JPost Editorial: You can’t Judaize Jerusalem
“It has nothing to do with religion, it is fake,” Erekat told journalists at his office in Ramallah. “It’s a settlement project. It’s based on a lie that has nothing to do with history.”
We beg to differ. It has everything to do with history: Jewish history. Clear evidence – which no archaeologist denies – that this road was used by hundreds of thousands of Jewish pilgrims ascending to the Second Temple three times a year.
It was found by happenstance when a pipe burst, to everyone’s good fortune, for it is a visual manifestation of Jewish practice 2,000 years ago. To continue to deny that Jews were here, that Jews started here – and that Jews are deeply connected to the land beginning with Jerusalem – is to declare perpetual war between Jews and Arabs, between Israelis and Palestinians.
“The region is not interested in leaving the Palestinians behind,” Greenblatt told CUFI, “but I think the region is also tired of the Palestinian leadership preventing progress in the region.”
The Pilgrimage Road is part of Jewish history, and as Friedman said, Israel is as likely to give up that heritage site as the United States would surrender the Statue of Liberty. Soon it will be open to all, allowing visitors to walk in the footsteps of ancient pilgrims along a 350-meter stretch of the main thoroughfare that ran uphill to the Jewish temple.
What Pilgrimage Road does is uncover truth. Without an acknowledgment by Palestinians and the Arab world of the veracity of Jewish history – which is starting to happen – there can be no peace agreement that will include the “end of conflict” clause – which means no peace agreement.
We applaud Greenblatt’s statement – “You cannot possibly build peace without a foundation of truth” – because it confirms the absurdity of continuous Palestinian denial of Jewish history. One cannot “Judaize” Jerusalem.
“Stand up to this garbage, this nonsense,” Greenblatt told Evangelical Christians. “Let’s push back – and no longer should we tolerate their myths and their falsification of history.”
Known Nazi collaborator, the former Mufti of Palestine Haj Amin Al-Husseini, was openly honored by Abbas’ Advisor on Religious Affairs and Islamic Relations, Mahmoud Al-Habbash.
During World War II Al-Husseini moved to Berlin, where he was an associate of Hitler and gave active support to the Nazi war effort. Al-Husseini was on Yugoslavia’s list of wanted war criminals, and was responsible for a Muslim SS division that murdered thousands of Serbs and Croats. When the Nazis offered to free some Jewish children, Al-Husseini fought against their release, and as a result, 5000 children were sent to the gas chambers.
Amin Al-Husseini meeting with Adolf Hitler (December 1941)
This week, on the anniversary of his death, Abbas’ advisor posted Al-Husseini’s photo and praised him as a “role model”:
Posted text: “On this day, on July 4, 1974, the great Palestinian national leader, [former] Mufti of Palestine and Head of the Arab Higher Committee Haj Amin Al-Husseini – who for many years led the Palestinian struggle against the British and Israeli occupation – passed away; our leaders are our role models.”
[Facebook page of Mahmoud Al-Habbash, July 4, 2019]
But Al-Habbash’s praise is not an isolated example. The PA has named at least one school after the Nazi collaborator – the Amin Al-Husseini Elementary School in El-Bireh, the current PA Mufti has honored his predecessor by laying a wreath on his grave, and the PA National Security Forces have highlighted Al-Husseini on Facebook.
Former Labour Party employees have spoken out publicly on the BBC’s flagship investigative documentary programme, Panorama, to reveal Jeremy Corbyn’s personal meddling in disciplinary cases relating to antisemitism.
The documentary lays bare the scale of the interference by agents of Mr Corbyn in the process. The programme is peppered with unconvincing denials from Labour’s press team.
The programme explains how senior Labour Party staffers, some of whom Campaign Against Antisemitism has known for years, used to independently run Labour’s disciplinary process, but soon after Mr Corbyn’s election as Party leader found themselves contending with his most senior aides.
The programme shows how brazen Mr Corbyn’s staff were in their efforts to subvert due process.
Early in the Party’s antisemitism crisis, Seumas Milne, often referred to as the ‘brain’ behind Mr Corbyn, is described as laughing by Mike Creighton, who led the Party’s disciplinary team, when Mr Creighton suggested means of improving the Party’s response to antisemitism. In a statement, Labour claimed Mr Creighton was lying.
