March 22, 2019

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07/10 Links Pt1: Fatah to US: “We don’t want your flour, your wheat, or your aid”; IDF stops boat seeking to break Gaza blockade; Israeli Border Police Soldiers Save Life of Palestinian Baby in Hebron

From Ian:

PMW: Fatah to US: “We don’t want your flour, your wheat, or your aid”
At a Fatah demonstration earlier this month, Abbas’ deputy chairman of Fatah, Mahmoud Al-Aloul, announced that Palestinians don’t want US aid, because US is “forming an alliance” with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, “the Israeli enemy”:

Fatah Deputy Chairman and Fatah Central Committee member Mahmoud Al-Aloul: “Mahmoud Abbas has told him [Trump], and we are telling him, that America is not fit to be a sponsor of peace… This American Trump is forming an alliance with [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, the Israeli enemy, who is sowing havoc and destruction over the land by expropriation and building settlements… We want freedom. We want independence. We want an end to the occupation. We don’t want your flour, your wheat, or your aid.” [Official PA TV, July 2, 2018]

Al-Aloul’s statement rejecting US aid follows the passing of the Taylor Force Act in the US, in March 2018, which cuts almost all funding to the PA if it continues paying salaries to terrorist prisoners and allowances to families of so-called “Martyrs.” The law was named after US citizen Taylor Force who was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist in Tel Aviv on March 8, 2016.

Al-Aloul’s comments also follow the passing of a new Israeli law to deduct the amount of money the PA pays imprisoned terrorists and families of “Martyrs” from the tax money Israel collects for the PA, which was passed by the Israeli Parliament on July 2, 2018.

PMW: PA leader Nabil Shaath: Australia is “worthy of being spat on”

PA Chairman Abbas’ advisor Nabil Shaath: “This filthy talk of ‘the criminals’ in connection with our Martyrs and prisoners – while they are our heroes, the heroes of self-sacrifice and the candles of freedom. They cannot be compared to the Israeli criminals in Israel’s prisons… Australia’s decision [to stop] transferring $10 million angered me greatly… It transferred [the aid to the UN]… so that it would not serve for payment of the salaries of the [prisoners and Martyrs’] families. In other words, the truth is they are worthy of being spat on. You [Australians] are the servants of the US… I don’t want your 10 million, I don’t want to chase after them.” [Official PA TV, Topic of the Day, July 3, 2018] Nabil Shaath is PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ advisor on Foreign Affairs and International Relations Australia cuts direct aid to the PA – Australia announced on July 2, 2018, that it is ceasing its direct aid to the PA, and will transfer aid through the UN. Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop explained that Australia unsuccessfully sought confirmation from the PA that the aid was not going to pay terrorists. Bishop added: “Any assistance provided by the PLO to those convicted of politically motivated violence is an affront to Australian values and undermines the prospect of meaningful peace between Israel and the Palestinians.” PMW has led the exposure of the salaries paid by the PA to terrorists and their families.

Father of American Victim of Palestinian Terror Calls New US, Israeli Laws Penalizing PA ‘a Good Beginning’

The recent passage of laws in both the US and Israel penalizing the Palestinian Authority (PA) over its payments to terrorists and their families marked “a good beginning, but there is much more to be done,” the father of an American military veteran who was killed in a stabbing attack in Tel Aviv two years ago told The Algemeiner on Monday.

Stuart Force, the father of the late Taylor Force, traveled to Israel to attend last week’s Knesset vote on a bill modeled on a US law — named after his West Point graduate son — that was approved by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump in March limiting American aid to the PA.

“Watching the legislation’s passage in the Knesset was a very emotional and special time for me,” Force said. “I feel that the resolve shown by both countries to address this part of the war on terror will provide a stimulus for nations worldwide to look at where their humanitarian aid actually goes.”

“If it cannot be shown that the intended recipients of our assistance are receiving it, then it should be withheld until it can,” he continued. “Something is terribly wrong when the leaders of terrorism are living like wealthy warlords, with their ‘subjects’ having no hope for a better future.”

JCPA: Economics Won’t Help. The Palestinians Will Continue with Terror Attacks

In any case, the chance that economic temptations will lead to a change in Palestinian national goals is very slight as long as the Palestinian system is not led by a political movement that gives priority to the welfare of its citizens. That movement must recognize that to provide for their economic needs, it must end its commitment to the struggle against Zionism, which is translated as yielding the “Right of Return” and deciding to forego the establishment of a Palestinian state in all of mandatory Palestine.

