Tuesday, September 12, 2023

From Ian:

How the Oslo Accords Let Illegal Weapons Flow into Israel
In addition to the recent wave of terrorism coming from the West Bank, the past year has seen a surge criminal violence, much of it gang-related, in Israel’s Arab communities, with most of the victims Arabs themselves. Many factors account for this problem, among them the availability of illegal arms—a legacy, David M. Weinberg argues, of the Oslo Accords:

There is a direct line that runs from Oslo to the current Israeli Wild West situation. Israel provided Yasir Arafat’s police force with tens of thousands of rifles and hundreds of tons of ammunition. These weapons soon ended up in the shooting arms of Arafat’s sixteen different declared security organizations and many other declared and undeclared terrorist factions.

At first, Israel sought to monitor and therefore control the use of its weapons in the Palestinian Authority (PA) by registering the ballistic signature of every gun and rifle before transferring it to Arafat. But the Oslo-era enthusiasm for “strengthening” the Palestinian Authority led to more and more helter-skelter arms handovers, with Israel soon losing track of the weapons. The U.S. and other Western countries involved in providing security assistance and training to the PA also were supposed to have a handle on this, but they too soon lost track of the swelling armories of Yasir Arafat and his multiple organizations of gunmen.

Much of this Israeli-provided weaponry was directed at Israeli civilians and IDF troops during the second intifada, leading to the need for Operation Defensive Shield in 2002. For a while, this operation indeed led to a renewed tight Israeli grip on the flow of weaponry into and within Palestinian areas. But in 2004 then-Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz re-approved gun licenses for all PA police officers. Over the years since, and under American pressure to ease up on the PA and “strengthen” Arafat’s successor Mahmoud Abbas, the IDF has further relented, leading to the current weapons-loose state of affairs.
Thieves In the Night AP Reporting on Palestinian Smuggling of Weapons
Not only did AP’s Adwan state as fact the questionable claim that Israeli measures imposed to prevent the smuggling of weapons meant for violent attacks themselves fuel violence. He also uses qualifying language (“what [Israel] says”) to cast doubt on the purpose of the Israeli-Egyptian blockade. Readers could reasonably conclude from this formulation that Hamas’ arming is not a genuine concern. Perhaps, the uninformed could surmise, Hamas is undertaking no such effort to arm itself.

The AP, a news agency which ostensibly operates under the slogan of “advancing the power of facts,” does not freely advance the facts regarding Hamas’ efforts to arm itself in Gaza as well as in the West Bank.

Indeed, for three full days after Israeli authorities announced that the thwarting of explosives smuggling from the Gaza Strip meant for the West Bank, AP completely ignored the story, despite its stated commitment to supplying “news and services that expand the reach of factual reporting.”
US said to transfer armored vehicles, weapons to PA to clamp down on West Bank terror
The Palestinian Authority reportedly received a shipment of armored vehicles and weapons from the United States, as the Biden administration and Israel look to assist Ramallah in regaining control over West Bank areas that have become hotbeds for terror activity.

Citing informed Palestinian sources, the Jerusalem-based Palestinian daily Al Quds said Monday that the shipment was facilitated by Jordan and will be used by several branches of the PA security forces.

Notably, the shipment was approved by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hardline government, which includes representatives who have long criticized the transfer of weapons to the PA.

Netanyahu and Israel’s security establishment maintain a different approach, viewing PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his security forces as an important ally in combating terror in the West Bank.

However, as the PA faces a legitimacy crisis over its failure to deliver Palestinian statehood or even hold elections, its popularity has waned significantly, particularly in the northern West Bank where rivals have taken up weapons and challenged its authority.

Armed groups in Jenin and Nablus have carried out regular shooting attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians. Israel says the weakening of the PA has left it with no choice but to send its own soldiers into such cities in the northern West Bank to arrest those responsible for attacks and confiscate the growing amounts of weapons that are being stockpiled there.

The PA argues that such raids hamper its legitimacy further, and insists that Israel let it deal with the problem on its own.

Race against the clock as rescuers fight to find survivors in Morocco
After Moroccos deadliest earthquake in a century and many offers of aid from the international world, only four countries have been given the official green light. i24NEWS Middle East Correspondent Ariel Oseran filed this report.

IsraAID: CNN & IsraAID: Morocco Earthquake Emergency Response
CNN speaks with Ethan Schwartz about IsraAID's Emergency Response in Morocco - September 11, 2023

What is the legacy of 9/11?
Senior VP for Research at Foundation for Defense of Democracies Jonathan Schanzer, Senior Lecturer of History at Clemson University Arash Azizi and Dan Perry discuss what the legacy of 9/11 was.

US, EU condemn Israeli plans for Jewish neighborhood in Abu Dis
The United States and European Union on Monday slammed Israeli plans to build a Jewish neighborhood in the Arab village of Abu Dis on the eastern outskirts of Israel’s capital.

