Col Kemp: The West must call Iran’s bluff or face the devastating consequences
Neither the US nor Iran wants war. President Trump was elected partly on a platform that sought to end long-running US involvement in conflict in the Middle East and South Asia. Even if he wanted it he knows better than to engage in a major war with Iran in the run-in towards the 2020 presidential election. Following the traumas of Iraq and Afghanistan he also knows he would be hard-pressed to find allies to fight alongside the US.
As for Iran, the ayatollahs know the immense damage that would be inflicted on their country by war with the US. That alone does not deter them — they would be willing to exchange the lives of thousands of their citizens for the chance to give the ‘Great Satan’ a bloody nose.
But they also know the regime would not survive and to them that is supremely important.
If they don’t want war why are they provoking the US by attacking shipping in the Gulf? Re-imposition of US sanctions following President Trump’s withdrawal from Obama’s nuclear deal has hurt them badly. Even to the extent that they now fear for the survival of the regime.
Their aggression is intended to show Trump that his actions come at a cost for the US and the world, with 30 per cent of global oil supplies passing through these waters. It is also designed to deter him from pushing for wider imposition of sanctions including by European countries.
An important side benefit is the expectation that US retaliation against Iran, short of war, would help rally the people to the regime and ease growing internal dissatisfaction.
The Shin Bet (Israeli security agency) arrested a Jordanian citizen, originally from Hebron, under the suspicion that he was acting as an Iranian spy.
The 32-year-old Thaar Shafout was arrested and, under interrogation, confessed that he was a Jordanian businessman carrying out missions to promote the establishment of infrastructure in Israel, as well as Judea and Samaria, which would serve clandestine Iranian activities.
Shafout originally met two representatives of Iranian intelligence in Jordan – who acted under the aliases Abu Tsadek and Abu Jaafar – and had several more meetings met with them throughout 2018 in Lebanon and Syria.
Tsadek and Jaafar instructed the Shafout to establish a business infrastructure in Israel as a cover for future Iranian activity, as well as to recruit more spies within the country to assist in gathering intelligence. He was then instructed to make business connections in Israel and in Judea and Samaria.
Shafout made several contacts “in the field” so that they could assist him in his mission. He initiated the creation of a plant in Jordan that would hire Shi’ite workers and serve as an anchor for future Iranian activity over the border in Israel. The Iranian contacts agreed to give an initial investment of $500,000 to create the plant, as well as more later to establish operations in the field. The contacts also gave him encrypted means of communication in order to contact them.
Iranian intelligence, according to Shafout, intended to use him to transfer funds to terrorist contacts throughout Israel. They wished for him – once he finished carrying out all of the tasks for them in Israel – to come to Iran and finish his training as a spy.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has denied reports it has signed an agreement recognizing “Palestine” as a country.
“The agreement, which was signed by the agency’s director general Yukiya Amano and the Palestinian Ambassador in Vienna Salah Abdul Shafi, gives the IAEA inspectors the ability to check the safety of radioactive materials and fissile nuclear materials, such as uranium,” according to a report in The Jerusalem Post, Wednesday.
In a statement, the IAEA said the agreement “does not apply any expression or opinion relating to the legal status of a certain authority or area or the definition of borders.”
Although the PA does not possess any nuclear reactors, The Post noted that “it does have physics departments in hospitals and universities, which have medical equipment containing components of nuclear materials.”
Although it isn’t a member, the Palestinian Authority is allowed to attend meetings as an observer, according to an IAEA spokesperson.
Israel Thrives: End the conflation
In the global conventional wisdom, two concepts are tacitly linked when it comes to discussing Israel, even when they are not explicitly stated. The first concept, which is stated explicitly more often, is that the solution is to have “two states,” with some speakers explicitly stating “for two peoples” while others either think that is self-evident as to not require explicit statement or are fine with an Arab state and a binational state. The second concept is that the boundary between those two states should resemble the 1949-Armistice Line.
