Wednesday, February 07, 2024

From Ian:

Israel is winning
So, to review: just as the Israelis think they’re on the cusp of victory, the Americans are scrambling to reach a deal that would preserve Hamas, end Iran’s attacks on U.S. assets, and wrap up the war in time for the progressive wing of the Democratic Party to forget that Joe Biden sponsored an alleged “genocide.” The rest of today’s Big Story, on the U.S. play and how Israel is thwarting it, is lifted from an email from The Scroll’s geopolitical analyst, who asks to remain anonymous to preserve zir mystique:

“I think the assumption by U.S. planners was that Gaza would turn out to be a tar baby for Netanyahu. The strategic assumptions were therefore that after a few months Bibi would punch himself out, the Israeli offensive would grind to a halt. The United States would then take advantage of the resulting stalemate—which would also hopefully result in the collapse of Bibi’s coalition government and its replacement by a more pliant government led by the likes of Benny Gantz, Gadi Eisenkot, and possibly Yair Lapid—to pivot to establishing a Palestinian state, using the prospect of a hostage deal plus recognition by the Saudis as the carrots, and the threat of cutting off necessary U.S. munitions and U.S. diplomatic support as the sticks. The result would be a weaker, more pliant Israel surrounded by local Iranian clients, with Iran elevated to the status of America’s primary regional partner.

“All of these initial assumptions struck me as sound enough. Furthermore, the United States was no doubt encouraged by its interlocutors within the Israeli security and political elite and by its previous successes working with those interlocutors to bring the coalition’s judicial reform bill to a crashing halt. Just to make sure, the United States quickly imposed its own constraints on Israel’s war effort in exchange for diplomatic and military support—like mandating the resupply of food, medicine, and other necessities to Hamas, publicly engaging with Qatar to free hostages, making Israel responsible for civilian casualties while refusing to relocate Gazans outside of the Strip, and other measures whose effect was to limit Israel’s advantages and strengthen Hamas’ resolve. By tilting the playing field against Israel, the United States was essentially working to produce a stalemate, which it could then exploit for its own preferred ends.

“Initially, I saw plenty of evidence that the U.S. strategy was succeeding, from Yoav Gallant’s public statements about Israel’s need for U.S. resupply and the slow pace of Israel’s initial advances, to Israel’s seeming deference to U.S. wishes to not mention Iran or attack Hezbollah, to the relatively low Hamas casualty numbers relative to the size of their fighting force. By shaping the boundaries and nature of the fight, the United States was clearly gaining control over the likely nature of the result.

“Lately, however, the evidence I am seeing points in the opposite direction. I am seeing increasing Israeli success in killing more Hamas fighters and grinding down their ability to maneuver and launch rockets with diminishing Israeli losses. Even worse, from the U.S. perspective, is that it seems that Israel appears to have successfully innovated its way around U.S.-imposed constraints to arrive at more potent war-fighting strategies. The paradoxical result of U.S. constraints, which were meant to pen Israel into a cul-de-sac, is that they have led to the reduction of Israel’s dependency on the United States and therefore of U.S. leverage over Israel’s choices.

“That Gantz and Eisenkot are now attacking Bibi from the right, for letting too many supplies into Gaza, and that voices in Washington that were previously exulting in “Bibi’s failures” have fallen silent seem like clear indicators of which way the wind is blowing. Another indicator here is the publicly purported willingness of the Saudis to accept increasingly vague promises of a future Palestinian state in exchange for recognition of Israel in the present. The price is going down—not up.
Seth Mandel: Israel Is Nobody’s Proxy Army
The Iranian strategy appears to be based on Tehran’s previous ability to run U.S. troops out of the region, most infamously after the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marines barracks in Beirut, which killed 241 Americans. But the differences between the two situations are more important than their similarities, and one hopes the Biden administration is aware of them.

President Reagan deployed U.S. troops to Lebanon in 1982 as part of a multinational peacekeeping force in the wake of the Israeli military campaign to push the PLO out of Lebanon. In September of that year, Lebanon’s newly elected pro-Israel President Bachir Gemayel was assassinated by Syria. Reagan informed Congress he was contributing 1,200 U.S. troops, at Lebanon’s request, and joining French and Italian peacekeepers, “to assure the safety of persons in the area and bring to an end the violence which has tragically recurred.” Chaos persisted, as did the U.S. troop presence, until the barracks bombing. Crucially, the administration removed the troops without hitting back at the Iranians’ chosen vessel for the slaughter, Hezbollah. “It is beneath our dignity to retaliate against the terrorists who blew up the Marine barracks,” claimed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General John Vessey, one of the most absurdly foolish statements ever given by a high-ranking U.S. security official.

But that strategic timidity was gone by the end of the Reagan presidency, which refashioned its approach to terrorism in a much more serious way once the president’s inner circle was fully rounded out with people who understood the importance of the state sponsorship that was fueling global terrorism.

Biden’s responses so far to the attack in Jordan may be insufficient, but the doctrine of nonresponse itself is fully discredited. The president is under pressure from members of his own party to restore deterrence. Further, while the Iranians may be encouraged by Biden’s catastrophic pullout from Afghanistan (as would be any enemy of the West), they appear to be guilty of projection: Israel is not America’s proxy militia, and it will not end this war simply because the secretary of state wants the war to end.

Nor will Israel shy away from war with Hezbollah if that is what is required to allow its citizens to live safely in the north. “War would not be good for Hezbollah—they know they will pay a heavy price,” Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told Jewish Insider. “But we mean to return our civilians to their homes either with a treaty or with force.”

The Iranians have learned the wrong lesson from 1983, and their best hope is that the Biden administration has done the same. But either way, Israel has agency here, and it intends to use it.
John R. Bolton: Is the U.S. Misreading the Middle East?
The idea of raising the Palestinian Authority from its ashes on the West Bank to govern Gaza leaves Israelis across the political spectrum speechless. The Washington Post's Ishaan Tharoor recently described the Palestinian Authority as "weak and increasingly unpopular" and a "sclerotic institution, riven with corruption" and its leader, Mahmoud Abbas, as presiding "over his rump of a fiefdom like other Arab autocrats in the region, stifling civil society and repeatedly dodging calls for fresh elections." It defies common sense that such an entity should be entrusted with responsibility on the West Bank, let alone post-conflict Gaza.

