PMW: Fatah honors last month’s murderer of father of 6 as “young lion”
Abbas’ Fatah Movement was quick to honor as a “Martyr” Ahmed Nasr Jarrar who led the group of terrorists who shot and murdered Rabbi Raziel Shevach, father of 6, in a drive-by shooting last month. The terrorist was killed by Israeli soldiers yesterday while resisting arrest. Fatah posted the picture of Jarrar with his father, calling him the “young lion”:
Texts below faces: “Martyr Nasr Jarrar … Martyr Ahmed Nasr Jarrar” [Official Fatah Facebook page, Feb. 6, 2018]
The image shows terrorist Ahmed Nasr Jarrar (left) and his father, terrorist Nasr Jarrar, who is holding an assault rifle. The father was a Hamas terrorist who planned two attacks in central Israel – a double suicide bombing in the Sheba Hospital and a truck bombing in a multi-story building – attacks that were thwarted when he was killed and other members of his terror cell were caught by Israeli soldiers in 2002.
After the attack, Palestinian Media Watch documented that Fatah celebrated that “a settler was killed.” Fatah also uploaded a graphic image (see below) of the body of the dead terrorist Jarrar with weapons beside him, honoring him for “facing” the Israeli soldiers rather than running away:
Posted text: “‘He faced forward and did not turn his back’ Martyr (Shahid) Ahmed Nasr Jarrar”
[Official Fatah Facebook page, Feb. 6, 2018]
Fatah also posted the video footage of the Israeli Arab terrorist Abd Al-Hakim Adel murdering Rabbi Itamar Ben-Gal, the 29 year old father of 4, yesterday, calling the terror attack an “operation.”
Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians: The Atrocities No One Talks About
Why the need to keep reminding the world of the plight of the Palestinians in Syria? It is because the international community and pro-Palestinian groups around the world do not seem to care about the atrocities that are being committed against Palestinians in Syria or any Arab country because they were not committed by Israel.
The 82-year-old Mahmoud Abbas, meanwhile, has made clear where his priorities stand. Instead of searching for ways to help his people in Syria and the Gaza Strip, where hospitals are facing a deathly shortage of fuel and medicine, Abbas has just spent $50 million to purchase a “presidential plane.”
Abbas, however, could not care less. In his view, the needs of his people are the responsibility of the world. He wants everyone but himself to continue funneling financial aid to the Palestinians. For him, delivering a speech before the EU Parliament or the UN General Assembly easily takes precedence over the Palestinians who are dying due to lack of medicine and food.
Melanie Phillips: Nunes memo, Obama/Farrakhan, Poland
Please join me here as I discuss with Avi Abelow of Israel Video Network the Nunes memo, shock at the Obama/Farrakhan picture and the new Polish law against claiming Poland was involved in the Holocaust.
IDF Blog: Safely Preventing Terror Attacks
The IDF created a new system to prevent terror attacks while minimizing the risk of injury to soldiers and would-be terrorists. With increasing attacks in Hebron, the IDF also needed a better way to protect locals. The technology of this new system minimizes risk of injury, while precisely detecting weapons on those entering Jewish communities. The new system allows people to safely and quickly pass between communities while maintaining a high level of security.
As Israelis or Palestinians enter the reinforced concrete examination room, a soldier stands in a small room behind bullet proof glass where he can view the scan on a computer and is protected.
Colonel Itzik Cohen says, “The significant thing is that there is no close contact. He sees the person through the window and he identifies that the suspect has a knife on his/her person and is coming to carry out an attack.” When this happens, he or she is immediately taken in for questioning.
In addition to the new search system, a new computer system was installed, which allows Palestinians entering Israel legally to do so faster. The computer can identify Palestinians with legal entry permits for teaching, work, or other special purposes.
Over the last year, this new system was implemented in several Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. One of these locations is the entrance to Kiryat Arba, where the residents were previously in danger of becoming victims of terror attacks.
