Who Will Protect the Children of the Holy Land From Palestinian Adults Who Serially Brainwash Them to Hate?
According to a new report by a coalition of NGOs, an estimated 10,000 children are trained in Hamas’ terrorist camps each year, and at least 160 have died digging terror tunnels into Israel. Those statistics alone should ring alarm bells about the generational child abuse of Palestinian children.
But that’s not how Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN) sees it. Her US House “Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act” — seeks to protect Palestinian children from Israelis, not Palestinian adults — among them terrorists.
Barring an unforeseen miracle, another generation of kids will be brainwashed in school by war curriculum and trained to spend their summers learning how to shoot with live ammunition or filling booby-trapped balloons with explosives targeting Jewish kindergartens, fields, and nature preserves:
UN Watch identified 40 Palestinian teachers who use Facebook to encourage their students to model themselves into the next generation of Palestinian terrorists. Here are just three examples:
– Ghanem Naim — whose students venerate him as “Dear Professor” — posted pictures of Hitler identified as “our beloved” and “Hitler the great.”
– Teacher Khader Awad indoctrinates his students with an image of a Jew with three guns and a knife trained on his head over the Hebrew caption: “Blood = Blood. #Kill Them.”
– A post by “senior UNRWA” teacher Mohammad Alsayyed praised the “awesome kidnapping” of three Israeli teenagers killed in a Hamas terrorist operation which precipitated the 2014 Gaza war.
For years, such teachers were largely funded by hundreds of millions of American dollars and international largess given to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to care for “Palestinian refugees” — chief among them hundreds of thousands of Palestinian children enrolled in schools where they supposedly receive “a modern secular education.”
This past week, about 30 NGOs joined the Coalition to Save Palestinian Child Soldiers to raise public awareness and to put an end to the use of Palestinian children as soldiers against Israel. Too often, Palestinian children (as well as children around the world) are used as political pawns during war and conflict. In fact, the United Nation reported about 300,000 children used as soldiers from 20 countries around the world. About 40% of child soldiers are young girls, who are often used as sex slaves and taken as “wives” by male fighters.
Palestinian children are often used as human shields to carry out terror attacks by Hamas operatives. Terror groups like Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine exploit Palestinian children and raise them to become combatants, human shields, rioters, laborers, support staff, and even suicide bombers. These groups, along with the Palestinian Authority have allowed antisemitic propaganda to seep into their education system by providing school textbooks that teach Palestinian children to kill Israelis and become martyrs. In the Gaza strip, Hamas trains about 10,000 children and teens every year in terrorist “summer camps”. These training boot camps are practical lessons that are meant to be implemented in warfare and battle. fight and die alongside adult militants and terrorists. Hamas and other terror groups fully use trained child soldiers for battle, with the knowledge and intention that these children will die alongside adult militants and terrorists.
The international community has turned a blind eye to the abuse of Palestinian children as soldiers by these militant and terrorist groups and it’s time for the world to hold these perpetrators accountable.
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Some critics assert Grenell lacks intelligence credentials. Grenell, however, has been immersed in intelligence and counter-terrorism matters for years. He is a veteran diplomat and foreign policy expert.
His years as ambassador to Germany coupled with his time as the longest serving US spokesman at the UN have equipped him to confront threats to the US and its allies.
Writing in the Washington Examiner, Tom Rogan, said, “In Grenell, Trump now has a smart, loyal voice to guide him on matters of national security. But the intelligence community also gets something: a leader with Trump’s ear, and someone who is keen to impress. Both sides, then, can forge common ground in America’s interest.”
Grenell will become the first openly gay cabinet member in the history of the US. Last year, the new intelligence director launched an international campaign to decriminalize homosexuality across the world.
Rogan, the political journalist, said that “appointing Richard Grenell as the new acting director of national intelligence. It’s bad news for Iran, Huawei.”
Grenell will continue as US ambassador to Germany. That means the political camp – and it is not minor – that supports communist China’s Huawei network for Germany, Iran’s totalitarian regime, and Vladimir Putin’s Russia Nord Stream 2 energy project for the federal republic will not be pleased.
Rubin Report: US Ambassador: The Insane Ways The UN Wastes Money (Pt.2)| Richard Grenell
Dave Rubin of The Rubin Report talks to Richard Grenell (US Ambassador to Germany) about what it’s like to be the US Ambassador to Germany under President Trump. Richard also gives an insider’s look at how the UN really operates. He describes what he sees as the extreme waste due to the UN general assembly policy of distributing resources like jobs evenly whether or not countries have people with the necessary skills or not. People end up being hired who don’t have the necessary skill set to fill quotas, and money and resources are wasted. Richard also discusses how Donald Trump has been successful at being a disrupter and breaking up groupthink. Richard details what he calls the Trump doctrine to foreign policy and whether or not it’s effective.