With regard to the objective of full diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel, before Oct. 7, Riyadh and Jerusalem were progressing toward mutual recognition, motivated by their shared view of Iran's threat, amplified by the palpable economic and political benefits likely after recognition. The current Gaza conflict has not altered those realities. Rather, Iran's "ring of fire" strategy against Israel has emphasized, not reduced, the congruence of Israel's and Saudi Arabia's national security priorities. The issue of Palestinian statehood will not be a dealbreaker for Riyadh.

Recognizing a Palestinian state before peace is agreed on with Israel only compounds the error. Such suggestions mirror Yasser Arafat's campaign in UN agencies to make "Palestine" a state just by saying so. They contradict years of U.S. policy, as well as the Oslo Accords, and will cause Israel to stiffen its resistance. This is no way to treat an ally gravely threatened by Tehran.

As for concerns about a "wider war," the U.S. and Israel have been in a wider war since Oct. 7. The real cause is unmistakably Iran. Until Iran stops interfering beyond its borders - stops arming, equipping, training and financing terrorist groups and stops seeking nuclear weapons - there will be no lasting Middle East peace and security. Iran does not and will not fear U.S. power until it pays heavily for what its barbaric surrogate Hamas unleashed four months ago, now joined in violence by Hizbullah, the Houthis and Shiite militias.

A Descent Into Hell
And so, we go down.

With every step we descend further underground, approaching the entrance of the “Tunnels of Gaza.” This temporary art exhibition opened secretly in East London for one week only, shielded from the public for the sake of safety. Designed meticulously according to numerous testimonies from released hostages following the Oct. 7 massacre in Israel, the exhibition approximates the harrowing conditions experienced by those still held captive by Hamas. It is a glimpse into the depths of hell.

This hell is structured meticulously, a spider’s web of connected cavities. It is dark and damp. Tentatively tracing the path set by a volunteer, we move from room to room organized by theme and by hostage. Once a garment factory, now the exhibition space trades textiles for texts, treading the thin line between fact and affect. From a staged morgue, to a surgery and then a control room, we inch through the tunnels.

Mannequins stand in for individuals. Their faces are curiously blank, a canvas pasted over by our associations. They stand separately as inanimate, abject objects exuding a palpable loneliness. However, in one corner a soiled mattress carries the weight of a mannequin covered in a bloodied sheet, arm outstretched to a companion tied up at the wrists. Both are blindfolded. Their cell is dedicated to the victims of sexual assault.

This hell is made up of empty spaces in crowded dungeons. With every movement we confront the question: How do, or should, we engage with the theme of absence? Representing the stories of those stolen from the present raises a unique set of challenges concerning the limitations of exhibitions, archives, and language. Curated by the 7/10 Human Chain Project, the exhibition permeates public space in plain sight. Mere moments away from my university campus, I had hurried past it countless times on my way to give lectures.

The exhibition, a mobile unit memorializing the contemporary, requires physical engagement. Distance was no longer an option. Such physicality demands not only the telling, but transmitting, of inconceivable pain currently being experienced elsewhere. The exhibition’s own dynamism, its constant relocations and re-curations across the country, evokes the forced movements of the hostages themselves, perpetually shuffled through the skeleton of tunnels under Gaza.
PM: Israel won’t accept ‘insane demands,’ victory ‘within reach’
Israel will not agree to the “insane demands” Hamas is making to release the 136 remaining hostages being held in the Gaza Strip, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an address on Wednesday night.

Bowing to the terrorist organization’s demands will lead to another massacre that no Israeli citizen will accept, he emphasized, speaking from his office in Jerusalem.

“We are on our way to absolute victory,” he declared. “Victory is now within reach. It’s not a matter of years or decades, but a matter of months.

“The IDF is working miracles and working methodically to achieve all the goals that we set,” said Netanyahu.

Hamas has given an official response to a hostages-for-ceasefire framework proposed by mediators, Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced at a press conference in Doha on Tuesday.

“I would like to inform the media that we have received a reply from Hamas with regards to the general framework of the agreement with regard to hostages,” said Sheikh Mohammed. “We are optimistic, and we have delivered the response to the Israeli party.”

On Wednesday, Hamas presented a new counteroffer in response to Israeli objections to its demands for a permanent ceasefire and the release of many Palestinian terrorists from Israeli prisons.

Spiked PodCast: ‘Israel did not start this war’
Eylon Levy on the never-ending demonisation of Israel.

The allegations against Israel get more lurid by the day. Ever since 1,200 Israelis were murdered by Hamas on 7 October, Israel’s attempts to defend itself have been portrayed as genocidal. It stands accused of targeting civilian children, of trying to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians. These malicious claims have been repeated in the Western media, promoted by international NGOs and even considered in the international courts. At the same time, the well-documented and depraved crimes of Hamas have been downplayed, ignored and outright denied. How can we explain this extraordinary double standard?

Israeli government spokesman Eylon Levy joined The Brendan O’Neill Show to discuss the global vilification of the Jewish State. What follows is an edited extract from his conversation with Brendan. Listen to the full thing here.

Brendan O’Neill: How big is the disconnect between the pro-Palestine media and the reality of Israel’s war with Hamas?

Eylon Levy: Talking to the Western media is definitely an enormous challenge. It’s obvious to everyone in Israel that we are fighting a just war and a defensive war. I can go blue in the face saying that this is not a war that we started. It’s not a war we wanted. It’s not even a war we expected. It’s a war that was declared on us. And that’s why we have to win.

The problem is that we are coming up against a very large, anti-Israel machine. Not just Hamas, but also the UN agencies like UNRWA (the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) that have been complicit with Hamas and that have adopted the pro-Palestine narrative. The whole so-called human-rights industry has decided to throw its lot in with Hamas and the Palestinian cause and is trying to force Israel to stop this war. But how can we stop when there are still hostages in Gaza and Hamas is still in power?

When you look at things like the International Court of Justice case against Israel, it’s like we’re living in a parallel universe. South Africa is accusing us of genocide, when on 7 October we were the victims of a massacre. Hamas is a terrorist organisation with genocidal intentions that perpetrated the bloodiest slaughter of Jews since the Holocaust. That’s what we’re fighting against. And South Africa made this spurious lawsuit, exploiting the Genocide Convention and pointing the finger at the actual victims of a pogrom.