This new system has revolutionized the way that soldiers interact with people entering Jewish communities. Not only does it keep Palestinians and Israelis safer, it also streamlines the legal entry process for Palestinians who work in Israel. The IDF and the Border Police are looking to expand the new system because of its safety benefits.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Monday criticized Russian efforts to “whitewash” the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons.
Haley said at a U.N. Security Council meeting that reports of a chlorine gas attack on Sunday followed “a troubling pattern” in Syria, where Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has repeatedly used chemical weapons on his own people. She laid out expectations for Syria to destroy its chemical weapons arsenal under the Chemical Weapons Convention and U.N. Security Council resolution 2118, but implicated Russia in protecting Assad.
“It’s a true tragedy that Russia has sent us back to square one in the effort to end chemical weapons use in Syria,” Haley said. “But we will not cease in our efforts to know the truth of the Assad regime and ensure that truth is known and acted on by the international community.”
She argued that Russia’s actions to prevent accountability is detrimental to the U.N.’s credibility.
“So what do the American people see? What do people of all countries see?” Haley asked. “They see a council that can’t agree to take action, even after the investigative mechanism created by this council found that the Assad regime used chemical weapons.”
She said evidence of dozens of victims in the latest attack led the U.S. to propose a statement condemning it, but Russia has delayed the statement.
“So far Russia has delayed the adoption of this statement—a simple condemnation of Syrian children being suffocated by chlorine gas,” she said. “I hope Russia takes the appropriate step to adopt this text, showing the council is unified in condemning chemical weapons attacks.”
Germany’s Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control approved a license for a company to sell military applicable technology to Iranian companies that subsequently was used in Syrian regime chemical weapons attacks, reported the German publication Bild on Monday.
The German company Krempel, located near the southern city of Stuttgart, sold electronic press boards to Iranian companies that were used in the production of rockets.
The Jerusalem Post reported in 2017 that multiple German intelligence reports revealed that Iran sought chemical and biological weapon technology in the federal republic.
The research of the human rights group, Syrians for Truth and Justice, Bild and the online investigative journalist website Bellingcat, showed photographs of the rocket remains with the company logo of Krempel and the product signature: “Made in Germany.”
The rocket debris was found after two poisonous gas attacks were conducted by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime. Krempel confirmed the delivery of the electronic technology “Pressspan PSP-3040,” an insulating material with a cellulose base used for insulation. The chemical attacks took place on January 22 and February 1. The gas attack in January resulted in 21 injuries, including many children.
Bild quoted Eliot Higgins from Bellingcat, who said that both gas attacks showed that “the rockets were produced in 2016 and delivered from Iran.”
JPost Editorial: Hard Decisions
Since 2002, when Havat Gilad was first established in response to the brutal murder of Gilad Zar, the government has repeatedly demolished homes and evacuated parts of the settlement. But the government’s equivocating enabled the rebuilding of Havat Gilad.
Failing to decide what to do is also a decision and carries with it consequences. It encourages lawlessness, a winkand- nod culture, when illegal actions are authorized retroactively after the government is “forced” to change course. Approving Havat Gilad in the wake of the tragic murder of Shevach, a decade-and-a-half after it was first established, is problematic on a number of levels.
All the suffering caused by repeated demolitions of homes in Havat Gilad and forcible evacuations of its residents was for naught. Tt turns out, there was no real reason not to authorize Havat Gilad long ago. Similarly, the violent destruction of homes on other outposts throughout Judea and Samaria seems nonsensical, since the government could very well decide in another week or month to authorize additional communities which were previously considered illegal.
The decision also seems to imply that the critical factor determining Israeli settlement policy is Palestinian violence. If a terrorist attack is brutal enough, it will lead to more Israeli building, regardless of whether this government thinks the building of additional communities in outlying areas is good for Israel.
