Monday, May 29, 2023

From Ian:

Dennis Prager: If US abandons Israel, 'that is end of America'
If America abandons Israel and the Jews, “that is the end of America as we know it,” according to American conservative talk show host Dennis Prager.

A Jew well known for his deep connection with the Christian Right, Prager expressed concern that America was abandoning the Judeo-Christian values on which it was founded and was, therefore, at risk of losing its support for Israel and, ultimately, its rank of a superpower.

“Christians [support Israel] because they cite God’s promise to Abraham that ‘those who bless you, I will bless and those who curse you I will curse,’” Prager said. “They happen to be correct. Those who have cursed Jews have ended up cursed.

“America has been the biggest blessing to Jews since Darius in ancient Persia, and America has been a blessed country.”

Darius I, “the Great” authorized the Jews to rebuild the Temple after Cyrus, his predecessor, decreed their right of return to Jerusalem from Babylonian exile.

Surveys show rising antisemitism, less religiosity
He made the comments in an interview with The Jerusalem Post in the Israel365 studio at the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) conference in Orlando last week, against the backdrop of several surveys that have shown both an America disconnecting from religion and skyrocketing antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment in the United States.

Prager did not name any countries that have gone in the opposite direction.

However, much critical sentiment toward Israel is enunciated by groups identifying as Christian. The NRB is an association of Evangelical broadcasters that tends to be far more pro-Israel nowadays than other Christian groups. A majority, 86% of white Evangelical Protestants have a “favorable view of the Israeli people and 42% have a “very favorable view," according to a 2022 Pew Research Center report.

A 2019 Pew Research Center Survey found that more than 10% fewer people described themselves as Christian than a decade before. Moreover, a 2021 Gallup Poll found that 47% of Americans belonged to houses of worship in 2020, down from 70% in 1999.

In 2022, the Anti-Defamation League reported the highest number of antisemitic incidents in the United States since it started recording them in 1979 with 3,697 antisemitic incidents throughout the US, a 36% increase over 2021.
UN accuses Israel of recruiting Palestinian child soldiers
A draft of the UN’s Children and Armed Conflict report for 2023 accuses Israel of recruiting three Palestinian minors as human shields and combatants. A draft of the report on incidents in 2022 includes the new accusation, which the Israeli Embassy to the UN called “strange” in its official rebuttal. A final draft is expected to be published in late June or early July.

“These claims are not supported by any evidence that could be examined by the Israeli authorities,” the Israeli Embassy wrote.

“According to our findings, this lack of evidence is due to the fact that no such cases took place in 2022 and that the claims are false. Israel expects to see these baseless claims removed from the final report.”

Israel works to not be blacklisted in upcoming UN report
Israel has been working to ensure it is not blacklisted in the upcoming report. Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan and Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj.-Gen. Ghassan Alian met with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres last week to submit the results of Israel’s examination of the UN’s allegations. Israel asked that its comments be reflected in the final draft of the report.

Another UN claim that Israel said was unfounded is the allegation that a Palestinian minor was abducted by settlers. The UN report provided few details of the incident, even after Israel asked for more information, and the IDF and Israel Police have no record of it taking place.

“We believe that a case with such extreme and unusual allegations merits a serious and thorough verification before being included in the report, thus the [government of Israel] expects the mentioning of this unverified [incident] should be removed,” the embassy wrote.

The UN draft report accuses Israel of killing and wounding Palestinian minors. It does not refer to the context in which these alleged activities took place, such as teenagers killed while committing terrorist attacks, nor does it refer to ways in which Palestinians contribute to the violence, such as terrorist groups using children as human shields or launching attacks from civilian areas.

“Regrettably, the draft report does not reflect the efforts made by Israel to ensure the protection of children in the context of the conflict,” the embassy wrote.

In one case, the UN claimed that a 22-year-old Arab-Israeli was a Palestinian minor and that Israel killed him, when in fact he died from accidental self-inflicted wounds. Muhammad Walid attacked a bus carrying Israeli forces and was injured by flammable materials in his own vehicle. He died the following month.

The number of Palestinian children the UN has alleged Israel killed dropped from 86 in 2021 to 32 in 2022.

