September 23, 2019

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08/19 Links Pt1: Mordechai Kedar: Israel is the sole sovereign of the Temple Mount; Jpost Editorial: No need for UNRWA; Dvir was murdered and it had nothing to do with the ‘occupation’

http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2019/08/0819-links-pt1-mordechai-kedar-israel.html

From Ian:


Dr. Mordechai Kedar: Israel is the sole sovereign of the Temple Mount
If I were Israel’s ambassador to Jordan, and I were called in for a dressing down over Israel’s actions on the Temple Mount and over Israelis ascending the site to mourn the destruction of the First and Second temples on the annual Jewish fasting day of Tisha B’Av, I would remind the official doing the dressing down that we Jews worshipped the one God at the temple that was located at the site over 3,000 years ago. Islam is only 1,409 years old.

I would remind the official that in classical Arabic, Jerusalem is referred to as Bayt al-Maqdis, meaning “temple,” and that this is further proof of the falsehood that prevails today among the people of the region, according to which a temple never existed on the site.

I would present to Amman’s envoy official Jordanian maps drawn prior to 1967, which have the words Mount Moriah written on the site of the Temple Mount, to its southeast the words Solomon’s Stables, its south, the Valley of Josaphat, to the east of the mount, the Tomb of Zechariah and the Tomb of Absalom are listed, and to its west, Mount Zion. I would show the official these maps, and then I would note the following Arabic proverb: “A liar needs a good memory.”

I would remind the official that while his country’s 1994 peace agreement with Israel afforded the Hashemite Kingdom special status on the Temple Mount, Amman was not made sovereign of the site, because the sole sovereign of the site is Israel.

Jpost Editorial: No need for UNRWA

UNRWA – which employs more than 30,000 workers – has no motivation to end the “refugee crisis.” And since UNRWA’s mandate to resettle the Palestinian refugees was rescinded in 1965 without a serious reform, the numbers will keep on growing, to be used as a political tool against Israel.

The PA has reason to be concerned about UNRWA’s future, but it plays a double game, and it is time it is called out. On the one hand, the PA claims to represent the State of Palestine (which has observer-state status in the UN. and is recognized by more than 135 UN members), yet on the other hand it protests that the Palestinians continue to be refugees.

Alongside the status of perpetual refugeehood, UNRWA also perpetuates a culture of entitlement. Instead of fostering self-sufficiency, it is undermining the Palestinians it professes to care for. And that is without relating to the hate-filled nature of the education being received by Palestinian children, which deprives both the Palestinians and Israelis of hope for peace in the future.

UNRWA needs to be drastically reformed, with the aim of later closing it down and moving responsibility for the relatively small number of genuine refugees to the auspices of the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees. The Palestinians themselves would be the first to benefit from UNRWA being revamped. UNRWA has done nothing to build a sustainable, peaceful Palestinian state. On the contrary. The report containing allegations of serious flaws could be the wake-up call the UN needs to reexamine UNRWA’s status. It’s time for the absurdity to end.

In Argentina, France, and Elsewhere in Europe, Attacks on Jews Are Judged by a Separate Yardstick

Indeed, a good two years before the Rue des Rosiers attack, following another terrorist outrage against a Jewish institution in Paris, Raymond Barre, then prime minister, acknowledged this reality. On October 3, 1980, a powerful bomb exploded near the entrance of the Reform synagogue on the Rue Copernic, wounding nearly 50 people and killing four: specifically, three Frenchmen and a young woman who turned out to be an Israeli tourist.

Interviewed on French television after the attack, which was blamed on far-right extremists but was more probably the work of Palestinians, Barre committed what those of a more generous disposition might describe as an unfortunate slip of the tongue. “This odious bombing,” he said, “was aimed at striking Jews who were going to the synagogue, and it hit innocent French people who were crossing the Rue Copernic.”