The approach of the U.S. administration criticizes the Palestinians and Hamas, in particular, for “not acting according to the needs of the Palestinian people.” This reaction indicates a lack of understanding for Palestinian priorities and superimposes upon them a Western order of priorities, which sees in the pursuit of happiness and prosperity as all people’s solitary goal.

The Palestinians explain to the world that they have a different order of priorities, including paying salaries to terrorists, “Return Marches,” the destruction of a critical truck crossing for goods, and the right to forgo both human life and prosperity. However, it appears that the Americans, Europeans, and many Israelis are not getting these messages. They continue to believe that economic considerations can lead the Palestinians to change their anti-peace policies.

We must not diminish the importance of investing in the advancement of the Palestinian economy and economic cooperation with them. These are based on ethical motives – from the desire to bring economic prosperity to our neighbors to advancing familiarity between both peoples. We must hope that in the end this will motivate the Palestinian to change their order of priorities.

IDF stops boat seeking to break Gaza blockade

The Israeli Navy on Tuesday apprehended a Gazan boat with approximately eight people on board that attempted to breach the legal naval blockade. The apprehension took place without incident.

After the boat and the Gazans on board are searched, the boat will be towed to the Israeli Navy base in Ashdod.

The IDF assigned medical personnel to treat those on board who requirws medical assistance.

This is the second time in the past two months that the Hamas terror organization has attempted to violate the legal naval blockade and has paid Gazan civilians to participate.

The IDF stated that the naval blockade is a “necessary and legal security measure that has been recognized repeatedly by the world and the UN as important to the security of the State of Israel and its maritime borders that protect Israeli civilians in the face of terror and smuggling of weapons.”

Exclusive: Islamic cyber terrorists trying to target infrastructure

Though they have not yet succeeded, Islamic cyber terrorists are increasing their efforts to carry out cyberattacks against Western countries infrastructure.

This is one of the concerning conclusions of a report obtained exclusively by The Jerusalem Post.

The report was issued by the IDC Herzliya International Institute for Counter-Terrorism’s (ICT) cyberdesk, with input from ICT deputy director Dr. Eitan Azani and cyberdesk coordinator Nadine Liv.

To date, most cyberterror attacks have consisted of defacing target websites and posting embarrassing messages.

But the report discussed “the possibility of terrorist organizations acquiring offensive capabilities on the Internet, hiring hackers for this purpose, or receiving assistance from terror- sponsoring countries” as a serious future danger.

Further, it said that, “the monitoring of the accounts of IS [Islamic State]-supporting hackers indicates that there is a desire to develop these offensive capabilities.”

Iran’s Two-Front Strategy

The Assad regime’s current offensive in southern Syria has been mainly in the eastern part of Daraa province, down to the Jordanian border. The push toward the west – Quneitra and the Golan – carries the risk of Israeli action.

Once the Syrian military campaign finds its way to Israel’s border, Iran will as well – whether immediately or down the road makes little difference.

All the chatter about a deal with Russia notwithstanding, there is a need for Israel to intensify its targeting of Iran’s infrastructure, personnel, and logistical lines in Syria to deter the Iranians from moving against Israel on the Golan.

“We have just one option,” Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Shimon Shapira, a senior researcher of Hizbullah and Iran at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, told me.

“And that is to act with force, overtly and covertly, against the Iranian presence in Syria. Consenting to or accepting the Iranian presence, be it direct or indirect, in the end will lead to a war with Iran in Syria and in Lebanon.”

As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put it recently, “if there needs to be” conflict with Iran, “it is better now than later.”

Report: Obama ‘shocked’ by settlement expansion

A series of maps of Judea and Samaria, focusing on the placement of Jewish communities and Israeli military facilities in the area, provoked a dramatic change in the Obama administration’s policies vis-à-vis Israel, a report by The New Yorker claims.

According to the report Monday, a presentation by then-Secretary of State John Kerry to President Barack Obama in the waning days of the administration ‘shocked’ the president into taking a more aggressive stance towards Israel, withholding America’s veto on a United Nations Security Council resolution critical of Israeli policies in Judea and Samaria.

The Obama administration, like its predecessors, had in the past backed a final status settlement negotiated by Israel and the Palestinian Authority and opposed unilateral actions regarding core final status issues. In this vein, the US had traditionally used its veto power on the Security Council to block resolutions directed against Israel.