Washington and Brussels issued the condemnations as the Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee met to advance the plan into the final stages before construction can start in the coming months.

“Our views have been clear and consistent: The expansion of settlements undermines the geographic viability of a two-state solution, exacerbates tensions, and further harms trust between the two parties,” U.S. State Department spokesperson Matt Miller said at Monday’s press briefing.

“We strongly oppose the advancement of settlements and urge Israel to refrain from this activity. We take the issue very seriously, as it impinges on the viability of a two-state solution. We raise it at the highest levels on a consistent basis,” he added.

An E.U. spokesperson said that its position remains that Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria is “illegal according to international law and a major obstacle to achieving a two-state solution.

“The E.U. has consistently made it clear that it will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 lines, including in Jerusalem, other than those agreed upon by the parties,” the spokesperson added.

The neighborhood, to have 400 housing units, will be named Kedmat Tzion. Ten Jewish families currently live there in three buildings purchased by Ateret Cohanim, a nonprofit that encourages Jewish presence in eastern Jerusalem.
UK foreign secretary visits Israel to highlight close ties at precarious time
The British foreign secretary, James Cleverly, arrived in Israel on Monday for a three-day visit.

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen hailed Cleverly's trip as important for deepening Israel's ties with Britain, which he said "are currently at their peak."

The British Foreign Office said Cleverly would use his first visit to the country to condemn Iran's support for regional militant groups sworn to Israel's destruction.

It said he also would stress Britain's continued support for the creation of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel despite decades of failed talks. "I'll be making clear that all parties must take steps advance this cause," Cleverly said in the statement.

Cleverly toured Yad Vashem, Israel's official Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, where he took part in a wreath-laying memorial ceremony. An eternal flame burns by a crypt containing the ashes of Holocaust victims to commemorate the six million Jews killed by Nazi Germany and its collaborators during World War II.

As Cleverly met with Cohen, Israeli protesters fearful for the future of their country's democratic traditions flooded the streets ahead of a Supreme Court hearing on the government's moves to overhaul the judiciary.
Abbas must reject terror, not spread disgusting antisemitic tropes
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas must condemn terrorist attacks against Israelis, rather than spread “disgusting antisemitic tropes,” British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said on Tuesday.

“When I meet with the leadership of the Palestinian Authority… I will make it clear that rather than spreading disgusting antisemitic tropes and outrageous distortions of history, they should be clear in their denouncement of violence,” Cleverly said as he addressed the World Summit on Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya.

The PA “should be clear that there is no acceptance for brutality and terrorism,” Cleverly said. It “should be clear that there is no excuse to target Israelis particularly Israel civilians because that is the only way that peace is possible," he added.

Bashing Mahmoud Abbas's use of antisemitic tropes
Cleverly spoke after the highly publicized speech Abbas gave to a meeting of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council on August 24. Abbas alleged that Ashkenazi Jews stemmed from Europe, not the Middle East, and were murdered during the Holocaust due to hatred against them for their historic role as moneylenders. He also accused the United States and Great Britain of inventing the idea of Jewish statehood.

While in Israel and the Palestinian territories, Cleverly has met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Eli Cohen. He also spoke with Rabbi Leo Dee, a British-Israeli citizen whose wife, Lucy, and two daughters Maia, 20, and Rina, 16, were killed this year in a Palestinian terror attack.

Cleverly in his Herzliya address also spoke out against extremist statements by Israeli politicians and settler violence against Palestinians.

Both Israelis and Palestinians, he said, must "crack down on activities that inflame violence, and spread racism and hate.”
Anti-Netanyahu protest message screened on UN HQ in New York
An anti-Netayahu message was displayed on the side of the United Nations Headquarters building in the Manhattan borough of New York City on Monday.

"DON'T BELIEVE CRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU," the message read in all caps on the building. It is also said to be the first time that a protest message was displayed on the UN building, according to posts made by the Defend Israeli Democracy movement.

The message was displayed on the eve of the High Court of Justice's hearing on the law to abolish the reasonableness standard and in light of Netanyahu's planned visit to New York City next week.

The video of the displayed message can be seen below:

"The projection on the UN building is just a small taste of what awaits Netanyahu during his visit to New York. In the skies, on land, and at sea. All world leaders knew that Netanyahu was lying to his people and to them. We will not allow him to embarrass Israel and insult world leaders with false speeches," the organizers of the NYC protest stated.
I am a Muslim who supports Ben-Gvir
I have read several news articles about Israel's Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir and his so-called actions. He is viewed as a controversial Israeli politician who works outside of the box and accepted standards to get his point of view across.

I have always thought outside of the box and perhaps have been looked at as being controversial. Questioning many things that seem common to people and thinking critically can sometime scare people. Therefore, I have always been cautious, since my teenage years, when it comes to the Middle East conflict.