However distasteful, Barre’s remark was inadvertently enlightening. When Jews are in the crosshairs, an act of terrorism that might otherwise generate appalled outrage and swift police work could be rationalized if not excused. Some such thinking has left an indelible mark on governmental, judicial, and law-enforcement responses to anti-Semitic terror both in France and elsewhere in Europe. If it can be boiled down to a single principle, it is this: when it comes to the victims of Islamist-inspired terrorism, Diaspora Jews are innocent, but not as innocent as others.

Today, as then, terrorists can (and do) make the same calculation. Over the last decade in France, eight Jews have been killed by Islamist terrorists, three of them small children gunned down at a Jewish school in Toulouse in 2012. This has occurred amidst an atmosphere of rising anti-Semitism in the country and, with it, a broader tolerance of extreme violence directed at Jews.

Of course, terrorists have struck at many more general targets in France during the same time period, but these are seen by politicians and the media unambiguously as attacks on France itself, and not “merely” as attacks on Jews who happen to be living in France. This practical distinction between Jew and non-Jew, which has licensed bloodshed in the past, will no doubt do so again.

Dvir was murdered and it had nothing to do with the ‘occupation’

After the murder of Dvir Sorek, leaders on the Left sent condolences to the Sorek family, expressed shock at the murder and called for the quick apprehension and punishment of the murderers.

A minority, mainly on the social networks, conveyed a certain understanding with regard to the murder, while others said it was the result of the “occupation.” An example of this could be found in an article written by Strassler, who asserted that alongside the condolences, politicians from the Left need to talk about the conflict. He later stated that “they did not dare talk about the clear connection between the occupation and the murder.”

I totally negate this connection. This year we mark 100 years since the Weizmann-Faisal agreement, signed in 1919 within the framework of the Paris Peace Conference that set forth the basis for cooperation between the Zionist Organization and the Arabs of Palestine. The agreement begins: “His Royal Highness the Emir Feisal, representing and acting on behalf of the Arab Kingdom of Hedjaz, and Dr. Chaim Weizmann, representing and acting on behalf of the Zionist Organization – mindful of the racial kinship and the ancient bonds existing between the Arabs and the Jewish people, and realizing that the surest way of working out the consummation of their natural aspirations is through the closest possible collaboration in the development of the Arab State and Palestine, and being desirous further of confirming the good understanding that exists between them – have agreed upon the following.”

The agreement further states that the Arabs will recognize the Balfour Declaration proclaimed two years earlier, and “all necessary measures shall be taken to encourage and stimulate immigration of Jews into Palestine on a large scale, and as quickly as possible to settle Jewish immigrants upon the land through closer settlement and intensive cultivation of the soil. In taking such measures, the Arab peasant and tenant farmers shall be protected in their rights and shall be assisted in forwarding their economic development.” The agreement was also contingent upon achieving the political goals of the Arabs, and it best expressed the prevalent attitude at the time.

Liberal hypocrisy over Netanyahu’s relationships with American presidents

Herb Keinon seems to question the assumption that Democratic support of Israel is contingent on serious concession-granting. He argues:
Despite President Donald Trump’s efforts to present them as the face of the Democratic Party, Omar and Tlaib do not represent the party, or the party’s position on Israel. They represent a faction of the party – a vocal and high-profile faction, but still a small one, and it should not be overstated.

But Barack Obama was the face of the Democratic Party. He demanded major concessions to Israel’s enemies, and relations between the two allies deteriorated significantly when Netanyahu didn’t make them.

Moreover, the Democratic Party has moved leftward since the Obama era. Congressional Democrats wouldn’t condemn Omar’s anti-Semitic remarks. Their indifference to her anti-Semitism would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.

Is Netanyahu to blame? Many American Jews would say so. For them, it’s a comforting thought.

But it’s not reality. Israel, as a Jewish state inhabited by whites (although a great many Israelis don’t look very white), is on the wrong side of leftist ideology. Its status as a pro-American outpost in an anti-Western sea is a rebuke to leftism.

Palestinians, by contrast, are “the oppressed other.” They fall on the right side of leftist ideology.

Thus, as the Democratic Party moves leftward, its support for Israel will more and more be contingent on Israel making concession after concession to those who seek to destroy it. Indeed, this would be true even in a Joe Biden administration. Biden was on board with Obama’s demands for concessions, and became heated, if not hostile, when Israel resisted.

