Caroline Glick: Israel, American Jewry and Trump’s GOP
Earlier this month Norway, Denmark and Switzerland did something surprising.
Norway announced that it was demanding the return of its money from the Palestinian Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Secretariat, for the latter’s funding of a Palestinian women’s group that built a youth center near Nablus named for PLO mass murderer Dalal Mughrabi.
Denmark followed, announcing it was cutting off all funding to the group.
And last week, the Swiss parliament passed a resolution directing the government to amend Swiss law to block funding of NGOs “involved in racist, antisemitic or hate incitement actions.”
For years, the Israeli government has been urging these and other European governments to stop funding such groups, to no avail. What explains their abrupt change of heart? In two words: Donald Trump.
For years, the Obama administration quietly encouraged the Europeans to fund these groups and to ratchet up their anti-Israel positions. Doing so, the former administration believed, would coerce Israel to make concessions to the PLO.
But now, Trump and his advisers are delivering the opposite message. And, as the actions by Denmark, Norway and Switzerland show, the new message is beginning to be received.
If the US administration keeps moving forward on this trajectory, it can do far more than suspend funding for one terrorism-supporting Palestinian NGO. It can shut down the entire BDS industry before Trump finishes his current term in office.
To understand what can and ought to be done, it is first important to understand the nature of the BDS movement. Under the catchphrase BDS, two separate campaigns against Israel and against Jews are being carried out.
Melanie Phillips: The fight to the death in Britain and America
Yet after Finsbury Park the media, Muslims and political establishment rushed to denounce the real villains: those who had incited the perpetrator through their “Islamophobic” views.
Instead of communal harmony, hatred was unleashed – against those who campaign against Islamist extremism.
The attack was seized upon as supposed proof that the terrorist urge was a universal and culturally unspecific affliction, like influenza.
Thus the global Islamic jihad which has claimed tens of thousands of lives was equated with a minute number of retaliatory acts by a few fringe groups or truly random individuals.
Such lethal moral equivalence amounts to political depravity. This was also on display last Sunday when Muslims and their hard-left allies massed on the streets of London for the Iran-backed al-Quds Day rally.
Marching behind the flags of Hezbollah, people screamed anti-Jewish incitement.
They not only equated “Zionists” with ISIS but even insanely blamed such “Zionists” for the tragic fire which last week consumed an entire west London apartment block, apparently through a combination of accident and negligence.
The terrifying reality is that many on the Left connive at or even support such deranged incitement. There is an ugly revolutionary mood currently in the air in Britain which is causing many to shiver in alarm.
People around the world were shocked when the Labour Party did so well in Britain’s general election earlier this month, despite the extremist sympathies and hardleft views of its leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The disturbing reality is that millions of mainly young Brits don’t care that he calls Hezbollah and Hamas his “friends.”
Such young people are either ignorant and ill-educated – or they too believe such terrorists are legitimate resistance fighters.
The United Nations’ devolution into a pantomime of moral degeneracy is all but complete. After Saudi Arabia’s appointment to the Human Rights Council, we shouldn’t be all that surprised by the UN’s latest ploy to delegitimize its own supposed ideals.
This week, Palestine was elected as the vice-chair of the UN Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This is the same unofficial polity that routinely calls for a land without any Jews, praises Islamist terrorists for slaughtering innocents, pays jihadist families, and calls for the annihilation of the Jewish State.
The term “anti-Semitism” doesn’t adequately capture the full scale of blood libels propagated by Palestinian officials against Jews.
By electing Palestine to a leadership role designed to combat “racial discrimination,” the UN has signaled to the world that not only does it not care about racism but it awards violent racists as long as they keep their seething hatred directed at Jews.
Israel told the United Nations Security Council on Thursday that Hezbollah is establishing observation posts along the Israeli-Lebanese border under cover of a purported environmental NGO.
Israel’s military intelligence chief on Thursday released film and photographs of the Hezbollah positions at the border fence.
