April 13, 2021

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10/02 Links: Col. Kemp: In the name of peace, it is time to accept Israel’s possession of the Golan Heights; Israeli public overwhelmingly in favor of Trump’s policies; Charles Aznavour Dies at 94


From Ian:

Col. Kemp: In the name of peace, it is time to accept Israel’s possession of the Golan Heights
This is really the crux of the issue: Western action now could make a concrete contribution to preventing conflict in the future.

Syria is now and will remain for the foreseeable future under the domination of Iran. Through both actions and words, we know the Iranian ayatollahs are intent on aggression against the Jewish State. They are establishing a land corridor from Iranian territory through Iraq and Syria to Israel’s border and plan to link their forces in that area with Hezbollah’s strong offensive forces, including 100,000 rockets, in southern Lebanon. They have positioned their own forces and their proxies where they can threaten Israel and are intent on building these up and maintaining them in position for the long-term.

The Syrian government, as the civil war dies down and when it reconstitutes its forces with Russian assistance, will itself threaten Israel at Iran’s behest; and Hezbollah and other Iranian proxy militias will also continue to do so. If these — or any other — malignant entities gain possession of the Golan Heights the threats of cross-border indirect fire could well escalate, leading to the deaths of Israeli civilians and forcing Israel into an overwhelming response that would cause significant bloodshed. This would potentially draw southern Lebanon into a conflict that could easily explode into a regional war.

Israel’s possession of the Heights on the other hand is never likely to translate into offensive action against anyone. Israel has only ever fought on the defensive and its government sees neither Syria nor Iran as targets for aggression.

Iran, Syria and other entities proclaim Israel’s occupation of the Golan as an excuse for conflict. Iran and its clients in the region including Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, count on a weak Western response to their aggression, with appeasement and judgments of moral equivalence serving repeatedly to encourage their violence. The other side of the coin is that unequivocal rejection by the West of this excuse would reduce the prospects of conflict.

We understand President Trump is now considering some form of recognition of Israel’s legitimate and necessary possession of the Golan. We strongly support this proposal and encourage all other Western nations that are genuinely interested in the cause of peace to do the same.

Colin Rubenstein: Trump right not to pander to Palestinian leaders

There have been important considerations missing from much discussion of the Trump administration’s recent moves regarding Israel and the Palestinians. For example, there is little comment about whether the behaviour of the Palestinian leadership in any way warrants Trump’s seemingly harder line, whether the moribund peace process needs to be shaken up and, if so, whether Trump’s moves may actually be productive.
Protesters fly Palestinian flags and chant anti Israel slogans.

Protesters fly Palestinian flags and chant anti Israel slogans.
Photo: AP

Palestinians and their supporters worry that Trump’s so-called “ultimate deal” may give the Palestinians less than they have previously been offered. However, offers providing the Palestinian leadership what they claim to want have failed to lead to peace, or even further negotiation, so clearly a new approach is warranted.

We know that Israeli offers of Palestinian statehood are not what has been lacking. Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak, working with Bill Clinton in 2000, and early 2001, offered the Palestinians statehood in Gaza and the vast majority of the West Bank. Instead of leading to peace, the terrorist second Intifada broke out.

In 2008, PM Ehud Olmert offered Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas a Palestinian state in all of Gaza, almost all of the West Bank, with land from inside Israel making up the balance, a land bridge between the West Bank and Gaza, a Palestinian capital in east Jerusalem, Palestinian control over Muslim holy sites and a limited return of Palestinian refugees, with a financial settlement for the rest. This was all that the PA had claimed to want, yet, as he admitted in 2015, Abbas rejected the offer “out of hand”.

More recently, since Benjamin Netanyahu became PM in 2008, Abbas has refused to genuinely negotiate despite Israeli confidence-building measures such as freezing building in settlements and releasing Palestinian prisoners who had killed Israelis. US envoy Martin Indyk has said that in 2014, Netanyahu was “sweating bullets” to make peace. Yet Abbas just walked away from those talks. Since then, Abbas has refused to negotiate at all.

Now, the PA has announced it is going to reject Trump’s deal, despite not even knowing what it entails.

