December 2, 2020

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07/11 Links Pt1: IDF intercepts Syrian drone; UK Taxpayers Sponsor Palestinian Terror; PLO-Hamas anti-England, anti-Israel Hatred Politicises FIFA World Cup

From Ian:

PWM: What makes a Palestinian parent proud?
One of the signs of the Palestinian Authority’s successful indoctrination of its population to admire terrorists who have murdered civilians, is when parents of terrorists openly say they are “proud” of their terrorist sons, or describe their actions as “honorable.”

The parents of Islamic Jihad member Muhammad Aql who recruited and prepared the suicide bombers who attacked a bus at Karkur Junction near Hadera on Oct. 21, 2002, murdering 14 and wounding 50, are such parents. When interviewed on official PA TV they described his actions as bringing them “honor”:

Mother of terrorist prisoner Muhammad Aql: “Our hope is that Allah will release them from prison. These are heroes we raise our heads thanks to them…”
Father of terrorist prisoner Muhammad Aql: “Praise Allah, he is imprisoned for an action that honors us, and not for anything else.”
[Official PA TV, Giants of Endurance, June 17, 2018]

Terrorist Aql was also involved in additional shooting and bombing attacks and is serving 14 life sentences.

By law, the PA pays Aql and thousands of other terrorist prisoners a monthly salary, as documented by Palestinian Media Watch.

UK Taxpayers Sponsor Palestinian Terror

As support for the Palestinian cause drops off even in the Arab world, news that Australia has cut a $7 million ‘lifeline’ to a death-cult is welcome indeed.

Maybe it’s also time for Britain to get real – especially in the wake of the barely reported stoning of Prince William’s vehicle – and acknowledge the need to stop encouraging terror with taxpayers’ money.

Australia has decided to discontinue direct aid to the Palestinian Authority because it suspects the cash is freeing up funds used to back political violence. And we have recently learnt that the UK gave £20 million in aid to Palestinian schools, where they teach children about Jihad (holy war) and martyrdom.

A report by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education reveals that the PA school curriculum “utilizes a variety of tools to convince children – mostly boys – to risk their lives and die as martyrs”.

It goes on to highlight some of the lessons being funded by British aid. For example, a science textbook explains Newton’s second law of physics – on power, mass and tensile strength – by using an image of a boy with a slingshot targeting soldiers.

Meanwhile jihadists continue their desperate attempts to engage Western sympathy by stoking up further flames in Gaza, sending burning kites to destroy Israeli crops while also trying to force their way through the border fence in order to kill Jews.

PA Promises to Only Pay Families of Nice Terrorists (satire)

The Israeli parliament’s decision to bring forward legislation to financially penalize the Palestinian Authority by the amount they pay out to families of terrorists, has led to a call for compromise by the West Bank leadership.

“We get it, honestly. We understand why the Israelis might be a bit pissed with us for dishing out dollars to encourage more stabbings”, a spokesman said. “But, not all our guys are that bad, Zionist-killing aside of course. More than one of them could be described, as I believe those Jews would say, as a ‘true mensch’. They never forget to call their grandparents and are always promising to find a nice young girl to start a family with. Well, before they go out and kill Jews anyway. So, all we’re asking is that Israel is just a bit more understanding and will let us to continue to pay out funds to the families of these nice guys.”

Israel, unsurprisingly, did not react positively to the PA’s proposal. One government spokesman said that “while we can all get behind a good mensch, we don’t appreciate the Palestinians abusing the term. However often they call their grandmother, these guys are no Kevin Hart or Dwayne Johnson.”

David Singer: PLO-Hamas anti-England, anti-Israel Hatred Politicises FIFA World Cup

FIFA’s admission of the Palestinian Football Federation as a member of FIFA in 1988 had also contravened Article 10.1 of FIFA’s then governing articles:
‘Any Association which is responsible for organising and supervising football in its country may become a Member of FIFA. In this context, the expression “country” shall refer to an independent state recognised by the international Community.’