Here in Israel it’s difficult to believe we’re facing such a well-oiled machinery of hatred and propaganda. These people will stop at nothing to try to force us to stop defending ourselves. It’s hard to even respond to these allegations without giving them any sort of legitimacy or credit. I don’t even like repeating a lot of these claims, because they’re just so outrageous. We’re fighting a war of information, in which nothing Israel does will ever be good enough.
Seth Mandel: Palestinians Had Plenty to Lose
The lie that Gaza was an “open-air prison” prior to Hamas’s launching of the current war has outlived its usefulness. So now we are told that, actually, Gaza was in fine shape but then the Israelis destroyed it, turning it into an open-air prison. Lather, rinse, repeat.

There’s a deeper point here than the hypocrisy of Israel’s critics and their parroting of talking points that they eventually acknowledge to be untrue. The story contains a lesson about this conflict, and others like it, and the damage done by the long-debunked idea that poverty causes terrorism.

But first, yes, the hypocrisy. IDF reservist Roi Yanovsky has written a piece for the Jerusalem Post on what he saw in Gaza City, though various social-media accounts have long been posting photos and videos from the Strip that undermine the prevailing narrative.

“Pre-war Gaza was a modern, beautiful, developed city — with large, furnished houses, wide avenues, public areas, a promenade, and parks,” Yanovsky writes. “It looked much better than any other Arab city ‘from the river to the sea.’ Gaza City reminds me more of Tel Aviv than the awful slums that some people try to make it out to be.”

Despite the normality of the city—again, Yanovsky is talking about Gaza City, home to about 600,000 Palestinians—every neighborhood Yanovsky’s unit searched “had staged and ready-to-operate Hamas combat zones—weapons, tunneling, explosives, rocket launch zones, all inside normal family homes, some already built with openings in the walls to enable moving easily between buildings.”

The belief that poverty is the root cause of terrorism served as an obstacle in the early years of the war on terror. The writer Peter Bergen has spent a good portion of his career trying to clear such cobwebs from the discourse. As he wrote a few years ago, “terrorism experts have long known that terrorism is often a bourgeois endeavor.”
Lee Smith: Qatar’s Explosive Cash-for-Hostages Portfolio
Accordingly, the Netanyahu government and Oct. 7 hostage families believe that since the U.S. has leverage over Qatar, it can compel the emirate to use its power and influence on Hamas. In this view, Qatar should defund the Palestinian terror group and throw its leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Meshaal out of their luxury hotel suites in Doha and put them in prison until Hamas releases its captives. But the Biden team isn’t going to pressure Qatar for the same reason it hit irrelevant targets in Syria and Iraq: It wants to preserve its relationship with Iran. And the leverage Qatar does have isn’t going to be used to pressure Hamas.

As the world’s go-to goodwill ambassador, Qatar says it’s impartial. But the only party in the region on whose behalf Qatar “mediates” is the one that takes hostages. Qatar works for Iran. It’s ugly, but it makes sense: If your foreign policy is keyed to the money you spend buying foreign elites and their institutions, and the source of that wealth is a giant natural gas field that you share with Iran, you take sides. And it’s not a hard choice: Is it the side that tortures and rapes hostages and kidnapped 28 Qatari ro

yals, or is it the Americans, who won’t even shut down the local bureaus of Qatar’s flagship propaganda arm Al Jazeera, never mind make good on vague threats to move U.S. Central Command’s forward base out of Al Udeid airfield? It is Qatar that holds leverage over the U.S., which it exercises on its own behalf and Iran’s.

Consider the money that Qatar spreads around Washington, D.C. From the $14.8 million check that Obama administration peace processor Martin Indyk cashed as director of the Brookings Institution’s Foreign Policy Program to the billions Doha has spent on Al Udeid to lobby the Pentagon, as well as its massive investments in key American institutions like major universities, Qatar has leverage over nearly all parts of the U.S. government and American elites.

Qatar’s lavish expenditures are meant to show that the rewards for aligning with Qatar are great, while the punishment meted out by Iran’s fixer can be painful. According to a recently published Fox News report, in 2017 Qatar hired former CIA agent Kevin Chalker to spy on and smear U.S. legislators like Republican Sens. Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton, and Democratic Congressman Ed Royce, who all supported legislation against Hamas. “An attack on Hamas is an attack on Qatar,” Chalker warned in a lengthy document prepared for his Qatari clients.

The ex-agency man also recommended that Qatar target rival United Arab Emirates by “exposing [the] enemy secrets” of the UAE’s flashy and well-connected Washington Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba. Chalker recommended that Qatar call on its media assets, identifying, among others, Max Blumenthal, anti-Israel activist and son of fading Clinton-world influencer Sidney Blumenthal; The Intercept; and The New York Times. Only months after Chalker produced the report, the Times published stories based on hacked Otaiba emails in a campaign intended, as reporter David Kirkpatrick acknowledged, “to embarrass the U.A.E. and benefit Qatar.” From the Pentagon to the capital’s paper of record, Qatar has Washington covered. It’s Iran’s stalking horse.

What happens in Gaza, then, will have consequences throughout the world—for Iran’s hostage infrastructure is built with something grander in mind than just trading human flesh for cash. After Oct. 7, Iran has made it clear that the purpose of its nuclear weapons program was never just to threaten Israel and Saudi Arabia, but also to hold the whip hand in world trade and energy markets. With Biden all but standing down the U.S. Navy, the Houthis, Iran’s proxy in Yemen, have closed Red Sea shipping lanes and forced major container shipping lines to take alternate routes, raising the prices of goods around the world. With a nuclear bomb in its arsenal, Iran’s next hostage is the global economy.
Blinken Offers Hamas Host Qatar U.S. ‘Commitment’ to a ‘Palestinian State’
Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, on Tuesday that the administration of leftist President Joe Biden rejects “any forced displacement of Palestinians from Gaza” and has made a “commitment” to the “establishment of a Palestinian state,” the State Department said in a readout.

Blinken held talks in Doha with Sheikh Tamim on a day of whirlwind meetings in the Middle East that also included a stop in Cairo, Egypt, where Blinken reportedly offered President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi similar tidings of “commitment to establishing a Palestinian state that provides peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians alike.” Blinken also repeated the call for a state of “Palestine” during a press conference alongside his Qatari counterpart Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, describing such a state as “a very powerful path that we can see before us to actually get to lasting peace and security.”