Israel can’t afford to accommodate Democrats on core security matters. It will have to rely on Republicans.

Sometimes this will mean good relations with the U.S. president, sometimes not. That’s hardly an ideal situation, but it has become reality.

Israel will have to cope with it. The alternative, being bossed by an American political party that’s increasingly ambivalent about a Jewish state and/or uncomfortable with Israel keeping its enemies at bay, should be unacceptable.

Netanyahu – damned for bad ties with Obama, damned for good ties with Trump

Netanyahu, and by extension Israel, were damned when they had a difficult relationship with the US president, and now Netanyahu, and by extension Israel, is damned for enjoying a good relationship with the US president.

Three days after Israel decided to bar US representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from entering the country because of their BDS advocacy, three days after hyperventilated headlines and over-dramatic tweets, it is time for everybody to sit back and relax. This too will pass.

If the eight years of the Obama administration taught anything, it taught that the relationship between Israel and the US is deep, wide and broad enough to survive serious disagreements over policy, and a difficult and very critical president.

During the Obama years, too many conflated Netanyahu’s relationship with Obama into Israel’s relationship with the US. They are not one and the same. There is much more to the US-Israel relationship than the relationship at the top, as important as that relationship is.

There is also the relationship with Congress; the military/intelligence relationship; the business relationship; and the historic ties between the two countries that extend even to a sympathy that America’s founding fathers had for the idea of a Jewish state.

Poll after poll continues to show that Israel enjoys extremely strong support among the American public. Granted, there is serious deterioration on the progressive flank of the Democratic Party. That is troublesome. It should be carefully monitored, and serious efforts are needed to address it. (One thing is for certain: those progressives who already dislike Israel intensely would not have liked it any more even had Israel let Tlaib and Omar conduct their bashing-Israel tour.)

Yes, you want a good relationship at the top, but even if that does not exist – as the eight years of the Obama-Netanyahu era proved – the relationship between the two countries can still thrive and prosper.

US likely to release Mideast peace plan after Israel election

US President Donald Trump said on Sunday he would likely wait until after Israel’s Sept. 17 elections to release his administration’s long-awaited peace plan for the Middle East.

“We will probably wait for the release of the Middle East peace plan until after the Israeli elections,” Trump told reporters, adding that the US might “release small parts of it beforehand.”

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, is the chief architect of a proposed $50 billion economic development plan for the Palestinians, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon that is designed to create peace in the region.

The plan’s long-awaited roll out was postponed with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, having failed to cobble together a coalition following his party’s win in the April 9 election, called a second election, set to take place on Sept. 17.

Jordan parliament calls for expelling Israeli envoy

In yet another sign of mounting tensions between the two countries, Jordanian members of parliament and blocs on Monday renewed their recommendation that the kingdom expel the Israeli ambassador in Amman to protest Israeli “violations” against the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem.

The recommendation was made by the Palestine Committee of Jordan’s House of Representatives and other parliamentary blocs during an emergency session attended by Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi.

The members also called for closing the Israeli Embassy in Amman, cancelling the Israel-Jordan peace treaty and summoning the US ambassador to Jordan to protest US support for Israel. In addition, they called for recalling the Jordanian ambassador to Israel.

The parliament endorsed the recommendations and said it rejects any attempt to divide the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in time and space between Muslim and Jewish worshipers.

PM praises Ukraine’s ‘talents and capacities’ as countries sign deal for bilateral cooperation

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed bilateral agreements on Monday, a day after the Israeli leader landed in Kiev for an official visit.

In a statement following the signing at the presidential palace, the two leaders said both countries agreed to boost investment and expand their cooperation on technology, education, agriculture, culture and sports.

Zelensky said Ukraine was going to open a special investment office in Jerusalem and Netanyahu said Israel was going to do the same in Kiev.

Speaking next to Zelensky, Netanyahu praised the flourishing relations and increasing technological ties between the two nations.

“I think the future belongs to those who innovate; Israel is the quintessential innovation nation,” Netanyahu said.