However during the programme, one staffer after another described how gradually Mr Corbyn’s agents increased their interference in the disciplinary process. According to the former staffers’ testimony and e-mails shown to Panorama, Mr Corbyn’s team and his ally, General Secretary Jennie Formby, intervened to reduce the punishment for antisemites, and even to try to alter the composition of a disciplinary panel of the Party’s National Constitutional Committee.
One staffer described how a member of staff in Mr Corbyn’s office said that there was a “Jewish conspiracy” against Ken Livingstone, after Mr Livingstone said that Hitler was “supporting Zionism”. Another official said that a new leader of the disciplinary team installed by allies of Mr Corbyn claimed that there was no problem with an image shared by a Labour member from a far-right website depicting an alien parasite emblazoned with a Star of David smothering the Statue of Liberty.
Panorama: New revelations on UK Labour antisemitism (July 10, 2019)
Isn’t it likely that an exasperated current or former staffer who knew the password sent this tweet? The hacked line is invariably a lame excuse.
Marie van der Zyl, the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, also weighed in, saying, “This Panorama investigation gives added weight what we have suspected all along. It suggests that the issue of antisemitism has been treated with disdain by the Labour leader and as a joke by Seumas Milne, and that Jennie Formby and her appointments have repeatedly obstructed justice in disciplinary cases.”
“As anti-Jewish racism remains a poison running through the party, it appears to have been watched over by a leader whose henchmen had not the slightest intention of acting to get rid of the problem so long as they could get rid of the negative headlines,” she added.
“This is a terrible indictment of a party unable and unwilling to confront racism in its own ranks,” she continued. “Rather than attempting to enforce immoral non-disclosure agreements and making pathetic attempts to blame everyone but themselves, the party should be acting to excise this terrible stain.”
Van der Zyl asserted, “It was harrowing to watch on national television Labour staffers saying they were driven to extreme levels of mental anguish.”
“Given tonight’s reports, and the continued observable failings in disciplinary processes, it is hard to escape the conclusion that Jeremy Corbyn, Seumas Milne, and Jennie Formby are personally responsible for having turned a once great, anti-racist party into a cesspit of antisemitism,” she concluded.
The UK Labour Party tried to prevent the BBC from broadcasting a documentary on the antisemitism issue within the party, which was released Wednesday night, The Mirror reported.
“No proper and serious attempt was made to understand our current procedures for dealing with antisemitism, which is clearly essential to reach a fair and balanced judgement,” the Labour Party said after the documentary was released. “And [BBC] Panorama distorted and manipulated the truth and misrepresented evidence to present a biased and selective account.”
The special – titled “Is Labour Anti-Semitic?” – indicated that top Labour figures “interfered” with the disciplinary process regarding the antisemitism disputes.
Antisemitism has been an increasingly relevant issue within the Labour Party since Jeremy Corbyn was elected as leader in 2015. Many of the members, including Corbyn, have been outspoken against Israel, and critiques claim these comments often use antisemitic tropes. Since then, Corbyn and his party have tried to look into the issue, but people like Labour chairman John Cryer have said not enough has been done.
According to the BBC, Labour general secretary Jennie Formby tried to interfere with who sat in on the panel to examine the antisemitism cases. Labour insisted there was no such interference. The team that deals with disputes is supposed to act independently from the party’s political structure. But the party’s former head of disputes Sam Matthews saw an email where Seumas Milne – one of Jeremy Corbyn’s closest aides – called for a review for how the complaints were handled.
Long before Jeremy Corbyn took over the Labour party leadership the BBC was whitewashing the antisemitism of British politicians and facilitating the spread of antisemitic discourse on its message boards. Over six years ago the BBC was already promoting the notion that “it’s very difficult to criticize the Israeli government without in turn being told you’re antisemitic and some people would say that Jews see antisemitism everywhere” and that was not a one-off case by any means. In its various ‘backgrounders’ supposedly explaining antisemitism to its audiences, the BBC has repeatedly promoted the Livingstone Formulation.
The BBC has hosted known antisemites and Holocaust deniers and provided often offensive anti-Israel campaigners with an unhindered platform from which to promote falsehoods. It has whitewashed antisemitism in British society from sport to charities and academia and has promoted antisemitic stereotypes. BBC audiences have been repeatedly exposed to antisemitic tropes concerning ‘the Jewish lobby’ or ‘the Israel lobby’ and stereotypes about ‘rich Jews’ even from BBC staff and contributors. And of course the BBC has failed to respond appropriately to complaints from the general public concerning antisemitism in its own content.