We believe other considerations should be weighed. If Netanyahu and his government envision the eventual annexation of all of Judea and Samaria, the authorization of Havat Gilad makes perfect sense. But the government should explain what it plans to do with the large Palestinian population that lives there and what status they would have.
If, on the other hand, Netanyahu continues to envision some form of two-state solution or limited autonomy for Palestinians, he should explain how Sunday’s cabinet decision on Havat Gilad fits this vision.
For too long – from well before Netanyahu became prime minister – ambiguity has characterized Israeli settlement policy. Various right-wing groups, unencumbered by such indecision, have taken advantage of the situation to force consecutive governments to approve building. Left-wing groups, meanwhile, motivated by a two-state vision and citing international law, have pushed in the opposite direction, extracting demolition orders and evacuations that have caused suffering to thousands of Israelis.
Zionism’s most basic premise is that the Jewish people have the right to self-determination. After more than 50 years of de facto rule over Judea and Samaria, the time has come for Israel’s leaders to exercise that right and decide what it is they really want.
The chapter in the new US National Security Strategy (NSS) document on the Middle East is short, but powerful. It marks a significant departure from the Obama legacy and is thus of great interest to both America’s partners and its adversaries in the region.
The strategy recognizes that instability and an unfavorable balance of regional power in the Middle East adversely affect US interests. According to the NSS, the region’s instability derives from the interaction between Iranian expansion, violent jihadist terror and ideology, weak states, socioeconomic stagnation, and regional rivalries.
The document cautions that disengagement from the Middle East will not shield the US from a spillover of the region’s problems. Nor does it maintain that there is a quick or easy fix. Rather, the NSS promotes long-term and patient US involvement in the region as a means of promoting a favorable balance of power, fostering stability and furthering US security and economic interests.
In a distinct change from the perspective of the Obama administration, the NSS does not view the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a major cause of the region’s problems. Nonetheless, the strategy reaffirms the Trump administration’s commitment to facilitating a comprehensive peace agreement, which it believes can serve the wider interest of promoting a favorable regional balance of power — in part by increasing Israeli-Arab cooperation in confronting common threats.
Elliot Abrams: Iran’s imperial challenge to Mideast borders
Now, it is reported that one of Iran’s hardest-line leaders, Ibrahim Raisi, has visited the Israeli-Lebanese border. Raisi, the defeated candidate for president in 2017, is a member of the Assembly of Experts that will choose a successor to “Supreme Leader” Ali Khamenei and is a candidate for that position himself. Visiting Beirut, he took time to talk with the head of Hezbollah and to pay his respects at the home of the late terrorist mastermind Imad Mughniyeh. But, as the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs noted,
The high point of Raisi’s visit occurred in southern Lebanon when he toured the border with Israel escorted by Hizbullah military commanders and Iranian officers….
Like Soleimani’s Iraq/Syria border visit, Raisi’s Lebanon/Israel border visit delivers several messages. First, borders have no meaning for Iran; the Islamic Republic is determined to be the dominant player in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. Second, the governments of those countries have no control of their own borders and territory; Iranian military and terrorist leaders can come and go as they please. Third, whether Lebanon gets into a conflict with Israel will be determined by decisions made in Tehran, not in Beirut.
That is a sad development for most Lebanese, who are not fanatical Hezbollah supporters. But it is one the United States should keep in mind as we assess our relations with Lebanon and our military aid to that country.
Poland’s president said on Tuesday he will sign into law a bill imposing jail terms for suggesting the country was complicit in the Holocaust, defying criticism from Israel, the United States, and activists.
Andrzej Duda said in a televised address the legislation would ensure Poland’s “dignity and historical truth”.
Poland’s right-wing government says the law is needed to protect the reputation of its citizens and make sure they are recognized as victims not perpetrators of Nazi aggression during World War Two.
Israel has said the law would curb free speech, criminalize basic historical facts and stop any discussion on the role that some Poles played in Nazi crimes. Activists say the passage of the bill has encouraged a rise in anti-Semitism.
