Jason D. Greenblatt: Bahrain workshop on Palestinian economy is the opportunity of a generation
This is exciting – an opportunity of a generation. The June 25 and 26 workshop in Bahrain for the benefit of Palestinians is a pivotal opportunity to convene government, civil society, and business leaders to share ideas, discuss strategies, and galvanize support for potential economic investments and initiatives that could be made possible by a peace agreement. The results of those discussions could lead to significant investment in the talented Palestinian and regional population.
Saeb Erekat, the lead Palestinian negotiator, claims we are trying to buy the Palestinians. We know that won’t work. We fully recognize that our economic plan cannot be successful without a political agreement, just as a political agreement would have little chance without an effective economic plan.
Saeb also is making claims that the Arab countries who are attending the workshop have no right to negotiate for the Palestinians. On that point, we agree. No one is suggesting that anyone other than the Palestinians have such a right. But those attending sincerely want to help the Palestinians. Those countries who are participating should be praised and thanked by Saeb and the Palestinian Authority.
It is disheartening to see the supposed leaders of the Palestinians attack Palestinian entrepreneurs and Palestinian supporters in general for supporting a better future for their people. Supporters of this workshop want only the best for the Palestinians and the region. For masked, armed gunmen to threaten Palestinians against support of a better future, as seen on official Fatah social media sites and in refugee camps, is despicable.
US Envoy Jason Greenblatt Speaks with i24NEWS
US President Donald Trump’s special adviser on Israel Jason Greenblatt explained the vision for the Bahrain economic workshop to be held next week as the first part of the long-awaited peace plan to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Emphasizing the nature of the “workshop” as apolitical, Greenblatt confirmed that since the Palestinian Authority (PA) has chosen to boycott the summit, Israeli government officials would not be invited either, nor would other world leaders or foreign ministers. The Trump administration will decide when to release the peace plan following the Bahrain summit, Greenblatt said, suggesting that it would be around November due to the Israeli elections in September 17. Trump’s adviser did not convey discontent over the delay, arguing that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not the core of the conflict in the region but that Iran was the source of it.
Why is Trump More Popular in Israel than in the US?
Speaking at a ceremonial event for the inauguration of ‘Trump Heights’ — a new Israeli settlement in the Golan Heights named in honor of the US President — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that Israel would control the northern region “with might” and that neither Hezbollah nor Iran could threaten its northern borders. “We are making an important step towards the placing on the ground of the settlement of Ramat Trump (Trump Heights), that proudly carries the name of a very great friend of the state of Israel, and I am very proud to say a great friend of mine, Donald Trump,” Netanyahu said at the event. During the speech, Netanyahu laid blame on Iran for the attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week, calling on the international community to support US efforts to curb Iran in the Middle East.
Jpost Editorial: A marriage of ideas
That any sign of carrying out normal relations with Israelis is still considered taboo among the Palestinian Authority regime does not bode well for the upcoming Bahrain economic workshop.
On Sunday, Jason Greenblatt, US President Donald Trump’s special envoy for international negotiations, told the Jerusalem Post Annual Conference in New York, that the administration is focusing on the Bahrain workshop, which is scheduled to take place on June 25-26.
Interviewed on stage by The Jerusalem Post’s editor-in-chief Yaakov Katz, Greenblatt said Palestinian negotiator “Saeb Erekat and others are distorting our message. They’re saying essentially that the Bahrain conference is about buying the Palestinians off. Absolutely not true.”
Greenblatt explained the goal of the workshop: “The Bahrain summit is aimed to show what could happen to the Palestinian economy if there’s a peace agreement. We understand completely that there is no economic vision that’ll work without a peace agreement. But we also want to make the point that there will be no peace agreement that works without true economic vision. We’re trying to break the cycle of aid and dependency and create an economy. They work hand in hand.”
The economic workshop has had a hostile reception by the Palestinian Authority although some Palestinian businessmen have stated their intention to participate – people who can envision a better future for their own people and are brave enough to try to bring it about despite the antagonism of the Palestinian Authority.
On this the PA is on the same page as the terrorist organization, Hamas, that controls Gaza.
Terrorism and anti-normalization campaigns put an end to any hope of the Oslo Accords succeeding in the 1990s and doomed all subsequent peace talks. This is the true tragedy of the Palestinians. They are being betrayed by their own leaders.
