Thursday, June 01, 2023

From Ian:

‘They Are Paying for Terrorists to Murder’: State Department Confirms Palestinians Continue ‘Pay-to-Slay’ Terrorist Payments
US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf on Wednesday confirmed that the Palestinian Authority continues to make so-called ‘pay-to-slay’ stipend payments to terrorists and the families of terrorists who have killed Americans and Israelis.

Speaking at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the Biden Administration’s budget requests for the Middle East, Leaf was asked by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) about a report sent to Congress on Friday about Palestinian non-compliance with the Taylor Force Act, which prohibits US funding to the Palestinian Authority so long as it maintains its pay-to-slay program.

“We are working to bring pay-to-slay to an end. Period,” Leaf said. Asked if the administration had succeeded, Leaf replied, “not yet.”

The Palestinian Authority makes official payments to Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, the families of ‘martyrs’ killed in attacks on Israelis, and to injured Palestinian militants. The exact size of the program is disputed, but is estimated to be around $300 million annually, or nearly 10% of the entire Palestinian Authority budget, according to the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, an Israeli think-tank. The payments are higher than the average Palestinian wage, further incentivizing terrorist attacks.

Because the payments scale with the length of incarceration, a terrorist like Hakim Awad, who murdered five Israeli civilians, including three children, can expect to receive nearly $2 million while he serves his 130-year sentence as a reward for his actions from the Palestinian Authority.

The Taylor Force Act was named for a US army veteran, Taylor Force, who was killed in a Palestinian stabbing attack in Tel Aviv in 2016 in which 11 others were also injured. The attacker, 21-year-old Bashar Masalha, was killed by Israeli police, but his family receives a monthly payment from the PA’s Martyr’s Fund. The act prohibits all US aid to the Palestinian Authority so long as the stipend payments continue.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly rejected calls to halt the payments, which are enshrined in Palestinian law.

Cruz in his question said that even as the Biden administration agrees that the Palestinian Liberation Organization is a terrorist group, the administration continues to engage with their leadership.

Israeli Sbarro bombing victim dies after 22 years in coma
Chana Nachenberg died on Wednesday, almost 22 years after a Palestinian suicide bomber bombed the Sbarro pizza place, putting her in a vegetative state.

New York-born Nachenberg, nee Finer, was 31 years old when the bombing took place. Her two-year-old daughter Sarah was one of the few to survive the attack unscathed.

Izz al-Din Shuheil al-Masri bombed the Sbarro pizza place on the bustling corner of King George Street and Jaffa Road in Jerusalem on August 9, 2001, killing 15 people, including seven children and a pregnant woman, and wounding 130.

The bomb that he carried to the restaurant included nails meant to cause extra injury.

Masri's accomplice was Ahlam Tamimi, who chose the location for the attack. Tamimi was convicted and given 16 life sentences but was released in the prisoner swap for captive IDF soldier Gilad Schalit.

Tamimi is one of the FBI’s “most wanted terrorists,” and her poster says she “should be considered armed and dangerous.” The FBI poster asks for tips, offering a reward of up to $5 million.

However, her location is known. She lives in Jordan, where she hosts a talk show on a Hamas-affiliated television channel. Jordan has refused to extradite her.
22 Years since Tel Aviv Dolphinarium Club terror attack
As hundreds of people were going out in Tel Aviv on a Saturday night, many were crowding in front of Dolphinariumv Club right on the beach. Among them a Hamas terrorist

Over 15 people were killed and more than 100 were wounded when the terrorist activated the suicide bomb attached to his body

More than 20 years later, the attack is still an unforgettable event for Israeli society

The Hijacking
On an early September day in 1970, right before the start of the New York City school year, Martha Hodes, 12, and her sister Catherine, 13, boarded TWA flight 741 in Tel Aviv en route to New York via Athens and Frankfurt. They were returning from a summer with their mother, a principal dancer for the Martha Graham company, in Israel. Their father—also a pioneering Graham dancer—had been the girls’ primary custodial parent even before the official divorce. Leaving Frankfurt, the plane was hijacked by two members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and rerouted to a makeshift airstrip in the Jordanian desert. There, the girls, along with the majority of the passengers and crew, endured six days of captivity aboard the aircraft itself.

The Hodes sisters and their fellow captives were soon joined by the passengers and crew of two other hijacked planes; a fourth plane was flown to Cairo, while the attempted hijacking of an El Al plane was foiled by the rapid reaction of the Israeli captain and crew. The five hijackings probably even now remain the most complex and daring act of coordinated air piracy in the history of terrorism, especially if one considers the additional logistics involved when the lives of passengers were still deemed to be of some value. Some of the hostages, including the Hodes sisters, were eventually released to hotels in Amman, while others—mostly military-age men, crewmembers, and a few Jewish military-age women and girls—were dispersed to various safe houses in refugee camps and cities in Jordan that were then effectively under PLO control.

