Thursday, September 21, 2023

From Ian:

Col Kemp: Biden needs Netanyahu for a foreign policy success
It is Saudi Arabia that Biden has his sights on to salvage his foreign policy train wreck in time for the 2024 election. Specifically, he wants to normalize relations between Riyadh and Jerusalem, and for that he needs Netanyahu. Of course he is pushing on an open door, because an agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia would be a historic game-changer.

It is possible as well, and in Biden’s requisite time frame, although some believe King Salman might veto it, effectively deferring normalization until Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince, accedes to the throne and maybe Biden has left the stage.

Irrespective of that, MbS has a price: US security guarantees, assistance with a civilian nuclear program and access to advanced weaponry. Some of this will need Israel to bite the bullet, but it will be willing to do that given the prize.

More challenging will be substantive Israeli concessions toward the Palestinians and that is above all what Biden needs from Netanyahu. Biden’s real objective here is to go down as the man who advanced “peace” between Israel and the Palestinians. Never mind that history has shown us time and again that successive Palestinian leaders gobble up anything Israel concedes, while giving nothing in return, and certainly not an end to conflict. But for the White House it is all about short term optics and piling up capital for the election.

In his meeting with Netanyahu, Biden no doubt played the Palestinian issue up as some kind of Saudi red line and the White House has probably been pushing MbS in that direction. But while the Saudis would no doubt want some kind of pro forma undertaking by Israel for the sake of presentation, the other three conditions are what they really want. The Saudi’s under the table backing for the original Abraham Accords in the face of stiff Palestinian rejection shows us where its priorities lie.

The other major issue discussed between Biden and Netanyahu is Iran. Biden wants to rehabilitate in some form the flawed Obama nuclear deal that Trump rightly discarded, both to chalk up what he thinks he can portray as another foreign policy “success” before the election and also as the final rebuke to Trump of his presidency.

So desperate has the White House been to resurrect the nuclear deal that in June and July $10 billion of frozen Iranian assets were released and just this week another $6.5 billion were freed up. Some believe that Washington plans a total of $50 billion of sanctions relief by the end of this game.

That amounts to naked bribery for a deal that is not worth the paper it’s printed on and like Obama’s Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) will make the world, and especially Israel, a more dangerous place. It also amounts to rewarding Iranian abetment of Russian war crimes in Ukraine. The ayatollahs have supplied thousands of Shahed attack drones to Moscow, with the specific purpose not of fighting on the battlefield but of killing and terrorizing civilians in Ukrainian cities.

Iran’s drone supply is illegal under UN Security Council Resolution 2331 endorsing the JCPOA and should have triggered snap-back sanctions against Iran; not the opposite, which is being done. This appeasement is another mark of Biden’s desperation, that a meaningless nuclear deal trumps what is supposed to be one of America’s main foreign policy objectives — supporting Ukraine against Russian aggression.

As he went into the meeting with Biden, Netanyahu spoke of the need for a credible military threat against Iran. No doubt behind closed doors he argued strongly for that, as well as the crippling sanctions he also mentioned. But neither will happen under Biden, whose undertaking to “ensure that Iran never, never acquires a nuclear weapon” represents demonstrably empty words.

With a craven - or perhaps more accurately an electoral - opportunist White House, Israel remains alone in countering Iran’s nuclear threat, albeit with Saudi and other Arab countries cheering behind the scenes. This meeting won’t have changed that. We must hope, however, that Netanyahu has been able to persuade Biden of the electoral benefit to him of settling for a historic peace between Israel and Saudi rather than holding out for the unobtainable jackpot of a two state solution.
President Biden Should Learn the Lessons of Past U.S. Attempts to Solve the Israel-Palestinian Conflict
In his speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Joe Biden addressed a host of international issues, mentioning, inter alia, the “positive and practical impacts” resulting from “Israel’s greater normalization and economic connection with its neighbors.” He then added that the U.S. will “continue to work tirelessly to support a just and lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians—two states for two peoples.” Zach Kessel experiences some déjà vu:
Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and review how past U.S.-brokered talks between Jerusalem and [Palestinian leaders] have gone down, starting with 1991’s Madrid Conference, organized by then-President George H.W. Bush. . . . Though the talks, which continued through the next year, didn’t get anywhere concrete, many U.S. officials and observers across the world were heartened by the fact that Madrid was the first time representatives of both sides had met face to face. And then Palestinian militants carried out the first suicide bombing in the history of the conflict.

Then, in 1993, Bill Clinton tried his hand with the Oslo Accords:
In the period of time directly after the Oslo Accords . . . suicide bombings on buses and in crowded public spaces became par for the course. Clinton invited then-Palestinian Authority chairman Yasir Arafat and then-Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak to Camp David in 2000, hoping finally to put the conflict to rest. Arafat, who quite clearly aimed to extract as many concessions as possible from the Israelis without ever intending to agree to any deal—without even putting a counteroffer on the table—scuttled any possibility of peace. Of course, that’s not the most consequential event for the conflict that occurred in 2000. Soon after the Camp David Summit fell apart, the second intifada began. Since Clinton, each U.S. president has entered office hoping to put together the puzzle that is an outcome acceptable to both sides, and each has failed. . . . Every time a deal has seemed to have legs, something happens—usually terrorist violence—and potential bargains are scrapped. What, then, makes Biden think this time will be any different?
JPost Editorial: Israel must not let the Oslo Accords wither away
Everyone from US President Joe Biden, to Jordan’s King Abdullah, to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has raised the importance of finding a solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a prerequisite for stability in the region and for progress with Israel’s normalization efforts with Saudi Arabia.

