Monday, May 15, 2023

From Ian:

Jonathan S. Tobin: Israel Immediately United in the Face of Palestinian Rocket Fire
As Israel was subjected to a barrage of over 1,000 rockets fired by Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Israelis pulled together, united behind their government, and carried on with normal life as much as possible. The resilience of Israelis in the face of challenges that might break other people is one of the most remarkable aspects of life in the Jewish state. This past week's events demonstrate that the vast majority of Israelis are able to rise above their differences and present a fairly united front against people trying to kill them.

The contrast between the Israeli and Palestinian casualties is depicted as the result of a disproportionate IDF response to the rockets. Yet what it really shows is the difference between the two sides' priorities. In Gaza there are plenty of bomb shelters (underneath the entire Strip lies a massive network of tunnels and fortified strongholds used for terrorist purposes), but they are used as weapon storage facilities for the people firing them. Israel has prioritized the defense of its people with both defense systems and mandatory bomb shelters.

Americans should be inspired by Israel's resolution in defending its people against those who seek their deaths, as well as by the ability of Israelis to temporarily put their differences aside in the face of deadly threats. This is a moment to recognize that the Israeli people's strength and determination represent the future of the Jewish people.
The Rocket Attacks from Gaza Brought Out the Best in Israelis
Even the leader of the opposition in the Knesset, Yair Lapid, offered Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu support for the government's actions against Islamic Jihad rocket fire from Gaza, and there was no question of reservists refusing to respond to a call-up. Perfect strangers offered home hospitality to residents of the Gaza envelope seeking refuge.

There were also the familiar touching pictures of newborn babies being moved from maternity wards to rocket-proof, subterranean units. No country should have to act as if this is normal.

The plight of the elderly struggling to reach safety with just a few seconds' warning of incoming rockets is less photogenic but no less serious. Sderot and the nearby communities must be among the few places in the world where wearing a seatbelt is at times forbidden - for safety reasons - when you have just seconds to seek shelter from an incoming rocket.

Don't forget who is the aggressor and who is the victim. If the Palestinian terror organizations were to cease their murderous campaigns, there would be peace.
IDF Showcased Improved Capabilities, Restored Deterrence
Hizbullah and Hamas have now witnessed how Israeli intelligence identifies and targets senior operatives, striking them one after another, even during combat, despite their attempts to remain hidden. All of this was accomplished while Israel maintained international and public legitimacy to continue its operation, as it demonstrated that it does everything possible to avoid harming uninvolved civilians. Strikes against non-combatants were carried out only when Israel determined that the targeted individuals posed an immediate danger to the well-being of hundreds of thousands of Israelis.

The Gaza Division's "Fire Canopy" system demonstrated impressive capabilities to target Islamic Jihad missile launchers and mortar teams. It represents a significant advancement since Israel's last operations.

Operation Shield and Arrow reassured us all that in times of national and personal security threats, we know how to unite and defend ourselves. Civilians on the home front demonstrated both self-discipline and high morale.

Who Wants to Destroy Israel? You Might Be Surprised.
It is the first time in Israel's short history that a large-scale movement has been launched using undemocratic means to overthrow a democratically elected government.

The new government, in fact, is trying to restore democracy – by reforming Supreme Court practices that were adopted starting in the 1990s, which allow unelected, unaccountable Supreme Court justices to deliver rulings based on "reasonableness" rather than on written law – often meaning, "whatever I think is reasonable". Israel's Supreme Court is currently said have "virtually limitless power': it asserts the right to veto both political appointments and military decisions; it has no mechanism for recourse, and no requirement for "standing" -- meaning that the litigant need not be directly affected by the decision, such as having a personal wrong righted. On the contrary, anyone can directly petition the Supreme Court, anytime, about anything. The last provision has opened the floodgates for lawsuits by "concerned" non-governmental organizations dissatisfied with decisions Israel has taken. In addition, sitting Supreme Court justices – not the electorate and not the parliament – have the power to approve or veto any appointment of new justices, leading to a closed "club" in which no one is flustered by dissent.

The Biden Administration, staffed by many of the same people who were in the Obama Administration, has behaved as an enemy of Israel from day one. The Administration quickly restored US funding to the Palestinian Authority without asking it to stop supporting terrorism or even to stop inciting violence. The Biden Administration then opened a U.S. Office of Palestinian Affairs and installed, as "special representative for Palestinian affairs", Hady Amr who has admitted being "inspired by the Palestinian intifada".