The conflation of those two concepts is manifest in two ways. The most notable way is that whenever Israel does anything beyond her “proper” boundaries, the international pooh-bahs point to that as ipso facto proof that Israel is not interested in ending her “rule” over the Palestinian people, completely oblivious to the possibility that a bona fide Palestinian state containing substantially less than the entire Jordanian conquest would be acceptable to Israel. The second consequence is that many of those with red lines east of the Armistice Line, such as maintaining some form of Jewish presence in and around Hebron, dismiss the notion of a Palestinian state within any borders.
What is needed is to recognize two facts that suggest mutually antagonizing responses. The first is that between the river and the sea, there are more non-Zionists (when you include Arabs in Areas A and B and in internationally recognized Israel and post-Zionist Jews) than there are Zionists. The second is that the origins of the Jewish people are in Judea. The need to provide some means to provide civil and political rights to the Arabs of Areas A and B separate from Israel’s polity does not negate Jewish rights in Hebron or say anything about the Jordan Valley. Similarly, the Jewish right maintain security along the Jordan Valley and settle around Hebron does not imply a right to rule over (yes, I am aware that Israel does not currently rule in Areas A and B, but that can change and Israel’s control of movement between sections of Area B reduces the meaningfulness of local rule there) the Arabs of Areas A and B without giving them representation.
With both Israeli and Palestinian officials absent from an upcoming economic summit in Bahrain, how much progress can possibly be made at what has been described as the first step in the US administration’s long-awaited plan for Middle East peace?
According to American Enterprise Institute resident scholar and former Pentagon official Michael Rubin, “A donors’ conference absent Israelis and Palestinians would be a bit of an embarrassment. That [being] said, both economic integration and Palestinian self-sufficiency are keys to a better future, deal or no deal.”
Despite being told Israel would participate in the conference by the United States, Jerusalem has yet to receive an invitation to the event. Although the Prime Minister’s Office has denied reports Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has no intention of “chasing an invitation,” it appears Netanyahu respects Washington’s decision on the matter, a senior Israeli official told Channel 13 News.
On Tuesday, however, Netanyahu indicated Israeli officials would be attending the conference, although he did not provide further details.
Nonetheless, news of the snub came as US special envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt indicated the White House may delay the publication of the highly anticipated plan to November, to follow Israel’s second round of elections on Sept. 17 and the High Holiday season.
“I think there’s even odds as to which concludes first: The Trump administration’s ‘deal of the century’ or O.J. Simpson’s hunt for the real killer,” quipped Rubin.
Bahrain will allow journalists from six different Israeli media outlets to enter the country next week in order to cover a US-sponsored economic workshop in Manama, Channel 13 News reported on Wednesday.
US special envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, confirmed the report and tweeted: “There are those working to improve the lives of Israelis, Palestinians & others in the region, and to see if peace can be achieved. Bahrain is one such country. The USA very much appreciates Bahrain’s efforts.”
Bahrain reportedly approved the entry of the Israelis at the request of US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner.
It was an unprecedented move by Bahrain, a country that does not have diplomatic ties with Israel, which for the first time will allow Israeli journalists to report from its soil.
As previously reported, neither Israeli nor Palestinian political leaders will be attending the June 25-26 event.
Greenblatt this week emphasized the nature of the “workshop” as apolitical, saying that since the Palestinian Authority had chosen to boycott the event, Israeli government officials would not be invited either, nor would other world leaders or foreign ministers.
The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis said in a statement, “It is curious that Israel is the one foreign country whose policies were deemed worthy of scrutiny in the 18 questions posed by the New York Times. The moral records of Afghanistan, the largest recipient of U.S. foreign assistance funding; China, America’s largest trading partner; and Mexico, the country’s southern neighbor were unquestioned. There was nothing about Egypt, whose former president just died in a courtroom while on trial; Saudi Arabia, the top purchaser of U.S. arms; Turkey, our putative NATO ally; or the Palestinians. Only Israel.”
Mark Horwitz, a former editor at the Times, tweeted, “Am I crazy, or does that question about Israel stick out in a weird way. No other international human rights questions. Just Israel.”
The American Jewish Committee also noted, “The New York Times asked presidential candidates about only one U.S. ally’s human rights record. Guess which one.”
The executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Boston, Jeremy Burton, remarked on what he called the “absurd bias” of the Times‘ candidate questionnaire.
Whatever one’s view of the question, it did serve the useful function from a newsgathering perspective of exposing the range of views about Israel that exists within the Democratic presidential field.