More than three million of Poland’s 3.2 million Jews were murdered by the Nazis, accounting for about half of the Jews killed in the Holocaust. Jews from across the continent were sent to be killed at death camps built and operated by Germans in Poland, including Auschwitz, Treblinka, Belzec and Sobibor.
The Polish measure would impose prison sentences of up to three years for mentioning the term “Polish death camps” and for suggesting “publicly and against the facts” that the Polish nation or state was complicit in Nazi Germany’s crimes.
Accusations that American Jews are conspiring to squeeze billions of dollars out of Poland in Holocaust reparations, along with wild claims that Polish Jews were behind the Soviet deportations of Polish citizens during World War II, have spread like wildfire across the Polish media in recent days, after the country’s Senate approved widely-condemned legislation prohibiting discussion of Polish collusion with the Nazi genocide of the Jews.
One observer in Warsaw compared the present atmosphere in Poland to 1968 — when thousands of Jews were purged and driven into exile by an antisemitic campaign targeting “Zionists” that was led by the ruling Communist Party. The observer pointed to an unsigned editorial on the website of the pro-government TV Republika on Monday that accused the “Jewish community in Poland and its representative institutions” of “too rarely and too weakly defending Poland and the Poles in the international arena.”
The current conflict over the Holocaust legislation — which is scheduled to be signed into law by President Andrzej Duda later this month — “is a big test of loyalty for the Polish Jews whose organizations are linked personally and institutionally with American Jews,” the editorial said.
A number of recent cases of the use of antisemitic rhetoric in Poland were reported by the anti-fascist NGO “Nigdy Wiecej” (“Never Again”), which described them as “deeply alarming.”
The Polish government has cancelled a scheduled visit by Education Minister Naftali Bennett after he made remarks accusing the Polish people of complicity in the murder of Jews during the Holocaust.
“There will be no such visit,” Polish government spokeswoman Joanna Kopcinska told a local Polish TV news channel on Monday evening.
In response to the cancellation, Bennett released a statement, saying: “The blood of Polish Jews cries from the ground, and no law will silence it. The government of Poland canceled my visit because I mentioned the crimes of its people. I am honored.
“Now, the next generation has an important lesson about the Holocaust of our people, and I will ensure that they learn it,” he said, adding that the decision by the Polish government “has a role to play in Holocaust education, even if they intended it to achieve something else.”
When Israel vigorously protested a controversial Polish law outlawing accusing Poland of complicity in Nazi crimes, this was an anomaly in decades of willfully ignoring Eastern European Holocaust distortions, Efraim Zuroff, the world’s leading Nazi hunter, charged this week.
Though he said Jerusalem did well to express its opposition, he predicted that eventually Israeli realpolitik concerns would prevail and that the Jewish state will not continue to challenge Eastern European governments for their problematic characterizations of the Holocaust and their role in it.
“This issue with Poland is really the tip of the iceberg. There is a very large iceberg that has existed for many years,” said Zuroff, the director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office.
It was ironic that the Israeli government chose to speak out on Poland’s Holocaust complicity bill, which was passed last week by the two houses of the country’s parliament and now awaits final confirmation by President Andrzej Duda, he said, when it has never chastised such countries as Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine, Croatia and Hungary, which played a more active role aiding the Nazis in their genocide of the Jews during World War II and have for decades tried to downplay their guilt.
The Associated Press reported Friday that President Donald Trump’s new nuclear doctrine “is mostly in line with Obama plan, but more aggressive toward Russia.”
The Washington Post reported that the administration’s new strategy did reverse key elements of Obama’s nuclear approach by calling for “the introduction of two new types of weapons, effectively ending Obama-era efforts to reduce the size and scope of the U.S. arsenal and minimize the role of nuclear weapons in defense planning.”