Caroline B. Glick: The massive – but reversible – defeats of Iran and Turkey
During the Munich Security Conference last weekend, Senator Chris Murphy, (D-CN) met secretly with Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif. Former US secretary of state John Kerry and other Democratic senators reportedly also participated in the meeting. After the US media reported that the secret conclave had taken place, Murphy acknowledged his participation. He argued that the Trump administration’s maximum pressure strategy is a complete failure – even as Iran’s regional position is collapsing in broad daylight.
Last year, the Democratic National Committee passed a resolution committing the next Democratic administration to restore the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran. All of the Democratic presidential candidates have expressed varying degrees of commitment to the pledge.
Since leaving office, Kerry has remained in contact with Zarif and has reportedly advised him about how to ride out the economic sanctions imposed by the Trump administration in order to survive into the next Democratic administration.
As for Israel, earlier this week, Blue and White party leaders Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid harshly criticized Netanyahu for maintaining close ties with Trump. Both men pledged to cultivate Israel’s relations with the Democrats.
Gantz’s top adviser Yoram Turbovich was Ehud Olmert’s chief of staff during his tenure as prime minister. Last week Olmert traveled to America as the guest of J Street, which in turn enjoys close relations with radical, anti-Israel Democrats. Gantz’s campaign strategist Joel Benenson served in the same role for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 and for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
If the next Israeli government prioritizes good relations with pro-Iranian Democrats over defeating Israel’s enemies, it will necessarily undermine the strategic windfall we are now experiencing. Nothing happens by accident. If the strategic processes now taking place don’t have the time to mature, they can and likely will be reversed.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed confidence on Thursday that even if a Democrat wins the American election, US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan will be implemented.
Speaking with The Jerusalem Post in his first English-speaking interview ahead of the March 2 election, Netanyahu said that what could stop the plan, however, is him not winning the election.
“Once the Trump plan is put forward, the goalposts will have been moved, and it will be very difficult for any administration to move them back,” Netanyahu said. “We will move forward this plan once the mapping process is done, and it won’t take long, as long as I am re-elected.”
Asked if it was important to apply sovereignty over territories before the American election, he said it would not be a factor.
“Any administration, Democrat or Republican, will have to work by the new realities,” he said. “They will have to take the new situation into account. You can’t work based on falsehoods. Any attempt to advance a US plan that is based on falsehoods will crash due to the realities. That is what happened again and again and again.
“I’m sure the next administration, whatever it will be, will have to consider the fact that there’s a new plan.”
The U.S.’ most capable regional partner in countering Iranian aggression continues to be the State of Israel. Since the American people seem determined to decrease America’s military presence in the Middle East, the U.S. should bolster its support for Israel’s campaign to degrade the capabilities of Iran and its proxy Hizbullah. This is the surest way of safeguarding America’s national security interests against Iranian aggression, while simultaneously allowing Israel to defend itself by itself.
Israel has firm red lines against any Iranian efforts to increase its operational capabilities to strike from Lebanon or Syria. By interdicting Iranian weapons transfers across Syria, Israel is both delaying a future war and creating optimal conditions should war erupt.
The strike on Iranian general Qasem Soleimani was a strong statement of American resolve, and time will tell whether the U.S. will continue to use military force when warranted.
The U.S. and Israel should also continue jointly innovating and developing new unmanned air, ground, subsurface and undersea vehicles. These technologies are ideal for countering Iran’s tactics because they allow either the U.S. or Israel to launch asymmetric attacks and reconnaissance missions.
The U.S. should work with Israel to help uphold UN arms embargoes by interdicting Iran’s offshore weapons shipments. The U.S. has previously interdicted weapons bound for Yemen.
As the U.S. decreases its military presence in the Middle East, Israel will become even more critical to preventing the spread of Iranian influence throughout the region. Helping Israel to wage its campaign will thus help keep America secure and may even significantly push off the next war.
The consistent and enduring Palestinian rejection of any and all peace initiatives with Israel, most recently the “Deal of the Century,” calls into question the commitment of the Palestinian leadership not only to peace but to the very welfare and safety of the Palestinian people.