Concealed Carry AP Covers Up Arafat’s Gun at the UN

In an article last week about dramatic moments at the United Nations (“Laughter at Trump among a long line of shocking UN moments“), the Associated Press covers up the most dramatic element of Yasser Arafat’s 1974 United Nations address: that he brought a gun to the international body and even delivered the address while openly sporting the holster.

In his Sept. 26 article, Tamer Fakahany obscures that Yasir Arafat actually brought his gun to the United Nations and wore the holster during his address, instead presenting the unprecedented nature of his appearance there as relating only to the statement: “Today I have come bearing an olive branch and a freedom fighter’s gun. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand. I repeat: Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand.”

The entire relevant passage in Fakahany’s piece states:
Yasser Arafat was the embodiment of the Palestinian quest for independence – a road littered with displacement and death. In 1974, he was invited to represent the Palestine Liberation Organization and his people before the world body, where he made it clear he was ready to use any means for statehood. He spoke of oppressed people and liberation the world over. Wearing his trademark Palestinian keffiyeh scarf, he concluded with an enduring quote: “Today I have come bearing an olive branch and a freedom fighter’s gun.Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand.”

While the piece explicitly notes that Arafat wore a keffiyeh, it leaves out the much more significant and historic fact that he wore a gun holster. (According to an earlier AP report, he was forced to deposit the gun before mounting the rostrum.)

PMW: Salaries rewarding terrorists won’t be stopped, says Director of PLO Commission of Prisoners

Ignoring the international criticism and condemnation of the Palestinian Authority’s rewarding terrorist murderers with generous salaries, Director of the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, Qadri Abu Bakr, has emphasized that these salaries will continue:

“Director of [PLO] Commission of Prisoners and Released Prisoners’ Affairs Qadri Abu Bakr emphasized that the leadership, led by [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas, will continue to support the resolve of the prisoners and their families and will not succumb to the Israeli and American pressures calling to stop the Martyrs’ (Shahids) and prisoners’ salaries (rawatib) and allowances (mukhassasat).” [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 21, 2018]

Abu Bakr further “expressed his pride in the prisoners, who did not hesitate to sacrifice years of their lives for the freedom of the country and the people…”

Abu Bakr echoed PA Chairman Abbas who recently said that Palestinian terrorists and murderers are “stars in the sky”:

Abbas: “We view the Martyrs and prisoners as stars in the sky of the Palestinian people and the sky of the Palestinian people’s struggle, and they have priority in everything…” [Official Palestinian Authority TV, July 24, 2018]

Abbas also stated that the last Palestinian penny would be spent on prisoners before being used for ongoing PA expenses. Abbas can say this because he knows that while foreign donors refuse to pay salaries to Palestinian terrorists many are willing to fund other PA expenses.

Ironically, while the foreign donors are condemning the PA’s paying $355 million in payments to terrorist prisoners and families of terrorist “Martyrs”, simultaneously they are the ones facilitating these terror rewards by covering the other expenses. 44% of the amount the PA receives from foreign donors is spent by the PA on terror rewards.

Israel’s ‘Nationality’ Law and Palestinian Lies

It is far from clear why the Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip should be concerned about Israel’s new Nation-State Law. The Palestinians living in these areas are not Israeli citizens and are not part of the Israeli political system. The Palestinians living in these areas have their own (Palestinian) citizenship, their own flag, their own parliament and their own government. They are not affected by the law in any way. This fact renders their opposition to the law little less than ridiculous.

This is the logic of Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinians: Israel defining itself as a Jewish state is an act of “racism” and “apartheid,” while, as a matter of course, the future Palestinian state will be an Islamic state governed by Sharia law, and that, presumably, is not an act of “racism” or “apartheid.”

Before condemning Israel for seeking to preserve its character as a Jewish state, the world needs to explain why it is all right for the Palestinians to plan that their future state will be ruled by Islamic law.

We are witnessing yet another remarkable mirror image brought to us by the Palestinians: once again, they seek to deny Israel precisely what they believe should come to them on a silver platter.