FIFA started living in its own dream world 26 years before Sweden joined it. Who will replace Sweden as Britain’s nemesis was summed up by another fan:
“Anyone supporting England is supporting Israel itself. These teams represent their countries and governments and will raise their flags in the stands. How can I support the country that allowed the Jewish state on our land?”

The Gazan fans are in for a shock and a reality check when they begin choosing one of the three remaining teams – France, Belgium or Croatia – to topple the evil Brits.

France, Belgium and Croatia just happen to have all voted in favour of the Mandate for Palestine incorporating the Balfour Declaration.

The semi-finals, final and third-place playoff will be agony for Gazan viewers as one of these last four countries holds up the trophy on the winner’s podium come finals day – the others the three minor places – with their flags filling Gaza’s TV screens.

The moral is clear – international law cannot be turned on and off as circumstances dictate – because one day the perpetrator will become entrapped in the hopeless position that the Arab States, the PLO and Hamas now find themselves.

Throwing out binding international law – the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate for Palestine – and falsely creating fake international law – “the State of Palestine” – goes to the heart of why the Arab-Jewish conflict still remains unresolved in 2018.

IDF intercepts Syrian drone that penetrated 10 kilometers into Israel

The Israel Defense Forces shot down a Syrian drone that penetrated several miles into Israeli territory from Syria on Wednesday, apparently sending fragments of the aircraft crashing into the Sea of Galilee, the military said.

“Using a Patriot battery, the IDF intercepted an unmanned aerial vehicle that infiltrated from Syria into Israeli territory,” the IDF said in a statement.

The IDF said the Syrian drone was flown into Israel through Jordan.

The incident took place as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Moscow to stress to Russian President Vladimir Putin that Israel will not tolerate an Iranian military presence in Syria.

The anti-aircraft Patriot missile that was fired at the drone set off rocket sirens in the southern Golan Heights and northern Jordan Valley regions, the army said. Residents of northern Israel reported seeing a trail of smoke in the sky as well as hearing explosions.

The drone reportedly managed to fly some 10 kilometers (three miles) into Israel before it was shot down over the Sea of Galilee. This indicates that the UAV was deliberately flown into Israel and did not accidentally enter the airspace as it was conducting a mission near the border.

It was not immediately clear how the drone managed to penetrate so deeply into Israel before it was intercepted.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Evelyn Gordon: Why has settlement building dropped with President Trump in Office?

Contrary to his image overseas, Benjamin Netanyahu has never displayed much interest in settlement expansion. As I’ve noted before, settlement construction during most of his last nine years in office was lower than under any of his predecessors, including [those most committed to territorial compromise] like Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert. . . .

But most of Netanyahu’s party and many of his coalition partners do favor expanding settlements. Thus, to persuade them to show restraint, he must be able to demonstrate that doing so will produce tangible international benefits—either increased international support or at least reduced international hostility. And since no Israeli concession has ever produced any recompense from Europe, . . . that means from America.

Under the Obama administration, settlement restraint provided no benefits whatsoever. In 2009, for instance, Netanyahu, [responding to U.S. pressure], instituted an unprecedented ten-month settlement freeze to facilitate negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, whose leader, Mahmoud Abbas, refused even to show up for nine months and then walked out in the tenth. . . .

At no point during President Obama’s two terms did administration officials even give Netanyahu lip-service credit for restraining settlement construction. Instead, they picked nonstop public fights over the issue. Thus, toward the end of Obama’s tenure, it had become impossible for Netanyahu to persuade his cabinet that Israel was gaining anything by this restraint, and settlement construction began rising again. . . .

In the past eighteen months, [by contrast], President Trump has provided unstinting support for Israel at the United Nations via Ambassador Nikki Haley; recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved the U.S. embassy there; publicly confronted the PA’s “pay-to-slay” policy; cut funding for UNRWA, the organization whose sole purpose is to perpetuate the Palestinian refugee problem; and abandoned the disastrous nuclear deal with Iran. For anyone but the most rabid settlement supporter, this is clearly a worthwhile tradeoff.

