March 9, 2021

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09/06 Links: Israel-UAE normalization to be given peace treaty status; Richard Grenell: Serbia-Kosovo agreement results from Trump’s different brand of diplomacy; Malawi to open embassy in Jerusalem

From Ian:

Richard Grenell: Serbia-Kosovo agreement results from Trump’s different brand of diplomacy
Friday’s agreement reflects President Trump’s long-held vision for Kosovo and Serbia to focus on economic development, job creation and industrial development as prerequisites to the permanent resolution of political disputes. His belief from the start has been that trust is built first in the process of creating opportunities and futures for young people, rather than in the settlement of scores, symbolism or the righting of historical wrongs. The U.S. will spend the next year implementing these new agreements, and the people and governments of Kosovo and Serbia have the full trust of the U.S. government to carry them forward.

As a demonstration of good faith from the two parties toward the U.S., Serbia and Kosovo also committed Friday to cooperate with certain key U.S. policy priorities in the region. Both parties pledged to protect and promote freedom of religion, including renewed interfaith communication, protection of religious sites, and continued restitution of Holocaust-era heirless and unclaimed Jewish property. Both agreed to designate Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization and fully implement measures to restrict Hezbollah’s operations and financial activities in their jurisdictions. Both agreed to work with the U.S. government to decriminalize homosexuality in the 69 countries where it is currently illegal. And, perhaps most importantly of all, Serbia has pledged to move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, while Kosovo has agreed to mutual recognition with Israel.

Following on the heels of the Aug. 13 peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Friday’s agreement between Kosovo and Serbia to take steps toward economic normalization and an eventual peaceful coexistence demonstrates the achievements of President Trump and his administration’s sound engagement throughout the world. When the U.S. government prioritizes diplomacy over force, and understanding over threats, the world stands to benefit.

David Collier: The Jew-hating shame of Scotland and their lazy media

Lazy reporting

There is a right to protest and a high level of freedom must be granted. The people who are really letting everyone down on this issue are the media. It takes just a few hours of research into any of the demonstrating groups to realise they are extremists, racists, antisemites, Holocaust deniers and terrorist supporters. Much of this research has already been done and the information is publicly available. Yet media such as the ‘Daily Record’ report it simply as a ‘pro-Palestinian’ protest, even quoting the rancid Mick Napier and having time to introduce an Apartheid comparison.

Heather Carrick in the Glasgow Times put together a montage of pictures for the ‘pro-Palestine protest‘, mentioning criticism of Israel’s record, but failing to point out the relevance of both the Iranian and Pakistani flag captured in her photos. She did make sure however, that ‘black lives matter’ was given a prominent place.

Caitlin Hutchison of the Scottish Herald was probably the worst offender. Her report laid out the extremist case word for word, including the Apartheid smear and a full description of the content of leaflets being handed out. Hutchinson even praised the ‘social distancing’ demands of the organisers. Her readers would not have a clue that she was describing the activity of antisemites, terrorist sympathisers and rancid extremists. She is a hack.

The BBC had the protest as a backdrop to an interview, giving them plenty of unnecessary publicity. It is unlikely the BBC bothered to tell anyone this was a band of extremists.

Only the Scottish Sun, correctly identified the protest as being ‘anti-Israel’ and was responsible enough to balance out their reporting with allegations of antisemitism and criticism of the protestors.

A group of extremists and antisemites gathered outside to protest the arrival of a football team from the Jewish state. That is the news story here. If it should be shared it should be done to show people just what type of people are supporting the boycott Israel movement. That failure to report the truth – the news – is the central reason why anti-Israel hate has been spreading for decades. Instead of being researched and identified, the media is giving these racists and extremists sympathetic publicity. They are openly spreading hate.

Qanta Ahmed: As a Muslim American Trump admirer, I say to Joy Reid and Ilhan Omar: Shame on you!

Omar — like all Islamist sympathizers — seeks to silence any who dare criticize, examine or analyze Islam, Muslims, our institutions, our leaders, or any aspect of our societies.

Was Reid’s utter stupidity offensive? Perhaps. But more than offensive, Reid’s remarks were revelatory of her own rank ignorance. But were Reid’s remarks an assault on Islam? Hardly.

Stretching Reid’s remarks to anything close to anti-Muslim xenophobia (which is despicable in a liberal secular democracy where all minorities are protected and celebrated), Reid could be accused of xenophobia against Muslims, but this is not Islamophobia.

Islamists and their allies (including the left) recall that Omar met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2017 when she was a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives. Erdogan is the modern godfather of the Muslim Brotherhood — the mothership of Islamism.