In a letter, Israel’s envoy to the UN, Danny Danon, pointed to an incident in April, in which a patrol of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was denied access to an observation post flying the flag of the NGO “Green Without Borders,” by a group of locals.
Hezbollah’s purported use of such facilities under cover of the NGO is a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, passed at the end of the Second Lebanon War in August 2006.
In the letter, Danon called on the council to demand the Lebanese government dismantle the Hezbollah outposts, as required by the resolution.
The letter came on the same day that IDF intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Hertzl Halevi released video and photographs the IDF said showed the installations in question.
“Hezbollah is using an environmental organization as a cover for activities along the border with Israel,” Halevi said.
Now is the time to re-evaluate United States support for the U.N. Human Rights Council.
Claiming to be a champion of human rights, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) continues to act in complete contradiction of its mandate to protect human rights and reflects the cronyism and corruption of many of its member governments. The Council devotes far too much time attacking Israel, one of its top agenda items, while ignoring serious and pervasive human rights violations around the world. Worse, the UNHRC routinely attracts as its members many of the world’s most notorious human rights abusers and authoritarian regimes, including Venezuela.
Given these circumstances, it is unfathomable why the United States would continue to participate in the Council, and even more disconcerting that we have donated, under former President Obama, $17.5 million to it in “voluntary” contributions which go above and beyond its direct UN funding. In President Trump’s 2018 budget, incredibly enough, there is an additional $10 million for the UNHRC.
The hostile, anti-Israel bias of the UNHRC is unwarranted and undermines a staunch ally of the United States. Israel has been the most frequent subject of reports during past council sessions and is the only nation in the world routinely singled out for specific criticism. In fact, Israel is the only country targeted by the UNHRC with a permanent agenda item.
Additionally, this overarching focus on Israel distracts the UNHRC from investigating serious human rights violations in the Middle East, and elsewhere around the world. In the UNHRC’s first decade of existence, over half of the country-oriented resolutions it passed were targeted at Israel. To date, the UNHRC has adopted over 70 resolutions condemning Israel and only seven condemning human rights violations by the autocratic theocracy in Iran. In March, the UNHRC passed five anti-Israel resolutions, while it has failed to condemn any of the actions of the Venezuelan government, whose rampant corruption, pervasive human rights abuses and numerous kidnappings and acts of extortion have been repeatedly brought to the world’s attention.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, a body known for its strong anti-Israel track record, is likely to elect Iran’s Permanent Delegate to UNESCO Ahmad Jalali as its new chairman in the upcoming election. Jerusalem fears that the organization’s anti-Israel agenda could become stronger if that comes to pass.
The Executive Board is one of UNESCO’s three constitutional branches and is responsible for executing the resolutions adopted by the General Conference. The Executive Board consists of 58 members out of the total 195 current U.N. member states and is elected for a term of four years.
In the past two years, UNESCO has adopted mainly pro-Palestinian resolutions and demonstrated an anti-Israeli bias by questioning Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem and denying any Jewish historic or religious ties to Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, or the Western Wall.
The current UNESCO committee chairman is Michael Worbs of the German U.N. delegation and a representative of UNESCO’s Western Europe and North America, a group in which Israel is also a member.
Jalali is currently the only candidate for chairman of the Executive Board in the election that is scheduled to take place in October 2017.
The White House may well be considering the revival of a plan for the creation of a Palestinian state authored by the American general John Allen during the Obama administration. The plan calls for Israel’s withdrawal to a modified version of the pre-1967 borders, leaving the major settlement blocs in Israeli hands but not allowing for an IDF presence in the Jordan Valley. To counter the threat to the Jewish state (and to Jordan) that this arrangement would pose, a U.S. force would be permanently stationed along the Jordan River. Gershon Hacohen finds this proposal less than reassuring:
The basic problem is the notion that Israel will rely for its security on foreign forces. Not only is it difficult to ensure that such forces would fulfill their duty successfully, but it is uncertain whether they would stay in place—particularly if they suffer casualties like those they have suffered in Afghanistan and Iraq over the past decade. Recall [also] that during the waiting period before the Six-Day War, the security guarantee given by President Eisenhower to Ben-Gurion after the 1956 Sinai campaign evaporated. . . .