Watching several pro-Palestinian demonstrations made me question the other side’s point of view and what the Israelis have really gone through. It was almost impossible in the early 1990s to find public information about what the Israelis were dealing with due to all the violence. After I became vocal in support of the existence of Israel 10 years ago, I had the chance to visit the country for the first time and see the reality with my own eyes.

I was almost shocked to discover how all religions live together in coexistence. The biggest shock was hearing the Adhan (call to prayer) at one of the hundreds of mosques that exist throughout the state of Israel.

The word apartheid should never be used to describe Israel nor its policies because it is just a propagandistic lie.

During my visits to Israel, I have seen that most people describe themselves as either left or right, but I know that all Israelis in general care about their security and way of life.
At crucial hearing, judges challenge assertion they can’t intervene in Basic Laws
At a historic High Court hearing Tuesday on petitions against the Netanyahu government’s “reasonableness” law, several justices challenged the government’s assertion that the top court does not have the authority to strike down such quasi-constitutional Basic Laws.

During fraught exchanges between the court and the attorneys defending the legislation, one justice indicated that Israel’s democracy was at stake, noting that “democracy dies in a series of small steps,” while the coalition’s lawyer took aim at Israel’s foundational Declaration of Independence as an ostensible source of judicial authority, calling it a “hasty” document endorsed by unelected signatories.

An unprecedented panel of all 15 justices presided over the hearing on petitions against the law, enacted in July, which restricts judicial review of government decisions. An attorney on behalf of the government suggested that the court does not actually have the jurisdiction to weigh in on the legislation.

Ilan Bombach, the attorney who is representing the government in the High Court since Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara has refused to do so, argued that the justices are merely empowered to interpret the legislator’s words, and that there is no legal or constitutional basis for them to review Basic Laws.

In response, Justice Alex Stein asked Bombach: “What is the source of the Knesset [authority] to legislate laws?”

When Bombach pointed to a 1950 Supreme Court ruling, Stein noted that the Knesset was formed before that, and that the original source of power is the Declaration of Independence.

Other justices also challenged Bombach, indicating that in their view, since the Declaration of Independence defines Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, the Knesset cannot legislate laws — even Basic Laws — that erode Israel’s Jewish or democratic character. And if the Knesset is limited in its capacity to pass Basic Laws, that would mean the High Court has the authority to review such laws.
Israelis brace for tense day amid Supreme Court hearing
Israelis braces for a tense day amid the start of the Supreme Court hearing on the legitimacy of the reasonableness law. International affairs analyst Dan Perry and Researcher at the Kohelet forum Adv. Avraham Russel Shalev join i24NEWS David Matlin to dissect the different aspects at play.

Tom Gross: Conversations with Friends: Elliott Abrams, former Deputy US National Security Advisor
“This public political intervention by former Mossad heads is damaging to both Israel and to the Mossad. Their words will be used as weapons by Israel’s true enemies.”

Elliott Abrams -- one of the few people to advise on national security matters at a senior level for three different US presidents -- talks about his dealings with Reagan, Bush and Trump.

We also discuss:
* The unhelpful use of inflammatory language in both American and Israeli political discourse – including (unwisely) by the former heads of the intelligence agencies.
* China’s increasingly assertive role in the Mideast. What should the US do about it?
* The prospects for democracy in Iran. And how the regime there has discredited Islam.
* What a second Trump term might entail, should he be reelected. Would he find good people who will agree to serve under him?

Call Me Back PodCast: Can we be optimistic about Israel? With Yossi Klein Halevi
Today is a special episode in which I preview some of the questions we try to answer in our new book, The Genius of Israel: The Surprising Resilience of a Divided Nation in a Turbulent World. Saul Singer and I collaborated on Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle. Our new book will be released this Fall, but you can pre-order it now at: < href=https://www.amazon.com/Genius-Israel-Small-Nation-Teach/dp/1982115769/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3LKV3ZLWLBOL1&keywords=dan+senor&qid=1694402205&sprefix=dan+senor%2Caps%2C87&sr=8-1>Amazon
or Barnes and Noble

Our guest today is Yossi Klein Halevi who – in addition to being an important voice in our new book – is a senior fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. Together with Imam Abdullah Antepli of Duke University, he co-directs the Harmant Institute’s Muslim Leadership Initiative.

Yossi has written a number of books, including Like Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation, and his latest, Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor, which was a New York Times bestseller. He has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Times of Israel.

The dream for everyone who wants peace in the Middle East
Giant port and rail project that will link India to Europe via the Middle East announced at the G20 Summit. Peace activist and expert in Arab-Israeli relations Loay Alshareef and Dr. Efraim Chalamish join to talk about the impact of this initiative.

The Various Fronts Facing the IDF and the Shin Bet
Whether we are now facing a third Intifada or “just” a terror wave (which shows no signs of ending), the situation in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) will not return to what it had been since the decline of the second Intifada in 2005. Certainly not anytime soon. This is a new situation, for the foreseeable future.