Obama had believed the U.S. could lead by example, downgrading its own nuclear capabilities in the hope that other countries would do the same. But the Pentagon concluded that China and Russia had not followed suit, and that “the capability of Russian and Chinese nuclear arsenals is actually getting better against ours,” in the words of Air Force Gen. Paul J. Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Trump’s policy is more aggressive toward Russia because it seeks the development of smaller-scale nuclear weapons, which Russia already has, so that the U.S. will not have to choose between launching a large nuclear weapon and mere conventional weapons in response to a hypothetical small-scale Russian strike on a U.S. ally.
That means effectively deterring Russia from using its small-scale nuclear arsenal for tactical military operations.
The AP reports that the Trump administration “said Russia must be persuaded it would face ‘unacceptably dire costs’ if it were to threaten even limited nuclear attack in Europe.”
US President Donald Trump’s special envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, seemed to contradict Israel on Sunday by implying that IDF Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul is still alive, despite the army declaring him killed in action more than three years ago.
On July 20, 2014, during the Gaza war of that year, the armored personnel carrier in which Shaul’s unit was traveling was attacked by Hamas terrorists with an anti-tank missile in the Shejaiya neighborhood of Gaza City. Initially, the Israel Defense Forces declared that six soldiers were killed and that Shaul was missing.
Five days later, military forensic specialists determined that Shaul had also been killed in the battle and that his remains had been snatched by Hamas, based on interviews with other soldiers involved in the fighting and evidence from the scene. The staff sergeant’s family did not accept the army’s pronouncement and has repeatedly claimed that he is still alive, calling for him to again be listed as “missing in action.”
In a separate case during the 2014 war, another IDF soldier, Lt. Hadar Goldin, was captured by Hamas terrorists and smuggled into a tunnel in the southern Gaza city of Rafah. He too was first considered kidnapped, but was later determined to have been killed, something his family has accepted. In the case of Goldin, sufficient remains were found in order to hold a funeral in accordance with Jewish law, which requires some portion of the body for burial.
Israeli troops shot dead Ahmad Nassar Jarrar, the suspected ringleader of a terrorist group responsible for a January attack that killed an Israeli rabbi, during a pre-dawn raid in the West Bank on Tuesday, the Shin Bet security service said.
His death brought to an end a nearly month-long manhunt for the perpetrators of the drive-by shooting that killed Rabbi Raziel Shevach, a father of six, on January 9 as he traveled down the highway outside the Havat Gilad illegal outpost where he lived.
According to the Shin Bet, troops from the Israel Defense Forces, Shin Bet and Israel Police’s Special Patrol Unit arrived at the building where Jarrar was hiding in the village of Yamoun, near Jenin, early Tuesday morning, following a “determined and complicated intelligence and operational effort.”
When Jarrar, 22, exited the building, he was armed with an M-16 assault rifle and a bag of explosives, prompting the Israeli troops to open fire. The suspected terrorist ringleader was killed in the shootout, the Shin Bet said.
No Israeli troops were injured.
The Hamas terror group on Tuesday mourned the death of Ahmad Nassar Jarrar, the suspected ringleader of a terrorist group responsible for an attack that killed an Israeli rabbi, and said all Palestinians were proud of him.
Jarrar was shot dead by Israeli forces during a predawn arrest operation in Jenin. He was armed and died in a shootout with the Israeli troops.
His death brought to an end a nearly month-long manhunt for the perpetrators of the drive-by shooting that killed Rabbi Raziel Shevach, a father of six, on January 9 as he drove down the highway outside the Havat Gilad illegal outpost where he lived.
Hamas called on Palestinians to avenge the killing of Jarrar by targeting settlers and IDF soldiers.
Acknowledging that Jarrar was a member of its military wing, Hamas said in a statement that the “resistance” against Israel would continue until the “occupation” ends.
“Our hero and martyr has carried out the duty of resistance and defending the land of Palestine,” Hamas said, praising Jarrar for refusing to surrender to the IDF.