In December 2016, however, the Obama administration permitted UNSC Resolution 2334 to pass – a measure which demanded Israel unilaterally freeze all construction in not only Judea and Samaria, but eastern Jerusalem as well.

The decision to abandon Israel at the Security Council – a significant departure from traditional US policy – after the president was presented with a series of maps collected at the behest of a senior State Department official, Frank Lowenstein.

The collection of maps, assembled in 2015 by Lowenstein and updated by the State Department in 2016, was presented to Obama and key advisers by Secretary of State John Kerry during a 2016 Oval Office meeting.

New Zealand “got it wrong” over 2334

National Party leader, Simon Bridges, has acknowledged that New Zealand “got it wrong” by co-sponsoring United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 alongside Malaysia, Senegal, and Venezuela.

Though New Zealand First leader, Winston Peters, challenged the process at the time – that the decision was not put to cabinet – Mr Bridges stated that he thought cabinet “would have made a different decision” than Foreign Minister Murray McCully did.

This is an important acknowledgement – especially after Bill English failed to answer questions about the controversial resolution and claimed that the decision actually didn’t need to go to cabinet.

The comments by Mr Bridges were made during question time at a Hastings public meeting on Friday 29 June, 2018, and are online. Pastor Nigel Woodley asked

“In a future National govt led by you, what do you propose to do to ensure that a much more even-handed, balanced, and fair foreign policy towards the State of Israel is enacted. Because at the moment the foreign policy is very much tipped in favour of the Palestinians at the expense of both truth and justice.” – Pastor Nigel Woodley

The response of Mr Bridges is transcribed below the video. He made three important comments that need to be highlighted.

1. “I get that question or similar at most meetings”
This observation shows how the actions of Minister McCully were out of step with the wishes of the people. The Israel Institute of New Zealand 2017 poll showed that more than half of all Kiwis support Israel and only about one quarter thought the government was right to co-sponsor the resolution. The thousands of New Zealanders who protested, signed letters, and expressed their disappointment at the time are clearly still sending the same message.

2. “We got it wrong on that UN resolution [2234]”
This acknowledgment is some relief to the majority of New Zealanders and is an important step from Mr Bridges. However, the resolution is not “history” now and nor is it “academic”, as Rt Hon Mr Peters has claimed. Unfortunately, UN resolutions build upon each other and 2334 was referenced in the disproportionate number of anti-Israel resolutions that New Zealand continued to support in 2017, and in the recent resolution condemning Israel for “disproportionate and indiscriminate force” with regard to the Gaza riots – a resolution that New Zealand also supported, despite it not mentioning Hamas. If New Zealand is to act on the rhetoric, then the voting pattern at the UN must change to become more in line with our traditional allies on the side of truth, justice, and fairness.

What does Boris Johnson’s resignation mean for UK-Israel relations?

Former British foreign minister Boris Johnson’s resignation on Monday plunged Prime Minister Theresa May’s turbulent government into even more trouble less than a day after former Brexit Secretary David Davis quit the government.

Johnson’s resignation letter slammed May’s Brexit negotiation strategy, stating that the Brexit “dream is dying, suffocated by needless self-doubt.”

May moved quickly to appoint Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt as the UK’s new foreign secretary, ushering in a new and less flamboyant era at the British Foreign Office.

Israeli Ambassador to the UK Mark Regev was quick to welcome Johnson’s foreign secretary replacement, expressing hope that relations between the two countries will continue to go from strength to strength.

“Mazal tov to Jeremy Hunt on his appointment as Foreign Secretary. Looking forward to further strengthening the Israel-UK partnership,” wrote the Israeli envoy on Twitter on Monday evening.

Although public statements made by Hunt to date regarding Israel are scarce, he dedicates much of his website’s foreign policy section to the Middle East where his opinions regarding the Israeli-Arab conflict mirror those of the Conservative Party in general.

There Hunt expresses his desire to promote business ties with Israel, and states his strong opposition to the BDS movement. But he also highlights his concerns regarding the demolition of Palestinian villages and the detention of Palestinian children by Israeli authorities.

Hunt reiterates his government’s support for a two-state solution, and states that he was “very disappointed by the announcement of the US’s intention to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.”