There is, however, a larger question:
Do we want Israel to be no more than a haven for persecuted Jews where they can subsist under foreign protection? Or do we want Israel to be a place of freedom, a homeland, in which we alone are responsible for our own security and sovereignty? . . .
Perhaps we have forgotten that protecting our national existence, in terms of how the IDF defines national security, does not pertain solely to ensuring the physical existence of the citizens of the country but also to safeguarding national interests. . . . [The plan] completely ignores the possibility that the people of Israel, in renewing their life in their homeland, are motivated by something much greater than the need for a technical solution to security concerns.
Ruthie Blum: Barak’s ‘slippery slope’
In an interview Wednesday with Tim Sebastian — host of the program ”Conflict Zone” on German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle — former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak was at his worst. Not only did he fail at his initial attempt to field Sebastian’s hostile questions; he ended up using the rhetoric of Israel’s sworn enemies to answer them.
Sebastian, who was in Israel and the Palestinian Authority this week to record a series interviews pertaining to the anniversary of the Six-Day War (or, as the DW website referred to it, “50 years after Israel captured East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza”), pounded on Barak to acknowledge that the 1967 war was an act of Israeli aggression, and that Israeli government control over a Palestinian population that has no say in its election is immoral.
Rather than blasting Sebastian for misrepresenting the entire issue, Barak replied, “I do not start my consideration from the moral issues.”
”Why not? You don’t care about morality?” Sebastian asked.
”I care about morality,” Barak said. “But I care more about our very survival in life. And I should tell you that I do not disagree with the bottom line of what you are trying to kind of somehow argue. The situation that has been created is such that Israel faces a choice. If we keep controlling the whole area from the Mediterranean to the River Jordan, where some 13 million people are living — 8 million Israelis, 5 million Palestinians, that if only one entity reigned over this whole area, namely Israel, it would become inevitably — that’s a key word, inevitably — either non-Jewish or non-democratic…”
Sebastian interjected, “But the state you have at the moment is an apartheid state, isn’t it?”
Barak nodded and continued: “It’s not yet an apartheid [state], but it might come on the slippery slope toward apartheid.”
Jason Greenblatt, the US Special Representative for International Negotiations, met with the families of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul on Wednesday during his trip to Israel this week, according to a statement released by Trump’s envoy on Friday.
According to the statement, Greenblatt expressed “his continued sympathy for the situation regarding their beloved sons, Hadar and Oron, who were kidnapped while serving in the Israeli Defense Forces during the Gaza conflict in 2014.”
Top Trump adviser Greenblatt’s visit also included meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuvin Rivlin in Jerusalem, and with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
“Mr. Greenblatt remains outraged at Hamas’ inhumane refusal to return Hadar and Oron and supports the families as they continue to seek their sons’ return,” read the statement.
These are all the bitter fruits of two-statism.
Trying to solve the problem by reintroducing its cause?
One of the most absurd aspects of the discourse on the future of Gaza, and how to handle the grave and growing problems of the area is the prevailing platitude that the governance of the area should somehow be wrested from Hamas and restored to Abbas’ Fatah, whose corrupt and dysfunctional governance was the reason for Hamas’ ascendance in the first place. As if reinstating the cause for the current problem will somehow solve it.
Unsurprisingly, the Palestinian Arabs, particularly those in Gaza, seem decidedly skeptical as to the efficacy of such a measure. Recent Palestinian polls point to widespread dissatisfaction with Abbas and Fatah. Overall, in the Palestinian-administered territories, almost two-thirds feel that Abbas, who has been in office three times longer than his elected term, should resign. Some 70% hold this view in Gaza. The fear that Hamas may well win a new election is widely considered the reason that none have been held since 2005.