Since the issue of antisemitism in the Labour party became prominent, the BBC has repeatedly shown itself to be incapable of reporting on that topic accurately, impartially and in a manner which provides the British public with the full range of information.
So while John Ware’s Panorama documentary about institutional antisemitism in the Labour party is obviously a very welcome step in informing the British public about the anti-Jewish racism in their society, it is also necessary for the BBC to put its own house in order by undertaking a serious examination of its own coverage of – and contributions to – that worrying phenomenon.
Infamous anti-Israel activist Tony Greenstein called the Jewish state “Hitler’s bastard offspring” at an event dubbed the biggest celebration of Palestinian culture in Europe.
Mr Greenstein, who was expelled by Labour over his repeated use of the word “Zio”, spoke at a session at last weekend’s Palestine Expo event at London’s Olympia entitled Britain, Zionism and Jewish Resistance to Israel chaired by Latifa Abouchakra, International Officer for the National Education Union.
Also on the panel were author and journalist David Cronin and Leah Levane, co-chair of pro-Corbyn fringe group Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) and a Labour Councillor.
In a recording, heard by the JC, Mr Greenstein says: “Nazi Germany in a sense built the state of Israel at a crucial time and you can actually say that the state of Israel today is Hitler’s bastard offspring because the ideology, the ideology that permeates Israel, Jewish racial supremacy, originated in the fascist states of Europe.”
Mr Greenstein, who is also an activist with the Labour Against The Witch-hunt group, adds: “What is Zionism?
“Zionism is a movement for Jewish racial supremacy. It imposes the needs of a Jewish racial state to the needs of Jews and that was what Haavara [Agreement] was about.
— SussexFriendsIsrael (@SussexFriends) July 10, 2019
British prime ministerial hopeful Boris Johnson slammed Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in an interview published Wednesday, saying Corbyn’s indulgence of antisemitism was “reprehensible.”
Since the far-left Corbyn, a strong opponent of Israel, took control of the party in 2015, Labour has been wracked by antisemitism scandals, several touching Corbyn himself. Polls show that the overwhelming majority of British Jews consider him personally antisemitic.
Johnson, a former mayor of London, is a candidate for the leadership of the ruling Conservative party. If he wins, he would replace outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May at 10 Downing Street.
Asked by Jewish News whether he considers Corbyn an antisemite, Johnson said, “I can’t make a window into his soul, and discover exactly where his feelings lie on this.”
“I think there is no question that he is indulging and condoning antisemitism in the Labour Party; that is quite extraordinary and reprehensible,” he added. “It would never have been tolerated 20 years ago.”
The first panellist to speak in the Victoria Derbyshire Programme’s debate on last night’s Panorama this morning declared Labour’s Jewish members who spoke out about their experiences of racism in the party to be “a bunch of wimps”. A member saying what some at the top of the party seem to be thinking…
So let’s talk about a real political plan that might actually break through the wasteful nonsense of the past 25 years. That plan would start with Israel finally declaring an end to the miserably failed land-for-peace formulation — Oslo and all its institutional hardware, including the Palestinian Authority, which supposedly only exists — at this point laughably — to implement “final status” issues of the two-state solution that the PA leadership obviously doesn’t want and has made it their sole purpose to avoid. The history is too well known to repeat here: Peres, Rabin, Barak (Camp David), Sharon (Gaza), Olmert (everything), Netanyahu (Wye). What did Israel get? Obama’s Resolution 2334 and Kerry’s “apartheid occupier” moniker.
The time has come to end military rule in Judea and Samaria, stop negotiating to give away strategically and spiritually critical territories won in the defensive Six-Day War, and stop apologizing for developing Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. It’s confusing everybody, including well-meaning Diaspora Jews. Israel was intended by the colonial British to reach from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean over a century ago; it was only the Jewish people’s deep desire for acceptance and peace that lured Israel into negotiating sacred land to begin with. Egypt and Jordan have accepted peace with Israel; the Emirates and Saudi Arabia now realize that it’s in their interests too.
But this should not happen before replacing the internal and border security collaboration between the Palestinians, Jordanians, and Israel, which is the only enduringly useful outcome of Oslo. That shouldn’t present a huge challenge, because, regardless of anything else, no one disputes that security continuity is in all parties’ interests.