“Ukraine has enormous talents and capacities. We have discovered this because Israeli companies are here, we engage with tens of thousands of talented Ukrainians in mathematics and computer engineering, in every conceivable field of modern technology. We see their talent, we both see the opportunity, we want to seize the future.”

On State Visit, PM Netanyahu, Ukranian President Zelensky Honor Jewish Victims of Nazis at Babi Yar

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky attended a memorial ceremony at Babi Yar, where thousands of Jews were massacred in 1941 by the Nazis, on Monday.

Netanyahu is the first head of state to visit Ukraine since Zelensky, who is Jewish and a former actor, was elected president of the eastern European nation. He is also, according to Israeli reports, the only Israeli leader to visit Ukraine over the past two decades.

In September 1941, the Nazis rounded up all the remaining Jews in Kiev, and brought them to Babi Yar, located just northwest of the city and shot 33,000 to death over two days. According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Babi Yar represented “one of the largest mass murders at an individual location during World War II.”

At the commemoration, Netanyahu said, “I say in a clear voice, especially here, it’s our obligation to stand up to murderous ideologies so there won’t be another Babi Yar… we’ll always defend ourselves against any tormentors.”

He added: “We will never forget the suffering of our people, but at the same we will honor those righteous who risked their lives to rescue our people.”

Jewish Press Online Complained and Facebook Removed Arab Media Call to Murder Israeli Officer

Arab media have issued numerous calls to murder the Israeli police officer who last week shot and killed one of the terrorists who participated in a stabbing attack on him and several other cops at the entrance to the Temple Mount. The Hamas-affiliated Shehab News Agency yesterday posted on Facebook a photo singling out the officer with a blue circle around his face.
Circled image of the Israeli policeman

We red-flagged the post to Facebook, and they took it down within the hour:

Before being diligently removed, the post on the popular Facebook page which has more than seven millions followers read: “The extremist Zionist policeman circled in blue who shot the two Jerusalemite boys, Nassim Abu Rumi and Hamoudeh al-Sheikh, two days ago, was also the one who took furniture from the prayer house at the Gate of Mercy last night,”

As can be clearly seen in the video, the extremist Zionist policeman was responding to a murderous stabbing attack by the two Jerusalemite boys. As to the furniture, those were removed from an illegal mosque established at the Gate of Mercy on the Temple Mount.

Dozens of talkbackers called to murder the police officer. “There are heroes in Jerusalem, the time of his stabbing is coming soon,” read one of the comments.

Israel will continue to defend its citizens from Palestinian terrorism

While the Palestinians are promoting and inciting murderous violence against Israelis, we continue to stand resilient against terrorism directed against our citizens.

4 IDF soldiers removed from combat duty following probe into border breach

The IDF has decided to remove four soldiers from combat duty in light of the findings of a probe into an incident at the start of August in which an officer and two soldiers were wounded by a terrorist from the Gaza Strip who breached the border fence and opened fire.

Backup forces who were scrambled to the scene shot and killed the terrorist.

The Aug. 1 incident began when IDF troops spotted a suspicious figure approaching the border fence in southern Gaza. After the security system alerted the military, forces were deployed to the area where the terrorist was spotted and put on high alert. After the suspect breached the fence and crossed into Israel, he opened fire at the Israeli troops. Backup contingents who arrived on the scene returned fire, killing the suspect.

The terrorist wounded an IDF commander lightly to moderately, and two soldiers lightly. All three were evacuated to a hospital for treatment and then released. The IDF launched a probe into the event.

According to the findings from the probe, some of the forces involved in the incident had acted appropriately, while one contingent had not. The probe determined that the commander of the first platoon to arrive on the scene, as well as his deputy and his soldiers, attempted to confront the terrorist. However, the probe discovered that another force scrambled to the scene of the incident, commanded by a sergeant, kept its distance.

Birthright suspends all activity in Gaza periphery

The Birthright organization, which brings Diaspora Jews on free trips to Israel, has instructed its tour groups not to conduct any activities in the Gaza periphery in light of recent security tensions.