Arsen Ostrovsky: Biden’s antisemitism plan adopts the IHRA definition
In the end, after all of the conversation, 10 things remain true about the IHRA definition:
1) The IHRA definition remains the only definition that emerged from a comprehensive 15-year-long review process by a multitude of experts, lawmakers and civil society stakeholders. It was created in response to the rise in antisemitism and sought to define a reality on the ground, as opposed to other “alternative” definitions that emerged in response to the IHRA’s in a sad attempt to water it down.
2) It remains the only definition that has achieved widespread bipartisan support, having been embraced by both Republican and Democratic administrations and lawmakers.
3) It remains the only definition ever adopted by national and international governmental agencies, including over 40 countries and over 30 states, as well as over 1,100 other entities worldwide. It is the only definition the U.S. has embraced and put into practice among its various federal agencies.
4) It remains the only definition with the appropriate carve-outs, caveats and carefully balanced safeguards that take into account the importance of nuance and context in a situation that involves allegations of discriminatory behavior.
5) It remains the only definition whose use by the government has ever been tested and upheld in Court. See Bochra v. United States Dep’t of Educ., No. 21 C 3887, 2022 WL 4182405, at *4 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 12, 2022).
6) It remains the only definition that has an actual demonstrable track record of effectiveness in curbing anti-Jewish hate and bigotry by providing a clear framework to identify and confront antisemitism. It has been used by police officers, prosecutors, judges, educators, state employees and human-rights monitoring bodies, among others.
7) It remains the only definition accepted by the vast majority of the Jewish community across all political divides and religious spectrums, representing all ages and backgrounds.
8) It does so because, as the Biden plan underscored, the IHRA’s remains the only definition that accurately reflects the reality of how anti-Zionism is often used as a veil for antisemitism.
9) IHRA remains the only definition that does not play politics with Jewish safety and fearlessly captures the essence of antisemitism in many of its various forms, regardless of its ideological source.
10) Finally, for all these reasons, the IHRA’s definition remains the gold standard definition of antisemitism, and the only one that lawmakers should turn to when assessing the motivation behind discriminatory conduct.

The focus of the White House strategy was never the question of how to define antisemitism. This is why the “discussion” of the issue is confined to a few short sentences. The reason for this is that the executive branch of the U.S. government, headed by the president, has already adopted and continues to use the IHRA definition. Thus, all of the strategy’s references to enforcement and training—whether at the State, Education or Justice Department—are already based on it.

To be clear, the White House strategy is not perfect. It is vague in places, clumsily worded in others and has a few major missteps. In particular, it lists the antisemitic Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) as an organization committed to fighting antisemitism.

Nonetheless, the strategy is the most comprehensive and multifaceted national plan to counter Jew-hatred to date. It contains many significant and positive elements, such as an annual threat assessment by the FBI and National Counter-terrorism Center on “antisemitic drivers of transnational violent extremism”; additional measures to make it easier to report hate incidents; measures to include antisemitism modules in diversity, equity and inclusion training for federal workers; and an awareness campaign to remind educational institutions of their legal obligation to proactively address incidents of bias.

Of course, the success of all of these measures hinges on the administration’s appropriate definition of what antisemitism includes. By once again openly embracing the IHRA’s definition, the administration has taken a significant first step towards ensuring that their plan will have an actual impact in protecting Jewish people. For that alone, we are thankful.
Daniel Greenfield: Biden’s Strategy to Fight Anti-Semitism Enables Hatred of Jews and Israel
The strategy does mention that beyond learning about the Holocaust, students should also learn the “histories of antisemitism experienced by Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews—who trace their ancestry to Spain, the Middle East, and North Africa—and their stories of exclusion, persecution, and expulsion.” And that is a good thing, American Jewish historiography has been dominated for too long by Ashkenazi or European Jewish history, but how will it be possible to teach about Muslim antisemitism without even mentioning Islam?

Even though Orthodox Jews have been the victims of the majority of violent physical assaults, there is only one brief mention of this phenomenon, “some traditionally observant Jews, especially traditional Orthodox Jews, are victimized while walking down the street.”

Inconveniently, the attackers tend to be black or other minorities, and so cannot be mentioned.

The black nationalist massacre at a Kosher grocery store in Jersey City and a machete attack at a synagogue in 2019 go completely unmentioned, even though they were among the deadliest recent attacks on Jews along with the white supremacist terrorist attack in Poway, California.

A better name for the new approach would be the U.S. National Strategy to Counter Those Kinds of Antisemitism We Are Willing to Discuss while leaving out the majority of violent antisemitic threats and avoiding the question of Israel as much as it possibly can.

The U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism is crippled by the woke dependency on intersectionality, on the need to view antisemitism as interrelated with other prejudices and bigotries, and to position Jews as common victims and allies against white supremacy, and in the process it ignores what antisemitism actually is and what is unique about it. And that approach has actually ended up enabling leftist antisemitism over the 20th century.