The economic workshop in Bahrain should be seen as a positive move for the whole region, but as long as the PA top ranks are not willing to see Israelis dancing together with Palestinians at a wedding, it is hard to imagine the PA allowing its own people any joy in other fields.
Caroline Glick: Why Foreign Governments Are Shielding Iran
It is difficult to imagine that mere embarrassment will pry the Europeans away from their preference for ignoring the reality of Iranian aggression in order to pursue their longstanding policy of appeasing Iran and its terrorist proxies. Germany and the EU still refuse to acknowledge that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization. Hezbollah is permitted to operate openly in EU states despite the fact that it has been caught planning and carrying out terrorist attacks in Europe repeatedly in recent years. Indeed, Britain took no action against Hezbollah after Israel tipped it off in 2015 that Hezbollah had built a bomb factory in North London. The British Parliament only outlawed the Iranian proxy force in February 2019.
Whereas Britain, with its close ties to the U.S., has sometimes evinced a willingness to abandon general European appeasement of terrorists and state sponsors of terror, Germany, France, and other major European governments have never entertained the prospect of abandoning appeasement for confrontation, let alone defeating terrorists and their state sponsors. Acknowledging Iran’s aggression is largely inconceivable for Germany and its EU partners.
As for Russia and China, their refusal to take action against Iran stems in part from their strategic competition with the United States. If they admit that Iran is behind the attacks, like the Europeans and the Japanese, they will need to admit that the U.S. strategy of maximum pressure is reasonable and justified. Such an admission would strengthen the U.S. position.
Admitting Iran’s responsibility would empower the U.S. to diminish Iran’s capacity to continue committing acts of naval aggression, either directly or through its Houthi proxy. As Jim Hanson from the Security Studies Group suggested on Fox News, such action could include U.S. strikes against Houthi bases in Yemen or IRGC bases in Jask or other locations.
Given the behavior of U.S. allies and adversaries in light of Iran’s self-evident aggression against merchant tankers in the Persian Gulf, the U.S. cannot expect to operate with their support as it pursues its goal of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and denying the regime the means to continue sponsoring terrorism and aggression against the U.S. and its regional and global allies.
As a consequence, going forward, the Trump administration must continue to place all of its evidence of Iranian aggression on the table and continue to pursue its policy of maximum aggression. Unlike appeasement, the U.S.’s policy is based on reality. And so, unlike appeasement, it is a policy with the potential to actually succeed.
The practical utility and moral value of eastern Mediterranean cooperation came into symbolic focus in May. As fires raged in central Israel, the already established quadripartite emergency response procedures were activated, bringing Cypriot, Greek and Croatian firefighting aircraft to participate in the effort. Aircraft came also from Egypt and Italy, and firemen from the Palestinian Authority – proving that the framework of the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum (in which all three are members, alongside Greece, Cyprus, Israel and Jordan) can be expanded, at times of need, beyond energy cooperation.
Indeed, a significant series of events in recent months has given added momentum to the informal alliance of like-minded nations in the Eastern Mediterranean basin – in geo-strategic, political, economic and energetic terms. This is emerging as important for the future of Israel, potentially transformative in terms of the country’s place in the world, and equally beneficial for her neighbors in the region. Much has been happening:
1. In October 2018, the sixth tripartite summit of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of Greece, President Nicos Anastasiades of Cyprus, and President ‘Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt took place in the resort town of Elounda, on the isle of Crete. Significantly, it announced the establishment of a permanent secretariat of the trilateral group. It would be permanently based in Nicosia, and would manage the wide range of meetings at various levels, joint projects and evolving non-governmental dialogs.
2. In December 2018, it was Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s turn to host Tsipras and Anastasiades for their fifth tripartite summit, this time in Be’er Sheva (their previous meeting had been in Nicosia in May 2018, and before that, in Thessaloniki in June 2017). The location was chosen so as to highlight Israel’s claim that the city – capital of Israel’s southern district, the arid Negev – is, or will soon become, “the cyber capital of the world”, a major hub of innovation and high tech, due to the confluence of academic, business and defense-oriented capabilities. In addition to this emphasis on technological and economic cooperation, the Be’er Sheva Summit was also the occasion for announcing the creation of another tripartite secretariat, Greek-Cypriot-Israeli, which like its Egyptian counterpart would work from Nicosia.