The Biden Administration has, to its credit, during the hundreds of recent missile attacks -- 1,235 rockets over five days, launched at a country the size of New Jersey -- said that "Israel has the right to protect itself and defend its people from indiscriminate rocket attacks launched by terrorist groups" -- yet for the past two years, has done nothing to eliminate Israel's most serious threat – Iran's nuclear program – apart from seemingly trying to have Iran not use any nuclear weapons during the current administration's term.

The Biden Administration has, additionally, considerably eroded America's influence in the Middle Easy, thereby creating a situation of extreme peril for Israel and other erstwhile US allies in the Gulf. Biden, even during his 2020 presidential campaign, repeatedly vowed to treat Saudi Arabia as a "pariah"... This rebuff was followed by the Biden Administration's refusal to promise either that it would stop negotiating with Iran for a deal enabling the mullahs to have unlimited nuclear weapons, and fears that the US would not protect Saudi Arabia and other Arab allies in the Gulf from Iran.
Newsweek Opinion Columnist Asks, What Has the Palestinian Peace Camp Accomplished?
In Newsweek on May 10, Muhammad Shehada makes the argument that the purpose of Operation Shield and Arrow was not to respond to Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s firing of over 100 rockets into Israel, but merely “to please the most extreme elements of Netanyahu’s government, to protect his coalition from collapsing, and to boost the government’s approval ratings and undermine the ongoing demonstrations and opposition leaders.” (“Israel Just Bombed Gaza to Please Extremists and Boost Approval Ratings.”)

It’s a strange argument to be making – of course, when a country is under attack, people will demand that their government take action to protect them and failure to do so may cause that government to collapse. But it’s an unsurprising one, from someone who has previously falsely claimed that payments to terrorists by the Palestinian Authority, known as “pay to slay,” were a “canard” that has been debunked and who has falsely claimed that Palestinians do not have any right to vote. Now, consistent with the mission of Richard Falk’s NGO, for which Shehada works, he uses this Newsweek piece to attempt to position himself as a voice of reason, arguing that Israel’s actions defending its population “are accelerating the demise and delegitimization of the Palestinian peace camp.” (“The what?” most readers should be asking.) It’s an interesting flip of the script, as observers of the situation in Israel and the disputed territories have known for some time that Palestinian terror attacks have destroyed the Israeli peace camp.

Shehada writes, “since Netanyahu took office, it has been increasingly difficult for Palestinian moderates and advocates of peace to speak up. The immediate pushback to calls for dialogue is ‘Peace with who? With Ben Gvir or Smotrich and their fanatical camp of Greater Israel?’” It’s not immediately clear to which “moderates and advocates of peace” he is referring. Could he mean Rami Aman and others who were arrested by Hamas and convicted “of ‘weakening revolutionary spirit’ for having held a Zoom call with Israelis peace campaigners”? Nevertheless, “Peace with whom?” is exactly the question that Israelis have been asking for some time. Perhaps if Shehada were not so busy denying that the Palestinian Authority pays salaries to terrorists he might have realized this.

But Shehada seems intent on appropriating the Israeli point of view. Especially rich was his description of the current Israeli government, only a few months old, as too “radical” to deal with, when Gaza has been ruled since 2007 by an Islamist terror organization dedicated to Israel’s destruction.

Continuing, he asks the question, “what does the [Palestinian] peace camp have to show for their efforts?” CAMERA is happy to answer the question for him.

The Palestinian “peace camp,” such as it is, has created a long and durable legacy – one of rejectionism that has denied independence to the Palestinian people for decades, and that has directly contributed to the conditions that Shehada himself so deplores.
CAMERA Letter to the Editor in the Washington Times Palestinian Leaders Reject Peace
Seventy-five years after its founding, Israel is flourishing. And as Clifford May notes (“Israel’s 75th birthday: Despite endless war, Jewish state survives and even thrives,” web, May 9), this is particularly miraculous when one considers the threats that the Jewish state has faced.

For more than seven decades, the Israel-Islamist conflict has ground on, with terrorists determined to deny the Jewish people sovereignty in their ancestral homeland. This was the terrorists’ goal in 1948, and it remains their objective in 2023.