Moreover, it is widely acknowledged that without Israel’s military presence in Judea and Samaria, the Abbas regime would be speedily disposed of, as it was in Gaza. Accordingly, there is little reason to believe that were Abbas’ control over Gaza reinstated it could endure without restoring IDF presence there, as well — hardly something advocates of Abbas’s return seem to advocate.
Nothing unpredictable, nor unpredicted
The tragedy is that there is nothing about the Gaza fiasco that was not entirely foreseeable and foreseen.
JPost Editorial: Gaza’s electricity
Providing free electricity to Hamas enables the terrorist organization to devote all of its limited resources to building up its military capabilities. And it increases the risk to Israelis.
At the same time, one cannot ignore the humanitarian crisis that might result from cutting electricity to Gaza.
Back in April, when Abbas announced his intention to stop transferring funds to Gaza, Gazans stopped using their limited electricity to treat sewage before allowing it to flow into the Mediterranean or into riverbeds in the Strip. There is real concern about an outbreak of infectious disease, especially among babies and children. With electricity available for only two to three hours a day, hospitals are unable to properly care for patients.
And Israel will inevitably be affected by the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Israel does not live in isolation from Gaza. Untreated sewage released into the Mediterranean pollutes beaches in Ashkelon and Ashdod and Bat Yam and Tel Aviv. Epidemics that break out in Gaza would be contagious and could find their way into Israel.
Ultimately, the so-called electricity crisis is of Hamas’s making. As with the Islamist movement’s use of human shields, its purposeful positioning of combatants and rocket launchers in the midst of population centers, so too the default on Gaza’s electricity bill presents Israel with a difficult moral dilemma. Hamas is willing to sacrifice the lives of Gaza’s civilians in order to win the battle of public opinion. The image of a sick Palestinian baby lying untreated in a darkened Rantisi Pediatric Hospital in Gaza City is a blow to the gut that is impossible to explain away.
There are no easy answers. But whether or not Israel decides to renew the full electricity supply to Gaza, our defense minister should make a compelling argument for the action taken instead of playing the victim or hiding behind Abbas.
Heinz-Christian Strache, leader of the anti-mass migration Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) has called for Austria to move its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem, echoing U.S. President Donald Trump.
The FPÖ chief said it was “totally absurd” for the Austrian government to not recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocate its embassy from its present location in Tel Aviv. Mr. Strache met with Israeli Deputy Yehuda Glick of the Likud party in Vienna to talk on the subject of “Islam and Islamisation”, Die Presse reports.
Strache passed on a letter addressed to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu which said: “It is totally absurd not to move the Austrian Embassy into Jerusalem, as we do in other capital cities in other countries around the world, and the State of Israel has the right to build wherever it is necessary in the land of Israel.”
FPÖ deputy David Lasar said the passage regarding the right to build was addressed to settlers in West Jordan and the letter itself is meant as a “message of friendship for a future of good cooperation with the settlers and the Likud”.
Glick was invited to Vienna by Strache and the FPÖ as a “symbol for Jerusalem and the settlers” according to the Jerusalem Post.
A top Israeli minister has issued an impassioned plea to the leader of Saudi Arabia to invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to make an official trip to Riyadh.
In a speech he delivered at the 2017 Herzliya Conference on Thursday, Yisrael Katz — the Jewish state’s intelligence and transportation minister and a member of the ruling Likud Party — said, “I call upon Salman, the king of Saudi Arabia, to invite the prime minister of Israel, Netanyahu, to visit Saudi Arabia.”
Addressing Salman directly, Katz stated, “We saw what a wonderful host you can be…when President [Donald] Trump was there.”