France Keeps Blackening Israel

Relations between France and Israel have been ambivalent and complex for decades. Among the most prominent are those where the French government sets out to blacken Israel. President Emmanuel Macron is seemingly a new type of Frenchman. He reached the presidency without having risen through the ranks of an existing political party. He is a suave, intelligent politician with an excellent education, an international outlook, many ideas, and good public relations.

However, analysis has to concentrate on facts and not packaging. A good point of departure are the French reactions to the recent Gaza border violence. When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Macron in Paris in April, the French president told him that the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem “led to people dying and did not advance peace.” With this transparently manipulative statement Macron showed his skills in distorting the truth in a few words. What provoked the violence was the terror organization Hamas’ initiative to send civilians to the border and mix terrorists among them. Among the more than 115 Gazans killed by Israel, more than half were confirmed terrorists. That many of those killed were terrorists was confirmed by Hamas itself.

France also supported an UN Security Council resolution which called for protective measures for Palestinians, but didn’t mention Hamas. Deputy Israeli Minister Michael Oren summarized it in a tweet: “Shame on France for supporting it. French government cannot say it’s against anti-Semitism and vote for this anti-Semitic resolution.”

The IDF’s response to ongoing Hamas terror attacks

Today, Monday July 9, the Kerem Shalom Crossing will now only be open to humanitarian aid, including food and medicine that will be approved on an individual basis by COGAT. Exports and marketing of goods will no longer take place at the Kerem Shalom Crossing.

This is in light of the ongoing arson and additional terror attacks at the hands of the terror organization, Hamas. This includes infiltration into Israel from the Gaza Strip, terror tunnels discovered leading into Israel from the Gaza Strip, including two near the Kerem Shalom Crossing, and violent riots along the security border. In addition to putting the lives of Israeli civilians at risk and breaching Israel’s sovereignty, Hamas also simultaneously exploits and endangers Gaza residents.

Additionally, the expansion of the designated fishing zone in the Gaza Strip ends today, Monday July 9. For the past three months during the fishing season, the extension increased from six to nine nautical miles. The fishing zone will be returned to six nautical miles today.

This is in response not only to the most recent terror attempts by Hamas, but also in addition to the discovery that took place on June 3 of a terror tunnel located within a Hamas military post that exited to the sea. As well, on May 29th, the Israeli Navy apprehended a Palestinian boat with approximately 17 Palestinians that attempted to breach the legal naval blockade.

The State of Israel aspires and acts to improve the living conditions of civilians in the Gaza Strip. However, the IDF has decided to take these measures due to the recent situation in which the Hamas terror organization is exploiting Gazan residents and launching arson and explosive balloons and kites towards the Israeli communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip. The current situation doesn’t allow the residents of southern Israel to safely maintain their daily routine. Should these severe conditions continue, IDF measures will persist and intensify.

Kite, balloon terrorism continues scorching Israel’s land

More than 100 days have passed since the kite and balloon terrorism began. So far, it has resulted in 678 fires in farmlands and wooded areas in Israeli communities on the Gaza border community, with 9,160 dunams (2,260 acres) of mostly natural grove consumed.

In addition, 6,000 dunams (1,500 acres) of agricultural produce and thousands of dunams (acres) of open fields were burned to the ground.

The Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL) alone has lost 15,100 dunams (37,000 acres) of land, not including the Gaza border communities’ lands that were scorched.

Firefighters, community security coordinators, and KKL teams worked tirelessly to put out 33 fires across the Eshkol, Sdot Negev and Hof Ashkelon regional councils on Monday. The firefighters managed to gain control of most of the blazes within minutes, except for the fire in Kibbutz Gvar’am, which took the crews a longer time to overcome.

Despite the IDF’s announcement that a high-tech solution has been found to eliminate the incendiary balloons threat—in the form of detection and interception drones— fields are still being burned every day and the threat posed by the balloons is only increasing.

The IDF is operating a system able to detect and track the balloons. However, they are still not being intercepted while in the air.

Analysis: Why close the Kerem Shalom Gaza border crossing now?

So there are a few options. It is possible to threaten Hamas, which both Liberman and Netanyahu have done repeatedly since the wave of kite arson began. But that has not succeeded in getting the terrorist organization to stop setting fire to the Israeli fields.

It is also possible, as both the prime minister and defense minister have done, to stress upon occasion that the real strategic danger to the country – the problem that needs immediate and urgent attention – is Iran’s entrenchment in Syria.

But the public pressure has built nonetheless, and Netanyahu needs to show that not only is Israel not impotent against what seems like a primitive threat, but can also apply pressure on Hamas in return.