3. Another dramatic step towards closer regional integration took place in Cairo on 14 January 2019, when the energy ministers of Egypt, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority met to launch the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) . Its mission, as declared there, is “ensuring supply and demand, optimizing resource development, rationalizing the cost of infrastructure, offering competitive prices, and improving trade relations”. While focused on the prospects of energy cooperation, and the benefits of coordinated policies (which have already led both Egypt and Jordan to sign gas agreements with Israeli providers), the like-minded nature of the group, and the regional challenges listed below, open up the possibility that these “3+4” would over time broaden their range of interests and follow the model of the 5+5 forum in the Western Mediterranean.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a statement Monday that the U.S.’s decision not to invite Israeli officials to the Bahrain economic summit in late June was coordinated with Jerusalem in advance.
Earlier Monday, an unnamed American official said that the White House will not be inviting Israeli officials to the event, in hopes to keep the summit “as apolitical as possible.”
The U.S.-lead Bahrain economic summit is part of U.S. President Donald Trump’s Mideast peace plan, and aims to discuss financial investments in the Palestinian Territories. However, Palestinian officials declared they will be boycotting the summit.
The Bahrain conference will convene in late June and focus on the economic aspect of the “deal of the century” the Trump administration has been working on these past two years. The conference already marked its first success by securing the attendance of key Arab countries: the Persian Gulf States, Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco, which presently comprise the vital, proactive Arab world. Other countries, including Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen are fighting for their own survival.
These key Arab countries are partaking in the conference despite efforts by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to dissuade them. This is a diplomatic victory for the United States and a failure for Abbas, whose “all-or-nothing” approach is clearly unrealistic in light of the other serious challenges currently facing the Arab world. With Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen firing missiles at airports in the heart of Saudi Arabia and Saudi-Iranian tensions reaching a fever pitch, Riyadh is telling Abbas that its security supersedes the Palestinian issue, which Arabia believes can be resolved. When Iran is sabotaging oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman and provoking the international community with warnings of blocking the strategic Strait of Hormuz, Gulf States are telling Abbas that Iran comes first.
These countries will attend the Bahrain summit because they need the US more than ever.
Jordan’s economic situation is dire, made worse by the millions of Syrian refugees who have settled there. The monarchy can feel the tremors rising to the surface. Amman knows its salvation won’t come from Abbas, and certainly not from opposing the US.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party has decided to cancel a strike it had planned to protest the US-led economic workshop in Bahraini capital of Manama next week.
Fatah announced on Saturday in a statement that a strike, including all of the private and public sectors, would take place on June 25 to demonstrate the Palestinian people’s “rejection and condemnation of the Manama workshop.”
Fatah also declared that “angry national marches and events” against the conference would take place on June 24, and called on Palestinians “to escalate popular resistance against the occupation and settler gangs” on June 26.
The faction, however, said in a statement on Sunday that the strike was canceled, noting that, instead, “marches in the homeland and diaspora” will occur.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan on Monday said that the brutal rape of a seven-year-old girl, allegedly by a Palestinian man who was indicted by a military court on Sunday, “has to be investigated as a nationalistically motivated event, regardless of what the despicable rapist has to say about the motive and circumstances.”
The suspect, identified by Channel 12 News as Nazmi Abed el-Hamid Kattousa, 46, a married father from the nearby central West Bank village of Dir Kadis, worked as a janitor at the girl’s school in the Binyamin region of Judea and Samaria. He allegedly met the girl at the school and fostered a relationship with her by occasionally speaking to her and giving her candy.
The indictment followed a three-month investigation carried out by the Israel Police. Kattousa denied all charges during the investigation, putting his word against the girl’s testimony.
On the day in question, Kattousa reportedly took the girl by the hand and forcefully led her to a nearby house, where he brutally raped her. After the attack, he released the girl.
The police maintain that there is no evidence to support the assertion that the rape was nationalistically motivated.
The lawyer representing a Palestinian man charged with raping a 7-year-old Israeli girl insisted Tuesday that his client had been falsely accused of the brutal assault and claimed that anti-Arab sentiment was driving the case against him.
Nashaf Darwish told reporters outside a hearing at the Judea Military Court that the prosecution’s version of events “doesn’t add up” and said he was confident that court rulings in the coming days would exonerate his client.