Anitsemitism is not simply a racial or religious hatred. The attempts to narrowly define it run aground on its persistence across thousands of years, through different cultures, religions, and nations. Antisemitism morphs, adopting different shapes and forms, emerging in radically different political movements across both the Left and the Right, to form a common denominator. The Biden strategy seeks to compartmentalize antisemitism within a postmodern rainbow coalition of minority victims faced with the bigotry of a majority, even as the document is forced to awkwardly grapple with the fact that much of the hatred is coming from minorities.

At best that’s denial and at worst that’s complicity.

The U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism isn’t a strategy to fight antisemitism, but to cover up the reality of it as a politically inconvenient reality with a politically convenient myth. And no one should have expected anything else from a radical administration with no shortage of antisemitic nominees, which continues to undermine Israel while supporting hate groups like CAIR. Whether it’s Nexus or the U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism, putting the enablers of antisemitism in charge of defining and fighting antisemitism can never end well.

U.S. Department of Education "Will Be Watching" Campuses for Antisemitic Harassment
The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights wrote to colleges and universities on Thursday to remind them about their responsibilities under federal civil rights law to protect students from antisemitic harassment. The letter was part of the administration's new strategy to counter antisemitism released Thursday.

The 60-page strategy document stated: "On college campuses, Jewish students, educators, and administrators have been derided, ostracized, and sometimes discriminated against because of their actual or perceived views on Israel. All students, educators, and administrators should feel safe and free from violence, harassment and intimidation on their campuses. Far too many do not have this sense of security because of their actual or perceived views on Israel." All students have "a right to learn [in] an environment free from antisemitic harassment. ED OCR will be watching to be sure these students are safe."
Daniel Greenfield: Biden Admin Anti-Semitism Letter to Colleges Makes No Mention of Israel
In ‘Biden’s Strategy to Fight Anti-Semitism Enables Hatred of Jews and Israel’, I take apart the hype over the antisemitism strategy and what it really means.

What it means is that the Biden administration allowed the Left to call half the shots in framing the strategy. And the end result is a complete irrelevance. While the various machers are celebrating, you can find the real bottom line in the Dear Colleague letter generated by the Department of Education.

Antisemitism on college campuses is at an all-time high. Much of it is driven by leftist and Islamist groups harassing Jews over Israel and disgusting their antisemitism as anti-Zionism.

The resulting letter to educational institutions makes no mention of Israel and is nothing more than a generic restatement that Title VI applies to Jewish students. It does note that it “extends to students who experience discrimination, including harassment, based on their actual or perceived: (i) shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics; or (ii) citizenship or residency in a country with a dominant religion or distinct religious identity.”

That does cover Israel, but the vast majority of Jewish students being harassed on campus are not Israeli.

The issue is that Jewish students are being targeted because of Israel. Fewer Israeli students are around on American campuses. And fewer of them seem to need protecting.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Biden Endorses Nation Of Islam Definition Of Antisemitism (satire)
The President of the United States took new measures in the fight against bigotry, the White House announced today, with the adoption of a specific definition of antisemitism, for use in funding decisions, foreign policy, hate crime penalty enforcement, and personnel qualifications, among others – a definition provided by an activist group under the stewardship of clergyman Louis Farrakhan known for its robust advocacy for certain religious minorities.

White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters this morning that Joe Biden had considered multiple options for the definition of antisemitism, including the most commonly-accepted definition: the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s Working Definition of Antisemitism. Others, such as the “Jerusalem Declaration,” Nexus definition, or other formulations, also crossed the president’s desk, Jean-Pierre disclosed, but in the end he settled on the NOI definition.

“The NOI has long been active in bigotry circles,” she explained. “Many of their key people have had significant contact with important policymakers, including senior members of the previous Democratic administration. and we know we see eye-to-eye on numerous critical points. We will be pleased to work with Minister Farrakhan and his staff on formulating the best policy we can toward addressing antisemitism in America.”

Those points of agreement, she added, include the threat of white supremacy, which Nation of Islam has long worked to counter.
JPost Editorial: Israel should respect and suspect Erdogan
Erdogan’s more pragmatic approach toward Israel – which over the last 18 months led to the reestablishment of diplomatic relations he had cut off and the return of an Israeli ambassador to Ankara whom he sent packing on two different occasions – is not the result of any significant change of heart.

Erdogan the Islamist has not suddenly seen the light and realized that Israel is not a curse in the Middle East but rather a blessing.