“You can also send your heir, the new one, Prince Mohammed bin Salman,” Katz continued in his remarks at the annual event that examines major security and political challenges in the Middle East. “He’s a dynamic person. He is an initiator. And he wants to break through.”
“Exactly this way…they know who Iran is,” Katz said. “They know we have to create an access vis-a-vis Iran. You can send him for a meeting in Israel and I promise you, he’s going to be a very welcome guest.”
Police opened an assault probe on Thursday against Breaking the Silence spokesman Dean Issacharoff after a video of him describing how he brutally beat an unarmed Palestinian protester in Hebron went viral.
The investigation follows Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked’s request of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to investigate the Israeli NGO’s spokesman on suspicion of war crimes.
However, the state prosecution denied its decision to probe Issacharoff had anything to do with Shaked’s request and said it had come from the military attorney general.
Shaked told Army Radio earlier this month that she sought to clarify if Issacharoff was telling the truth when he described an alleged incident in the West Bank city of Hebron, or if he was lying to discredit the IDF.
“The spokesperson of Breaking the Silence stands up and says that he himself committed a crime against a Palestinian and pounded him with blows,” Shaked said. “If that is really what happened, he should be investigated and punished. If it didn’t happen, the state needs to officially declare that it didn’t happen.”
Hadas Malka was a 23-year-old Israeli policewoman who was stabbed to death in a coordinated attack by three Palestinian men outside the Damascus Gate to the Old City of Jerusalem. All three attackers were shot to death during the attack.
ISIS and Hamas issued competing claims of responsibility.
The ruling Fatah Party, led by Mahmoud Abbas, condemned the shooting of the terrorists, and called it a war crime.
The three killers took a selfie before the attack:
Thousands of Israelis attended the funeral, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the family.
Jared Kushner, arriving in Israel as part of a peace negotiation effort, made his first stop a visit to the family of Hadas Malka, as the Times of Israel reports:
“If you feel like you’re in the heart of Tel Aviv when you’re here it means I achieved my goal,” says Border Police Chief Superintendent Arad Braverman, who commands Company C, deployed across the Old City in Jerusalem. Had someone told him nine months ago that his sector would become the most volatile area in the capital, he might have thought twice before accepting the position, but 48 hours into his new role, a brutal stabbing attack that left two police officers seriously wounded, offered a sober reminder of the reality he and his troops were facing.
Border Police Company C has long become a fixture in the Old City, its troops intertwined with the urban landscape. The company was formed in 1953, shortly after the inception of the Border Police itself, and its troops were originally deployed in rural areas and along Israel’s borders. Company C was deployed in the Old City following the 1967 Six-Day War and it has been the main security force operating in that part of the capital ever since.
Company C is the largest company in the Border Police, with 150 officers — “153, I include our fallen troops as well,” Braverman says quietly — and it has been part of every major security event in the Old City, the Temple Mount and the Western Wall for the past 50 years.
The past two years have been bloody for Jerusalem, and tensions in the Old City have often been high. Border Police Cpl. Hadar Cohen, 19, was killed in a terrorist attack near Damascus Gate in February 2016 and Sgt. Hadas Malka, 23, was killed in nearly the same spot last week, and the 18 months in between it seems not a day has gone by without Jerusalem in general and particularly the Old City making headlines.
The growing number of terrorist attacks in the vicinity of Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem has prompted the Public Security Ministry to present a new plan seeking to revolutionize the counterterrorism measures deployed in the area.
Damascus Gate, the main northwest entrance to the Old City has been the scene of 32 terrorist attacks over the past two and a half years. The gate is one of the busiest areas in the Old City, and police estimate some 2,500 people pass through the area every day.
The counterterrorism plan devised for the area by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh and Jerusalem District Police Commander Maj. Gen. Yoram Halevy, includes personnel, intelligence and technological upgrades meant to change the security reality on the ground.
