Wednesday, May 17, 2023

From Ian:

Arsen Ostrovsky: A Holiday of Hate Celebrated by the UN
Today, the only "catastrophe" is that 75 years later, whereas Israel has made peace with most of her immediate Arab neighbors—and those beyond with the Abraham Accords—the Palestinian leadership is still seeking the Jewish state's annihilation. And it's all under the cover of the United Nations.

Instead of celebrating 75 years of Israel's independence and rebirth, in which the UN played such an instrumental role, it abominably chose to hold an event calling the creation of its sole Jewish member state "a catastrophe," doing so merely days after Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group rained down almost 1,500 rockets on Israel.

This is, of course, not the first time that the United Nations has welcomed a Holocaust denier, having done so previously with former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and more recently, with the current Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.

Although many nations showed principled leadership and refused to dignify this Nakba Day hate-fest with their attendance, the room at the UN was still full, and included participation from some European nations, such as France, Spain, and Luxembourg, as well as senior UN officials, including UN Under-Secretary Rosemary DiCarlo and UNRWA Commissioner-General Phillipe Lazzarini.

Most sickeningly, Abbas' Holocaust distorting speech, rooted in historical revisionism and dripping with Jew hatred, was greeted with applause and cheers of "free, free Palestine" and "From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free." These are common slogans used by pro-Palestinian groups and terrorist organizations like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, as rallying cries calling for Israel's destruction.

Speaking in January this year, on the occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that we must "stand against those who deny, distort, relativize, revise" the Holocaust. Except perhaps at the UN, where you get rewarded with a podium and a standing ovation.

To Fight Jew-Hatred, the Time Has Come for the UN to Promote the IHRA Definition of Antisemitism
On International Holocaust Remembrance Day in January 2022, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres -- a dedicated champion for human rights and a stalwart ally of the Jewish people -- recited the text of the definition and commended “the efforts of countries that have agreed on the common definition of antisemitism.”

The European Union, the Organization of American States, and numerous UN member states on the national level have used the definition as a cornerstone of strategies to combat antisemitism.

Next month, in Cordoba, Spain, a summit organized by High-Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, Miguel Moratinos, will be held to discuss a UN action and response plan for antisemitism.

This initiative offers a can’t-miss opportunity for the UN to stand up and show its solidarity with the global Jewish community by recommending that all its member states and affiliated agencies adopt the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism.

There would be no better way for the UN to prove its commitment to fighting antisemitism and securing and nurturing Jewish life around the world than by taking this vital step.

The Caroline Glick Show: Gaza and the Red-Green Alliance Against Israel
Islamic Jihad’s assault on Israel did not happen in a vacuum. It happened in the context of the Red-Green alliance.

The Red-Green alliance is the partnership of the international left and Islamists – led today by the Islamic regime in Iran. In her update for this week’s Caroline Glick Show, Caroline explained how the alliance works to tie Israel’s arms on the battlefield by diplomatically criminalizing the Jewish state. Caroline points out the weak points in both sides of the alliance and the way they need to be leveraged to defeat the forces arrayed against Israel and the free world as a whole.

Jacoby puts the record straight on Israel and Jewish refugees
As a tsunami of ‘Nakba nonsense’ sweeps across the media in the wake of Nakba Day, declared for the first time by the UN, Jeff Jacoby mounts this robust rebuttal in the Boston Globe. Nobody speaks of the ‘Jewish nakba’ because the traumatised and impoverished refugees built new lives.

In November 1947, the United Nations concluded that the only way to bring peace to Palestine was to divide it between the two populations that had “irreconcilable” claims to the land. By a lopsided majority, the General Assembly voted to partition the land — which had been under British rule since 1917 — into “independent Arab and Jewish states.” The Jews agreed to this two-state solution. The Arabs, as they had in the past and would in the future, refused. They immediately commenced a campaign of murderous aggression to prevent a Jewish state from becoming a reality. On May 15, 1948, the Zionist leaders, in accordance with the UN resolution, proclaimed Israel’s independence. Within hours, bombs were falling on Tel Aviv. Arab armies from Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Transjordan, and Egypt crossed Israel’s borders. “This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre,” promised Azzam Pasha, the secretary-general of the Arab League, “which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades.”

