Wednesday, August 23, 2023

08/23 Links Pt1: Rabbi Leo Dee: When will the world stop funding murderers who killed a kindergarten teacher?; Israel must stop Iran in the West Bank like it does in Syria

From Ian:

Rabbi Leo Dee: When will the world stop funding murderers who killed a kindergarten teacher?
I am devastated by the cold-blooded murder of Batsheva Nigri this week. She was the kindergarten teacher of the kids of some of my close friends in Efrat and, according to everyone who knew her, a giving lady with a wonderful heart.

The murder was carried out by Fatah, the army of the Palestinian Authority. The PA is the funder of 70 per cent of terror attacks that go on in Judea and Samaria, including the attack that killed my wife and two daughters four months ago.

World governments are funding the PA to the tune of $1.2 billion per year -- the same PA that educates children to murder Jews through textbooks and terror training summer camps, the same PA that pays more than $300 million annually to families of terrorists to encourage the next round of attacks.

Additionally, the Israeli army protects the PA from its own people, whom it abuses, because Israeli leaders (of both coalition and opposition) claim this leads to “stability and security”.

Well, I have a message to all our politicians: backing the PA is backing the wrong horse. It no more leads to security and stability than backing Iran and other Arab countries to develop nuclear weapons, the current US Administration’s apparent “stabilising” policy for the Middle East.

When my family tragedy occurred, I stated, “I love the Palestinians and I hate the terrorists.” People told me this was an innovation. Usually, they told me, the victims hate all Palestinians, or a small percentage can be seen hugging the mother of their killers, but rarely does one differentiate between Arab and Arab.

This naive policy of painting all Palestinians with one brush has led to Israel and the world backing a hateful terrorist regime, the PA, which terrorises its own people and us, under the misapprehension that the “tough” Palestinians can control the weaker ones. But the weaker ones are our friends.
Rabbi Leo Dee: Grateful killer's home will be demolished, but PA is real enemy'
The IDF today (Wednesday) announced its intentions to demolish the homes of one of the terrorists who murdered four Israelis in a shooting attack at a gas station and restaurant near Eli, and of one of the terrorists who murdered Lucy Dee and her two teenage daughters Rina and Maia.

Rabbi Leo Dee, the husband of Lucy and father of Rina and Maia, reacted to the announcement and told Israel National News - Arutz Sheva: "My kids and I are grateful for the brave actions of the IDF in Nablus. However the Palestinian Authority, that will fund the terrorist's family to rebuild, is the true enemy of our people and we must cease to give it legitimacy. The PA is the main perpetrator of atrocities against Israelis and is actively training and funding the next generation of terrorists. This must stop."

Lucy Dee and her daughters were murdered when terrorists opened fire on their vehicle while the Dees were on their way to visit family for the Passover holiday in April.
Israeli Forces Map Houses of Terrorists Who Killed Schoolteacher
Israeli security forces mapped Wednesday morning the houses of two terrorists who killed Bat-Sheva Nagari and left one man seriously wounded on Monday. A joint operation had also been conducted to arrest 19 wanted persons in the West Bank.

The mapping is done in preparation for the house’s likely demolition. During the activity, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reported that suspects threw Molotov cocktails and stones, and shot fireworks at the soldiers.

The 40-year-old schoolteacher and mother of three, Nagari, was murdered by the Palestinian terrorists near Hebron on Monday. She was sitting in the front passenger-side seat, while her young daughter was in the back and miraculously did not sustain any injuries. There have been conflicting claims of responsibility by Hamas and Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades.

The IDF, the Shin Bet internal intelligence agency, and the Border Police arrested 19 wanted persons, as well as confiscating weapons and military equipment, throughout the West Bank.

JPost Editorial: Israel must stop Iran in the West Bank like it does in Syria
Some may argue that Netanyahu and Gallant blame Iran because they are just looking for an easy scapegoat for the terrorism that this government is proving unable to quell.

But one need not take Netanyahu and Gallant’s word for it. Listen to the Palestinians and Iranians themselves.

The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center regularly monitors Iranian intervention in the Palestinian arena. Here is a tiny morsel of what they have culled over the last two months:

On July 25, Iran’s semi-official news agency Mehr quoted senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk as praising Iran’s support for the Palestinians and saying Iran is actually fighting alongside “the resistance in Palestine” through its generous support.

An editorial published by the Iranian Tasnim News Agency on July 10, after Israel’s operation in Jenin, said the danger the West Bank posed for Israel was not limited to Jenin, and that the successful arming of the West Bank would sink the “leaking ship of Israel.”

