Melanie Phillips: On the wrong side of America’s culture war
David Duke’s website lavished praise on Max Blumenthal’s book, which likened Israel to Nazi Germany, saying his work was “extremely valuable in the study of Jewish extremism.”
By the Left’s own lights, that makes Corbyn, Max Blumenthal and these left-wing sites complicit with neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
Unlike the Left’s tactic of character assassination, however, this is not a wildly unfair smear by association.
For the Left and far-Right are united by their fundamentally anti-Jewish, pathological loathing of Israel. Cast your eye over Duke’s vicious screed “Jewish Supremacy in Action” and you could be reading a column by one of The Guardian’s regular Israel-bashing commentators.
This is surely why the Left is going to such lengths to talk up white supremacists. It is desperately inflating the threat posed by such people in order to mask its own Israel-hatred and Jew-baiting.
Of course, neo-Nazis and their ilk pose a danger to Jews and other minorities, but their numbers are tiny. The immeasurably greater danger comes from the far-left and the Islamists – and from the broad Left who ignore or sanitize what they do.
I have repeatedly listed Donald Trump’s many flaws, which make him a highly unsuitable occupant of the high office he now holds.
But what he’s up against is a liberal establishment and its far-left shock troops (passively facilitated by spineless and resentful Republicans) who are using illegality, abuse of the constitution, contempt for democracy, defamatory lies and character assassination, obstructionism and violence, not just against Donald Trump but against America – and against reason itself.
Unlikely champion he may be, but if Trump goes down America is lost – and the Jews will have squandered one of their warmest friends in the White House.
Unpalatable? Incredible? Sure. But you’d better believe it. This is a cultural civil war, and far too many Jews, alas, have chosen to be on the wrong side.
The president was correct in condemning all violence. In a viable democracy, there is no excuse for political violence in the streets. The antisemitism of the far Right is palpable, but so too is the antisemitism of the far Left. It’s just that progressive Jews are incapable of confronting antisemitism when it comes from those with whom they share a political agenda on other issues.
The president who most threatened the Jewish community is not Donald Trump but Barack Obama. Obama sat at the feet of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright for 20 years while he cursed Jews and America. It was only when Wright’s sermons became public and Wright persisted in his hatred that Obama distanced himself from the man he called “his uncle.”
The Obama administration staked out positions for the Palestinians in their negotiations with Israel. It slighted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by making him come to the back door of the White House and then serving him non-kosher food while Obama retreated to his living quarters. The contrived insults were unworthy of an American president.
The Obama administration gave Iran the bomb and freed up over $100 billion that Iran is now using to fund terrorism against Israel.
Did the ostentatiously publicity- hungry rabbinical organizations ever refuse to take a High Holy Day call from Obama? To ask the question is to answer it.
The self-centered rabbis will bask in the ephemeral limelight of their political exhibitionism. They will join other Jewish organizations that are crafting letters and petitions to attack Trump for not condemning one set of street thugs more than another.
They will indulge their self-important fantasy and receive affirmation from their congregants, who think that Trump is the greatest threat to Jewish existence since Hitler. They will have advanced the real interests of the Jewish community not one iota.
JPost Editorial: PFLP in Germany
It sounds hallucinatory because it is: The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestinian, a terrorist organization responsible for the deaths of dozens of Israelis – including the 2001 assassination of tourism minister Rehavam Ze’evi – will be running candidates for the German Bundestag.
It’s not enough that the PFLP hasn’t been banned long ago for carrying out deadly attacks to advance its agenda of destroying the State of Israel. Representatives of this organization, which openly advocates the use of the most despicable means to achieve its ends, are exploiting the democratic process to gain access to political power and legitimacy. And they are doing it in Germany, a country that should have learned from its own history how fragile democracy can be.
It’s not that the PFLP has slipped under the radar and German authorities have made the simple mistake of oversight. As noted by Benjamin Weinthal, The Jerusalem Post’s European correspondent, MKs from Yesh Atid and German lawmakers have already appealed to German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière to ban Hezbollah and the PFLP in Germany.
But the ministry has refused. In a response to a question from Weinthal, the ministry attempted to shirk responsibility, claiming it was the federal election committee that decided whether or not to disqualify political parties.