Biden, in his speech to the General Assembly on Tuesday, said “Israel’s greater normalization and economic connection with its neighbors deliver positive and practical impacts even as we continue to work tirelessly for just and lasting peace, for Israelis and Palestinians, two states for two peoples.”

Abdullah, noting that “five million Palestinians live under occupation,” stressed that a two-state resolution to the conflict remained the only viable option.

“Without clarity on where the Palestinian future lies, it’s impossible to converge on a political solution to this conflict,” he said.

Erdogan, in his UNGA address, said that “without the realization of an independent and integrated Palestinian state, based on the 1967 borders, it is difficult for Israel to find the peace and security it seeks.”

Is it all just lip service, the one time in the year that the friends of the Palestinians trot out heartfelt calls for Palestinian statehood, while ignoring the issue the rest of the time? Or should Israel, intent on a deal with Saudi Arabia and increased integration in the Arab world, take these words to heart?

The latter track is the smarter one.

Thirty years after the Oslo Accords were born, there is much talk about its death. However, there is presently no alternative plan to end the conflict between the two peoples who covet the same land.

“I have not given up on peace. I remain committed to a vision of peace based on two states for two peoples. I believe as never before that changes taking place in the Arab world today offer a unique opportunity to advance that peace.”

Brig.-Gen. (res.) Amir Avivi: Negotiating with the PLO instead of Local Leaders Has Led to an Intractable Conflict
The creation of Palestinian autonomy (or as Yitzhak Rabin repeatedly called it, "less than a state") was part of the peace agreement Menachem Begin forged between Israel and Egypt. But the decision to negotiate with the Palestine Liberation Organization, a bloodthirsty terror organization devoted to the destruction of Israel, was an act of sheer folly. Viable alternatives existed, first and foremost, local leaders in the Arab cities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

The implementation of the Oslo Accords in 1994 began with the Israel Defense Forces' withdrawal from city centers in Gaza. Arafat and the PLO immediately started building a domestic military industry to produce rockets, explosives and mortars and to dig tunnels. In seven years, Gaza went from the stone age to firing rockets.

Israel soon faced an unprecedented wave of suicide murderers and other terrorists. To restore security, Israel was forced to reconquer the city centers through Operation Defensive Shield, after more than 1,000 Israeli civilians had been murdered.

Israel unwittingly allowed the creation of a global terrorist network that directs international efforts to challenge Israel's legitimacy and fuels anti-Semitism. The Arab citizens of Israel are now subject to intense Palestinian propaganda, while international funds provided to the Palestinian Authority support terror activities and the gradual takeover of Judea and Samaria. The Palestinian curriculum is rife with Israel-hatred, creating generations of future terrorists and diminishing the prospects of future peace.

The idea behind the Oslo Accords might have been noble, but the implementation was deeply flawed.
Bassam Tawil: Palestinians: Israeli Concessions Are a Sign of Weakness
On the 18th anniversary of Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, the Iran-backed Palestinian terror groups are still talking about the need to step up attacks against Israel until the "liberation of all of Palestine," from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

These groups still see Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip not as a humanitarian gift to allow the Gazans to build the "Singapore of the Middle East," as former Israeli President Shimon Peres put it, but instead as the beginning of the Palestine Liberation Organization's 1974 "Ten Point Plan" (also known as the "phased plan") for the "comprehensive liberation" of all the land stretching "from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea" -- a euphemism for the elimination of Israel. The Plan essentially states that the Palestinians should take whatever land they are given and use it as a launching pad for getting the rest.

Hamas and other Palestinians never saw the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip as a sign that Israel seeks to live in peace and coexistence with its Arab neighbors. On the contrary, they saw the withdrawal as an Israeli retreat -- a defeat in the face of a massive wave of terrorism.

The message the Palestinians came away with was not that the Israelis had given them land in the hope of peace, but rather: "We were shooting and they ran away, so let's keep on shooting and they will keep on running away!"

The Palestinian terror groups are trying to drive Jews out of the West Bank through drive-by shootings, stabbings, rockets and car-rammings. They want to turn the West Bank into another launching pad for attacking Israel the same way they did with the Gaza Strip.

To this day, many Palestinians, not only in Hamas, continue to view the Israeli disengagement as a direct result of terrorism. They use the Arabic term indihar -- defeat -- to describe the Israeli withdrawal from the entire Gaza Strip.

Hamas arch-terrorist Mohammed Def recently reminded everyone that as far as his group is concerned, the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip marks the beginning of the first "phase" toward destroying Israel.

For the Palestinians, acquiring the Gaza Strip, was, it seems, merely a taste. In their words, they want the West Bank, Jerusalem and the whole of Israel. They want all "settlers" removed not only from the Gaza Strip, but also from the West Bank, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and all of Israel. In their view, "all of Israel" is just one big settlement.

The Biden administration and other international parties that continue to promote the idea of a "two-state solution" are simply empowering Iran's Palestinian proxies and encouraging them to pursue their "phased plan" to increase terrorism, destroy Israel and replace it with yet another Islamist state.
In Judea and Samaria, the Post-Abbas Era Has Already Begun
On Tuesday, Israeli security forces conducted a counter-terror raid in the Jenin refugee camp, the epicenter of terrorism in Judea and Samaria. Israeli forces were engaged by Palestinian gunmen and returned fire, also deploying a Spike Firefly loitering munition. Palestinians detonated an explosive device under an IDF vehicle, and targeted rescue vehicles sent to assist it. Four Palestinian terrorists were killed in the raid.

The Israeli operation came after an attempt by the PA to regain a degree of control in Jenin following a large IDF operation there in July.