Terrorist groups such as Hamas and Fatah consider all of Israel to be a “settlement.” Their media, school textbooks and leaders routinely say as much. Yet on this score, it is the West that often fails to listen.

Mainstream media outlets routinely omit the numerous instances of Palestinian leadership rejecting Palestinian statehood if it means peace with and recognition of Israel. By highlighting such statements, Mr. May correctly places the onus for the conflict’s continuation right where it belongs: with Palestinian leaders, whose preference for war over peace remains both unbroken and undeniable.

Sean Durns
Washington D.C.

The writer is a Senior Research Analyst for the Committee for Accuray in Middle East Reporting and Analysis
Eli Cohen makes first visit to Sweden by an Israeli foreign minister in 20 years
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen kicked off a diplomatic mission to Sweden on Sunday night, marking the first time in more than 20 years that an Israeli foreign minister has visited the country.

Cohen’s itinerary includes a meeting with his Swedish counterpart, Tobias Billström, which is to deal with a range of topics, primarily focusing on the continued improvement of diplomatic relations and collaborative efforts to address regional security concerns.

Sweden currently holds the presidency of the European Union, making it a vital player in shaping Europe’s stance on various security matters. Subscribe to The JNS Daily Syndicate by email and never miss our top stories

However, while Cohen’s visit is part of a concerted effort to bolster bilateral ties, a key figure in Sweden’s Jewish community hopes that the Israeli foreign minister will also raise the topic of Swedish antisemitism.

According to Saskia Pantell, who founded the Sweden-Israel Alliance and also serves as president of the Zionist Federation of Sweden, it is crucial that Cohen also raise Swedish antisemitism in his discussions.

This is because, she explained, antisemitism in Sweden is “being mixed up between Israel and the Jews.”

Pantell, who is in Israel, cited as an example an incident that occurred in 2020 after the United States relocated its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Seth Frantzman: Ukraine's offensive against Russia is a big test for West's weapons
The question is how these systems will all fit together and whether Ukrainians trained over the last year to use these new systems will employ them well and be able to take back some ground? Being on the offensive can be more difficult than being on the defensive, especially as some of these systems were meant to help Ukraine on the defensive. How will they work when they have to be mobile? On the other hand, Russia appears to be losing aircraft and facing many challenges, which could reflect the overall failure of Moscow, or show that Moscow has still not committed its best units and is husbanding its resources, fearing potential humiliation.

For Western countries, the massive use of munitions by Ukraine is creating a supply chain headache. The West initially rushed older systems to Ukraine and even created agreements with some countries in Europe where those countries would send older systems, some dating from the Cold War era or 1990s, in exchange for new ones. But the supply depots are running low in some cases and the West will need to improve its military-industrial complex to keep up.

This means that Ukraine not only receives a hodgepodge of weapons piecemeal, but it also might not always be able to sustain those systems in attrition warfare. The West wants to see how the systems perform, but modern defense systems require more technology – not only things like radars and electronic warfare but also all sorts of interconnected systems, like multi-layered air defenses. What happens when a military is forced to rely on a plethora of different systems that don’t necessarily connect well?

These are the key questions Ukraine faces as it wants to push forward. As Ukraine cannot sustain massive casualties, it must be careful about choosing its objectives. Russia wants to try to bleed Ukraine white, the way the Germans did to the French at Verdun in World War I. Ukraine’s goal is to prevent that scenario.
PA calls on ICC to issue arrest warrant for Ben-Gvir
The Palestinian Authority requested on Sunday that the Internation Criminal Court issue an arrest warrant for Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir over his call for a large-scale counterterror operation in Judea and Samaria, The Jerusalem Post reported.

In an interview with local media following “Operation Shield and Arrow,” Ben-Gvir praised as “good and important” the targeted killing of six top Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists during the five-day conflict, adding: “The next operation must be in Judea and Samaria.”

In its appeal to the ICC, Ramallah accused Ben-Gvir of “incitement” and of supporting “a bloody aggression” against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, according to the report.

The P.A. denounced Ben-Gvir’s remarks as “a license to kill Palestinian citizens” and a call for “an unjustified military escalation, which reflects an expansionist colonial mentality to perpetuate the gradual annexation” of Judea and Samaria.
EU’s Borrell against conditioning aid on PA dropping antisemitic textbooks
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Saturday that he is against making financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority conditional on it removing hateful and antisemitic content from school textbooks.