One of the strongest answers to the question probably came from John Delaney, a businessman and former congressman from Maryland, who answered, “I do think they meet human rights standards, absolutely.” He also noted, “they are surrounded by countries who are effectively threatening their existence and don’t believe they have a right to exist.” Another came from a senator from Colorado, Michael Bennet, who answered, “yes.” Bennet is the brother of New York Times editorial page editor James Bennet and the son of a Holocaust survivor.
Other candidates used the question as an opportunity to voice public criticism of Israel’s elected prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
Still, the wording of the question itself isn’t loaded. It’ is more “Do you beat your partner?” than “When did you stop beating them?”
On the other hand, note the loaded “context” offered by the paper:
Democratic views of Israel are in flux. President Trump has redefined the American role in the region and a younger generation of liberals are questioning Democrats’ longstanding support of Israel’s security policies. We thought this question would gauge Democrats’ willingness to criticize Israel, and found few candidates who would do so.
Here, the newspaper holds the answer to its question — and holds Israel’s guilt — as self-evident. Only if Israel is guilty does this yes-or-no question gauge whether the Democratic candidates are “willing to criticize” Israel, as opposed to gauging their genuine beliefs about the country.
In the New York Times’s framing, no answer to the question about Israel’s human rights record exculpates the Jewish state. No means no — Israel doesn’t meet international standards, and candidates are willing to say so. But yes also means no. Israel is guilty, but cowardly Democrats are simply “unwilling” to criticize the country.
As it turns out, many of the Democratic candidates described Israel as one of America’s closest friends and underscored the country’s need for security, even if some indicated their disapproval of the current government. The advocacy journalists at the New York Times were clearly disappointed.
Here’s how nine of the top ten candidates (according to RealClearPolitics’s polling average) answered the question. Note: Former Vice President Joe Biden declined to participate despite repeated requests from the Times.
“Do you think Israel meets international standards of human rights?”
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders:
“I have great concerns about the role that Netanyahu is playing in Israel and their relationship with the Palestinians. As I’ve said many times, I believe 100% in the right for Israel not only to exist, but to exist in peace and security. But the role of the United States is to work with all of the entities in the region, including the Palestinians, and to do that in an even-handed way.”
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren:
“I think that Israel is in a really tough neighborhood. I understand that. They face enormous challenges and they are our strong ally. We need a liberal democracy in that region and to work with that liberal democracy. But it is also the case that we need to encourage our ally, the way that we would any good friend, to come to the table with the Palestinians and to work toward a permanent solution. I strongly support a two-state solution and I believe that a good friend says to the Palestinians and to the Israelis, ‘come to the table and negotiate.’ The U.S. cannot dictate the terms of a long-term settlement with the Palestinians and the Israelis. But what it can do is urge both of them to go there and to stay out of the way, to let them negotiate the pieces that are most important to them for a lasting peace… The current situation is not tenable. It may be tenable for a week. It may be tenable for a month… but it is not in the long term interest of either the Palestinians and the Israelis to continue on the path they’re on. They need to come to a two-state solution.”
The New York Times asked the Democratic presidential candidates the same 18 questions, including asking whether Israel abides by international standards of human rights. Here is the answer they should have given:
You know it’s weird you are asking about the only true democracy in the region. Saudi Arabia dismembered an American journalist. Egypt is run by a brutal authoritarian. Syria’s Bashar al-Assad committed genocide. And yet you want to know about Israel. Why don’t you focus on any of those, on China, on Russia, on illiberal regimes that have come to power in Europe?
Now you may be referring to its policies regarding the Palestinians. Let’s start with a reminder that, on multiple occasions, Israel has offered the Palestinians more than 90% of the West Bank. Currently the offer is on the table to negotiate with the Palestinians with no preconditions.
Israel is not perfect. However, the insistence on singling Israel out for criticism is emblematic of a double standard. Criticize Israel (I do). But let’s not make it No. 1 on the wanted list of human rights violators. It frankly shouldn’t be on the list at all.
The progressive group that helped get New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez elected is supporting a political newcomer against veteran Jewish congressman Eliot Engel.
