by an Israeli settler on Friday, the Israeli military said, just hours after a Palestinian gunman shot and wounded Israelis in downtown Tel Aviv.

The new violence was the latest to grip Israel and the West Bank in one of the deadliest periods of unrest among Israelis and Palestinians in years.

The Israeli military said the armed Palestinian slipped into a farm near the settlement of Karnei Shomron, in the northern West Bank, and was fatally shot by an Israeli settler overseeing the land. Palestinian authorities identified the man as 21-year-old Abed al-Sheikh. His father, Badaie al-Sheikh, said Israeli security forces searched his house, interrogated him, and confiscated his son's phone in the nearby Palestinian village of Saniriya.

Hours earlier, Israeli security forces entered the Palestinian village of Naalin and prepared to demolish the family house of the Palestinian suspected of carrying out the shooting in Tel Aviv on Thursday night. The shooter had opened fire near Dizengoff Street in a bustling area of Tel Aviv's city center and wounded three Israelis, including one critically.

The Hamas terrorist group claimed the attacker, a 23-year-old former prisoner named Moataz Khawaja, as a member of the organization's armed wing. Hamas said the shooting came in response to an Israeli military arrest raid that day that killed three gunmen in the northern village of Jaba, along with another raid earlier this week that killed seven Palestinians in the flashpoint Jenin refugee camp, including a wanted assailant and a 14-year-old boy.

"We promise more painful strikes throughout our occupied land as long as (Israel's) aggression continues and its crimes escalate," the Palestinian terrorist group said.

The Israel Guys: BREAKING: America PRESSURES Israel to Let The U.S. TRAIN a Palestinian ARMY
BREAKING NEWS right out of the Aqaba Summit in Jordan last week with the Palestinians, US, Jordan, and Egypt. The US wants to train and deploy 5,000 Palestinian commandos to keep peace in Judea & Samaria while pressuring Israel to withdraw from fighting terrorism.

We have seen this before, and it turned out to be a catastrophe.

MEMRI: Lebanese Journalist: Arabs’ Interests Cannot Continue to Be Held Captive by the Palestinian Cause
Lebanese journalist Nadim Koteich said in a February 27, 2023 address at the Shaikh Ebrahim Al Khalifa Center for Culture and Research in Bahrain that the interests of the Arabs, and particularly of Lebanon, should no longer be held “hostage” by the Palestinian cause, regardless of how justified it is. He said that Lebanon has paid a huge price for having given the Palestinian cause precedence over its own interests, that any problems between Lebanon and Israel can be resolved politically, and that the main issues plaguing the Palestinians cause are internal and unrelated to other Arab countries. Koteich’s address was posted to the center’s YouTube channel.

JPost Editorial: Iran doing what it wants with no repercussions endangers the world
The director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, said this past weekend that an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear program would violate international law and was illegal. At the same time, the IAEA appears to offer few ways to stop Tehran’s race forward as it proceeds to enrich uranium and inches closer to a nuclear bomb.

Grossi’s statement led Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to criticize him on Sunday and to affirm that Jerusalem will act against the Islamic Republic as it deems necessary, including through preemptive self-defense to avoid a nuclear threat.

“International law from the Geneva Protocols in 1949 and thereafter and several resolutions of the general conference of the IAEA: attacks on nuclear facilities are illegal, are a violation of the UN Charter. I did not say anything which should be considered departing from what is in the public domain. Maybe that got their attention,” the Argentinian diplomat turned IAEA director said when asked about Netanyahu’s response.

This creates a difficult situation, in which the world wants to consider an attack against Iran as being “illegal” even if it is aimed at preventing Tehran from becoming a threshold nuclear power and breaking out toward weaponization for its uranium. In essence, according to this line of thinking, it is only “legal” to wait until Iran develops, tests and launches a weapon to try and stop it. Israel is right to be concerned about such a situation, in which the world only offers words about Iran’s nuclear program, but no real action.
It's time for Israel to make a decision about Iran
In plain English, the Biden team is practically pleading with Tehran to please, please, pretty, pretty please, return to the negotiating table to make a deal.

Equally disturbing were the remarks made by IAEA chief Rafael Grossi, who flew to Iran earlier this week in a desperate attempt to get the Iranian regime to offer at least the appearance of concessions.