The events of the hijacking were extensively covered in the mass media of the time and were later the subject of at least one history book—by David Raab, another survivor, who was 17 years old at the time, traveling with his mother and younger sisters. Raab was separated from his family and became part of a contingent of hostages whose eventual liberation was the fortunate byproduct of the military victory of the Jordanian army during what became known to Palestinians as “Black September.” Catherine Hodes got “quote of the day” in The New York Times for Sept. 13, 1970, “Now I am going to thank God and have a bath,” and both Hodes girls were interviewed by another fellow hostage, a sociologist who published her findings as “Individual and Group Responses to Confinement on a Skyjacked Plane.”

Now Martha—who went on to become a leading historian of the American Civil War and also of interracial sex and marriage in 19th-century United States—has published a book about the experience, My Hijacking: A Personal History of Forgetting and Remembering. Her motives for writing about the events of her past are not rooted in a desire to offer a definitive history of a particular episode in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, neither is she interested in providing, at this late date, a simple testimonial account of a traumatic event in her personal life. Instead, Hodes attempts something dramatically different from most histories and most memoirs. She wants to answer a personal set of questions: “Why do I remember so little?” “Why did I feel like I wasn’t even there?” and especially, “Why do I have no memory of being afraid?” Her book functions as an investigative report and a narrative of her research, discoveries, and revisions, as well as a Rashomon-style, multiperspectival recounting of the events and political context of the hijacking. The personal pronoun in the title prepares the reader for this intensely subjective framing while also making the book sound a bit like the 12-year-old’s back-to-school essay that Hodes couldn’t bring herself to write once she was finally able to start seventh grade.

Hodes sets out to test her memories against the testimonies and accounts of other surviving witnesses, transcripts in the archives of TWA and the U.S. State Department, video footage stored by the CIA, and documentary evidence from PFLP reminiscences; she returns to the diary she kept as a child and the transcripts of two interviews she and her sister gave on their return—one, separately, to Sylvia Jacobson, the sociologist, and the other, together, along with their father, to their cousin, a reporter for the Boston Phoenix.

Hodes discovers that her 12-year-old self was a thoroughly unreliable narrator—less of the experiences she actually wrote down but of the range of experiences and emotions she was willing to admit. A faithful teenage diarist, inspired, she says, by Anne Frank, with whom she shares a birthday, Hodes later realizes she was also editing her diary as she wrote it, crossing out a sentence taking note of a stewardess comforting her crying older sister—in one instance—and, in other cases, entirely failing to note worrisome events like the moment when she and all the other Jewish passengers were taken off the plane, herded into a circle, and held for an indeterminate length of time, unsure if they were about to machine-gunned. “The most frightening moment occurred like this ...” she writes, at the end of one page, only to discover that she either failed to write it down at all or recorded it on a piece of loose paper that, unlike several others in the diary, she “allowed to slip away, either on the plane or as soon as I got home.” As Hodes writes, “I see that the aspiring writer in me constructed not a full record but instead a tolerable story; not a truthful story but instead a bearable one; not an honest story but instead a story I could tell when I got home, most especially to my father ... That narrative of omissions would comprise my version of the hijacking and I would carry it with me for years and years afterward.”

At other times, 12-year-old Martha is able to see and remember things that other hostages repressed. Her strongest memory—what she calls, following trauma theorists, “a flashbulb”—is of the copilot coming out of the cockpit with a hijacker’s gun at his neck. She finds no record of this in the copilot’s official testimony or in any other passenger’s accounts, begins to wonder if she invented it, only to discover, through a late interview with the copilot that indeed he’d desperately needed to take a shit and one of the hijackers had led him to the bathroom at gunpoint, but he hadn’t bothered to put it in his official TWA debrief.

The result of these scrupulous exercises in comparative memory is a book that constructively challenges most readers’ (as well as most publishers’ and literary agents’) basic assumptions about how memoir (and memories) work, and also how the primary sources used by professional historians work. The archive is both valuable and treacherous. As a historian, Hodes reminds us that she always “implores” her students to ask “Why did this person tell this story this way?” Her answers, in this case however, are more psychological than historical, or more to do with a personal family history revolving around the dynamics of her parents’ divorce, a gifted child’s protectiveness toward her vulnerable custodial parent, and her reluctance to face up to the legacy of their mother’s absence.

History, then, is what can be glimpsed between the blinds of the family. The title’s personal pronoun gains an ambiguous darker meaning as the book unfolds—hinting that Hodes herself had been a kind of hijacker of her own feelings and memories for nearly 50 years.
Michael Oren: Dangerous Delusions about the Two-State Solution
Was the two-state solution ever really alive? The Palestinians violently rejected the two-state offers of 1937 and 1947. Their rejection of two-state plans in 2000, 2001, and 2008 merely reiterated this long-standing Palestinian policy.

Because they deny that the Jews constitute a people, Palestinian leaders have never accepted the U.S. formula of "two states for two peoples." No Palestinian leader has ever demonstrated the will or the ability to reconcile with Jewish statehood, and none would likely survive long if they did.

