Netanyahu: Israel’s crushing fist will reach any place
Israel’s “crushing fist” will strike all who seek Israel’s destruction, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday, during a visit to the Israel Aerospace Industries division that manufactures and develops the Arrow missile.
“Let our enemies who seek to destroy us know that Israel’s crushing fist will reach all those who seek our harm, and we will hold them accountable,” Netanyahu said.
The prime minister visited the site following the successful test of the Arrow 3 missile on Tuesday. Netanyahu said that Israel has among the strongest and most advanced defense and attack capabilities in the world.
His comments came a day after the head of Iran’s air force, Brig. Gen. Aziz Nasirzadeh, said that Iran’s armed forces “are prepared for a war that will bring the crushing destruction of Israel. We are ready for the day when we will see the end of Israel.”
During his visit to IAI, Netanyahu expressed appreciation to the US for its cooperation and assistance, including in the development of the Arrow missile.
“We will continue to successfully develop the most advanced weapon systems in the world to ensure the security of Israeli citizens and the security of the State of Israel,” he said.
JPost Editorial: Balancing Act
Israeli commentators and officials have stressed that Israel is not at war with Syria and does not want a war there, but Bashar Assad’s fragile state is the playground of Iranian forces, where the Shi’ite Islamic Republic is trying to establish itself on Israel’s border and continues to transfer advanced weapons to its terrorist proxy, Hezbollah, in Lebanon.
The key to preventing a further escalation seems to be impressing on Vladimir Putin’s Russia that it needs to abide by promises to keep Iran from becoming entrenched on Israel’s border and stop weapons supplies from reaching terrorist organizations that openly threaten Israeli civilians.
Israel cannot allow Iran to act without a response. On the one hand, the Jewish state needs to take action to maintain deterrence and prevent the situation from deteriorating into a form of war of attrition – similar to the situation that has developed with Iranian-sponsored Hamas in the South, where rockets are regularly launched on the Negev from Gaza. On the other hand, care needs to be taken to avoid an escalation that can quickly get out of control.
Syria barely exists as a state, but Russia is keen to maintain the calm there to help Assad keep control – while Iran, already overstretched, also does not seem keen on an all-out confrontation with Israel.
Jerusalem has to continue to make it clear that Iran does not enjoy immunity and that Russia’s presence is no guarantee for it to act with impunity.
Israel has a responsibility to perform a delicate balancing act, weighing firm action to protect its citizens while trying its best to avoid an unwanted escalation in the conflict.
The firing of an Iranian missile from Syrian territory on January 20, 2019, toward the Hermon, which was crowded with tourists, was a particularly dangerous and serious event. According to senior IDF sources, the Iranians were preparing this response for quite a while.
IDF spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis stated that it was a major decision taken a long time ago by the Iranians, and the firing of the missile was an Iranian attempt to attack Israel.
By firing the missile toward Israel, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards tried to give Israel the same signal that it received from the terror organizations in Gaza several months ago. Then Hamas changed the rules of the game from what they had been since the cease-fire agreement brokered at the end of Operation Protective Edge in summer 2014. Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza presented a new equation, according to which “fire will be answered by fire.”
Iran is adopting the same policy: every Israeli attack on Iranian targets inside Syrian territory will be met with an Iranian response firing toward Israel.
This is the strategy of Gen. Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guard, who is trying to ignite a war of attrition on the northern border, comprised of brief clashes, similar to those Israel has been experiencing on the Gaza border since March 30, 2018.
Israel made the mistake of coming to terms with the general change in the rules of the game that was imposed upon it by terror organizations in Gaza. This mistake has been interpreted as weakness and has had ramifications on the northern border. Gen. Soleimani reckons that he will manage to change the rules of the game also on the northern border by firing missiles at Israel.
Israeli strikes on Iranian military targets in Syria on Sunday killed 12 members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights watchdog group reported Tuesday.
The SOHR also reported that the death toll from the strikes had risen to at least 21, including four Syrian soldiers and five as-yet unidentified civilians.