Justice Democrats announced that it would back Jamaal Bowman, a middle school principal and former teacher in the Bronx, against Engel in the city’s 16th Congressional District.
Engel, who has served in the House of Representatives since 1989, is chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He is facing three primary challengers, all to his left, according to BuzzFeed.
Bowman, according to the report, is running on a platform focused on investing in public schools, free college, Medicare for all, the Green New Deal and criminal justice reform.
“Our grassroots movement shocked the country last year with AOC’s upset victory, and we are prepared to do it again in New York’s 16th District,” said Alexandra Rojas, the executive director of Justice Democrats. “It’s time to usher in a new generation of progressive leadership into the Democratic Party.”
Engel is close to the mainstream pro-Israel community and has initiated a number of pro-Israel bills over the years.
During the 1960s and 70s, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) made a name for itself with airplane hijackings and other acts of terror; its members also carried out suicide bombings and other forms of murder during and after the second intifada. But only in 2002 did the European Union designate the PFLP as a terrorist organization, and it now faces pressure from both Palestinian groups and far-left EU parliamentarians—who share the PFLP’s Marxist-Leninist ideology—to remove it from the list, or at the very least to restrict the terrorist designation to the group’s so-called military wing. Jan Kapusnak comments:
A standard ploy used by terrorist groups to disguise their true nature is to cast themselves as comprising distinct “military” and “political” wings—the former engaged in “legitimate acts of resistance,” the latter in promoting purely political goals. Falling for this ploy, in 2013 the EU designated Hizballah’s “military wing” as a terrorist organization while sustaining a working relationship with its “political wing.” . . . Similarly, a recent report by [the compulsively anti-Israel] Human Rights Watch described the PFLP as a political party with “an armed wing that attacked Israeli civilians.” . . .
In reality, the PFLP’s two wings—the Political Bureau and the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades—are interdependent parts with only one leadership. . . . And while the group has persistently sought to reinforce the illusion of two distinct wings by carrying out terror attacks under the Brigades banner, its political leadership has regularly supported indiscriminate violence against Israeli civilians.
Thus, Deputy Secretary-General Abu Ahmad Fouad stated that “the occupation and racist settler colony [i.e., Israel] perched on our land cannot be defeated without a long-term people’s liberation war, in which armed struggle is in the forefront.” He added that “attempting to negate revolutionary violence as a leading method of struggle against the occupier only perpetuates the existence of the occupation.”
New Zealand’s minister for immigration has written to the Israeli ambassador in Wellington apologizing personally for a map on a government website that showed a Palestine, but not Israel.
“I can assure you that the fact sheet did not reflect New Zealand Government policy,” Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said in the letter to the ambassador, Dr. Itzhak Gerberg. “The map was clearly inaccurate and did not label the State of Israel as it should.”
Lees-Galloway also wrote: “I apologize for the offense that has been caused and assure you immediate action has been taken to correct the situation.”
The fact sheet on Immigration New Zealand, an official government website, which offered information about Palestinian immigrants to New Zealand, also identified East Jerusalem as “the designated capital of the State of Palestine.” There also was no mention of Palestinian terrorism, but information on the page said that Israel caused “massive repression of Palestinians” during the Second Intifada.
Following a barrage of complaints on social media, the web page was removed, though screenshots remain.
“This official paper of New Zealand incites hatred of the State of Israel as well as anti-Semitism,” Gerberg wrote earlier this week Lees-Galloway.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Kurdish students in Germany that Kurds do not deserve a state because it would not “serve peace in the region,” according to an article in DW News in Arabic.
Merkel told the students in Lower Saxony that while Kurds deserve “fair conditions” and autonomy in Iraq, they don’t deserve independence. The Kurdistan region in northern Iraq is currently an autonomous region. “I do not think the existence of a Kurdish state would serve peace in the region,” she said, according to Kurdish news outlet Rudaw.
The German leader was traveling to the hometown of the Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel. Although Kurds voted overwhelming for independence in 2017 the regional government did not pursue independence from Baghdad. Instead the region was subjected to a blockade of its airports by the central government and Baghdad sent tanks into Kirkuk, a city disputed between Baghdad and the Kurdistan region.