The European Parliament passed a resolution last Wednesday condemning the P.A. for incitement to violence, hatred and antisemitism in its school textbooks for the fourth consecutive year and calling on the E.U. to freeze funding to the P.A. until its curriculum aligns with UNESCO standards.

“The Palestinian Authority is in a difficult situation and it risks bankruptcy if financing from the E.U. is blocked. As high representative [for foreign affairs and security policy], I will not allow it,” Borrell told AFP.

The International Legal Forum, a global network of more than 4,000 lawyers and activists committed to combating antisemitism, including in the E.U., wrote a letter to Borrell calling on him to reconsider his position.

“With all due respect, this is [about] ensuring accountability and that E.U. aid money goes towards projects that promote peace, tolerance and E.U. values…. We know you seek to make a positive contribution to peace in the region, and therefore call on you to unequivocally demand that the Palestinian Authority remove all antisemitic material from their textbooks and undertake not to use E.U. funds for ‘Pay to Slay’ salaries, as a precondition to further E.U. aid,” said the letter.

The letter was referring to Ramallah’s policy of paying monthly stipends to terrorists jailed in Israel and to the families of dead terrorists.

The European Parliament resolution passed 421 to 151 with 5 abstentions and garnered support from major center-left and center-right parties. The Parliament voted down five attempts to delete the resolution following a campaign by the Palestinian delegation to Brussels and pro-Palestinian NGOs.
Islamic Jihad member dies in Nablus raid to map terrorist’s home
A Palestinian Islamic Jihad member died during a shootout between IDF soldiers and gunmen in Nablus (Shechem) during an operation on Monday to map for possible demolition the home of one of the terrorists responsible for the murders of the Yaniv brothers in February.

The Palestinian Authority Health Ministry said in a statement that Saleh Mohammad Sabra, 22, was killed. Another Palestinian was reportedly critically wounded during the exchange of gunfire.

Pictures circulating from Sabra’s funeral show him wrapped in a Palestinian Islamic Jihad flag and carried by members of the P.A. security services.

According to the IDF, the troops came under attack from rioters who threw stones, shot fireworks, threw explosives and shot at the soldiers and military vehicles. The soldiers responded with riot dispersal means and live fire, with a hit detected.

The operation in Samaria targeted the home of Khaled Harusha, the son of the terrorist Abdelfatah Harusha. The two men are accused of carrying out the shooting attack in nearby Huwara on Feb. 26 in which brothers Staff Sgt Hallel Menachem Yaniv and Yagel Yaakov Yaniv were murdered.
IDF and Israel Security Agency Have a Full Clear View into Islamic Jihad
The dignity and reputation of Islamic Jihad have suffered a heavy blow. Their poor military capabilities and infrastructure have been exposed. Almost a quarter of their rockets launched at Israel fell within Gaza. Their long-range launches toward Tel Aviv were weak and inaccurate.

Hamas chose to stay out of the fighting for a reason. Its leaders know that if they were to join Islamic Jihad, they would also suffer significant damage to their military capabilities and face major setbacks in their efforts to strengthen themselves, on top of Hamas' concerns about losing economic benefits it enjoys during periods of calm with Israel. Hence, Israel has managed to create a high level of deterrence.

What is new in this round is the advancement in intelligence and operational capabilities that Israel has demonstrated. It is clear that Israel has intimate familiarity with Jihad's organizational structure, down to its last rocket launching unit. This enables the security services to know the exact location of a commander in a given area at any given moment, as well as the specific vehicle carrying a missile about to be launched, including its designated firing position and the route it will take.

Despite these successes, the IDF has yet to solve the continued rocket launches into Israel. Both Islamic Jihad and Hamas hide missile launchers underground or in residential buildings and operate them remotely from far away.
Gazan man killed in rocket strike on Israel recognized as victim of terror
Israel's defense minister and National Insurance Institute approved recognition of Abdullah Abu Jaba - a Palestinian worker from Gaza who was killed by a Palestinian rocket at an Israeli greenhouse - as a victim of terror.

This will entitle his widow and children to state payments.

Some 18,000 Gazans have permits to work in Israel. Hundreds were believed trapped in the country when the IDF launched its operation in response to rocket fire, and the border crossings were shut.

Israel Dropped a Bomb, And the Media Went Uncharacteristically Silent
In other words, Israel revealed Palestinian Islamic Jihad attempts to further escalate the conflict with a new eastern front, and the media yawned.