Foiled Paris attack plot was ordered by Tehran, French official says

French security services believe the Iranian government was behind a foiled bomb plot that aimed to target an opposition group in Paris in June, a diplomatic source told AFP.

“The head of operations at the intelligence ministry ordered it,” the source said Tuesday on condition of anonymity, referring to an alleged plot to bomb a meeting of the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran (MEK) in a Paris suburb.

Earlier on Wednesday, the French government announced it had frozen assets belonging to two Iranians and Iran’s ministry of security and intelligence in retaliation for the alleged attack plot. The plot had reportedly been thwarted by Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency.

“This extremely serious act envisaged on our territory could not go without a response,” France’s interior, foreign and economy ministers said in a rare joint statement.

“In taking this decision, France underlines its determination to fight against terrorism in all its forms, particularly on its own territory,” they added.

The foiled attack in June was to have targeted a meeting of some 25,000 Iranian opposition supporters which was also attended by leading US figures, including close allies of US President Donald Trump.

France freezes Iranian assets over Paris bomb plot said thwarted by Mossad

France said Tuesday that it had frozen assets belonging to Iran’s intelligence services and two Iranians in response to an alleged plot to bomb a meeting of Iranian opposition supporters near Paris last June.

The plot was reportedly thwarted by Israel’s Mossad spy agency.

“This extremely serious act envisaged on our territory could not go without a response,” France’s interior, foreign and economy ministers said in a rare joint statement.

“In taking this decision, France underlines its determination to fight against terrorism in all its forms, particularly on its own territory,” they added.

The decree announcing the asset freezes on Iran’s ministry of security and intelligence and on two Iranian men was published in the government gazette. It identified one of the men as Assadollah Asadi, a 47-year-old Iranian diplomat who was arrested over the bomb plot last month and is set to be extradited from Germany to Belgium for prosecution.

Asadi was targeted by France for the six-month asset freeze on Tuesday, along with another man named as Saeid Hashemi Moghadam.

French police raid Islamic center founded by Hezbollah supporter

French police detained three people and seized weapons during raids of a dozen homes and the headquarters of a Muslim association based outside the port city of Dunkirk during an anti-terrorism operation early Tuesday, officials said.

Authorities froze the funds of the Centre Zahra France, along with those of three other organizations and four men linked to the groups.

Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said the prefecture of the region was in the process of closing the prayer room of Zahra France, headquartered in Grande-Synthe. He said the three detained were taken in for illegal weapons possession. Police didn’t say what types of weapons were found.

About 200 police officers searched homes and the headquarters of the association.

Some French media reports said that Zahra France was a leading center for Shiite Islam in Europe and is suspected of links to Iranian-backed Hezbollah, based in Lebanon, and to the Palestinian Hamas. The information couldn’t be immediately confirmed.

Germany approves extradition of Iranian diplomat over alleged bomb plot

A German court said Monday it gave the green light for an Iranian diplomat linked to an alleged bomb plot against an Iranian opposition rally to be handed over to Belgium.

The superior regional court in Bamberg said in a statement that it had on September 27 approved the extradition of the Iranian diplomat based in Vienna who has been named as Assadollah Assadi.

“The wanted man cannot cite diplomatic immunity because he was on a several day holiday trip outside his host state Austria and not traveling between his host country and the state that dispatched him,” the court said.

The suspected plan to target a gathering of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) organized by dissident group The People’s Mujahedeen of Iran (MEK) in a Paris suburb came to light a few days after the June 30 event.

Hebrew media reported earlier this year that the plot was thwarted by Israel’s Mossad spy agency.

Six people were arrested in Belgium, France and Germany, two of whom were later released.

German prosecutors say Assadi, believed to be an intelligence agent, ordered a couple to attack the rally and had handed them the explosives at a June meeting in Luxembourg.

Israeli public overwhelmingly in favor of Trump’s policies

Public support in Israel for U.S. President Donald Trump is among the highest in the world, according to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center between May and August of this year that surveyed attitudes by country on Trump’s policies and performance on international issues.

Following the Trump’s administration’s controversial relocation of the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, popular Israeli support for the U.S. president jumped from 56% in 2017 to 69%.