They had every expectation of a quick victory. How could Israel, with a minuscule population of 600,000, hope to withstand the combined might of Arab nations that numbered in the tens of millions? “It does not matter how many [Jews] there are,” Azzam said. “We will sweep them into the sea.”

But Israel survived the Arab onslaught, albeit at a steep price — fully 1 percent of its population was killed in the fighting. Across the Middle East, meanwhile, antisemitic fury erupted against Jews living in Arab countries. “Jews In Grave Danger In All Moslem Lands” reported The New York Times. Within months, pogroms, expropriations, and expulsions had driven as many as 850,000 Jews to flee. Most made their way to Israel, which accepted them as new citizens. Over time, the traumatized and impoverished refugees rebuilt their lives, dealing with their shock and loss as best they could, starting over in a new country and moving on.

No one today speaks of the Jewish “nakba” of 1948. That is because Israel strove to absorb the Jewish refugees into mainstream society. By contrast, many of the Palestinians who fled Israel were housed by the surrounding Arab states in permanent refugee camps, barred from citizenship, deliberately not integrated into the societies where they had ended up. With cruel cynicism, three generations of Palestinians have been encouraged to see themselves as victims of an unspeakably terrible calamity — and to believe that it is only a matter of time until the Jewish state is eliminated and replaced by an unpartitioned Palestine, the world’s 22nd Arab nation.

Guardian op-ed laments the 'catastrophe' of Israel's existence
The implicit contention, that a potential Palestinian state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza would only represent 22% of ‘their historical homeland’, suggests that the entire land, from ‘the river to the sea’, is rightfully theirs. The truth is, however, that Israel has conceded most of their “historic land” as promised to them by the 1922 Mandate for Palestine – arguably the earliest modern legal codification of an area known as “Palestine”.

As the map below by Shany Mor shows, Palestinian political control of the land since 1946 (or, for that matter, since the beginning of time) was zero, but now (because of Israeli concessions and territorial withdrawal) encompasses all of Gaza and major population centers in the West Bank.

Palestinians didn’t ‘lose’ 78% of their land for the simple reason that you can’t ‘lose’ land you never had control of in the first place. Let’s recall that Arab leaders rejected the UN-sanctioned partition of the land in 1947, which would have created a Palestinian Arab state.

Barghouti’s claim that Palestinian leaders are the ones who made concessions, and that Israel killed the two-state solution, is the opposite of the truth. The PA leadership rejected, on three occasions, in the 2000s, Israeli peace offers which would have created – again,for the first time in history – a contiguous, sovereign Palestinian state. The Israeli offers to Arafat and Abbas respectively included roughly 95% of the West Bank and all of Gaza, with a Palestinian capital in east Jerusalem.

Barghouti even decries what he calls Israel’s “segregation wall”, the security barrier built in response to the scores of Palestinian suicide bombings of the 2nd intifada.

But, of course, Palestinian leaders and their advocates can never so much as acknowledge the savage violence of that time – which broke out, it should be stressed, during the height of Oslo – that traumatised a generation of Israelis, rendering them far more skeptical of Palestinian intentions. To admit the colossal moral and strategic mistake of the five year campaign of terror would require conceding their role in the death of the ‘peace process’.

However, it’s a profound understatement to say that the culture of self-reflection, self-criticism and reform that’s required to achieve concrete goals in the real world has never been Palestinian leaders’ strong suit. The ‘Nakba’ narrative, with its belief in the intrinsic injustice of the Zionist cause on one hand, and the inherent righteousness and victimhood of Palestinians on the other, represents a cognitive and political recipe for a future of bad outcomes.