What status should there be for “Palestinians” living West of the Jordan River in Judea and Samaria? They already enjoy the full range of human rights to which all “inhabitants” are entitled under Israel’s Declaration of Independence. They are and have been citizens of Jordan since 1950; their rights as such, which were revoked by the Hashemite Kingdom in 1988, should be restored, and, as part of that nation’s majority, they should be given some legitimate voice in Jordan’s government. Their lives would be much better off if they were willing to abide by Israeli law as permanent residents, similar to Canadians living in the United States.
The Palestinian Authority today doubled the monthly payment being made to the terrorist mastermind behind the 2014 kidnapping and murder of Gilad Shaar, Eyal Yifrach and Naftali Frenkel, according to Palestinian Media Watch.
Beginning today, five years after the July 11, 2014 arrest of Husam Al-Qawasmi, he will begin receiving NIS 4,000 instead of NIS 2,000 a month, according to the PA’s standard pay scale. A prisoner’s monthly salary increases with prison time served.
“Having dealt personally with the prosecution of Al-Qawasmi, and having seen the evil that he represents, it is unfathomable to me that the PA pays this murderer anything,” Maurice Hirsch, head of legal strategies at PMW said. “The PA pays millions of shekels to terrorists every day. For the PA it doesn’t matter whether you belong to Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad or Fatah; whether you murdered children, women or the elderly. What is important is that you were involved in terrorism against Israel and Israelis.”
US special envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt slammed the Palestinian Authority’s increase in funding to terrorists from 2018 to 2019, asking in a thread of tweets on Wednesday: “Why do donor countries tolerate this?”
“Again & again & again the PA ignores the countries that graciously donate assistance for the Palestinians by INCREASING its funding of its DESPICABLE ‘Pay to Slay’ program BY OVER 11% in the first months of 2019,” Greenblatt tweeted on Wednesday. “Why do the donor countries tolerate this?”
“Pay to slay” or “pay for slay” refers to the PA’s policy to offer monthly payments to terrorists and their families.
Sharing a document of the PA’s spending for 2019, Greenblatt asks: “Will donor countries continue to ignore the PA using their budget support to continue their REPREHENSIBLE ‘Pay to Slay’ incentive to MURDERERS?”
Greenblatt decried the amount of money being spent on this endeavor, saying: “Over $65 MILLION thru 5/2019 (more than $13mil monthly) to TERRORISTS.”
America’s TIME magazine for the fourth time featured Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on its cover, with the quote: “‘Only the strong survive.’ How Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu is testing the limits of power.”
In its article, the magazine notes that Netanyahu is facing indictment, but still believes that the good of the country is to leave him in charge.
“I don’t look at my survival,” he told TIME. “I look at the survival of the country, its durability, its future.”
He explained that while Israel’s cyber tools are what allowed Australia to prevent ISIS from blowing up a plane in midair, the would-be terror attack is only the tip of the iceberg: “We used our cyber-tools to discover that ISIS was going to do this. So we alerted Australian police, and they stopped this before it happened. Multiply that 50 times, that will give you an idea of the contribution that Israel has made to prevent major terrorist operations.”
“This affects every country in the world, it affects every person in the world.”
But Netanyahu’s enemies see him in a different light.
— TIME (@TIME) July 11, 2019
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday declared his commitment to the settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria.
Netanyahu was speaking at an event marking the 4oth anniversary of the Samaria Regional Council, held in the town of Revava.
“Accept my commitment,” said Netanyahu, “it doesn’t come with a time limit: We won’t let any community in the land of Israel be uprooted in the name of a diplomatic plan. We don’t uproot people—we’re done with that nonsense. Israel under my leadership hasn’t and won’t repeat the mistakes of the past.
“The fact that we are on these ridges lets us protect the entire country and allows us to ensure safety and stability in the area. Were Samaria not in our hands, every place [in Israel] would be in clear and imminent danger. These are our central principles. This is our homeland and country. We will continue to develop and build it.”
The prime minister also sought to alleviate concerns that Israel will be pressured to withdraw from parts of Judea and Samaria within the framework of a future diplomatic proposal.