Martin Sherman: The Taylor Force Act – Putting “Palestine” in perspective
Implacable enemy not prospective peace partner
The Palestinian population is thus not some hapless victim of the terror groups, as some might suggest but the very crucible from which such groups have emerged. It has by its own hand, by its deeds and declarations, made it clear that it will not—except on some temporary, tactical basis –brook any manifestation of Jewish political independence/national sovereignty) “between the River and the Sea”.
At the end of the day, the clash between Jew and Arab over the Holy Land is a clash between two collectives. For the Jewish collective, the Palestinian collective is—and must be treated as it sees itself: An implacable enemy, not a prospective peace partner.
Accordingly, the conflict, as one between collectives cannot be individualized .One collective must emerge victorious, the other vanquished. Only then, after victory/defeat, can the issue of personal misfortune be addressed.
This, then, is the perspective in which Palestinian society must be placed—and the perspective from which the formulation of the Taylor Force Act be addressed.
One of the mothers who attended the meeting with the UN chief was Latifa Abu Hmaid. Four of her sons, Nasser, Sharif, Nasr and Mohammed are serving multiple life sentences for their role in terrorism. The Palestinian Authority (PA) chose the mother of these terrorists because they are all members of President Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction, which is regularly described by Western media outlets as a moderate and pragmatic Palestinian party that believes in the two-state solution and peace with Israel.
The minimum the UN chief and his aides could have done is to call out the PA leadership and condemn it for the ambush and the fabricated report from the official Palestinian news agency. Had Israel been involved in a similar incident, we would have witnessed a diplomatic crisis, prompted by the UN secretary general and his spokesmen as well as the international media. Palestinians, as usual, are given a pass.
The lie about “Jewish extremists” setting fire to the Al-Aqsa Mosque has become so widespread and accepted that even senior Muslim scholars such as Abbas’s Grand Mufti, Sheikh Mohamed Hussein, has also been spreading the blood libel. He and most Palestinians continue to describe the Australian Christian arsonist as a “Jewish extremist.”
According to the Palestinian propaganda machine, nearly without exception, the terrorists were on their way to buy bread for their mothers or visit their grandmothers. These were innocent victims, the story goes, arrested or shot by Israel for no reason. Then there are the lies about Israelis “planting” knives near the bodies of terrorists who stab or try to murder Jews. Western journalists and others accept these lies as facts.
More than 40 bereaved families, in a letter to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday, demanded that the United Nations stop funding Israeli organizations that defend terrorists in Israel’s Supreme Court.
Guterres made his first visit to Israel in his capacity as secretary-general this week.
“In recent years, the United Nations has been a prominent sponsor and supporter of Israeli organizations that are leading the lawfare efforts against Israel,” the families wrote.
According to the letter, written in conjunction with rightwing organization Im Tirtzu, the UN gave over NIS 2 million to Hamoked: Center for the Defense of the Individual and to Arab legal aid organization Adalah.
The families said only people who attacked Israelis received this kind of legal aid from the UN. “Is the purpose of the UN treasury to lay the groundwork for the next murder of Israelis? The blood of our parents, children, brothers, sisters and other loved ones, cries out from the earth,” they wrote.
The letter’s signatories include Rina Ariel, mother of Hallel Yaffa Ariel, who was murdered in her Kiryat Arba bedroom in June 2016; Tzvika Mark, brother of Rabbi Miki Mark who was murdered near Hebron in a drive-by shooting in July 2016; Merav and Herzl Hajaj, parents of Shir Hajaj who was murdered in a car-ramming attack in Jerusalem in January 2017; and Dvorah Gonen, mother of Danny Gonen who was murdered while hiking near the village of Dolev in June 2015.
The families also came out against the UN’s funding of far-left organizations, such as B’Tselem and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, which they said “delegitimize Israel and defame IDF soldiers.”
“The time has come to cease this callous interference with Israel’s internal affairs,” the letter concluded.