Already, sub-factions within the PA are behaving like the post-Abbas era has arrived, with some acting independently to build support among armed militias. Israel's response has been to create a capability to disrupt terrorism irrespective of the PA's political and internal security dynamics. Those preparations also take into account Iran's growing role in Judea and Samaria, which finds expression through terrorist financing and the smuggling of weapons. Israel is taking preemptive action to prevent a third intifada, identifying and disrupting threats as they materialize.
Caroline Glick: The Netanyahu-MBS partnership comes into full view
Given the U.S.’s position, MBS could have been expected to talk about a “two-state solution,” as Biden and his advisers do incessantly. He might have been expected to set out precisely where Israel is supposed to surrender territory to the Palestinians.

Baier pressed MBS on the Palestinian issue. MBS’s responses signaled strongly that he is adhering to the Abraham Accords framework.

MBS, to be sure, insisted that “the Palestinian issue is very important.” But notably, he never mentioned a Palestinian state or a two-state solution. He never mentioned Israeli territorial concessions. He certainly didn’t portray Israel as an obstacle to peace. Instead, he focused on Israel.

MBS said that the Saudis “hope to reach a peace where it will ease the lives of the Palestinians and get Israel as a player in the Middle East.”

Israel is the “player,” the sought-after partner. The Palestinians need to be helped.

By the time MBS’s interview was broadcast, Netanyahu’s visit was already a massive and, in many ways, shocking success. As he prepared for his trip, Netanyahu faced two major challenges: A hostile Biden administration and a massively funded group of Israeli anarchists who hoped to capitalize on his visit to escalate their now ten-month political war against him and his government. When Netanyahu flew to San Francisco on Sunday night, it was far from clear that he would survive their multi-million-dollar campaign to demonize and discredit him.

By Thursday morning, it was fairly clear that the anarchists were a spent force, even if they didn’t realize it. Netanyahu had restored his position in the first row of global statesmen.

Baier asked MBS twice if he believed that he can do a deal with Netanyahu. The question was not explicit. But it was obvious that Baier was asking MBS what he thought of the left’s efforts to sow domestic chaos by claiming that Netanyahu’s electoral victory is unacceptable. MBS wouldn’t take the bait. He responded that he will deal with whoever is the leader of Israel. In other words: Of course he can make a deal with Netanyahu. That’s who he’s negotiating with.

During Israel’s 2014 war against the Hamas terror state in Gaza, Obama tried to force Netanyahu to succumb to Hamas’ ceasefire demands. He was blindsided when Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt all stood with Israel against Hamas (and Obama) and rejected Hamas’ stipulations.

Wednesday may be remembered as the day the MBS-Netanyahu partnership came into full view. With Netanyahu at Biden’s side in New York and MBS on American television, the two leaders explained what can happen if the U.S. stands with its allies and what will happen if America stands instead with Iran.
Saudi crown prince: Israel normalization ‘getting closer every day’
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) in an interview that aired on Wednesday shot down reports that U.S.-led talks over normalization with Israel had been suspended.

In an hour-long interview with Fox News‘ chief political correspondent Bret Baier—MBS’s first ever interview completely in English and the first with a major American network since 2019—the crown prince said that peace with the Jewish state was “getting closer every day.”

Asked what it would take for Riyadh to join the Abraham Accords, MBS emphasized that it would happen “with the support from President Biden’s administration to get to that point.”

MBS continued, “For us, the Palestinian issue is very important. We need to solve that part. We have good negotiations. It continues to now. We will see where it will go. We hope that it will reach a place that it will ease the life of the Palestinians and get Israel as a player in the Middle East.”

Baier then asked about recent media reports that Riyadh had frozen normalization talks.

“Not true,” the crown prince said.

MBS was also asked if he is concerned about Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon.

“We are concerned with any country getting a nuclear weapon. That’s a bad move. You don’t need to get a nuclear weapon because you can’t use it,” he said.

“Even if Iran gets a nuclear weapon—any country that uses a nuclear weapon that means that they are having a war with the rest of the world. The world cannot see another Hiroshima. If the world sees 100,000 people dead, that means you are in a war with the rest of the world,” he added.

He was then asked if Saudi Arabia would pursue nuclear weapons should Iran get them.

“If they get one, we have to get one,” MBS replied.

Front and center at Biden-Netanyahu meeting was Saudi-Israel normalization
Geopolitical analyst Abdulla Aljenaid and Israeli diplomat Mark Regev join to discuss the requirement of a Palestinian component to any normalization deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

CallMeBack PodCast: Will Saudi Arabia’s MBS save Israel from its political crack-up? With Micah Goodman
Are you pessimistic about Israel’s future? My new book – which I wrote with my “Start-Up Nation” co-author Saul Singer – should give you reason for optimism. I care deeply about Israel. I’m endlessly fascinated by Israel. I travel to Israel regularly. Some may say this is a fraught period for anyone who cares about Israel. But in our new book, “The Genius of Israel: The Surprising Resilience of a Divided Nation in a Turbulent World,” we write about the health and resilience of Israeli society, a topic that could not be more relevant to this period. You can order the book here:

We have a special pre-order campaign for my podcast listeners. If you order the book between now and this Friday at sundown, simply forward any order confirmation to, and I’ll send you a special chapter sampler that deals with issues debated in Israel – and about Israel – these days.

One of the most illuminating characters in our book is Micah Goodman, who has been on our podcast before. Micah is on the speed-dial of a number of Israeli political leaders. He is a polymath, having written books ranging from biblical lessons for the modern age to Israel’s geopolitics. His books include: “Catch-67: The Left, the Right, and the Legacy of the Six-Day War” and, more recently, “The Wondering Jew: Israel and the Search for Jewish Identity.” Not only have all of his books been bestsellers in Israel, but he essentially created a new genre; books that bring core texts of Jewish thought to a general, secular audience. Micah also hosts the most downloaded podcast in Israel.