Taking into account all the peace initiatives proposed to end the conflict between the Jews and the Palestinian Arabs over the last 83 years, we must consider the possibility that the Palestinians—or at least their leaders—do not want to establish their own state.
Their sight is currently set on the big prize—the entire state of Israel—and they are playing for time. In the meantime, they plan to continue to subsist on monies donated by the Arabs and the Europeans. Many of the Arab states have grown disenchanted with this enterprise, and their assistance, particularly from the Saudis, has been discontinued in recent years.
President Trump has also reduced the flow of US support. Only the Europeans remain committed to the implacable Palestinian narrative.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians Condemn US for Offering to Help
Palestinians, in short, are saying that they refuse to accept funding by any party that does not accept their conditions and demands.
It is as if someone applies for a loan from a bank but demands that the bank accept his or her demands, and not the other way around. Usually, those who offer the money have the right to set the conditions.
For the Palestinians, it seems, the opposite is true. They seem to believe that they are the ones entitled to set conditions to those who are offering to improve their living needs and help them march towards prosperity and a better future for their children.
Palestinian leaders know that their society is floundering in every possible way. Yet, rather than welcoming the proposed US programs, they are condemning the Americans and inciting their people against the US administration for even making such a generous offer. This is precisely the disastrous dynamic that decades ago landed the Palestinian people in their quagmire, and it is precisely the same dynamic that keeps them trapped in that morass.
Lyn Julius: At last, Trump grapples with refugees
Some resent the comparison—Palestinian refugees are the byproduct of a war their side started and lost. The Jewish refugees were innocent non-combatants far from the theater of war, deliberately scapegoated by Arab regimes because they happened to have the same religion and ethnicity as Israelis.
Others have criticized the plan for affirming that “a just, fair and realistic solution for the issue relating to Jewish refugees must be implemented through an appropriate international mechanism separate from an Israel/Palestine Peace Agreement.” Quite what this international mechanism might be is not specified. Observers fear that any agreement between Israel and the Palestinians that detaches justice for Jewish refugees from the main peace agenda will end up kicking the Jewish refugee issue into the long grass.
The underlying premise behind the “separate international mechanism” approach is likely to be that the Palestinians are not responsible for the Jewish refugees. The Jewish refugees ought to be compensated by the Arab regimes which dispossessed them and expelled them. But seven Arab League states went to war with Israel—a regional war that created both sets of refugees. The logical conclusion is that a regional agreement ought to be signed that deals with both issues simultaneously.
Another disappointment is that nowhere does the Trump plan mention the International Fund proposed by President Bill Clinton at Camp David in 2000. This was intended to compensate individual refugees, both Palestinian and Israeli, for their lost assets. The fund would have also had the virtue of compensating Jewish refugees who settled outside Israel.
But whatever its shortcomings, the Trump plan is not intended to do more than sketch out the broad outlines of a deal. It has tried to grapple with the refugee elephant in the room, and for this alone deserves praise.
French-Moroccan Academic Professor Youssef Chiheb: “Israel is Not an Enemy of Morocco”; “The Arab World has been Brainwashed with Anti-Zionist and Anti-Israel Rhetoric” pic.twitter.com/opxCVtGsNs
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) February 21, 2020
The US Middle East peace plan invites us to look back and try to learn the lessons of the 120 years of the Arab-Israeli conflict since Herzl first came up with his concept of a “Jewish state”. The Trump deal is hardly the first attempt to resolve this conflict. Since the end of World War II, not a single US president has not dreamed of being the statesman who brought peace to the land of Jesus Christ. Trump is no exception. Truman believed he could do it by fostering the UN “partition resolution” in 1948. In the mid-1950s, Eisenhower saw the solution in a formula for sharing the waters of Levantine Rivers. Kennedy, in 1962, thought dialogue with Nasser would do the trick while his successor, LBJ, who was bogged down by the Vietnam War, decided to get it over with by putting his weight behind Israel in 1967. Nixon opened with the Rogers Plan in 1970 and closed with the disengagement agreements on the Syrian and Egyptian fronts in 1974. Carter initiated Camp David and concluded with the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty. Reagan put his name to an initiative in 1983 and Bush Sr kickstarted the Madrid Conference in 1991. Clinton hosted Camp David II and brokered a set of understandings in 2000, while in 2008 Bush Jr pushed a “roadmap” for peace at the Annapolis Naval Academy. Obama tried his best to mediate but failed because of Israeli settlement expansion. Then Trump came along to impose a new status quo regarding Jerusalem and the refugees, then designed a “bargain” with some economic inducements thrown in and called it the “Deal of the Century”. This long road of US peace-making attempts intersected with such phenomena as the US-Israeli special relationship, US-Arab relations as shaped by oil, the complexities of the Cold War and US global supremacy.