Following the strike, which Israel – in a departure from its long-standing policy on ambiguity – confirmed early Monday, the head of Iran’s air force said that the Islamic Republic was “eager” to fight Israel and destroy it.
“The young people in the air force are fully ready and impatient to confront the Zionist regime and eliminate it from the Earth,” Iran state news quoted Brig. Gen. Aziz Nasirzadeh as saying.
Israel said that it attacked multiple Iranian military targets in Syria on Sunday after the Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted a missile fired by Iranian forces at the Golan Heights on Sunday afternoon, which was in retaliation for a rare daylight airstrike on Damascus International Airport by Israel earlier Sunday.
Amid rising tension on Israel’s northern border with Syria, the Defense Ministry and the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) successfully conducted a trial of the Arrow-3 missile defense system Tuesday.
The test, led by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) in collaboration with the Israel Air Force, took place at around 6:44 a.m. and caused loud explosions in the vicinity of Palmahim south of Tel Aviv.
“Once the target was launched, Arrow Weapon System radars detected it and transferred the data to the battle management control which then established a defense plan,” read a statement by the Defense Ministry. “At the right moment, the Arrow-3 interceptor was launched toward the target and successfully completed its mission.”
The Arrow-3 development program, one of the joint programs between Israel and the United States, was co-managed by MDA and Israel Missile Defense Organization, a division of the Defense Ministry.
The planned test came one day after Israel and Iran clashed in Syria. Iran fired a medium-range missile toward the Golan Heights on Sunday, and Israel retaliated with a series of pre-dawn airstrikes against Iranian and Syrian military targets throughout Syria.
On Monday, the head of Iran’s air force, Brig.-Gen. Aziz Nasirzadeh, said that Iran’s armed forces “are prepared for a war that will bring the crushing destruction of Israel. We are ready for the day when we will see the end of Israel.”
The primary contractor for the integration and development of the Arrow Weapon System is IAI’s MALAM division, which is responsible for the radar functions. Other contractors are Elbit Systems’ Elisra division, which developed the firing management systems and IAI’s TAMAM division together with IMI and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, which jointly developed the interceptor. America’s Boeing is also a partner in the system.
Syrian Opposition Activist Issam Zeitoun: The Arabs Should Ally Themselves with Israel, Iran Is More Dangerous pic.twitter.com/ZBOKM3KEhx
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) January 22, 2019
The Guardian‘s coverage of Israeli airstrikes against Iranian military targets in Syria includes some disturbing text:
Although the threat of direct confrontation between Israel and Iran has long simmered in Syria – where the Iranian military built a presence early in the civil war to help Bashar al-Assad – the most recent flare-up has come at a potentially dangerous moment.
On the Israeli side the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who has long directed bellicose rhetoric towards Iran, is facing the threat of indictment – perhaps as early as February – over corruption allegations, as well as elections in April.
Is correspondent Peter Beaumont suggesting that that Netanyahu deliberately contributed to this “potentially dangerous moment”? Is Beaumont implying that the prime minister orchestrated an escalation to divert attention from his legal woes?
That’s not journalism.
That’s a conspiracy theory.
Netanyahu’s ‘bellicose rhetoric’
For Beaumont, it is Netanyahu “who has long directed bellicose rhetoric towards Iran,” painting Israel as the aggressor. According to Beaumont, Iranian forces are in Syria simply “to help Bashar al-Assad.”
Only hours after the Israeli airstrikes, Iran’s air force chief Brig. Gen. Aziz Nasirzadeh said:
We’re ready for the decisive war that will bring about Israel’s disappearance from the earth. Our young airmen are prepared for the day when Israel will be destroyed.
Could the threat be any clearer? Readers, however, only get to hear about this in the final paragraph of Beaumont’s report.
Israel is preparing for an historic visit by Mali’s Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga, officials said on Monday, a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cemented the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with Chad during the first visit of an Israeli premier to the Muslim-majority country.
Maiga will visit Israel “in the coming weeks,” and Netanyahu hopes the trip will take place before the April 9 elections, according to reports by Channel 13 and the Kan public broadcaster.