“The alleged Jewish Israeli narrative” is “false”
Director of the National Action Committee in Jerusalem Muhammad Jadallah: “The false Israeli narrative, the alleged Jewish Israeli narrative, that they have relics in this city [of Jerusalem] – [None] of them for dozens of years have succeeded in finding [even] a tiny bit that belongs to them from any period of the long historical periods... Their narrative is false, but they want to falsify the true story, the correct story, the Palestinian Arab Islamic Christian story. They claim that they have roots in this city – and they completely understand that they have no roots.”

[Official PA TV, To the Capital We Will Go, April 30, 2023]

PreOccupiedTerritory: Palestinians Can’t Believe World Has Bigger Problems Than Self-Inflicted Consequences Of Failed Genocide Vs. Jews (satire)
Two days after the annual observance of Nakba Day to commemorate the flight of Arabs from the nascent State of Israel in thwarted anticipation of Arab armies pushing 600,000 Jews into the sea 75 years ago, the principal adherents of the movement to reverse the creation of Israel voiced their incredulousness that the international community thinks the challenges of Russia-Ukraine, China, Iran, mass migration, climate change, global food insecurity, and other issues at the top of the global leadership agenda deserve greater priority.

On Monday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stood before the UN and called for the body to force Israel to accept the 1947 Resolution 181 – a non-binding plan to partition the land under the British Mandate of Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state, on which all the Arab nations voted No and Jewish representatives accepted at the time. The Arab rejection transformed the Arab-Jewish guerrilla conflict in the land into a bona fide war, with the invading armies urging Palestinian Arabs to leave temporarily to enable a smooth genocide of the Jews by the volunteer Arab Liberation Army plus the forces of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Transjordan. The Arab armies and local Arab irregulars expelled or killed all the Jews in the areas they conquered, but failed to destroy the nascent Israel, which, despite an international arms embargo, managed to secure an area far larger than allotted to them in the plan the Arabs rejected. In the days since Abbas’s speech, Palestinians and pro-Palestinian activists observed to change in global attitudes on the issue, and expressed their disbelief.

“You can’t seriously think Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is more important,” insisted Palestinian official Nabil Aburdeineh. “It’s ridiculous to argue that because Basher Assad has killed more Palestinians in Syria over the last twelve years than Israel ever has anywhere, the situation in Syria should concern people more. What kind of twisted logic gives greater urgency and attention to genocide of the Uighur Muslims in China than to the cause of rendering the Jews once again a dependent, subject people always living at the pleasure of their Muslim overlords?”
Biden admin pushing for Saudi-Israeli peace deal by end of year, officials say
The White House wants to make a diplomatic push for a Saudi-Israeli peace deal in the next six to seven months before the presidential election campaign consumes President Biden’s agenda, two U.S. officials with knowledge of the issue told Axios.

Why it matters: Any normalization agreement between Saudi Arabia and Israel brokered by the U.S. will likely include an upgrade in U.S.-Saudi relations and a package of tangible deliverables from the U.S. government.
Such a deal could be unpopular among Democrats and might cost Biden a lot of political capital. Biden once vowed to make Saudi Arabia a "pariah" over the kingdom's human rights record and the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. U.S. intelligence says Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is responsible for Khashoggi's murder — an allegation Saudi Arabia denies.
But a deal could be a historic breakthrough in Middle East peace, leading to a domino effect of more Arab and Muslim-majority countries normalizing relations with Israel and putting U.S.-Saudi relations back on track.

Driving the news: White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan met with MBS last week in Jeddah and, among other issues, discussed the possibility of Saudi-Israeli normalization, the U.S. officials said.
After the meeting, White House Middle East czar Brett McGurk and Biden’s senior adviser Amos Hochstein traveled to Jerusalem and briefed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Israel’s intelligence minister: More Arab states want to make peace
The peace between Israel and its Arab allies is increasingly tangible, with additional Muslim countries seeking to join the Abraham Accords, Israeli Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel said Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

“Israel has signed peace accords with multiple Arab nations, and more want to join this initiative,” Gamliel said in a keynote address to lawmakers from the House of Representatives’ Congressional Israel Allies Caucus in an event marking Jerusalem Day. “The dynamics are changing and regional peace is tangible.”

