Monday, September 11, 2023

From Ian:

JPost Editorial: Morocco earthquake: Israel is ready to help in their hour of need
Foreign Minister Eli Cohen instructed his ministry and the Israeli embassy in Rabat to contact Moroccan authorities to see how Israel could be of assistance. The Foreign Ministry dispatched a team to Rabat to help some 500 Israelis in need of assistance. The ministry also said Israel’s consul in Rabat was heading to the Marrakech area to assess needs there.

The Health Ministry said it was planning to join the aid efforts, dispatching a delegation of doctors and nurses, together with medical equipment.

IsraAID said it would dispatch a delegation with aid to Marrakesh and the surrounding area, while Magen David Adom said it was preparing to send two rescue teams to the country – one to operate a field hospital and the other to carry out search-and-rescue operations.

Relations between Israel and Morocco have warmed significantly since the signing of the Abraham Accords in 2020 and Morocco’s decision on December 10 that year to establish diplomatic relations with Israel. Then-IDF chief of staff Aviv Kohavi made the first official visit to Morocco in July last year, and in June this year, Israel participated for the first time in the African Lion military maneuvers in Morocco. The Jerusalem Post hosted a Global Investment Forum in Marrakech last November.

Moroccan House of Councillors President Enaam Mayara’s visit to the Knesset last week was unfortunately postponed after he was hospitalized in Jordan; it would have been the first visit by a Moroccan leader to the Knesset since the signing of the Abraham Accords and following Israel’s recent recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over the disputed Western Sahara. Mayara had been invited to Israel by Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana, who visited Morocco in June.

Jews have been living in Morocco for over 2,000 years, and although the Jewish community numbers only 2,500 today, it remains significant, as it is one of the few remaining Jewish communities in an Arab country. Perhaps the most prominent member of the community is André Azoulay, an adviser to King Mohammed VI, who last week was presented with Israel’s Presidential Medal of Honor and the Torch of Abraham Award by Rabbi Marvin Hier at the Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem.

“André has made an extraordinary contribution to Moroccan Jewry, the Jewish world, and the State of Israel in cultivating and preserving relations with Morocco over the years, preserving Jewish heritage in Morocco, and providing support and advice to Israeli leaders in their quest for peace in the Middle East,” Herzog said.

Azoulay cited King Mohammed V’s rescue of Jews during the Holocaust and said, “Thousands of Jews were saved by my country, my king, my people.”

As Morocco mourns, we extend our condolences to the families of all the victims and send wishes for the speedy recovery of the injured. We are proud that the Jewish state is supporting Morocco in its hour of need.
United Hatzalah on the ground in quake-stricken Morocco
United Hatzalah President and Founder Eli Beer said that the NGO was “assisting as quickly as possible both with emergency response and humanitarian aid” as the organization has done at previous disaster sites around the world.

Meanwhile, the State of Israel has offered to send search and rescue personnel and humanitarian aid to its Abraham Accords ally but has yet to receive a response from Moroccan officials.

“There is a long list of countries that offered aid as Israel did, but they are still waiting for an answer. The authorities there are making their calculations and will reach out as soon as they see fit,” David Saranga, director of the Israeli Foreign Ministry Digital Diplomacy Bureau and a member of the Israeli delegation to Morocco, told Army Radio on Monday morning.

On Sunday night, Jerusalem’s landmark Chords Bridge was lit with the colors of the Moroccan flag in a display of solidarity.

“Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, sends its condolences and prayers to the families of those affected by the earthquake, as well as wishes for a speedy recovery to the injured,” read a statement by the municipality.

“Morocco is a true friend of the State of Israel, the Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem. We will assist as much as is necessary in whatever way we can to the Moroccan people and their government.”

The aftermath of 6.8 Marrakesh earthquake
A 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck the Marrakesh region of Morocco Saturday, resulting in the death up over 2,000 people. With rescue missions till ongoing, i24NEWS Correspondent Hamdah Salhut is live in on the scene of where the earthquake took place.

Mike Pompeo: The Corrupt Palestinian Authority Must Not Be a Part of Any Saudi-Israel Deal
While Saudi Arabia desires any normalization deal with Israel to benefit the Palestinian people, it is financially and morally irresponsible to distribute funds through the corrupt, terrorist-funding PA.