“After reviewing the details of the case, I can tell you the case is going to be reversed in the coming days,” Darwish said. “This is a real Dreyfus trial,” he added, referring to the 1894 miscarriage of justice in which a French Jewish army captain, Alfred Dreyfus, was framed and falsely convicted of espionage, resulting from and feeding already pervasive anti-Semitic sentiment.
“I can say with complete certainty that people are going to be shocked with [court] decisions that will be made in the next few days,” he said, adding that the real attacker “may not have even been Palestinian.”
The Israeli Air Force is holding a large-scale multi-day exercise simulating combat action on multiple fronts, the army said Tuesday, with the air force’s F-35s taking part for the first time.
The drill, which began Sunday and ends Wednesday, involves fighter jets, helicopters, cargo planes, drones, air defense units and ground support forces. It simulates simultaneous fighting in the Gaza Strip, Syria and Lebanon.
It includes scenarios involving an enemy armed with advanced technology, such as the Russian S-300 and S-400 missile defense systems; a home front under massive missile attacks; and challenges such as damaged runways and disabled IAF communications centers.
The drill is primarily focused on the northern arena, with threats posed by the Hezbollah terror group in Lebanon and Iranian forces in Syria.
Forces were also being tested on their ability to carry out strategic bombings while minimizing harm to innocent people in the vicinity.
“We are training at very high intensity with a challenging, thinking enemy that possesses technology beyond what currently exists in the arena,” a senior air force official said.
Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Hamas’ spiritual leader and an arch-terrorist in every fiber of his being, is remembered in Israel as the spirit behind the horrifying wave of murderous terrorist attacks during the Second Intifada. He was released from prison under the Jibril deal of 1985. In his final years, he was ultimately responsible for the murders of 377 Israelis in attacks that left another 2,076 wounded. Former head of the Shin Bet Avi Dichter said that Yassin “only looks like the brother of Mother Theresa. I’ve never encountered so much evil in such a small body.”
Israeli Air Force helicopters took out Yassin On March 22, 2004, but the B’Tselem, which masquerades as a human rights organization, complained that a man whose hands dripped with blood had been “executed without a trial.” In its official statement, the organization left out the fact that Yassin was a founder of Hamas and responsible for the murders of hundreds of Israelis. Journalist Yonatan Dahuh-Halevi even revealed that B’Tselem on a list of persons who “it was unknown whether they had been combatants at the time of their death.” If B’Tselem had existed during World War II, then Adolf Hitler – who committed suicide with his girlfriend in his bunker and didn’t go out fighting – would have been put on the same absurd list.
Moral rigidity still is still engulfing B’Tselem, with Executive Director Hagai El-Ad refusing to condemn Arab terrorism, while appearing at the UN alongside the Palestinian Authority to pressure Israel to withdraw from Judea and Samaria. A year ago, the organization even called on IDF soldiers to refuse orders and allow Gaza terrorists to cross the border fence and enter Western Negev communities. According to the watchdog NGO Monitor, many of B’Tselem’s anti-Israel reports are based on “lies by a terrorist organization.”
Watch this video. It looks like a street celebration you would see in Liverpool after winning the Champions League or in Boston after the World series. But this video is in the Palestinian territories and they are celebrating the murder of an Israeli civilian in a terror attack. pic.twitter.com/E7YpTxfgEu
— American Zionism (@americanzionism) June 17, 2019
Sites like Gaza Now will continue trying to take people for a ride with their cheap propaganda tricks. Because it works more often than not. https://t.co/4XHFSCV8vo
— Ozraeli Dave (((דיויד לנג))) (@Israellycool) June 18, 2019
Some $10 million of Qatari money entered Gaza late Sunday, but by the end of Monday, needy Palestinian families had yet to receive any money, leading to frustration for some.
Doha’s envoy, Mohammed al-Emadi, was in the coastal enclave to disburse the money, which is meant to help poor Palestinian families and keep tensions in the beleaguered Strip from boiling over. Emadi, who frequently liaises with Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and Israel about Gaza, crossed on Sunday into the coastal enclave through the Erez crossing, the sole pedestrian passageway between the Jewish state and the territory.
Emadi told the Qatari satellite broadcaster Al-Jazeera on Sunday that 100,000 poor families will each receive payouts in the form of a $100 bill.
Even though both Emadi and the Qatari Gaza Reconstruction Committee did not announce that Gaza’s postal banks would distribute the payouts on Monday, many Palestinians queued outside them in hopes of collecting the funds.