On July 2, Ziyad al-Nakhalah, the secretary-general of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, said in an interview with an Iranian government newspaper that Iran supported the Palestinians in many areas and that the most important assistance was in the “military-security domain.”

In recent months, Iran has hosted senior Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad figures in Tehran on several occasions for talks that obviously were not centered on the weather.

According to Netanyahu and Gallant, Iranian fingerprints are on the recent uptick of attacks. If Israel’s long arm can prevent Iranian entrenchment in Syria, it should be able to curb its activities closer to home in Judea and Samaria as well.

Palestinian terrorism will persist without Iranian financial, moral, and material aid. But the terrorists might not exhibit the same level of boldness demonstrated in recent weeks without the inflow of support from Tehran. If Netanyahu and Gallant are indeed aware of Iranian engagement in the current wave of murderous terror, it is time to move beyond mere threatening statements and order decisive action to put an end to that involvement.
Seth Frantzman: What is Iran’s assessment of recent threats from Gaza, West Bank?
On Monday, the IDF said that “an unidentified aircraft was spotted flying over the Gaza Strip toward Israeli territory. The aircraft did not cross into Israeli territory and from the moment it took off, IAF systems monitored the UAV throughout the incident.”

Iran’s regime appears interested in those two incidents and has elaborated on the reports through its own state-influenced media, portraying these incidents as escalations. It appears to be sending a message that Israel is concerned. It is not clear what evidence it bases this on, but it could be trying to signal to Hamas that they are successfully threatening Israel with the UAVs.

Hamas has several types of drones it has used in the past. Some of them are similar to commercially available quadcopters and some are catapult-launched UAVs that borrow from the experiences that Iranian proxies in Yemen and other places have learned. Iran has even named one of its own large drones Gaza as if to showcase how important the “resistance” in Gaza is.

It appears that the West Bank is also in Iran's crosshairs. Israel’s Prime Minister and Defense Minister have accused Iran of having a role in increased attacks in the West Bank such as the murder of an Israeli near Hebron this week. Iranian pro-regime media focuses on another aspect of this, claiming that Israeli forces are tied down in the West Bank. Iran’s Tasnim claims to have learned this from Israeli media. However, this is the usual Iranian method of laundering press reports to increase its own claims.

Iran will sometimes conduct an operation, such as harassing US ships in the Gulf, and then broadcast images and then show that foreign media published the images as “evidence” of Iran’s success, when in fact the whole story is concocted by Tehran to peddle and launder its supposed “victory.” Nevertheless, the stories in the Iranian media illustrate how Iran’s eyes are focused on certain areas, such as threatening the US in the Gulf and threatening Israel from Gaza and the West Bank.

Do orders for Hamas come from Tehran?
A third article at Tasnim is linked to this trend. It highlights the fact that the Iron Dome was activated twice to deal with drones over Gaza. Iran is clearly focusing on this issue. In the past, Iran has sought to highlight how Hamas has used large salvoes of rockets, such as in the May 2021 conflict. Iran’s regime media has asserted in the past that Hamas used these salvoes to try to overwhelm the Iron Dome system. The claims about drones appears linked to that trend.
JCPA: Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Jenin, Psychological Warfare, and the West’s Perceptual Failure
Foreign media coverage of the events in Jenin have erroneously reported that the Iranian regime’s recent terror and influence operations in the city were a “Palestinian-Israeli clash.”

Yet statements by Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, senior IRGC officials, and the regime’s official news agencies – documented here – present the broader strategic implementation of the IRGC’s West Bank operations. Statements from Palestinian officials also support the IRGC’s operations program.

There is a clear need to change the false narrative of young Palestinian freedom fighters struggling against the “Zionist occupier” to a more accurate narrative that reflects a carefully planned, Iranian regime-backed initiative that supports and directs Palestinian terror activity from the West Bank against Israeli civilians.

The battle in the West Bank, and Jenin specifically, is not an Israeli-Palestinian conflict per se but part of a more significant Iranian-Israeli conflict, part of Iran’s plans to support and build up terror capabilities along Israel’s borders and in Gaza and the West Bank.

This document underscores the need for Israel to wage a soft power war of perception alongside its counter-terror operations in Jenin to eliminate the IRGC-supported Palestinian terrorist nests there.