Instead, the creation of a new Saudi-led international aid organization would enable the Saudis to tangibly improve Palestinian lives, foster a civil society more amenable to Arab-Israeli normalization outside of the PA's repression, and create a much-needed alternative to the PA's endemic misgovernance.

Providing funds to the Palestinian Authority, an organization that continues to reward Palestinian terrorism, would undercut the peaceful message and implications of normalization.

It is the PA's intransigence, repression and cronyism that holds back an even deeper and wider peace between Israel and the Arab and Muslim worlds.

It is past time to stop funding Palestinian aid through an organization like the Palestinian Authority that has no intention of yielding a return on that investment, and whose corruption and misgovernance works directly at cross-purposes with shared U.S., Israeli and Saudi goals of promoting peace, prosperity and stability.
Senior Israeli Official Reveals ‘First of Its Kind’ Talks With Palestinians to Advance Saudi Normalization
Israel’s National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi revealed on Monday that talks with the Palestinian Authority (PA) were advancing, through Jordan, on the normalization agreement with Saudi Arabia.

“This is the first dialogue of its kind in about a decade where representatives of the countries talk very openly about what they want,” Hanegbi said during a conference at the Reichman University’s Anti-Terrorism Policy Institute.

“This time they [the PA] will not let these agreements slip from under their hands,” the senior Israeli official said. “We are in favor of a ‘significant Palestinian component,’ provided that there is no harm to Israel’s security.”

“The Americans first defined reaching an agreement as a long-shot — a few weeks ago they defined its chances as 50:50,” Nanegbi said in reference to the US-mediated normalization agreement with Saudi Arabia.

“In the last weeks and days, we think that the American definition is that these are significant chances,” he added, calling it no longer a shot in the dark.

Nanegbi then highlighted a trade corridor agreement, announced at the G20, which would link the EU with India through Israel and Saudi Arabia.

The senior Israeli official also threatened the PA, saying “the day a decision is made in a legal forum against a fighter, commander, or officer of ours — we will sever political and security ties with the Palestinian Authority immediately.”

“We will not ask the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] soldiers to protect them from [Palestinian Islamic] Jihad or Hamas,” Nanegbi warned, referring to Palestinian terrorist groups.
Netanyahu to Visit San Francisco, Meet with Elon Musk Before Address to UNGA in NYC – No Biden Meet Planned
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to travel to the United States next Sunday (Sept. 17) for the first time since his reelection last November.

He has a busy schedule but so far, there is no meeting has been planned with President Joe Biden.

The Biden Administration appears to be continuing its boycott of Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, who is now in his sixth term.

Netanyahu is scheduled to arrive in San Francisco on Monday, where he is expected to meet with high-tech billionaire Elon Musk, who owns X (formerly called Twitter), as well as SpaceX, Tesla, Neuralink, and other companies.

Musk, who recently “liked” posts with the hashtag #BanTheADL, was accused of allowing antisemitic tweets to run rampant on his social media platform. He threatened to sue the Anti-Defamation League, accusing the organization of falsely accusing him and X of being antisemitic.

The prime minister is scheduled to travel Monday evening to New York, where he will address the United Nations General Assembly that Thursday (Sept. 21), according to Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan.

Thus far, there are no published plans to meet with America’s president.

More than 3,500 Israeli cultural and academic “elite” signed a letter urging Biden not to meet with Netanyahu.

Netanyahu is expected to return to the Jewish State the following Sunday.
Expansive Mideast railway project expected to provide economic boon to Israel
Israel may reclaim its historic role as a central stop on trade routes between Asia and Europe with the new international infrastructure project President Joe Biden and other global leaders announced on the sidelines of the G20 summit in New Delhi on Saturday.

Israel and Saudi Arabia are both partners in the initiative, which comes amid normalization talks between the countries. However, Jerusalem and Riyadh will not be coordinating directly, diplomatic sources tell JI; all talks towards realizing the project will go through Washington.

The initiative is meant to link South Asia to the Middle East and then Europe through railways and ports, and present an American-backed alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

The project also includes laying a hydrogen energy pipeline, fiber optics communications infrastructure and electricity cables.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the announcement and said the initiative puts Israel “at the focus of [the] unprecedented international project…that will change the face of the Middle East.”