Caroline Glick: NATO Is the Author of Its Own Demise

Today the U.S faces two main threats: China and radical Islam. Obviously, European nations have no capacity to play a significant role in containing or deterring China militarily. And as a military alliance, it is hard to see why NATO would be the tool of choice for developing common trade policies among allied nations to rein in China economically. Certainly NATO has been unable or unwilling to assist the U.S. in confronting the malign influence of North Korea, China’s most dangerous satellite.

As for radical Islam, due to Turkish membership in NATO, and due to European refusal to take any significant steps to rein in radical Islamic forces in Europe or anywhere else, it is abundantly clear that NATO is not the proper vehicle for U.S.-led collective defense against Iran or other jihadist powers.

To the extent that the U.S. seeks to work in the framework of a collective defense organization, it will need to look beyond NATO. It will require new alliance structures. Those can be informal, or transactional, or limited in scope, rather than formal and brittle, as NATO has been. But whether or not such alliances form, it is abundantly clear that scaling back NATO is a reasonable — indeed, a necessary — move.

As for President Trump, despite the bloviations of his critics, he bears no responsibility for NATO’s irrelevance. Trump did not cause NATO to have little role to play in fighting the key threats to American and global security. NATO has had nearly three decades to figure out how to do that. But it failed.

All that Trump has done is point out the reality of NATO’s decline — which his four predecessors refused to acknowledge.

Trump’s Mideast ‘deal of the century’ turns out to be a big fat nothing burger

Mahmoud Abbas’ government in Ramallah is squeezing Gaza harder than the Netanyahu government in Jerusalem is. It is Abbas and the PA, not Netanyahu, who is withholding the salaries of civil servants in Gaza. It is Abbas and the PA who have reduced the flow of electricity from Israel to Gaza, by not paying Gaza’s bills. It is Abbas and the PA who have blocked the import of medical supplies from the West Bank to Gaza. All this is intended to foment anger at Hamas, with the goal of restoring the Palestinian Authority to power in Gaza. All it has achieved is to saddle Israel with the responsibility of saving the Gazans from humanitarian disaster—and the better life is in Gaza, the more entrenched Hamas becomes.

According to the Israeli newspaper Ha-Aretz, Trump’s envoys have secured promises of $500m from the Arab states, as support for a peace deal. Much of the money would fund the building of a power station and an industrial area adjacent to Gaza, on Egyptian territory in northern Sinai. In other words, to improve life and economy for ordinary Gazans. In June, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, one of Abbas’ close aides, called an American-led effort to raise more than $500m for Gaza from Sunni Arab states a strategy to ‘perpetuate the separation between Gaza and the West Bank’. But it is Hamas and the PLO who have perpetuated that separation since 2007, despite sustained Egyptian and Saudi pressure for ‘national reconciliation’.

Israelis used to say that there was no partner for peace. Now, they have two non-partners for peace, one in Ramallah and the other in Gaza. In June, when Arab and Israeli media announced leaks from the Trump ‘deal’, Mohammed Hussein, the grand mufti of Jerusalem, called the deal ‘an unfair plan that aims at the liquidation of the Palestinian cause’ in a sermon to 90,000 worshippers at the al-Aqsa Mosque. The truth is that the Palestinian cause is now two Palestinian causes, divided by ideology, clan and geography.

One of those causes is led by Hamas in Gaza and fired by demographic pressure, religious zeal and chronic poverty. The other is led by the PLO in the West Bank, under an eighty-two year-old heavy smoker with heart trouble, a history of dodging negotiations, and no clear successor. This week, an unnamed ‘senior US official’ told the Washington Post that the US has recognised reality. As Abbas refuses to talk, the US is going to forget about peace plans and concentrate on alleviating the crisis in Gaza. No deal of the century, then. No peace, either.