On August 21, the president outlinined a new U.S. strategy in Afghanistan and announced a plan to send more troops there. Henceforth, he said, the objective of the war will be “killing terrorists” rather than “nation-building.” Yet moments later he added that victory will entail “obliterating Islamic State, crushing al-Qaeda, preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan, and stopping mass terror attacks against America before they emerge.” And all that, writes Elliott Abrams, can’t be accomplished solely by killing bad guys:
What’s entirely missing in the new policy is an understanding that Islamist extremist groups have not just guns but ideas—what the president called an “evil ideology.” To defeat their guns, our own military efforts in support of local police and military operations are necessary—and here the president was quite right to continue and to expand those efforts. But policemen and soldiers cannot provide the ideas that are needed to defeat Islamist extremism. Put another way, the president’s emphasis on “killing terrorists” is right, but he has overlooked the other half of the necessary formula: preventing those who are killed from being replaced by new armies of extremism. He did at one point say we will “dry up their recruitment,” but he did not say how we plan to do this throughout the Muslim world. . . .
The president said that “we will not dictate to the Afghan people how to live, or how to govern their own complex society,” and added: “We are not asking others to change their way of life, but to pursue common goals that allow our children to live better and safer lives.” The straw man here is obvious: we must stop trying to make Afghanistan look like, say, Connecticut! . . .[But] our goal has been far more pragmatic: to promote domestic political arrangements that will be stable and will be successful in controlling territory and preventing the rise of violent groups that can threaten the United States and our allies.
Alienation and despair, according to most Western experts, are what generally lead people to join or support jihadist organizations. In some cases that is true, writes Gershon Hacohen. But more often the motivations are quite different:
Many times, it is precisely those who had hoped to integrate into affluent Western society who chose the path of terrorism. Some of the world’s most notorious terrorists, such as those who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks, studied at leading universities. At a recent international symposium I attended, I learned from a Malaysian researcher that in his country it is mostly outstanding students with exceptional prospects who choose to join Islamic State.
Projecting despair and alienation onto everything may blind us to the existence of other significant motives. . . . Besides security and prosperity, people also seek meaning. . . .
That sense of meaning can be found in religion, and religious zealotry especially. But why turn to violence? Hacohen notes that many Islamists believe that now is the time to overthrow the West by waging war against it, a conclusion that stems as much from observation as from religious doctrine:
To a large extent, [terrorists’] sense of opportunity is rooted in the way Islam perceives Western society: as a decaying and declining society. This perception stems first and foremost from the significant decline in birthrates in the West, which Islam views as the weakness of an ailing society. No children means no future, no labor force, and no manpower pool to fill the ranks of the soldiers.
On August 28, The Anti-Defamation League announced that it had hired Obama holdover, George Selim, as its “Senior Vice President of Programs.” According to the ADL’s press release, Selim will be the ADL’s point man on programs connected to law enforcement, education and community security. This newly created position will ostensibly help the ADL better track, monitor and thwart all forms of xenophobia and prejudice. Selim will report directly to the ADL’s CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt.
On paper, Selim, an Arab-American of Egyptian and Lebanese descent, appears qualified for the role. He served in the Bush and Obama administrations in various capacities, principally in the areas of community outreach and countering violent extremism (CVE). But beneath the surface lies a more sinister side to Selim, one that renders him entirely unfit for his new position.
In a June 7, 2012 interview with the Daily Caller, Selim admitted engaging with representatives of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and further acknowledged that there were “hundreds” of such meetings taking place with various governmental departments and agencies. Selim refused to elaborate on the content of those meetings and offered no insight on which CAIR officials he met with.
In 2007, the United States Department of Justice named CAIR as an unindicted co-conspirator in the infamous Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development criminal probe. Members of the HLF were charged with laundering money to Hamas, a genocidal organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel and designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the State Department. The HLF and five of its officers were convicted of all charges.
CAIR objected to the DOJ designation but a U.S. District Court judge ruled that there was “ample evidence to establish the association.” That ruling was affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. DOJ’s designation led the FBI to sever all “non-investigative cooperation with the group.”
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Thursday Iran had shown its “true colors” by restoring ties with Palestinian militant group Hamas and must be held to account by the international community.
The new leader of Hamas in Gaza said on Monday that Tehran was again its biggest provider of money and arms after years of tension over the civil war in Syria. Hamas had angered Iran by refusing to support its ally, Syrian President Bashar Assad, in the six-year civil war.
Haley described the Hamas leader’s statement as a “stunning admission.” Iran is subject to an arms embargo — with exceptions granted only in cases when it has received U.N. Security Council approval for imports or exports.
“Iran is showing its true colors. Iran must decide whether it wants to be a member of the community of nations that can be expected to take its international obligations seriously or whether it wants to be the leader of a jihadist terrorist movement. It cannot be both,” Haley said in a statement.