Instead, this change is the result of Erdogan’s changing perception of Turkey’s interests. When Erdogan thought that Turkey would best be served by being seen as the leader of the Islamic world, he charted a stridently anti-Israel policy, believing this would catapult him to that position.

When he felt the need to try and move closer to Washington, the West and even the United Arab Emirates after the Abraham Accords, he toned down the anti-Israel rhetoric and began rebuilding ties with Jerusalem. Erdogan's reasons for moving toward Israel

The Turkish president had three primary interests in moving closer to Israel. The first had to do with economics – Turkey’s economy is flailing – and a hope that Israel someday might ship its natural gas to Europe through Turkey, which would be a major boon to the Turkish economy.

Secondly, Erdogan views Israel as a vehicle to help it break out of its present regional isolation. While Erdogan pursued neo-Ottoman dreams with his rapacious appetite extending from Syria to Jerusalem, Gaza, and Libya, new alliances were formed among various countries to keep him at bay: Israel-Greece-Cyprus, and Israel-UAE-Bahrain-Egypt. Better ties with Israel may help him fit in more comfortably with this new regional architecture, or at least feel less threatened by it.

Finally, overtures to Israel are a way of paving Turkey’s way back into Washington’s better graces. While Erdogan had good ties with former US President Donald Trump, his relationship with the Biden administration has been much more troubled. Israel – and the Jewish community in the US – have long been viewed in Ankara as capable of helping smooth things over in Washington.

Israel, too, has economic and strategic interests in continuing its rapprochement with Erdogan. In so doing, however, it must not sacrifice the strategic relationships it has developed with Cyprus and Greece. Furthermore, in dealing with Erdogan, Jerusalem needs to always keep in mind the Talmudic dictum kabdehu v’chashdehu (respect him and suspect him).

Respect Erdogan because he is the president of a big, proud, strong and important country in the region, yet suspect him because the Erdogan you meet today may not be the Erdogan you will come up against tomorrow.
Seth Frantzman: What do Turkey's election results mean for Israel?
It’s important to understand how the relations with the West play into this. Turkey has sabotaged its relationship with Washington through attacks on the US-backed SDF, acquiring Russia’s S-400 anti-missile system and generally threatening the US often. Western countries pay lip service, pretending to congratulate Erdogan on his victory, but mostly because they don’t want more problems amid the Ukraine war and tensions with China and Russia.

Ankara assumes that the West is declining and that the world is becoming multipolar, with US hegemony evaporating. Ankara shares this view with Russia, China, Pakistan and Iran. Israel does not share this view, but it is aware of how shifting power structures force countries to make complex decisions, such as Riyadh reconciling with Tehran.

During the Trump era, Ankara exploited close ties to Washington, and a sense that the US was isolationist, to create a host of tensions, including authoritarianism at home and a referendum to empower the president, invasions of Afrin and other parts of northern Syria, and greater involvement in Libya, parts of Africa and the Caucasus.

Bizarrely, the Trump era led to Ankara hosting Hamas more, whereas one might have assumed that a pro-Israel administration in the US that was also close to Ankara could have gotten the red carpet pulled from Hamas. Instead, Ankara shifted its language when Biden came into office, suddenly preferring reconciliation, with the hope that ties with Israel might help in Washington.

Now, this comes full circle. The US has an election cycle next year. Netanyahu looks firmly in power. Erdogan looks firmly in power for the next half decade. Much can change in five years. Ankara will want to push forward with those changes, such as investments in its arms industry and perhaps reconciling with the Syrian regime.

Time will tell whether the current “no tensions but not warmth” relations with Ankara continues, or whether Turkey hopes to benefit by creating a crisis with Israel. This could boil down to what happens in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and other unforeseen developments.

For now, the general trend toward diplomacy in the region mitigates against a downturn in ties. There is not much wind in the sails of any public upturn in ties either, however, because neither Netanyahu nor Erdogan is likely to benefit from any kind of public embrace.

Ex-Mossad chief: Saudi-Iran deal won't block Israel normalization
The Saudis’ deal with Iran will not block potential Israeli normalization with Riyadh, former Mossad director Yossi Cohen said Sunday.

Israeli normalization with Saudi Arabia “is needed and is possible,” he said at an Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) conference related to the issue.

The most recent former Mossad chief gave the audience an unusual personal insight into how Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman (MBS) thinks.

Although Cohen, in making his prediction, said he could not confirm he has met with MBS (even though the Israeli censor as of 2022 finally allowed Israeli media to publish that such meetings have occurred), he gave an unequivocal analysis of what MBS wants. MBS lost patience with the US, not insulting Israel

MBS was not insulting Israel with his deal with the Islamic Republic and China, but rather, he was telegraphing to the US that he had lost patience with its harsh treatment of him, and that the Saudis “had alternatives” besides America, Cohen said.