Birthright security director Daniel Greenberg sent an email to tour leaders and organizers in which he wrote: “Dear organizer, please note – following the events of the weekend, it was decided to limit the movement of birthright groups in Gaza

Four rockets were fired at Israel from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip over the weekend, one on Friday night and three on Saturday night. The Israeli Air Force responded by attacking Hamas infrastructure.

On Saturday night the IDF killed three terrorists who were attempting to infiltrate into Israel.

IDF’s Low-Tech Solution for Crisis on Israel-Gaza Border

The Israeli Defense System is exploring a low-tech solution to try the growing crisis on the Israel-Gaza border. Our Jonathan Regev has the story.

Jordanian citizen indicted in Israel for plot to kill IDF soldier

Israeli prosecutors on Monday charged a 21-year-old Jordanian man who attempted to knife a police officer and confessed to planning to stab an IDF soldier last month.

The indictment filed at the Haifa District Court charged Mohammad Maslah with planning to carry out a deadly terror attack, aggravated assault and other charges.

The indictment called him a Jordanian citizen, according to Hebrew media reports.

According to a police statement released after the indictment was filed, two officers patrolling late on July 22 in the northern city of Hadera noticed the suspect sitting alone at a bus stop on Hanasi Street. They approached him and began to question him.

The young man turned out to be a Palestinian with Jordanian citizenship residing in the West Bank village of Deir al-Ghusun, near Tulkarem, who had entered Israel without an entry permit.

In later questioning, Maslah said he had arrived in the West Bank from Jordan in June, and was living with his sister for a month before sneaking into Israel.

One of the officers informed Maslah he was under arrest, but as he attempted to cuff him, Maslah allegedly resisted, then pulled out a knife with a 17-centimeter (7-inch) blade. According to police, Maslah then attempted to stab one of the cops and fled the scene.

Gaza balloon suspected of causing bush fire near border community

A fire in the area of the Sdot Negev Regional Council on Monday was started by an incendiary balloon flown over the border from the Gaza Strip, Fire and Rescue Services said.

A spokesman for the fire services said firefighters extinguished the blaze, which he describes as a small brush fire.

The tactic of launching balloons carrying explosive and arson devices from Gaza into Israel emerged last year as part of a series of protests and riots along the Strip’s border, known collectively as the March of Return. The simple and cheap method of attack by Palestinians has proved effective as Israeli security forces have struggled to counter the tactic.

From April to June 2018, Israeli firefighters extinguished 1,954 fires started by arson attacks in the fields, forests and grasslands around the Gaza Strip. They fought 383 blazes over the same period in 2019.

In addition, throughout 2018, approximately 34,000 dunams — 8,400 acres — of Israeli land were burned in arson attacks, according to statistics from the Fire and Rescue Services, Jewish National Fund and Nature and Parks Authority.

Footage appears to show Hezbollah adopting Gaza arson tactics against Israel

A fire that raged along Israel’s border with Lebanon Friday appears to be the work of Hezbollah terrorists who have adopted arson techniques that Palestinians in Gaza have used repeatedly to attack Israel, according to footage aired Sunday by Channel 12.

In the footage, Hezbollah operatives can be seen setting fires near the border. Strong winds quickly fanned the flames and caused the fire to cross the boundary and spread toward an IDF base and the community of Margaliot.

In the footage, UN peacekeepers can be seen patrolling near the fires, but making no attempt to stop the Hezbollah men from lighting them.

The fires caused several landmines placed along the border to explode. Local firefighters took several hours to put out the fire, in an effort that was hampered by the inability to use firefighting aircraft due to the proximity to the hostile border.

“Everyone knows the Lebanese side is responsible for these provocations,” local official Yoram Mahluf told Channel 12. “They are testing us.”

The news report said officials believe that Hezbollah would continue to set fires along the border in order to try and keep the IDF distracted and also to clear brush that Israeli special forces could use for cover.

PMW: PA chasing down Homosexuals

The Palestinian Authority has made its stance regarding LGBTQ very clear: those organizing Homosexuals activities will be arrested and charged for violating “the highest ideals and values of the Palestinian society, said PA police spokesman, Luay Erziqat.”