“It’s long past time for the international community to hold Iran to the same standard that all countries who actually value peace and security are held to,” she said.
US officials have agreed to let Iranian-backed militias take up positions in Syria less than ten kilometers from the Israeli Golan Heights, the Arabic daily Asharq Al Awsat reported Thursday.
The report appeared to back up Russian media claims that Moscow has ignored pleas from Israel to prevent Iran from exploiting Syria’s ongoing civil war to expand its military influence into Syrian territory.
Citing unnamed Western diplomatic sources, the report said a US team that was holding talks with their Russian counterparts in Amman, Jordan, to discuss the nationality of observer forces overseeing a July truce, backed down on some of their initial demands.
The report said the US agreed that Iranian-backed militias could be positioned as close as 8-16 kilometers (five to ten miles) from the Jordanian border and the Golan Heights, less than half the originally sought 32 kilometers (20 miles) distance.
In July, the Times of London reported that Israel was pushing Russia and the US for an agreement that would prevent “Hezbollah or other Iranian-backed militias” from operating in the area, which would extend some 30 miles (48 kilometers) beyond the Israeli-Syrian border on the Golan Heights.
The U.N. human rights chief – whose country prosecutes journalists for insulting the Prophet Muhammad – has jumped to the defense of media outlets targeted by President Trump.
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, U.N. high commissioner for human rights and a Jordanian prince, stepped into the U.S. political arena Wednesday as he condemned the president for what he called his repeated attacks on “three of the most respected news organizations in the world.”
He said he was referring to The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN and chastised the president for describing them as “liars” and “crooks.”
“To call these news organizations fake does tremendous damage and to refer to individual journalists in this way — I have to ask the question: is this not an incitement for others to attack journalists?” he asked at a press conference Wednesday in Geneva, Switzerland.
“It’s really quite amazing when you think that freedom of the press, not only a cornerstone of the Constitution but very much something the United States defended over the years, is now itself under attack from the president himself, it’s a sort of stunning turnaround,” Al Hussein said.
“Ultimately the sequences are a dangerous one. You have incitement, fear, self-censorship, banning and then violence,” Al Hussein said.
But Anne Bayefsky, director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust and president of Human Rights Voices, criticized the diplomat’s blunt attack on the U.S. president.
Over the last twelve months a series of meetings has been held at which Australian pro-Israel Christians have focused on the important ways in which we can express pro-actively our support of Israel, especially in these days when there is virulent international condemnation of a nation that is so tiny, yet huge in the heart and purposes of God.
As the United Nations continues to demonstrate its at times bizarre irrelevance and hostility in matters relating to Israel, 2017 is shaping to be a critical, historic and indeed prophetic year for Australia – and Aussies – to be seen as strong and dependable in standing shoulder to shoulder with Israel.
This year is significant for its many anniversaries for the Jewish world: 120 years since the first Zionist Congress; 100 years since the Charge of the Light Horse Brigade in Be’er-sheva; 100 years since the Balfour Declaration; 70 years since the UN partition vote; and 50 years since the miraculous Six Day War and the reunification of Jerusalem.
Those of us who are Christian supporters of Israel now have a unique opportunity to reaffirm our unwavering commitment to stand with Israel and the Jewish people, building on the first ever visit – yes, in 2017 – by a sitting Israeli Prime Minister to Australia, when Benjamin Netanyahu came to Sydney in February.
A smaller core group of leaders has met twice this year, and not surprisingly our focus has been on Jerusalem, the eternal and undivided capital of Israel. Sadly, Australia’s official position on the status of Jerusalem has been in keeping with that of the rest of the world, which is overwhelmingly anti-Israel and continues to withhold recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. It is time to end the double standard where Israel is the only country that does not get to choose its own capital.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s historic visit to Mexico and Argentina in mid-September is expected to improve trade ties for Israel, and to open a broader dialogue with Latin America’s Jewish community.
It marks the first time that a sitting Israeli head of state will visit the region.
“Netanyahu’s visit is an important instance in the strengthening of bilateral relations between Israel and Latin American countries,” Claudio Epelman, executive director of the Latin American Jewish Congress, told JNS.org.
The visit is also significant for the region’s Jewish communities, he said.