This came after US President Joe Biden had called MBS a “pariah,” had tried (and failed) to isolate MBS from making policy and had threatened to end the special relations with Riyadh after MBS in October 2022 did not act as Biden wanted relating to oil prices.

Rather than essentially freaking out about MBS’s deal with Iran and jumping to wrong conclusions about the motivations for the deal, Cohen said it was critical to “put yourselves in the shoes of the Saudis” and not that he thought an Israeli-Saudi normalization arrangement was immediate.

The Saudis would move forward with Israel slowly and carefully, since as the keepers of Islam’s holiest sites, “they need to always check the temperature about whether the Muslim world will forgive them” for jumping forward with Israel, he said.
Israel-Gulf train awaits Saudi normalization
A proposal for a rail link connecting Israel and the Gulf states has undergone a preliminary feasibility study and could gather steam alongside a major international train infrastructure project as part of a push for normalization with Saudi Arabia.

The “Tracks for Regional Peace” plan and a newer U.S.-backed proposal to connect Gulf and Arab countries with India come as talks intensify between Israel and Saudi Arabia to reach a normalization agreement by the end of the year.

The watershed proposals, which would boost economic growth and stability in the region, stem from the 2020 Abraham Accords that saw Israel reach peace with four Arab countries under the Trump administration.

The “Tracks for Regional Peace” plan, which was first proposed six years ago by then-Transportation (and current Energy) Minister Israel Katz and then gathered force in the wake of the peace accords, would link the Arabian Peninsula to Haifa Port with a railway running through Jordan.

As talks with Riyadh gathered pace, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu brought up the proposed rail link in an address to American Jewish leaders in Jerusalem earlier this year, as part of his vision for a regional peace which he said would be a “quantum leap” in ending the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Under the proposal, goods could travel by rail from Haifa through Jordan to Saudi Arabia’s Gulf port of Dammam and then onwards to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, connecting the Mediterranean with the Persian Gulf.
New Technology Helps Defend Israel's Airspace
The IDF utilizes an extensive network of sensors that detect every aerial movement, followed by innovative covert methods to bring down enemy aircraft without resorting to missiles or sky-bound explosions. For the past two years, the "Sky Monitor," the biggest tracking balloon of its kind in the world, has been hovering in the sky in the eastern Galilee, where it can peer hundreds of kilometers into Syria. During critical moments, the balloon can be repositioned to identify missile launches from Iraq or Iran.

Civilian aircraft are seen on screens landing at airports in Damascus or Beirut, while Russian planes are seen taking off in Syria. Every non-IDF aircraft is a target for surveillance. Any deviation from the normal flight paths raises alarms. "Sometimes, an aircraft that is ten to twenty km. away from Israel's border on its designated path can suddenly veer towards us," described the officers. "We have only a few minutes to respond, activate all interception systems, and neutralize the threat."
IDF Successfully Tests Naval Iron Dome Defense System
The Israeli Navy has successfully completed a series of interception tests using the naval version of the Iron Dome system on the Saar 6 Magen vessel.

The "C-Dome" successfully intercepted advanced targets which represented threats to Israel's infrastructure and strategic assets such as the offshore natural gas rigs.

Monday's test included a wide array of threats including rockets, cruise missiles, and UAVs.

Israel Enters Palestinian Cities to Fight Terror Only Because the PA Doesn't
Tzachi Hanegbi, Israel's National Security Advisor and head of the National Security Council, said in an interview on May 25, 2023, that Prime Minister Netanyahu met with King Abdullah in Jordan on January 24. This followed a period when IDF forces entered Jenin and Nablus in northern Samaria in order to deal with terror cells.

The prime minister explained to the king that the Palestinian Authority had greatly weakened in recent years and had lost the ability to govern, leaving a vacuum. Since the PA no longer controlled the territory, terrorist groups like the Lions' Den and others had entered the scene, leaving Israel with no choice but to act in those areas.

In their discussions, the idea arose of a "pilot" program in which the Palestinians would renew taking security responsibility for a city in Area A. Israel said, "If they have a force that knows how and is prepared to fight terror effectively, we have no interest in doing that ourselves." However, the pilot plan was never implemented because the Palestinians did not accept it.
IDF clashes with Palestinians in counter-terror operation across the West Bank
Heavy exchanges of fire took place overnight between IDF forces and armed terrorists as the Israeli army conducted arrests in a counter-terror operation across different West Bank locations

New PA bill restricts access to information, Palestinians warn
Several Palestinian civil society non-governmental organizations (NGOs), human rights and media organizations have expressed concern over the Palestinian Authority government’s intention to pass a law that restricts the freedom of accessing information.