The Palestinians have given no indication that they intend to build the kinds of stable, transparent institutions that form the foundations of a modern state, or that they can sustain sovereignty over any areas allotted to them without ushering in chaos. Realizing these facts, many Israelis have concluded that the Palestinians never actually wanted a two-state solution; they wanted only Israel's dissolution.

Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000 and from Gaza in 2005, which the Israeli government undertook in the hope of peace, yielded only thousands of terrorist rockets targeting Israeli civilians.

The glow of the Oslo accords in the mid-1990s was similarly eclipsed by the suicide bombings of the Second Intifada between 2000 and 2005 and the murder of 1,000 Israelis - more than ten times the losses the U.S. suffered in the 9/11 attacks, as a proportion of the population.

Consequently, many Israelis recognize what philosopher Micah Goodman calls "Catch-67," the belief that although the absence of a Palestinian state might challenge Israel's Jewish and democratic character, the creation of a Palestinian state threatens its very existence.
The No-State Solution
A recent essay touting a “one-state” approach to Israel-Palestinian issues is more about eliminating the world’s only Jewish state than offering real solutions to complex regional problems.

Last month, Foreign Affairs published an article titled "Israel’s One-State Reality: It’s Time to Give Up on the Two-State Solution" and asked several experts for their responses. Here is Robert Satloff’s contribution, which just appeared in the new issue.

Foreign Affairs should be congratulated for publishing this breathtakingly tendentious essay by Michael Barnett, Nathan Brown, Marc Lynch, and Shibley Telhami because it exposes the authors’ pseudo-academic argument as little more than political advocacy.

Why is this advocacy and not scholarship? Because in its eagerness to market the catchphrase “one-state reality,” it neglects to mention the hard borders between Israel, Hamas-controlled Gaza, and the Palestinian Authority-controlled urban areas of the West Bank, which make it impossible for anyone—Israeli, Palestinian, or third-country national—to traverse the length and breadth of this supposedly single state and quite dangerous for anyone even to try. Because to make its case, it avoids inconvenient facts, such as the impressive advance of Arab Israelis within Israeli society in recent decades and the rejection of the “apartheid” label by many leading Arab figures on both sides of the Green Line, including the Knesset Member Mansour Abbas, the rights activist Bassem Eid, and the peace activist Mohammed Dajani. Because it disparages the state of Israel’s democracy, which is older than those of about half the countries in the European Union, and makes only passing reference to the remarkable vitality of the country’s civil society, underscored by the huge nationwide protests against proposed judicial reforms that began in early 2023. And because, without a single reference to Hezbollah missiles, Hamas rockets, or a potential Iranian nuclear bomb, it leaves the unsuspecting reader to wonder whether Israel’s neighbors are Andorra, Lichtenstein, and Switzerland.

There is much in the essay about the regression of peace diplomacy since the failed Camp David summit in 2000, including the rightward turn of Israeli politics in response to the suicide bombings of the second Palestinian intifada, the expansion of Israeli settlements, and the apparent effect these developments have had on American attitudes toward Israel. But on closer inspection, the article is not really about the Palestinian issue at all. In the tall tale the authors tell, Palestinians make little more than cameo appearances, bearing responsibility for neither their decisions nor their fates.
Policy Paper: Disarmament of Gaza
Israel has in recent years allowed a situation to emerge in which it has accepted the emergence on its southern border of an Islamist statelet committed to its destruction. Currently, Jerusalem's stance toward the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip amounts, as the author of this paper puts it, to seeking "the longest possible intervals of relative calm between major eruptions of violence." That is, Israel seeks to achieve a kind of live and let live situation vis-à-vis Gaza. This is maintained via a system of inducements – such as the Qatari financial assistance which Israel permits – and occasional punishments. This policy is not the result of careful formulation and planning on the part of the relevant Israeli bodies. Rather, it has emerged as a de facto response to events since the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007.

In this paper, Yossi Kuperwasser attempts for the first time to examine and challenge the assumptions behind this policy. He asks if Israel has ceded the initiative to the rulers of Gaza and in so doing permitted a dangerous situation to emerge in which Hamas is continually improving its capacities and arming itself with more sophisticated systems, while this situation is accepted by Israel in return for periods of quiet. Kuperwasser proposes that Israel rid itself "of Hamas's threat by disarming it, prohibiting its rearmament, and demonstrating conclusively that threatening Israel is indisputably against its interests." To do this, the author suggests a series of pro-active steps and initiatives that Israel should implement.

At the present time, Hamas is actively engaged in a campaign of violence against Israel launched from the West Bank and from southern Lebanon. At the same time, it is improving its capacities in Gaza. The movement and its allies are thus dictating the pace and shape of events. Israel, meanwhile, seeking short-term quiet as a cardinal objective, is reactive. In the face of the current reality, a discussion of whether the current contours of Israeli policy remain tenable is long overdue. This paper intends to begin this debate.
Letter to Ken Roth: Demonizing Israel by Exploiting the Holocaust
Your latest diatribe on Israel, published in Deutsche Welle (“Opinion: Reassessing the approach to Israel”), continues the deceitful assault on the legitimacy of Jewish self-determination. Following your practice for over twenty years, you deploy your father’s experience as a Jew in Nazi Germany (until 1938) as a shield against scrutiny and criticism. Artificially invoking the language of morality, universal human rights and international law, you continue to pervert these fundamental principles.