The perpetuity of the conflict combined with the futility of military force brings us to the fourth lesson. Nothing has ever been able to stimulate a major change in the geopolitical context of the conflict except direct dialogue between the Arabs and the Jews and between Arab states and Israel. It was Camp David that brought the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty and the end to the Israeli occupation of Sinai in 1982. Just over a decade later, another set of face-to-face meetings led to the Jordan-Israel Peace Treaty. In-between came the Oslo Accords which established the first Palestinian national authority, creating an unprecedented Palestinian reality on the ground in Palestine.
The fifth lesson is that the longer the Arab-Israeli conflict lasted, the less Arab countries were able to grapple with the challenges of development and to address strategic threats at home and abroad. As we entered the second decade of this century, the experience of that conflict combined with a diagnosis of the state of the Middle East tells us to what extent the contradictions of the Arab-Israeli conflict can lead to the rise of major problems for both sides. During the past decade, these problems have assumed the form of widespread anarchy and terrorism.
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh called on European countries Thursday to recognize the State of Palestine to push back against the possibility of Israel annexing parts of the West Bank, the official PA news site Wafa reported.
Shtayyeh made the comment in a meeting with Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide at his office in Ramallah, the report said.
“He demanded that European states recognize the Palestinian state to preserve the two-state solution and counter the occupation’s plans to annex parts of the West Bank to Israel, especially following the failure of ‘the American deal,’” the report stated, alluding to the US administration’s recently unveiled plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
While several European countries have recognized the State of Palestine, the majority of them, including France, Germany, the UK, Spain, Italy and Norway, have not.
Israeli officials have long held that recognizing Palestine before a peace deal is finalized would harden Palestinian negotiating positions, making it more difficult to reach an agreement.
The @EU_Commission has been bombarded with parliamentary Qs about whether they will continue to label products from W. Sahara as “Made in Morocco” in light of ruling about Israeli territories. Of course Israel is special, but someone didn’t get the memo https://t.co/FFAo893j5f
— Eugene Kontorovich (@EVKontorovich) February 20, 2020
Turkish Imam Muhammed Hoca: I Am Raising My Son to Be a High-Quality, Fantastic Enemy of the Jews and the Christians pic.twitter.com/Pi6lVt8TGt
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) February 21, 2020
Al-Aqsa Mosque Address by Palestinian Cleric Najib Rafat: We Should Respond to Trump Peace Plan by Conquering America pic.twitter.com/E2PzCWAbcp
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) February 21, 2020
“The notion that “Palestine” is a full-fledged state that can grant jurisdiction to the International Criminal Court was dealt a serious blow over the past week, as seven countries and many scholars of international law argued that the issue was not as simple as the Palestinians and their supporters would like to make it seem.
Even some countries that have formally recognized the “State of Palestine” along the pre-1967 lines argued that Palestine cannot necessarily be considered to have validly granted the ICC jurisdiction to probe war crimes allegedly committed on its territory.
Germany, Australia, Austria, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Uganda last week submitted written documents to The Hague, each asking to become an amicus curiae — a “friend of the court” that is not a party to the case but wants to offer its views. They all posited that Palestine cannot transfer criminal jurisdiction over its territory to The Hague.”
The @IntlCrimCourt will accept an amicus curiae brief submitted by Institute for
NGO Research (aka @NGOmonitor), @LawfareProject, @palwatch, & @JerusalemCenter. We will argue that the ICC has no jurisdiction on #Israel, and that the campaign is entirely political.
— Prof Gerald M Steinberg (@GeraldNGOM) February 20, 2020
Australia is considering following the lead of the U.S. and U.K. in listing the military wing of Hezbollah in Lebanon as a terrorist organisation, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said Thursday.
He added “nobody should have sympathy” for the way Hezbollah conducts itself, ahead of the Australian government reconsidering if the Lebanese organisation’s armed militia should be deemed a terrorist group.
Dutton is ready to receive security briefings on the Shiite Muslim political party before its status is reviewed in April.
The group is backed by Iran and its sworn enemy is Israel, engaging in multiple conflicts with the Jewish state.
“I mean, when you look at the activities of Hezbollah, nobody should have sympathy for the way in which they conduct themselves,” Dutton told local news outlet 2GB radio on Thursday.