Why now? Perhaps because Israel thought, in vain, that its warnings and threats against Hamas would do the trick. Perhaps because they wanted to give Egyptian mediators a chance to persuade Hamas to give up this type of warfare. Perhaps because there was hope the IDF would come up with some kind of technological solution to the problem.

But when none of that came to pass, Netanyahu and Liberman – according to this face-value reading of the situation – decided to turn up the heat, even at the risk of bringing down international condemnation on Israel, and even if it means making the extremely difficult lives of Gaza’s residents under Hamas even more difficult.

Something, Netanyahu and Liberman surely believe, needs to be done.

Hamas: We infiltrated Israel and collected information

For years, Hamas has been complaining that the Israeli and Egyptian blockade on the Gaza Strip, as well as sanctions imposed by the Palestinian Authority against the two million residents living there, have created a “humanitarian and economic crisis” in the coastal enclave.

But now that some countries and international parties – including the US, Israel and the United Nations – have come up with a number of initiatives to improve living conditions in the Gaza Strip, Hamas does not seem to know what to do.

Here’s the dilemma Hamas is facing: On the one hand, if Hamas accepts these initiatives, its rivals – first and foremost the ruling Fatah faction – will accuse it of “selling out to Israel and the US,” and giving up Palestinian national rights in return for economic projects and humanitarian aid.

On the other hand, rejecting proposals to improve the living conditions its constituents could aggravate the situation and possibly prompt desperate Palestinians to revolt against the Hamas regime.

Some of the initiatives sound very tempting, to a point where it’s hard to see how Hamas can say no to a seaport in Cyprus or projects to create job opportunities to solve the serious problem of unemployment in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas has nothing to lose by allowing Western parties to establish an industrial zone in the Gaza Strip that would provide thousand of jobs to Palestinians. In fact, such projects benefit Hamas because they exempt it from its responsibilities – as the de facto government in the Gaza Strip – toward its people.

This is why Hamas leaders and officials appear to be divided over the various initiatives that are being proposed by Israel, the US and the UN.

U.N.: Israel’s ban on commercial goods for Gaza could escalate conflict

The United Nations said it was concerned Israel’s decision to halt the flow of commercial goods into the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom crossing could escalate its conflict with Hamas.

“Everyone must step back from the trajectory of confrontation and escalation,” UN Special Coordinator to the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov said on Tuesday.

He spoke in response to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to issue the harshest restrictions on Gaza’s main commercial crossing since the 2014 war with Hamas.

As of Tuesday morning only humanitarian supplies, such as food, medicine and fuel could enter the strip.

Israel’s decision to impose severe economic sanctions on Gaza comes fours months after Hamas and Islamic militants in Gaza have launched flaming kites into southern Israel that has scorched large swaths of fields along the southern border.

It also comes in the midst of a major US push to put in place an economic package that would ease life for the two million Palestinians in Gaza, that are also suffering from Palestinian economic sanctions and living on four hours of fuel a day.

“I am concerned by the consequences of Israel’s decision to temporarily suspend imports and exports with the exception of basic humanitarian supplies through the Kerem Shalom crossing,” Mladenov said on Tuesday.

Liberman in Golan: IDF will act against Iranian presence in Syria

Israel will not allow Iran to entrench itself in Syria, which would give it the ability to launch attacks on Israeli territory, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman warned Tuesday during a tour of the Golan Heights with senior IDF officers.

“The Iranian presence in Syria is unreasonable, and we are not prepared to accept an Iranian presence in Syria anywhere, and as you have heard more than once, we will act against any Iranian consolidation in Syria,” the defense minister said.

“The moment we identify an Iranian presence, we will act,” Liberman added, warning that there is no difference between a withdrawal of Iranian troops to 40 or 80 kilometers from Israel’s border.

According to Liberman, Israel has “identified elements” belonging to Iran and its Shiite proxy militias who “under the auspices of the regime” are trying to establish themselves on the Golan Heights.

“This effort to establish a terrorist infrastructure under the auspices of the regime, as far as we are concerned, is unacceptable and we will act with force against any terrorist infrastructure that we will see and identify here in the region,” Liberman warned.

Female terrorist who mistakenly stabbed Arab sentenced

A Jerusalem court sentenced a female Arab terrorist to 10 years in prison on Monday, after she was found guilty of a stabbing attack near the Old City of Jerusalem last summer.