The organizations warned that the new law would stifle free speech and prevent journalists from reporting on issues that reflect negatively on the PA leadership, such as financial corruption and human rights violations.

In the absence of a Palestinian parliament, Palestinian laws are enacted by PA President Mahmoud Abbas through “presidential decrees.” The parliament, known as the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), has been inoperative since Hamas’s violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007.

Mahmoud Abbas's attempts to tighten grip on Ramallah
In 2018, Abbas dissolved the PLC as part of an effort to tighten his grip on PA institutions, including the legislative and judicial branches.

Some of Abbas’s decrees have been criticized by many Palestinians, who accuse the 87-year-old leader of turning the PA into an autocratic regime. They noted that he has exploited the dispute between his ruling Fatah faction and Hamas to issue more than 400 decrees. PA HEAD Mahmoud Abbas told Maher Yunis: ‘We are proud of you... You are the beacon of light of this nation. (credit: Ronaldo Schemidt/Reuters) PA HEAD Mahmoud Abbas told Maher Yunis: ‘We are proud of you... You are the beacon of light of this nation. (credit: Ronaldo Schemidt/Reuters)

Last year, Abbas drew sharp criticism and protests for issuing a decree to form a Supreme Council of Judicial Bodies and Authorities that he would head.

Responding to the new law, which is also expected to be enacted through a “presidential decree,” the organizations said they were following with great concern the PA government’s move to secretly ratify a bill to regulate the right of accessing information.

No one - other than cabinet ministers – was allowed to review the content of the law, they claimed.

Palestinian NGOs meet to discuss controversial bill
Last week, representatives of the organizations held a meeting at the Wattan Media Network in Ramallah, where they announced that they managed to obtain a copy of the controversial bill.

After the meeting, 38 organizations issued a statement in which they said the proposed bill violates the basic principles of the right to access information.

They pointed out that the PA government had previously agreed to the formation of an independent commission to follow up on its commitment to the people’s right to access public information.

According to the statement, the new law ignores the idea of the commission and proposes instead the establishment of an “Information Department” that would report directly to the PA government

Terrorist prisoner Barghouti “is behind the great achievement of academic studies”
Terrorist prisoner Barghouti “is behind the great achievement of academic studies in the Israeli prisons” – praise by released murderer

Released terrorist prisoner Karim Younes: “Marwan… has been a leader since his youth, and he is a Fatah member and a member of its [Fatah] Central Committee… [In prison] we would call him: “The professor who sits on a pole.” Forgive me [the expression] “the professor who sits on a pole.” I cannot explain to you how tough, persistent, and loyal he is, because he is the man behind the great achievement, the achievement of academic studies, the systematic studies in the Israeli prisons. No one can describe how this uncompromising man can sit on a bit of iron pipe and put a rag or torn blanket on it and sit from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. and lecture to his students, of whom 200 have already completed a master’s degree… At 11:00 a.m. he goes down loaded with books, the textbooks are in his hands, and he continues until 3:00 p.m. without a break with the prisoner students so that they will complete their studies. They complete their studies at Al-Quds [Open] University, but they do not complete their studies like in regular universities… Those who were released and continued to study in universities [outside prison] know the difference between the studies inside prison and outside. Studying with brother Marwan – if the [regular] study material is 2 books, with Marwan it’s 7. A regular class is an hour and a half, with Marwan [it’s] 4 hours.”
[Official PA TV, May 8, 2023]

Marwan Barghouti – Palestinian terrorist and member of the PA parliament who orchestrated three shooting attacks in which 5 people were murdered: one attack on the Jerusalem-Maale Adumim road (June 12, 2001) in which Greek Orthodox monk Tsibouktsakis Germanus was murdered by terrorists Ismail Radaida and Yasser Ah'Rabai, another attack at a gas station in Givat Zeev near Jerusalem (Jan. 15, 2002) in which Yoela Hen was murdered by terrorists led by Mohammed Matla, and one shooting and stabbing attack at the Seafood Market restaurant in Tel Aviv (March 5, 2002) in which Eli Dahan, Yosef Habi, and Police Officer Sergeant-Major Salim Barakat, were murdered by terrorist Ibrahim Hasouna. When arrested by Israel in 2002, Barghouti headed the Tanzim (Fatah terror faction). After he was convicted and imprisoned, he was re-elected as a member of the Palestinian Authority parliament. On Dec. 4, 2016, he was elected to Fatah's Central Committee. Barghouti is serving 5 life sentences.