Hundreds of people participated in the funeral Tuesday for a rabbi killed in a West Bank terror attack a day earlier, escorting the victim as he was laid to rest in the Har Bracha settlement where he lived.
Itamar Ben-Gal, 29, was stabbed to death while waiting at a hitchhiking post near the settlement of Ariel on Monday, as he headed to a circumcision ceremony for his nephew. He was survived by his wife, Miriam, and four children.
His suspected killer, Abed al-Karim Assi, 19, managed to evade capture following the attack, even after an IDF officer hit him with his car while in pursuit.
At the gravesite, Miriam Ben-Gal said, “Itamar, my dear, we will continue settling the land and raising our family.”
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, and Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben Dahan were also at the ceremony.
“The country has lost a righteous person,” Edelstein said in a eulogy for Ben-Gal. “What a terrible loss. With Miriam, he built a family life… he was a dedicated teacher who treated each of his students as a son.”
“The terrorist saw the smile that he always had on his face and the light that was always in his eyes,” he continued. “He tried to wipe off the smile and put out the light. This was the same desire of the killer of Raziel Shevach.”
The Israeli mother of terrorist Abed al-Karim Adel Asi, 19 from Jaffa, painted a grim picture of the killer on Tuesday, while condemning his actions and calling on him to turn himself in.
During a meeting with journalists at her home in Haifa given on the condition of anonymity, Asi’s mother said her son spent his youth at facilities for troubled teens and never managed to stay in one institution for longer than a few months, Yediot Aharonot reported.
“He has no right to hurt anyone, and I condemn what he has done and call on him to turn himself in,” the mother told Yediot Aharonot. “He destroyed everything.”
According to multiple reports, Asi, whose father is Palestinian, has been known for years to welfare services in Israel.
Abed al-Karim Adel Asi is a nineteen-year-old from Jaffa, the son of an Israeli mother and a Palestinian father from Nablus. According to Ynet, he spent his youth moving from one facility for troubled teens to the next, never managing to stay in one institution for longer than a few months.
A Ynet interview with the head of the “Shanti House Home for Underprivileged Youth” where al-Karim spent several months in 2016, suggests that although his frequent visits to his father in Nablus raised some cause for suspicion among the staff, his blue Israeli ID card and “relevant sources” who reassured them there was no cause for concern convinced them that he did not pose any danger.
Despite this, the staff didn’t feel comfortable having one of their teenagers journeying between Nablus and Tel Aviv so often, and decided to impose a limit on the number of times they let him travel to the West Bank to once every couple of months. After a while, Al-Karim decided to leave the “Shanti House” of his own volition.
After the Shanti House, he went on to find assistance through different non-profits in Israel, none of which found further reason to suspect anything of the Israeli teen.
Nevertheless, he ended up murdering a man and destroying a family. The question remains to be asked: How could someone spend so long in the care of state institutions without anybody realizing he had the potential to commit an act of terror?
The US ambassador to Israel on Monday lambasted Palestinian leaders, accusing them of praising the killer of Rabbi Itamar Ben-Gal, who was stabbed to death in a terror attack on Monday outside the West Bank settlement of Ariel.
Without specifying to whom he was referring, David Friedman charged on Twitter, “Palestinian ‘leaders’ (sic) have praised the killer.”
After the stabbing, a spokesman for the Hamas terror organization, which rules the Gaza strip, lauded the attack as “a continuation of the resistance to Trump’s Jerusalem declaration.”
That was in reference to the US president’s December 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announcement that the US would move its embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
On Tuesday, Friedman wrote, “20 years ago, I gave an ambulance to Har Bracha, hoping it would be used to deliver healthy babies. Instead, a man from Har Bracha was just murdered by a terrorist, leaving behind a wife and four children.”