Germany has been generally supportive of the Kurdistan Regional Government. It supported training the Kurdish Peshmerga, the armed forces of the region, to fight Islamic State. It has hosted Kurdish leaders.
However the response to the questions about Kurdish rights to independence reveals Germany’s own checkered record when it comes to Iraq and the Kurds. In the 1980s, German companies and engineers helped build Saddam Hussein’s bunkers, according to a 2003 account at Wired. 27 German firms helped Saddam Hussein in the 1980s, according to The Independent.
A Syrian refugee in the US was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of planning an attack against a Pennsylvania church in the name of the Islamic State group, the Justice Department said.
Mustafa Mousab Alowemer, 21, who arrived in the country as a refugee from Syria in August 2016, intended to target a church in the North Side neighborhood of Pittsburgh, assistant attorney general John Demers and Pittsburgh federal prosecutor Scott Brady said in a statement.
“Court documents show Mustafa Alowemer planned to attack a church in the name of ISIS, which could have killed or injured many people,” Michael McGarrity, of the FBI’s counter-terrorism division, said in the statement.
“The FBI takes threats to churches and other religious institutions extremely seriously and will use all our resources to stop potential terrorist attacks against them,” he said.
The suspect allegedly passed on documents about the construction and the use of explosives to a man he believed to be an IS group sympathizer, though he turned out to be an FBI employee.
In east Jerusalem, just below the surface, changes are taking place. These tectonic shifts are very worrisome to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and Jordan. The penetration of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf to east Jerusalem at the expense of Ramallah is very unattractive to them. The Islamic Liberation Party, Hizb ut-Tahrir, supported by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf recently engaged in a heated theological disagreement over the exact timing of the end of the Ramadan holiday.
It appears that substantial funds reached a new organization that deals with east Jerusalem affairs. This organization is headed by Prof. Sari Nusseibeh and is tied to the Gulf. Sources in east Jerusalem state that this new organization is now looking to open a network of offices in the eastern part of the city.
Hizb ut-Tahrir, Islamic Liberation
The Islamic Liberation Party Hizb ut-Tahrir has a prominent presence on the Temple Mount, and in the past attacked high-ranking representatives from Jordan and Ramallah. If the party does move to support Saudi Arabia, both sides will face serious challenges. In addition to these difficulties, Jordan and the PLO do not trust each other.
Sari Nusseibeh disagrees with Ramallah on many issues. He represents the local leadership, while the leadership of the PLO has its roots in Tunis and the Oslo agreement. Mahmoud Abbas represents the PLO locally.
Tehran is well aware that Israel has a weak spot when it comes to the winding West Bank border, making the West Bank a strategic location in the conflict between Iran and Israel. Iranian officials have repeatedly declared that despite the geographical and logistical challenges of delivering weapons to Palestinian factions in the area, arming these groups remains a priority.
This comes amid increasing Israeli attacks on Iranian targets in Syria and as Israel implements security operations inside Iran — the latest being Mossad’s seizure in January of secret documents from Tehran related to the Iranian nuclear program.
Jordan and Israel both forbid arms movement across their borders into the West Bank. Also, the Palestinian Authority (PA), which controls the West Bank, doesn’t permit arms proliferation among the factions there. These restrictions make it difficult for Iran to achieve its goals. Iran so far has failed to transfer missiles to Palestinian factions in the West Bank, but it’s not giving up, Yahya Rahim Safavi, a senior military adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, announced June 6.
“The issue remains on the Iranian agenda under the supervision of [Khamenei], who continues to guide the leaders of [Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] in this framework, especially its Quds Force,” Safavi said.
Hussein Sheikh al-Islam, an adviser to Iran’s foreign minister, told Al-Monitor Iran believes that to eliminate Israel all the fronts surrounding it must be armed to be effective, like the fronts of Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.
Islam said Iran is up to the challenge of getting weapons through to the factions.
No fewer than 1,982 small and medium-sized business operate in Judea and Samaria, a 100% increase over the past decade. The average rate of entrepreneurship in Judea and Samaria was 20% higher than that of Tel Aviv, relative to population size, in 2018.
The data, from the Central Bureau of Statics and the MATI Jerusalem Business Development Center in Judea and Samaria, was presented at an entrepreneurial conference in Samaria, the first such conference of its kind.