Ambassador Danon at CUFI’s annual summit: European leaders must wake up to the Iranian threat
Against the backdrop of the June 25-29, 2019 U.S.-backed Bahrain “Peace to Prosperity” economic workshop discussing the economic aspect of the Trump administration’s “Deal of the Century,” senior Syrian journalist Fuad Al-Sharabji wrote in his column for the Syrian establishment daily Tishreen comparing U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner to Shylock, the Jewish moneylender in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. In the play, Shylock’s contract specified that if he is not repaid in time, borrowers must make good the debt by relinquishing a pound of their flesh.
Al-Sharabji wrote that Jared-Shylock is promoting a political deal of “money in exchange for the flesh of Palestine,” which he says will lead to the Palestinian refugees receiving citizenship in the countries where they reside in exchange for payment, and the implementation of Israeli sovereignty on any area Israel desires. He went on to castigate the Arab heads of state who, he said, are serving the agenda of this “Zionist-Shylockism.”
The following are translated excerpts from Al-Sharabji’s column:
“When money in the hands of the ‘loan shark’ becomes a means to control the needy, this money becomes a weapon for subjugation and enslavement. [Merchant of Venice character] Shylock demanded some of the flesh of the borrower in exchange for the money he loaned him!
The general election in Greece ended earlier this week in quite the political turnaround. The ruling party for the past four years, the far-left Syriza party, was defeated and replaced by the conservative right-wing New Democracy party.
Over the past decade, ever since the country was hit by a severe economic crisis, the Greeks adopted the practice of believing campaign promises, being immediately disappointed and replacing one government with another every few years. The economic crisis erupted when the socialist George Papandreou was in power. After a few years, he was replaced by right-wing leader Antonis Samaras, who was defeated in 2015 by left-winger Alexis Tsipras. Now Kyriakos Mitsotakis, a conservative, is in power.
The new prime minister hails from a prominent political family. His father, Konstantinos Mitsotakis, was prime minister from 1990 to 1993. His sister, Theodora “Dora” Bakoyanni, was foreign minister and mayor of Athens; and his nephew, Kostas Bakoyannis – Dora’s son – is the current mayor of Athens.
The Social Democratic Party’s (SDP) recent victory in Finland’s national elections thrust the party into power for the first time in more than a decade. The SDP won the election on a platform opposed to tough austerity measures deployed by former prime minister Juha Sipilä’s center-right administration.
The changing of the guard means a shift in foreign policy, with Timo Soini giving way to the Green Party’s choice of Pekka Haavisto as foreign minister. Largely seen as a safe pick, Haavisto’s appointment may have wider implications, as Finland takes up its six-month term as president of the European Union Council starting on July 1. While the newly elected prime minister has indicated that Finland’s council presidency will spend its time on climate change, there will also no doubt be an impact on Israel and other key foreign-policy matters.
Soini’s exit from the Foreign Ministry poses new challenges for the country’s position on Israel. Soini was known for strong opposition to biased EU boycotts against Israel, as well as to the more nefarious BDS movement, and his departure leaves the Middle East’s sole democracy more isolated. Under Soini’s leadership, Finland’s ties to Israel were an outlier in a traditionally anti-Israel Scandinavia. His work could be unraveled with the ascension of Haavisto, who boasts strong liberal internationalist bona fides, to the top post.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu related to the current security status and tension in southern Israel in his visit to Ashkelon on Thursday, saying that “Israel prefers to maintain the tranquility, but is also preparing for a large-scale military operation in the Gaza Strip.”
“I prefer to maintain the tranquility, although we do not have the illusion that it is possible to reach a political agreement with this group that wants to wipe the State of Israel off the face of the earth,” Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu added that meanwhile, “We are preparing for the offensive side and the campaign is not only going to be broad, but also surprising,” and also asserted that “I will not hesitate to do what is necessary, and electoral considerations do not guide me.”
In an attempt to appease the citizens of the South, Netanyahu claimed that “I want a result in the end that would make sure this city and the communities in the South will continue to develop and prosper, and that there will be a feeling and a reality of security.”
The Israeli military on Thursday said a misunderstanding led its troops to kill a member of the Hamas terror group as he was trying to prevent Palestinian youths from breaching the security fence earlier in the day.
The highly irregular acknowledgment of such a mistake appeared to be an effort by the Israel Defense Forces to calm tensions with Hamas and prevent another round of violence.