Chilling: 35-year-old Rabbi Raziel Shevach (circled above), who was murdered by Palestinian terrorists several weeks ago, and 29-year-old Rabbi Itamar Ben Gal (circled below), who was murdered earlier today, at the birthday celebration of a mutual friend a year ago. (Arutz 7) pic.twitter.com/pSL0WR5kCt
— Avi Mayer (@AviMayer) February 5, 2018
Police arrested a 16-year-old Palestinian and her 48-year-old mother, who are suspected of planning to carry out a terrorist attack, incitement and illegal possession of a weapon.
In a statement released on Tuesday, police said officers arrested the two West Bank residents last week.
“Following a phone call to a police station in which the daughter said that she is planning to carry out an attack, an investigation was launched, in which police used advanced technological tools that helped to track down the teen,” the statement said. “Police then planned an arrest operation, and along with Border Police forces, arrived to her home, arrested her and brought her in for questioning.”
During questioning, investigators confirmed that the girl planned to attack Israeli civilians. Police said the mother was involved in incitement, mainly in social networks. It said that it found an online video showing the mother shooting an automatic rifle, and expressing her hate.
The remand of the two was extended by six days.
Police stressed that they continue working overtly and covertly to thwart attacks by both individuals and organizations.
In mid-January 2018, Israel destroyed a Hamas attack tunnel that passed under the Kerem Shalom crossing into Israeli territory and from there into Egypt.1 The event sparked a debate in Israel about the proper policy on the border crossings to and from Palestinian territories.
Now that the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation initiative has failed, the situation remains as it has been: sporadic, unregulated opening and closing of the crossing by Egypt, with Hamas personnel on the Palestinian side even though the crossing was officially handed over to the Palestinian Authority.
Amid the public Palestinian and international discussion of Gazan Palestinians’ desire to emigrate, a system of exit and entry in both directions needs to be devised. Considering that Gaza is controlled by Hamas, a terror organization, the system must include the necessary security arrangements.
Israeli security sources stressed that improving the situation in Gaza, including relieving the sense of suffocation, is an Israeli security interest because it could prevent an internal explosion that would probably affect Israel. Planning, however, is concentrated on the movement of goods, and not the movement of people, the sources admitted.
A former Palestinian intelligence chief and the head of the West Bank bar association are suing the Palestinian Authority after a purported whistle blower alleged the two were targeted, along with many other allies and rivals of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, in a large-scale CIA-backed wiretapping operation.
Allegations of continued intelligence-sharing with the United States could prove embarrassing for Abbas, who has been on a political collision course with Washington since US President Donald Trump’s recognition in December of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The claims are contained in a 37-page anonymous document that was been shared widely among Palestinians, mostly on WhatsApp. The document alleges that three of the Palestinian security services set up a joint electronic surveillance unit in mid-2014 and monitored the phone calls of thousands of Palestinians, from senior figures in terror groups to judges, lawyers, civic leaders and political allies of Abbas.
The author describes himself as a former member of the surveillance unit who quit “this dirty job” several months ago because of his growing opposition to Palestinian government practices, including intelligence-sharing with the United States. He wrote that Trump’s policy shift on Jerusalem provided another impetus to go public.
In T-minus 100 days, US President Donald Trump will decide whether or not to nix the 2015 nuclear deal signed between Iran and world powers, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The American leader has made clear that unless the accord’s “disastrous flaws” are fixed, he will re-impose nuclear-related sanctions on Tehran, a move that would effectively kill the pact.
President Trump has highlighted, in particular, the agreement’s so-called “sunset clauses” that remove restrictions on Tehran after narrow time frames, including limits on its ability to enrich uranium in just over a decade from now. The US president also has pointed to the deal’s failure to address Iran’s “nefarious” regional ambitions, manifest in its involvement in the conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
Another key point of contention is the Islamic Republic’s perceived flouting of a United Nations Security Council resolution related to its ballistic missile program. While the nuclear pact does not specifically cover the matter, prior to 2010 a legally binding UN resolution definitely stated that, “Iran shall not undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.” However, during the JCPOA negotiating process, the parties agreed to replace the existing resolution with a new one that merely “called upon” Tehran to refrain from ballistic missile work for eight years.