20,000 Arabs migrate from Judea and Samaria every year

Former Israeli Consul in Washington and Government Press Office head Yoram Ettinger participated in the Investing in a Solution conference held last night in Elkana at the initiative of economist Erez Tzadok.

Ettinger referred to a number of issues on the political and economic level, reviewed economic successes of Americans in Israel and Judea/Samaria, and stated “the American aid money to Israel is a profitable investment in every way that generates 600-700% profits for the Americans.”

Within the demographic review Ettinger rejected reports of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics regarding population registry and immigration, noting the PA is trying to conceal the fact that 20,000 Arabs emigrate from Judea and Samaria every year.

He explained how the PA inflated the number of Arabs in Judea and Samaria from 1.8 to 3 million, and expressed disappointment at the lack of effort by Israeli officials to reveal the truth about immigration figures.

Congress Renews Push to Designate Muslim Brotherhood as Terror Group

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are renewing a years-long push to designate the international Muslim Brotherhood organization as a terrorist organization due to its support for terror organizations that threaten U.S. security interests across the globe, according to conversations with U.S. officials spearheading the effort.

The congressional effort to target the Muslim Brotherhood will kick off early Wednesday, when lawmakers on the House’s Subcommittee on National Security gather for a hearing to “examine the threat that the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates pose to the United States and its interests and how to most effectively counter it, including potential next steps for U.S. policy,” according to the committee.

The hearing is expected to set the stage for Congress to follow through on efforts that begun in 2015 to convince the Obama administration to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terror group following its violent, and eventually failed, takeover in Egypt.

The State Department has opposed formal designation of the Brotherhood for some time due to efforts by the Obama administration to make diplomatic overtures to the group, particularly during its coup in Egypt. Although the Trump administration has designated various offshoots of the Brotherhood as global terror groups, the organization as a whole has escaped U.S. scrutiny.

Israel’s Labor party quits Socialist International after it adopts BDS

The Labor Party sent a sternly worded letter to the Socialist International organization Tuesday after it adopted a resolution joining the Boycott Divest and Sanction Israel campaign, saying that the party would immediately leave the organization.

The Socialist International resolution that passed “calls all governments and civil society organizations to activate boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against the Israeli occupation, all the occupation institutions, and the illegal Israeli settlements including the total embargo on all forms of military trade and cooperation with Israel as long as it continues its policies of occupation and Apartheid against the Palestinian people.”

Labor’s international secretary, MK Hilik Bar, called the decision hypocritical and said Labor’s decision to suspend its membership was immediate and would become permanent if the decision is not canceled. He asked the organization to stop including any reference to Labor or its party members in any of its membership information, publications, speeches, or events.

“Needless to say, the Declaration on the Palestinian Question is biased, blind to facts or reality, and partially antisemitic,” Bar wrote. “The Declaration further weakens the alleged legitimacy of the organization you lead. The language and arguments of the Declaration makes it clear that until its cancellation – there is no real dialogue to have with you, or with your organization on this issue.”

Growing Arms Purchases by Arab Countries Challenge Israel

While many are justifiably worried about a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, and the regional and international agendas continue to focus on this issue, the region itself is at the height of a conventional arms race. The motivation behind the purchases is linked mainly to the fear of Iran, internal regional competition, and the desire of Arab countries, headed by the Gulf states, to acquire status and prestige for themselves. However, the quantity and quality of the weapons reaching the region could damage Israel’s qualitative military edge (QME).

Trends in Regional Empowerment

Data published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) show that the scope of weapons exports to the Middle East increased in monetary terms by 103 percent in the period 2013-2017, compared to 2008-2012. During this time, Saudi Arabia and Egypt (each among the five leading arms purchasers in the world) increased their weapons imports by 225 percent and 215 percent, respectively. Notwithstanding the difficult economic situation in Egypt, and the belt tightening in the Gulf states due to the drop in oil prices in recent years, the defense budgets of these countries have not been significantly affected, and as a rule they have not reduced their military purchases. Egypt is going through a broad process of military buildup. Its air and sea defense arms are undergoing major modernization, including with the acquisition of two helicopter carriers from France, four advanced submarines from Germany, and 50 MIG-29 planes and S-300 air defense systems from Russia. In the Gulf, the scope of arms purchases by Saudi Arabia and the Emirates exceeds those of all Western European countries together. Moreover, a large part of the acquisitions budget is directed at the purchase of offensive systems, both Western and non-Western: attack drones as well as ground-to-ground missiles (mainly short range), accurate guided munitions (GPS), including bunker-busting bombs, and air launched cruise missiles.