“In Latin America, there are many Jewish communities, all very different from each other, big and small, but they all share a great affection for the state of Israel,” Epelman explained. “[Netanyahu’s visit] is without a doubt an incredible opportunity for dialogue.”
Argentina, home to some 230,000 Jews, has the largest Jewish community in Latin America. There are approximately 50,000 Jews in Mexico, which has Latin America’s third-largest Jewish community, after Brazil.
Netanyahu’s visit is part of a broader effort to improve ties with non-traditional allies such as African and Asian countries, as well as Muslim-majority nations.
Communications Minister Ayoub Kara (Likud) declared that Israel will not tolerate incitement and encouragement of terrorism from media outlets, the haredi Kikar Hashabbat Hebrew website reported.
Minister Kara’s comments follow a report by Haaretz that the IDF closed an Arab radio station on suspicion of incitement.
“My policy of Communications Minister is clear and unequivocal: Any journalist who encourages terrorists will be arrested. Every radio station that incites against Israel and encourages terrorism will be shut down!”
According to the report in Haaretz, the IDF closed the Arab radio station Al-Huria, which operated from Hevron and encouraged terrorist attacks against Israelis.
This week, an Arab wedding singer was arrested for writing a song praising the terrorist attack in Halamish in which three members of the Salomon family were murdered in July.
The High Court of Justice on Friday instructed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to respond to a petition by right-wing Jewish activists to remove the metal detectors from the sole entrance to the Temple Mount used by Jews and other non-Muslim visitors.
The judge, Justice David Mintz, gave the government 50 days to reply to the petition filed by far-right lawyer Itamar Ben Gvir, who argued that Israel is discriminating against non-Muslims by subjecting them to security checks while allowing Muslims free access to the Jerusalem holy site through other gates, the Srugim news site reported.
Ben Gvir filed the suit on Thursday against Netanyahu, and many of the members of his cabinet, on behalf of himself and three well-known activists: Michael Ben Ari, Baruch Marzel and Bentzi Gopstein.
The African Quarter of the Old City, with the Council Gate to the Temple Mount at center. (Ilan Ben Zion/Times of Israel staff)
Non-Muslims are only permitted to enter the Temple Mount through the Mughrabi Gate, which is adjacent to the Western Wall. Ten other gates allow access only to Muslims.
“This petition is based on the principle of equality and against the unfair policy that discriminates against Jews and tourists and in favor of Muslims,” said the document filed with the court.
Yehuda Reines, a veteran farmer who lives in the northern Jordan Valley town of Mehola, told Arutz Sheva that the residents of the area face a severe water shortage which causes thousands of acres of agriculture to remain completely dry because of the water theft perpetrate by Arabs living in nearby villages.
The water theft is carried out systematically all year round, but in recent days it seems that the theft has reached record levels.
“There is no water in the morning in all the agricultural areas,” Reines said. He explained that there is a water drilling site near [the town of] Mehola, which was established in the 1970s. and since then the Arabs have been setting up pirate connections to steal water from the Mekorot [water company] pipes. According to Reines, the thefts had been relatively small-scale and did not concern the residents very much until relatively recently.
The Arabs have reportedly begun to steal vast quantities of water recently. “There is drilling of 1000 cubic meters per hour. 60-70% go to the Arabs, and the rest they steal. Therefore, on a hot day, it is impossible to find water, and it is possible that tomorrow there will be no water in our houses.”
“They connect to the main pipe and steal the water. Mekorot told us to ‘turn to the Civil Administration.’ but the director does nothing and says that Mekorot must handle the theft of the water along with the police.
“This is a country that has lost power. Every word I add is superfluous. Fifty years of settlement? Fifty years of disgrace. This is nothing else like it,” he said.
“Uri Ariel is the only one who tries to help. The defense minister is not doing anything. The Ministry of National Infrastructures does not do anything. The Civil Administration is the worst of them all. Each one blames the others, but in the end we don’t have water,” he lamented.
Farmers living on the southern border with Gaza have called on Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman to grant entry to hundreds of Palestinian workers from the coastal enclave.
Residents of Israel’s southern Shaar Hanegev and Eshkol regions sent Liberman a letter urging him to permit Gaza workers to enter Israel to work, Channel 2 news reported on Friday. The signatories said their request was based on both economic and humanitarian concerns.