“But we need to make decisions based on all of the facts and unfortunately sometimes in these cases, all of the facts aren’t publicly available,” he said.
“We’ve got to make a decision speaking to the agencies and working out what sometimes is a line-ball call, but there are other equities that we need to look at in the consideration of many of these matters.”
Different countries have deemed different parts of Hezbollah a terror group.
The United States, United Kingdom, Israel, Germany and Canada list the entire organisation as a terror group, while France, New Zealand and the European Union only list its military wing as a terror group.
On January 15, Michelle Bachelet, the former Chilean president now heading the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, made a desperate plea for funding. She demanded an outrageous $375.5 million to support her agency, the bureaucratic arm of the notoriously antisemitic and anti-Israel UN Human Rights Council.
This demand was more than double what the office had received in 2019, even though she lamented that in recent years funding has been decreased and greater restrictions were placed on her activities.
The UN funding crisis is palpable on the ground at Bachelet’s home base in Geneva, where elevator and escalator service has even been limited for financial reasons. The upcoming March session of the council will be abbreviated due to the inability to service meetings between noon and 3 p.m.
Despite the funding crisis and the meeting restrictions, one area where Bachelet and the Human Rights Council are not pinching pennies is the obsessive focus on attacking Israel. As is well known, Israel is the only country subjected to a standing agenda item at the dictator-controlled council.
This March, however, not only will Israel be bashed during the Item 7 debates, but Bachelet has also authorized another anti-Israel debate under Item 2. And during the June session, her office has decided to add another section to Item 7 to increase the attacks.
Bachelet also decided to pile on Israel by releasing a highly controversial boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) blacklist of companies that her office claims are supposedly involved in “settlements.” Set aside that many of the companies are carrying out activities mandated by the UN-witnessed bilateral Oslo Peace Accords, providing counter-terrorism protection, and offering consumer goods and services to both Israelis and Palestinians alike.
President Reuven Rivlin arrived in Australia early Friday after a short stopover in Fiji, where he represented Israel in a summit with leaders from Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Tonga, and Palau. Rivlin praised his hosts’ friendly posture toward Israel on the world stage.
“We were also happy to support Fiji’s election to the UN Human Rights Council, and your presidency of the UN’s Climate Change conference,” Rivlin said after meeting Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama. “We hope that Fiji will stand with Israel against the gross anti-Israel discrimination at the UN, especially at the Human Rights Council,” he stressed.
The president noted the successful cooperation between the states, despite the great distance. “I know that you are very familiar with our region from your time in the Multinational Force and Observers in Sinai. Today Iran and its proxies are threatening Israel while spreading terror throughout the region, and around the world. Israel will do all that is necessary to defend its citizens from the Iranian threat, and we will continue to work with international peacekeeping forces to ensure that our borders remain quiet,” Rivlin said.
Upon his arrival in Fiji, Rivlin was given the national drink, known as kava, which is made from the yangona root, as a sign of the nations’ close ties and friendship. He was also adorned with a lei, which is the traditional necklace of flowers given to new people on their arrival according to local tradition.
A balloon apparently carrying the warhead of a rocket-propelled grenade was found near a house in the city of Ashkelon Friday morning. It was apparently flown across the border from the Gaza Strip.
Police sappers were called to the scene to defuse the suspect device. No one was hurt in the incident.
A similar balloon carrying an RPG was found in southern Israel on Tuesday. The warhead was found outside the community of Alumim. There have been several cases of RPGs being attached to balloons in recent weeks. Balloons regularly carry improvised bombs and incendiary devices from Gaza into Israel.
Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip began sending clusters of balloons and kites into Israel laden with explosives beginning in 2018. The practice has waxed and waned over that time, but has picked up considerably in recent weeks, with dozens of such balloon-borne bombs landing in towns and farming communities adjacent to the Palestinian enclave.
A woman attempted to stab passers-by at a popular promenade in Jerusalem on Friday in a suspected terror attack, police and an ambulance service said.
The woman, reported to be a Palestinian from East Jerusalem, tried to stab people at the Armon Hanatziv promenade several times with a knife, United Hatzalah said in a statement. One man suffered very mild injuries and did not require medical treatment.
She was wrestled to the ground by civilians before police took her into custody.
Police said that a suspected stabbing attack had taken place, without immediately offering additional details.
The Ynet news site interviewed Itzik Itach, who it identified as one of the people who grabbed the assailant.
“She shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is Greatest) and tried to stab a passer-by,” Itach said. “We jumped at her and I held her until a police car came.”