Kamal Musbah, 46, told AFP at midday he had been waiting since the early morning outside a postal bank in Gaza City.
“We don’t know anything yet,” he said.
Musbah and around 200 other people erupted with frustration when they were told in the afternoon to return the next day.
An official in the Gaza Reconstruction Committee did not respond to multiple phone calls.
A statement released by Emadi late Monday on the Gaza Reconstruction Committee’s website blamed the delay on “technical issues.”
A Qatari technical delegation held talks in Israel and the Gaza Strip this week about helping pay for a proposed new power line between them, officials on both sides said on Tuesday, marking a potential expansion of Doha’s aid efforts for Palestinians.
Qatar has in recent years funneled hundreds of millions of dollars into relief projects in Hamas-controlled Gaza, which it views as helping stave off privation and fighting with Israel.
The intervention is approved by Israel but has gone largely unacknowledged by rightist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who, along with U.S.-allied Arab leaders, has cold-shouldered Doha for its ties to Iran and Islamist groups like Hamas.
Qatari Shari’a Professor Ahmad Zayed: Christians Can Run for Office, But Muslims Forbidden from Voting for Them pic.twitter.com/MGJ8hlZzHm
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) June 18, 2019
Egypt’s state TV reported Monday that the country’s ousted President Mohammed Morsi has collapsed during a court session and died.
The state TV said the 67-year-old Morsi was attending a session Monday in his trial on espionage charges when he blacked out and then died. His body was taken to a hospital, it said.
Morsi, who hailed from Egypt’s largest Islamist group, the now outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, was elected president in 2012 in what some considered the country’s first free elections following the ouster the year before of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak as part of the Arab Spring uprising in the region.
The military ousted Morsi in 2013 after massive protests and crushed the Brotherhood in a major crackdown, arresting Morsi and many others of the group’s leaders.
The Legacy of Late Ex-Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi
Egypt’s first democratically-elected president, Mohamed Morsi — who was ousted by a military coup only one year on the job — has passed away from medical complications. What is the legacy he left behind? Egypt-based journalist Joost Scheffers analyzes. Story: Ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has died while standing trial, Egyptian state TV reported Monday. The 67-year-old reportedly fainted during a court session and later died.
Journalist Karmel Melamed slams the Iranian regime for claiming credit on behalf of previous dynasties and individuals who saved Jews in the course of history. Writing in the Jewish Journal, Melamed attributes the phenomenon of Jews supporting the regime’s ‘Jew-washing’ narrative to three factors: coercion, pay-offs and propaganda.
During World War II, the Consul General of Iran in the area of Nazi controlled France was a man by the name of Abdol Hussein Sardari. From 1940 to 1944, Sardari helped exempt Iranian Jews and other Central Asian Jews living in German-occupied France from anti-Jewish measures decreed by French and Nazi authorities.
He likewise issued thousands of Iranian passports to other European Jews who feared for their lives and were seeking to escape the Nazis in France. The actions Sardari took to save Jews from Nazi persecution and genocide were indeed noble, but he took these actions of his own free will and not under any government direction to do so.
Besides, Sardari was a civil servant working for the government of the late Shah. As a result of his ties to the previous Shah’s regime, the current Islamic regime of the ayatollahs who came to power in 1979 rejected Sardari and anyone else who worked in the previous Shah’s regime as “infidels”.
So it is downright absurd that all of sudden Zarif now wants to claim Sardari as one of his own when Sardari had totally no connection whatsoever to the radical Islamic regime which Zarif proudly serves in today. It is therefore obvious to anyone with half a brain that the historic good deeds of Sardari belonged to Sardari alone and no other government or regime.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “Israel will not allow Iran to achieve nuclear weapons.” pic.twitter.com/2bc87kb1mK
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) June 17, 2019
Following the recent spate of attacks on oil tankers and oil facilities in the Gulf of Oman, and U.S. accusations that Iran is behind them, Iranian spokesmen have in effect denied all connection to them, claiming that their timing is suspect and that they could have been carried out by a third party, or by the U.S. itself in order to justify its aggression against Iran.