“Israel will be a central junction in this economic corridor,” Netanyahu said. “Our railways and ports will open a new gateway from India, through the Middle East, to Europe, and back – from Europe to India via Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.”

The project will be the largest international cooperation project in Israel’s history, and Netanyahu instructed his cabinet to take a whole-of-government approach to its implementation.

Infrastructure projects have been at the core of developing relations between Israel and the Arab world. The peace treaty between Israel and Jordan delved extensively into the issue of water supply, and the UAE brokered a green energy deal in 2021, by which Israel would desalinate water for Jordan, which would supply renewable energy from solar fields for Israel.
Getting down to business: The Abraham Accords Anniversary Delegation
The hope of the Abraham Accords was that its biggest impact would be felt on a people-to-people level. As the third anniversary of the signing of the original pact approaches, a delegation of young professionals from Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco are touring America’s East Coast, looking to put that hope into action.

ISRAEL-is, an Israeli NGO dedicated to broadening the perspectives through which the world sees the Jewish state, is teaming with the American Jewish Committee to sponsor this year’s Abraham Accords Anniversary Delegation, which is meeting with a raft of thought leaders, professional executives, governmental leaders and key legislators to grow the fruits of the accords, particularly in the fields of tourism and the environment.

“We’re collaborating with a bunch of young, very brave leaders both from Israel and in the Arab world, and we want to impact the people who make decisions here in America that hey, this is the right place. This is the right agenda,” Nimrod Palmach, ISRAEL-is CEO, told JNS. “Let’s continue to support the Abraham Accords effort and believe in young leadership that are leading the way in a path of normalization, and hopefully peace.”

JNS met up with the delegation on Friday morning at AJC headquarters in New York, where they had meetings with Arab-American women leaders, along with a New York State tourism official and an environmental defense academic. The group had only met each other one day earlier.

“It’s been very interesting. It’s eye opening. We’ve learned so many things, especially since we just finished one day,” Leena al-Ayoubi, a Bahraini artist and designer and founder of NFT MENA, told JNS. “But in this one day, we’ve learned so much about the Jewish community, about New York tourism and especially Middle Eastern tourists.”
Israeli officials make first public appearance in Riyadh
An Israeli delegation attended a meeting of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in Riyadh on Monday, marking the first public appearance by Israeli officials in Saudi Arabia.

“We are happy to be here; it’s a good first step. We thank UNESCO and the Saudi authorities,” one of the Israeli representatives, who did not want to be named due to the sensitivities of the visit, told AFP.

During Monday’s meeting, the Israeli delegation was able to place the nameplate of the Jewish state on its desk. The official said the trip to Riyadh has been “very good” thus far, adding that the Saudis “treat us very well.”

An anonymous U.N. diplomat cited by AFP said the agency’s director-general, Audrey Azoulay, had been instrumental in securing Israel’s participation in Riyadh.

“It’s the result of several years of work by Audrey Azoulay to create, in the heart of UNESCO, the conditions for a dialogue between all the states of the region,” stated the official.

Azoulay told Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen during a recent meeting in Paris that the Saudis had signed a “host country agreement” with the U.N. body, allowing officials from all member states to attend the 45th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Riyadh on Sept. 10-25.

The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem declined to comment on the matter when contacted by JNS. Israel withdrew from UNESCO in 2019, citing the body’s bias.

In a 2016 resolution, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee registered the Tomb of the Patriarchs, located in Hebron, in the name of the “State of Palestine” on its “List of World Heritage in Danger.”

UNESCO passed 47 resolutions between 2009 and 2014, 46 directed against Israel and one that criticized Syria.
Saudi Arabia welcomes first Israeli business delegation
The first Israeli business delegation visits Saudi Arabia. Middle East and Gulf expert Dr. Nirit Ofir and Middle East Foreign Affairs expert Henrique Cymerman speak to i24NEWS Correspondent Laura Cellier about their experience and how this will effect the potential normalization between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Moldova to launch Israel Allies Caucus
The Republic of Moldova is establishing a pro-Israel parliamentary caucus this week, in the latest sign of the strength of faith-based diplomacy around the globe.