Going far beyond his mandate, Grossi assumed the position of defense attorney for Iran, telling reporters that any Israeli military strike on Iranian nuclear installations would be illegal. Speaking at a press conference in Tehran, he said, “I think any attack, any military attack on a nuclear facility is outlawed, is out of the normative structures that we all abide by.”

Needless to say, such statements give comfort to the enemy and only serve to harden the conviction among the Iranian leadership that they can pursue their nuclear objectives with impunity.

Make no mistake. We all know full well what Iran’s intentions are. For the past two decades, the would-be Hitlers of Persia have spoken openly about their desire to wipe Israel off the map. In effect, they are seeking to erect an atomic Auschwitz designed to finish what the Nazis began.

Israel cannot and must not allow this to happen.

Sure, an attack on Iran would be logistically difficult, diplomatically dangerous, and would have serious consequences. But the alternative is simply too frightening to contemplate. The alarm bells are ringing, and we can no longer kick the can down the road.

Eight decades ago, the nations of the world sat back and watched as millions of Jews were gassed and incinerated. We dare not risk that happening again. It is time for Israel to act and bomb Iran before it is too late. There is simply no other choice.
Iran is growing a Shi'ite nucleus in Israel, manipulates internal strife - opinion
Iran in Jordan
IN RECENT years, the Iranian regime has also begun quietly to tend to the “restoration” of Shi’ite religious sites in Jordan, particularly those that are close to the Jordanian-Israeli border. This phenomenon has not been welcomed by the local Arab or Hebrew press and media in Israel or abroad.

The Jordanian leadership has recognized a growing weakness in past decades, given the weak economy, hordes of Syrian refugees which have made their way into its territory and the constant competition which it sees from the Iranian-backed Hamas vis-a-vis the Palestinian majority which characterizes its citizens.

As the keeper of the Islamic holy sites, including al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, it is difficult to imagine that the Jordanian king sleeps peacefully while knowing that the Iranians are constantly backing and encouraging Hamas to “steal” this ownership from the Jordanian Royal family.

The current Iranian regime – the one for which it does not suffice to rape, incarcerate and hang Iranian women – has recently begun a new and diabolically creative means of torture by extracting the right eye of Iran’s most beautiful women and poisoning Iranian schoolgirls as a form of warped revenge for the women-led revolution against the Mullah in Iran. It has also begun to try and widen its influence inside Israel.

Iran in Israel
Thus, quietly, and under the radar, much to the disdain of many of Israel’s Sunni imams, there is a small, yet growing local nucleus of Muslims who accept Shi’ite teachings and support the Alawite regime in Syria and the Shi’ite regime in Iran. It is no longer a crazy notion, but one which is known by many in the Arab Israeli communities, particularly in the north of the country.

The more the internal strife deepens in Israel, the easier Iran’s quest to strengthen that aforementioned nucleus will be. Simultaneously, the more the Arab Israeli minority in Israel remains outside of the mainstream media and government’s attention, the easier it will be for parts of this minority to be manipulated by Iran or its regional proxies. Much like in our neighboring countries, where internal strife and divisions were manipulated by Iran, the same may happen here and will proceed if Israel unwittingly allows it.

The ayatollah regime has proved, time and again that it does not have any qualms about applying any, and all means to achieve its much-sought-after aim – regional hegemony – and what better way than to be the “savior” of one of Islam’s holiest sites, al-Aqsa Mosque? Those who have no qualms about extracting their own citizens’ eyes, killing Ukrainians in a war, not theirs, and arming the Houthis in their imagined war against the Gulf countries, will not hesitate to destroy the Zionist entity.

It is time to wake up before it is too late.
Iran, Saudi Arabia to resume relations after years of tension
Iran said Friday it reached a deal with Saudi Arabia to resume diplomatic relations and reopen embassies in the two countries after years of tensions. The kingdom did not immediately acknowledge any agreement.

Iranian state television reported the deal, saying it came during a meeting in China. Chinese state media did not report on any such deal.

Nour News, which is linked to Iran's Supreme National Security Council, posted images and video it described as being taken in China with the meeting. It showed Ali Shamkhani, the council's secretary, with a Saudi official and a Chinese official that state TV named as Wang Yi.

"After implementing of the decision, the foreign ministers of the both nations will meet to prepare for exchange of ambassadors," Iranian state television said.

Saudi Arabian officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.