The PA daily Al Ayyam reported yesterday on the PA police response to a planned LGBTQ event in a Palestinian city:

Headline: “The [PA] police act to prevent an attempt to hold a gathering of homosexuals in the West Bank”

“The Palestinian [Authority] police announced yesterday [Aug. 17, 2019] that it is pursuing a group that intends to hold a gathering of homosexuals in the West Bank. It emphasized that it will prevent this and accused ‘dubious parties’ of being behind the matter.

In a statement published on the police’s official website, Police Spokesman Luay Erziqat was quoted as saying that the police are searching for the organizers of this gathering – and they will be transferred to the legal authorities the moment they are caught.’

Erziqat said to AFP (Agence France-Presse) that ‘the police are seeking a group of homosexuals that has begun preparations for a gathering they called a “rainbow gathering” on the internet.’
He added that the police ‘will prevent any activity by the homosexual group called “Al-Qaws” (i.e., rainbow).’

The spokesman explained in a previous statement that ‘Such activities are considered a violation of the highest ideals and values of the Palestinian society.’
Erziqat blamed ‘dubious parties who are attempting to stir up strife and harm the public order of the Palestinian society,’ but he did not note who these parties are.
He called on Palestinians ‘to contact the police and report any person who has a connection to this organization.'”

[Al-Ayyam, Aug. 18, 2019]

Given that the the PA is openly pursues members of the LGBTQ community, it is incomprehensible that some LGBTQ groups around the world support the Palestinian Authority and are even active in the BDS -Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement against Israel.

PA offering ‘grants’ to Palestinians who move to Jordan Valley

The Palestinian Authority government will offer grants to Palestinian university graduates who are prepared to live in the Jordan Valley, PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh announced on Monday.

In an opening statement at the beginning of the weekly PA cabinet meeting in Ramallah, Shtayyeh said that his government will study giving a grant “to any Palestinian university graduate who is prepared to live in Jordan Valley areas and villages and work with the residents there on production projects.”

Shtayyeh did not provide details about the proposed grant or “production projects.”

The Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea constitute almost 30% of the West Bank. Nearly 65,000 Palestinians and some 11,000 Jews live there. Palestinians have complained that Israel has plans to reduce the Palestinian population in the area by preventing them from using most of the land and imposing restrictions on house construction.

According to the Israeli human rights group B’TSELEM, “almost 90% of this region has been designated as Area C, the West Bank land which remains under full Israeli control, and constitutes nearly 40% of all Area C.”

The group noted that “the remaining 10% of the region is home to Palestinian communities, including the city of Jericho, which have been designated Area A or B,” which are controlled by the PA.

Abbas fires all advisers

Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas has fired all of his advisers, his office said Monday, amid a financial crisis that has prompted deep salary cuts.

Abbas’s office did not provide further details on the number of advisers or the costs involved, pointing only to a brief statement issued through official PA news agency WAFA.

The move comes amid a spending crunch following Israel’s decision in February to withhold around $10 million a month in tax transfers.

Israel collects some $190 million a month in customs duties levied on goods destined for PA markets that transit through its ports.

It then transfers the money to the PA government.

The amount it deducted — $138 million for the year — corresponds to what the Palestinian Authority paid terrorists in Israeli jails, or their families, in 2018.

Prisoners who have carried out attacks on Israelis are among those receiving the payments, and Israel says that encourages further violence.

Palestinian Authority Intelligence Services Issue Secret Report Warning of Wave of Terrorism, Popular Uprising in West Bank

Palestinian Authority intelligence services have authored a secret report that warns of a major impending crisis in the Fatah-ruled West Bank, including a new wave of terrorism and a possible popular uprising.

The report, obtained by Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot, was written specifically for the leaders of the PA security forces and issued just before the murder of Israeli yeshiva student Dvir Sorek in the West Bank earlier this month.

A major worry in the West Bank, says the report, is the younger generation of Palestinians between the ages of 16-25, who were interviewed in large numbers for the study. Angry about future prospects, this age group is the most unstable living under the PA and its use of violence is likely to escalate.