The terrorist, 31-year-old Fadwa Nazih Hamadeh, attacked a haredi man returning from morning prayers in the Old City of Jerusalem on Saturday, August 12th.

As the haredi man left the Old City via the Damascus Gate, Hamadeh lunged at him with a knife. In video footage taken from a security camera in the area, Hamadeh’s would-be victim can be seen dodging the attack and fleeing the scene.

After she failed to injure her first target, Hamadeh turned her sights on another man, stabbing him in the shoulder.

The victim was a 31-year-old Arab man Hamadeh had mistakenly thought was an Israeli Jew.

A resident of Jerusalem’s Sur Baher neighborhood, Hamadeh is married and has five children, ranging in age from 8 to one-and-a-half.

Overnight: Shooting attack in Beit El

A shooting attack took place in the town of Beit El in the Binyamin region overnight Monday. No injuries were reported.

Several bullet casings were found at the scene. Troops are searching the area.

Meanwhile, IDF soldiers operating in Palestinian Authority-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria detained overnight Tuesday four wanted persons suspected of involvement in terrorist activities, popular terror and violent disturbances against civilians and security forces.

The suspects were taken for questioning.

As well, during a search for weapons in the PA city of Qalqiliya, IDF troops seized an M16 assault rifle, which was transferred to security agencies.

Israeli Border Police Soldiers Save Life of Palestinian Baby in Hebron

Israeli Border Police soldiers stationed at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron saved the life of a nine-month-old Palestinian boy on Sunday, the Hebrew news site Walla reported.

The soldiers heard shouts coming from a nearby home and when they arrived they found an unconscious baby surrounded by distressed family members who were trying to resuscitate him.

The baby was not breathing and his face had turned blue. The soldiers took over the effort to revive him, and a Border Police medic who was called to the scene succeeded in getting him breathing again.

Watch an Israel Police video of the medic treating the baby below:

Khaled Abu Toameh: Hamas divided: The Gaza Strip rulers’ humanitarian aid dilemma

The Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of terror group Hamas, published what it called “new details” about the attack on Zikim Beach on July 8, 2014.

Hamas naval commandos landed at the Zikim beach at the beginning of Operation Protective Edge, where they were located and eliminated by an IDF combined force 40 minutes after infiltration into Israeli territory.

According Hamas’ version, the Zikim operation included two stages. The first stage was the observation and gathering of information about IDF forces in the area of ​​Zikim Beach and their command headquarters. That mission was carried out by Hamas naval force operatives who infiltrated Israeli territory.

The second stage was the implementation of the attack, that began with the departure of Hamas naval force operatives by diving and swimming towards the target. The force split in two. The first force landed outside and began to advance toward the command headquarters. After about 45 minutes, another force joined them and updated Hamas command about developments and asked for further directions.

Syrians Flee Towards the Hospitals of ‘Enemy’ Israel

The founder of the Good Neighbor project, Lt. Col. (res.) Marco Moreno, explains that “refugees are not expected to seek shelter from us. We have always managed aid as a military operation with caution and attention, knowing that our soldiers are saving and helping them while risking our lives. We enter at night in a country at war against us. We can expect anything, and we know that. But we want to save them as human beings. We passionately help children; when they come with their families here and there along the fence, the population collects toys, clothes, funds, special food, diapers … at the beginning, there was a lot of suspicion, but then they understood.”

“Yes, we certainly have an explicit interest,” he added. “When the operation started, we told them: ‘We will help you beyond the border and take care of you, but don’t allow your terrorists to come and hurt us.’ What simply started out as the right thing to do has transformed into something beautiful.”

Lt.-Col. Tomer Koller, a medical officer in the Bashan division of the Golan, points to the colored tents in the wind from the Hazaka outlook post. Inside, they are packed with people in need.

For Israel, it is impossible to think of hosting them. The country is small, and these refugees are particularly problematic; they vary from newborn babies to ISIS terrorists who hate Jews. “Our policy is to help them,” said Koller. “We feed them, we take care of them as much as possible … and then they have their reality at home.”

Their home is in flames. We know it; we see the frightful wounds on the bodies of Syrians cured by Israelis in the Galilee. Israel cares for Syrians with its incredible therapeutic power and good will, but it can’t bring them home. In that respect, the best of human intentions and common sense sometimes clash. The right choice, however, is that man remains a friend of his fellow man, at his best, even in war. That’s what Israel believes.