Moreover, in its coverage today on the ceasefire, Agence France Presse, in both English and Arabic, failed to even note the eliminated trio’s responsibility for earlier attacks on civilians, including the firing of 104 rockets and mortars at communities in southern Israel just one week earlier (“Gaza ceasefire takes effect after five days of deadly fighting“). The article elliptically reports:
The current bout of violence erupted on Tuesday when Israeli strikes on Gaza killed three leading Islamic Jihad members. Three other senior figures from the Palestinian militant group were killed in later strikes.

At no point does the article mention that the three were responsible for barrage of rockets targeting Israeli civilians just one week earlier. In contrast, the Associated Press has responsibly reported in recent days:
The latest violence erupted Tuesday when Israeli airstrikes killed three senior Islamic Jihad commanders. Israel said the airstrikes were in response to a burst of rocket fire the previous week and that its attacks have been focused on Islamic Jihad targets. But residents in Gaza said homes of people uninvolved in fighting also had been struck.

Similarly, Reuters also provided context about who these targeted Islamic Jihad leaders were and what they had done, reporting: “Israel launched the latest round of airstrikes in the early hours of Tuesday, announcing that it was targeting Islamic Jihad commanders who had planned attacks in Israel.”
Israel vs. Islamic Jihad: No Ceasefire For Skewed Reporting Israel Ceases, The Palestinians Fire
The terms for the ceasefire with Islamic Jihad were clear: quiet would be answered with quiet. Nevertheless, within 90 minutes after the deal was reached late Saturday, Israelis again scrambled for shelter as Islamic Jihad fired several volleys of rockets into the Jewish state. Then, on Sunday night, a projectile from Gaza hit an open area near Ashkelon. But some journalists shockingly equated Israel’s restrained response with the Palestinian’s blatant breach of the ceasefire understanding.

In the most glaring example, BBC anchor Rachel Burden told viewers of the broadcaster’s Breakfast show on Sunday that “a ceasefire between Israel and Islamic Jihad militants in the Gaza Strip appears to be holding despite reports of minor breaches on both sides.” [Emphasis added]

HonestReporting’s followers on social media furthermore pointed out that the British public broadcaster seemingly attempted to mislead viewers by showing B-roll video of an Iron Dome interceptor missile being fired, directly followed by footage of a missile impact in Gaza. To be clear: Iron Dome is an air defense system, and its Tamir interceptor missiles are solely used to save lives by intercepting rockets before they can cause mass casualty events.

An Appalling Moral Equivalence
HonestReporting called out both The New York Times and Washington Post for whitewashing the reality of Islamic Jihad’s extremism.

While Reuters at least did acknowledge the terror organization’s desire to destroy Israel, it created a moral equivalence between Islamic Jihad and some members of the Israeli government.

When will the media forgive Israel for defending its citizens against unrelenting attacks by Iranian terror proxies? Washington Post Whitewashes Islamic Jihad and Misleads on Gaza Operation
In addition, Berger’s piece is also chock full of claims that are both misleading and lacking in a proper context.

For example, she writes that “Israel — which controls and restricts nearly all passage of people, goods and humanitarian services into and out of Gaza — on Tuesday announced a complete border closure for at least several days.”

With this one sentence, and by ignoring facts on the ground, Berger draws a picture of Israeli malevolence in its treatment of Gaza.

Furthermore, Berger writes that “In August 2022, at least 47 Palestinians, including 16 children, were killed in the Gaza Strip in a three-day air battle that began after Israel assassinated an Islamic Jihad leader there.”

This overly simplistic description of Operation Breaking Dawn ignores that operation’s initiation in response to Islamic Jihad’s mobilizing to attack Israel, its launching of over 1,000 rockets at Israel during this time, and that the Palestinian casualties included PIJ terrorists as well as Gazans who were killed by errant PIJ rockets.

Similarly, Berger misrepresents Palestinian casualty figures for 2022 by failing to note that the majority of Palestinians killed during this time were engaged in violence against Israelis.

Lastly, Berger describes this latest operation as part of a “cycle of violence.” As HonestReporting has previously noted, the terminology is a misnomer that seeks to create a false moral equivalence between Palestinian terrorism and Israeli defensive responses.

In this instance, the IDF was responding to Islamic Jihad’s launching of over a hundred rockets and mortars at Israel the week prior.