Approximately 80% of Israelis polled expressed an overall favorable opinion of the U.S, and 52% of Israelis aid that the U.S. was doing more to address global issues than it was a few years ago. This is the largest percentage of any national population surveyed to say this.

When asked whether current U.S. policy took Israel’s interests into account, 86% responded yes, up from 69% who said the same in 2013.

When it comes to changes in U.S.-Israeli relations, 79% of Israelis polled said this past year had been marked by improved bilateral ties.

Over two-thirds (65%) of Israelis believed that it would be best for the world if the U.S. were the leading national superpower, with 13% saying they thought China should assume that role.

Trump also came out well in the Philippines and South Korea, both of whose positive ratings for the U.S. leader were over 80%.

US State Dept: Ten-Year U.S.-Israel Security Agreement Begins

On Oct. 1, “the ten-year period of the $38 billion Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the United States and Israel in 2016 begins. Under the terms of the MOU, the United States will set funding for Israel at levels of $3.3 billion in Foreign Military Financing and $500 million for cooperative programs for missile defense over each of the next ten years.”

“The MOU was negotiated under the previous Administration, reflecting the bi-partisan nature of this commitment. Israel is a valuable and capable ally to the United States that today faces dangerously escalating regional threats, first and foremost from the Iranian regime’s sponsorship of terrorist groups seeking to attack not only Israel but also American interests.”

“The United States unconditionally affirms Israel’s right to self-defense, and this MOU is a concrete demonstration of our commitment to Israel’s capacity to defend itself with a qualitative military edge over all potential regional adversaries.”

A different two-state solution

U.S. President Donald Trump threw out the term “two-states” at the United Nations Thursday, giving hope to proponents of the supposedly irreplaceable two-state solution and even spurring assurances from the likes of Haaretz editor-in-chief Aluf Benn that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would be handled with kid gloves should he take this path. Let us assume that Trump really does love the idea and that in a matter of months, he will present this plan as the “deal of the century,” what would it look like? The Clinton Parameters that were meant to be the basis for further negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians in 2000? Why would the Palestinians, who have already rejected this framework in the past, now suddenly accept it?

The only good thing about the “two-state solution” is the fact that the Palestinians reject it time and again, thereby saving us from ourselves.

But why do they reject the two-state solution?

First and foremost because it does not relate to their central ethos: The “right” of return – in other words, the right to drown Israel in millions of Palestinians. As long as they insist on this demand, there is no chance of finding a solution to the conflict.

But the truth is the Palestinians have better reasons to reject this framework. They know that a state divided between Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip in which, according to the framework, the “right of return” will be realized, will need to absorb and provide for the descendants of the descendants of “refugees” and, as such, is unsustainable. Such a country would be incapable of supporting itself and its residents and will be unable to defend itself. Such a country would be a pressure-cooker society that the Palestinians would divert to marches of return and attempts to cross the border. Such a state would mean inevitable war.

Norway mediating between Israel, Hamas for return of soldiers’ bodies – report

Norway is mediating between Israel and Hamas to negotiate the return of the bodies of captured IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar reported Monday.

The Hezbollah-affiliated outlet also reported that a Norwegian envoy visited Gaza last month and received permission from Hamas to begin mediation.

“The price for the soldiers is a respectable exchange deal, like the Shalit deal in 2011,” a source told the newspaper. “There is flexibility regarding the preconditions set by Hamas to open negotiations, including on the release of all prisoners released in the Shalit deal [who have since been re-detained].”

The ruling terror group has in the past mooted the possibility of an exchange, but the price would likely be high.

In 2011, Israel traded over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for the release of Gilad Shalit, a soldier held captive in Gaza for more than five years. Many were rearrested over the following years.

Four Israeli civilians — Avera Mengistu, Hisham al-Sayed and Juma Ibrahim Abu Ghanima and an unnamed individual — are also believed to have crossed into the Gaza Strip. Not all of them are necessarily being held captive by Hamas.

Last year, partly in response to the Goldin family’s campaign, Israel imposed new restrictions on the Islamist group, including refusing to return the bodies of its fighters.