The report says that shootings and bomb attacks “are expected to increase,” along with a rise in copycat attacks, producing waves of terrorist incidents.

The weapons needed for such attacks are easily obtained in the West Bank, due to the existence of a small-scale “weapons industry” and Hamas efforts to expand its activities to the area.

Palestinian factions warn Gaza is a boiling volcano

Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip warned that the infiltrations by young men were “a harbringer of a larger explosion” and called on Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza to set the “ground ablaze”.

“We have warned the Zionist enemy against persisting in their crimes, but the leadership of the enemy is still playing in the fire,” a joint statement by various Palestinian factions in the Strip said quoted by Palestinian Safa news agency.

“Gaza is a boiling volcano which will explode in the face of the enemy and the leadership of its soldiers,” the statement added.

On Saturday night three armed Palestinians were killed by IDF troops as they tried to cross into southern Israel from Beit Hanoun. While no group claimed responsibility for the infiltration attempt, the three were wrapped in flags belonging to Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Fatah and Hamas’ Izzedin al-Qassem brigades during their burial.

Both Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad blamed the infiltration attempt on “rebellious youth.”

Calling on Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank to “set the ground ablaze under the Zionist’s feet,” the statement on Tuesday said that the various factions “cannot tolerate repeated crimes by the occupation against our people and holy sites.”

Benny Morris: Only a Clear Message to Iran Can Restore Israel’s Deterrence

Currently the greatest threat facing the Jewish state is an attack on three fronts, in which Hizballah and other Iranian forces launch tens of thousands of missiles simultaneously from both Lebanon and Syria, while Hamas—now also taking orders from Tehran—does the same from Gaza. Such a barrage would likely overwhelm Israel’s storied missile-defense systems, severely disrupt civilian life and possible result in high casualties, and gravely interfere with the IDF’s ability to counterattack. Noting that the Islamic Republic could unleash this mayhem at the time of its choosing, Benny Morris suggests a straightforward preventative measure.

The Israeli government should declare tomorrow, . . . publicly and unequivocally, that if Iran’s proxies forced Israel into an all-out war, for any reason, with a massive rocket barrage, Israel would respond immediately and forcefully against Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz, Bushehr, Natanz, Qom, and other Iranian population centers and strategic targets.

Iran would know that such a clear and powerful public statement would compel every [subsequent] Israeli government—regardless of who’s prime minister—to act on it, lest Israel be seen as a paper tiger and lose all its deterrent capability. . . . The fear of such a massive Israeli reprisal—hundreds of missiles and bombs on Iran’s cities and strategic assets for weeks—would make Iran’s leaders think very carefully about whether they should dispatch Hizballah and Hamas and their proxies in Syria on any adventures.

So far, Iran has enjoyed immunity from attacks on its soil, with Israeli governments opting to respond to rockets from Lebanon and Gaza with (limited) strikes against targets in Lebanon, Gaza, and Syria. This was a mistake that left Israel under a constant threat in the north and south, and led to a balance of deterrence—a balance that Tehran could nullify whenever it chose. . . . Israel’s ability to strike Iran is much greater than Iran’s ability to strike Israel.

U.S. Cutting Off Oxygen Supply to Tehran’s Proxies

During Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s visit to Washington last week, he heard firm declarations that the U.S. does not intend to relent on the issue of sanctions on Hizbullah and those who provide it with political, military and intelligence cover. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, standing beside Hariri, declared that the Middle East is under threat from Iran and that the Lebanese people are under threat from Hizbullah. A high-level American source, summing up the U.S. message to Lebanon, said: “We stressed that he must achieve progress and take concrete steps to distance himself from Hizbullah.”

The U.S. put forward a set of parameters for clear overarching goals, the source revealed. These goals seek to weaken Hizbullah’s hold over Lebanon and gradually dismantle Iranian influence over the country. U.S. officials made it clear that American money being channeled to Lebanon should not be spent to help Hizbullah in any way, and that continued Hizbullah domination over Lebanon would mean aid money would be denied.



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