In this episode, Micah and I focus on what effects a Saudi-Israel normalization deal could be on Israel’s domestic political crisis. Might MBS help restore some normalcy to Israeli politics?
Israeli UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan interviewed by Amichai Stein: "Israel Has Much More Legitimacy since the Abraham Accords"
Israeli UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan told JNS in an interview: "In the private conversations I conduct, there is an understanding that [the Palestinian issue] should not be an issue and that it's not going to be resolved anytime soon."

"Israel has much more legitimacy since the Abraham Accords. Ambassadors of countries with no relations with Israel have conversations with me and cooperate with us....There are many Muslim countries that feel comfortable participating in Israel's events, for example, in the fields of technology and water."

"Now that the Iranians have reached the point that they are enriching uranium to 60% and their violations of human rights have increased, we hope that the international community's patience will run out. The solution is diplomatic isolation, strong sanctions and a credible military threat."
Israeli, Emirati foreign ministers mark three years since Abraham Accords
Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen met with his Emirati counterpart Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Wednesday.

It was the first face-to-face encounter between the two top diplomats, with the exchange marking three years since Israel and the United Arab Emirates normalized relations as part of the U.S.-brokered Abraham Accords.

According to Israel’s Foreign Ministry, the two men discussed advances in bilateral ties between Israel and the UAE since the White House signing ceremony on Sept. 15, 2020, including in the areas of tourism and trade.

“In the three years since the signing of the Abraham Accords, the relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates are growing and deepening to new achievements and are a model for peace that promotes prosperity and regional stability,” said Cohen.

“We have signed more than 40 agreements with the United Arab Emirates and we continue to expand relations and reach peaks in tourism, trade and joint regional projects. The free-trade agreement will lead to the doubling of trade volumes and the creation of ties between companies in the two countries,” he added.
Prominent Zionists laud Biden’s remark that no Jew anywhere is safe without Israel
US President Joe Biden on Wednesday uttered a remark that few expected to hear from the leader of a country where close to half of the world’s Jewish population lives: He said that without Israel, no Jew anywhere is safe.

“Because even where we have some differences, my commitment to Israel, as you know, is ironclad. I think without Israel, there’s not a Jew in the world who’s secure. I think Israel is essential,” Biden told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, in their first meeting since Netanyahu returned to serving as prime minister in January. The meeting was focused on geopolitics, not the security of world Jewry.

When speaking about Israel, previous US presidents, including Biden, have stressed the United States’ commitment to Israel’s safety, citing shared values and the Jewish state’s significance as a geopolitical ally. But none had tied Israel’s security to the safety of Jews abroad and, by implication, also those in the United States, according to the former head of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham Foxman.

The remark may afford an insight into how Biden, who often reminds listeners that he’s met every Israeli prime minister since Golda Meir, thinks about the Jewish state. But it also touches on one of the most sensitive issues of Jewish communities outside Israel: their own governments’ commitment to their security and religious needs regardless of Israel.

“I think it’s absolutely magnificent for him to understand it and articulate what many of us feel and believe,” Foxman said, referring to Zionist Jews. “It’s the most Zionist thing I’ve ever heard a US president say.”

Usually, Foxman added, “it’s what Israeli leaders are saying, and when they say it, this makes some American Jews uncomfortable.”

Biden calls for Israel to 'uphold democratic values' – is that enough?
Dan Perry, Yonatan Freeman, and Gilad Katz debate where US-Israel relations stand after the meeting between Biden and Netanyahu at the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

Netanyahu demands that Guterres halt ‘baseless’ UN criticism of Israel
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and António Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations, met on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday in New York City.

The Israeli leader stressed Iran’s role in destabilizing the Middle East and the world. He also said that he hopes normalization efforts with Saudi Arabia will succeed and predicted that the economic corridor from India to Europe, which passes through Israel, will “contribute to strengthening the global economy,” per a readout from Netanyahu’s office.

Netanyahu also “demanded” that Guterres “change the attitude of the organization’s institutions towards the State of Israel,” according to the readout, “and said that it was untenable that while major changes for the better were taking place in the entire world and in the Middle East that the U.N. was unaffected and remained steadfast in its hostility to Israel.”

Netanyahu told Guterres that “the time has come for the U.N. to condemn Iranian subversion and Palestinian terrorism against innocent civilians, and to refrain from its baseless criticism of Israel,” the readout added.

Turkey's Erdogan to Jewish leaders: Antisemitism is 'crime against humanity'
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan denounced antisemitism and announced his plans to visit Israel in a meeting with 15 Jewish leaders in New York on Wednesday. The meeting, initiated by President Erdogan, included attendees from the Conference of Presidents and various other Jewish organizations, as well as rabbis, leaders of the Turkish Jewish community, and Turkish Jewish Americans.

"I have an open channel with President [Isaac] Herzog and now I also have an open channel with [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu," he said.

Erdogan added that he was excited to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

William Daroff, the CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (COP) shared his impressions from the meeting with The Jerusalem Post, stating, "Our meeting with President Erdogan was warm and engaging. He reiterated his commitment to fostering a stable and productive relationship with the State of Israel and expressed his determination to combat antisemitism, which he labeled a 'crime against humanity.'

"The hour-long conversation also touched on the upcoming visits of Prime Minister Netanyahu to Turkey and President Erdogan to Israel. The Jewish leaders present pledged their support for these visits and their dedication to further enhancing the relationship," Daroff concluded.