The Foreign Ministry declined to comment.
The West African country, whose population is also majority Muslim, severed ties with Israel in 1973, following the Yom Kippur War. Last year, Netanyahu met with the Malian president on the sidelines of a summit in Liberia. At the end of the meeting, Netanyahu’s office released a statement saying the countries agreed to “warm” their relations.
Maiga’s visit could mark a similar process to that with Chad, which re-established ties that with Israel on Sunday during Netanyahu’s single-day visit to the country, weeks after Chad’s President Idriss Déby had visited Israel. Chad severed ties with Israel in 1972, due to pressure from Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi.
Appearing alongside Déby at the N’Djamena presidential palace, Netanyahu called the move “a breakthrough into the heart of the Muslim world.”
Hamas denounced Chad’s renewed diplomatic relations with Israel as a “stab in the back” of the Palestinian cause, the terrorist organization said in a statement carried by Iran’s PressTV.
The announcement came days following Prime Minister’s Benjamin Netanyahu first ever visit by an Israeli prime minister to the central African country.
Hamas related to Chad’s relations with Israel “as a stab in the back of the Palestinian people and their just cause,” and condemned it by saying that it is a “dangerous wave of normalization with the Israeli occupation.”
Netanyahu said on Sunday that “the Iranians and Palestinians were upset about the trip and tried to stop it but failed,” and added that there would be additional trips in the future to Muslim states.
Chad’s diplomatic ties with Israel became severed in 1972 amid pressure from neighboring Libya, according to Dore Gold, former Foreign Ministry Director-General.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Jerusalem on Monday, as Economy and Industry Minister Eli Cohen and Ukrainian Economic Development and Trade Minister Stepan Kubiv signed a bilateral free trade agreement expected to increase annual trade between the two countries from $800,000 to $1 billion a year.
Netanyahu said Poroshenko’s visit – his third to Israel since entering office in 2014 – was a testament to the strong ties between Ukraine and Israel, which Netanyahu said “have deep historical and cultural roots.”
“Ukrainian Jews make up a significant portion of the population of Israel. And Ukraine is home to a large Jewish community. I think it’s the fourth largest Jewish community in Europe. I appreciate your continued efforts to eliminate hate speech and combat antisemitism in Ukraine,” the prime minister said.
Netanyahu thanked Cohen, First Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine Stepan Kubiv, and Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Minister Zeev Elkin, who chairs the Israel side of the Joint Ukrainian-Israeli Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation, for their efforts in finalizing the free trade deal.
The prime minister said that during Poroshenko’s visit, the leaders would also discuss other ways of increasing cooperation in a variety of fields, including technology, health, aerospace and science.
Israel on Monday thwarted the Palestinians’ attempt to obtain observer state status at the United Nations Conference on Disarmament (CD).
At the first public plenary of the CD’s 2019 session, 33 states were granted observer status, “while the Palestinian bid was the only one to be rejected, denying yet another Palestinian attempt to politicize the work of professional international organizations,” the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem said in statement Tuesday.
Israel is one of the Geneva-based organization’s 65 member states.
The Palestinian bid was supported by Iran, Turkey, North Korea and Venezuela, but Israeli diplomats in Jerusalem and missions across the world, “in close coordination with the US,” managed to block the move, according to the ministry.
“This is another Palestinian attempt to politicize professional UN bodies and international agencies,” the statement read.
Ramallah had also tried to attain observer state status for CD’s 2018 session, but Israel and the US thwarted that effort as well.
Israel Wins Election as VP of UN Committee Overseeing Human Rights Groups
On Martin Luther King Day, the U.N. in a rare move elected Israel as Vice-Chair of the 19-nation Committee on NGOs, which oversees the work of human rights groups. It was Israel’s turn to represent the Western Group. Big defeat for Iran & Venezuela who both tried but failed to get elected to this committee. Israel is represented on the committee by delegate Nadav Yesod.