Islamists and their sympathizers wield Islamophobia as a political and judicial shield against criticism and scrutiny of ideological Islamism. Omar seeks to silence not only the stupidity of Reid’s remarks, but any rights Reid might have to examine Muslims.

This does not excuse the dumb and dumber exchange we were all subjected to. But it does reveal in the left’s alliance with Islamism — whether Muslim Islamist sympathizers or a recognized far-left political commentator — how it demeans and devalues Muslims everywhere.

To Reid and Omar I say: shame on you both!

The Left’s ‘moral’ crusade against Israel and Zionism

For Israel to maintain its national identity as a Jewish and democratic state, they argue, it must “end the occupation” of Palestinians – as a moral obligation. This ignores basic questions, such as if it will empower terrorists. Since Palestinians define their proposed state as “from the river to the sea,” that means eliminating Israel. Yet, Palestinians have not defined what they mean by “Palestinian people.” Does that include Arab Palestinian citizens of Israel? What about millions of “refugees” in UNRWA-sponsored villages in Lebanon, Syria, and millions of Jordanian citizens who consider themselves to be Palestinians, and millions in the Gaza Strip?

“Ending the occupation” and establishing a PLO-led state in Judea and Samaria would mean uprooting a million Jews from their homes and endangering Israel’s existence. That’s a moral issue.

Condemning Israel for “the occupation,” moreover, applies not only to what Israel conquered in 1967, but also to what Palestinians call “the first occupation,” the 1948-49 war, the Nakba (catastrophe) – Israel’s establishment. This explains why Palestinians refuse to compromise; it violates their covenant and denies their Nakba narrative; it means admitting defeat.

Obviously, further withdrawals and “land swaps” (with or without an agreement) won’t protect Israel’s security or advance the cause of peace. Extending Israeli law and sovereignty to Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, on the other hand, is consistent with Zionism, and follows the same laws which Israel used to incorporate land which it conquered in the War of Independence.

Condemning Israel for “occupying and oppressing Palestinians,” however, has a far more pernicious and insidious effect. It encourages hatred of Jews and hatred of Israel.

Promoting the canard of “occupation” and blaming Israel not only tramples the memory of thousands of IDF soldiers and victims of Arab terrorism, and tens of thousands who were wounded. It legitimizes terrorists as “freedom fighters,” “martyrs” engaged in Jihad, a “holy war,” “resisting Israeli oppression,” and is used to promote terrorism and justify rewarding families of terrorists.

Hatred of Jews and Israel is not because of Israeli policies, but its existence. Nothing that Israel can do is enough – except to commit suicide.

Although moral and ethical arguments are important and persuasive, they must be weighed carefully in the light of reality and facts. When used to condemn Israel without understanding the issues and ignoring Palestinian terrorism and the danger of Iran/Hezbollah, such arguments are perverse; ironically, they are immoral.

Biden criticized by Jewish community for meeting with Farrakhan supporter

On August 23, he took to Facebook to post a picture of himself, and the message “my son is alive and stable,” in reference to the shooting. But earlier posts on the same account included racist slurs. In November 2017 he posted: “The same pink toe Jewish people that control the interest rate they control Minds and money.”

Other posts made between 2017 and 2019 included the phrases: “A jew can’t tell me sh*t period,” “The Jewish media picks and chooses who is a terrorist and [who] is not,” “A cracker jew can do whatever to a white woman for years but let a jig try it,” and “One day pink toes will burn frfr,” which stands for “for real for real,” according to The Washington Times.

He also posted “I’m with Farrakhan,” a reference to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has a history of making antisemitic comments, and said that the victims of the October 2018 Tree of Life shooting in Pittsburgh were warned ahead of time.

Biden has been sharply criticized for meeting with Blake, and accused of putting Black lives ahead of Jewish lives.

It is hypocrisy, it’s a double standard and people need to recognize that. It is just beyond comprehension,” Former New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a Democrat and leader within Brooklyn’s Jewish community told Fox News. “How in God’s name does the former vice president go and meet with this individual and praise this individual?”

Hikind called upon his fellow Democrats to “wake up,” accusing the party of “endangering” America.

“People are afraid and people in my community asked me, is there a future in America?” he asked. “This is what – this is where we are today. Is there a future in America?

“This the greatest country in the world,” he said. “We are not perfect, no one is perfect and no country is perfect. But this is the greatest country in the world.”

Israel-UAE normalization to be given peace treaty status — report

The normalization agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates will be defined as a “peace treaty” and will have similar legal status to the Jewish state’s peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan, according to an Israeli report on Saturday.