Simultaneously, Israel must provide the Palestinians with the evidence that what matters to the present Iranian regime is not Palestinian welfare, but the Shiite revolution.
At UN Security Council meeting, DC, Moscow and Paris take aim at Israel
America’s ambassador to the United Nations emphasized at Monday’s U.N. Security Council meeting last week, the Biden administration designated a Hezbollah-linked group—one that purports to be an environmental organization—a terror group. Linda Thomas-Greenfield also stamped the “terror” label on two Israelis who have been charged, but not yet tried, in a deadly incident earlier this month.

“We strongly condemn the terror attacks by settlers in Burqa on August 4 that killed a 19-year-old Palestinian,” said the ambassador, noting also that there have been recent deadly Palestinian terror attacks against Israelis.

Speaking at the security council’s monthly meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian file, Thomas-Greenfield referred to an incident in which a group of Israelis said it aided a shepherd who was attacked by a group of Arabs. A Palestinian was shot under unclear circumstances with the main suspect saying that he fired the deadly bullet in self-defense after being struck in the head with a rock.

In an unusual stance, the U.S. State Department decided not only that the accused were guilty until proven innocent prior to their trial, but it also labeled the incident a terror attack shortly after it occurred.

“We note Israel has made several arrests and expect accountability and justice to be pursued with equal rigor in all cases of violent extremism,” said Thomas-Greenfield, “whether the perpetrators are Palestinian militants or extremist Israeli settlers.”

The ambassador added that Washington “also remains deeply concerned by Hezbollah’s provocative actions” along the Israeli-Lebanon border, “which represent an increasing threat to Lebanon’s peace and security, as well as Israel’s.”
Australian Government Bows to Far-Left Pressure on Israel
The timing is not coincidental. Reportedly, ALP leaders were at odds with the far left over “two foreign policy matters” in the run-up to the conference: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and a nuclear-powered submarine deal that the previous government negotiated with the United States and United Kingdom.

The ALP split the difference. The party reportedly “tor[e] down one of those foreign policy pillars, which is support for Israel, to preserve the other.” A spokesperson for the opposition told the press that the change in policy has “everything to do with managing factional differences” and “nothing to do with advancing a lasting two-state outcome.”

Australia has been an ally of Israel for decades; the two enjoyed particularly close ties under Australia’s previous government. In February 2022, for example, then Prime Minister Scott Morrison rejected an Amnesty International report that wrongly accused Israel of “apartheid.” Wong herself said the accusation was “not helpful in progressing the meaningful dialogue and negotiation necessary to achieve a just and enduring peace.”

But under ALP rule, Australia’s Israel policy has started to backslide. In October 2022, the government reversed Morrison’s decision to recognize western Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. And this year, Australia signed two joint statements with other Western governments condemning Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank.

Wong insisted last week that the government in Canberra remains a “committed friend of Israel.” She defended the decision to adopt the term “Occupied Palestinian Territories” as a move consistent with United Nations and European Union practice.

Thankfully, ALP has yet to lead Canberra completely off the deep end. Last October, a United Nations Commission of Inquiry (COI) investigating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “set forth grounds to conclude” that Israel’s presence in the West Bank is “now unlawful under international law.” Two months later, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution requesting that the ICJ issue an advisory opinion echoing the COI’s finding. Australia voted against the resolution — justifiably.

Israel’s West Bank presence is the result of a defensive war it won in 1967. Having tried and failed multiple times to negotiate a “land for peace” agreement, the Palestinian leadership has consistently rebuffed Israel’s terms. The Israelis have thus sustained their presence in these disputed territories.

Facts notwithstanding, the ICJ appears poised to rule against Israel and advise that international law requires Israel’s swift and unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank. A bipartisan group of American lawmakers warned that such an outcome “would almost certainly be used to further the propaganda assault and the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel while simultaneously undermining the credibility and effectiveness of UN human rights bodies.”

Fifteen judges sit on the ICJ, including one from Australia. And while ICJ judges are independent, their decisions often reflect the priorities of their home countries. The first round of submissions in the ICJ proceedings were due on July 25. Australia did not file, and is thus precluded from direct intervention in the proceedings. But in the wake of its misguided shift in language, the ALP government can still redeem itself. It should make clear that Australia stands by Israel amidst an ongoing delegitimization campaign. A clear public statement in support of Israel would carry weight with the court, and help steer Australia’s policy back in the right direction.
How Israel Helps the US: Why the Relationship Is a Two-Way Street
The enhanced performance of the F-35 demonstrates Israel’s role as an important source of modernization, reduction of the unit cost, and expanding job creation in the US.