In a sign of the region’s growing tourism industry, the most prominent field of business in Judea and Samaria is the service industry, in particular food and hospitality services, followed by industry and health services and skincare.
Conference attendees welcomed the Tourism Ministry’s recent decision to incentivize entrepreneurs to build hotels in Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley, in the form of grants to entrepreneurs at a 20% rate of the total investment.
MEMRI: Article In Pro-Hizbullah Lebanese Daily: Lebanon Must Not Hold Talks With Israel Over Maritime Border Brokered By The American Enemy; The Lebanese Resistance Can Prevent Foreign Drilling Companies From Approaching Lebanese Waters
In the recent weeks, the Lebanese press has reported that, following intense efforts by Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Satterfield, Lebanon and Israel have agreed to hold U.S.-mediated talks to delimit their Exclusive Economic Zone waters, so as to enable both countries to develop the gas and oil fields off their shores. The objective is to settle the issue of an area of 860 square kilometers, most of which is included in energy block 9, that is disputed between the two countries, as Lebanon prepares to launch offshore drilling for gas and oil. Lebanon demands that the negotiations also include the issue of 13 disputed points along its land border with Israel, which was demarcated by the UN in 2000.
In a June 13, 2019 article in the pro-Hizbullah Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar, journalist Hassan ‘Aliq condemned the Lebanese government for agreeing to hold talks with Israel with U.S. mediation, on the grounds that the U.S. under Trump is not a fair mediator but an enemy, so talks brokered by it will serve only the interests of Israel. Therefore, instead of holding talks about the disputed territories, he suggested to utilize the might of the resistance, or threaten to utilize it, in order to maintain the status quo. For example, he proposed carrying out a “security move” to keep foreign drilling companies serving Israel from approaching Lebanon’s territorial waters, and also to fire on Israeli forces constructing a fence in the disputed areas along the Israel-Lebanon land border. He decried the fact that Lebanon has discarded the option of resistance, which is the “obvious” one, in favor of talks, warning that this will serve only Israel, the U.S. and the U.S.-led “Deal of the Century.”
The Palestinian Authority (PA) has apparently decided to shift strategies. Its latest initiative is apparently to use their “Christian” lobby — and various organizations that lobby creates — to infiltrate Christian pro-Israel communities through a carefully crafted narrative designed to appeal to Christians’ love for all humanity and desire to pray for the Middle East. The PA’s end goal, apart from displacing Israel, is both to dilute Christians’ pro-Israel beliefs and their influence, and to convert Christians outright to the PA’s narrative and cause.
“The organisation I lead,” Mae Cannon wrote, “Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP), has long been a friend to Israelis.” Regrettably, a serious review of the history and activities of Cannon and CMEP illustrates that her statement is demonstrably false.
Does her audience know that she is accusing Christian supporters of Israel of increasing antisemitism and hate crimes? Does her audience know that she is writing and promoting Palestinian propaganda in media outlets? Do they know that she is working closely with the Palestinian Authority to implement the PA’s strategic plan for targeting Israel by chipping away at Christian support for Israel through eroding support for Christian Zionism? Most likely they do not: Cannon’s hidden agenda is disguised by a carefully constructed facade — one that claims simply to be introducing her audience to multiple narratives and perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The current goal is shifting the balance of power so that Congress, specifically, buys into the PA’s political and legislative agenda as pushed by the PA’s “Christian” lobby.
While Cannon pays lip service to opposing antisemitism and to being a “friend to Israelis,” she leads CMEP in strategizing with Israel’s enemies on the best way not only to undermine Christian Zionism but also — at the behest of the Palestinian Authority — to target the PA’s putative enemy, the State of Israel, in the halls of the government of the United States — arguably, Israel’s greatest ally.
Fatah is celebrating the new grandson of one of the Palestinian Authority’s darlings and role models: Terror mom Um Nasser Abu Hmeid – the mother of 6 terrorists responsible for at least 10 murders. The father of the baby is one of her imprisoned sons involved in the murder of 4 Israelis and serving 5 life sentences, who had his sperm smuggled out of prison..