Israelis should carry guns on Yom Kippur, police say
The Israel Police spokesperson suggested that Jews should carry weapons on Yom Kippur in a Tuesday press statement.

The recommendation came in a message regarding police preparedness as the approach of the Jewish High Holy Days brings increased security risk in a Tuesday press statement.

As part of the measures that the public should take, he emphasized was for citizens to carry weapons and be trained in their use.

The Israel Police spokesperson, Commander Eli Levi, noted the police were ramping up their preparedness at key locations across Israel.

“As every year, in preparation for the High Holy Days, the level of readiness has been increased in certain areas, with an emphasis on cities such as Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and prayer and entertainment venues,” Levi said.

He went on to assert that in the weeks leading up to the High Holy Days, Israel faces more severe threats to public safety as a result of crime and terror.

“Now, a few days before Yom Kippur and during the holiday season, there are dozens of alerts. Alongside the escalating incitement to terror on social media, this has led the Israel Police to deploy thousands of officers, Border Police, and volunteers,” he stated.

Levi went on to explain that, at this time, the Israeli security apparatus is focusing on stopping terrorist acts before they occur, being able to respond immediately in the event that they do, and doing everything possible to keep the public safe.

MEMRI: Palestinian Officials Defend Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Remarks On Holocaust And Jews: These Are Documented Historical Facts; The West's Condemnations Just Prove Its 'Hypocrisy' And 'Allegiance To World Jewry'
Remarks made by PA President Mahmoud Abbas at the 11th session of Fatah's Revolutionary Council, on August 24, 2023, sparked outrage across the world. Abbas said that Hitler fought the European Jews because they engaged in usury and not out of antisemitism, adding that European Jews are not Semites but descendants of the Khazars. These statements – which garnered attention after they were published by MEMRI[1] – drew condemnations from many Western counties and governments, who called on Abbas to recant them and apologize. For example, the U.S. special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, Deborah Lipstadt, referred to the statements "hateful" and "antisemitic" and urged an immediate apology.[2] The European Union's diplomatic service likewise denounced Abbas' "false and grossly misleading" statements and "historical distortions."[3] Condemnations were also issued by the leaders of Britain, France, Germany and many other countries. The municipality of Paris even stripped Abbas of a medal it had awarded him in 2015 because his comments were "contrary to our universal values and the historical truth of the Shoah."[4]

In response, many Palestinian officials rushed to defend Abbas and to justify his statements about antisemitism and the Jews. They asserted that his claims were "historical facts" documented in books by Jewish, Israeli and American writers and researchers. At the same time they claimed that his comments had been deliberately taken out of context or distorted in order to undermine Abbas' efforts to promote the Palestinian cause. They also asserted that his statements could not be characterized as antisemitism or Holocaust denial because Abbas himself has condemned the Holocaust on more than one occasion. The Palestinian officials slammed the international criticism directed at Abbas, calling it an "insane campaign" and a "conspiracy" aimed at "diverting attention away from the crimes of the occupation," and demanded that the West apologize for its "political and ideological terror" against the Palestinian people and its leadership.

Articles in the Palestinian press took a similar line. Their authors, including former ministers, a former ambassador and various columnists, likewise wrote that Abbas' comments were historical truths backed by research, and that the West's "insane attack" on him, and its false accusations of antisemitism and Holocaust denial, reflected the West's own hypocrisy, its "allegiance to world Jewry" and its desire to cover up its past crimes against the Jews.

Some of the articles repeated claims and allegations made by Abbas in the past about Jews and the Holocaust, for instance his claim about collaboration between the Zionist Movement and the Nazis, which was the topic of his 1982 doctoral dissertation, or his assertion that Israel is perpetrating a holocaust against the Palestinians.[5]

IDF tanks hit Syrian army buildings built to violate disengagement deal
Israel Defense Forces tanks struck two temporary Syrian military structures that it said were built in an area between Israel and Syria in violation of a 1974 Agreement on Disengagement, the IDF Spokesperson said on Thursday.

The IDF said that the strike came after a second structure was identified by surveillance teams in the Golan Heights on Wednesday.

'Syrian regime responsible'
"The IDF considers the Syrian regime responsible for everything that happens in its territory and will not allow attempts to violate the Agreement on Disengagement," said the IDF.

The 1974 agreement established a ceasefire between Israel and Syria a separation zone between the two countries. The areas between the Israeli Line A and Syrian Line B no military forces are permitted to operate. The United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) was tasked to maintain the cease-fire's observation. The tank strike comes a week after a series of reported airstrikes in Syria. A military research facility and airbase near Hama and Tartous air defenses were reportedly hit last Wednesday according to Syrian media and the Alma Research and Education Center. The Syrian state news agency SANA reported two soldiers killed in the alleged Tartous strike.
Israeli injured in ramming attack at Qalandiya crossing
An Israeli was lightly wounded in a car-ramming attack at the Qalandiya crossing between Jerusalem and Ramallah on Thursday.

Magen David Adom emergency medical personnel treated the victim, a civilian security guard in his 30s, for injuries to his lower body before evacuating him to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.

Israeli forces arrested the terrorist. Police said he was a 38-year-old Arab from the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Kafr Aqab.

Investigators found a boxcutter covered with the suspect’s blood inside his vehicle, and after an initial probe concluded he was likely suicidal.

Late last month, an off-duty Israeli soldier was killed and six other persons, including civilians, were wounded when a Palestinian terrorist drove into them with a truck at the Maccabim crossing along Route 443, close to the central city of Modi’in.

A day earlier, an IDF soldier was lightly injured when a Palestinian terrorist rammed his car into a military post near Beit Hagai, close to Hebron in Judea.
Gazan with knives arrested in Tel Aviv, in second such incident in as many days
A Palestinian resident of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip was arrested in Tel Aviv on Thursday in possession of two knives, in the second such incident in as many days.