Karim Younes - Israeli Arab terrorist who kidnapped and murdered Israeli soldier Avraham Bromberg in 1980 together with his cousin Maher Younes. Younes was originally sentenced to life in prison, but Israeli President Shimon Peres reduced his sentence to 40 years in 2012. In May 2017 Younes was appointed by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to the Fatah Central Committee. Younes was released from prison on Jan. 5, 2023.

JCPA: Is Hizbullah Preparing for Total War with Israel?
Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s latest speech replied to IDF warnings not to commit one mistake too many that could lead to a total war on several fronts. Nasrallah declared that Israel was the one which should be cautious as it faces Iranian proxies in Lebanon, Syria, Gaza, the West Bank (Judea and Samaria), and “occupied Palestine.”

As if to challenge Israel and illustrate what he meant, Hizbullah conducted two military exhibitions to which the foreign and local press were invited on the 23rd anniversary of Israel’s withdrawal from the security zone in south Lebanon. Hizbullah’s drill objective was to destroy a defensive wall erected by Israel on the border with Lebanon. Breaching the defensive barrier would involve creating several breaches in the wall to enable Hizbullah elite units to storm Israeli villages and “conquer” parts of the Galilee. Hizbullah’s spokesman emphasized that those drills were offensive tactics against Israel and not defensive.

The idea of Hizbullah invading the north of Israel is not new. The operational plan to conquer the Galilee was first raised on February 16, 2011, when Nasrallah told his fighters to be prepared to conquer the Galilee should Israel launch a war against Hizbullah.1 The fighting force was composed at the time of five brigades, each with a pre-designated combat zone in northern Israel:
Brigade 1 will take over the town of Nahariya or parts of it.
Brigade 2 will take over the town of Shlomi.
Brigade 3 was ordered to reach the town of Carmiel and conquer areas south of it.
Brigade 4 would take over the communities of Malkiya, Ramot Naftali, and Yiftach.
Brigade 5 will serve as a strategic reserve force for special missions.2

However, this plan, which included the active participation of Syria, was postponed because of the Syrian civil war and the fact that Hizbullah had to send its troops to fight in Syria at the orders of Iran to save Assad’s Alawite regime from collapse. Since the massive return of Hizbullah’s units to Lebanon, there’s little no doubt that this operational plan has been modified to suit the present conditions in the field and the changes in the Hizbullah fighting force.
Syria blames Israel for strikes on Hezbollah-linked site
Israeli airstrikes were reported near Damascus, close to midnight on Sunday, the Syrian defense ministry said anti-air systems were activated and added that there were no casualties.

An observatory NGO reported that the strike hit Hezbollah operatives

What Is Keeping the Iranian Regime from Getting the Bomb?
Iran has moved dangerously close to enriching weapons-grade uranium for a nuclear bomb, but the regime has not yet built an atomic weapon. "There are a number of retardants that have put a pause in their weapons development," said Lisa Daftari, an Iran expert and editor-in-chief of the Foreign Desk. "They'd relate back to targeted attacks by the U.S. and Israel....Israel has reportedly conducted at least two dozen targeted operations on Iran's regime in the last 15 or so years, including drone attacks, cyberattacks, if you recall Stuxnet, and assassinations of key players in Iran's nuclear program."

"We cannot underestimate the power of international pressure on Iran's regime," she added. "When there is consistent and targeted pressure on Iran's regime in the form of enforced sanctions and economic and political isolation, we see a weakened regime and an emboldened Iranian people who are brave enough to take to the streets."

"Iran's regime is quite calculating. As rogue as they have been in capturing oil tankers in the seas, continuing the support of regional terror and, of course, the brutal wholesale executions of innocent protesters, they continue to weigh out the consequences of a heated military confrontation with Israel or the United States."
Inside Israel's Plan to Defend Itself from Attack by Iran
Israeli officials are preparing for a "multi-front war" which could see hundreds, if not thousands, of missiles and drones launched per day from Gaza, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq.

IDF spokesman Lt.-Col. Richard Hecht said, "When we look at a full-scale campaign, it'll be the little event in Gaza and then the big event in the North which will be predominantly Iran."

"Because they probably can't beat us on the conventional battlefield, their efforts will be in quantity of rockets, projectiles, and the story will be precision."

"As we're advancing our air defense, our enemies are also part of that race, they're investing in precision. They're investing a lot in being able to saturate our system."