The Likud Party minister noted that then-President Donald Trump’s historic decision in 2018 to move the American embassy to Jerusalem did not impede peace prospects as opponents of the move had long argued.

“Although intifadas and threats were declared as a reaction to these embassy moves, what we saw instead was the exact opposite,” she told the gathering in the Cannon House Office Building, which was also attended by hundreds of Jewish and Christian leaders bound by faith-based support for Israel.

The Abraham Accords, in which four Arab countries made peace with Israel, followed the US embassy move two years later in 2020. Subscribe to The JNS Daily Syndicate by email and never miss our top stories Citing the words of King David regarding prayer and love for Jerusalem, Gamliel lauded the lawmakers for the unequivocal support at a time of rising anti-Israel voices as well as global antisemitism, and urged them to make their voices heard in the national and international arena.
Jordanian lawmaker charged for trying to smuggle over 200 guns into West Bank
A Jordanian lawmaker was charged in the kingdom on Tuesday over an attempt last month to smuggle weapons through an Israeli-controlled border crossing into the West Bank, his lawyer said.

Imad al-Adwan, 35, faces a prison sentence of up to 15 years if convicted.

He was arrested at the Israel-administered Allenby border crossing (also called the King Hussein crossing) between Jordan and the West Bank on April 22 when Israeli security forces allegedly found 12 rifles and 194 pistols in his car, Israel’s Shin Bet internal security agency said at the time.

Israel transferred him to Jordanian authorities last week.

“Imad al-Adwan appeared today before the state security court and was questioned by the prosecutor following the confiscation of firearms and gold in his possession by the Israeli authorities,” his lawyer, Ali al-Mubaeedin, told AFP.

The lawmaker is charged with exporting weapons with the intention of illegal use, and committing acts likely to disrupt public order and threaten security of the country, the lawyer added.

Jordan’s official Petra news agency reported earlier that “other defendants admitted to trading and smuggling weapons, gold and e-cigarettes in association” with Adwan.

The Israel Guys: The UN Says Israel's Founding in 1948 Was a DISASTER
After Rashida Tlaib’s anti-Israel event in Congress was canceled last week, Senator Bernie Sanders invited her to hold the event at the Senate. The UN also had the audacity to publicly mark the “catastrophe” of the founding of the nation of Israel in a Nakba Day event, sympathizing and even siding with Israel’s enemies.

FM Cohen offers Leo Dee, husband, dad of terror victims, envoy role
Foreign Minister Eli Cohen has offered Rabbi Leo Dee, whose wife and two daughters were murdered by Palestinian terrorists in April, the role of special envoy, the minister said on Wednesday.

Dee confirmed that he is in talks to be a Foreign Ministry envoy to Jewish communities around the world.

“I heard his eulogy for his wife, and you could not help but be moved by it,” Cohen said.

The minister said he was inspired by Dee’s call for unity even in the midst of an immense personal tragedy.

“Everyone who heard him had to feel the same way,” Cohen said.

Cohen also said that an EU member state plans to break ranks with the rest of the union to open an embassy in Jerusalem in the next two months.
Rabbi Leo Dee meets Arab man who received wife's kidney
This is the touching moment when a Palestinian man met the widower of terrorist attack victim Lucy Dee whose kidney saved his life.

The murdered rebbetzen's kidney was donated to Arab carpenter Abu Radia in an "extraordinary gift of love" last month.

The 38-year-old suffered kidney failure five years ago and was on dialysis four days a week before the organ was donated.

Now the carpenter has met Lucy’s rabbi husband Leo at his home in central Israel.

When Rabbi Dee knocked on Abu Radia’s front door, he was not sure if he would be allowed in but was welcomed with open arms.

The carpenter was asked by Dee, 52, if he minded having a Jewish body part inside him and or if it was considered negative in his society.

Abu Radia replied: “We are all human beings. I’d have died without this kidney. I cannot thank Rabbi Dee enough. He’s saved my life.”

Rabbi Dee said: “This is what Lucy would have wanted. Her kidney is a sign of peace and reconciliation.”