A September poll found the majority of Israelis support ceasefire talks with Hamas, but oppose any deal with the Gaza-based terror group that does not include the release of the two soldiers’ bodies.

SFPD bias. The catch and release of terrorist wannabee Salim Ahmad Nasser

His name is Salim Ahmad Nasser. He violently attacked a peaceful celebration in honor of Israel’s independence in San Francisco. The attack was witnessed by members of the San Francisco Police Department and by dozens of others. And yet he was released without consequence, by an impotent police department that just couldn’t be bothered protecting the first amendment rights of the Jewish community

The “catch and release” policies of the San Francisco police department jeopardize free speech and lawful assembly in our community, and sends a message to Jewish community members that if they take to the streets, they do it alone.

The release of Salim Ahmad Nasser is just one in a series of incidents where attacks on Jewish community members have been ignored by the police department.

In the police report, filed on May 15 2018, Salim Nasser is described as “extremely angry” and “aggressive”. He was heard yelling profanities at the pro-Israel crowd that had gathered in celebration of Israel’s 70th anniversary. The police readily admit witnessing his assault on a young man with an Israeli flag. Nasser admitted knocking the young man to the ground. He is taken away, and summarily released. There is no consequence to his action. There was no jail time. No restraining order to keep him from attacking peaceful protests in the future.

The message to the pro-Israel and the Jewish community is chilling. The San Francisco Police Department is not committed to protecting our constitutional rights or our personal safety. SFPD- you can do better. We need you to do better.

Indonesia VP says he met Netanyahu at UN after bumping into him

Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla on Tuesday confirmed he met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York last week, but denied the encounter with the Israeli leader was a pre-planned secret meeting.

Kalla told reporters in Jakarta on Tuesday that even though the two countries have no diplomatic ties, he discussed Mideast peace initiatives with Netanyahu because it was important to “know both sides.”

He underscored “there was no private meeting,” for the two leaders to meet, but it was hard to avoid the Israeli leader at the annual General Assembly in New York.

“There were 190 heads of state, presidents and vice presidents, prime ministers, etc there,” Kalla said according to Antara News. “You could come face to face with anyone. You could not have avoided it. [Netanyahu] was suddenly just beside me, should I have turned around?”

“If we want to help create peace in a country we must know both sides,” he added. “Therefore, when we met and introduced each other we talked about peace.”

Israeli organizations begin relief operations in Indonesia after Tsunami

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) has been working in Indonesia since the catastrophic Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, which killed some 227,000 people, and over the last six years has developed a psychosocial curriculum in cooperation with its local partner for disasters exactly like the one that struck Sulawesi last week.

JDC’s Indonesia representative, in cooperation with its global disaster response team, is also engaging in needs assessments and working with local organizations to help ensure best practices among responders to protect vulnerable groups, including women, children, and the elderly.

“Our hearts go out once again to the people of Indonesia, who have suffered two tragic disasters in recent months and find themselves in need of immediate care and tools to better prepare themselves for future crises,” said JDC CEO David M. Schizer, referring also to the Lombok earthquake in August, which left over 550 people dead.

“As Jews around the world gather… to celebrate the conclusion of our High Holiday season, we are keenly aware of our blessings, our responsibility to repair a broken world, and the need to act now to deliver hope to those facing so much despair,” he said.

IsraAid, Israel’s foreign aid agency, is also participating in relief operations, with a small team of approximately five workers expected to depart to Indonesia on Wednesday, despite Israel having no diplomatic relations with the majority Muslim country.

The team will distribute emergency supplies including food, water, blankets and tents, and also begin assessments for the long-term needs of the affected populations.

And the UK-based World Jewish Relief has launched an Indonesian Earthquake and Tsunami Appeal and hopes to provide food, water, medical and hygiene kits, sanitation services, and shelter for those affected by the disaster.

Gaza border towns honor Christian group for support in face of terror

Israeli communities near the border with Gaza expressed gratitude on Tuesday to the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) for providing support and assistance to residents who endured fires sparked by incendiary kites and balloons on an almost daily basis since March.

The fires have caused serious damage and have destroyed thousands of acres fields and orchards in the area.

Southern residents withstood another summer of rockets as the conflict between Hamas and Israel intensified.