In the disputed territories of Abkhazia & S.Ossetia, @airbnb is delisting the entire territory. Only with https://t.co/g7ATTTtxZq is it just delisting Jewish communities, while allowing listings from Palestinians (whose gov’t makes selling land to Jews a crime). (2/3)
— Eugene Kontorovich (@EVKontorovich) January 21, 2019
And of course the delisting of Abkhazia/Ossetia, tiny territories heard of, to provide cover for its Israel policy is comical. @Airbnb already can’t do biz in Crimea because of sanctions, so no concern about pissing off Russia.
— Eugene Kontorovich (@EVKontorovich) January 21, 2019
European states must ensure Jewish people have a future on the continent, a senior EU official warned Tuesday at the site of a notorious anti-Semitic attack.
Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova appeared at the Jewish Museum in Brussels, where four people were shot dead in May 2014, to demand a bloc-wide action plan.
In support of her argument, she cited figures showing that 90 percent of European Jews feel that anti-Semitism is rising, compared to one-third of the general public.
“In fact, four in 10 Jews (once again!) think about leaving Europe,” Jourova said. “When Jews have left Europe in the past, it has never been a good sign of the state of Europe.”
As she was speaking, across the city in Brussels’ main criminal court, alleged French jihadist Mehdi Nemmouche was on trial accused of the museum murders.
“After the 2014 attack the Jewish Museum of Brussels became a symbolic place,” director Pascale Falek-Alhadeff told the event.
“But we are also a museum that explicitly chose openness and contributing to building a better and more inclusive society.”
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Tuesday defended the country’s ban on Israeli athletes, likening it to US President Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall along the US-Mexico border.
Malaysia sparked a row with Israel after saying it would not allow Israeli swimmers to compete in a tournament later this year that serves as a qualifying event for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
“Every country has the right to accept or refuse entry of anybody,” Mahathir told a press conference in Vienna on Tuesday.
“You can see that in America now they are erecting a very high wall to prevent Mexicans from going to America,” he said.
“We have the same idea, that people who are undesirable for our country will be kept out of our country,” Mahathir added.
Last week Israel said the decision was motivated by “rabid anti-Semitism” on Mahathir’s part.
The UK Labour Party’s deputy leader called on the British government to oppose Malaysia’s decision to bar Israeli athletes from a key Paralympics qualifier, the Huffington Post reported Monday.
Writing to Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Tom Watson said Malaysia’s decision to block Israel’s swimmers from competing at this summer’s event was “completely unacceptable,” noting that it would “unfairly hinder the chances of these athletes being able to compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games.”
Last week, Israel’s Foreign Ministry blasted Malaysia for banning the Israelis from the summer’s World Para Swimming Championships on the island of Borneo, calling the move “shameful” and saying that if the athletes aren’t allowed in, a new host should be found.
Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said earlier this month that the Israeli swimmers would not be let into the country, and on Wednesday his foreign minister, Saifuddin Abdullah, said the predominantly Muslim country “will not host any more events involving Israel or its representatives.”
It did not take long for Tunisia’s new Jewish tourism minister to have to declare that normal links with Israel are a ‘sensitive’ issue. Middle East Monitor reports (with thanks: Lily):
Tunisian Tourism Minister Rene Trabelsi has described the issue of diplomatic normalization with Israel as a “sensitive matter”.
Trabelsi, a Jewish Tunisian businessman who was recently given the government’s tourism portfolio, made the remarks during an interview with Israel’s i24 television channel, parts of which were aired Tuesday on Tunisian TV.
“As… minister of tourism, I have to follow the line of my government,” he said during the interview. “I would add that Tunisia has been historically committed to peace in the Middle East.
“The Palestinian cause is close to our hearts… and we have served it well,” Trabelsi added. “But our message is to look for peace. The notion of peace is very important in Tunisian culture.”
The minister’s comments on the controversial subject triggered considerable controversy on social-media platforms, with some commenters opining that the interview itself constituted a form of normalization.