Moreover, some 250 commercial US high-tech giants (e.g., John Deere, General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, Texas Instruments, Intel, General Motors, Microsoft, AT&T, IBM, Dell, Google, Facebook, Intuit, etc.) have established research and development centers in Israel, leveraging Israel’s brain power and innovative spirit, in order to sustain their global lead, yielding a consequential increase in global sales.

Similarly, the US defense and aerospace industries established their own Israeli research and development centers through the hundreds of US military systems, which are employed — and systematically improved — by the Israel Defense Forces, yielding benefits to the US economy and its defense capabilities.

The Middle East is a major junction of world trade and energy resources, but it is also the epicenter of anti-US Islamic terrorism, global drug trafficking, and a concern due to the rise of ballistic and nuclear technologies, which constitutes a clear and present threat to the US national and homeland security.

Under such circumstances, Israel is the most reliable, battle-tested, and cost-effective ally in the region, and a potential beachhead of the US in the face of mutual threats (Iran’s Shite ayatollahs and Sunni Islamic terrorism).

As stated by some US officials and analysts, Israel is the largest US aircraft carrier, which does not require a single US military personnel on board.

Israel shares with the US more intelligence than many countries, and Israel’s battle experience has been shared with the US, saving American lives by serving as a basis for the formulation of US air force and ground force battle tactics, enhancing military medicine, as well as training US soldiers in urban warfare and facing car bombs, suicide bombers and improvised, explosive devices (IEDs).

The mutually-beneficial relationship between the US and Israel is a two-way-street.

New York mayor Eric Adams praised by Netanyahu on first foreign trip to Israel
New York City Mayor Eric Adams has been praised by Benjamin Netanyahu for being ‘a great friend to Israel.’

The Israeli prime minister made the comments to Adams during an official meeting yesterday as the mayor’s trip to Israel came to an end.

During the three-day trip, Adams sought to perform a delicate balancing act between appealing to Israel's supporters at home and angering fellow Democrats for meeting a prime minister embroiled in controversy over a planned overhaul of the country's judiciary.

The Democratic mayor met with Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Tuesday, but sidestepped commenting publicly on his judicial overhaul plans.

Instead, Adams said his focus was strengthening ties with Israel and combatting antisemitism.

He said: "The people of Israel will make the determination on how they want to move forward.

"I have lots of challenges in my city, and I wouldn't want someone to come in and interfere with how I'm running things."

The Prime Minister and the Mayor tried various food products including cultured steak, cultured honey and vegetarian kebabs and hamburgers (Photo: Israeli Prime Ministers Office)

Meeting with the mayor, Netanyahu called Adams a "great friend to Israel." The Israeli Prime Minister's Office said they discussed collaboration between New York and Israel in technology and tourism.
Adams listens, keeps judicial reform thoughts to himself in Israel meetings
New York City Mayor Eric Adams said in a press conference on Tuesday that he kept his opinions about judicial reform to himself and listened in meetings this week in Israel with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and separately, with protest leaders.

“I think the people of Israel will determine their destiny. I thought it was important for me to meet with both sides here because I know that when I return to the city, some of my Jewish constituents will ask me questions, and I want to be able to share what my conversations were,” Adams told reporters on his second day in Israel.

“I did not give my opinion one way or another,” he said. “I have many challenges in my city and I wouldn’t want someone to come in and interfere with how I work them out.”

But what happens in Jerusalem doesn’t stay in Jerusalem.

JNS asked Adams if the impact of judicial reform has spilled over into New York City, home to a vibrant Israeli tech scene. Leaders in that space have expressed fear that the reforms—and the uncertainty around them—might lead to lower investments.

“No. We have not seen an impact at all. We continue to receive a great deal of tech startups coming to New York,” Adams said. “There’s a clear relationship around investors.”

Adams, who is on his first trip to the Jewish state since taking office, believes that Israelis will resolve their own issue.

Sullivan: ‘Still a ways to travel’ before Israel-Saudi deal
U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said on Tuesday that while work on an Israel-Saudi normalization deal is ongoing, such a deal isn’t imminent.

Sullivan has traveled to Riyadh numerous times over the last six months in a bid to broker an agreement.

“There is still a ways to travel with respect to all of the elements of those discussions, and they get quite technical,” he said on Tuesday. He added that the Biden administration was planning to ask the International Atomic Energy Agency for an advisory opinion on a potential Saudi civilian nuclear program that would include uranium enrichment.

Earlier this month, the White House downplayed claims that the Saudis had agreed to the “broad contours” of a normalization deal with Israel.

“There’s no agreed framework to codify the normalization or any of the other security considerations that we and our friends have in the region,” said U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.