It’s time for The Washington Post to provide its readers with a complete and accurate report, not one that whitewashes Palestinian terrorism while also deceiving readers with context-free claims and misleading assertions.
BBC reporting on crossings closures fails to disclose contributor's activism
Readers are not told why fuel shipments have not been brought in via the crossing to Egypt or that Israel continued to supply the other half of the electricity used in the Gaza Strip even as terrorists bombarded its civilians with over a thousand rockets and mortars.

While there is no doubt that residents of the Gaza Strip suffer when the two crossings into Israel are closed, this report by Knell and Abualouf places the responsibility for that exclusively on Israel rather than on the terrorist organisations that once again forced their closure with rocket and mortar attacks. Indeed, the sole mention of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which initiated this latest round of conflict, comes in the quote from Israel’s ministry of defence.

The repeated promotion of messaging from an activist who is also a doctor associated with a political NGO engaged in campaigning on a topic identical to the subject matter of Knell and Abualouf’s report without disclosure of his affiliation with ‘Medical Aid for Palestinians’ clearly does not meet supposed BBC standards of impartiality.

PreOccupiedTerritory: NGOs: Precision IAF Strike That Killed Terrorist Broke Nearby Windows; ‘Unacceptable’ (satire)
An Israeli airstrike that struck a top-floor apartment last Wednesday, killing a Palestinian Islamic Jihad senior commander, caused damage to neighboring apartments in the building, a consequence that human rights groups called “unconscionable” today, and called for an international investigation into what they deemed a possible war crime.

A precision missile struck the residence of Ali Hassan Ghali last Wednesday evening. The specialized weapon, calibrated to confine the damage to several rooms instead of the more common military practice elsewhere – and in previous clashes between Israel and Islamist groups in Gaza – of taking down the entire building, nevertheless resulted in smashed windows, plumbing damage, cracked paint, fallen pottery, electrical outages, and ripped furniture upholstery in the units adjacent to and beneath the targeted apartment. The operation also killed Ghali and three other Palestinian Islamic Jihad fighters.

Human Rights Watch tweeted a condemnation of the strike. “Israel once again shows its disregard for everything sacred,” the organization wrote. Amnesty International and Btselem retweeted HRW’s post, and Btselem insisted that Israeli military and political officials be forced to reimburse the homeowner for the wall, fixture, furnishing, and wiring damage.

The strike took place as part of Israel’s Operation Shield and Arrow, an effort to degrade the rocket-launching capacity of Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The Iran-backed terrorist group launched more than a hundred rockets at Israeli communities the week before last, in violation of a ceasefire from August of last year; the barrages prompted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to order the operation, which began last week. IAF aircraft have targeted PIJ commanders, training centers, positions, launchers, observation posts, and other facilities, many of them embedded in populated civilian areas in violation of International Law.

MEMRI: Article In Jordanian State Daily Praises Gaza Terrorists: They Dig Tunnels, Manufacture Rockets And Are Not Afraid To Die
Against the backdrop of the latest round of fighting between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in Gaza, journalist Yousuf Al-'Abadi published in the Jordanian state daily Al-Rai an article titled "Allah's Men," in which he praised the Gaza terrorists, calling them "the very best people [Allah] created" and "paragons of manliness, courage, boldness and nobility of spirit." These men, he said, do not fear death. While other people are busy with mundane things like eating, sports and gossip, they spend their days excavating tunnels, manufacturing rockets and pursuing the Israeli enemy.

"Allah has on this earth men who are different [from us], with qualities that cannot be found in others, and they are the very best of the people he created. Whereas we are preoccupied day and night with making a living, and devote most of our attention to this, they are busy digging tunnels, manufacturing rockets, and keeping the enemy awake at night, preoccupied with building underground shelters in which [the Israelis] can hide like rats. While we are busy looking for something tasty to fill our bellies that have grown slack from inaction, they meet in the tunnels they have dug with their blessed hands, or under a tree near a simple lathe used for manufacturing rockets… While we are busy browsing social media, looking for news about some actress that has left her wretched husband or about some singer who fell from the stage, they spend their days and nights surveilling the enemy positions, without a moment's rest, looking for a chink in [the enemy's] armor in order to rescue a prisoner or carry out an operation that will hurt their enemy and the enemy of Allah.