The rate of terror attacks is on the rise, starting during the previous government’s tenure. Currently, alongside near-daily attacks (including this week), what characterizes this period is the extensive alerts, reaching levels not seen since 2004 in some of the areas.

Consequently, the number of Israeli casualties has already reached record highs this year, despite the fact that the number of thwarted attacks is also at a nearly 20-year high, with over 500 thwarted attacks since the beginning of the year, as of this week.

While Israeli society is divided, it's important to know that the wave of attacks focused on Judea and Samaria is not coincidental. It's a strategy of Hamas, alongside Iran and Islamic Jihad, who, for the purpose of tackling their common enemy, put aside the Sunni-Shi'a division.

The attacks themselves are not directed from above (which makes them harder to thwart), but Israel’s enemies are flooding the region with resources and weapons and clarifying to their people what is expected of them: carrying out shooting attacks, vehicular attacks, and stabbings.

General instructions are transmitted from commanders in Iran, Gaza, Beirut, and even Istanbul. The objective would be to create a "Lebanonization" of Judea and Samaria, with security forces and civilians facing deadly explosive devices and possibly even missiles originating from the long border with Jordan and from Lebanon. Despite their efforts, we are not "there" yet. At least for now, thanks to the many thwarted attacks and ongoing arrests.

The hottest area is once again northern Samaria, particularly Jenin. Three months after Operation Home and Garden, the number of alerts in this sector has returned to pre-operation levels. In Judea, the Hebron area, which had been relatively quiet until recently, is seeing an increase in vehicular attacks, in contrast to the shooting attacks that characterize Samaria.
HonestReporting: Why are there checkpoints in the West Bank?
While they might seem contentious, like with most things in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they were an Israeli response to terrorism. Let's break it down...

The Israel Guys: CAUGHT RED-HANDED: Undercover Police Officers Arrest PALESTINIAN Rock Throwers
The Holidays are fast approaching here in Israel and because of this, Israel is tightening their security across all sectors. Terrorists in Northern Samaria launched a rocket aimed at Jewish towns in the Gilboa mountains. The IDF was ordered to destroy the home of the terrorists who killed four Israelis at a gas station in Eli. Israeli demonstrators outside of the Justice Minister’s home clashed with Israeli Police when they refused to obey the orders of the officers. Stick around for the end because I have an epic video of undercover police officers pretending to be orthodox Jews so they could catch stone throwers in the act.

IDF foils attempt to smuggle explosives into country
Israeli security forces on Sunday thwarted an attempt to smuggle explosives in the Jordan Valley area.

Soldiers from the IDF’s Bekaa and Valleys Brigade worked in cooperation with the Israel Police to locate a bag that contained six standard explosive charges.

The IDF said the explosives were found as part of its ongoing activity to prevent the smuggling of weapons for the use of terrorists into the State of Israel.

The findings were transferred to security services for further handling and investigation.

16 arrested in Judea and Samaria
Israeli forces arrested 16 wanted suspects during overnight operations in Judea and Samaria, the army said on Tuesday.

Thirteen suspects were captured during raids in the Bethlehem area, including in the city itself and in the towns of al-Dawha and Teqoa and the Dheisheh camp, and in the city of Tulkarm.

PMW: Is a new female Palestinian role model emerging?
So is a new female role model emerging in Palestinian society to replace the female terrorist as role model?

Hopefully. But not very likely.

First, Al-Atiyat herself is a living product of PA terror education, and her justification for joining the Civil Defense was that “Palestinian women throughout the various stages of the national and historical struggle were at the front of the confrontation” – i.e., with Israel. “The struggle” is the PA euphemism for fighting Israel – including with terror - and Al-Atiyat seems to be indicating that female terrorists served as her own role models.

What is more, a recent interview with another woman, former PLO diplomat and engineer Raqiya Al-Ali, indicated that female terrorists are still being highlighted as role models. Al-Ali stressed that Palestinian women are “among the strongest women in the world” because in addition to the traditional roles, they are also “comrades in arms” and participate in terror attacks – “military operations and hijackings”:
Former PLO diplomat and engineer Raqiya Al-Ali: “The Palestinian women are among the strongest women in the world. Why? Because the yoke borne by the Palestinian women is heavier than that borne by any other women… [The Palestinian women] are also comrades in arms. Let us not forget that there are female Palestinian pioneers who led military operations (i.e., terror attacks) and hijacked planes.”
[Official PA TV, Female Palestinian Expatriates, Aug. 28, 2023]