He was responding to a Wall Street Journal report that U.S. and Saudi officials were “negotiating the details of an agreement they hope to cement within nine to 12 months.”

According to the report, negotiators are already discussing specifics, including American help for a Saudi civilian nuclear program, along with security guarantees and concessions for Palestinians.
Saudis Refuse to Broadcast Soccer in Israel ‘as long as Netanyahu in Power’
A source close to the Saudi royal family said on Monday that Riyadh would not allow Israeli television to broadcast its soccer league as long as Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in power, in an interview with Channel 12.

According to the source, the presence of an “extremist” government in Israel is a major obstacle to broadcasting Saudi league matches in that country, where stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Sadio Mané, and Karim Benzema now play.

“We rule out the possibility of broadcasting the Saudi League in Israel,” said the source. “We will allow the sale to Iran and North Korea, but not to an Israeli broadcaster. They have already made several requests and we have refused, even to those broadcasting in Arabic,” she added.

The source also claimed that it was unlikely that a player from Israel would be accepted into a Saudi first division team, while the entry of Israelis into the country in the event of the World Cup being hosted is also in doubt.

The source added that the Saudi league could only be broadcasted in Israel if Yair Lapid became Prime Minister again. As for the possibility of an Israeli player playing in the Saudi league, this one said, “when Netanyahu leaves, we will allow Israeli Jews and Arabs to play in Saudi Arabia.”
The Israel Guys: Saudi Arabia’s Bid to Take Over the Temple Mount & Al Aqsa Mosque | What is Happening?
There’s a rumor floating around the Middle East that Saudi Arabia wants to take over control of the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, which would obviously mean they’re taking over the Temple Mount. The reason? Well, Al Aqsa is supposed to be the third holiest site in Islam, and since they’re already in charge of Mecca and Medina, this would make them the effective guardians of Islam. But is that fact even true? Keep watching to find out.

Palestinian Arabs from Gaza are storming the border fence, there was another terror attack in Hebron yesterday which left a young mother dead, and Israel’s government is blaming everything on Iran.

Jonathan Tobin: Want to support Israeli democracy? Then respect democratic elections
For prominent thinkers to demand that Americans dive into this mess in order to take sides against the “second Israel”—the demographic groups that now make up a majority of the Jewish population in Israel—is a horrific suggestion. You cannot declare war on Netanyahu and his coalition, and treat it as beyond the pale, without labeling their voters in the same way. Doing so would permanently embitter relations between American and Israeli Jews.

Just as dangerous is the idea that American Jews can join in a campaign to delegitimize a democratically elected Israeli government while still maintaining the ties between the two countries. Gordis, Halevi and Friedman are so immersed in hatred of Netanyahu and his allies that they are oblivious to the fact that once you convince Americans that Israel isn’t a democracy—irrespective of the fact that you are defining it in ways that would be unrecognizable to Americans who, whether Democrats or Republicans, would never tolerate the rule of a judiciary that assumes the sort of power that Israel’s Supreme Court has done—than you are effectively tanking the alliance between the two countries.

They may think that they can separate their effort to overturn the last election and disenfranchise half of the Israeli public from the anti-Zionist campaign to delegitimize the entire Jewish state. But they are kidding themselves on this point. Their anti-government propaganda and misleading talk about democracy remain fodder not so much for J Street left-wingers who have never been comfortable with the results of Israeli elections, but for the growing intersectional left-wing of the Democratic Party that falsely views the Jewish state as a function of “white” privilege. Should they succeed in dividing American Jews as well as Washington from the choice of Israel’s voters, then they are playing right into the hands of those who oppose Israel, no matter who is running it and how much power its courts may have.

Gordis, Halevi and Friedman should know better than to use the sort of language of delegitimization that is incompatible with actual principles of democracy. But along with a lot of other people in Israel and the United States, they have lost the ability to differentiate between their political opinions and the basic concepts of good and evil. By adopting apocalyptic rhetoric to characterize policy differences, they have not only lost any perspective about this debate but should also forfeit the respect of their readers, who had heretofore viewed them as sober and even insightful voices.

The people of Israel will not benefit from American participation in a culture war rooted in class, ideology and religion that the Jewish state must ultimately resolve on its own. Those Americans who want to show support for Israel’s democracy should demonstrate it by respecting the outcome of its elections and ignoring the siren calls to join in a fight that they should have the good sense to stay out of.
The Caroline Glick Show: The Death of the 'New Jew'
A striking feature of the Left’s anti-government campaign has been the prominence of veterans of the 1973 Yom Kippur War in the effort.
What happened in that war that radicalized so many of its soldiers? How did that war affect Israeli society in the fifty years since the war?
Is there a deeper decades-old ideological debate that is coming to the surface now with judicial reform?