The inauguration of the Moldovan Israel Allies Caucus brings to 53 the number of such parliamentary alliances with the Knesset’s Christian Allies Caucus, in an ever-growing network whose staunch support for Israel is based on shared Judeo-Christian values.

“The establishment of the Israel Allies Caucus in the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova is another way to express our friendship with the State of Israel,” MP Ion Groza, chairman of the Moldova Parliamentary Israel Allies Caucus, said in a statement.

“I believe that shared Judeo-Christian biblical values are an important basis upon which to strengthen relations with Israel and to combat antisemitism,” he added.

Groza also chairs Moldova’s delegation to the Council of Europe and is the vice president of his unicameral parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee.

The Moldovan caucus, which is expected to include five lawmakers from the ruling liberal and pro-European Party of Action and Solidarity who are committed to supporting the State of Israel, aim to assist in pro-Israel legislation and work to combat antisemitism and boycotts of Israel around the world, said Caucus Director and former MP Valeriu Ghileţchi.

“We know that Israel needs friends and allies around the world, especially in the Council of Europe, given the challenges Israel faces in the international arena,” Ghileţchi, an ordained Baptist pastor, told JNS in a telephone interview.
Deceitful Palestinian Supporters Fuel Violence
I am a Jew living in Jerusalem. While we live in constant interaction with our Arab neighbors who enjoy full rights here, we know that a Jew daring to live in our ancient homeland can be murdered on any day at any moment - stabbed in the drugstore directly below my daughter's apartment, mangled in a car ramming while waiting for a bus, or shattered by a bomb on the main street of my walk home: all true near-misses in my recent life.

The author of an article on Aug. 15 claims that Israel is guilty of stealing Palestine from a Palestinian people and that violence against Israelis is justified. But when we began to return to our ancient homeland in the mid-1800s, there was no state of Palestine, no Palestinian national identity, no Palestinian history and borders. Until British occupation during World War I, the Land of Israel was nothing more than part of Greater Syria, controlled by the Ottoman Empire.

The author tells us there were 1 million Palestinians here "before Israelis immigrated," but the entire area held only a half-million people by the 1878 Ottoman census, including Jews and Christians. The Mandate period saw the Arab population double, reaching a million by 1948, driven by the immigration of Egyptian Muslims, Bedouin Arabs and Bosnian Muslims.

Palestinian terror is not justified revenge for the theft of a state that never existed. Jews had been massacred by Arabs long before Jews had any power here, for example, in Hebron in 1517, again in 1834, and yet again in 1929. These massacres were not a reprisal for an as-yet nonexistent "Israel."
Who’s Starving in Gaza?
The Palestinians are the only group of refugees whose status is inheritable. Of the hundreds of millions of refugees created since World War II, only the Palestinians are permitted to pass on that status to their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and so on, with no conceivable end. Vladimir Nabokov was a Russian refugee. His son Dmitri, born in Berlin, was not. Henry Kissinger was a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany. His son David, born in New York, is not. But Ahmed al-Bishara, born in 2012 in Marseille, is considered to be a “Palestinian refugee,” just like his father, born in Beirut 1985, and his grandfather, born in Amman in 1960, and his great grandfather, born in Haifa in 1935, who is the only real Palestinian “refugee” in the group. There is no end to this ever-expanding roll of “refugees,” nor to the sums that will be required to support them. And that is why the donors to UNRWA have become drained of the desire of supporting this always-increasing number of pseudo-refugees. At the last pledging conference for donors to UNRWA, little more than a third of the sum requested was promised. The donor fatigue is palpable.

Elder of Ziyon suggests that the number of “Palestinian refugees” serviced by UNRWA be cut down to a manageable size. In Jordan, the one Arab state where those refugees can become citizens, all two million of them should be taken off the UNRWA rolls. The government of Jordan should assume its responsibility to all of its citizens, and that means not relying anymore on UNRWA to provide housing, medical care, and education. During a period of transition, lasting several years, the former donors to UNRWA could provide more aid to the Kingdom of Jordan, but once a sufficient number of those former “refugees” are gainfully employed, and can fend for themselves economically,, that extra aid to Amman can be discontinued.