Quoting unnamed Israeli and American officials, the Walla news site said Israeli officials had asked counterparts in the United Arab Emirates to give the agreement the legal status of a peace treaty. The UAE agreed to the request, according to the report, which was not officially confirmed.

Making the agreement a peace treaty would put in on par with treaties reached with both Egypt and Jordan. It would require the approval of the Knesset in Israel and the UAE’s Federal National Council, though the Emirate’s actual decision-making power remains with the royals.

Unlike Egypt and Jordan, the only Arab countries with which Jerusalem has official ties, Israel and the United Arab Emirates were never at war. Officials in Jerusalem, Abu Dhabi and Washington, which brokered the deal, have nonetheless insisted on referring to it as a “peace deal.”

While a deal to normalize diplomatic relations was announced last month, the countries have yet to hash out an actual detailed agreement, which is expected to be signed in a White House ceremony.

Heads of Israel’s 2 largest banks to lead business delegations to UAE

The heads of Israel’s two largest banks will lead separate delegations to the United Arab Emirates this month after a formal agreement on banking and finance was signed by the two countries last week, the Reuters news agency reported on Sunday.

A delegation led by Bank Hapoalim will depart Israel on Tuesday for a trip with stops in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai for meetings with government officials as well as counterparts from the UAE’s banking sector.

Hapoalim CEO Dov Kotler told the news agency it was “a unique opportunity to establish economic relations and cooperation between our countries and their financial systems, which will yield economic growth for both parties.”

The statement added that there was an “immediate bilateral desire” for strong economic ties to be established between the two nations.
View of the Bank Hapoalim offices in the center of Tel Aviv, August 04, 2015 (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

The Globes financial newspaper reported that the delegation would examine joint lending ventures for projects such as desalination facilities and solar energy.

Iraqi Jews want to regain their citizenship

As the region is witnessing a new wave of normalization with Israel, Iraqi Jews are seeking an opportunity to visit their homeland, Iraq, just as Israelis are now able to visit the United Arab Emirates.

“Yesterday we celebrated the first flight from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi,” Linda Menuhin Abdul Aziz said in a video posted on her Facebook page. “We are passionately waiting for the time that we can fly from Tel Aviv to Baghdad and we welcome you as well here in Israel.” Linda is an Iraqi Jewish political analyst who left Iraq in 1971 after her father went missing.

Almost 70 years after stripping them from their nationality and forcibly expelling them from their homeland, Iraqi Jews still have not forgotten Iraq and they do not miss an opportunity in raising their demands for the restoration of their Iraqi citizenship.

“On the eve of your meetings with the US administration in Washington, please allow me to put before you this appeal, with the sincere hope that you will take a courageous stand to ensure justice is served for the Iraqi Jewish community, which has suffered decades of ostracism and exclusion,” Edwin Shuker, vice president of the board of deputies of British Jews and former vice president of the European Jewish Congress, wrote in a letter Aug. 19 addressed to Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.

The Iraqi Jewish community numbered about 150,000 in 1947, a year before the establishment of the State of Israel. A census taken in the early part of the 20th century concluded that 40% of the total population of the capital Baghdad was Jewish.

Stripped of their nationality and forcibly deported, the only option for the vast majority of Iraqi Jews was immigrating to Israel.

Malawi to open embassy in Jerusalem

The African country of Malawi over the weekend announced that it would open an embassy in Jerusalem, following similar announcements by Serbia and Kosovo.

To date, only the United States and Guatemala have embassies in Jerusalem, while the remainder of the 87 embassies in Israel are located in the Tel Aviv area.

The east African majority-Christian country has had relations with Israel since 1964, but neither country has opened an embassy on the other’s territory.

On Friday, Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera spoke of opening an embassy in Jerusalem as he addressed the country’s parliament and spoke of the need to reform its Foreign Ministry.

“The reforms will also include a review of our diplomatic presence, including our resolve to have new diplomatic missions in Lagos, Nigeria, and Jerusalem, Israel. I will be sharing more details about this in the near future.”

Should Malawi make good on its pledge, it would be the first African country to take this step.

The bulk of the international community has refused to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, holding that such status could only be granted upon conclusion of a final status agreement for a two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Turkey ‘disappointed’ by Kosovo’s move to recognize Israel

Ankara on Sunday voiced disappointment over majority-Muslim Kosovo’s decision to recognize Israel and set up its mission in Jerusalem.

A vocal advocate of the Palestinian cause, Turkey became one of the first countries to recognize Kosovo, which declared its independence from Serbia in 2008.

“Even the thought by Kosovo officials of taking such a step — which is a clear violation of international law — is disappointing,” the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.