As a Jew and an Israeli, whose parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins also “experienced” the inhumanity of the Nazis (unlike your father, many did not survive), I find your exploitation of the Holocaust to be regrettable and worse. The use of Deutsche Welle, the state-owned German media platform funded by the federal tax budget, is particularly repugnant.

Under your leadership, Human Rights Watch (HRW) was at the forefront of the campaigns to weaken, isolate, and ultimately dismantle Israel as a Jewish state. The objects of your rage are not policies in the territories under Israeli jurisdiction since the 1967 war (the “occupation”); nor do you demonstrate any concern for Palestinians, whose leaders are corrupt dictators and terror leaders. Instead, under the label of human rights, your goal is to erase my country – where some 8 million Jews have made homes and chart our own destinies, like the citizens of 190 other independent countries.

As demonstrated at the infamous antisemitic 2001 UN Durban Conference, you and HRW are leaders in attacking the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, including the current “Israel apartheid” campaign, which is an extension of the abhorrent Soviet-led 1975 UN General Assembly resolution demonizing Zionism as racism. After the demise of the Soviet empire, you and HRW adopted the same language and mechanisms. Among many blatant examples throughout the past two decades, in 2017, you endorsed an article titled, “Birds of a feather: White supremacy and Zionism,” which declared that “White supremacy and Zionism are two of a kind.” When HRW’s founder Robert Bernstein denounced you in the New York Times and elsewhere for abusing the organization and human rights in the campaign to turn Israel into a pariah state, he was referring to these actions.

North Carolina Democrats Push for State To Mourn 'Catastrophe' of Israel's Creation
The North Carolina Democratic Party is considering a resolution that would commemorate Nakba Day, a Palestinian holiday that mourns the "catastrophe" of Israel's creation.

If passed, the resolution would establish May 15 in North Carolina as Nakba Day, a reference to the Arabic term for "catastrophe" that Palestinians use to mourn Israel's independence day. In addition to the Nakba provision, the party's resolution also endorses the "right of return" for Palestinians to Israel, which would end the nation's status as a Jewish state. The party plans to take up the proposal in June, according to Jewish Insider.

The resolution aligns the party with the far-left "Squad." Michigan Democratic congresswoman Rashida Tlaib earlier this month hosted a congressional Nakba event alongside an array of anti-Israel groups, including Jewish Voice for Peace, which has glorified Palestinian terrorism. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) moved to block the event after the Washington Free Beacon reported on its anti-Israel sponsors, prompting Tlaib to move the gathering to the Senate, where socialist Vermont senator Bernie Sanders allowed Tlaib to take over a committee room.

"It's wrong for members of Congress to traffic in anti-Semitic tropes about Israel," McCarthy told the Free Beacon in early May. "As long as I'm speaker, we are going to support Israel's right to self-determination and self-defense, unequivocally and in a bipartisan fashion."

The North Carolina Democratic Party did not return a request for comment. The party's resolution comes as the state approaches a crucial election year—North Carolina's Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, cannot seek reelection in 2024 due to term limits, making the Tar Heel State a top target for Republicans as they look to reclaim the governor's mansion.

The anti-Israel resolution, some Democrats say, could jeopardize the party's success come 2024.

Early Morning Protest Held Outside Kohelet Founder’s Home in Efrat
Residents of a normally tranquil cul-de-sac in the Gush Etzion town of Efrat were rudely awakened at 6:30 AM on Thursday by an anarchist protest unfolding outside the residence of Professor Moshe Koppel. Koppel is the founder of the Kohelet Policy Forum and one of the architects spearheading Israel’s much-needed judicial reform.

The morning prayers at the nearby synagogue merged with the cacophony of drums, horns, and megaphones, as the protesters sought to make their grievances known. However, even among the approximately 75 protesters, unanimity regarding the precise purpose of their demonstration was noticeably lacking.

While one irate neighbor, displeased by the unexpectedly early morning awakening, resorted to spraying the protesters with a garden hose (which the protesters promptly tied in a knot), the majority of Koppel’s neighbors came down to the street and opted for conversation and interaction with the demonstrators – Bnei Brak style, albeit without the Cholent.

Yishai Fleisher, the spokesperson for Hebron, and his wife Malkah engaged in discussions with many of the protesters. Their aim was to comprehend the source of their ire, which had prompted the protesters to rouse the entire street so early. (To clarify, many neighbors were already awake, preparing their children for school or heading out to morning prayers.)

Some protesters expressed their anger with religious Jews, while others railed against Judea, Samaria, and the “Occupation”. One protester was busy claiming all Christians are actually Jews, but even the other protesters weren’t accepting that one. References to democracy were made, and some even claimed to be protesting against judicial reform.