Israeli soldiers in the West Bank on Thursday evening shot a Palestinian driver after he accelerated his vehicle toward them in a possible attempt to ram them with it, Hebrew media reports said.
The man was reportedly injured in the incident at a checkpoint in the village of Beitin, near Ramallah. His condition was not immediately clear.
No soldiers were hurt.
According to media reports the troops had set up the checkpoint due to recent Molotov cocktails attacks in the area.
Earlier this month a resident of East Jerusalem rammed his car into a group of Golani soldiers in the capital on David Remez Street outside the First Station, a popular entertainment hub, injuring 12 of them, one of them seriously. The latter’s condition later improved.
The driver fled the scene but was later arrested. He was identified as 25-year-old Sanad al-Turman.
One of the primary tactics chosen by Hamas to implement its policy is to take advantage of humanitarian channels, such as Israel’s policy of allowing Gazans into its territory for medical treatment.
These patients are often used to relay instructions, funding, and sometimes even weapons to terrorist cells the Islamist terrorist group is cultivating in the West Bank. The spy ring most recently broken up had relied on the Family Reunification Law – humanitarian legislation designed to bring families together is part of this larger pattern – for its operations.
In the latest case to be revealed by the Shin Bet, Hamas’ military wing sought out Gazans with Israeli citizenship to exploit their ability to move freely between Israel and the coastal enclave.
In this context, the Shin Bet arrested two suspects on Jan. 2: Rami Amoudi, 30, a Khan Younis resident who has been living in Tel Aviv since November 2019, and Rajab Dakah, 34, originally from Gaza who moved to Israel in 2017.
Amoudi’s mother is a Jewish Israeli, while Dakah’s mother is an Arab Israeli living in Lod, in central Israel. This made both men eligible for Israeli citizenship through the Family Reunification Law. Dakah left his wife and five children in Gaza to move to Israel, and traveled back to visit them every few months.
The Shin Bet investigation found that the two were recruited by Hamas while they were still living in Gaza, and then dispatched to Israel to conduct hostile espionage missions.
They were told to purchase cellular phones and SIM cards to maintain secret communications with their Hamas handlers.
Hamas’ strategy of attrition, which it has perfected over the years, has ultimately achieved its goals.
A few days have passed, and Egypt has resumed imports of gas into the Strip, while Israel also offered to supply Gaza with huge amounts of gas in order to appease Hamas and prevent any further escalation.
According to Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, a unit within the Defense Ministry responsible for the coordination between Jerusalem and the Palestinian Authority, Israel has sent approximately 4,700 tons of gas to Gaza, with the amount growing each day.
The attempts to appease Hamas didn’t end with cash and gas, as just after the escalation on Strip started, Israel approved a few precautionary measures for Gaza after years of refusal.
For example, Israel has approved the import of tires into the Strip, after it has banned them due them being constantly set alight during riots. Israel has even allowed 6,000 tires into Gaza in January, despite unceasing incendiary balloon attacks.
Israel has also approved the import of cement for the first time since the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict, since it is believed the cement is being used to build tunnels into Israel, although the construction of the smart wall on the Israel-Gaza Strip border (a project currently underway that aims to prevent Hamas from digging tunnels into Israel) has somewhat eased these concerns.
As Israelis in the Gaza border communities – between missile launches and batches of incendiary balloons – ponder over the meaning of the “hasdara,” arrangement, between Israel and Hamas (brokered by Egypt), Blue and White and Likud launch rhetorical salvos against one another over the issue, while Hamas and its allies are sure it has been a great deal.
How do we know? Hamas says so in numbers. At a recent “meet the press” event run by the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Development and Social Affairs, a senior official in the ministry, Muhammad Hamada, reported that NIS 268 million of Qatari money has so far been disbursed in Gaza.
Unwittingly, he also revealed that Hamas took by far the lion’s share, probably to develop the military infrastructure the Israel Air Force keeps attacking after almost every salvo.
According to Hamada, the money was distributed to 70,000 families. He then went on to itemize, in considerable detail, how the money was spent. The problem is that when one adds up all the specific funds to all the specific targeted populations, the items add up to NIS 59,709,154. Subtract this sum from the NIS 268m. Hamada claims were distributed to Gaza’s poor, it means NIS 208m., nearly 80% are unaccounted for.
When Abbas’ Fatah celebrated its anniversary at a rally in Nablus, Fatah played a song promoting terror and violence. Official PA TV broadcast the song:
“From my wounds, my weapon has emerged.
Oh, our revolution, my weapon has emerged.