In the area of Judea and Samaria where the Palestinian Authority rules, the Palestinians are not “refugees” — they never left their homes. And therefore their needs — in housing, education, and medical care — ought to be met by the PA, not by UNRWA. The same is true for Gaza, where Hamas, the terror group that rules the Strip, ought to be held responsible for providing housing, medical care, and education to people who never were refugees.

The Western powers, along with the rich Arab states, ought to be pressuring both Lebanon and Syria to allow the “Palestinian refugees” living in their countries, and who for 75 years have not been allowed to be naturalized, to at long last become citizens, and to no longer be prevented from employment in such professions as law, medicine, and engineering. They’ve lived in these countries for a long time; it is cruel to continue to keep them in camps, unable to work except at the most menial and ill-paying of jobs. As citizens, now able to support themselves, they can be taken off the UNRWA rolls.

Instead of the soul-crippling culture of endless dependence that UNRWA fosters, give the Palestinian “refugees” what they really need, by allowing them to integrate fully into the countries where most of them live — in Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon — and not only to be naturalized, but also given the chance to practice every occupation. Then close down for good that most corrupt and corrupting of UN agencies, UNRWA.
EU Mideast peace envoy meets convicted Palestinian terrorist
The European Union’s Middle East peace envoy recently met with Salah Hamouri, a French-Palestinian terrorist who once pleaded guilty to a failed plot to murder a former chief rabbi of Israel, Jerusalem-based research institute NGO Monitor reported on Monday.

The meeting in Brussels between E.U. Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process Sven Koopmans and Hamouri reportedly took place on Sept. 7 and was first publicized by the Freedom for Salah Hamouri action group.

According to NGO Monitor, Hamouri was invited to Brussels for “a series of meetings at the European Parliament and European institutions.” In a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, Hamouri thanked Koopmans for his “hospitality and meaningful dialogue.”

“What’s wrong with this picture? Sven Koopmans—the E.U. envoy for Mideast peace—is pictured with former Addameer employee Salah Hamouri. Hamouria—a PFLP member—was convicted of plotting to assassinate Rabbi Ovadia Yosef,” tweeted NGO Monitor.

Hamouri has served prison time for his ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which the E.U. has designated a terrorist organization. He pleaded guilty in 2008 to planning the assassination of Rabbi Yosef, but was released three years later in the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap.

The convicted terrorist subsequently found employment as a lawyer at Addameer, a PFLP-linked NGO that Israel designated a terror group in Oct. 2021. While Hamouri has denied being part of the PFLP, the Marxist terror group last year confirmed his membership.

The Evolution of Israeli Intelligence: 1973 to 2023
The 1973 Yom Kippur War, its casualties, and the ability of Israel's adversaries at the time to surprise the Jewish state have left a multi-generational scar on the Israeli national psyche. In the years since, Israel has embarked on an unparalleled intelligence revolution.

Today, the IDF is informed by a network of state-of-the-art sensors, with vast information-gathering capabilities in space, air, on land and at sea. The IDF employs artificial intelligence and big-data analysis to detect anomalies and shifts in enemy movements and behavior, and receives automatic alerts when these appear.

The Aug. 28 announcement by the Israeli Defense Ministry regarding the progress of the Oron intelligence-gathering aircraft - the most advanced of its kind - is a case in point. Fueled by artificial intelligence, the Oron can gather intelligence on thousands of enemy targets, spanning thousands of kilometers, in a matter of seconds. Nevertheless, the potential for surprises has not been eliminated, and one of the key lessons of the 1973 war is to never assume that all of the threats are known, and never to fall victim to complacency.

Adversaries evolve, and their ability to develop new ways to threaten Israel should never be trivialized. At the same time, Israel's own evolving intelligence capabilities, when mixed with its ability to deliver mass, precise firepower based on that intelligence, represent a major leap forward and reduce the chances of a catastrophic strategic surprise.
Mossad chief: 27 Iranian murder plots against Jews and Israelis foiled
The Mossad intelligence agency, in cooperation with its international allies, has so far in 2023 foiled 27 plots by Iran to murder Israelis and Jews outside the borders of the Jewish state, the agency’s Director David Barnea revealed on Sunday.