Should a new role model gain popularity in the shape of fire fighter Norhan Al-Atiyat, it will still take perhaps decades to compete with the brainwashing of the Palestinian public that female terrorists are the pinnacle of Palestinian women. These terrorists include murderer Dalal Mughrabi, who led the most lethal terror attack against Israel in which 37 were murdered including 12 children, and female plane hijackers like Teresa Halsa and Laila Khaled. Palestinian Media Watch exposed that on Palestinian Women’s Day 2022, then Director of PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs Qadri Abu Bakr singled out these female terrorists, terrorsit murderers, and airplane hijackers as role models:
MEMRI: Palestinian Terror Organizations Incite On Social Media: The Time Has Come To Kill The Jews
Amid a wave of terror attacks against Israelis, the Palestinian terror organizations – Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (the military wing of Fatah, the ruling party in the Palestinian Authority) – have been waging an intensive incitement campaign on social media, praising the terrorists and calling for further attacks.[1] This incitement takes the form of messages, videos and graphics on social media calling to kill the Jews by every means, such as stabbing, car-ramming, shooting and bombing. Some of the posts are accompanied by Quranic verses about fighting the infidels.

The following are examples from the recent days:
"Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades – Beit Ummar" Telegram Channel: "The Time Come To Kill The Jews"

A September 4, 2023 message on the Telegram channel "Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades – Beit Ummar" called to kill Jews by stabbing them, running them over, etc. The message starts with a verse from the Quran (8:17): " And you did not kill them, but it was Allah who killed them. And you threw not, [O Muhammad], when you threw, but it was Allah who threw that He might test the believers with a good test. Indeed, Allah is Hearing and Knowing." This is followed by a "brief military announcement from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade," stating, "O heroes of the [West] Bank, stab [them]. O heroes of Hebron, run [them] over. O heroes of Jenin, bomb [them]. O heroes of Jerusalem, the land is your land, what are you waiting for[?] The time has come to kill the Jews.[2] Avenge our women in Hebron and Al-Aqsa.[3] Chop off the hand extended [to harm us], strike them in the depth [of their territory]. Beware of having mercy on any of them. Fight the enemies of Allah."[4]

The post on the "Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades – Beit Ummar" Telegram channel

A post on the "Pulse of the Brigades" Telegram channel, identified with the PIJ,[5] also included the words "What are you waiting for? The time has come to kill the Jews."[6] It was accompanied by a video showing footage of shooting and stabbing attacks, with text saying, "The time has come for you to carry out your attack… Strike and have no mercy. Strike now, do not wait for tomorrow."[7]

Video Posted On Telegram Channel Of Hamas Mouthpiece: Carry Out Attacks, "Do Not Wait For A Decision From Anyone"

On September 6, 2023, the Telegram channel of Hamas' mouthpiece Al-Risalah posted a video featuring excerpts from an April 30, 2022 speech by Hamas official Yahya Al-Sinwar and footage of several recent attacks."[8] In this speech Al-Sinwar called on the Palestinians to attack Israelis by all possible means, saying that whoever doesn't have a gun can use a knife or meat cleaver instead. He also encouraged the terrorists to act on their own initiative, as "lone wolves," and said, "Do not wait for decision from anyone."[9]
Islamic Movement inciting anti-Jewish unrest ahead of Rosh Hashanah
The Islamic Movement in Israel, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, is upping its efforts to incite anti-Jewish unrest ahead of the High Holiday season, which kicks off this weekend with Rosh Hashanah, JNS has learned.

Sheikh Kamal Khatib, deputy chairman of the outlawed Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement, on Saturday urged his followers on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, to “keep their eyes on Al-Aqsa,” referring to the mosque located atop Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.

“For weeks, in fact for months now, the Jewish religious communities have been calling on and mobilizing people to raid the blessed Al-Aqsa mosque,” declared Khatib in a video filmed on the Temple Mount that was seen by thousands of social media users.

He continued: “They are calling for the demolition of our blessed Al-Aqsa mosque at the beginning of a new Hebrew year. You want to start a new Hebrew year by violating the sanctity of our blessed Al-Aqsa mosque?”

In the recording, Khatib also charged the Israeli government with waging a religious war. “Remain certain and confident that we are closer to liberation, inshallah [God-willing],” he assured Palestinians.

JNS reached out to the Israel Police requesting clarification as to why Khatib is permitted to spread incitement from atop the Temple Mount.

Khatib’s remarks closely resembled rhetoric used by the Hamas terrorist group, the Palestinian affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood, with official Haroun Nasser al-Din warning on Sept. 11 that Israel was planning to “exploit the ‘Jewish holidays’ to carry out raids on the Al-Aqsa mosque.”

Hamas’s UAV fleet bears the fingerprints of Iran
Aerial activity over the Gaza Strip in recent weeks has rekindled concerns in Israel regarding Hamas’s capabilities with regard to unmanned aerial vehicles.

On Aug. 21, the Israel Defense Forces monitored and attempted to intercept a UAV over Gaza near (but which had not penetrated) Israeli airspace. The IDF said at the time that it was unclear whether the drone had been downed.

While the UAV did not pose an immediate threat to Israeli civilians and triggered no alerts, the incident served as a reminder that Hamas’s engineers are working around the clock, with Iranian assistance, to bolster the terror faction’s capabilities in this field.