In recent years, some Arab countries have tightened their security ties with China and Russia, which have fewer restrictions than the United States on the export of weapons, and more advanced weapon systems made by them have been supplied to countries in the region, and at an accelerating pace. The acquisitions are intended to strengthen relations with Moscow and Beijing; to create pressure on the United States – in part as a response to the American refusal to sell certain systems; and to limit their dependence on a single supplier. To be sure, the acquisition of weapons from different sources creates the need for suitable spare parts, specialized training, and a specific maintenance setup, and thus places a burden on the acquiring militaries. However, varied procurement also reduces dependence on the United States and reinforces the ability of these countries to adopt a more independent policy. Some of the deals with China and Russia include technology transfer and joint production. For example, China – which supplies attack drones to Jordan, Iraq, Algeria, the Emirates, and Saudi Arabia – agreed to establish a plant to manufacture them on Saudi territory.

Israel Presented U.S. with “Red Lines” for Saudi Nuclear Deal

Israel has presented the Trump administration with its “red lines” for the nuclear deal the United States is currently negotiating with Saudi Arabia to build reactors in the kingdom.

The big picture: A senior Israeli official told me the Israeli government realized it will not be able to stop the deal — set to be worth billions of dollars for the U.S. — and decided instead to attempt to reach an understanding with the Trump administration regarding the parameters of the deal.

– Last March, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu raised concerns about the deal during a meeting with President Trump and other senior U.S. officials. Netanyahu was concerned such a deal, especially if it also includes a “right” to enrich uranium, will lead to further nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. Trump and his advisers told Netanyahu that, if the U.S. does not sell the Saudis nuclear reactors, other countries like Russia or France will.
– The senior Israeli official told me Netanyahu sent Yuval Steinitz, his energy minister in charge of Israel’s atomic energy committee, to Washington two weeks ago to meet with Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who is leading the negotiations with the Saudis over the nuclear deal.

IDF fires on balloon arsonists, captures infiltrator

Earlier today, an IDF aircraft fired near a group of Gazans who were launching arson balloons in the southern Gaza Strip.

In addition, IDF troops detected a suspect who attempted to cross the security fence from the southern Gaza Strip in order to sabotage security infrastructure and attack IDF troops. The suspect was caught with combustible materials and a metal cutter and was transferred to security forces for further questioning.

Terrorists from the Gaza Strip have launched arson balloons and kites at Israeli territory for the last several months, burning thousands of acres of Israeli and and causing extensive damage to fields, crops, and nature reserves.

Does Israel act disproportionately in Gaza?

The Israel Defence Forces are often accused of disproportionate military activity against their opposition. Does this accusation stand to reason? Arieh Miller from the UK Zionist Federation explains.

Muslim leader faces death threats after meeting IDF spokesman

A French Muslim leader known for his work cultivating interfaith understanding and his efforts to combat radicalization has received death threats after he appeared in a video with a senior IDF officer and spokesman.

Hassen Chalghoumi, Imam of the Drancy Mosque in Seine-Saint-Denis northeast of Paris is founder of the Conference of Imams and a long-time advocate of interfaith dialogue in France.

Born in Tunisia, Chalghoumi immigrated to France in 1996, and was naturalized in 2005.

Last Wednesday, Chalghoumi met with IDF Brig. Gen. and senior spokesman Ronen Manelis in Paris, during which the two recorded a joint video statement which was later released to social media.