Seth Frantzman: From Ukraine to Israel: The importance of layered air defense
According to a recent article by the Associated Press, “The White House on Monday said Russia is looking to buy additional advanced attack drones from Iran for use in its war against Ukraine, after using up most of the 400 drones it had previously purchased from Tehran. The Biden administration last year publicized satellite imagery and intelligence findings that it said indicated Iran sold hundreds of attack drones to Russia. And for months, officials have said the United States believed Iran was considering selling hundreds of ballistic missiles to Russia, but Washington did not have evidence a deal was consummated.”

This illustrates how Russia is using Iranian drones increasingly and they are also mostly being shot down. The drones are used to terrorize civilians, much like Gaza-based Iranian-backed groups seek to terrorize Israel. As such the drones pose a regional and global threat; along with the missiles. It is also a threat that can be confronted. Ukraine now has the means to confront these threats.

In the past, there was some suggestion in media reports that the Iron Dome air defense system, which was built by Israel’s Rafael and whose interceptors are now built with Raytheon, could be requested by Ukraine.

The latest massive attack on Kyiv illustrates how Moscow apparently thinks it can try to overwhelm these systems by throwing different munitions at them, including the air-launched “hypersonic” Kinzhal missiles, and other types of missiles and drones. Previously, a Kinzhal launched by a Mig-31 was downed by a Patriot in early May.

Similarly, Iran has boasted of using different types of weapons against Israel, including drones, and also encouraging Palestinian Islamic Jihad to use the Badr and Buraq missiles that are based on Iranian designs, apparently. Iran’s media are also focused on Israel’s recent use of David’s Sling to down PIJ missiles during Operation Shield and Arrow.
FDD: Analysis: Israel, Islamic Jihad, and Other Palestinian Armed Groups Enter Conflict
The Israeli military had four important objectives in Operation Shield and Arrow: (1) Eliminate leaders of Islamic Jihad; (2) Keep Hamas from entering the conflict; (3) Prevent a notable attack by Palestinian groups; and (4) Restore deterrence by signaling to Hamas, Hezbollah, and other regional foes that Israel will preemptively strike if threatened.

The IDF quickly achieved its primary objective by eliminating three leaders of Islamic Jihad, and strikes against other senior militants in the following days were an added success. Removing key leadership members disrupts planning and future attacks on Israeli targets. It is easier to replace tunnels and rockets than a commander with years of battle experience.

The IDF also achieved deterrence, at least partially. Islamic Jihad is unlikely to venture into another round of conflict in the near future without Hamas’ assistance. However, in recent years, the gap between military operations in the Gaza Strip appears to be shrinking. It has been less than a year since Operation Breaking Dawn when Israel launched a preemptive strike on the leadership of Islamic Jihad to thwart planned attacks. In 2021, Hamas fired rockets at Jerusalem, prompting the launch of Operation Guardian of the Walls, and in 2019, Israel killed Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata in Operation Black Belt after months of repeated rocket fire toward Israel.

In the recent operation, the IDF largely denied Islamic Jihad any significant achievements. However, rockets fired at the Tel-Aviv area resulted in the killing of one person and a Gazan worker near the settlement of Shokeda.

According to the Israeli military, Islamic Jihad was thwarted by airstrikes on at least one occasion when it attempted to deploy an anti-tank-guided missile team at the Gaza border.

Islamic Jihad’s failure to achieve a notable strike became apparent when it published a false claim on May 13, saying it attacked an Israeli military position with an anti-tank guided missile causing casualties.

Following the claim of an attack on Israeli military personnel, a security source speaking to FDD’s Long War Journal denied the incident took place, adding that a mortar landed near a tank but did not cause damage.

The Israeli military achieved most of its objectives while denying Islamic Jihad and other armed Palestinian organizations a significant achievement in the fighting. The Israeli defense establishment can be satisfied with its recent performance; however, stronger, more formidable opponents like Hamas, Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed groups are fomenting chaos and will need to be addressed sooner rather than later.
Security preparations underway for annual Jerusalem flag march
Security preparations are underway in Israel for Thursday’s annual Flag march celebrating the reunification of Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War.