The ICEJ responded by donating 17 all-terrain fire-fighting trailers and seven portable, steel bomb shelters, all in cooperation with their local NGO partner Operation Lifeshield.

A special ceremony honoring the pro-Israel Christian organization was held in Kibbutz Magen, hosted by Mayor Gadi Yarkoni and the Eshkol Regional Council. The ceremony followed the dedication of a bomb shelter at a youth sports club in Kibbutz Magen, which was donated by the ICEJ-Swiss branch.

The delegation, headed by ICEJ president Dr. Juergen Buehler, visited an IDF observation post overlooking Gaza near Kissufim, where delegates received a security briefing from the Eshkol Region’s chief security officer, Elan Isaacson, and saw a demonstration of the new fire-fighting trailers.

Palestinians, Arab Israelis hold general protest strike over nation-state law

Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem walked out Monday on a general strike in solidarity with Arab Israelis protesting Israel’s controversial nation-state law.

The action is also to protest steps taken by the Trump administration vis-a-vis the Palestinians, including the moving of the US embassy to Jerusalem and the cutting of funding to the UNRWA relief agency.

Joint (Arab) List MK Yousef Jabareen said the strike was a protest by Israeli Arabs who say the bill turns them into second and third class citizens

“The strike sends a message of opposition to the continued discrimination and racism towards the Arab public, which will not receive inferior citizenship status as second or third class citizens,” he said, according to the Ynet news site. “We were born in this country and will fight for national equality. Full and equal citizenship for all.”

The strike takes place on the anniversary of deadly October 2000 riots in which 13 Israeli Arabs were killed in clashes with Israeli police at the start of the Second Intifada.

In 2000, as the second Palestinian uprising gained momentum in the West Bank, Israeli Arabs took to the streets to protest the visit of then opposition leader Ariel Sharon to the Temple Mount — a move that angered Palestinian and Israeli Muslims and sparked the violence.

In clashes with Israel police officers, 13 protesters were killed.

UNRWA evacuates 10 top officials from Gaza to Israel amid fears for their safety

The Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA evacuated most of its international senior officials from the Gaza Strip Monday due to fears for their safety.

The overseas staffers had received death threats and threats of violence after the announcement of cuts and planned layoffs by the organization in the wake of the US decision that it would no longer fund the agency.

The officials were said to have been harassed by employees of the agency.

An UNRWA source said a protest was held Monday outside a Gaza City hotel where agency officials were meeting.

The officials were taken out of the coastal enclave via the Erez Crossing, despite the fact that the checkpoint was officially closed for the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

A source with knowledge of the situation said only six foreign staffers remained out of the 19 who are usually there.

The Israeli Defense Ministry unit that oversees the crossing said a number of foreign employees from the agency known as UNRWA “were evacuated from the Gaza Strip to Israel.”

The head and deputy head of UNRWA currently remain in Gaza, but Ynet reported that, according to multiple sources, they too may be evacuated in the future.

UNRWA confirmed later Monday it had “decided to temporarily withdraw part of its international staff from Gaza following a series of worrying security incidents affecting its personnel in the Strip.”

Why Mega-Projects for Saving Gaza Won’t Work

I was a member of a hopeful group of technocrats who developed a clear roadmap for Gaza after Israel’s unilateral disengagement in 2005, and then watched as that plan collapsed. On Sep. 12, 2005, I was among the first people to enter the evacuated Jewish settlements.

The scene I observed in the ex-settlements that day was one of utter anarchy and total chaos. Tens of thousands of people from Gaza took what they could from the buildings the Israeli settlers had left behind – from pipes and doors to concrete and other basic building materials. The Palestinian police were nowhere in sight. By the end of the day, little was left.

Not even in our worst nightmares could we have envisioned Gaza as it stands today: a place torn by more than a decade of bitter Palestinian political division, three wars between Hamas and Israel, and near total isolation from the rest of the world.

One lesson is clear: technical solutions to Gaza’s complex problems, absent a supportive political and security setting, are not likely to work. Yet this lesson and its policy implications don’t seem to be well understood today. The proposed solutions are all in the form of a “list of mega projects” to save Gaza’s collapsing economy.