The 60-year-old suspect was detained after security guards at the Central Bus Station in the city’s south identified the weapons hidden in his bag using scanners at the entrance to the facility.

The weapons confiscated at the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station, Sept. 21, 2023. Credit: Israel Police spokesperson.

On Wednesday, a Palestinian from Gaza was arrested at the Tel Aviv Savidor Central railway station while in possession of a 30-centimeter-long (11.8-inch) butcher’s knife.

The 35-year-old man is a resident of Jabaliya and had a permit to work in Israel, according to police.

Authorities said the suspect tried to hide the knife in a bag he was carrying but security guards spotted him at the entrance to the station.

Also on Wednesday, the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) said that Hamas was behind the attempt earlier this month to smuggle explosives from Gaza into Israel in a shipment of clothing.

Security tensions rise as Palestinians continue to riot on Israel-Gaza border
i24NEWS Correspondent reports live from the border, on what has been the 6th consecutive day of protests against the worsening conditions in the Gaza strip

PMW: Brainwashed and dead: PMW uncovers haunting chat of 16-year-old terrorist “Martyr”
Palestinian Media Watch has uncovered the ominous text messages of 16-year-old singer Milad Mundhir Al-Ra’i who was killed two weeks ago after throwing a Molotov cocktail at Israeli soldiers. PMW has accessed a Telegram channel created to commemorate the child terrorist, which published a screenshot of a chat he had with a friend anticipating his “Martyrdom-death.” Al-Ra’i’s messages to his friend show that he hoped and even planned to “die as a Martyr for Allah.”

First, the young terrorist sent his friend a video with his own picture and a song

celebrating death as a “Martyr” with the words: “Be well, my mother, I will achieve Martyrdom and I will anger the enemies”

Having sent the song, Al-Ra’i texted his friend asking him to publish the video after he “achieved” Martyrdom. The words of the song and the ensuing chat show the results of the systematic PA brainwashing of Palestinian children about the value of “achieving Martyrdom-death”:
Song Lyrics: “Be well, my mother,
I will achieve Martyrdom and I will anger the enemies
I will be an advocate [in Heaven] on the day of meeting
To the pool of [heavenly] waters of true Prophet [Muhammad]”

The chat that followed between teen terrorist Milad Al-Ra’i and his friend:
Milad Al-Ra’i: “When I will have just died as a Martyr publish this (video).”
Friend: “Allah willing, my brother.”
Friend: “You want to leave me?”
Milad Al-Ra’i: “Just come to my grave and tell me whatever you want, think of me as listening to you, and I will be your advocate [on Judgement Day]. What do you want that is better than that?”

[Milad Al-Ra’i, Telegram channel, Sept. 10, 2023]

Prior to leaving to participate in the attack against Israeli soldiers, Al-Ra’i filmed himself putting on a black mask to hide his face. This was also posted on the Milad Al-Ra’i Telegram channel to honor his “Martyrdom.” [Milad Al-Ra’i, Telegram channel, Sept. 10, 2023]

Since 2000, all Israeli governments have followed a plan to increase number of killed Israeli Arabs
Since 2000, all Israeli governments have followed “a plan” to increase number of killed Israeli Arabs in internal crime

Official PA TV program Talk of the Hour, on the surge in Israeli Arab crime, hosting former Israeli Arab Parliament Member and Head of the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel Mohammad Barakeh. The committee is an extra-parliamentary umbrella organization that represents Arab citizens of Israel.

Official PA TV host: “You mentioned that the escalation in crime (i.e., among Israeli Arabs) stems from an [Israeli] governmental plan that has existed since the Al-Aqsa Intifada in October 2000, whose goal is dismantling the [Arab] public and distancing it from its central issue. To what extent is this plan a plan that passes from government to government, an Israeli political plan for more than 20 years?”

Head of the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel and former Israeli MP Mohammad Barakeh: “Clearly it passes from government to government. Since 2000 there have been five or seven governments in Israel. There is a graph [of those killed] that is constantly on the rise, without connection to the ruling government. Under this government there is an awful increase. Last year there was [also] an increase compared to the previous years.” [Official PA TV, Talk of the Hour, Sept. 8, 2023]

Syria’s Assad in China, Seeks Exit From Diplomatic Isolation
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has arrived in China’s eastern city of Hangzhou, kicking off his first visit to the Asian nation since 2004 as he makes further strides to end more than a decade of diplomatic isolation amid Western sanctions.

Assad arrived aboard an Air China plane in a heavy fog, which Chinese state media said “added to the atmosphere of mystery” in a nod to the fact the Syrian leader has seldom been seen outside his country since the start of a civil war that has claimed more than half a million lives.

He is set to attend the opening ceremony of the Asian Games, along with more than a dozen foreign dignitaries, before leading a delegation for meetings in several Chinese cities, including a summit with President Xi Jinping.

Assad will meet Xi on Friday, a day before the Syrian president attends the opening of the games, said a member of the Syrian delegation, which is scheduled to hold other meetings in Beijing on Sunday and Monday.

Being seen alongside China’s president at a regional gathering should add further legitimacy to Syria’s campaign to return to the world stage, during which it has joined China’s Belt and Road Initiative in 2022 and been re-admitted in May to the 22-nation strong Arab League.

“In his third term, Xi Jinping is seeking to openly challenge the United States, so I don’t think it’s a surprise that he is willing to go against international norms and host a leader like Assad,” said Alfred Wu, an associate professor at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore. “It will further marginalize China in the world, but he doesn’t care about this.”