In the video, Chalghoumi condemned the Hamas terror organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Iranian government for their promotion of “violence and terror” in the Middle East.

Jerusalem mufti issues land transfer fatwa

The Palestinian mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, on Tuesday issued a new fatwa (Islamic religious decree) banning Muslims from “facilitating the transfer of ownership of any part of Jerusalem or the land of Palestine to the enemies.”

The fatwa, according to Palestinian sources, came in response to an Israeli bill allowing Jews to purchase land in Area C of the West Bank. The bill, put forward by MK Bezalel Smotrich (Bayit Yehudi), aims to change a 1953 Jordanian law that prevents foreigners and non-Arabs from directly purchasing land in the West Bank.

The explanation for the bill states that it is “unacceptable” for Israeli citizens to be barred from buying land just because they are Israeli citizens.

The fatwa ruled that the “land of Palestine” was waqf – meaning an inalienable religious endowment in Islamic law – and as such it is prohibited to sell, bestow ownership or facilitate the transfer of ownership of any part of it to non-Muslims.

“Anyone who sells his land to the enemies, or accepts compensation for it, will commit a sin,” said Hussein in his fatwa.

Hamas ‘ready’ for reconciliation with Palestinian Authority

Members of Hamas’ intelligence department, led by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, met to discuss the main issue in the Israel-Hamas conflict and a possible Hamas-Palestinian Authority (PA) reconciliation.

Following the meeting, Hamas publicized a statement praising the efforts to remove the “siege” on Gaza and condemning the PA for “trying to ensure these efforts fail by falsely claiming that the efforts are part of the ‘deal of the century.'”

Hamas leaders also publicized their agreement to an Egyptian initiative to create a new peace agreement and arrange a meeting in Cairo between Hamas and Fatah leaders.

The Palestinian Authority is led by the Fatah group. Last year, a peace agreement failed due to “obstacles.”

Hamas leaders also said the terror group is willing to work towards a peace agreement based on partnership in the fight against Israel, as well as make decisions jointly with the PA. Hamas’ conditions for such a peace agreement include immediate cancellation of the punishments inflicted on Gaza by the PA, reformation of the Palestine Liberation Organization via elections for the “Palestinian National Council,” and full implementation of the agreement made in Cairo in 2011.

IsraellyCool: Hamas to Ban Israeli Fruit Imports

Hamas has reportedly banned Gaza imports of fruit from Israel, in response to Israel’s closure of the Keren Shalom crossing.

Hamas informed Gazan merchants on Tuesday that it would stop fruit imports from Israel from entering Gaza starting Wednesday, Kan Newsreported.

The move comes in response to Israel’s closure of the Kerem Shalom crossing for non-humanitarian cases and in an attempt by Hamas to cause economic damage to Israeli farmers who are exporting fruit to Gaza. On average, 30-40 truckloads of fruit enter Gaza daily, according to Kan News.

No word on whether the ban includes fruit juice.

In other news, that’s one hell of a failed “blockade” if 30-40 truckloads of fruit have been entering Gaza daily until now.

This is yet another example of the palestinians cutting off their nose to spite their face; back in 2012 when they halved fruit imports from Israel, it was reported just how damaging that was to some Gazans:

PreOccupiedTerritory: Palestinian Make 4-Item List Of Israeli Actions Not Considered ‘Declaration Of War’ (satire)

Officials of the Palestinian Authority that governs the entity’s West Bank self-rule zones and representatives of the rival Hamas movement that runs the Gaza Strip adopted time-saving measures today, under which instead of responding to individual Israeli actions characterizing the action as a declaration of war, the groups produced a brief list of actions they do not consider a declaration of war.

Spokesmen for the groups conducted a meeting today featuring rare instances of civility and cooperation, during which they determined that the only actions by Israel, and on occasion, the US, that would not merit being called a declaration of war against the Palestinians or Muslims in general would involve abject surrender, instant disappearance, mass suicide, or not moving out of the way of some cataclysm that would annihilate the Jews of Israel.