Tal Inbar, a senior research fellow at the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, a nonprofit organization that promotes public support for missile defense systems, noted that this was not the first time Hamas has fielded UAVs.

“Hamas has a number of models that have a very similar appearance to UAVs in the possession of Hezbollah, and in principle one can say that the inspiration for them is Iran,” he told JNS.

While it remains uncertain which elements of Hamas’s drone program are smuggled in from Iran and which are assembled in Gaza, it is beyond doubt that Iranian know-how is fueling Hamas’s UAV fleet build-up, he said.

“We saw in the past an armed UAV in Gazan skies, armed with what looked like small missiles,” said Inbar, adding that it is unknown whether Hamas is using such systems operationally.

Hamas also has a UAV “very similar” in design to an Israel Aerospace Industries model no longer in use, he noted, adding, “The similarity is likely not coincidental.”
Palestinian factions in Gaza run a military drill including shooting rockets out to sea
Tuesday morning Palestinian factions in Gaza began a military drill simulating a broad escalation with Israel. The exercise comes a day after Qatari envoy leaves the Gaza strip after trying to mediate and lower tensions. i24NEWS Middle East Correspondent Ariel Oseran breaks this down

PeOcupiedTerritory: Only Lasting Palestinian Contribution To World Culture: Need For Airport Security (satire)
Travelers around the world continued to marvel today at the sole lasting significant phenomena produced by the movement to deny Jews sovereignty in their ancestral homeland: the drudgery of airport screening measures, invasive rifling through bags, emptying of pockets, Barring of liquids from carry-on bags, annoying swipes with security wands, and other exasperating, expensive, and time-consuming experiences developed to counter the tactics of the movement’s pioneers.

The Palestinian national movement, which came into being as a response to Zionism, in an effort to undo the unacceptable existence of Jews not under Islamic domination, has employed numerous stratagems to further its aims. These have included shooting at Jews, stabbing Jews, bombing Jews, boycotting Jews, inciting violence against Jews, slandering Jews, and in general fomenting mistreatment of Jews. None of those measures, however, are unique to the Islamic world. The one that does stand out as uniquely Palestinian in the popular consciousness will forever remain the hijacking of aircraft as a tool for blackmail.

Palestinians and their allies were not the first to hijack airplanes. Their chief exploits as remembered nevertheless do not include any characteristic constructive or beautiful contributions to mankind, in contrast to what humans have come to expect of any other culture, certainly one as ancient and indigenous as Palestinians claim to be to the Levant. Still, while hijacking was not a Palestinian invention, Palestinians hijacked the phenomenon and made it their own. The spate of Palestinian and pro-Palestinian hijackings of international airliners in the 1960’s and 70’s may have failed to achieve the stated goals of each operation, but they did inspire 9/11, the shoe bomber, and of course the underwear bomber, possibly the most suitable metaphor for the entire Palestinian nationalist movement’s leadership decisions, all the more because he was not Palestinian in origin, like the Palestinian flag, or indeed Palestinian nationalism itself.

Despite the non-Palestinian origins of airplane hijacking, the phenomenon has attained immortality as the sine qua non of Palestinian “resistance’ operations – representing not only the only significant lasting Palestinian contribution to world culture, but the only successful instance of Palestinians asserting dominance over something and have it become theirs in the mind of the rest of humanity.

Seth Frantzman: Hezbollah built terror museum as Lebanon crumbles
Fighting this week killed five people and injured dozens at Ain al-Hilweh in Lebanon. This is a small city that is often referred to as a “refugee camp.” Its residents are Palestinians who have been denied rights by Lebanon for seven decades. Increasingly, armed groups in the city have been fighting each other using illegally obtained weapons. The Lebanese army, which is often funded and backed by the West, does not intervene to bring peace and security for civilians.

Meanwhile the terrorist group Hezbollah has been showcasing a new museum. According to the Christian Science Monitor, “confidence is on display at a Hezbollah museum that opened last week in the hills above Baalbek, an ancient Phoenician and Roman city in the Bekaa Valley. The museum is built on a site where Israeli commandos landed by helicopter for a brief mission in 2006 and took selfies.”

The two areas are around a two hour drive from one another. One represents how Lebanon has been drained of security and resources and abandoned by its own government, while the other represents how Iran controls Lebanon via Hezbollah and how Hezbollah has become basically the official government of the country.

Hezbollah showing off as a pseudo-government
Government authorities establish museums of the kind Hezbollah has. The Hezbollah museum has armored vehicles and missiles on display and flies flags of Hezbollah and Lebanon. There is basically an arsenal at the Hezbollah museum, showcasing how it has all the authority of a government, including the keeping of tanks and air defense missiles. Governments maintain tanks and fight wars, and that is what Hezbollah is showcasing and bragging about.