Tensions have been high between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The kingdom broke off ties with Iran in 2016 after protesters invaded Saudi diplomatic posts there. Saudi Arabia days earlier had executed a prominent Shiite cleric, triggering the demonstrations.
Saudi-Iran deal destroys Israel’s defense wall against Iran, Lapid charges
The Saudi-Iran deal is a dangerous development that strips Israel of its regional defensive wall against Iran, former Prime Minister Yair Lapid said on Friday.

“The agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran reflects the complete and dangerous failure of the Israeli government's foreign policy,” Lapid said as he used the moment to attack Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations on Friday after talks in Beijing between top security officials from the two rival Middle East powers, Iranian state media reported on Friday.

"As a result of the talks, Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to resume diplomatic relations and re-open embassies...within two months," Iranian news agency IRNA reported.

Israeli politicians immediately expressed concern as the move appeared to throw a monkey wrench in one of Netanyahu’s new government’s chief policy initiatives — to normalize ties with Saudi Arabia.

Israel has presumed that the necessity of creating a Gulf alliance between Israel and its Arab partners against Iran, would help provide an incentive for the establishment of ties between Israel and the Jewish state.
Hezbollah leader says Iran-Saudi reconciliation is 'good development'
UAE, Oman, Iraq welcome resumption of diplomatic ties between Riyadh and Tehran
A diplomatic advisor to the United Arab Emirates president said on Friday he welcomed the agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

"We welcome the agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran to resume diplomatic relations, and we hail the Chinese role in this regard," Anwar Gargash tweeted.

"The UAE believes in the importance of positive communication and dialogue among the countries of the region towards consolidating the concepts of good neighborliness and starting from a common ground to build a more stable future for all."

Oman also welcomes the agreement, the foreign ministry said in a statement on Friday.

Iraq welcomed "turning a new page" between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the state news agency said.

The two countries have thanked Iraq for hosting previous talks.

Both Oman and Iraq have hosted talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia in the past, something which the two countries thanked them for.

Support for move from Hezbollah
The head of Lebanon's powerful armed group Hezbollah said on Friday the resumption of ties between its backer Iran and longtime rival Saudi Arabia was a "good development."

Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed on Friday to re-establish relations after years of hostility which had threatened stability in the Gulf and prompted political disputes in Lebanon.

US says it was not directly involved in talks
Saudi Arabia kept Washington informed of its talks with Iran to restore diplomatic relations but the United States was not directly involved, White House spokesman John Kirby said on Friday.

"The Saudis did keep us informed about these talks that they were having, just as we keep them informed on our engagements, but we weren't directly involved," Kirby told reporters.

The Next Iranian Revolution Has Been Stymied, but Not Stopped
Although the protests against the Islamic Republic which began with the death of Mahsa Amini last September have not abated, Reuel Marc Gerecht is not sanguine about their ability to overthrow the regime. At the same time, Gerecht contends that the ayatollahs’ popular support has collapsed, and that they are hanging on by brute force:

It’s crystal clear . . . to many in the Iranian religious and political elite, and it may well be clear to [Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei, too, that for Iranians under forty (around 60 percent of the population), there is zero chance that they will re-embrace the Islamic Republic. Even for those older, it’s doubtful they have much affection for the theocracy left, especially given its conduct towards their children and grandchildren.

The regime obviously still has sufficient manpower to maintain its myriad security units, especially the all-critical Basij, who are the theocracy’s Brownshirts, and the Revolutionary Guards. In the demonstrations since September, which have been more alarming to the regime than the near-insurrection of 2019, the security forces, though strained, have shown no signs of cracking. Enough young men still appear willing to kill and torture enough women (and men) in the zan–zendegi–âzâdi (Women, Life, and Freedom) movement to keep the demonstrations from mushrooming into million-woman marches.

Perhaps more worrisome for the regime, senior clerics now openly express concern about politics degrading the faith. The regime understandably responds quickly to such criticism, either through solicitation or intimidation. Its sense of self, especially within the military and security services, revolves around Islam. . . .

The Islamic Republic’s ruling elite [isn’t composed of] cynics or run-of-the-mill Middle Eastern despots, who find legitimacy in the simple fact that they hold the reins of power or that they possess a historically significant, victorious bloodline; theocrats, and a sufficient number of their foot-soldiers, want to believe that they are doing God’s work. That sense of purpose is surely critical to the regime’s survival, and will be fundamentally challenged especially if the opposition can generate large protests, which might challenge the mores of young men called upon continuously to bring violence upon young women.

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