Iran Vows to Sell as Much Oil as It Can in Face of US Sanctions

Iran’s vice president acknowledged on Tuesday that US sanctions would hurt the economy, but promised to “sell as much oil as we can” and protect banking.

Eshaq Jahangiri said Washington was trying to stop Iran’s petrochemical, steel and copper exports. “America seeks to reduce Iran’s oil sales, our vital source of income, to zero,” he said, according to Fars news agency.

“It would be a mistake to think the US economic war against Iran will have no impact,” Jahangiri added.

President Donald Trump said in May he would pull the United States out of an international accord under which Tehran had agreed to limit its nuclear development in exchange for sanctions relief.

Trump said he would reintroduce sanctions and Washington later told countries they must stop buying Iran’s oil from Nov. 4 or face financial consequences.

On Tuesday, the US ambassador to Germany also called on Berlin to block an Iranian bid to withdraw large sums of cash from bank accounts in Germany.

Jahangiri said Iran’s foreign ministry and the central bank have taken measures to facilitate Iran’s banking operations despite the US sanctions. He did not elaborate.

U.S. Seeks to Thwart Iran Flying Millions in Cash Out of Germany

Top Trump administration officials are working to stop Germany from allowing Iran to fly more than $350 million in cash out of the country and back to Tehran as part of a bid by the Iranian regime to restock its coffers ahead of a major financial crackdown by America, according to conversations with senior U.S. diplomats and officials on Capital Hill.

The Trump administration is already working to stop the German government from allowing this transfer following weekend reports that Iran is poised to fly around 300 million Euros out of the country as part of an ongoing scheme to skirt tough new U.S. economic sanctions, which were put back into effect after President Donald Trump decided to abandon the landmark nuclear deal.

“The mullahs are worried that they will run out of cash,” according to a report in Germany’s Bild news site. “Iran’s justification for their plan says that they need the money ‘to pass it on to Iranian individuals who, when traveling abroad, are dependent on euros in cash due to their lack of access to accepted credit cards.'”

The disclosure of the latest scheme to skirt U.S. sanctions has inflamed ongoing tensions between the United States and Germany over its efforts to continue providing Iran with sanctions relief in the face of a crackdown by the Trump administration, which has been locked in diplomatic efforts to convince European partners to pull out of Iran.

China’s Xi Pledges $20 Billion in Loans to Revive Middle East

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday pledged a package of $20 billion in loans, and about $106 million in financial aid, to Middle East nations, as part of what he called an “oil and gas plus” model to revive economic growth in the region.

Beijing has ramped up engagement in the Middle East in recent years as Arab nations play an important role in Xi’s signature Belt and Road foreign policy plan for strong trade routes linking China with central and southeast Asia.

Development was key to resolving many security problems in the Middle East, Xi told a gathering with representatives of 21 Arab nations in the Chinese capital.

“We should treat each other frankly, not fear differences, not avoid problems, and have ample discussion on each aspect of foreign policy and development strategy,” he said.

China would offer aid worth 100 million yuan ($15 million) to Palestine to support economic development, besides providing a further 600 million yuan ($91 million) to Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen, he added.

A consortium of banks from China and Arab nations, with a dedicated fund of $3 billion, will also be set up, he said.

It was unclear what the relationship between the bank consortium, financial aid and the overall loan package would be.

The loans will fund a plan of “economic reconstruction” and “industrial revival” that would include cooperation on oil and gas, nuclear and clean energy, Xi said.

China pledges $15 million to Palestinians amid major push for Mideast influence

China will provide Palestinians with more than $15 million in aid, President Xi Jinping told top Arab officials Tuesday, as Beijing seeks to build its influence in the Middle East and Africa.

The 100 million yuan pledge to Palestinians was made as part of a plan to give Arab states more than $23 billion in lines of credit, loans and humanitarian assistance for economic development.

The money will be earmarked for “projects that will produce good employment opportunities and positive social impact in Arab States that have reconstruction needs,” said Xi, without providing further details.

It is part of a special Chinese program for “economic reconstruction” and “industrial revitalization,” Xi told participants at a China-Arab States forum in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.

Beijing is also prepared to provide another one billion yuan ($151 million) to countries in the region to “build capacity for stability maintenance,” Xi said, using a term commonly associated with policing and surveillance.

Xi said that Syria, Yemen, Jordan and Lebanon would receive $91 million in humanitarian assistance.

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