In reality, for the past few months senior Iranian spokesmen, from Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei himself to senior officials of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and the Iranian Foreign Ministry, and Majlis representatives have threatened the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, noting specifically that if Iranian oil cannot be exported via the Persian Gulf, no one else’s will be exported from the region either. Some of the speakers even explicitly pointed out that the attacks in Saudi Arabia and the UAE are aimed at preventing these countries from exporting oil.
Additionally, Iranian spokesmen are claiming that the U.S. is waging an economic war against Iran and that therefore Iran is entitled to defend itself against the U.S. and its allies. They are also pointing out that all U.S. bases and troops in the region are vulnerable to attacks by Iran and the resistance axis.
Furthermore, in several instances this past year, senior Iranian elements have said that Iran was behind the attacks on oil tankers and oil facilities in the Gulf of Oman and the Red Sea and on Saudi Arabia itself.
The following are details of senior Iranian officials’ threats and acknowledgement of Iranian responsibility for the attacks on the oil tankers and oil facilities:
Senior Iranian Regime Officials: “Iranian Officials Threaten: “If Our Oil Does Not Pass Through The Strait Of Hormuz, Neither Will Other [Countries’] Oil”
On June 13, two oil tankers – the Kokuka Courageous and the Front Altair – caught fire in the Gulf of Oman in a torpedo attack. The US immediately accused Iran of responsibility for the attack. The US also blamed Iran for four other attacks on tankers that occurred outside the Strait of Hormuz in May. Iran denied any involvement.
Commenting on the attack, the Russian Foreign Ministry said: “First of all, we would like to thank the Iranian authorities for assistance in rescuing eleven Russian mariners, crewmembers of one of the tankers (Front Altair). All of them were promptly evacuated from the burning vessel and taken to the port of Jask… Moscow resolutely condemns the attacks whoever might be behind them.”
The Ministry then added: “We think it necessary to refrain from quick conclusions. It is inadmissible to place responsibility for the incident on anyone until a thorough and unbiased international investigation is over.”
“We are worried over the tensions in the Gulf of Oman. We take note of deliberate efforts to whip up tensions, which are largely encouraged by the United States’ Iranophobic policy. We call on all the parties to show restraint.”
Russian pro-Kremlin commentators, such as Senator Konstantin Kosachev, commenting on the attacks in the Gulf of Oman, accused the US of fabricating fake news and evidence against Iran, in order to secure a pretext for escalating tensions in the Middle East.
At least 1,000 US troops are on the way to the Middle East after a request from US Central Command, acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on Monday. The US also released new photos showing Iranian involvement in the June 13 attack on two oil tankers.
The photos and the request for troops are a message to Tehran and the region that the US is serious about defending its interests and proving Tehran’s involvement. The photos of Iran’s involvement in removing an unexploded mine from a tanker clearly show an Iranian fast boat with ten men on board. This is alleged to be an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp boat sent on the afternoon of June 13 to remove the mine from one of the disabled ships.
Why would Iran remove a mine in broad daylight? It was apparently fearful that the ship would be towed to the UAE where a salvage crew and investigators would find the mine and easily link it to Iran. But the brazen Iranian removal also appears to show they felt. That even with US cameras rolling, they could do what they wanted in international waters and that there would be no repercussions. Iran has gambled on the US not wanting war.
Shanah says that the US does not seek conflict with Iran. That means that the US troop deployment is primarily defensive, for now, and that the message is for Iran. But. What is the nature of the message? Iran has announced it will surpass uranium stockpile guidelines set by the 2015 Iran Deal and Iran has threatened to close the Straits of Hormuz to oil shipments. It has also been working more closely with Russia, China and Turkey in several major summits in central Asia over the last week. Iran’s message is that it won’t be deterred.
President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday warned Lebanon and Hezbollah against launching an attack on Israel at the behest of Iran.
“We warn Hezbollah not to impose Iran’s agenda on Lebanon, and we warn Lebanon not to be a base for attacks on Israel,” Rivlin said during a memorial ceremony in Jerusalem for Israeli soldiers killed in the First Lebanon War.
“We are not eager to fight. But the IDF is alert and ready to respond to any threat and to any scenario,” he added.
Rivlin’s warning came as he remarked on Operation Northern Shield, an Israel Defense Forces operation to locate and destroy Hezbollah tunnels dug under the border that the army believes were intended to be used to ferry the terror group’s fighters into Israel as the opening salvo in a future war.