MEMRI: French Minister's Remarks On 'Sunni Islamist Terrorism' Sparks Outcry And Condemnation From Prominent Islamist Figures And Institutions
On May 20, 2023, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported that France's Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin stated during his recent visit to the U.S.: "We have come to remind them that for Europeans, and for France, the primary risk is Sunni Islamist terrorism and that anti-terrorist collaboration between intelligence services is absolutely essential." This anodyne statement by Mr. Darmanin, whose maternal grandfather was an Algerian Muslim soldier in the French Army, has generated significant condemnation from various Islamist organizations, Islamists, and prominent figures, uniting criticism from Qatari-funded Islamists with those connected to the regime in Cairo. Their responses reflect deep concerns about the potential consequences of such statements on Islam, its followers, and the delicate relationship between France and the Muslim world. Among the reactions, some have gone as far as accusing France of past acts of terrorism during the colonial era, indulging in antisemitism, and reiterating conspiracy theories that portray the West as inherently anti-Sunni Islam and favoring Shi'ism. Others have highlighted the inherent opposition of Sunni Islam to "usurpers and occupiers."

This report will review the widespread and fervent condemnation expressed by various individuals and institutions in the past few days. Darmanin was correct, of course, since both Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, both of whom have repeatedly attacked France, are indeed "Sunni Islamist terrorist" groups although perhaps he could have avoided some of the orchestrated ire by referring to them as "Salafi-Jihadist" terrorists.

On May 23, 2023, a coalition of 30 Islamic organizations from all across the Arab and Muslim world, including the Qatar-Funded And Operated International Union Of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), issued a joint statement condemning the remarks of the French minister. The statement warns that the continuation of provocative statements by the French political elite may result in adverse consequences for the French economy, the country's global standing, and its relations with the Muslim world.

The statement described the tone of the minister's statement as "provocative" and claimed that such tone "is not new to the French minister of interior, nor to the officials in the current government." The statement further noted that the statement's tone "adopts a discourse of stigmatization based on collective identity, contrary to the principles upheld by all divine religions and just laws. It deliberately generalizes unjust judgments and intentionally insults the religion of Islam, in a futile attempt to encircle the growing Islamic presence, both socially and culturally, in France and other Western countries."

The statement includes three appeals. The first was "to the French political elite to abandon arrogance and cultural dominance in their dealings with Muslims, and to respect the religion of Islam, its beliefs, and its values." The second was to "French and Western Muslims to engage in political work, make their voices heard, increase their presence in the public sphere, challenge biased positions, and provocative statements." The third was to "Muslims worldwide to stand firmly against French marginalization, and to confront French campaigns of defamation and slander using peaceful and legal means."[1]
Largest-ever British House of Lords delegation visits Israel to further tighten ties
The largest ever official delegation from the British House of Lords is visiting Israel on a four-day fact-finding mission, in a reflection of increasingly close relations between Jerusalem and London.

The cross-party group of 20 peers, which includes former Conservative Party leader Michael Howard and longtime Labour lawmaker David Watts, arrived in Israel on Sunday. Lord Eric Pickles, the United Kingdom’s special envoy for post-Holocaust issues, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency from Tel Aviv that the delegation raised concerns in meetings with Israeli officials about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s widely criticized proposals to reform the judiciary.

“But most of the discussions we had had with the Israelis have been less on the philosophical and more on the practical,” Pickles said.

The visit comes at a high point in relations between Israel and the UK. Netanyahu visited London in March, shortly after the signing of a bilateral agreement intended to boost ties until 2030. Britain and Israel have been negotiating since July 2022 to update an existing trade agreement for the post-Brexit era.

“We have moved on from just seeing Israel as a good ally in the battle against terrorism to a partner in innovation,” said Pickles, adding that one in six medicines used by the British National Health Service were based on Israeli patents. “We have moved on from a position of being polite and interested to one in which our economies are increasingly integrated.”

“I doubt that we have had a situation where there is a more pro-Israel government in power,” Pickles added, referring to British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s coalition. Labour Party leader Keir Starmer has endeavored to steer his party back into favor with Jewish voters who were alienated during the tenure of Jeremy Corbyn, a left-wing former Labour leader plagued by a years-long antisemitism scandal.

'The Mossad lost a dear friend, a devoted and professional member'
The body of a retired Mossad agent was flown back to Israel on Wednesday, three days after he died along with two Italian intelligence officers and a Russian woman in a boating accident in northern Italy.

They had been aboard a pleasure craft, along with 19 other people, when it was hit by a fierce storm on Lake Maggiore on Sunday evening and swiftly sank.

The accident drew widespread attention after Rome acknowledged that two of the dead, Claudio Alonzi, 62, and Tiziana Barnobi, 53, worked for the Italian secret services. Israel has declined to reveal his identity and had previously only said that he was a retiree from the security forces.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office confirmed on Wednesday that he was a retired member of Mossad, the country's national intelligence agency.

"The Mossad lost a dear friend, a devoted and professional member who dedicated his life to the security of the State of Israel for decades," the office said in a statement.

"Given his service with the agency it is not possible to elaborate on his identity," it added.