"While we yell and lose our tempers watching a [football] match between Barcelona and Madrid, and bicker – sometimes literally exchanging blows – over who is better, Messi or Ronaldo, and heap scorn on the English [football] league, they spend the night following a masked commander with a moving voice and a mark on his forehead from kneeling [in prayer], and some of their comrades keep watch against traitors...

UN Watch: Iran to Behead of U.N. Human Rights Council Forum
UN Watch has exposed the disgusting appointment of the Islamic Republic of Iran to a leadership role at the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Our report is going viral, just published in The Times of London. Count on us to do everything we can to reverse this absurd and shameful decision before the regime becomes Chair in November.

The Biden Administration's Green Light to Iran's Terrorists and Nuclear Program
"It is unacceptable that a U.S. government program, which makes the United States and its allies safer, provides funds to remediate the victims of terrorism, and generates income for the United States in a cost-effective manner has been allowed to languish. United States sanctions should be enforced to the fullest extent of the law. As Iranian oil sales continue to rise, and the IRGC continues to target U.S. citizens and servicemembers, including inside the U.S., it is imperative that we use all available government assets to limit the activities of the Iranian regime." — Senator Joe Manchin and 11 other Senators, in a letter to President Joe Biden, April 27, 2023.

Under the Biden Administration, however, which suspended new oil and gas leases on US public lands and waters, Iran is now producing more oil and selling it at levels close to the pre-sanctions era to countries such as China...

Iran reportedly is exporting more than 1.5 million bpd -- approximately 80% of the oil they used to export before the sanctions.

Iran is also shipping considerable amounts of oil to Venezuela without either country fearing repercussions from the Biden Administration.

The Biden Administration's appeasement policies towards Iran is contributing to the regime's increased revenue, the major beneficiaries of which are the IRGC, terrorist and militia groups -- and of course the Iranian regime's nuclear weapons program.
Saudi-Iran Rapprochement and Saudi-Israel Normalization: No Contradiction Intended
Saudi Arabia's return to "diplomatic relations" with the Iranian regime neither contradicts its commitment to alliances intended to prevent the ayatollahs from attaining nuclear weapons nor does it jettison a process of normalization with Israel.

There is an argument to be made that Riyadh's unexpected re-engagement with the Iranian regime is a change of tactics, not strategy; a bearhug, intended to squeeze the belligerency out of its nemesis.

The Saudis' intention is to feed a starving Iranian population, build their crumbling roads, bridges, waterways, and urban infrastructure, and empower the Iranian people to regain their dignity and identity; then use its economic leverage to derail the nuclear program and bring down the terror-sponsoring ayatollahs with it.

If the Saudis thought rapprochement would enable Iran to move closer to achieving its nuclear ambitions, they would obviously not pursue such a deal. The conclusion must be drawn, then, that this is a move intended to stop or at least stymie their menacing neighbor.

Meanwhile, a functional rapprochement between Israel and Saudi Arabia has been in place for a number of years and is progressing, qualitatively and quantitatively, at an impressive rate.
Seth Frantzman: Iran’s obsession with Israeli air defense is showing
During Operation Shield and Arrow, Israel’s air defenses faced “challenges” from Islamic Jihad rockets, according to an article published by Iranian pro-regime media on Monday. Israel’s performance represented “helplessness,” Iron Dome “failed,” and that is why Israel turned to David’s Sling, an air-defense system used for medium-range missile threats, the article said.

While there is no evidence to back these claims up, the article presented an interesting insight into Iran’s obsession with overpowering Israel’s air defenses.

This fascination isn’t new; it is actually a few years old, with particular interest placed on Israel’s ability to counter Iranian proxy groups. This is an important development because Iran sought to arm these groups, including Islamic Jihad and Hamas, with longer-range rockets.

Iran's fascination with Israel's air defenses
This is a pattern of Iran’s. It did the same thing with the Houthis in Yemen post-2015 and in moving missiles and drones to militias in Iraq and Syria. It also helped Hezbollah build up a massive arsenal.

Iran is extremely knowledgeable about rockets and missiles – weapons it invested in over the years because it had the know-how and learned from reverse engineering, studying Russian and Chinese designs and working with North Korea.

Tehran also knew it had to invest in these weapons because it saw what happened during the war with Iraq and the so-called “war of the cities” in the 1980s, when Iraqi forces bombarded Iran’s cities.

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