The plan, a copy of which was obtained by Israel Hayom on Thursday, includes the deployment of a sophisticated network of license plate capture cameras that use specialized software to identify and record license plates on still or moving vehicles; a network of “smart cameras” — closed-circuit TV cameras equipped with facial recognition software to identify suspects in real time; placing fortified security posts in strategic locations in the area; and setting up a lighting system to simulate daylight.
The Public Security Ministry is also exploring the possibility of making topographical changes in the vicinity of the gate, to eliminate line-of-sight disparities, which may hinder security forces’ operations during a terrorist attack.
A meeting between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and senior White House official Jared Kushner reportedly left the Palestinian leader fuming and refusing to agree to watered-down demands that Ramallah cut off payments for some convicted terrorists and their families.
According to Palestinian sources quoted in Hebrew and Arabic media Friday, Abbas and his advisers accused the US of taking Israel’s side and refused a demand to stop paying salaries to several hundred prisoners serving time for the most serious crimes.
Kushner, who is US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and chief Middle East adviser, met with Abbas in Ramallah on Wednesday, along with Trump’s international negotiator Jason Greenblatt.
Kushner, making his first negotiating foray to the region, held two key meetings Wednesday– with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then with Abbas — before heading back to Washington.
Kushner began his meeting with Abbas by stating all the Israeli concerns, including stopping the payments, according to Hebrew media reports, angering Abbas.
“The American delegation accepted Israel’s position with regard to paying salaries to prisoners,” a Palestinian source told Ynet, “and described it as a means of inciting terror, demanding it be stopped.”
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday defended payments to Palestinian prisoners, including convicted terrorists, as a “social responsibility,” and said Israel was using the issue as a pretext to avoid peace talks.
The comments were made in a speech that was read on Abbas’s behalf by his foreign affairs adviser Nabil Shaath at the Herzliya Conference, an annual regional security meeting.
“When the international community has an opportunity to move forward with a final status agreement between Israel and Palestine, the governments of Mr. Netanyahu find an excuse to avoid discussing the key issues,” Abbas said.
“The most recent pretexts include incitement and social aid provided to the families of Palestinian political prisoners,” he added.
Hundreds of former generals and senior security officials warned that proposed US legislation to cut funding to the Palestinian Authority unless it stops payments to terrorists may harm Israel’s security.
Commanders for Israel’s Security issued a statement saying that the Taylor Force Act, named after the American killed last year in a stabbing attack in Tel Aviv, could bring about the end of security cooperation between Israel and the PA.
The bill would cut all US funding to the Palestinian Authority except that earmarked for the Palestinian police, some $60 million in 2013, a fraction of the approximately $500 million Palestinians have received annually from the United States.
Although Commanders for Israel’s Security support the basic premise of the proposed legislation, the group said that withdrawing funding from the PA could weaken its authority and allow extremists factions to take over. The group said a strong PA is necessary for Israeli security and that the proposed US legislation should be modified to ensure the PA’s control is not harmed.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Russia Still Waiting For Palestinian Elections It Can Hack (satire)
President Vladimir Putin of Russia has put on hold a series of operations aimed at manipulating elections for the Palestinian presidency, in response to intelligence assessments that no such elections are likely to take place in the foreseeable future.
Putin ordered the operations suspended today until further notice after receiving reports from the FSB federal security service that plans to strengthen Russia-friendly candidates and weaken those with little or no allegiance to Moscow would not, with any likelihood, see any relevance in the next two decades. The last time Palestinian presidential elections were held, in 2005, Mahmoud Abbas was elected to a four-year term. Similarly, parliamentary elections last took place in 2006. The elapsed terms of the elected leadership appear not to have prompted efforts toward holding new elections, calling into question the usefulness of the election-manipulating plans developed in the Kremlin.