Blinken did not offer details on where the borders of such a state would be or who would govern it. The disputed “Palestinian” territories typically recognized are the West Bank, governed by the Palestinian Authority, and Gaza, under the rule of the genocidal jihadist terror organization Hamas.

The secretary of state is expected in Israel on Wednesday to meet with senior Israeli officials, likely once again raising his call for giving the populations of Gaza and the West Bank recognition as one country.

The repeated chatter of the establishment of a “Palestine” follows reports in late January that Blinken asked State Department officials to review options to recognize the state unilaterally.
Israel mulls response to ‘non-starter’ Hamas truce proposal
The Israeli government will discuss on Wednesday the country’s official response to a draft ceasefire proposal from Hamas that Israeli officials have called a “non-starter.”

The Hamas draft document, submitted on Tuesday in response to a proposal negotiated last month in Paris, would see the phased release of the remaining 136 captives being held by the terror group, 31 of whom are dead, according to Israel. Another 20 hostages may also be deceased, according to an internal Israeli report seen by The New York Times.

One hundred five hostages, mostly women and children, were released in November as part of a ceasefire deal that Hamas broke when it refused to hand over the last group of captives. Four hostages had been previously released by the terrorist group, and one was freed by Israeli forces in Gaza.

Hamas took 253 hostages during its Oct. 7 massacre, in addition to murdering some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and wounding thousands more.

Hamas’s proposal consists of a three-stage process spanning 4.5 months. In the first stage, the terror group would release all women hostages, as well as all those under 19, the elderly and the sick. In exchange, Israel would release women and minor security prisoners.

The second stage would see the release of the remaining male hostages, with bodies being released in the third stage, at the end of which an agreement will be reached to end the war. Negotiations towards ending the war will start in the first phase, according to the proposal.

In the draft, the terror group also expresses “hope” for the release of 1,500 terrorists, a third of them “heavy” prisoners with life sentences.

The terrorist group is also demanding a total withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, the start of the Strip’s rehabilitation and an increase in humanitarian aid.

Israeli officials said Hamas’s demand for a permanent end to the war makes the proposal a “non-starter.”
Algerian draft UN Security Council resolution calls for immediate ceasefire
Algeria is circulating a revised draft resolution, which “demands an immediate humanitarian ceasefire that must be respected by all parties” in Gaza, among U.N. Security Council members.

The North African country, which is one of Israel’s harshest critics, is giving other members until close of business on Wednesday to offer comments.

The draft resolution also demands the implementation of the two previous Israel-Hamas war resolutions that have passed the 15-member council without a veto from one of the permanent five members: demanding the release of all hostages in Gaza and upholding of international law by all parties “in relation to all parties they detain.”

Algeria serves as the de facto Arab and Muslim world representative on the council. It called for an emergency council meeting last week to discuss the ramifications of a recent International Court of Justice ruling on Israel’s prosecution of the war on Hamas. (Located in The Hague, the ICJ is the main United Nations judicial arm.)
Speaker Mike Johnson's $17B Israel aid standalone bill COLLAPSES after Democrats join hardline Republicans to tank measure following days of internal turbulence in Congress
Speaker Mike Johnson's $17 billion Israel aid standalone bill spectacularly failed on the House floor after Democrats joined hardline Republicans to tank the measure.

The critical ally of the United States has now gone nearly four months without aid authorized by Congress since the bloody October 7 Hamas attack that prompted a war in Gaza.

The ongoing chaos in Congress - especially within the GOP conference - led to the bill failing in a 250 to 180 vote.

Only minutes before, Republicans tanked a vote on articles of impeachment for DHS Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas, dealing Speaker Mike Johnson an embarrassing blow.

Johnson was seen huddling with his advisors during the impeachment vote that hung on a 215-215 tie until Rep. Blake Moore, R-Utah, swapped his vote to 'no' and set Mayorkas free.

And just hours before, on the other side of the Capitol, Republicans effectively killed a $118 billion deal for Israel, Ukraine and border security due to infighting.

Johnson blamed the outcome of the vote on Democrats who he said have 'committed' themselves to 'using Israel as leverage' to try and force through the supplemental deal.

House Democratic leadership starting whipping against the Israel aid bill and a number of Republicans rankled with Johnson's leadership even openly opposed it.

Staggering moment President Joe Biden, 81, appears to forget the name of terror group Hamas during press conference where he’s asked for an update on hostages held in Gaza

Saudis condition Israel ties on Palestinian state, Gaza withdrawal
Saudi Arabia on Wednesday clarified that it will not establish diplomatic relations with Israel until there is a Palestinian state, an end to the war against Hamas and a complete military withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

The Saudi foreign ministry statement came in direct response to comments made by White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby during Tuesday’s daily press briefing regarding a potential U.S.-brokered normalization agreement between Jerusalem and Riyadh.

“We certainly received positive feedback from both sides that they’re willing to continue to have those discussions,” said Kirby.

This prompted Riyadh to issue a statement clarifying its stance on moving forward with a normalization agreement.

“The Kingdom has communicated its firm position to the U.S. administration that there will be no diplomatic relations with Israel unless an independent Palestinian state is recognized on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, and that the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip stops and all Israeli occupation forces withdraw from the Gaza Strip,” the statement read.

Fuming, Saudi Arabia claims US suggested normalization could come without ceasefire
Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry issued a stern statement Tuesday rejecting what it claimed was US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby’s suggestion that Riyadh is prepared to normalize relations before there is a ceasefire in Gaza and without progress toward Palestinian statehood.

Kirby was asked during a press briefing earlier in the day whether securing a hostage deal and a Saudi normalization agreement are part of the same US effort. Kirby responded that they’re two distinct tracks, and noted that the US has held “positive” talks with Riyadh on the matter both before and after October 7.

Saudi officials have publicly acknowledged their willingness to normalize relations with Israel, even after October 7, but they’ve stressed — as has US Secretary of State Antony Blinken — that no deal can be reached until there is a ceasefire in Gaza and that it must include the creation of an irreversible pathway toward a Palestinian state.

Either because Kirby’s separation of the hostage talks from the normalization negotiations could be understood to mean that Riyadh would be prepared to establish relations before there is a truce, or because the White House spokesman was overly optimistic in his characterization of the talks, Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry decided to call him out.