The march, typically featuring thousands of Israeli youths waving Israeli flags, is part of annual Jerusalem Day festivities. Its route passes through Damascus Gate and proceeds through the Old City to the Western Wall. Marchers do not enter the adjacent Temple Mount.

More than 2,000 police officers will be assigned to guard the march’s route through the Old City, and more than 1,000 security personnel will be on duty at other celebratory events in the Israeli capital.

This year’s march comes less than a week after an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire ended five days of fighting between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip. During the hostilities, Palestinian terrorists in Gaza fired some 1,500 rockets at Israel.

Jerusalem police on Tuesday rehearsed scenarios involving the renewal of rocket fire from Gaza.

Gaza terrorist groups have vowed to oppose any so-called “Israeli aggression” against the Al-Aqsa mosque or violation of the Israel-Hamas ceasefire reached in May 2021 following that month’s war (“Operation Guardian of the Walls”).
Unpacked: Why is 'Jerusalem Day' the most controversial Israeli holiday?
Jerusalem Day/Yom Yerushalayim is a controversial Jewish holiday that celebrates the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967, drawing criticism and celebration in equal measure. In 1947, Jews reluctantly accepted a partition plan but soon after faced Arab attacks, turning the battle for Jerusalem into a fight for Israel's existence. East Jerusalem fell to the Jordanians, who restricted access and desecrated Jewish holy sites. In 1967, Israel emerged victorious, and 28 Iyar was declared Jerusalem Day by the government and a minor religious holiday by the Chief Rabbinate. Jerusalem Day is celebrated with parades, celebrations, and prayers, but the Flag March through Arab areas has sparked tension, highlighting ongoing challenges and the fragility of Jewish freedom in this significant city.

Hamas and Gaza’s incendiary balloon unit threaten to disrupt Jerusalem Flag March
Palestinian terror group Hamas threatened Israel Wednesday against holding the Jerusalem Day Flag March, as authorities were finalizing their preparations for the annual volatile event in Jerusalem’s Old City planned for Thursday.

“The Zionist Flag March will not pass, and the response will inevitably come,” said senior Hamas official Salah al-Bardawil in a statement.

Meanwhile Gaza’s so-called balloon unit — responsible for launching balloons ferrying incendiary and explosive devices into Israel in the past, and thought to be tied to Hamas — said it would resume activities Thursday.

In a statement on its Telegram channel, the Ibna al-Zuwari group said its members were also set to riot along the Gaza border.

The controversial nationalist parade through the Old City of Jerusalem is set for Thursday, when tens of thousands of Jewish Israelis are expected to march through the Old City — including the Muslim Quarter — waving Israeli flags.

The event was set to come less than a week after Israel and terror group Palestinian Islamic Jihad finalized a ceasefire agreement following five days of deadly conflict.

Two Palestinians get 4 life sentences each for deadly 2022 terror attack in Elad
The Central District Court on Tuesday convicted two Palestinians of carrying out a deadly terror attack in the city of Elad last year and sentenced them to life in prison.

As’ad Yousef As’ad al-Rifa’i, 20, and Subhi Emad Sbeihat, 21, confessed to the attack. They were each handed four life sentences for murder and attempted murder, an additional 20 years for related terror offenses, and also convicted of being in Israel without a permit.

On May 5, 2022, al-Rifa’i and Sbeihat hacked and stabbed three people to death and severely wounded several others, “in some cases in front of their children,” the court found. One of the injured victims died earlier this year, after the pair had already been indicted. The charge sheet was later updated to include the fourth fatality.

Following their arrest, al-Rifa’i confessed to security forces that he committed the axe attack with Sbeihat, killing Oren Ben Yiftah, a 35-year-old driver from Lod, and Elad residents Yonatan Havakuk and Boaz Gol, both in their 40s. The pair attacked civilians on city streets and in a park as Israelis celebrated Independence Day with outdoor festivities. Shimon Maatuf, 75, who was working as a security guard at the celebrations, also encountered the terrorists, with eyewitnesses saying he tried to shoot at them before they seriously injured him. Maatuf died in February.