“We figured it would take less time and energy to just tell everyone what isn’t a declaration of war,” explained Nabil Shaath, a spokesman for Fatah chief and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. “It should free us up to do other important things such as inciting our people to murderous violence and paying lifetime pensions to people who killed Jews, instead of having to meet each and every Israeli move with a separate such statement.”

Hamas officials present at the meeting seconded the necessity. “We’re very bust with making our people’s lives miserable and using that misery to exert pressure on the Zionists,” concurred Haswa Halila. “We realized yesterday when [Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu announced the closure of the Kerem Shalom crossing, and we had to respond by calling that a declaration of war, that we could be much more efficient by just putting out a list of the several things that if Israel did, we wouldn’t respond like that. It’s a load off our schedules. Now we can better focus on burning down the Kerem Shalom crossing again as we did last month.”

Israel’s Support for Sunnis in Syria Was Not a Failed Investment

In the course of the war, the Syrian section of the Golan has been the scene of battles between government forces and an array of opposition groups including rebels, Islamist forces and militants affiliated with al-Qaeda and Islamic State.

Israel sought to carve out a buffer zone populated by friendly forces by secretly supplying Syrian opposition fighters with aid, medical treatment in Israel and, according to the Wall Street Journal, cash payments for weapons and fighters’ salaries. It’s also providing humanitarian aid to the thousands of Syrians camped out in tents near Israel’s frontier, hoping to find sanctuary from the government onslaught.

“We were brainwashed for decades to hate Israel,” said Hani, a resident of southern Syria being treated for shrapnel wounds at Israel’s Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya. “I now see that my enemy isn’t Israel, but the people who came and destroyed our village.” He declined to give his full name for fear of reprisal.

Shared enmity of Shiite Iran has allowed Israel to create quiet ties with Sunni-led Gulf Arab states that once shunned it. By that same token, Israel’s support for the Sunnis in Syria against government and Iran-backed forces wasn’t a failed investment, said Sami Nader, head of the Levant Institute for Strategic Studies in Beirut.

“They don’t hate Israel anymore or see it as a threat,” Nader said. “Israel is not seen as the worst enemy.”

‘Iran must exit all of Syria,’ Netanyahu tells Putin’s envoys before trip

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met two senior Russian officials in his office Tuesday and told them Iran must leave all of Syria, just hours before flying to Moscow on Wednesday and a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

According to the Prime Minister’s Office, Netanyahu told Putin’s visiting special envoy Alexander Lavrentiev and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin that Israel will not tolerate a military presence by Iran or its proxies anywhere in Syria, and that Damascus must strictly abide by the 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement that followed the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

Putin is obviously well aware of Israel’s position on these matters, and the recent developments in southern Syria – where Syrian President Bashar Assad is poised to reassert his control over the area – will certainly be discussed in the Putin-Netanyahu meeting Wednesday evening.

However, Netanyahu does not need to travel to the Kremlin to tell Putin Jerusalem’s positions.

IDF delivers clothes, toys donated by Israeli Golan residents to Syrian kids

In overnight operations on Tuesday-Wednesday, the Israel Defense Forces delivered hundreds of care packages donated by residents of the Israeli Golan Heights to displaced Syrian children in camps across the border, the army said.

The mission was part of the “Operation Good Neighbor” run by the IDF’s Bashan Division, which has been providing humanitarian aid to Syrians in the border area since June 2016.

Earlier this month, the Golan Regional Council opened a donation center that collected items from local communities, including hundreds of personal gift bags containing toys, crayons, games, candies and notes from the children of the Golan Heights, the army said Wednesday.

Sigal Gilboa, an official from the Golan Regional Council, said the drive targeted children aged 3-12. Israeli children living in Golan Heights communities were each asked to prepare a personal gift bag for a child in Syria.

The goods were then given to the IDF, and the military transferred the packages across the border in two military operations to “camps in the north and south of the Syrian Golan Heights,” the IDF said in a statement.