Iran's atomic clock is ticking
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced on Saturday that Iran has decided to cancel the appointments of several experienced agency inspectors, in addition to the cancellation of the appointment of another experienced inspector that was carried out recently and passed relatively quietly. In fact, Iran has decided to remove from its territory about a third of IAEA most experienced inspectors, who have unique knowledge in enrichment technology, who performed essential verification work in the enrichment facilities that are under IAEA control.

The head of the IAEA, Raphael Grossi, said in his statement, in which he strongly condemned Iran's step, that this directly and severely affects the agency's ability to effectively carry out its mission: "I strongly condemn this disproportionate and unprecedented unilateral measure which affects the normal planning and conduct of Agency verification activities in Iran and openly contradicts the cooperation that should exist between the Agency and Iran".

From Grossi's words, it can be concluded that the effectiveness, efficiency, and relevance of the control operations on behalf of the IAEA are questionable and may go down the drain, in light of the well-known and predicted Iranian conduct. As he said: " This profoundly regrettable decision by Iran is another step in the wrong direction and constitutes an unnecessary blow to an already strained relationship between the IAEA and Iran in the implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement. Without effective cooperation, confidence and trust will continue to be elusive and the Agency will not be in a position to discharge effectively its verification mandate in Iran and provide credible assurances that nuclear material and activities in Iran are for peaceful purposes."

The decision of the Iranians at this time is not coincidental, it comes at a subsequent timing to a sequence of events. The first of them happened just a day before, when France, Germany and Great Britain announced the extension of the arms embargo imposed by the Security Council on Iran, which was to expire in about a month, on October 18. The second event happened about three weeks ago, after the submission of a report on the state of nuclear enrichment in Iran, according to which the stockpile of enriched uranium was increased to a level of up to 60%. The third event is the prisoner exchange agreement that was signed between Iran and the United States at the beginning of August and whose implementation actually began this week.
Seth Frantzman: How diplomacy replaced oil as the new 'prize' in the Middle East
NOW LET’S fast forward to 9/11 and the extremism let loose by the rise of al-Qaeda and the global war on terror. For many years, the region was seen as primarily a place where Western concepts such as “counter-insurgency” became the norm.

Western powers retooled their militaries after the 1990s also, focusing on special forces and expensive weapon systems such as the F-22. The US also invested in drones such as the Reaper, good for precision attacks on terror groups, but not of much use against an airspace where other warplanes are present.

Now, in the last half decade, the US has sought to shift its national defense policy to focus on “near-peer” threats, meaning Russia and China. The Middle East was perceived by the Obama and Trump administrations as an area where the US had focused too much.

Now we get to 2023, and the US administration is focused on Saudi ties and also the potential for normalization. The US is also focused on Iran. Washington has shifted some focus away from the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Thirty years after Oslo this makes sense. The “conflict” was a huge drain on resources and time. Now the concepts being discussed are more pragmatic.

Pragmatism underpins the Gulf’s policies as well. That includes ties with India and Eastern Mediterranean states and also initiatives such as I2U2 (India, Israel, US, UAE) and the Negev Forum of regional states.

In fact, “regionalism” is the new term being used in Washington and the Middle East. While some may see regionalism as an extension of the Abraham Accords, Riyadh and others also see it as an opportunity to heal ties with Damascus.

The “prize” today in the region is not oil, but diplomacy. That is why the Arab League is working to reintegrate Syria, and the GCC countries in the Gulf are doing more outreach through meetings in the US, and with China. Many countries in the Middle East are also seeking to join BRICS and even the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

These are all “prizes” similar to the old story about oil in the region. If one looks across the Middle East today, the real story about Saudi Arabia’s policies is that regional diplomacy, linking the Middle East to the world, is the centerpiece of global shifts today.
Iran and Syria reign over the radical Portuguese government
The Iranian regime has been massively growing its influence in Europe, especially in Portugal: its military and intelligence unit has amassed great influence over the Portuguese Soialist-Communist government. Iran is taking advantage of the well-known antisemitism and anti-American feelings of the current Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa.

The close connection between some prominent Portuguese politicians (who are currently in charge) and the Iranian ayatollah regime dates back a while – however, it has become stronger over the last years when Costa and his ideologue, Boaventura de Sousa Santos, took over the country with the full support of the Portuguese communist party.

Unsurprisingly, the Portuguese Socialist government has been using the whole state apparatus to threaten critics of the Iranian and Russian regimes with lawfare strategies, following the classic IRGC-Quds Forces and Putin's playbook. These threats include warnings by Portuguese government officials in case we do not tone down the – and I quote – "Zionist speech." This is just something we would expect not to experience in a Western democracy, let alone in a member-state of the European Union, which requires members to fully respect the principles of the rule of law, separation of powers, and the primacy of human rights – all of which do not currently exist in socialist-communist Portugal.

The main victim of the Costa government antisemitism was the Jewish community, which was a target of an operation only possible in a preposterous totalitarian regime.

Lebanon is a junior partner of Iranian IRGC-Quds forces in Portugal, identifying opponents of both Iran and Hezbollah, collecting personal data, and infiltrating key positions within the Portuguese government. Portugal is a strategic geopolitical region for Hezbollah, Iran, and Russia because of its historic ties to Africa (especially, but not only, Western Africa) and Latin America as well as its proximity to Morocco and England.

Truly, one of the main goals of Iran and Hezbollah is to strengthen their operational capabilities in England, to be able to spy on key citizens and assets, and to expand their capacity to undermine the United States through Europe and the Mediterranean.