Court papers show that al-Rifa’i and Sbeihat had entered Israel illegally starting in December 2021 to do electrical work at a synagogue in Elad. In August 2021, Sbeihat decided to carry out a terror attack and die as a “martyr” after one of his friends died during clashes with the IDF. His partner initially rebuffed the proposal.

PMW: From the PA with love… to Russia
A man is known by the company he keeps… and while dozens of countries have boycotted or entirely cut ties with Russia over Putin’s war against Ukraine, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas chooses to “strengthen and develop” the Palestinian-Russian ties.

Thus last week, Abbas welcomed Russian Envoy to the Middle East Peace Process Vladimir Safronkov in his headquarters in Ramallah. There, Abbas stressed the Palestinian-Russian friendship and “the importance of the Palestinian-Russian ties and Palestine’s diligence in strengthening and developing them”:
“Yesterday afternoon, Tuesday [May 9, 2023], at the [PA] presidential headquarters in Ramallah, [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas received Russian Envoy to the Middle East Peace Process Vladimir Safronkov.

During the meeting, they discussed the recent developments in the situation and the dangerous and ongoing Israeli escalation in all the Palestinian territories…

President [Abbas] emphasized the importance of the Palestinian-Russian ties and Palestine’s diligence in strengthening and developing them, because they are an interest of the two countries and the two friendly peoples.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 10, 2023]

In addition, senior PA official and PLO Executive Committee Secretary Hussein Al-Sheikh met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow the same week:

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov was also present at the meeting and apart from discussing Palestinian affairs, ways to “further strengthen” the friendship were also on the table:
“The two sides exchanged views on the current situation in the Middle East, with a focus on the prospects for a Palestinian-Israeli settlement.

They also discussed issues related to efforts to restore Palestinian national unity in accordance with the political program of the PLO, and a number of bilateral issues to further strengthen Russian-Palestinian relations.”

[WAFA, official PA news agency, English edition, May 18, 2023]

Palestinian Media Watch has documented the PA’s preferences in terms of international alliances. Among the PA’s friends are Syria and President Bashar Assad, China (as opposed to Taiwan), North Korea and its leader Kim Jung-un, to name a few.
Death as a Martyr by hunger strike as opposed to other ways is "a problem"
Official PA TV program Giants of Endurance, on the death of Islamic Jihad terrorist prisoner Khader Adnan, who died due to his hunger strike; hosting released prisoner Alaa Al-A’araj, who was held in administrative detention and released as a result of his hunger strike – PMW was unable to determine the details of his crimes

Released prisoner Alaa Al-A’araj: “We hoped that Sheikh Khader Adnan (i.e., terrorist prisoner) would be a Martyr, yes, because this is the death that he asked for – but in a different way. My mother also said this, when I was the one who conducted a hunger strike: “I have no problem with him being a Martyr, this is [a source of] pride, but not in this way, not through them leaving him to die of hunger.” That’s the real problem.”
[Official PA TV, Giants of Endurance, May 4, 2023]

Khader Adnan – 45-year-old Palestinian terrorist and senior member of the Islamic Jihad terror organization who was arrested on Feb. 5, 2023, and indicted for membership in a terrorist organization and incitement to terror. He died on May 2, 2023, in an Israeli prison, as a result of conducting a hunger strike that lasted 86 days, during which he refused both food and medical treatment. As a result of his terror activities, Adnan had previously been arrested 9 times and served 8 years in prison, during which he staged numerous hunger strikes.

'Iran does not fear us the way they need to fear us'
Dennis Ross, who served as a senior advisor to three US presidents and took part in the Middle East peace process for decades, called on President Joe Biden to appoint a permanent US ambassador to Israel once Ambassador Tom Nides leaves his post this summer, especially because of the possibility of a military clash with Iran in the near term.

Speaking with Israel Hayom in an exclusive interview, Ross heaped praise on the departing envoy.