Iranian forces arrest 14-member 'Israeli terror team' - report
Iranian security forces arrested 14 members of an alleged Israeli terror group, Iranian state media Tasnim reported on Monday.

A source in the Iranian justice system told the Iranian outlet Tasnim that the group planned to carry out terrorist acts and assassinations on various targets.

This report out of Iran is the latest in a series of alleged arrests of Israeli spies and terrorist groups in connection with activities in the Middle East.

Arrests of alleged Israeli agents
The latest such incident took place just last week, as Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization and the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office uncovered and arrested an 11-person Mossad cell operating in Turkey, according to the Turkish Sabah newspaper.

Turkish authorities reportedly discovered that the cell had targeted one company and 23 individuals who conducted commercial relations with Iran.

In September 2022, twelve members of the Baha'i faith were arrested on suspicion of spying for Israel in Iran's northern Mazandaran province, Iranian news agency IRNA reported.

According to the report, two of the heads of the organization were trained at the World House of Justice, located in the Baha'i Center in Haifa, and set up a spy cell with other members of the organization throughout the northern district.

In July 2022, a spy network affiliated with Mossad was arrested in Iran, according to a report by the Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA).
Iran courts Oman while bashing Israel - analysis
Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said arrived in Iran on Sunday for a series of talks on security, trade and other issues. He also met Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei on Monday.

Oman has traditionally been a neutral state in the Gulf, generally open to warm talks with Iran, but also close with its other Gulf neighbors. As such, Oman has played a key role in talks to resolve the Yemen conflict. In 2018, Oman also hosted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a meeting that could be said to have foreshadowed the Abraham Accords.

Khamenei met with the sultan and used the opportunity to bash Israel and warn about the “presence of the Zionist regime” in the region, Iran’s Fars News Agency reported.

Clearly, Iran is seeking to reconcile with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf on the one hand, while doing outreach to countries such as Oman. But it also seeks to confront Israel as the same time. Iran has long raged against the Abraham Accords and tried to encourage countries not to reach out to Israel.

Iran opposes Abraham Accords
Iran doesn’t want to see more normalization. As such, Khamenei’s comments on Monday reflect Iran’s larger concerns and its Janus-faced attempt to push diplomatic moves on the one hand and also incite against Israel on the other.

Iranian reports also indicated that Khamenei suggested more cooperation in the Strait of Hormuz, where Iran has harassed Western tankers, and also more cooperation with Egypt.

The delegations from Oman and Iran also met in Tehran with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. According to various reports from Iran and the region, the talks are intended to improve commercial and trade ties.

This is important for Oman. It has also sought to improve trade with Qatar and other states. The meetings in Iran are part of a larger series of diplomatic initiatives by countries in the region that are designed to create a kind of new diplomatic era. For instance, the Arab League has welcomed the Syrian regime back into its fold.
Hackers post photos of Iranian opposition leaders on government websites
A series of websites linked to Iran’s presidency bore the images of two leaders of an exiled opposition group Monday, with others showing the pictures of Islamic Republic’s supreme leader and president crossed out.

An internet account describing itself as a group of hackers claimed responsibility for allegedly taking down websites. The account GhyamSarnegouni, whose name in Farsi means “Rise to Overthrow,” previously claimed hacking websites associated with Iran’s Foreign Ministry earlier this month.

Iranian state media and officials did not immediately acknowledge the apparent hack. However, Associated Press journalists accessing the sites found them defaced with images of Massoud Rajavi, the long-missing leader of the Iranian exile group Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, and his wife Maryam, who is now the public face of the group.

One site bore the slogan: “Death to Khamenei Raisi- Hail to Rajavi.” Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iran’s president Ebrahim Raisi both were targeted similarly in the previously claimed hacked in May.

Iran has been targeted by a series of embarrassing hacks amid the rising tensions over its rapidly advancing nuclear program. That’s included the signal of Iranian state television being targeted, gasoline pumps that provide subsidized fuel being targeted in a cyberattack and government surveillance camera imagery being released, including from a notorious prison.

The Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, known by the acronym MEK, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The MEK had angrily condemned a prisoner swap Belgium conducted with Iran on Friday to free an aid worker that saw an Iranian diplomat convicted of being behind a bomb plot targeting the group released.

The MEK began as a Marxist group opposing the rule of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. It claimed and was suspected in a series of attacks against US officials in Iran in the 1970s, something the group now denies.

It supported the 1979 Islamic Revolution, but soon had a falling out with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and turned against the cleric. It carried out a series of assassinations and bombings targeting the young Islamic Republic.

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