Notably, since the signing of the atomic deal, Iran reportedly tested upwards of two dozen ballistic missiles. For its part, Tehran argues that such activity is permitted because the missiles could not possibly be developed with nuclear weapons in mind, as atomic arms are explicitly banned under the JCPOA. Still, most defense analysts disagree with this circular reasoning given that ballistic missiles serve little purpose other than as a delivery apparatus for nuclear warheads.
Ayatollah Sayyed Ebrahim Raisi, a member of Iran’s Assembly of Experts who is thought to be the designated successor of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, visited Lebanon and Syria at the end of January 2018.
Raisi toured the border between Israel and Lebanon accompanied by Hezbollah military commanders and Iranian officers.
During the tour, Raisi stated that “Jerusalem’s liberation is near.”
In remarks translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) he said: “Thanks to the resistance movement, Palestine has so far succeeded in withstanding Israel, and they [the Palestinians] have learned that it is fighting and steadfastness, not the negotiating tables, that determine the fate of their country.”
Raisi also commended Hezbollah on its efforts to strengthen Islamic culture in Lebanon.
“Hezbollah is not only in the arena of fighting, but it is also solving the problems of the people and providing them aid. This is the unique aspect of the Islamic movements. Hezbollah’s mission does not end with military and defense matters; it must play a role in various and diverse tasks in building Islamic culture,” MEMRI reported.
In addition to the tour of the border, Raisi met with a number of Lebanese leaders and government officials. He paid visits to the families of two deceased terrorist leaders, Imad Mughniyeh and Mustafa Badr al-Din.
Lebanon has agreed on regional and international levels to prevent Israel from continuing construction of its border wall on its northern border, a wall Beirut alleges violates its sovereignty.
According to a statement released by the Lebanese President Michel Aoun a meeting held with Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri discussed “the Israeli threats, and saw them as a clear violation of Security Council Resolution 1701 and a direct threat to the stability of the border region.”
At the meeting the three leaders agreed to “continue to move at various regional and international levels to prevent Israel from building the wall within the Lebanese border and the possibility of its encroachment on oil and gas wealth in Lebanese territorial waters,” the statement continued.
In a regular tripartite meeting of military officers from Israel and Lebanon chaired by UN Peacekeepers on Monday, Lebanon said that the wall passes through territory that belongs to Lebanon but which is located on the Israeli side of the U.N.-designated Blue Line, which demarcated Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000.
“The Lebanese side reviewed the matter of the wall which the Israeli enemy intends to build … confirming the position of the Lebanese government rejecting the construction of this wall as it violates Lebanese sovereignty,” the Lebanese army said in a statement after Monday’s meeting.
Iran announced on Monday that it has begun mass-producing a new weaponized drone that carries smart bombs capable of precision strikes, according to the Islamic Republic’s military leaders.
Iran, which has engaged in a massive military buildup since receiving billions of dollars in cash windfalls as a result of the landmark nuclear deal, says that these advanced new drones will be delivered to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, or IRGC, which has been coordinating war efforts across the Middle East, including most controversially in Syria, where Iranian-backed forces have attacked U.S. troops.
The new drones, dubbed the Mohajer 6, are “equipped with the smart Qa’em precision-striking bombs and different electro-optical explorers and different warheads, [and] can trace, intercept and destroy the target,” Iranian Defense Minister and Brigadier General Amir Hatami said on Monday during a speech celebrating the new weaponry.
IRGC leaders also were present at the unveiling, according to Iran’s state-controlled media apparatus.
Iranian military leaders claim the new drones “can destroy different fixed and mobile targets in day and [during night] missions, and can infiltrate various types of installations and facilities.”
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