"He's an asset, a terrific ambassador. He's exactly what you want in an ambassador, he is extremely authoritative, very well connected to the leadership, the administration, the president, secretary of state, and the national security advisor. He is someone who really treasures the relationship between the United States and Israel. He really embodies everything you want in an ambassador. And I'm hopeful that whoever is his replacement will bring the same kind of feeling about the relationship and the commitment to it on the one hand, and access to the leadership of the Biden administration, on the other. What makes for a good ambassador is being authoritative. And that means being well plugged in. So I hope whoever succeeds, Tom Nides has not only his attributes but also has his access."
Iran is playing the long game against Israel, experts warn
On Tuesday, Israel’s Channel 12 cited a senior Israeli political source as claiming that Iran, disappointed by Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s performance during “Operation Shield and Arrow,” is plotting to strike at Israelis overseas.

However, according to professor Col. (res.) Gabi Siboni, an expert on military strategy and technology at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, while Tehran may indeed be disappointed with PIJ, the Islamic Republic is in it for the long haul.

“They are trying to build an entire axis and make it ready for the day the order is given,” said Siboni, a former Israel Defense Forces division chief of staff. While it is plausible that Iran was surprised by the lack of effectiveness of PIJ’s rocket fire, it is likely a marginal issue for Tehran, he added.

Iran’s goal, he said, was to establish an axis comprising Hezbollah and Shi’ite factions in Syria.

“It would not object to gaining a foothold in Jordan, and promotes terrorism in Judea and Samaria as much as it can, as well as Hamas and PIJ in Gaza,” said Siboni, adding that it also sought influence among Arab Israelis.

However, he continued, “The broad strategy is their focus of activity. They take their time, and do not expect instant results like we do. They are working systematically to build this.”

Should they succeed in establishing a nuclear umbrella, he said, they would then feel bold enough to activate their proxies against Israel more freely.
Azerbaijan arrests cell accused of working with Iran to launch coup
At least seven individuals were arrested by Azerbaijani authorities on charges of attempting to carry out a coup to establish a state under Sharia law in Azerbaijan and to carry out riots and assassinations, the country's Interior Ministry, State Security Service and Prosecutor General's Office announced on Tuesday.

The alleged cell was organized by Rufulla Akhundzadah and his son Almursal Akhundzadah, who Azerbaijani authorities accuse of working with Iran's security services. The cell aimed to establish a state under Sharia law "by forcefully changing the constitutional structure of the Republic of Azerbaijan by causing armed riots on the territory of the country and organizing assassinations on the lives of well-known and official persons," according to the announcement.

Akhundzadah created groups on WhatsApp, Telegram and other instant messaging services in order to recruit the cell and presented the cell with a list of officials and public figures and their addresses. Akhundzadah allegedly instructed the cell members to obtain firearms and prepare Molotov cocktails.

The members of the cell were identified as Elgun Agayev, Ruslan Aliyev, Yusif Mirzayev, Elvin Jafarov, Savalan Huseynli, Bilal Sujaddinli and Maharrameli Musayev. Additional, unnamed members of the group were arrested as well, according to authorities.

Akhundzadah also allegedly planned to bring the cell to Iran for military training and religious education.
US Charges Chinese National With Providing Weapons Materials to Iran
The United States has charged a Chinese national with violating U.S. sanctions by providing to Iran materials used to produce ballistic missiles, federal prosecutors in Manhattan said on Tuesday.

Xiangjiang Qiao works at Sinotech Dalian Carbon and Graphite Manufacturing Corporation, a China-based company which the U.S. Treasury Department placed on a sanctions list in 2014 for helping Iran buy parts to produce ballistic missiles. Sanctions bar companies from using the U.S. financial system.

Qiao between 2019 and 2022 helped supply Iran with isostatic graphite, an ultra-fine grain used to make rocket nozzles, and set up a bank account in the name of a front company to receive $15,000 in transfers from a U.S. bank in connection with the transactions, prosecutors said.

Qiao, 39, is in China and has not been arrested, prosecutors said. He faces charges including sanctions evasion, bank fraud and money laundering.

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