There is no force in the world that
can remove the weapon from my hand.
My weapon has emerged…
This revolutionary people has sacrificed and offered in order to live in freedom!
My weapon has emerged.”
[Official PA TV, Reporters in the Field, Jan. 6, 2020]
Palestinian Media Watch exposed that at the same rally, Fatah burnt a model of a Jewish town, and played an additional song that announces: “I’m coming towards you, my enemy, we’re going down from every house with cleavers and knives.” At this event, Abbas’ Fatah deputy chairman Mahmoud Al-Aloul glorified past Fatah terror and promised to continue terror. “Fatah was the first bullet” he shouted to the crowd of cheering Palestinians, and then added “and it remains like that, and continues – without a doubt.” [Official Fatah Facebook page, Facebook page of Fatah – Nablus Branch, Jan. 7, 2020]
The song announcing the Palestinian adherence to violence and armed conflict, stating that “no force in the world can remove the weapon from my hand” is very popular in the PA. PMW exposed that Fatah’s TV channel Awdah broadcast this song 72 times in one month in 2016. It first aired on Awdah in 2015 and has since been broadcast hundreds of times.
— (((David Lange))) (@Israellycool) February 20, 2020
As the citizens of Iran flocked to the voting booths, the Iranian economy took a painful hit on Friday at the conclusion of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) plenary, when the organization decided to return Iran to the ‘blacklist’ of countries involved in bankrolling and financing terror.
The result: More than 200 member nations and territories will comply with FATF sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
The ban will likely end talks between Iran and the European Union about exploiting the INSTEX vehicle for promoting trade in a way that circumvents United States sanctions.
Furthermore, it will more generally widen the expanding chasm between Tehran and the EU, pushing Europe closer to the US in the standoff.
The FATF moved the Islamic Republic from a blacklist to a sort of gray-list in 2016, which meant much greater access to the international banking system, but a ticking clock to come into compliance with anti-terrorism financial measures.
In addition to re-blacklisting Iran, a large number of new countries entered the gray-list of non-compliant countries, from which Iran has just been ousted, including Albania, Barbados, Jamaica, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nicaragua and Uganda. Trinidad and Tobago was the only country te be taken off of the gray-list without landing in the blacklist.
The United States on Thursday blacklisted five Iranian officials, accusing them of preventing free and fair elections, a day before a parliamentary vote being seen as a referendum on the handling of various political and economic crises.
The Treasury Department said in a statement it imposed sanctions on the officials, members of Iran’s Guardian Council and its Elections Supervision Committee, over the council’s role in disqualifying several thousand candidates.
Thursday’s action targeted Ahmad Jannati, the Secretary of the Guardian Council, Mohammad Yazdi, a member of Iran’s Guardian Council who was formerly Iran’s first Judiciary Chief, and three additional members of the Elections Supervisory Committee.
The sanctions freeze any U.S.-held assets of the officials and generally bar Americans from doing business with them.
Campaigning officially ended on Thursday for Iran’s parliamentary election. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said voting is “a religious duty” but some prominent pro-reform politicians in Iran and activists abroad have called for a boycott.
“For the elections [in Iran], the council denied more than 7,000 candidates the right to participate in the election. They also disqualified 90 sitting members of Iran’s parliament for running for re-election. The chairman of the Guardian Council is … a 92-year-old cleric.” https://t.co/kYUpyIqigJ
— US-Botschaft Berlin (@usbotschaft) February 21, 2020
The global spotlight has currently returned to Syria because of the Assad regime’s current bloody offensive in Idlib, Aleppo and Latakia provinces. The regime is trying to reduce the last enclave held by the Sunni Arab rebels in the country’s northwest.
The assault has precipitated one of the worst humanitarian disasters of the bloody, nine-year war. Eight hundred thousand people have left their homes to flee the advance of regime forces and the relentless, indiscriminate bombing of Assad’s Russian allies.
Far to the south of Idlib, however, and largely ignored by the global media, events are under way that may offer a clue to the future direction of Syria. These events are of direct interest to Israel.
The regime is currently seeking to consolidate its presence in Deraa and Quneitra provinces in Syria’s southwest. Assad’s army completed its “conquest” of these areas in the summer of 2018.
Observation of the current situation on the ground in these areas suggests, however, that the situation remains far from a return to the repressive and stifling order of the pre-revolt days.
The United States is aggressively monitoring Iranian missile threats across the Middle East in close coordination with its Saudi Arabian allies, according to U.S. military officials who briefed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a Thursday visit to the country’s Prince Sultan Air Base.