The ministry called on the Kosovo leadership to avoid steps that would harm the legal status of Jerusalem.

Additionally, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday that Serbia would become the first European country to transfer its embassy to Jerusalem.

Kosovo will also set up its Israel mission in Jerusalem and in exchange earn Israel’s recognition, as it seeks to further legitimize its statehood.

These decisions come out of a US-brokered agreement between the two Balkan rivals.

Egypt forms Arab bloc to signal front against Turkey: report

President Sisi, Jordanian King and Iraqi PM signal Ankara they won’t stand idle in face of interventions

A tripartite summit held recently between Egypt, Jordan and Iraq was an initiative pushed forward by Egypt to signal Turkey it will not stand idle while Ankara continues its expansion policies in the Mediterranean and the Arab world, outlet Al Monitor reported on Saturday.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Jordanian King Abdullah II and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi all attended the one-day summit in Amman on August 25.

The summit officially concentrated on forming a security, diplomatic and economic bloc, according to Al Monitor, mentioning accelerated threats in the region, counter-terrorism and the need to push back “foreign interventions.”

But according to Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies expert Hassan Abu Taleb, the three Arab states have one common denominator: Turkey.

“Turkey is being condescending in the region by violating the principles of good neighborliness, out of its greed for natural resources — just like in Libya and the eastern Mediterranean — or its desire to impose its control — like in northern Syria and Iraq,” Abu Taleb stressed as quoted by Al Monitor.

“Through their alliance, the three countries want to address the Turkish scheme and foil it,” he stipulated.

Egypt and Jordan are willing to aid Iraq to thwart interventionist initiatives by Ankara on its soil, the expert said, while also helping it overcome its dependence on Iranian financial aid.

How anti-Israel media in MidEast ‘launders’ rumors about UAE, Israel

Al-Akhbar, an Arabic newspaper in Beirut, appears to have a scoop. It’s all about Israel and the UAE and the “first fruits” of normalization. Of course, such a scoop may serve an agenda. It could embarrass Israel or the UAE. It may please Iran, Hezbollah or other bad actors.

It apparently did not acquire the information on its own, but rather from another website it names as SouthFront. The story at SouthFront is: “Israel and UAE plan to create intelligence bases.” Publication date? August 28.

So why did Al-Akhbar wait until September 5 to publish this supposedly juicy information? Perhaps to time it with the Hamas and Hezbollah meeting over the weekend? It is not known why.
The report at SouthFront is based on some other “report,” supposedly from Arab and French sources, the article says. From SouthFront the information doesn’t travel directly to Lebanon. First it goes to Turkey, a key ally of Hamas and Qatar and one of the countries that oppose the UAE deal.
Turkey’s Anadolu reported that a “Yemeni tribal leader on Tuesday accused the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia of letting Israel onto the Yemeni island of Socotra.” It also references the SouthFront report and calls it an “American website specializing in military and strategic research.”

Palestinians: We’ll sever ties with nations that open a Jerusalem embassy

The Palestinian Authority will sever ties with any country that opens an embassy to Israel in Jerusalem, a top Palestinian official warned on Sunday, after Serbia, Kosovo and Malawi announced that they will be doing so in the near future.

“Palestine will sever its relations with any country that will move or open its embassy to Jerusalem,” PLO Executive Committee Secretary-General Saeb Erekat tweeted on Sunday.

“We urge all nation states to abide by international law, including security council resolutions 478 and 2334. Violating [international] law is a sign of weakness not strength,” Erekat said.

“The most obvious violation of international law is Israel’s annexation of east Jerusalem, and any recognition of such illegal annexation in any form is not only flagrant violation of int. law, but also total disrespect for the UN charter and the relevant UN resolutions.

“International law specified occupation by force of other people’s territory is the highest form of terrorism. Enough lies and blackmail. No one can normalize Israeli settlements, annexation and occupation.”

Israel annexed all of Jerusalem in the aftermath of the pre-1967 war and formalized that move in 1980.

Palestinians: Gulf states working to foil anti-normalization resolution

The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and other Gulf states are trying to foil a Palestinian draft resolution that aims to prevent normalization between Israel and the Arab countries, Palestinian officials said Sunday.

The draft resolution has been presented to the Arab League, whose foreign ministers are expected to hold a video conference on September 9 to discuss the latest developments concerning the Palestinian issue.

On Monday, Arab envoys to the Arab League will hold a meeting in preparation for Wednesday’s virtual conference.