“One is the need of farmers” for additional workers, they said. “The second is the welfare of the Gazan workers,” the letter added.
Although they live under constant threat of missiles fired by Hamas and other terrorist groups from the Gaza Strip, the Israeli farmers maintained that hiring Gazan workers would still be the best option for them.
“We have in mind the possibility of helping a little bit with the welfare of the families suffering in Gaza today,” they wrote. “In our opinion, improving the economic situation of our neighbors is in Israel’s interest.”
Cloudflare, an American cybersecurity company that has blocked the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer following the July 12 Charlottesville riot, refuses to block websites affiliated with Hamas, an Israeli advocacy group said Thursday.
Speaking with The Washington Times, Shurat Hadin Israeli Law Center Chairwoman Nitsana Darshan-Leitner questioned why the cybersecurity company was quick to oust a white supremacist website but still hosts accounts linked to the Gaza Strip-based terrorist group.
After giving Daily Stormer the boot, Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince said he was “afraid of the standard he was setting, and promised to work through the issues,” the report said.
Darshan-Leitner accused the company of hosting dozens of websites linked to Hamas and other designated terrorist organizations, which have amassed “higher body counts than American neo-Nazi sympathizers,” adding Cloudflare has a legal obligation to stop hosting such websites.
“This is not a matter of free speech. We are urging the company to comply with U.S. law,” she wrote in a letter to Prince. “By providing Hamas support, Cloudflare aids and abets terrorist attacks and makes itself liable for the dangerous violence being perpetrated.”
She said her group is considering taking legal action against Cloudflare if it fails to meet her request.
PreOccupiedTerritory: It’s Been Jihad Day’s Night (satire)
It’s been Jihad day’s night
And I’ve been hurting kikes and dogs
It’s been Jihad day’s night
I hear them weeping, sons of hogs
But with that heavenly crew
Of virgins seventy-two
I’m a Shaheed, all right.
You know I hurl grenades
To get some money (a martyr thing)
Stab and burn a Jew to hear EU say
We’re gonna give you everything
So why on Earth should I own
A single ethical bone
UN says we’re OK.
In my home
Everything’s used to incite
In my home
Killing Jews always feels right, right, yeah.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has called on Lebanon to come up with a plan to oust Israel from territory in the Golan Heights.
“We call on the state to devise a plan and take a sovereign decision to liberate the Shebaa Farms and the Kfarshouba Hills,” Nasrallah said in a televised speech Thursday, the Lebanese news website Naharnet reported.
Shebaa Farms, which is located along Israel’s border with Lebanon in the Golan Heights and known as Mount Dov, was captured by Israel from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War. While Nasrallah claims that the territory belongs to Lebanon, most of the international community, including Syria, does not recognize this claim.
Nasrallah also said he made a rare visit to Damascus to meet with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Since the Second Lebanon War in 2006, the terror chief has rarely left his network of secret bunkers.
The Hezbollah leader’s statements come after the terror group declared a victory in its battle against Islamic State in the border region between Lebanon and Syria. Around 600 Islamic State fighters were forced to leave the border area and were transferred into Islamic State-held territory in eastern Syria. Nasrallah said the victory thwarted plans by the US and Israel.
Israel has informed the UN peacekeeping mission in south Lebanon that a senior officer in the Lebanese army, who presides over a command position near the country’s border with Israel, is using his position to advance interests of the Hezbollah terror group in the area.
According to the Israeli claims made to UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon), Hezbollah deliberately planted Major Yahya Husseini in the Lebanese army as part of a broader effort to boost its influence within the military.
Husseini, the Israelis said, acts as Hezbollah’s “liaison officer” and is in continuous contact with the organization’s militants. Moreover, UNIFIL was told that he receives instructions from the organization and consistently provides it with information.
It is the first time that a well-known source with the military’s ranks has been exposed as a Hezbollah agent.
The IDF transferred the information to UNIFIL while demanding Husseini’s immediate removal. In addition, Israel’s ambassador to the UN Danny Danon raised the subject on Thursday during a meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, along with US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley and with other international ambassadors whose country’s support the Lebanese army, including France, and urged their immediate intervention.
For Iran, the atomic-armed North Korea offers a glimpse of a possible future, 20 years down the line, in which it has a nuclear weapon but paid a dear price for it.