The dead Russian was named as Anya Bozhkova, 50. She was the wife of the Italian skipper of the boat, the Good ... uria, which was rented out to tourists for trips around the lake.

Italy's ANSA news agency reported that 13 Israelis and eight Italian had been aboard the boat to celebrate a birthday. However, Il Messaggero newspaper said on Wednesday that the two groups were on a work trip, giving no further information.
The Israel Guys: Brutal SHOOTING Attack In SAMARIA Leaves Young Israeli Dead
Yet again, terrorism strikes Samaria, a Jewish man was driving down the road when a Palestinian Arab vehicle with forged Israeli license plates pulled up and opened fire on him, murdering him.

One of the greatest rabbis of the generation here in Israel passed away.

And Justin shows you an article proving how you absolutely cannot trust the mainstream media.

Israeli strikes in Syria said to target training base for Hezbollah’s ‘Golan File’
Airstrikes in the Damascus area earlier this week that were attributed to Israel targeted a Hezbollah terror group training base, according to an Israeli television report on Wednesday.

Citing a Middle Eastern intelligence source, the Kan public broadcaster said the camp in the city of Dumayr, northeast of Damascus, was hit during a wave of strikes on targets in Syria’s capital on Sunday night.

The unit training at the Dumayr base — known within the Iran-backed terror organization as the Golan File — operates in southern Syria near Israel’s border. Kan said Golan File members were training for operations against Israel.

The Golan File mostly involves collecting intelligence and recruiting operatives, but also has weaponry in its possession — namely explosives, light arms, machine guns, and antitank missiles, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

Last week, it was reported that Golan File Hezbollah operatives were conducting military exercises at the Dumayr base in preparation for an attack on American troops in Syria. The report was first published by the Al-Hadath network and later confirmed by two US intelligence officials to the Long War Journal, a daily publication of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington-based think tank.

According to the reports, the training involved tanks and small arms.

The Golan File also made headlines last month after a Hezbollah operative in Syria tasked with enlisting locals to gather intelligence on Israel was reported by Kan to have resumed activities, after lying low in response to Israel’s recent arrest of one of his spies.

Amid rapprochement with Iran, Egypt invites Hamas, Jihad leaders to Cairo
Leaders of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) headed to Cairo on Thursday for talks with Egyptian intelligence officials on ways to preserve the current ceasefire agreement with Israel, Palestinian sources said on Thursday.

The talks will also focus on ways of ending the dispute between Hamas and the ruling Fatah faction headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, the sources said. Previous attempts by Egypt and other Arab countries to end the rivalry between the two parties have hit a snag.

PA, Egypt are eager to play a role in reconstruction of Gaza-strip
Both Egypt and the PA are eager to play a role in the reconstruction of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. However, Hamas has imposed restrictions on the PA, banning its officials from carrying out activities in the Gaza Strip.

The visit comes amid reports about a possible rapprochement between Egypt and Iran, which has long been backing Hamas and PIJ.

The Saudi newspaper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat revealed that Cairo has “welcomed recurring indications from Iran to strengthen its relations with Egypt.”

Egypt “hopes to develop bilateral ties with Iran,” the paper said.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a meeting this week with Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al-Said that Tehran welcomes better diplomatic relations with Egypt.

The upcoming talks in Cairo are the first of their kind since the end of the recent round of fighting between Israel and PIJ. The fighting is referred to in Israel as Operation Shield and Arrow.
MEMRI: Palestinian Columnists Following Latest Round Of Fighting In Gaza: The Palestinian Resistance Factions Turn Gaza Into Battlefield, While Ignoring People's Suffering; Resistance Is Not Sacred, We Should Assess Its Effectiveness
Following the latest round of fighting in Gaza between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), two columnists for the Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam, Majed Kayali and 'Abd Al-Ghani Salameh, criticized the Gazan resistance factions, which, they said, treat Gaza as nothing more than a battleground and a launching pad for their rockets, while ignoring the steep price paid by the people who live there. These factions' hyperbole about their "victories" over Israel and their strength and abilities, wrote the columnists, are far from the truth and only distort the Palestinians' image in the eyes of the world. The columnists called to stop treating the resistance as sacred, subject it to criticism and assess its effectiveness as part of the Palestinian struggle. They added that the resistance must be waged by all the Palestinians, not monopolized by certain armed factions, and must serve the Palestinian goal of liberation, rather than the ideology and interests of foreign elements, hinting at Iran.

The following are excerpts from their articles:
Majed Kayali: The Gazan Factions Inflate Their Abilities And Condemn The Gazans To Suffering

Palestinian columnist Majed Kayali, who lives in Berlin, wrote on May 14 under the headline "There Are People Living in Gaza, Not Just Factions, Commanders and Rockets": "The confrontation, or war, currently being waged between Israel and the Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip is not the first of its kind. There have been many previous confrontations, bitter, devastating and bloody, since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in 2007 and Israel imposed a siege on it. Despite this, the discourse of the Gaza factions [indicates that] they insist on forgetting these facts and the tragedies [the wars] have caused, and on spreading messages of victory. Intoxicated by the fact that they have a measure of military power, they claim that they have imposed [new] military and political equations on Israel, none of which is proven or visible.