The Palestinian draft resolution calls on all Arab states to adhere to the Arab Peace Initiative and United Nations resolutions pertaining to the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Adopted in 2002, the Arab Peace Initiative calls for normalizing relations between the Arab world and Israel in exchange for a full withdrawal by Israel to the pre-1967 armistice lines, a “just settlement” of the Palestinian refugee issue based on UN Resolution 194 and the establishment of a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.

The Palestinian Authority has accused the UAE of violating the terms of the Arab Peace Initiative by agreeing to normalize relations with Israel in exchange for nothing.

Report: Hezbollah, Hamas Leaders Meet to Discuss Growing Israeli-Arab Ties

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah met on Sunday with a Hamas delegation to Lebanon led by the terror group’s politburo head Ismail Haniyeh to discuss Arab countries’ normalization of relations with Israel, Hezbollah’s Al-Manar website reported.

The two discussed recent developments in the region, as well as “the dangers to the Palestinian cause, especially the so-called deal of the century and normalization attempts by Arab regimes with the Zionist entity and the nation’s responsibility in this regard,” the statement said.

Haniyeh and Nasrallah emphasized the bond between Hezbollah and Hamas, which they said was based on “brotherhood, jihad, patience” and a shared destiny. The two leaders stressed the stability of the “Axis of Resistance” (a political alliance between Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah) in the face of “all forms of pressures and threats.”

Also on Sunday, Haniyeh visited the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp in southern Lebanon, according to Al-Manar. During his visit, Haniyeh said the recent normalization agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel did not represent the true stance of the Arabs.

“Today’s meeting is in Beirut and Ain al-Hilweh, while tomorrow we will meet in Palestine and Al-Quds, God willing,” said Haniyeh, according to the report.

The Hamas leader stressed that the Palestinian “right of return” was “sacred,” and said that Hezbollah’s rockets “are the main retaliation to draw the map of Palestine on [the] battlefield.”

Has a Saudi imam called for normalization with Israel?

The Arab world was shocked this weekend when a senior religious figure in Saudi Arabia, the imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca and president of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais gave a sermon that was interpreted as a call for normalization with Israel.

According to news reports from across the Arab world, the sermon dealt with the prophet Muhammad’s first days in Mecca and the ties he formed with members of other religions, particularly Jews. The bottom line was that Muslims must practice religious tolerance, especially toward Jews.

“We must clean and purify Islam from the doubt and superstition that has stuck to it,” the imam said, referring to the hatred for members of other religions espoused by some members of radical schools of Islam.

In the past, Sudais has spoken to foreign news outlets about tolerance and accepting others, but the timing of this weekend’s sermon, in which he clearly referenced Jews, caused many media outlets to treat the sermon as a call for normalization.

While Saudi Arabia is insisting that it will establish diplomatic ties with Israel only after the latter signs a peace deal with the Palestinians, Riyadh welcomed normalization between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, and even helped the process by allowing Israeli flights to the UAE to cross Saudi airspace.

Jonathan S. Tobin: Justified Contempt for the International Criminal Court

It’s the sort of thing that infuriates those who have been complaining for three-and-a-half years that the Trump administration has no respect for the norms and traditions of international diplomacy. By placing sanctions on two top officials at the International Criminal Court, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo bluntly rejected the notion that multilateral institutions deserved the respect and deference of the American government.

This contempt for the international court roughly sums up the administration’s attitude towards the United Nations and a host of other world bodies. Critics see this as the embodiment of everything they hate about President Donald Trump’s “America First” foreign policy. Instead of embracing the internationalist tradition that has largely guided the American approach to world affairs since the end of the Second World War, Trump judges international institutions by whether or not they serve the interests of the United States and its allies.

But the US attack on the ICC is a long overdue dose of reality. The court and the entire network of global entities that Trump scorns operate as parodies of the postwar idealism that created them. Trump’s critics in the foreign-policy establishment, the media, and those who are poised to reshape American foreign policy if former Vice President Joe Biden wins in November are blasting the decision. But they should realize that Trump’s approach to the issue is not merely popular but far more realistic than their blind faith in multilateralism.

The particular targets of the US sanctions may claim to be defenders of international law but are, in fact, exactly the kind of individuals that specialize in engendering disrespect for the concept.

Instead of total closure in red zones, nightly lockdowns expected

The Ministerial Committee on Restricted Zones agreed to push off its discussion about a possible lockdown on red cities following pressure from haredi (ultra-Orthodox) politicians and leaders.

Haredi politicians complained that their cities should not be closed and that an alternative had to be found. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pulled together a quick meeting of Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, Interior Minister Arye Deri, Housing and Construction Minister Ya’acov Litzman and coronavirus commissioner Prof. Ronni Gamzu to come up with a solution.