To answer these questions and to understand the main foundation of the civil unrest Israel has been suffering since February, Caroline’s guest on this week’s Caroline Glick Show is Prof. Elisha Haas.

Haas, is a world-renowned professor of bio-physics and the former head of Professors for a Strong Israel. In the Yom Kippur War, Haas served as a reserve company commander in a mechanized infantry brigade that fought in the Golan Heights and Syria.

They discuss
- the different ideological camps that have been in conflict since the establishment of the State.
- the profound effect that the Yom Kippur War had on socialist Zionism.
- why so many veterans from that war are fighting against the Netanyahu government.

Haaretz apologizes for ad opposing military refusals
Israeli newspaper Haaretz has apologized for publishing an ad opposing refusal to show up for military duty by opponents of judicial reform.

The apology published in Wednesday’s edition blamed a technical error for the previous day’s front-page ad from Torat Lehima, an association that “works to strengthen the Jewish identity and fighting spirit in the IDF and the security establishment” against “radical leftist trends” in the army.

“As the newspaper was going to press, a glitch occurred in the ad approval process and it should not have been published as is,” the apology states.

Haaretz publisher Amos Schocken admitted that he approved the ad, which featured a QR code link to a video showing an infantry fighter requesting assistance from the air force but not receiving it because the pilot is absent in protest of judicial reform.

“Unfortunately, the advertiser cheated us,” Schocken wrote on his Twitter account. “In order to get approval for publication, he submitted an ad without the link to the false video, but after approval, he asked to replace the ad, and those responsible did not notice the change.”

Torat Lehima said in a statement reacting to Schocken’s apology: “We see that Haaretz’s fake liberalism stops as soon as it comes to an ad supporting the IDF against those who refuse to follow orders and inevitably harm Israel’s security.”
Druze leaders announce strike after Tuesday's quadruple murder
Israel's Druze community is going on strike against the police and government institutions after a leading candidate for council head was murdered on Tuesday, spiritual leader Sheikh Muffed Tarif announced Wednesday.

The strike is in response to the continued murders in the Arab sector, particularly the four murders in Abu Sanan on Tuesday, a northern village that is around 30% Druze.

All of those killed were members of the Druze community.

A statement accompanying the strike said, “The Druze community places the responsibility for the lack of security in the north on the police and the government.”

They said the strike is “as an act of protest against the failures of the police and the government in enforcing the law and personal security.”

One of the killed, Razi Saab, was the favorite for council head. He was killed alongside two of his family members.

Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai said that killings did not appear to be related to the election, and were "the product of a conflict between criminal organizations.”

Saab served in the IDF as a commander.

Israeli bus driver attacked after entering Palestinian village
An Israeli bus driver was lightly wounded on Tuesday by a brick hurled at his vehicle in the Palestinian village of Hajjah in northern Samaria.

The 51-year-old reportedly entered the town to refuel and was confronted by local residents who then assaulted him, hurling a brick that penetrated the windshield and struck him in the head.

He was treated by first responders at the scene before being transported to Beilinson Hospital in Petach Tikvah for further treatment.

IDF helicopter targeted
On Wednesday morning, terrorists opened fire on an Israel Defense Forces helicopter flying low over the Palestinian city of Tulkarm in Samaria, according to Arab reports.

Video circulating online appears to show the attack.

No injuries or damage were reported.

Iran praises ‘victories’ after calls with Palestinian terror leaders
A senior Iranian official recently praised and encouraged Palestinian and Lebanese terror groups’ attacks on Israel, according to Iranian media reports.

Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, spoke with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, Islamic Jihad Secretary General Ziad al-Nakhala and Sheikh Naim Qassem, second in command of Hezbollah, in a series of phone calls in recent weeks, according to the reports.

“We are very pleased with your recent victories, and hope for these victories to continue,” he told Haniyeh. “Whatever effort the Zionist regime puts into preserving itself is met with defeat, and it will eventually be faced with more challenges and frustrations,” Velayati asserted.

“Victory is undoubtedly yours,” he added.

Velayati also assured “ultimate victory” in a call with Nakhala, saying that it would come as a result of the “unity” between Palestinian terror groups and Hezbollah.