Germany charges Iranian diplomat detained in bomb plot

An Iranian diplomat suspected of involvement in a bomb plot against an Iranian opposition rally in France, was charged in Germany on Wednesday with activity as a foreign agent and conspiracy to commit murder.

Assadollah Assadi, a Vienna-based diplomat, is suspected of contracting a couple in Belgium to attack an annual meeting of an exiled Iranian opposition group in Villepinte, near Paris, German federal prosecutors said.

He allegedly gave the Antwerp-based couple a device containing 500 grams (one pound) of the explosive TATP during a meeting in Luxembourg in late June, prosecutors said in a written statement.

Assadi was detained earlier this month near the German city of Aschaffenburg on a European warrant after the couple with Iranian roots was stopped in Belgium and authorities reported finding powerful explosives in their car.

In their statement, German prosecutors allege that Assadi, who has been registered as a diplomat at the Iranian embassy in Vienna since 2014, was a member of the Iranian intelligence service “Ministry of Intelligence and Security,” whose tasks “primarily include the intensive observation and combating of opposition groups inside and outside of Iran.”

Iranian Woman Who Protested Islamic Headscarf Gets 20-Year Sentence

An Iranian woman who removed her obligatory Islamic headscarf out of protest in December says she has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Shaparsk Shajarizadeh posted on her personal website that she had been jailed for “opposing the compulsory hijab” and “waving a white flag of peace in the street.”

There was no immediate comment from Iranian officials.

Police in Iran arrested 29 people in February for removing their headscarves as part of a campaign known as “White Wednesdays.” Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent human rights lawyer who represented Shajarizadeh and other women, was arrested last month.

Shajarizadeh, 42, was released on bail in late April. Her current whereabouts were unknown.

U.S. Treasury Sanctions Malaysia-Based Air Service Provider for Ties to Iran

The United States Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned a Malaysia-based General Sales Agent (GSA) on Monday for collaborating with and acting on behalf of Iran’s government-operated and U.S.-sanctioned Mahan Air.

Mahan Air also faces sanctions for ties to terrorism.

Mahan Travel and Tourism Sdn Bhd, based in Malaysia, was sanctioned for “enabling Mahan Air’s international operations, especially in regards to conducting financial transactions on behalf of the airline,” according to the Treasury Department’s website.

As of Monday, all the property and interests of Mahan Travel and Tourism Sdn Bhd located within the U.S. jurisdiction have been blocked, in accordance with U.S. law.

Washington had previously sanctioned Mahan Air for allegedly transporting “operatives” of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), in addition to shuffling weapons and equipment to Syria. The United States has also sanctioned Caspian Air, Meraj Air, Pouya Air, and Dena Airways – all Iranian airlines, two of which had allegedly ferried weapons, fighters, and money to Iran’s proxies in Syria and Lebanon.

United States Designates Iran-backed Militant Group in Bahrain a Terrorist Organization

The United States designated an Iran-sponsored militant group in Bahrain a terrorist organization Tuesday in an effort to stop the Islamic Republic from extending its grip in the Middle East.

Al-Ashtar Brigades (AAB) was established in 2013 with the primary objective of toppling the government of Bahrain. The terrorist group has received weapons and explosives from Iran in its efforts to desolate the Bahraini regime. AAB also adopted Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in January 2018 to mimic the Islamic Republic’s military strategy and further demonstrate Iran’s influence on militant groups operating within Arab states in the Persian Gulf.

“Al-Ashtar is yet another in a long line of Iranian sponsored terrorists who kill on behalf of a corrupt regime,” coordinator for counterterrorism Nathan A. Sales said in a statement. “Today’s designation serves notice that the United States sees plainly what Iran is trying to do to Bahrain through its proxy, the terrorist group Al-Ashtar.”

AAB has conducted more than 20 attacks in Bahrain since its inception, including the deadliest attack in Bahraini history—a March 2014 bombing that killed three police officers. The Bahraini government officially declared the militant group a terrorist organization in June 2017.

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