The resolution: a night closure in around 40 red cities across the country that will run daily from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., closing schools in these communities and shutting down all commerce after 7 p.m. as well. The restrictions would go into effect for two weeks and then be reevaluated.
The discussion of the committee meeting began at 6:15 p.m.

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz reacted to the decision to postpone the closure, saying: “The calculation is simple. 3,000 verified coronavirus patients a day, that is more than a million patients a year. There is no escape from a general closure and immediate and sharp measures, which are the only way to dramatically reduce the number of patients.”

The meeting with the haredi ministers was spawned by a scathing letter sent by a group of ultra-Orthodox mayors to Netanyahu earlier Sunday, informing him that they would not cooperate with a closure.

Coronavirus czar: The High Holy Days terrify me

Coronavirus czar Prof. Ronni Gamzu said he feels like he is “attacked with artillery” for trying to cure the country of the novel coronavirus, which will likely involve closures of cities with high infection rates.

In one of his most impassioned speeches, Gamzu appealed to the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee and haredi (ultra-Orthodox) Knesset members, stating that the “upcoming High Holy Days are terrifying” and that a nationwide closure is still on the table, though he does not want to think that way.

“Some people say he’s crazy,” Gamzu said of how people refer to him. “How does one catch coronavirus from school? How does he come up with this traffic light plan?

“Well, at the end of the day, the responsibility lies with me,” Gamzu said. “I see the struggling society, the people who want to return to their normal lives, whose businesses have collapsed. Of course, I see Arab society and the ultra-Orthodox.”

He said that part of the problem is that the country has not addressed these communities for years and that the coronavirus is attacking sectors of Israel that were already in difficult socioeconomic situations.

“It is in front of my eyes,” he continued. “I am not exactly looking to make it more difficult for these places.”

Gamzu reminded the room that he is trying to stave off a total, national lockdown. He said that there are those who say he will have no choice.

IDF: Assailant tries to stab soldiers outside Ariel in West Bank, is shot

An assailant approached a group of soldiers outside the settlement-city of Ariel and attempted to stab them before running away on Sunday afternoon, the Israel Defense Forces said.

No soldiers were wounded in the failed attack at the Ariel Junction in the northern West Bank, according to the military.

The suspect was shot in the leg and captured a short distance away from the attempted stabbing. It was not immediately clear who shot and arrested the suspect. Both the IDF and Israel Police said that their forces did so.

“IDF troops chased after the assailant and performed an arrest, which included gunfire, and detained him,” the military said in a statement.

Police said a group of officers saw soldiers chasing after the suspect and joined the effort.

“One of the officers who saw the assailant hiding in some bushes yelled at him to stop a number of times, but when he continued to flee, the officer approached and fired in the air. When he didn’t respond to the calls to stop, he fired at [the suspect’s] legs and subdued him,” police said.

The IDF said it was aware of the discrepancy and was looking into the matter.

A boning knife was recovered at the scene. The identity of the suspect was not immediately released.

Under the Radar: The History of Israeli-Palestinian Security Cooperation

Disengagement, Annexation and Beyond

The security relationship with Israel and the Palestinians resumed and has continued in the West Bank despite Hamas’ takeover of Gaza following the Jewish state’s 2005 disengagement from the coastal enclave. The cooperation has had mutually beneficial effects. For example, in January 2016 PA security commander Majed Faraj reported that his forces had thwarted 200 terror attacks against Israel in the three previous months alone.

In response, Faraj was verbally attacked by the leaders of three Palestinian factions. A Hamas spokesman said that it was clear that “protecting the security of the occupation [Israel] had become part of the ideology of the Palestinian security forces.” The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine insisted that the PA was “burying the Intifada” and that Ramallah’s “role had always been to serve the security interests of the occupation.” The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine called Faraj’s admission “a political scandal.”

Accordingly, PA President Mahmoud Abbas has in the past repeatedly threatened to end security coordination with Israel in order to enhance his “resistance” bona fides. Nevertheless, he has never fully done so given that the IDF, in particular, has played a huge role in stabilizing the PA and ensuring that the West Bank is not overrun by Hamas.

Overall, then, it is unsurprising that Abbas announced an end to security relations with Israel in the wake of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s vow to annex as early as July 1 parts of the West Bank in accordance with President Donald Trump’s peace plan.

It is perhaps even less surprising that PA officials now seem bent on renewing the partnership, a move most of Israeli officialdom would surely welcome.