Palestinian Media Watch has documented that several Palestinian prisoners have succeeded in smuggling out sperm from prison to have their wives impregnated at clinics in the PA.
The PA has turned Um Hmeid into a role model because her sons included one so-called Martyr and five prisoners responsible for several terror attacks and murders. PA Chairman Abbas himself invited her to meet with him.
For over a decade the PA has promoted Um Hmeid as an example for Palestinian mothers. In 2010, the PA awarded her “the Plaque of Resoluteness and Giving,” and in 2011, the PA chose her to launch their statehood campaign with the UN.
The terror mom has been called “a crown on all of our heads,” “a maker of men and of the future,” “the Oak Tree of Palestine,” and “Khansa of Palestine” – a reference to a woman in the earliest period of Islam who rejoiced when all four of her sons were killed in battles, as Martyrs for Islam. A PLO official praised Um Hmeid and other mothers for “sacrificing heroes and torches of freedom that have lit the skies of Palestine.”
PMW calculated that the cumulative payments from the PA to the sons and mother of this terrorist family through June 2019, as reward for killing Israelis, is $1,279,870 (4,786,400 shekels).
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) June 20, 2019
The US confirmed Thursday that an American drone was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile in international airspace, contradicting Iran’s claim that the unmanned aircraft was flying over its territory.
In a statement, US Central Command said the incident was “an unprovoked attack on a US surveillance asset in international airspace.” The incident comes amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington over the collapsing nuclear deal.
The statement identified the drone as an RQ-4 Global Hawk, which provides real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
The drones cost over $100 million apiece and can fly higher than 10 miles in altitude and stay in the air for over 24 hours at a time. They have a distinguishable hump-shaped front and an engine atop. Their wingspan is bigger than that of a Boeing 737 passenger jet.
U.S. President Donald Trump condemned Iran’s shootdown on Thursday of a U.S. military surveillance drone in what Washington said was international air space.
“Iran made a very big mistake!” Trump said in a Twitter post.
Iran on Thursday shot down a U.S. military drone it said was on a spy mission over its territory but Washington said the aircraft was targeted in international air space in “an unprovoked attack.”
The incident fanned fears of wider military conflict in the Middle East as Trump pursues a campaign of to isolate Iran over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and role in regional wars.
It was the latest in an escalating series of incidents in the Gulf region, a critical artery for global oil supplies, since mid-May including explosive strikes on six oil tankers as Tehran and Washington have slid towards confrontation.
Iran has denied involvement in any of the attacks, but global jitters about a new Middle East conflagration disrupting oil exports have triggered a jump in crude prices. They surged by more than $3 to above $63 a barrel on Thursday.
Iranian president Rouhani stressed that Iran is not seeking to leave the agreement, but said that the deal needs “an emergency operation to survive.” He said Iran was prepared to negotiate within the framework of the nuclear deal but not beyond that framework. “The nuclear deal will remain as it is and cannot be changed…. We are prepared to sit at the negotiating table and discuss ways to better implement it, including ways of fulfilling your [the five countries’] obligations under it.”
In the same vein, Kamalvandi proclaimed on June 17, 2019, “The countdown from 10 has already begun, and in another 10 days, on June 27, Iran will exceed its 300kg uranium stockpile limit…Iran had quadrupled its production of low-enriched uranium.”
Kamalvandi added that, regarding the possibility of enriching uranium beyond the 3.67% limit set by the agreement: “There are two scenarios: to increase the enrichment level to 5 percent and use the enriched uranium at the nuclear reactor in Bushehr, or to increase the enrichment level to 20 percent and use it at the Tehran research reactor.” He also said that Iran could revive the Arak heavy water reactor, the core of which was supposedly removed as part of the deal. Kamalvandi stated further that if in the next two-and-a-half months Iran does not manage to find markets for the heavy water, it will accumulate 130 tons of it in that period.
The Iranian Atomic Energy Organization spokesman asserted that the AEO is now awaiting the second stage (meaning the one that begins when the ultimatum runs out on July 7) of the measures to further reduce Iran’s adherence to the deal. He remarked: “Europe still has time. We waited a year for the Europeans [until May 8, 2019, a year after the United States withdrew from the deal] as an aspect of our strategic patience.”