“Regarding the discussions between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States of America on the Arab-Israeli peace process, and in light of what has been attributed to the US National Security [Council] spokesperson, the ministry of foreign affairs affirms that the position of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has always been steadfast on the Palestinian issue and the necessity that the brotherly Palestinian people obtain their legitimate rights,” the statement asserted.

“The kingdom has communicated its firm position to the US administration that there will be no diplomatic relations with Israel unless an independent Palestinian state is recognized on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, and that the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip stops and all Israeli occupation forces withdraw from the Gaza Strip,” the statement added.

Noah Rothman: The Smoking Gun
If Iran has no control over its terrorist proxies in the region, it’s paying a lot for the privilege of being ignored. As the Jerusalem Post detailed in a Tuesday dispatch, Hamas’s leadership is one of the recipients of Iran’s largesse, and we’re not talking about walking-around money. “Israeli forces located documents proving direct cooperation and communication between Iran and Hamas’s leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar,” the report read. “Images of the documents subsequently published by the IDF suggest the figure is, in total, $154 million.”

Two reports published by the Wall Street Journal in the wake of the spectacularly barbaric October 7 attacks maintained that Tehran had an operational role in the lead-up to that unprecedented horror. “Iranian security officials helped plan Hamas’s Saturday surprise attack on Israel and gave the green light for the assault at a meeting in Beirut last Monday,” the Journal reported on October 8. In a follow-up days later, the Journal revealed that some regime elements in Tehran were surprised only by the timing of Hamas’s attack on the Jewish state. That report forecast an effort by U.S. intelligence to reach a definitive conclusion about the role Iran played in the run-up to that attack — a conclusion that somehow remains unreached.

But the evidence uncovered by the IDF changes things. Even if Iran played no direct role in Hamas’s actions on October 7, it is nonetheless implicated by having bankrolled the terrorist group in control of the Gaza Strip. The Biden administration has tried to avoid reconciling with this inescapable reality. The Israeli military is forcing the administration’s hand.
Amid Gaza offensive, IDF seizes docs proving Iran-Hamas links
Israeli forces seized cash and financial documents from an underground compound in Khan Yunis showing direct Iranian financial support for Hamas, the Israel Defense Forces disclosed on Tuesday night.

“We found official documents from 2020 detailing the funds transferred by Iran to Hamas between the years 2014 and 2020 and to [Hamas leader in Gaza Yahyah] Sinwar. More than $150 million were transferred from Iran to Hamas,” said IDF Spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari.

The intelligence indicated a “direct connection from Iran to Hamas—and more so to Yahya Sinwar,” he added.

The IDF released photos of envelopes of U.S. dollars, Israeli shekels and Jordanian dinars intended for Sinwar, who masterminded the Oct. 7 massacre.

“In the same subterranean space, we also found a safe with banknotes and bags containing more than 20 million shekels in cash. These amounts join tens of millions of shekels we located during the war in Hamas tunnels,” said Hagari.

“This is a recurring phenomenon—large sums of cash, kept in organized compounds underground for the personal use of senior Hamas officials. Hamas leaders invested the money in their personal survival and that of their families,” he added. “This is another example of how Iran exports terror across the Middle East. The terror that Iran exports and produces is a global problem.”
Iranian envoy to UN says Tehran arming, training and ’empowering’ Palestinian terror groups
Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations says Tehran is sending weapons, training and empowering Palestinian terror groups.

Asked about Iran’s support for proxy militias in the region, Amir Saeid Iravani tells NBC Nightly News, “In the case of Palestine, we’re sending arms, we’re training them and empowering them. But with the other parts of the region, the resistance parts in the region, we have some coordination, cooperation, consultation, and maybe some financing also.”

The Iranian envoy speculates that strikes by Tehran-backed militias throughout the region would stop if there is a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, noting that the Islamic Republic would support such a truce if it was lasting and allowed for the rehabilitation of the enclave. He says the hostage talks will succeed if “the other side” accepts Hamas’s conditions, which include a permanent ceasefire and a withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza.

Iravani dismisses US allegations that Iran supplies Yemen’s Houthis with their advanced weaponry, insisting the rebel group has been acting independently with its attacks on shipping in the Red Sea and does not take orders from Tehran.

IDF finds Khan Yunis dungeon where hostages were held
Israel Defense Forces soldiers operating in the heart of Khan Yunis in southern Gaza discovered a large tunnel, one where Hamas had held a around a dozen hostages, the military revealed on Wednesday.

Troops from the IDF's 98th Division, working alongside combat engineers from the elite Yahalom unit, located the approximately 1,000-yard-long tunnel while exploring an underground labyrinth composed of numerous branches.

On January 21, the IDF announced that the 98th Division unearthed and destroyed a nearby tunnel branch of similar size. There, some 20 hostages had been kept in a central chamber that included five prison cells.

The newly-discovered tunnel likewise contained a chamber that included barred prison cells, as well as bathrooms and a space used by Hamas guards. The IDF noted that three of the approximately 12 hostages who were kept in the newly discovered Khan Yunis tunnel have since "returned to Israel."

As part of the operation, 98th Division and Yahalom troops "fought in the tunnel against terrorists, broke through the blast doors and neutralized explosives," the military said, adding that forces also seized weapons and documents related to Hamas operations.

The tunnel cost "millions of shekels" to construct, according to the IDF. Behind the its concrete walls, soldiers found sacks belonging to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).
Israel kills head of Hamas police's special forces in Rafah

JPost Editorial: The international community must hold Hezbollah accountable
The Hezbollah threat to northern Israel continues and must be confronted eventually. Hezbollah is an Iran-backed terrorist organization that possesses a large arsenal of rockets as well as drones, anti-tank guided missiles, and other weapons. It has festooned southern Lebanon with bunkers, tunnels, and bases.

Much like Hamas, this vicious organization hides among civilians. As in the case of Hamas, the international community has not condemned Hezbollah and has generally appeased it. For instance, the IDF notes constantly that “Hezbollah’s ongoing terrorist activity and attacks against Israel violate UN Security Council Resolution 1701. The IDF will continue to defend Israel’s borders from any threat.”