In addition to reducing the amount of violence in both the West Bank and Israel, any and every line of communication that remains open keeps hope alive for resolving the century-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Hezbollah, like Iran, can depend on Europe

How do you say “beating a dead horse” in French? It looks like French President Emmanuel Macron is trying to revive a body, Hezbollah, that would be better for it and the world if it died. Or to be more exact, if its international legitimacy died.

Countries across the world, including Argentine, Australia, and Canada, as well as organizations such as the Arab League, define Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. The ones that don’t designate Hezbollah as a whole a terrorist organization – like the European Union, France, and Japan – define at least its military arm as a terrorist entity. Only this past year have other countries like Lithuania and Austria started to do so, as well.

And these aren’t the only problems to fall on the organization recently. In the past few months, popular protests have swept across Lebanon. Hezbollah, as part of the government, is seen by many of the protesters as responsible for the economic and social crisis that have engulfed the country. It started even before coronavirus. There are even some brave protesters who blame Hezbollah for an obsession with wiping out Israel that has hurt its ability to care for the Lebanese people. These trends gained traction after the explosion at the Beirut Port, which caused heavy damage as well as casualties.

And then came French President Emmanuel Macron. In a true post-colonialist world, he would have no reason to be there, other than to express solidarity and offer to help. But the former superpower that used to rule Lebanon still maintains far-reaching ties with its former colony. Macron has taken it upon himself to solve the political crisis in Lebanon, a mission that includes frequent visits and meetings with high-ranking officials. He limits himself not only to talks with legitimate, consensus officials, but also meets with representatives of Hezbollah.

As expected, the French president is not particularly proud of those meetings. On camera, he even voiced harsh criticism of a reporter from Le Figaro who published an article about the meeting. If only he could have announced that Hezbollah had shown a real willingness to accept new rules. But Hezbollah demonstrated blatant disregard for the French leader, to the point where representatives walked out of a dinner with him because he had brought wine.

Iran claims it’s identified saboteurs behind blast at nuclear site

Iran has identified those behind an explosion at one of its nuclear sites earlier this year and knows their motives for attacking the facility, an Iranian official said on Sunday.

Atomic Energy Organization of Iran spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said during a television interview that the July incident at the Natanz facility was “an act of sabotage” and the investigation is still ongoing.

“As far as we know, they have identified the culprits and know their incentives and methods and actually, they have full knowledge over the issue,” Kamalvandi said, according to an English-language report on his remarks by the semi-official Fars News Agency.

Kamalvandi said he does not have full details of the ongoing investigation and that no more information can be provided for the time being.

Last month Kamalvandi confirmed for the first time that the Natanz blast was sabotage.

The July 2 explosion, which foreign media reports have attributed to Israel or the US, damaged an advanced centrifuge development and assembly plant. Kamalvandi has said that it did not interrupt operations but has vowed that Iran would respond if international actors were found to be behind the explosion.

Iran airs purported confession by wrestler sentenced to death for murder

In video footage aired by Iranian state TV Saturday, a champion wrestler condemned to death after being convicted of murder could be seen apparently confessing to the crime.

Navid Afkarai had been found guilty of the “voluntary homicide” of a water department worker, Hassan Turkman, in Shiraz, southern Iran, who was stabbed to death on August 2, 2018.

Shiraz and several other urban centers across Iran were the scene that day of anti-government protests and demonstrations over economic and social hardship.

Reports published abroad said Afkari, 27, was condemned on the basis of confessions extracted under torture, prompting online campaigns of support for his release.

In the footage aired Saturday, Afkari could be seen making a stabbing gesture during a police reconstruction of Turkman’s killing.

“I hit twice, once and then again,” he said, according to Reuters.

The TV station also showed what it said was a written confession by the wrestler. However, Afkari, in a recording shared on social media, could be heard saying he was forced to sign it.

On Friday, US President Donald Trump joined the international campaign to free Afkari.

The daring nun who hid and saved 83 Jewish children

Two Jewish girls from Alsace found themselves in great danger when Germany invaded France 80 years ago. But while their parents and younger sister were caught and murdered, they survived – with dozens of other Jewish children – thanks to the bravery of a nun in a convent near Toulouse.

Twelve-year-old Hélène Bach was playing in the garden with her younger sister, Ida, when they saw a military truck approaching and rushed inside.

The two girls and their mother had left their home in Lorraine, north-eastern France, after the German invasion in May 1940 and started travelling towards the “free zone” in the south of the country.

To reduce the risk of the whole family being caught, it had been decided that the father, Aron, and oldest daughter, Annie, would make the journey separately. But when Aron and Annie were arrested in 1941 and taken to a detention camp near Tours, Hélène’s mother rented a house nearby. And they were still there a year later, when the German soldiers came driving up the road.