Speaking at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT)’s 22nd World Summit on Counter-Terrorism at Herzliya’s Reichman University, Barnea spoke of a “significant increase in attempts to attack Jews and Israelis worldwide” by what he called “the Terroristic Republic of Iran.”

“The plots being pursued by these [terrorist] teams were orchestrated, masterminded and directed by Iran,” he said, noting that the attempted attacks occurred “all over the world,” including “in Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia and South America.”

Two weeks ago, Israel’s National Security Council cautioned citizens to remain vigilant while traveling over the upcoming Jewish holiday period. The updated travel warning cited a higher risk of Iranian terrorism in both neighboring and faraway countries including Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey, as well as in countries in Africa and Latin America.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant have also charged the Islamic Republic with orchestrating the most recent surge in Palestinian terrorism, which saw three Israelis killed and one seriously wounded in just under 72 hours last month.

As part of his remarks on Sunday, Barnea showed a video he said proved beyond a doubt that Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is directly involved in murder plots against Jews worldwide. “The Iranian regime is no longer able to deny its involvement, and most importantly, it has no immunity,‎” stated the Mossad head.

Iran set up Lebanese terror airport only 20 kilometers from Israel - Gallant
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Monday revealed pictures of an Iranian terror base at an airport at Kilat Jabar in southern Lebanon, only 20 kilometers from the border with Israel.

Gallant said that one can see Iran’s flag flying on the aircraft’s runways which the ayatollahs’ regime is using to plot against Israel.

The defense minister said, “put differently, the land is Lebanese, the control is Iranian, the target is Israel.”

He said that Israel must “remain aware and at ready, with our eyes set on the binoculars and our fingers on the trigger.”

Gallant added that Iran remains the greatest threat to Israel, though sometimes it uses Hezbollah and other proxies to fight its wars against the Jewish state.

If Hezbollah “goes toward a conflict with us, they will pay a high price.”

“We will not allow Iran to turn Syria into a Hezbollah 2.0” with powerful rockets, he said.

Judicial reform must be done through consensus
Next, Gallant said that any major change in the judiciary must be done only through a consensus of compromise.

He said that any attempt to continue a judicial overhaul without a compromise would endanger state security and the stability of its security forces.

Abbas’ appointee calls to “inspire” Palestinian youth to “Martyrdom”
Official PA TV newsreader: “The Fatah Movement held a memorial service for Martyr Omar Jabara Abu Al-Qatin (i.e., Hamas terrorist) …

Mother of terrorist Omar Abu Al-Qatin: “Praise Allah Master of the Universe forever and ever, Omar is not the first Martyr and not the last. He sacrificed his life for his homeland, praise Allah Master of the Universe, I thank Allah. Allah willing, we are all following this path… Palestine needs Omar and those like him.”

Chairman of PA-funded Prisoners’ Club Qadura Fares: “We are at the peak of a consecutive and ongoing battle. Therefore, we must recall the message of the Martyr at every stage and in every situation, so that the young generations will receive inspiration from him in a way that will allow them to join the ranks of resistance to continue the path of struggle.” [Official PA TV News, Aug. 5, 2023]

Muhannad Faleh Shehadeh and Khaled Mustafa Sabah – Palestinian terrorists and members of the Hamas terror organization, aged 26 and 24 respectively, who shot and murdered 4 Israelis - Elisha Antman, 18, Nachman Shmuel Mordoff, 17, Harel Masoud, 21, and Ofer Feirman, 63 - and wounded an additional 4 outside the Jewish town of Eli north of Ramallah on June 20, 2023. Shehadeh was shot and killed in self-defense by an Israeli civilian at the scene. Sabah fled but was found by Israeli forces shortly after and killed while resisting arrest.

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas appointed Chairman of the PA-funded Prisoners’ Club Qadura Fares as director of PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs with the rank of minister. (August 2023)

Extremist Islam Challenges Fatah in Lebanon
Recent clashes in the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp in Lebanon between Fatah activists and members of radical Islamic terrorist groups affiliated with al-Qaeda will determine who controls the camp.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) is committed to retaining control of the camp, considered one of its strongholds in Lebanon.

The PA is also pitted in a contest for Palestinian loyalty against Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, whose popularity is rising as they escalate attacks against Israel in the West Bank and along the Lebanese border.