UN Resolution 1701 was supposed to prevent Hezbollah from having its terrorist army on the border. However, as with Hamas, Hezbollah built up power slowly. On February 6, the terrorists in Lebanon “launched several projectiles towards Margaliot in northern Israel. Following the attack, sirens sounded, warning people of the imminent threat. IDF artillery retaliated and struck the sources of the fire,” the IDF said.

Two IDF soldiers were lightly wounded. According to reports on Israeli radio from the north, Hezbollah may have fired one of its extensive “Burkan” rockets at the border. These rockets have a large warhead and are likely to cause damage and casualties.

The attacks on Tuesday come in the wake of previous attacks on Sunday and Monday. Hezbollah attacks Israel daily, and it chooses the time and place for each one. For instance, it has launched rockets at Nahariya and toward Rosh Hanikra on the coast. It has also targeted areas in the northern Galilee, such as Avivim, and Metulla, and Kiryat Shmona.

Eighty thousand Israelis have been evacuated because of the ongoing threats. Over 2,000 rockets have been fired in four months. In addition, Hezbollah has used drones and anti-tank missiles.

Slim majority believes return of hostages should be primary war aim in Gaza — poll
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under increasing public pressure to secure the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas, with a narrow majority of Israelis prioritizing their return over toppling Hamas as the country’s primary war aim in Gaza.

Just over half of Israelis (51 percent) expressed support for such a policy, which rose to 69% among Arab Israelis, according to the Israel Democracy Institute’s January 2024 Israeli Voice Index, a monthly survey of national public opinion.

Among Jewish Israelis, opinions were more evenly split, with 47% expressing support for prioritizing the return of the hostages and 42% saying that removing Hamas from power should take precedence. Only 8% of Arab Israelis said that they considered the defeat of Hamas to be a higher priority.

Israel launched its military campaign in Gaza after thousands of terrorists invaded the south of the country on October 7, rampaging through communities and killing some 1,200 people, most of them civilians, and taking another estimated 253 people hostage.

Israel believes over 130 hostages remain in Gaza, not all of them alive. The IDF has confirmed the deaths of 29 of those still held by Hamas, citing new intelligence and findings obtained by troops operating in Gaza.

Despite Netanyahu’s assertion that “only military pressure” will lead to the hostages’ release, more and more Israelis have taken to the street to call on his government to accept a framework for a prisoner swap with Hamas.

‘We wanted to keep Shani’s memory alive’
Friends, family and supporters gathered on Wednesday at the Nahum Gutman Museum of Art in Tel Aviv to mark what would have been Shani Louk’s 23rd birthday with an exhibition of work that runs through Feb. 21.

On Oct. 7, Louk became a symbol of Hamas’s unfolding atrocities as terrorists paraded her lifeless body on a pickup truck through the streets of Gaza, with crowds cheering and spitting on her lifeless body.

“We wanted to keep Shani’s memory alive through her passion for dancing and tattoo art,” Nissim Louk, Shani’s father, told JNS.

Nissim last heard from his daughter when she attempted to escape the Supernova Music Festival by car alongside her boyfriend Orion Hernandez Radoux and friend Keshet.

All three were caught in a traffic jam. Shani and Keshet were both killed at the scene while Orion was kidnapped into Gaza, where he remains.

“At 11 a.m., a friend of Shani sent me the picture of a girl in a pickup truck surrounded by terrorists. I was able to identify my daughter through the tattoos on her leg,” Nissim recounted. “It was horrible. My 20-year-old boy could not stop crying when he recognized his sister.”

Rishi Sunak tells hostage families he keeps dog tags in his pocket to remind him of their plight
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak keeps a reminder of the Israeli hostages with him, telling families of those held by Hamas that he keeps a “Bring them home” dog tag in his pocket.

Earlier this week, the delegation met with the PM at 10 Downing Street, telling Sunak of the “torture” they faced as they anxiously waited for news of their relatives.

Stephen Brisley, brother-in-law of hostage Eli Sharabi, who has been held in Gaza for more than four months, said that Sunak told them that he carries a set of “Bring the Home Now” dog tags in his pocket and keeps them on his desk to “remind him of the importance of the hostages.”

In a post on Twitter, Sunak said: “We will continue to do all we can to bring hostages held by Hamas in Gaza safely home.”

Sharone Lifschitz, whose father Oded is being held by Hamas and whose mother Yocheved was released in the first few weeks of the war, said “My mother was released without a deal. She was released for humanitarian reasons. Nothing is stopping Hamas from releasing more hostages.”

“Hamas do not need a deal to release them... they chose to take them; they can choose to release them", she said.

Sharone’s 83-year-old father is frail with complex medical needs and she said there was no evidence that medicine had reached the hostages.

Stephen Brisley said, “It was helpful to be able to look the Prime Minister in the eye and look the Qatari Minister in the eye and make that personal connection so that they are really aware that this is about families”.

“Both the British government and the Qataris have made it very clear that they are focusing all their efforts on prioritising the safe return of the hostages.
Macron on October 7 attack: 'barbarism fed by antisemitism'
France is paying tribute Wednesday to French victims of Hamas’ Oct. 7 terror attack, in a national ceremony led by President Emmanuel Macron four months after the massacre in Israel in which some 1,300 people were murdered, and around 250 abducted.

In a solemn address in the courtyard of the majestic Invalides Memorial building in Paris, Macron described the October 7 attack as "barbarism... which is fed by antisemitism" and vowed not to give in to "rampant and uninhibited antisemitism".

Macron also reiterated France's commitment to fight "every day" for the "liberation" of the three French nationals still presumed hostages in Gaza. "Their empty chairs are here," he said, referring to the 42 vacant chairs at the ceremony.

Photographs of the victims were displayed in the Invalides’ monumental courtyard in central Paris. The Republican Guard’s orchestra played the “Kaddish” by French composer Maurice Ravel, written in 1914 based on a traditional Hebrew melody.

Families of victims also attended the ceremony, many coming from Israel on a special flight chartered by the French Republic.

Yashay Dan, a relative of French-Israeli hostage Ofer Kalderon, said he hopes the ceremony “can resonate all around the world, not only in France.”

“I think from this perspective that France is showing a great gesture by being with those that have suffered an enormous blow,” he told The Associated Press.

Ayla Yahalomi Luzon, sister of French-Israeli hostage Ohad Yahalomi, said: “We don’t need people to hope for us. I have hope. We need help. Ohad is a French citizen and I ask France to make all efforts to release him and everyone.”