Hélène and eight-year-old Ida ran into the kitchen to warn their mother.

“My mother told us to run – to hide in the woods,” Hélène says. “I was holding my little sister by the hand but she did not want to come with me. She wanted to go back to my mother. I could hear the Germans. I let her hand go and she ran back.”

Isolated in the woods, Hélène hid until she felt the coast was clear.

Then she crept back to the house and found some money her mother had left on the table.

“She knew I would come back,” she says.

Hélène went to stay with a friend she’d made in the area. She never saw her mother or younger sister again.

New documentary shows former Nazis unrepentant, even proud of serving in the SS

Interviews with former Nazis during Adolf Hitlers rule cast strong doubt on the claim that German were unaware the Holocaust was going on during World War II, the makers of a chilling new documentary said Thursday.

The acclaimed British director Luke Holland interviewed more than 300 elderly Germans and Austrians, including many former SS members, for “Final Account,” which is being premiered at the Venice film festival.

Holland, who died in June, spent more than a decade befriending former Nazis and persuading them to talk about what they knew for his monumental work, which drew prolonged applause from critics.

The Hollywood Reporter praised the film as “exceptional” and said it may be the last chance to hear from “active participants in the horrors of the concentration camps.”

Producer Sam Pope said the remarkable testimony Holland gathered was because he spent years gaining the trust of his subjects.

While many struggled with their consciences, others were unrepentant and proud of serving in the SS “where you could rely on every man 100 percent.”

Others denied the Holocaust while openly admitting they knew about massacres. “Don’t blame Hitler,” one said. “The idea was correct… [but the Jews] should have been driven out of the country” rather than killed.

But Pope said the interviews with non-combatants, particularly women, gave the lie to the idea that few ordinary people in Germany and Austria knew what was going on.

“A common refrain was that it was after the war that we learned of these horrible crimes,” the producer told reporters.

“In the process of these interviews I think that as a possibility becomes vanishingly small.”

“Even if you weren’t there or didn’t participate, you knew someone, or had heard a rumor. Your brother who was a soldier came home and told you stories,” said Pope.

Teenager from Rugby linked to neo-Nazi groups faces terror charge after praising terrorists and searching about guns online

A seventeen-year-old from Rugby linked to neo-Nazi groups is facing a terror charge in Birmingham Crown Court.

The court was told that the defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had “graphic” video footage of a terrorist attack on his telephone and had searched the internet for information about guns, including how to convert a gun that fires blanks into a live weapon.

He had also apparently praised the terrorist who carried out the mass shooting last year in Christchurch, New Zealand, describing such perpetrators as “saints”.

His original trial was ended by the pandemic lockdown earlier this year, and the retrial has now commenced, with jurors told that he had adopted the “twisted ideology” of Nazis and white supremacists and had participated in far-right chat groups online, where he shared the information about firearms that he had learned.

Tel Aviv University attempts to treat skin cancer with nanotechnology

Researchers at Tel Aviv University have designed a drug delivery system for the treatment of skin cancer melanoma that relies on nanotechnology, according to a university statement.

The “nanocarrier” is made up of biocompatible and biodegradable polymer, which is comprised of “repeating units of glutamic acids” (PGA – polyglutamic acid), and packages two different families of drugs together that have both been proven to be effective in the treatment of melanoma: BRAF inhibitors (Dabrafenib) and MEK inhibitors (Selumetinib).

“One of the major obstacles of the biological treatments is that after a while, the cancer cells develop resistance to the drugs,” said leading researcher Prof. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro from the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at the Sackler School of Medicine. “We assume that by precise delivery of two or more targeted drugs that will attack the cancer cells forcefully and simultaneously from different directions, we can delay or even prevent the acquisition of this drug-resistance.”

Their findings were published in the August 2020 issue of Advanced Therapeutics as the cover article.

Netta Barzilai covers classic song from Disney’s Mary Poppins

Singer Netta Barzilai is taking on Dame Julie Andrews with her cover of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” for Disney Records, the “Mary Poppins” song about extraordinarily good, wonderful things.

“Rock on, Netta Barzilai. We’re OBSESSED. #DisneySingalong” was the post on the Disney Records Facebook page.

Dressed in fairytale princess whites with purple tresses, Barzilai used her looper, the electronic keyboard that allows musicians to record what they are playing or singing and then repeat, or “loop,” it while playing over the part.

It’s the instrument Barzilai used for several years during her music studies, and which she used to great effect for her performance of “Toy,” the song with which she won the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest for Israel.

“When Walt Disney Records gives you the opportunity to put a spin on an iconic Disney song, you don’t turn it down!” Barzilai says.

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