The two countries have wildly different societies, and while North Korea has already created atomic bombs, Iran is not yet believed to possess any. But as international pariahs hell-bent on stocking nuclear weapons and the ballistic missiles to deliver them, Pyongyang and Tehran are inextricably linked.
Furthermore, North Korea serves as a kind of example — for better or worse — to Iran, which has learned from its mistakes and successes. And when Pyongyang fires a missile over Japan, as it did Tuesday, Iran can see how the world responds and takes that into account for its own future actions.
“You can’t compare Iran and North Korea now. You need to look and see how Iran is positioning itself for the future, in light of the example set by North Korea,” said Amos Yadlin, a former head of IDF Military Intelligence and current head of the Institute for National Security Studies think tank at Tel Aviv University.
Yaakov Amidror, a former national security adviser, noted in a position paper earlier this month that the connection between Iran and North Korea was demonstrated “in 2007, when Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, said, ‘Pay attention to North Korea’s conduct. What has come of two years of negotiation with North Korea? It led to [the West’s] acceptance of North Korea’s nuclear technologies in the field of uranium enrichment. So now, [the West] will accept ours.’”
Israel’s intensive diplomatic campaign in recent weeks, which included Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week, trips by senior Israeli defense officials to the United States and more, comes on the heels of updated situation assessments within the defense establishment suggesting that if nothing is done, the weapon manufacturing facilities Iran is building in Syria and Lebanon, Israel’s neighbors to the north, will become operational in the foreseeable future.
Behind closed doors, senior defense officials said that from Israel’s perspective, Iran’s weapons factories and deepening foothold in Syria “cross a red line.”
This week, Netanyahu told U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres that Iran was building sites to produce precision-guided missiles, both in Lebanon and Syria, and stressed that Israel could not come to terms with such a reality.
As early as several months ago, reports emerged that Iran was constructing weapon manufacturing facilities in Lebanon to upgrade Hezbollah’s missile capabilities from statistical to precision-based, to pose a far more credible threat to sensitive targets in Israel.
Currently, despite the tens of thousands of missiles and rockets in its arsenal, Hezbollah lacks precision missiles and has attempted to smuggle them into Lebanon through Syria in recent years. In many cases, those weapons smuggling convoys have been destroyed in a variety of ways in operations attributed to Israel, while Israel, for its part, has mostly maintained a policy of ambiguity on the matter.
Section T of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—as the agreement to restrict the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program is formally known—forbids Tehran from engaging in certain activities, and from producing or acquiring certain equipment, that would be necessary for building atomic weapons. Furthermore, it requires regular inspection of specific Iranian military sites. Yet, no such inspections seem to be taking place and, just earlier this week, an Iranian official stated outright that his government would not allow any such inspections. David Albright and Olli Heinonen explain:
Section-T verification requires the establishment of a routine inspection approach, which takes into account provisions for access to sensitive locations. Unlike the visits associated with the Parchin [research] site or past nuclear-weapons work, . . . Section-T verification should not be based on alleging violations but instead on ensuring compliance by regular IAEA monitoring. . . .
To verify Section T, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will need to ask Iran to describe or declare in writing its capabilities associated with [certain activities and types of equipment covered therein]. IAEA access [to the relevant sites] would be part of verifying these declarations. Iran may deny having any such capabilities, a statement which the IAEA would also have to verify. However, based on open sources and IAEA reporting, Iran is known to have engaged in activities covered by Section T. . . .
It is likely that some of the conditions in Section T are currently not being met and may in fact be violated by Iran.
The United States is pushing U.N. nuclear inspectors to check military sites in Iran to verify it is not breaching its nuclear deal with world powers. But for this to happen, inspectors must believe such checks are necessary and so far they do not, officials say.
Last week, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley visited the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is scrutinising compliance with the 2015 agreement, as part of a review of the pact by the administration of President Donald Trump. He has called it “the worst deal ever negotiated.”
After her talks with officials of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, Haley said: “There are numerous undeclared sites that have not been inspected. That is a problem.” Iran dismissed her demands as “merely a dream.”
The IAEA has the authority to request access to facilities in Iran, including military ones, if there are new and credible indications of banned nuclear activities there, according to officials from the agency and signatories to the deal.
But they said Washington has not provided such indications to back up its pressure on the IAEA to make such a request.
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