Hezbollah supporters take part in a rally to mark the anti-Israel al-Quds day in Beirut, Lebanon, May 31, 2019. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
The Iranian-backed Hezbollah, which Israel fought in the 2006 Second Lebanon War, is part of the Lebanese government. Some Israeli politicians have called for the IDF to treat Lebanon and Hezbollah as a single entity in any future conflict, with a top general warning earlier this month that the country would “pay a heavy price” for allowing the terror group to take root there.
The Israeli military considers Hezbollah to be one of its most significant foes, with a rocket arsenal larger than many countries’ and ample combat experience from its years fighting in the Syrian civil war on behalf of dictator Bashar Assad.
.@jimkrane @Forbes also claim “Israel wants to preserve its nuclear monopoly in the Middle East. A long US war with Iran could help.” Are you deliberately ignoring Iranian support for terrorism and its direct threats against Israel? It’s all about preserving a nuclear monopoly?!
— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) June 18, 2019
On May 16, a New York jury convicted the Hizballah operative Ali Kourani on multiple terrorism-related counts, including planning attacks on FBI and Secret Service offices as well as on an Army armory. His arrest and questioning, writes Matthew Levitt, suggest that the Iran-backed Lebanese organization is far more focused on carrying out attacks on U.S. soil than law-enforcement agents previously believed:
Kourani carried out [his] operational activities as a long-term sleeper agent—acting on behalf of Hizballah’s external attack-planning component, the Islamic Jihad Organization (IJO)—such as identifying Israelis in New York who could be targeted by Hizballah and finding people from whom he could procure arms that Hizballah could stockpile in the area. One of the missions Hizballah assigned to Kourani was to collect detailed information about two international airports: New York’s JFK and Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. Based on documentation of his travel, U.S. prosecutors showed that Kourani traveled through JFK nineteen times and through Pearson seven times. . . .
Kourani warned FBI agents that Hizballah’s IJO is “even more active in Canada than they were in the United States,” one of the FBI agents who interviewed him said during his trial. Indeed, Canada loomed large in Kourani’s operational plans. In 2012, he had married a Canadian-Lebanese dual citizen.
Kourani told the FBI that he provided Hizballah with details about security procedures, the uniforms worn by security officers, and whether the officers were armed. His surveillance, Kourani told the FBI, focused on exit points, security checkpoints, camera locations, baggage-claim procedures, and what questions airport screeners asked passengers. . . . Kourani informed the FBI that “there would be certain scenarios that would require action or conduct by those who belonged to the cell.” Kourani said that in the event that the United States and Iran went to war, the U.S. sleeper cell would expect to be called upon to act. . . .
Continental historians studying the conduct of the western allies leading up to and during the Second World War expressed puzzlement at the allies’ insistence on combating Nazi Germany as a whole, instead of taking the more moderate course that European states take toward militant organizations such as Hezbollah: outlawing the “military” wing of the group in question while accepting its “political” wing.
The scholars pointed to what they called important parallels between the ideologies and conduct of the Nazi-run Third German Reich and that of Hezbollah, and questioned why the United States, Britain, France, Poland, the Soviet Union, and other powers engaged in the conflict adopted a hardline position that involved outright warfare against all the organs of the Nazi apparatus, when many of the same countries now take pains to draw a distinction between Hezbollah’s political and military wings.
“I don’t see why Nazi Germany should have suffered when this level of nuance was available to the Allies,” stated Anne Tissemeit of Cambridge University. “The violent supremacism that drives Hezbollah bears functional equivalence to German fascism under Hitler, but for some reason the Allies seem not to have considered fighting only the Nazi military wing while permitting the Nazi political wing to continue operating. If it works when it comes to Hezbollah, for example, what would have been the problem to apply that to the Nazis? It’s puzzling, to say the least.”
Ori Entaliszt of the University of Milan explained that the Nazi and Hezbollah movements share numerous qualities: aversion to Jews and Jewish sovereignty; ideology that requires them to dominate their respective regions; a culture of nursing grievances, entitlement, and scapegoating; and a cadre of allies and collaborators willing to condone or participate in the group’s atrocities through sympathy or expedience. “It wasn’t the Nazi political wing that was gassing Jews and other minorities at Treblinka,” he noted. “The political leadership was over in Berlin, Munich, Nuremberg, wherever, not out on the Eastern Front machine-gunning Jews by the hundreds of thousands. It was totally different people. Most of the time. I think.”
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