Based on the experience of post-disengagement Gaza, these projects can be fully implemented only if Gaza’s political and security situation is stabilized first.

IDF Arabic-language Spokesperson to Lebanese FM: Stop Hezbollah terror

Israeli military’s Arabic-language spokesperson called on Lebanon’s foreign minister Monday to stop Hezbollah terror and take away their weapons near Beirut’s airport. The tweet by Maj. Avichai Adraee followed an invitation issued by Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil to foreign ambassadors to tour a site which Israel alleged was used by Hezbollah to try to build precision missiles.

“What do you want to say to the ambassadors Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil? You should first, stop the terror of Hezbollah and to take their weapons from near Beirut airport!” Adraee posted on Twitter on Monday.

“Have you checked well if ‘Party of God’ still owns the sites we have showed to the world or it doesn’t matter anymore?” “When the Lebanese Foreign Ministry invites ambassadors from different countries to respond to the Israeli ‘lies,’we should see what was supposed to happen (in Lebanon) since we discovered Hezbollah positions near Beirut airport. This time we [the IDF] must tell the truth!” he added.

Bassil extended the invitation to all foreign ambassadors in Lebanon for a meeting Monday afternoon at the Foreign Ministry, following allegations made Thursday by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations General Assembly. Netanyahu had said that several sites next to Rafic Hariri International Airport were used by Hezbollah in an attempt to convert non-precision ground-to- ground missiles to precision missiles to hit Israeli cities. According to Lebanon’s National News Agency, the meeting would begin at 3:00 p.m. when the ambassadors will “listen to the Ministry’s response to the allegations of Benjamin Netanyahu regarding the missile sites.” Following the presentation, the ambassadors would then “visit one of the sites near Beirut’s airport,” the report said.

Nabih Berri, speaker of Lebanon’s parliament, commended Bassil’s invitation, calling it a “necessary” move.

“Well done. This move is needed and necessary,” Berri was quoted by Lebanon’s Naharnet news website as saying, adding that “the claims are dangerous and must not be disregarded or addressed lightly. A national stand is necessary to address it.”

In 3 years, Russian strikes on Syria said to kill 18,000, half of them civilians

More than 18,000 people, nearly half of them civilians, have been killed in Russian air strikes on Syria since Moscow began its game-changing intervention three years ago, a monitor said Sunday.

Russia, a steadfast ally of Syria’s ruling regime, began carrying out bombing raids in the country on September 30, 2015 — more than four years into the devastating conflict.

Since then, they have killed 18,096 people, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

“That number includes 7,988 civilians, or nearly half of the total,” said Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman.

Another 5,233 Islamic State fighters were also killed in Russian strikes, with the rest of the dead including other rebels, Islamists and jihadists, the Britain-based monitor said.

Human rights groups and Western governments have criticized Russia’s air war in Syria, saying it bombs indiscriminately and targets civilian infrastructure including hospitals.

Iran fires missiles with anti-Israel, -US slogans into Syria over parade attack

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard launched six ballistic missiles as well as drone bombers early Monday toward eastern Syria, targeting terrorists it blamed for an attack on a military parade last month while also threatening Israel and other regional adversaries as Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers unravels.

The missiles had anti-Israel, anti-American and anti-Saudi slogans written on them. One missile shown on state television bore the slogans “Death to America, Death to Israel, Death to Al Saud,” referring to Saudi Arabia’s ruling family. The missile also bore in Arabic the phrase “kill the friends of Satan,” referring to a verse in the Quran on fighting infidels.

The missiles had enough range to strike regional US military bases and targets inside both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Iran’s supreme leader has called out the two Arab nations by name, accusing them of being behind the Sept. 22 attack on the parade in the Iranian city of Ahvaz, something denied by both Riyadh and Abu Dhabi.

Israel’s Hadashot TV news reported Monday night that one of the Iranian missiles crashed soon after launch.

Monday’s strike was the second missile attack by Iran in a month, and came as tensions rise ahead of renewed US sanctions targeting Tehran’s oil industry that will take effect in early November.