Kamalvandi said Iran’s patience was wearing thin in light of Europe’s ongoing indecision about meeting its economic obligations under the nuclear deal. “Europe does not want to do anything or simply is unable to do anything.”
Jeb Bush, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mark Wallace: Failing to Blacklist Iranian Banks Could Have Bigger Consequences
Iran, the world’s leading state-sponsor of terrorism, has lied to global financial policymakers at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for three years about its intention to prevent its banks from laundering money and financing terror organizations. The Iranian regime has failed to implement the plan it agreed to in 2016 and has been actively funding proxy wars, plotting terror attacks in European cities and threatening U.S. forces serving abroad.
With a vote to blacklist Iran, the FATF, meeting in Orlando this week, would seriously disrupt Tehran’s ability to move money to bad actors around the world. But if the FATF shows that it can be bullied into giving Iran more time, terror leaders will breathe a sigh of relief, more attacks will be planned and more hostages will be taken.
Jeb Bush served as governor of Florida. Former Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) served in Congress from 1989 to 2017. Mark D. Wallace, a former U.S. ambassador to the UN for management and reform, is CEO of United Against Nuclear Iran.
The Quds Force has also infiltrated top security, political, intelligence and military infrastructures in Iraq. It makes decisions that should be made by Iraqi leaders and politicians. It has operatives and agents across the country. Already eight years ago, the head of Iran’s Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani boasted to US General David Petraeus:
“You should know that I… control policy for Iran with respect to Iraq, Lebanon, Gaza and Afghanistan. The ambassador in Baghdad is a Quds Force member. The individual who’s going to replace him is a Quds Force member.”
The Quds Force has also given birth to a supply of designated terrorist groups in Iraq, including Asa’ib Ahl Al-Haq and Kata’ib Al-Imam Ali. Both use horrific tactics similar to those of ISIS, known for showing videos of beheadings and burning people. Asa’ib Ahl Al-Haq has reportedly been receiving some $2 million a month from Iran. Many people believe that the blood of many innocents — including Iraqi women and children — are on the hands of the Quds Force.
In Lebanon, Hezbollah’s decisions are made with the blessings and instructions of Iran’s Supreme Guide Ali Khamenei and the senior generals of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). In particular, Tehran controls the financial, military, and political investments in the Lebanese group.
When the US was contemplating imposing sanctions on Hezbollah’s financial dealings, its leader Hassan Nasrallah surprisingly admitted to the major role Iran plays:
“We are open about the fact that Hezbollah’s budget, its income, its expenses, everything it eats and drinks, its weapons and rockets, come from the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
A German intelligence report released on Wednesday asserted that the Islamic Republic of Iran, China and Russia are the chief culprits of illegal surveillance in the federal republic.
According to the intelligence report by the state of Brandenburg that was reviewed by The Jerusalem Post, “The main actors in espionage activities in the Federal Republic of Germany are still the Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China and Iran.”
The report also noted that Turkey’s government spies on opponents of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Islamic regime.
Iran’s regime has conducted illicit proliferation activities in Germany since the 2015 Iran nuclear deal was reached with Tehran. In exchange for the Islamic republic agreeing to curbs on its nuclear program, the world powers, including Germany, provided it considerable economic sanctions relief.
The Post reported in May that a German state intelligence report from Bavaria said that Iran is “making efforts to expand its conventional arsenal of weapons with weapons of mass destruction [WMDs].”
Iran was termed a “risk country” in the 335-page document outlining serious threats to the security and democracy of the state of Bavaria.
The intelligence report defines WMDs as “the spread of atomic, biological, or chemical weapons of mass destruction.”
Iraqi TV Host Sheikh Ali Al-Daraji: Wahhabis are Zionist “Islamic Jews” Planted in Hejaz by Freemasons to Fragment Muslims pic.twitter.com/KAKDyetcjR
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) June 20, 2019
🕯️10 years ago today, the Islamic Republic🇮🇷 brutally murdered Neda Agha-Soltan, who was among the thousands marching for democracy in Tehran.
The Iranian regime threatens its people and the world. To deny this is to deny reality. pic.twitter.com/5Frq44HdJ1
— Mark Regev (@MarkRegev) June 20, 2019
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