Israel inaugurated a new international airport Monday in its desert south, meant to boost tourism to the nearby Red Sea and serve as an emergency alternative to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport in times of conflict. The Ilan & Asaf Ramon Airport airport is named for Israel’s first astronaut, and for his F-16 pilot son.
“The airport will be a focal point of activity, with domestic and international flights. It will give us further strategic capabilities in times of normal activity and when needed, in times of emergency,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the opening ceremony.
“It will give Israel another civilian airfield so that aviation routes will not be harmed,” the prime minister added.
The facility is the first airport built from scratch in Israel since the foundation of the state and is due to welcome scheduled international flights in March. Initially Ramon Airport will handle only domestic flights, operated by Israeli carriers Arkia and Israir.
The $500 million facility is located alongside the main highway leading north from the Red Sea resort city of Eilat, about 18 kilometers (11 miles) north of the city and of the adjacent Jordanian port of Aqaba.
Jordan on Monday hit out at Israel’s move to open a new international airport close the two countries’ shared border near the Red Sea, saying it would threaten the kingdom’s airspace.
“Jordan rejects the establishment of the Israeli airport in its current location,” head of Jordan’s Civil Aviation Regulatory Commission Haitham Misto said, according to state media.
Misto said the airport violated “international standards regarding respect for the sovereignty of airspace and territory of other countries.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended the opening ceremony earlier in the day of the Ramon Airport, meant to boost tourism in the Jewish state and serve as an emergency alternative to Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion airport.
An IDF tank struck a Hamas observation post killing one Palestinian after an IDF officer was lightly injured Tuesday evening by gunfire along the border with the southern Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian casualty was identified by the Gaza health ministry as 24-year-old Mahmoud Abed al-Nabahin. Another two Palestinians were reported to have been injured, one seriously.
The shelling came in response to gunfire targeting IDF troops stationed along the border fence near Kibbutz Kissufim during a riot which saw hundreds of Palestinians hurling stones at troops stationed along the border fence.
“An initial investigation in the field found that during a riot, which included rock throwing, a terrorist opened fire at IDF troops. A bullet struck the helmet of an IDF officer who was stationed at the scene,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement.
He was lightly injured by the gunfire and was treated in the field before being evacuated to Saroka hospital in Beersheba.
In addition, five Palestinians approached the security fence in the southern Gaza Strip, with two infiltrating into Israel before returning immediately to Hamas-run coastal enclave.
Earlier in the day an IDF tank struck a Hamas post in the northern Gaza strip in response to shooting from the post at IDF soldiers, though no injuries or damage was caused, the IDF said.
A Palestinian man who tried to stab an Israeli soldier in the West Bank was shot dead before he was able to do any harm, the IDF said on Tuesday.
“The assailant arrived by vehicle from the city of Nablus, exited the vehicle and attempted to stab an IDF (Israel Defense Forces) soldier who was at a nearby check post. Another soldier responded by firing towards the terrorist and neutralized him,” an IDF statement said, adding that none of the troops were hurt.
Palestinian health officials confirmed that the assailant had been killed, but made no further comment.
Israel sent Military Intelligence officials to New York in recent weeks to meet with senior UN officials and representatives of the UN Security Council states to present intelligence information on Hezbollah’s tunnel network to keep the issue on the diplomatic agenda, Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said on Monday.
Danon said the IDF officials were sent following a special Security Council discussion in late December on the tunnels, during which certain member states asked to see more information.
Though Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said while standing near the border with Lebanon on December 25 that the military campaign against the tunnels was nearing completion – Israel discovered and destroyed six attack tunnels – Danon stressed that the diplomatic campaign is continuing.
Jerusalem views this campaign as a protracted one likely to come to a peak in August, when the UN Security Council will be called upon to renew the mandate of UNIFIL, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon.
Israel is preparing the groundwork for that discussion by – first and foremost – making sure that Danon, and ambassadors of other friendly UN Security Council states, address the issue of the Hezbollah tunnels during the monthly open debate on the Mideast.