"Some hyperbole is bad because it turns into illusions, and an example is the exaggerated assessment of Gaza's strength. In practice, this is a Palestinian society of two million people living in a small area of 360 square kilometers… Furthermore, it is a known fact that Gaza lacks resources and attracts no investments, and that its people are poor and unemployed, and therefore this area relies on income arriving from abroad…

"Most of those who speak in Gaza's name see it as nothing more than a military camp of the resistance, or a military base for launching rockets, as though it is not inhabited by people – women, children and elderly people, flesh and blood, who need [decent] living conditions and security in order to continue developing as a society, even as they resist the occupation and act to liberate themselves from it. [The struggle must take place] without exhausting them and threatening their very existence.

"Another [example of] exaggeration is inflating the power of the resistance and its rockets, as though we have no past experience and as though the previous attempts were successful and forced Israel to make concessions… This exaggeration creates a false impression [in the world] that the Palestinians have [already] liberated themselves from Israel and [already] have a state, as evident from the fact that they have an army equal in its strength to the Israeli army. Such [exaggeration] reflects ignorance and a disconnect from reality. Worse, it endangers lives, since it gives Israel a free hand to crush the Palestinians and demolish their homes, and supports [Israel's] narrative, that it is facing a threat and is only defending itself. It drags the people in Gaza into a war they cannot withstand, which exhausts them, instead of the resistance exhausting the enemy.

"As part of this discourse, it is said that the [Palestinian] factions have anti-aircraft weapons they can use against the Israeli planes, or rockets that threaten Tel Aviv, when it is known that these rockets have barely caused Israel any damage in lives or in property, whereas self-sacrifice operations of young individuals who are not part of any faction have caused Israel more fatalities in the past year than all the rockets fired in all the wars waged by the Gazan factions…"
MEMRI: Libyan TV Show Host Afaf Abdel Mohsen Praises Palestinians For Having Many Children, Pushing Them To Become Martyrs; Palestinian Journalist Muhammad Abd Al-Haqq: They Have Nuclear Bombs, We Have 'Offspring Bombs'
In a May 19, 2023 show on Libya Mostakbal TV, Libyan show host Afaf Abdel Mohsen praised the Palestinian people for having so many children in order to "push" them towards death and martyrdom. She said that Palestinian mothers raise their children on resistance and the "honor of returning to this land, using their blood, by sacrificing them." Palestinian journalist Muhammad Abd Al-Haqq, who also appeared on the show, said that his grandfather used to say: "They have nuclear bombs, and we have 'offspring bombs.'"

"[Palestinians] Give Birth To So Many [Children] So That We Can Push Them To Death, To Martyrdom"

Afaf Abdel Mohsen: "Why do [the Palestinians] give birth to so many boys and girls? I heard a beautiful answer to this question: 'We give birth to so many [children] so that we can push them to death, to martyrdom.'"

"They Have Nuclear Bombs And We Have Offspring Bombs"

Muhammad Abd Al-Haqq: "Let me tell you an anecdote about my late grandfather. Before he would agree to marry off anyone from the family, he would say: 'Will there be grandchildren?' The guy would say: 'Inshallah, Hajj.' But my grandfather would say: 'No! They have nuclear bombs and we have offspring bombs.' We have good offspring..."

Mohsen: "Allah! Allah!"

"[Palestinians] Use [Their Children] For Their Resistance; They Sacrifice Them For Martyrdom"

Al-Haqq: "The issue of giving birth is very important. Just like they say hat in Benghazi they give birth to many children, in Palestine, in Haifa, and in Jafa, and the Palestinians, wherever they may be, ascribe much importance to the issue of their offspring."

Mohsen: "They use them for their resistance, Allah be praised. They sacrifice them for martyrdom. When a mother says: I give birth to many children, so I can raise them on resistance, the love of their homeland, and the honor of returning to this land, using their blood, by sacrificing them..."

US may buy Israeli silence on Iran in exchange for Saudi peace
The U.S. seeks to silence Israeli opposition to a revived Iran nuclear deal by offering to broker a Saudi-Israeli normalization deal in exchange, Israel Hayom reported on Thursday.

Israel’s Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer and National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi flew Wednesday to Washington for meetings with U.S. officials about the possible Iran deal, which Israel strongly opposes, and Saudi-Israel relations, which Israel strongly supports.

Although U.S. President Joe Biden once referred to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or 2015 Iran nuclear deal, as “dead” on the sidelines of a Nov. 4, 2022, mid-term election rally, recent reports suggest his administration is still working towards some kind of agreement.

White House Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa Brett McGurk visited Oman on May 8 to discuss with officials there the possibility of reaching out to Iran regarding its nuclear program, Axios reported.