This kind of transition to a government institutional role has been a slow process for decades. It has involved creating its own communications networks and health care and financial services. It also involves using its status in parliament to engage in border disputes with Israel. It also brags about helping to dictate a maritime border deal between Israel and Lebanon. At each stage it increases its power over the country.

Afghan Human Rights in ‘State of Collapse’ Two Years After Biden’s Bungled Withdrawal
The U.N. rights chief accused Afghanistan's ruling Taliban on Tuesday of a "shocking level of oppression" of women and girls and said human rights in the country were in a state of collapse.

The Islamist Taliban regained power in August 2021 after a two-decade insurgency against the Western-backed government and have deeply restricted the rights and freedoms of women and girls through bans on education and work.

"Human rights in Afghanistan are in a state of collapse, acutely affecting the lives of millions of women, men, girls and boys," U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk told the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

"The shocking level of oppression of Afghan women and girls is immeasurably cruel," he added.

The Taliban seized power in August 2021, following the Biden administration's disastrous withdrawal from the country. Amid the pullout, 13 U.S. service members were killed in an ISIS suicide-bombing, and the United States killed 10 civilians in Kabul in a botched drone strike.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday defended the administration's "incredibly difficult" decision to withdraw, saying the White House would work to hold the Taliban accountable for women's and girls' rights .

A Taliban spokesperson was not immediately available for comment. The Taliban say they respect women's rights in line with their interpretation of Islamic law and local custom.
FDD: Can Zelensky Save the UN Missile Embargo on Iran?
The UK, France, and Germany are just six weeks away from a major betrayal of Ukraine. A deal is about to expire that will empower radical Islamists in Tehran to transfer ballistic missiles to Russia for use against the Ukrainian people. President Volodymyr Zelensky has the power to stop it from happening, but to do so he’ll need to pressure London, Paris, and Berlin to trigger the snapback of United Nations (UN) sanctions on Iran.

While the 2015 Iran nuclear deal is effectively dead, the UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) that endorsed the deal is alive and well. UNSCR 2231 repealed and replaced all prior resolutions on Iran, eliminating an international demand for the regime to halt its enrichment of uranium and abandoning an outright prohibition on its testing of nuclear-capable missiles. It also established a timeline for other UN sanctions on Iran to expire, ending a conventional arms embargo in October 2020 and terminating a missile embargo in October 2023 – next month.

Over the last year, Iran has transferred hundreds of armed drones to Russia for use inside Ukraine with thousands more planned. These drones have inflicted enormous damage and terrorized civilian populations. Russia is reportedly now domestically producing Iranian drones as well. When the missile embargo expires, Iran may consider transferring short-range ballistic missiles, too.

Ukrainian leaders may not believe these UN restrictions matter much, but they do. Believe it or not, Russian and Iranian propaganda rely heavily on international law to claim legitimacy in their illicit conduct.

Take the transfer of Iranian drones to Russia, for example. Tehran and Moscow argue that the UN conventional arms embargo that expired in 2020 covered such drone transfers – not the missile embargo that’s set to expire in October. The West disagrees, arguing the missile embargo language is broad enough to cover missile-carrying drones.

Who’s right won’t matter much in a few weeks. Come October, Russia and Iran will say to the West: We never believed the missile embargo covered these drones, but now that the missile embargo has expired, even the US and Europe must admit the transfer of both drones and missiles is fully permitted by the UN.
Congress Has a Chance to Stop a Bad Iran Deal
Last week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that Tehran has increased its reserve of highly enriched uranium, making it that much closer to producing nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, the White House seems intent on negotiating an informal agreement that would exchange some $16 billion of sanctions relief for only an incremental slowing of nuclear progress—and that’s if the ayatollahs adhere to their end of the bargain. Andrea Stricker writes:

Washington is squandering valuable financial leverage while Iran expands its nuclear program—and the Biden administration is setting itself up for future extortion when the regime uses its nuclear program to demand more concessions.

Tehran, [for its part], did not comply with [the] reported administration demand that it cease deploying new sets of planned, faster centrifuges to enrich uranium. Iran installed one new set and still has thousands of the machines stockpiled or enriching. Moreover, despite Washington’s demand that Tehran cooperate with the IAEA on a separate inquiry into two sites where the regime allegedly carried out nuclear weapons work or stored related equipment, the IAEA reports there has been no progress.

These failures suggest not only that Iran remains motivated to continue covert nuclear-weapons work, but that it is unwilling to abide by the most basic of Biden’s terms.

The good news is that Congress can exercise its oversight rights to ascertain the extent of Washington’s understandings and sanctions-relief plans with Tehran. . . . Under the 2015 Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA), Congress can demand that the administration transmit for review any nuclear agreement, and the law defines “agreement” broadly enough to include informal or unwritten arrangements.
Iran Can Produce 10 Nuclear Bombs in 4 Months, Watchdog Says
Iran now has the capacity to fuel 6 nuclear warheads in 1 month’s time, and 10 within 4 months, according to an analysis of the latest data released by a nuclear watchdog.