Breaking the Silence, an Israeli NGO critical of the IDF, will make a presentation for parents at Beit Hasefer HaNisui (the Experimental School) on Hillel Street in Jerusalem next week.
The event, sponsored by the school’s parents association, will take place on Sunday, January 27, at 8 p.m. in the school library, according to an email sent by the principal of the middle school, Gil Shiloh, obtained by The Jerusalem Post. The event will include a presentation with Q&A.
The presentation is not for students and the school is not directly sponsoring the event, Shiloh told the Post.
“The parents organized an evening for parents and it is not connected to me or the school,” said Shiloh, who noted he would “turn over the keys of the school” to parent association head Ola Savchuk because “she is doing it in the school, but it is not a school event.”
He continued, “I stand with what the Education Ministry says.”
Savchuk said she was not interested in interviewing with the Post.
The Palestinian Authority Ministry of Labor has removed from its Facebook page a photo in which Israeli-made beverages are served to participants of a meeting of its senior officials.
The decision to delete the photo came after several Palestinians took to social media to condemn the ministry of violating its own policy of boycotting Israeli products.
Many Israeli products are popular among Palestinians, including among many PA ministries and institutions.
The controversial photo, in which PA officials are featured sitting around a table that has on it several juice bottles, was also posted on the Ministry of Labor’s official website two days ago.
“How can we call on the world to boycott Israeli products while we are purchasing and even promoting them,” commented Facebook user Nasser Ayyash. Others posted a screenshot of the photo which was deleted by the ministry and said it was a sign of the PA’s hypocrisy regarding the boycott of Israeli products. They pointed out that the ministry itself had previously called for boycotting Israeli products.
After widespread protests, the Palestinian Ministry of Labor removed a photo from its Facebook page of a meeting with Israeli Tapuzina drinks on the table. Activists said the ministry itself had previously called for boycotting Israeli products. (AMAD) pic.twitter.com/wuSgob6z7i
— Khaled Abu Toameh (@KhaledAbuToameh) January 22, 2019
Mahmoud Abbas’ advisor on religious affairs has accused Israel and Hamas of planning “an attack against Abbas”:
Mahmoud Al-Habbash: “There is suspicious and dangerous coordination between the statements of the occupation state’s leaders and the statements of the Hamas Movement’s leaders on all that is connected to an attack on [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 14, 2019]
Al-Habbash claimed Israel and Hamas share a desire to “assassinate” Abbas. He alleged that Israeli cabinet members have talked about “ways of getting rid of” Abbas, and said this was done in parallel with Hamas urging foreign parliaments to revoke Abbas’ legitimacy as president:
“[Al-Habbash] emphasized that this coordination of statements [between Israel and Hamas] and the attack on the Palestinian leadership headed by the president is not coincidental, because both Israel and Hamas incite against the president morning and night, challenge his legitimacy, and want to assassinate him.”
The “attacks” against Abbas refer to remarks by Israeli Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan who suggested barring Abbas from returning to the Palestinian territories the next time he travels abroad, and to a campaign by an Israeli private right-wing organization that on posters with Abbas’ face seen through a rifle sight has called on the Israeli government to “eliminate those who fund murder!” (see more below.)
Fatah’s Revolutionary Council Secretary Majed Al-Fatiani claimed this campaign is coming from the Israeli government:
IsraellyCool: Shopping in “Concentration Camp” Gaza
This next video is a Vlog of some kids shopping in a supermarket in Gaza.
And once again, it shows the real Gaza – not the one you are seeing from the haters and their accomplices in the mainstream media.
Those well stocked shelves, by the way, include quite a number of products with Hebrew on them.
An Egyptian court has sentenced a TV host to one year of hard labor for interviewing a gay man on his own network last year.
Mohamed al-Ghiety was found guilty of “promoting homosexuality” for conducting the interview with the man — whose identity was hidden — about his life as a sex worker, reports BBC.
Al-Ghiety was also fined 3,000 Egyptian pounds ($167) and will be under surveillance for one year after serving time for the interview, which took place in August 2018.