“This morning, IDF soldiers spotted a number of Palestinians in the area of the security fence in the northern Strip. An initial investigation determined that it was a member of Hamas’s restraint force who had come to the area because of two Palestinians who were moving toward [the fence],” the army said in a statement.
The Israeli soldiers opened fire at the Hamas field commander, Mahmoud Ahmad Sabri al-Adham, 28, fatally wounding him. He was pronounced dead shortly thereafter, according to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry.
“The IDF troops who arrived in the area had identified the restraint operative as an armed terrorist and opened fire due to a misunderstanding. The incident will be investigated,” the army said.
IDF Mistakenly Kills a Hamas Al Qassam Brigades Soldier
Khaled Abu Toameh: Why Palestinians Do Not Trust Their Leaders
Evidently, Palestinian leaders do not grasp that the Palestinian public cares a great deal more about being treated like human beings by their own leaders than about anti-Israel and anti-US rhetoric.
This incitement is Palestinian leaders’ way of distracting attention from problems at home. They want their people to be busy hating someone else – in this case Israel, the US and pro-US Arab leaders. Otherwise, these people might wake up one fine morning and demand reform, transparency and democracy from their leaders in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
If Palestinian leaders spent a fraction of the time that they waste on condemning Israel and the US, on bringing good government to their people, the Palestinians would be in a much better situation. It seems that some senior Palestinian leaders cannot go to sleep at night without having disgorged fiery statements against Israel and the US. Needless to say, this does not make for particularly constructive governance.
When fighting an unseen peace plan becomes a greater priority than bettering the lives of your people, one can only say that, with failed leaders such as these, the time has come for the Palestinian public to raise its collective voice and demand its rights from its unelected leaders in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Until this happens, Palestinian leaders will continue to enjoy the good life on the extremely burdened backs of its people.
Accusing Palestinian leaders of being responsible for terrorism and other violent attacks, the Jerusalem District Court ruled on Monday that the Palestinian Authority was liable for civil damages in the cases of 17 attacks against Israelis, including both civilians and soldiers.
The attacks were carried out mostly between 2000 and 2002, during the Second Intifada. One claim dates back to an attack in 1996.
In its decision, the court specifically named the late PA president Yasser Arafat, as well as Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, as being behind the attacks. Barghouti is serving five life sentences in an Israeli prison in connection with several deadly attacks, including suicide bombings. Arafat died in 2004.
The decision enables the families of those who were killed or wounded in the 17 attacks in question to file claims for financial compensation against the PA. The plaintiffs in the court case – families of eight victims of the attacks – will now need to provide proof of their damages, which could amount to as much as NIS 1 billion (approximately $280 million).
Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the Palestinian minster of information and spokesperson for the office of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, told The Media Line that the Israeli decision was illegitimate and the PA would not recognize it.
“There is no doubt that this decision comes as part of the multiple attacks on the PA,” he said. “We [reject] the decision.”
Hamas has been able to foil several Israeli attempts to assassinate members of Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades, the group’s military wing, over the last few months, Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar reported Wednesday.
According to the report, the attempts followed a botched operation last November in the Gaza Strip that left seven Hamas operatives and one IDF special forces officer dead, a Hamas official told the newspaper. publication.
Gaza-based security sources also noted that unlike previous attempts to on the lives of senior Hamas terrorists, Israel attempted to employ a “silent method” to take out the targets, meant to minimize its footprint on the operations.
Al Akhbar quoted another Hamas official as saying that the group arrested an individual it believes was collaborating with Israel.
The alleged perpetrator is accused of trying to poison at least one senior Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades officer.
Had the operation succeeded, it would have been a major blow to the terrorist organization, the Hamas official said.
The pro-Tehran lobby claims that sanctions do not work. But if the aim is to persuade the Khomeinist clique in Tehran to change aspects of its behavior abroad, sanctions are working. The mullahs have started to reduce their footprint in Syria and Yemen.
Offices in more than 30 Iranian cities to enlist “volunteers” for “Jihad” in Syria have been closed, and the recruitment of Afghan and Pakistani mercenaries has stopped.
Tehran’s military and diplomatic presence in Yemen has been downsized. Smuggling arms to Houthis continues, albeit at a reduced rate.
Cash-flow problems caused by sanctions have also forced the mullahs to cut the stipends of Hizbullah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad by 10%.