Iran has the resources and technical know-how to "produce enough [weapons-grade uranium] for six nuclear weapons in one month, eight in two months, nine in three months, and ten in four months," according to the Institute for Science and International Security, a think tank that reviewed the latest disclosures about Tehran’s atomic stockpile from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

This is significantly faster than the three-to-four months it would have taken Iran to build just one nuclear weapon in 2020 when economic sanctions were at their strictest before the Biden administration took office. Now, it would take Iran just 12 days to produce the fuel needed for its first nuclear warhead and a total of six by the end of one month. This also is an increase from May 2023 estimates when it was thought Iran had enough uranium to power five nuclear weapons.

Iran has been growing its stockpile of highly enriched uranium since President Joe Biden took office and restarted diplomacy over a revamped version of the 2015 nuclear pact. In addition to not enforcing key sanctions on Iran—providing it access to nearly $45 billion in oil revenue—the administration recently freed up an additional $16 billion, a portion of which was the result of a hostage deal with the hardline regime.
IAEA head says he’s concerned world losing interest in Iran nuclear escalation
The head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog says he is concerned the international community is losing interest in holding Iran to account over its advancing nuclear program.

The comments follow an easing of tensions between Iran and the United States, which announced a prisoner swap last month.

Last week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in confidential reports seen by AFP that Iran had made “no progress” on several outstanding nuclear issues.

IAEA director general Rafael Grossi says he has noticed a “decrease in interest” from IAEA member states, without naming them.

“There is a certain routinization of what is going on there [in Iran] and I am concerned about this, because the issues are as valid today as they were before,” he tells reporters on the first day of the IAEA board of governors’ meeting in Vienna.
Biden Admin OKs $6 Billion Transfer to Iran for Release of American Prisoners
The United States waived sanctions to allow the transfer of $6 billion in Iranian funds from South Korea to Qatar, a step needed to carry out a previously announced U.S.-Iran prisoner swap, according to a U.S. document seen by Reuters on Monday.

The broad outlines of the U.S.-Iran deal under which five U.S. citizens detained by Iran would be allowed to leave in exchange for the transfer of the funds and the release of five Iranians held in the United States were made public on Aug. 10.

According to the State Department document seen by Reuters, Secretary of State Antony Blinken determined that waiving the sanctions was in the national security interests of the United States.

The document sent to U.S. congressional committees marks the first time the U.S. government has formally acknowledged it is releasing five Iranians detained in the United States as part of the agreement to secure the freedom of the five U.S. citizens.

"To facilitate their release, the United State has committed to release five Iranian nationals currently detained in the United States and to permit the transfer of approximately $6 billion in Iranian funds held in restricted accounts in the (Republic of Korea) to restricted accounts in Qatar, where the funds will be available only for humanitarian trade," it said.

The document said the transfer of funds would only provide "limited benefit to Iran" since the funds can only be used for humanitarian trade.

"Allowing these funds to be transferred from restricted Iranian accounts held in the (Republic of Korea) to accounts in Qatar for humanitarian trade is necessary to facilitate the release of these U.S. citizens," the document said.

New Murals in Israel Honor Anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s Death, Victims of Iranian Protests
Four new murals will be unveiled in Israel this week to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the death of Jina “Mahsa” Amini, the 22-year-old Kurdish woman who was arrested and allegedly tortured by the Iranian regime’s morality police for improperly wearing her hijab, or head covering, sparking historic anti-government protests across Iran.

Iranian-American filmmaker Hooman Khalil helped produce, fund, and design the murals, which will debut in the Israeli cities of Jerusalem, Haifa, and Tel Aviv. The murals will pay tribute to Amini’s death on Sept. 16, 2022, but also include images of over 1,000 other Iranians who were killed or imprisoned by the Iranian regime since the start of the demonstrations.

More than 500 people were killed by security forces while over 22,000 were detained as part of Iran’s crackdown on demonstrators. “Women, Life, Freedom” has become the unofficial slogan of the ongoing female-led protests and will also be featured in the new murals.

“This moment, among countless others, reminds us of the pervasive injustice faced by the citizens of Iran every single day,” Khalili said in a statement. “I want these more than 1,000 Iranians and their families to know that we stand in solidarity with them and believe in a future where they will be free, without the threat of imprisonment.”

The first mural will be unveiled in Tel Aviv at 5 Shvil Hamifal St on Tuesday. Two murals will debut the next day in Haifa — at the Hecht Museum at Haifa University and at 10 Wadi Salib — and then the fourth mural will be unveiled on Thursday in Mevasseret Zion near Jerusalem at Harel Middle School. The unveiling ceremonies will be attended by local officials as well as Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem Fleur Hassan Nahum and journalist Emily Schrader, both of whom helped Khalili bring the murals to Israel.

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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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