BBC also reports that al-Ghiety has “voiced homophobic views on a number of occasions” but interviewed the man who “expressed regret over his sexuality and described life as a prostitute.”
Following the interview, the channel was taken off air for two weeks by the Supreme Council of Media Regulation, for “professional violations.”
The prosecutor in the case, Samir Sabry, is known for taking celebrities to court, and reportedly accused al-Ghiety of revealing there are financial benefits for “practicing homosexuality.”
Not content with its betrayal of Iranian democrats and feminists, the Regressive Left is also betraying Iranian workers. Despite violent repression of independent labor unions, Iranians have staged a series of nationwide strikes. But their demands, the reports of torture, and the photos and videos of striking workers have been ignored by all but a few unions in the West. The AFL-CIO once proudly supported Poland’s Solidarity worker’s movement during the years of Cold War oppression, but it has remained silent about striking Iranians. The American Federation of Teachers, meanwhile, has turned its back on Iranian teachers striking to protest unpaid wages, abysmal working conditions, and the omnipresent ruthlessness of the regime. It is as if the American Left is unwilling or unable to see that Iranian dissidents are suffering the same state-controlled command economies and rentier politics that characterize all brands of totalitarianism, regardless of time or place, culture or religion.
Even the world’s environmental protection organizations are afflicted by this peculiar myopia, and find themselves unable to condemn the regime’s responsibility for Iran’s dying rivers and filthy air. Instead, they concern themselves with polarizing, abstract climate change advocacy and drives to improve the lives of already privileged animals in the West while in Iran, natural resources are plundered, the environment is despoiled, and activists’ calls to reverse the devastating impact of government policies on public health are ignored.
What explains this callous lack of interest from the Free World in the plight of Iran and its people? Part of the answer can be divined from the accusations of “warmonger” that invariably greet anyone who draws attentions to the regime’s depredations. Claims like those I have made above, we are told, are simply a means of preparing the basis for another American war in the Middle East. But this thinking is as logically nonsensical as it is morally cowardly. Americans are understandably wary of military intervention after the experience of Iraq and the calamitous consequences of the “Arab Spring” in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Syria. But opposition to military intervention does not require anyone to deny the despotic reality of the Iranian revolutionary regime or to ignore its embattled victims. There are many ways that Western democrats can offer solidarity and support to the struggles of Iranians who yearn for the same freedoms they enjoy. But first they have to open their eyes.
If they had not been shot they had not been shot by a hostile Jordanian soldier 22 years ago, seven young girls who were pupils at the Amit Fuerst School in Beit Shemesh might today be young mothers in their mid-30s, possibly pursuing careers in hi-tech or teaching.
But they got no further in life than puberty.
Karen Cohen, 14; Ya’ala Me’iri, 13; Shiri Badayev, 14; Natalie Alkalai, 13; Adi Malka 13; and Nirit Cohen, 13, all of Beit Shemesh; and Sivan Petihi, 13, of Tzelafon, were on a field trip to the Jordan Valley and the Golan Heights with several of their teachers and classmates.
While they were at the Island of Peace in Naharayim, Ahmed Daqamseh, a Jordanian soldier in an observation tower, opened fire, killing the seven girls and wounding 13 others, including one teacher.
The number of fatalities could have been much higher, but for the fact that the shooter was apprehended by other Jordanian soldiers and relieved of his weapon.
He was subsequently sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Every year since, on Tu Bishvat, the New Year for trees, the families of the murdered girls go to the Forest of the Daughters in Naharayim to plant trees in their memories.
The memorial site was initiated by Orna Shimoni, from Kibbutz Ashdod Yaakov Ichud, whose son, Eyal, fell in Lebanon in 1997. Shimoni is a peace activist and one of the founders of the Four Mothers Movement, and is active in Women Wage Peace.
This year, President Reuven Rivlin participated in the memorial tree planting ceremony.
On Monday, he joined Keren Kayemet L’Israel Jewish National Fund World Chairman Danny Attar, the families of the girls and a large number of other people for whom the occasion held an emotional pull.
We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.