Data from the Interior Ministry and the Jewish Community Protection Service watchdog showed that 1,676 antisemitic acts were reported in 2023, compared to 436 the previous year.

Ask a Jew PodCast: Imagine UN Me
In this episode, we discuss the personal stories of two fallen IDF soldiers - Ahmad Abu Latif and Cedrick Garin. You can read more about Ahmad in a story from our friend Nancy Rommelmann (see show notes), and see a video of both young men on our substack,

We also share stories and photos from a visit to the site of the Nova massacre and Kibbutz Kfar Aza, warning - it gets a little heavy.

But fear not - we leave plenty of time to talk about a bunch of NYPD cops going out for kosher sushi, the pros and cons of herring, and a personality breakdown based on your favorite Ninja Turtle.
The Quad: Fighting for Israel in an Age of Identity Politics
This week the Quad talks about how the Israel/Hamas war is straining Black/Jewish relations in the US. The war has led to an increase in antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment in society at large and in the black community in particular. Where is this stemming from? What can be done to repair relations between the two minorities and what is the right way to do it?

They interview Xavier Derousseau from Prager U who talks about his own journey from an anti-israel BLM activist to a supporter of the Jewish State.

In addition, they discuss the defunding of UNRWA and the decision of the ICJ that did not demand the stop of the war but asked Israel to make efforts to prevent genocide. What's next and does it really matter?

And, of course, Scumbags and Heroes of the Week!

The Israel Guys: Joe Biden Just DECLARED WAR on Israeli Settlers. . .crazy moves happening
Even though this is one of the most explosive decisions the Biden administration has made regarding Israel, you probably haven’t heard about it. And no, this is not just about America taking serious action against 4 Israeli Jews, but rather, about condemning 500,000 people in Israel. It gets even worse than that though.

Former Labor Senator Nova Peris hits out at pro-Palestine protesters waving Aboriginal flags in rallies across Australia
Former Labor Senator Nova Peris has hit out at pro-Palestine supporters for using Aboriginal flags in their protests against Israel.

In a video posted on social media, Ms Peris said she was "saddened" to see the Aboriginal flag being "misappropriated" by pro-Palestine supporters at rallies across the country in recent months.

"I'm saddened to see our sacred Aboriginal flag, a flag which I fought so hard to be returned to the Aboriginal community, being misappropriated by Palestinian, anti-Israel, anti-Jewish groups in Australia," the Indigenous former senator said.

"Who gave outright free, prior and informed consent to use our flag for your cause?"

In the last few months, thousands of pro-Palestine protesters have taken to the streets across the country as Israel's war continues in Gaza.

On January 26, Invasion Day protesters rallied in Australia's capital cities and outside Parliament House in Canberra, with photos showing members of the crowd waving both Aboriginal and Palestinian flags.

Ms Peris criticised the display and defended the Jewish community in Australia, saying they were "committed friends and allies" to the Aboriginal people.

"The Jewish people in Australia have been the most committed friends and allies of my people for decades," she said.

"I absolutely refuse to stand by and let anyone deny these truths."

Speaking to 2GB's Ben Fordham on Wednesday, Ms Peris also condemned Hamas's October 7 attacks in Israel, saying it was an "inhumane" attack on innocent people in Israel.

She slammed the infamous protest which followed just two days later at the Sydney Opera House, where hundreds of pro-Palestine protesters marched to the iconic landmark. Peta Credlin criticises NSW Police over Sydney Opera House protest claims

"The brutality, the most inhumane attacks on innocent people in Israel happened (on October 7) and then, just two days later, on the 9th of October, a group burnt the Israeli flag on an Australian iconic landmark, our Sydney Opera House," the former senator said, adding that she was "appalled as an Australian" by the protest.

Ms Peris said she did not want the conflict in the Middle East to cause "disruption" to Australia.

"I don't want foreign conflict bringing to this country tension causing disruption into this beautiful country," she remarked.

The former senator also defended the Jewish community in Australia, saying she knew "what they have done for the cause of justice" in the country.
MUST WATCH: Truth telling with Olympian Nova Peris

Greens move motion to condemn Israel and call for immediate ceasefire
A pro-Palestinian rally is being held outside Parliament House as the Greens moved a motion in the Senate for the government to condemn Israel and call for an immediate ceasefire.

Greens Senator Jordon Steele-John said, as a community, “we want a ceasefire”.

“We want peace and an end to the illegal occupation,” he said.

“We expect the government to work to achieve this.

“We in the Greens will keep talking about Palestine no matter how uncomfortable it makes those in this place feel.”

‘Disappointing but not surprising’: Greens’ ceasefire motion slammed
Australia Israel and Jewish Affairs Council Executive Manager Joel Burnie criticised the Greens for moving a motion in the Senate for the government to condemn Israel and call for an immediate ceasefire.

This comes as pro-Palestine protesters took to the Parliament House lawn today, calling for a ceasefire.

“I could say that I was surprised by watching what happened in Canberra today, but then that would be a lie,” Mr Burnie told Sky News host Chris Kenny.

“It still troubles not only me, but it troubles our whole community to have a political party such as the Greens ... have such a position on this.

“It’s very, very disappointing to see but obviously not surprising.”

‘Disgrace’: Andrew Bolt slams Greens for sharing stage with Laura Allam
Sky News host Andrew Bolt has slammed the Greens as a “disgrace” to the country after senators stood beside Al-Jannah Foundation founder Laura Allam at a protest in Canberra.

Three Greens senators took part in the Palestine to Parliament protest in Canberra on Wednesday where Ms Allam was a speaker.

Ms Allam has previously tweeted pictures of four Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza with the caption “good riddance”.

On the morning after Hamas murdered about 1,200 people in Israel, Ms Allam also made a post on social media saying, “Woke up to some great news for our beloved Palestine."

Mr Bolt questioned why the Greens would share a stage with someone who “barracks” for an Islamist terror group.

“That's one of the people now sharing a stage with the Greens. The Greens may not have known of Allam’s past, but this is who they find next to them in their gutter,” he said.

“What a disgrace to this country."

Green MPs face sanctions as premier says protests made her feel unsafe
Victorian Greens MPs have been forced to apologise for disrupting parliament during a heated debate about war in Gaza that prompted Premier Jacinta Allan to denounce repeated stunts that she says make her feel unsafe.