Another claim is that sanctions strengthen hardline factions and weaken the “reformists” around President Hassan Rouhani. Since Rouhani and his associates have never said or even hinted what it is they may want to reform, it is hard to speak of a “reformist” faction.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—as the 2015 nuclear deal is formally known—required the Islamic Republic to convert its Fordow uranium-enrichment facility to a “nuclear, physics, and technology center” for international civilian scientific cooperation. Thanks to the cache of documents the Mossad spirited out of Iran last year, there is no longer any doubt that this heavily fortified facility, long kept secret, had been designed for the production of weapons-grade nuclear fuel. Drawing on publicly available information, including satellite images, David Albright, Sarah Burkhard, Frank Pabian, and Jack Toole conclude that Tehran had no intention of converting the complex into anything else:
Since the implementation of the JCPOA [in 2016], Iran has been bolstering its ability to build gas centrifuges [in the complex’s aboveground] support area, while maintaining its capability to produce weapons-grade uranium in the tunnel complex [below]. In an ominous development, Iran recently announced the opening of key new centers at the support area.
[Even before the U.S. left the nuclear deal], high levels of activity had been observed at the Fordow support area. Additions to the area include the 2016 installation of a Russian S-300 surface-to-air missile system and the construction of several building complexes.
[T]here is little reason to believe that Iran ever intended any meaningful conversion of the Fordow tunnel complex into a technical and scientific international center of cooperation, let alone the closely associated support area. This deeply buried gas-centrifuge tunnel complex is too important to Iran, since it can be reconstituted if the deal fails. It can also be reverted . . . to its original purpose of making weapons-grade uranium for nuclear weapons. With a complex specifically built so that it would be extremely difficult to destroy by military action, the international community could face few options if Iran does choose to move to much higher enrichment at Fordow.
Three Iranian gunships “attempted to impede” a British oil tanker in the Gulf on Wednesday, forcing a Royal Navy warship to issue warnings and position itself to prevent any action, the UK government said Thursday morning, confirming an earlier report.
“Contrary to international law, three Iranian vessels attempted to impede the passage of a commercial vessel, British Heritage, through the Strait of Hormuz,” the government said in a statement.
The HMS Montrose, a British warship which had been escorting the tanker in the wake of increased tensions in the area, was “forced to position herself between the Iranian vessels and British Heritage and issue verbal warnings to the Iranian vessels, which then turned away,” the statement said, according to the Guardian.
“We are concerned by this action and continue to urge the Iranian authorities to deescalate the situation in the region.”
Seth Frantzman: What was Iran thinking trying to seize British tanker?
Sometimes, Iran acts like it is a playing a complex game of international diplomacy that mixes war threats with diplomatic threats and sometimes involves direct attacks designed to show that it means business. Other times, Iran seems to blunder along by doing the most obvious thing that it has said it would do, as if it is just looking for a fight. Its attempt to seize a British oil tanker appears to fall into the latter category. On the face of it, Iran is carrying out threats it made over the past week to respond to the UK taking over an Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar.
Less than a day after reports emerged that the US was seeking an international coalition to stop Iranian attacks on tankers in the Gulf of Oman, a number of Iranian fast boats captained by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) approached a British oil tanker. We know this because it was revealed on Wednesday that the boats had sought to intercept the tanker. A British warship, HMS Montrose, warned the Iranians to stay away, and the Iranian boats left.
Case closed? Not really. Why would the IRGC, which is already designated a terrorist organization, launch a brazen attack when a British warship was nearby? Either they are not paying attention, which is unlikely, or they were looking for an incident.
Let’s do the math here. On May 12, four ships were sabotaged in the Gulf of Oman off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) port of Fujairah. These included ships belonging to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Norway. Photos of Norwegian tanker Andrea Victory showed a hole in the ship. The US blamed Iran for the incident.
How Will Iran’s Regime React to Failure to Seize UK Tanker?
Senior Iranian Official Hossein Amir-Abdollahian: Mossad, U.S. Agencies Targeted Japanese Tanker in Hormuz; British Seizure of Iranian Tanker Is Act of Piracy, Iran Might Reciprocate pic.twitter.com/SGuz2DpWiw
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) July 11, 2019
Locally-Made Cruise Missiles, Ballistic Missiles, Drones Unveiled at Houthi Military Exhibition, Sign Reads: “Death to America, Death to Israel, May the Jews Be Cursed”https://t.co/B9HD7RSarP
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) July 11, 2019
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