The Iranian official also congratulated Qassem on Hezbollah’s “recent victories” and what he described as the terror group’s defeat of Israeli forces in the Second Lebanon War on the occasion of that war’s anniversary.

Palestinian terror chiefs in Gaza said taking precautions for fear of Israeli attack
The leaders of armed Palestinian factions in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip are taking heightened precautions over concerns they could be targeted by Israel following several recent deadly terror attacks, according to Arabic-language media reports.

Sources in the “resistance” tell the Al-Araby Al-Jadeed news site that Palestinian figures in Lebanon have also adopted enhanced security measures, saying they take the Israeli threats seriously.

In comments to the pro-Hezbollah Al-Akhbar daily, a source warns of a “major escalation” if Israel carries out any targeted killings.

Syrian swimmer drops out of competition rather than face Israeli at World Championship
A Syrian swimmer has pulled out of the World Aquatics Masters Championships in Japan due to Israel’s participation in the competition.

Hammam Hashim Mualla, who is part of the Syrian national swimming team, was set to participate in the men’s 200-metre butterfly during the international tournament.

However, Mualla withdrew from the competition as soon as he found out that he was scheduled to compete in the event with an Israeli swimmer.

The 2023 World Aquatics Masters Championships was held across the three Japanese cities of Fukuoka, Kumamoto, and Kagoshima from August 2 to 11.

According to the state-controlled Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), Mualla was born in Damascus in 1973 and has participated in many local, international and continental championships.

SANA said the athlete’s withdrawal was “due to the presence of an Israeli player.”
Top Republican Demands Transparency on Iran Envoy Suspension as Biden Admin Keeps Details Under Wraps
The chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken demanding answers and greater transparency on why Robert Malley, the diplomat who led the Biden administration’s negotiations with Iran, has been suspended from his role.

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), the committee chairman, co-wrote the letter with Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL) asking the State Department for more information about why Malley has been on unpaid leave from his role as Iran envoy since June.

“We are concerned that some officials at the Department, including yourself, knew about Mr. Malley’s situation for months but did not communicate to Congress about it, even as the Committee expressed bipartisan interest in receiving testimony or a briefing from Mr. Malley on Iran policy,” the lawmakers wrote. “We asked the briefers that the Department keep us regularly informed on this matter going forward, and we were told that they would take our request under consideration. We are sure you understand why we are not satisfied by that response.”

McCaul previously told The Algemeiner that he was unable to get answers from the Biden administration about Malley’s status even in a classified setting — a charge that he repeated in Tuesday’s letter.

Last week, Princeton University announced that it was hiring Malley as a visiting professor and lecturer, despite him being on leave from the State Department. Meanwhile, Yale University announced the same day that Malley was being brought on as a senior fellow at Yale’s Jackson School of Global Affairs.

The letter from McCaul and Mast added that Malley’s Ivy League appointments “suggest a change to his employment status and that he will be leaving the State Department.”
Seth Frantzman: Iran trying to assert dominance by threatening US warships in Gulf
Joseph Trevithick at The Drive noted that the videos released by Iran also show the Iranian ship the Shahid Mahdavi and other elements of the IRGC navy. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) has its own navy which is in some ways more of a threat than the actual Iranian navy, which is quite small. Iran has tried to boost its naval capabilities recently and sent ships on long-range missions. Iran also has new drones and missiles for its naval vessels and IRGC fast boats.

According to the Drive article, the US “Navy’s Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Bataan and Arleigh Burke class destroyer USS Thomas Hudner are visible in the Iranian pictures and videos.”

The article notes that the Iranian footage “shows at least one AH-1Z, UH-1Y, and MH-60 were airborne for a time during the transit. This is typical of US force protection measures for ships moving through the Strait of Hormuz, which also includes personnel up on the decks making use of various weapon systems, including Stinger shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles, also known as man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS).”

THE INCIDENT shows how Iran wants to counter US claims that the US is deterring Iran. Iran wants to show the US is deterred and assert that the US ships and helicopters obey Iranian warnings.

The videos are edited in such a way that it does not appear the US actually did comply with Iran’s demands. In any case, it’s possible for an Iranian fast boat to pull up to an area near the maritime border and claim to make a radio call and show radio contact, and simply claim the US changed course or landed helicopters.

Helicopters have to land at some point, so all Iran has to do is wait for one to land and claim it complied with Iran’s radio message, even if the two events are unconnected.

Iran Threatens ‘Prepare the Shelters.’ AP Cites Iran’s Friendly Relations ‘With All Countries’
The Associated Press, the international news agency which in 2018 infamously invented that “Iran has never threatened to attack Israel,” leverages Iran’s unveiling this week of a new attack drone to again whitewash the belligerent regime which routinely calls for genocide of Israelis.