More than 2,500 American forces entered the base in early January and quickly established a fleet of advanced F-15 tactical fighter jets to help the Saudis defend their country from increasingly severe Iranian missile strikes, according to the U.S. military officials who also briefed a group of reporters traveling with the secretary of state.
In addition to the fighter aircraft, the United States installed a set of Patriot surface-to-air missile systems to fend off potential Iranian strikes like the one in September 2019 on Saudi Arabia’s state-owned Aramco oil fields. That attack stirred the region and saw the Trump administration deploy thousands of troops to the Gulf country.
Pompeo, in an afternoon visit to the base, met with American military personnel and received classified briefings about the ongoing threat posed by Iran and its regional terror proxies. While Iran has not launched additional strikes on Saudi Arabia since the late September salvo, the United States’ continued presence in the region is a sign of how pressing and immediate the threat continues to be, Pompeo said in response to questions from the Washington Free Beacon.
Zarif made the comments while discussing the Iranian position on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the “Deal of the Century” Middle East peace plan.
The Iranian official stressed that the conflict could only be resolved through “democracy and resistance.” Iran’s partnership with Hezbollah, Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza, Iraq and other locations in the Middle East is commonly referred to as the “Axis of Resistance.” Zarif stated that the “goal of the Resistance is clear,” but added that democracy is “a very important player as well.”
The Islamic Republic has promoted a referendum to resolve the issue, which would involve all residents who inhabited the area before the issuance of the Balfour Declaration voting to decide on a political system and the status of the “non-indigenous residents of Palestine.” Muslims, Christians and Jews would have the right to participate.
Zarif dismissed claims that such a solution would lead to antisemitic attacks or the “massacre of the Jews.”
“The Supreme Leader has reiterated many times that we have nothing against the Jewish people and that the Jews who have been living in Palestine have the right to reside there, but that they cannot determine the fate of others. It is each and every one of the Palestinians who should determine their own fate,” said Zarif, adding that “resistance” and “democracy and popular vote” should both be put into practice simultaneously.
Zarif stressed that Iran believes that it is the Palestinians who have the right to choose and that the Islamic Republic accepts “that the Palestinians should make the final decision and their final decision should be respected by everyone.”
In a February 8, 2020 article, Saudi-born liberal and director of MEMRI’s Reform Project Mansour Al-Hadj came out against extremist Muslim clerics who treat various natural disasters, such as the Coronavirus outbreak, as punishment visited by Allah upon the unbelievers. Noting that, despite their patent absurdity, such conspiracy theories are popular in Muslim communities, he called upon Muslims worldwide to denounce them and to replace this hateful approach, which distorts the religion, with a humane and compassionate understanding of the faith.
The following are translated excerpts from his article, which was posted on the website of the U.S.-based Arabic-language television channel Al-Hurra:
“In the aftermath of every natural disaster and epidemic outbreak around the world, radical Muslim clerics and their followers rush to describe it as a divine punishment visited by Allah upon the unbelievers… Despite the absurdity of such claims, which present God as temperamental and unjust, they gain wide currency among Muslims. I was therefore unsurprised when extremist Syrian cleric ‘Abd Al-Razzaq Al-Mahdi stated, in a recent Friday sermon,  that Coronavirus was Allah’s revenge upon the atheists, communists and Buddhists of China for their oppression of the Muslims in Turkestan. Even more dangerous and appalling than the statement itself was the fact that nobody among the hundreds of worshippers at the mosque dared to object or to challenge his absurd claim. A fatwa Al-Mahdi posted on Telegram, in which he permitted Muslims to celebrate the epidemic in China and beseeched Allah to annihilate the Chinese, likewise went unchallenged.
“The theory of divine punishment would make more sense if Muslim nations were spared disasters and epidemics; however, they are not. This is why, when the victims are Muslims, the clerics describe the same disasters as trials or tests of the Muslims’ faith – a religious concept that few devout Muslims dare to question.
“In my opinion, two factors contributed to shaping the belief that epidemics and natural disasters are divine punishments for disobeying Allah or else tests of the Muslims’ faith. First, stories that appear in the Quran and Hadith about nations that were annihilated by plagues and disasters because they disobeyed God or disbelieved in His prophets. Second, a sense of powerlessness coupled with a belief in a global conspiracy against Islam and Muslims.
“The clerics who promote these theories remain popular in Muslim communities despite the fact that Muslim nations receive international aid when afflicted by wars and natural disasters.
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