In the background, stirring the pot, loom Hizbullah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

On July 30, 2023, fighting broke out in the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp near Sidon after the assassination of a senior officer from Fatah, Maj. Gen. Abu Ashraf Al-Aramoushi. The attackers were believed to be members of Jund al-Sham, an Islamist faction affiliated with al-Qaeda. Al-Aramoushi, a commander of the Palestinian national security forces in Sidon, was assassinated in Ain al-Hilweh with his three bodyguards on July 30, 2023.

The Lebanese army called for an immediate ceasefire. Under an agreement between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Lebanese government, Lebanese military forces are prohibited from entering Palestinian refugee camps. Instead, the maintenance of security in these camps falls under the purview of Palestinian factions through a joint security force.

The Fighting Resumed
In the wake of these recent battles, hundreds of families from Ain Al-Hilweh fled their homes. Eight UNRWA-run schools, which would typically provide shelter to the homeless, are in the control of the Islamist forces. At the same time, nearby Sidon does not permit the refugees’ relocation. A tent encampment established there by the UN had to be dismantled.

The Fatah movement has accused extremist Islamic groups affiliated with al-Qaeda and ISIS, whose members have crossed over from Syria, of attempting to seize control of the camp—the largest in Lebanon.

‘Israel will act if Iran enriches uranium above 60%’
Israel will have no choice but to act if Iran enriches uranium above 60% purity, National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi warned on Monday in an address at a counterterrorism conference at Reichman University in Herzliya.

“If Iran moves to enrich uranium above 60% and we identify it—and there is no possibility that we won’t, that the world would not recognize it—the result is that Israel would act out of necessity,” said Hanegbi. “There would be no choice.”

Such a development would indicate that “Iran is clearly pursuing a [nuclear] bomb, as a policy, and we cannot risk our fate,” added Hanegbi, without specifying how Jerusalem would respond.

Earlier this year, IAEA inspectors detected “particles” of uranium enriched to 83.7% at Iran’s underground nuclear site in Fordow.

At the time, reports quoted an unnamed Israeli official as saying that Jerusalem did not consider the development as a trigger for military action “because Tehran didn’t amass any of the material at that level.”

Iran has been enriching uranium to up to 60% purity since April 2021.

Hanegbi’s comments come a week after an IAEA report showed that Tehran has continued to amass uranium enriched to near weapons-grade levels.

The United Nations nuclear watchdog report pegged the Islamic Republic’s stockpile of uranium enriched to 60% at 121.6 kilograms (268 pounds), compared to 114 kilograms (250 pounds) in May and 87.5 kilograms (192 pounds) in February.

Uranium enriched to 60% purity is a short technical step away from 90%, considered weapons-grade.
IAEA chief: Iran has expanded stock of near-weapons grade uranium
IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi warned on Monday that there is a "routinization" process underway of Iran's many nuclear violations.

At a press conference after he addressed the IAEA Board of Governors, he also cautioned that any future deal between the Islamic Republic and the West must take into account the massive nuclear progress by Tehran from IR-1 centrifuges to IR 2, IR-4, and IR-6 centrifuges, as well as from 3.67% enriched uranium to 60% enriched uranium in large quantities.

While hoping for progress in negotiations with Iran and the West, he said he would continue to flag Iranian violations based solely on a scientific basis.

Earlier in the day, he told the IAEA Board of Governors that Iran has continued to increase its stock of 60% enriched uranium (close to weapons grade), and that there has been no progress in getting Tehran to credibly explain the existence of illicit traces of uranium found at undeclared nuclear sites.

In his comments regarding two reports which he submitted to the Board, Grossi said that even as the pace of enrichment by the Islamic Republic of uranium at the 60% level has slowed, it has still increased overall.

These developments came as somewhat of a surprise given the clear progress that has been made between the West and Iran in recent weeks toward unfreezing about $10 billion in Iranian assets, releasing five US citizens in Iranian prisons, and the noticeably reduced attacks by Iranian proxies against US forces in the Middle East.

“The [IAEA] Director-General [Rafael Grossi] regrets that there has been no progress in resolving the outstanding safeguards issues in this reporting period,” one of the reports said, referring to Iran’s failure to credibly explain the origin of uranium particles found at two undeclared sites.

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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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