About the unveiling of the war drone, Reuters rightly reported, “A video released on Tuesday by Iranian media displayed the drone among other military hardware, with text saying ‘prepare your shelters’ in both Hebrew and Persian.”

On its website, Haaretz expanded about that threat yesterday: “Published on Iran’s military industry day, the video’s text reflects simmering tensions between arch foes Iran and Israel, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying on Monday that Tehran has funded and encouraged a series of recent deadly attacks against Israelis.” Entitled “‘Prepare the Shelters’: With Hebrew Threat, Iran Unveils Armed Drone Which Can Hit Israel,” Haaretz‘s article is attributed to both AP and Reuters, with the information on Iran’s threat to attack Israeli communities clearly originating with Reuters.

AP’s article, for its part, “Iran unveils armed drone resembling America’s MQ-9 Raeaper and says it could potentially reach Israel,” contains not one word about the “prepare your shelters” threat, which was hardly an expression of friendly relations.

Instead, AP’s Nasser Karimi and Jon Gambrell report:
“Today we can firmly introduce Iran as an advanced and technologic nation to the world,” [President Ebrahim] Raisi said in comments aired on state television.

He reiterated Iran’s stance about friendly relations with ‘all countries in the world,” adding that Iran’s armed forces will cut off any hand that will reaches [sic] out in an attempt to invade Iran, state TV reported.

And like that, the “prepare your shelters” threat is wiped from the record, a total erasure mirroring Iranian fantasies and threats about wiping Israel off the “global political map.” Notably, not only does AP not report the “prepare your shelters” threat, but the news service also casts “Iran’s stance about friendly relations ‘with countries in the world'” at face value, failing to even qualify as “Iran’s stance about friendly relations” with all countries as alleged. While the reporters do note Raisi’s statement that his country’s military “will cut off any hand that will reach out in an attempt to invate Iran,” that comment suggests defensive posturing, as opposed to the offensive threats of mass annihiliation which have characterized official Iranian rhetoric.
JCPA: The Forgotten Arabs of Al Ahwaz: A Century-Old Struggle for Liberation from Iran
Every year on April 20, the Ahwazi people mark the loss of their homeland, Arabistan, which means “the land of the Arabs,” an autonomous emirate that for centuries was ruled by Arab tribes. In 1925, the Persians invaded Arabistan, and by brutal force, they implemented measures to erase the Arab identity of Arabistan and change its ethnic composition.

Following the Persian invasion, Arabistan, or Al Ahwaz, as the Ahwazi people call it, was divided in 1936 into several provinces; Khuzestan, Elam, Bushehr, and Hormozgan. The regime in Iran started a resettling program, incentivizing ethnic Persians to move to Al Ahwaz. Today, Khuzestan is the only province that remains populated predominately by Ahwazi Arabs, the descendants of the Arab tribes who lived in this region for centuries.

Al Ahwaz’ location is highly strategic: it shares borders with Iraq and the area surrounding the Persian Gulf and Shatt-Al-Arab [literally, “Arab stream”] at the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.1

The population of Al Ahwaz numbers between 8-10 million. They are ethnic Arabs who have endured almost 100 years of systematic persecution and cultural discrimination under the Shah’s and the Ayatollahs’ rule. Al Ahwaz is home to the third largest oil field in the world, yet its people, the Ahwazi Arabs, are marginalized and poor.2

The Arabic language is banned in schools, peaceful protests are brutally suppressed, and tens of thousands of Ahwazi civilians are lingering in prisons, with many being tortured and executed without a fair trial. Karim Abdian, director of Virginia-based NGO, the Ahwaz Education and Human Rights Foundation, said that his people have endured “political, cultural, social, and economic subjugation, and treated as second and third-class citizens. An Ahwazi Arab cannot even give a child an Arabic name. It must be either Persian or the name of one of the Shiite imams. So, this nation, which owns the land that currently produces 80 percent of the oil, 65 percent of the gas, and 35 percent of the water of Iran, lives in abject poverty.”3

Iranian security forces committed heinous crimes in Al Ahwaz, including “abducting political activists’ female spouses and sisters, raping them to break the spirit and the will of those activists, who finally give up. On several occasions, the Iranian regime also planted bombs in public locations so that they could propagate against our peaceful political struggle and stigmatize our just political fight as terrorism. They use the opportunity to catch and arrest Ahwazis without charges.”4

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