While the U.S. still hopes to resolve the Iran issue through diplomatic means, a military response to Iran’s efforts to obtain nuclear bombs has never been taken off the table. Hoping to stave off an Israeli military response to Iran’s growing nuclear capability (Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said in early May that Iran has enriched enough nuclear material for five bombs), the White House would throw its weight behind a Saudi-Israel deal.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed strong interest in such an agreement, telling JNS prior to the last election that “the big prize is peace with Saudi Arabia, which I intend to achieve if I go back into office.”
Israel must stop a bad Iran deal, whatever the cost
Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi and his senior deputy Gil Reich are all in Washington for meetings with senior White House and state officials, ahead of critical decisions regarding Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Israel must not be confused about its priorities. It is very important to make sure Washington understands that preventing a bad Iran deal is a higher priority than reaching a normalization agreement with Saudi Arabia.

Otherwise, the potential for damage is very severe.

The United States and the clerical regime in Iran have recently held more talks, which included mediators from Oman, Kuwait and others. These were aimed at reaching a so-called “less for less” nuclear deal—actually a “much less for much more” agreement.

Just reading recent interviews of Robert Malley, the president’s envoy to the negotiations with Iran, and Ali Vaez, his successor as the International Crisis Group’s Iran project director, reveals that the discussions are serious.

However, there is still the risk that the Israeli focus will be on a Saudi-American-Israeli deal. This could result in the effort to prevent a faulty temporary agreement with Iran—which will certainly become permanent—dropping to second place.

There is a close connection between some of the components of a Saudi deal and proper handling of the Iranian nuclear program, and the right approach is to try and tie them together and reach a deal that will be a win-win for both Israel and the United States (even if the latter potentially does not view it this way).

In the meetings between U.S. and Saudi negotiators some Saudi demands were raised, most of which were not directly related to Israel, and the decisions regarding them must be made exclusively in Washington, taking into account the indirect effects on Israel and maintaining its qualitative military edge.
IAEA closes two probes into Iran nuclear program
Confidential reports from the International Atomic Energy Agency released this week show that the U.N. watchdog has closed two investigations into Iranian nuclear sites.

The IAEA has decided to close the file on traces of man-made uranium at the undeclared Marivan site in Abadeh County, in the southern province of Fars. The Vienna-based intergovernmental organization “has no additional questions … and the matter is no longer outstanding at this stage” after receiving a “possible explanation” from Iran, according to the report.

Marivan is one of three undeclared sites where the IAEA said that traces of radioactive material were discovered, the other two being Varamin and Turquzabad.

The IAEA also closed the case at the underground Fordow facility after inspectors found uranium particles enriched to 83.7%.

According to the reports, the IAEA has re-installed a fraction of the monitoring equipment put in place under the terms of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal and removed by the Iranian regime.

Iran’s estimated stockpile of enriched uranium has reached more than 23 times the limit set in the nuclear accord, according to the IAEA.

Tehran has significantly increased its enriched uranium stockpile to an estimated 4,744.5 kilograms (10,459 pounds) as of May 13.

The limit set in the JCPOA between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council—China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States—plus Germany) together with the European Union was 202.8 kilograms (447 pounds).

According to the report, Iran is continuing to enrich uranium at rates far higher than the 3.67% allowed under the terms of the JCPOA, which was to sunset after 15 years.

The stockpile of uranium enriched to 20% is believed to have increased by 36.2 kg. since the last report in February, standing at 470.9 kg. The amount enriched up to 60% has increased by 26.6 kg. to 114.1 kg.—enough to make two bombs.

IAEA closes probe on suspected nuclear site in Iran revealed by Israel
The UN nuclear watchdog said Wednesday it closed its investigation into a suspected nuclear site in Iran that Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed in 2019.

In its report, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the Islamic Republic gave possible explanations for the uranium particles found at the suspicious Marivan site in Abedeh county, and that “the matter is no longer outstanding at this stage.”

US sanctions IRGC members involved in Iranian assassination plots
The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on members and affiliates of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard and its external operations arm whom Washington accused of participating in terrorist plots targeting former US government officials, dual US and Iranian nationals and Iranian dissidents.

The US Treasury Department said the move targeted three Iran- and Turkey-based individuals and a company affiliated with the IRGC-Quds Force and two senior officials of the IRGC's Intelligence Organization involved in plotting external lethal operations against civilians, including journalists.

In a statement, the Treasury said the five included Mohammad Reza Ansari, a Quds Force member whom it said has supported its operations in Syria, and Iranian citizen Shahram Poursafi, whom it said had planned and attempted to assassinate two former US government officials.

It also put sanctions on Hossein Hafez Amini, a dual Iranian and Turkish national based in Turkey, whom it accused of using his Turkish-based airline, Rey Havacilik Ithalat Ihracat Sanayi Ve, to assist the Quds Force's covert operations, including kidnapping and assassination plots targeting Iranian dissidents.

The airline was also placed under sanctions
The Treasury Department also said it had imposed penalties on two people linked to the IRGC's Intelligence Organization, which it described as a domestic and international unit focused on targeting journalists, activists, dual Iranian nationals, and others who oppose Iranian abuses and human rights violations.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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