Sources within the Kremlin told PreOccupied Territory that when he witnessed the success of the hacking operations that preceded the American presidential elections last year, Putin ordered preparatory work on similar efforts in other countries. However, the preliminary measures for manipulating Palestinian elections at either level of government – executive or legislative – could make little progress in light of the lack of tangible Palestinian moves to hold actual elections anywhere on the horizon.
“We were all set to duplicate our achievements in facilitating the desired outcome, from Russia’s perspective, of elections involving a key entity in an area vital to our strategic interests,” explained an official who spoke on condition of anonymity. “Then, in gathering data for purposes of planning what we called Strategic Intervention, none of our researchers could find a date for the next Palestinian elections. Abbas’s term officially ended more than seven years ago, and the parliamentarians should have been out of office six years ago. We filed our preliminary report for the president, and left it at that.”
Iran’s massive funding of terrorist groups that endanger Israel was exposed in shocking detail by IDF Military Intelligence chief Maj.- Gen. Hertzi Halevi on Wednesday.
Speaking at the IDC Herzliya Conference, Halevi revealed that Iran is funding Hezbollah to the tune of $75 million a year, while paying $50m. of Hamas’s budget and approximately $70m. to Islamic Jihad.
Connecting Hamas’s alliance with Iran to recent criticism of Israel for the humanitarian situation in the Gaza strip, Halevi placed the blame for a lack of construction supplies and the electricity problem squarely on Hamas.
Israel has let into the Strip “four times the volume of building materials” required to build one of the world’s largest buildings, but “Hamas is using the materials for war, not rebuilding,” he said.
Iran gets North Korean expertise in building up, testing and hiding its ballistic missiles
Iran has increased production and testing of ballistic missiles since the 2015 nuclear deal with the U.S. while playing permanent host to scientists from North Korea, which has the know-how to build and launch atomic weapons, a leading Iranian opposition group said Tuesday.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran issued a white paper that the dissidents say identifies and documents work at 42 missile centers operated by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the regime’s dominant security force.
A dozen sites had never been disclosed before, said the council, which operates a spy network that has exposed Iran’s hidden nuclear program.
Tehran views expertise from North Korea as being so critical that it has established residences in Tehran for Pyongyang’s scientists and technicians, according to the white paper. North Koreans have shown Iran how to dig tunnels and build “missile cities” deep inside mountains to prevent destruction by airstrikes, among other projects.
“On the basis of specific intelligence, the IRGC’s missile sites have been created based on North Korean models and blueprints,” the white paper said. “North Korean experts have helped the Iranian regime to build them. Underground facilities and tunnels to produce, store, and maintain missiles have also been modeled after North Korean sites and were created with the collaboration of the North Korean experts.”
Iranians also are traveling to North Korea, which uses occasional missile test-firings to rattle its neighbors South Korea and Japan, two strong U.S. allies.
To end crisis, Arab states demand Qatar sever Iran ties
Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries that have cut ties to Qatar issued a steep list of demands Thursday to end the crisis, insisting that their Persian Gulf neighbor shutter al-Jazeera, cut back diplomatic ties to Iran and close down a Turkish military base in Qatar.
In a 13-point list — presented to the Qataris by Kuwait, which is helping mediate the crisis — the countries also demand that Qatar sever all ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and with other groups including Hezbollah, al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the list in Arabic from one of the countries involved in the dispute.
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain cut ties to Qatar this month over allegations the Persian Gulf country funds terrorism — an accusation that President Donald Trump has echoed. Those countries have now given Qatar 10 days to comply with all of the demands, which include paying an unspecified sum in compensation.
According to the list, Qatar must refuse to naturalize citizens from the four countries and expel those currently in Qatar, in what the countries describe as an effort to keep Qatar from meddling in their internal affairs.
They are also demanding that Qatar hand over all individuals who are wanted by those four countries for terrorism; stop funding any extremist entities that are designated as terrorist groups by the US; and provide detailed information about opposition figures that Qatar has funded, ostensibly in Saudi Arabia and the other nations.
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