Portugal and Spain are instrumental for Iran, Hezbollah, and Russia to bring mayhem to the United Kingdom (including Gibraltar) and Morocco. Let's not forget Portugal is a central international platform to evade the US sanctions on Iran and Russia.
Seth Frantzman: US sanctions: Iran’s drone program has ties to China, Turkey, Russia
The US Treasury has sanctioned a multinational network involved in supporting Iran’s drone and military aircraft programs.

Iran has already been sanctioned for this type of weapons activity, previously sending kamikaze drones to Russia. These new sanctions, however, paint a dim picture of how far the drone program has spread.

For years, Iran has sought to acquire parts for drones from companies in Europe and elsewhere, often under the guise of acquiring commercial technology that had dual-use military applications.

The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) “sanctioned seven individuals and four entities based in Iran, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Russia, and [Turkey] in connection with Iran’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and military aircraft development.

This network has facilitated shipments and financial transactions in support of the US-designated Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industrial Company’s (HESA’s) UAV and military aircraft production, procurement, and maintenance activities. OFAC is also updating HESA’s entry on the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) List to include its new alias which it has used to evade sanctions and export control measures,” the US said on Tuesday.

The new sanctions were mentioned in a social media post by Brett McGurk, the White House coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa.

“Iran’s continued, deliberate proliferation of its UAVs enables Russia, its proxies in the Middle East, and other destabilizing actors to undermine global stability,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “The United States will continue to take action against Iran’s UAV procurement networks, and encourages jurisdictions to exercise the due diligence necessary to prevent the export of these components to Iran.”
Iranian cyberattack targets Israelis, leaking personal information
An Iranian cyberattack targeting Israeli jobseekers was uncovered by the National Cyber Directorate on Thursday, with the directorate warning that the hackers were leaking the personal information of the people targeted.

The attack was carried out by sending fake messages to job search website users pretending to be official messages from the websites. The messages include a malicious link which opens a browser tab containing code which attempts to turn on the device's camera and a fake login page which records the target's login information.

The National Cyber Directorate noted that the messages include typos and the link is slightly different than the official website's URL, using a ".com" instead of ""

Personal information leaked by the hackers includes photos of ID cards and resume files, among other information.

The Directorate provided relevant websites with the information necessary to examine their computer systems to uncover if the cyberattack targeted them.

Blinken Defends $6B Transfer to Iran as Money the Regime Was ‘Actually Entitled To Use … All Along’
Secretary of State Antony Blinken defended the Biden administration's $6 billion transfer to Iran in an interview Wednesday, saying the regime has "actually been entitled to use the money all along."

Brendan O'Neill: The West’s betrayal of the women of Iran
Good, right-thinking people are expected to coo over the hijab. Witness the liberal-elite shindig that was the Women’s March, which made a woman in a hijab its chief symbol of female strength. Or those Guardian articles calling the hijab ‘political, feminist and empowering’. And now there’s the Soviet-style, one-tonne woman-in-a-hijab that will peer menacingly at believers and unbelievers alike in the West Midlands. ‘Respect me or else’, this medieval eyesore essentially says. Imagine if one of Iran’s brave female warriors were to win asylum in the UK and end up in Smethwick. From truncheon-wielding police telling her the hijab is great to a steel monolith saying the same. She’ll wonder if she’s swapped one system of sexist social control for another.

In a sense, she will have. No, Britain and America do not flog those who dissent from Islamic beliefs. We don’t jail apostates or hijab-haters. But we do punish criticism of Islam. Where Iran damns you as a ‘blasphemer’, we’ll call you an Islamophobe. Where Iran gives blasphemers a physical lashing, we give them a tongue-lashing – ‘bigot’, ‘racist’, etc. Where Iran hunts down opponents of the hijab, we call such people ‘hijabophobic’ and build monuments to remind them to worship the veil. And where Iran censors artists who mock the religion of the regime… well, so do we.

Here’s another shocking thing that happened this month, in the run-up to the first anniversary of the Iranian revolt: an Iranian artist was censored in Sweden for creating artworks that stingingly critique the Islamist regime. Tehran-born Sadaf Ahmadi’s Concrete exhibition, which featured, among other things, 10 veiled heads hanging ghost-like from ropes, was due to open at the Kulturhuset in Borås. But the gallery wrote to Ms Ahmadi saying that, given the ‘ongoing Koran burnings’ in Sweden, her exhibition would likely require heightened security, and that would be difficult to provide. So she was shushed, not by theocrats, but by liberals.

This echoed the experience of the American-Iranian artist Taravat Talepasand, whose theocracy-slamming works had a literal curtain draped over them at Macalester College in Minnesota earlier this year. There was concern they might cause ‘deep pain’ to Muslim students. Shameful women of Iran, hide your hair under a veil and your art under a sheet. As for those Koran burnings in Sweden – Iran is one of the nations heaping pressure on Sweden, and Denmark, to outlaw such fiery blasphemy. And it seems to be having some success. Anti-Islam profanity might soon be banned in those Scandinavian nations. Some in the West are basically doing the ayatollah’s dirty work for them. We’ve become an outpost of Iran’s theocratic intolerance.

There was a storm a couple of months ago when a judge in Iran decreed that three actresses who went out without a hijab were ‘mentally ill’. They were found to be suffering from an ‘anti-social disease’. It was a vile, illiberal ruling, but doesn’t it feel familiar, too? What is ‘Islamophobia’ if not a mental ailment? A phobia, after all, is an irrational fear, a malady of the mind. It isn’t only Iran that psychologises dissent – the West does, too. So much so that people didn’t even know what to say about the Iranian revolt. The dread of being marked ‘Islamophobic’ struck them dumb. Fear and cowardice are all censorship ever produces. We need to tear off our gags if we are going to give true solidarity to the women tearing off their veils.

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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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