Richmond MP Gabrielle de Vietri, a supporter of Palestinians, called on Allan to cancel a memorandum of understanding that Victoria had signed with Israel’s defence ministry given the case before the International Court of Justice, which found Israel must take action to prevent genocidal violence by its armed forces.

All four lower house Greens MPs – de Vietri, Brunswick’s Tim Read, Melbourne MP Ellen Sandell and Prahran’s Sam Hibbins – were then removed from the lower house chamber for 90 minutes for holding up placards that together read: “Vic Labor stop arming Israel.”

Speaker Maree Edwards said in a meeting later on Wednesday she would take further action if they did not apologise.

“I will be seeking an apology. If I do not receive that apology, there will be further matters to proceed with,” Edwards said.
Victorian Greens MPs ejected from parliament over ‘anti-Semitic’ stunt
Four Greens MPs have been ejected from a rowdy Question Time in Victoria – prompting the Speaker to demand an apology over what the Opposition is labelling an “anti-Semitic” stunt.

The four Greens MPs each held up placards which accused the Victorian government of arming Israel.

The Speaker interrupted the demonstration and ejected the MPs from the chamber for 90 minutes.

Speaker of the Victorian Legislative Assembly Maree Edwards asked the Greens members to meet her after the Question Time session and demanded an apology.

Premier Jacinta Allan and Opposition leader John Pesutto united in denouncing the stunt.

Chris Kenny slams ‘evil’ pro-Palestine lefties taking over Mardi Gras
Sky News host Chris Kenny has slammed pro-Palestine lefties taking over Mardi Gras as one organisation rails against Israel’s incursion in Gaza.

Pride in Protest have announced the theme for their float this year is “Trans Pride, not Genocide” as they encouraged people to join their group and bring Palestinian flags.

A Jewish gay group said it was reconsidering its involvement in the Mardi Gras because its members could no longer feel safe and were being isolated by the Mardi Gras organisers.

“This is what the leftist activists have done to the gay and lesbian Mardi Gras, it began as an act of resistance against the marginalisation of gays, and now it will become a march that frightens away Jewish gays, and seeks to marginalise Jewish people,” he said.

“Any student of history would be deeply concerned about this sort of public demonisation.

“It is an ugly time to be Jewish in Australia and people need to speak up against what is going on.”

Mardi Gras has made it clear that ‘Jews’ lives don’t matter’
Australia Israel and Jewish Affairs Council Executive Manager Joel Burnie says it is “abundantly clear” that Mardi Gras is a safe space for everyone except Jewish people.

Pride in Protest have announced the theme for their float this year is “Trans Pride, not Genocide,” as they encouraged people to join their group and bring Palestinian flags.

A Jewish gay group said it was reconsidering its involvement in the Mardi Gras because its members could no longer feel safe and were being isolated by the Mardi Gras organisers.

“To groups like this, it’s abundantly clear that Jews’ lives don’t matter,” Mr Burnie told Sky News host Chris Kenny.

“It’s very sad to see that a segment of our community is ostracised and feel that they are no longer safe to attend such an event of inclusion.”

Jew-hating Palestinian migrant busted for pummeling NY homeowner, swiping pro-Israel flag: cops
A self-described Palestinian migrant from northern Africa stole a pro-Israel flag from a Long Island porch — then pummeled the homeowner who tried to stop him in a wild caught-on-video attack, officials said.

Bechir Lehbeib, 26, allegedly stole the flag — which declared “In This Home We Stand with Israel — from Aleksandr Binyaminov’s porch, cops said.

Binyaminov, who said one of his wife’s relatives was killed in the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attacks on Israel, was left bruised after the attack and blamed President Biden’s border policies for the clash.

The homeowner told The Post he was alerted by his Ring security system that someone was at his house and he looked at video of the front of his house to see the theft in progress.

“So I got dressed, came out. I confronted him,” Binyaminov said. “I told him, ‘Give me the flags,’ and he just started fighting with me and punching me in my face.”

Binyaminov said he “didn’t think twice” about running after Lehbieb to retrieve the flag.

“I was a little hot and it meant something to us,” he told The Post.

“He basically got me in a choke position, threw me on the floor and head butted me. He was saying, ‘I’m from Palestine. You’re killing Jews.’ That’s all he said,” Binyaminov said.

The accused later allegedly ranted to to cops that he hated Israeli Jews and made other hateful statements, authorities told The Post.

He told police who arrested him, “If I see the flag of the people that killed my people, we will have a problem.”

Lehbeib, who descibed himself as Palestinian, entered the U.S.from Mexico in November, authorities said. Officials said they aren’t sure of his country of origin, but said they believe he migrated from somewhere in the northern part of Africa.

He is now facing hate crime charges of second degree assault and robbery and criminal mischief. He was arraigned on Monday in Nassau District Court and Lehbeid was detained on $50,000.

Suella Braverman calls for powers to ban protests outright after branding pro-Palestine demonstrations 'hateful marches'
Suella Braverman has called for ministers to be given the power to ban protests outright after labelling pro-Palestinian demonstrations as 'hateful marches'.

The former home secretary, who had branded the protests 'hate marches' before she was sacked by the Prime Minister last year, used an article in the Telegraph to call for a crackdown on the rallies.

Her successor James Cleverly is set to announce the Government's new powers to curb certain types of protest activity on Thursday.

Ms Braverman's own four-point plan to tackle 'mass extremism' goes further then the Government's new protest laws.

She calls for powers to allow the home secretary to intervene and ban a protest, to outlaw any expression of support of terrorism, to make it easier to prosecute anti-Semitic chants and to proscribe groups of 'extremist concern'.

Downing Street is set to unveil plans to jail protesters who climb on war memorials, to give police powers to ban masks and fireworks on demonstrations and to reduce the scope for activists to claim they were unaware of restrictions on protests.

Ms Braverman feels the Government 'must go further if we are to be serious' about tackling the 'phenomenon of mass extremism on our streets'.

Ms Braverman wrote: 'Ministers, answerable to the public, are powerless while the police are the ones who technically possess the legal power to initiate a ban of a march,' she wrote.

'We need a law that enables the home secretary to prevent a protest from going ahead. Ministers, answerable to the public, are powerless, while the police are the ones who technically possess the legal power to initiate a ban of a march.'

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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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