“This is the roaring of missiles belonging to the Revolutionary Guard of the Islamic Revolution,” an Iranian state TV reporter said as the missiles launched behind him. “In a few minutes, the world of arrogance — especially America, the (Israeli) Zionist regime and the Al Saud — will hear the sound of Iran’s repeated blows.” Al Saud is a reference to Saudi Arabia’s royal family.

Hitting back, Netanyahu says nuke watchdog hasn’t checked Iran site he revealed

Israel accused the UN nuclear watchdog of failing to inspect a suspected nuclear site in Iran Tuesday, pushing back against claims by the agency’s chief that it had checked all relevant nuclear sites in the Islamic Republic.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said the International Atomic Energy Agency had failed to look into an alleged nuclear warehouse he revealed during an address to the United Nations General Assembly last week.

“The IAEA is referring to the tests it conducted in various places in Iran, but does not relate to the specific site in Turquzabad the prime minister presented to the UN,” a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said.

During his UN speech on Thursday, Netanyahu showed pictures of what he said was a warehouse in Tehran storing up to 300 tons of nuclear material that he said Iran was holding onto in order to quickly restart its nuclear program.

He claimed the information had been shared with others, but the IAEA had failed to inspect the site, a claim his office repeated on Tuesday.

“There is no reason to wait,” the statement read. “The IAEA must inspect the site and immediately dispatch monitors with Geiger counters and the Prime Minister’s words will be seen as verifiably true.”‘

Earlier in the day, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano responded to the claims for the first time, saying that his agency had checked all relevant sites for breaches of the nuclear deal.

Netanyahu slams ‘ridiculous’ Iran effort to tie Israel to attack at parade

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday night castigated Iran for falsely seeking to tie Israel to an attack at a military parade in southern Iran last month in which at least 24 people were killed.

Netanyahu spoke after Iran fired missiles featuring slogans urging “Death to Israel” and “Death to America” at Islamic State targets in Syria earlier Monday that it said were connected to the attack. Tehran has blamed a range of adversaries, including Israel, the US, the Islamic State, and others, for the attack.

“Iran’s attempt to tie Israel to the terrorist attack in southern Iran is ridiculous,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “The fact that ‘Death to Israel’ was written on the missiles launched at Syria proves everything,” he added.

Germany’s actions prove its sympathies with authoritarians

The first few days of the United Nations General Assembly brought back a familiar image from the past two years: cocky German diplomats smirking and mocking something to do with the United States and much of the rest of the world, some Americans included, praising them for doing so.

Domestic American conflicts and conflicting messaging have led many to portray German Chancellor Angela Merkel as the new “leader of the free world,” more or less because she is the only European leader who is not involved in Brexit, has some substance behind her thinking, and can be remembered by people with a tenuous desire to follow global politics. However, before one crowns a new leader, a few key areas of German policy should be examined to see what a ruler Germany might be.

First is Germany’s policy towards Syria. As one of the largest humanitarian crises in the modern age, the situation in Syria is one that should have the attention of all members of the so-called free world. But Germany has fallen short.

For one thing, they have refused to conduct any useful action that could serve to stop trade between German companies and Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime. Such trade has led to parts used for the production and deployment of chemical weapons making their way from German factories to Assad’s arsenal to the homes of Syrian civilian families.

Germany has additionally refused to participate in strikes and military actions conducted by their NATO allies the United States, United Kingdom, and France to try to prevent the fur- ther deployment of chemical weapons against civilians. Germany has also continued to seek to preserve the Iran deal without taking into the considerations of Arab states and Israel, the states whose civilians are most at risk from Iranian unconventional warfare, which the Iran deal does not cover.

Germany’s best-selling paper calls for end of Iran trade to protect Israel

In an eye-popping commentary on Monday, Germany’s top-selling BILD newspaper urged businesses to stop trade with the Islamic Republic of Iran because of its terrorism and the regime’s goal of obliterating the Jewish state.

BILD’s foreign policy editor Julian Röpcke wrote, “This Iran cannot at this time be an ally, neither in the fight against terrorism, nor as an oil supplier or trade partner.” Röpcke, who reports on the Syrian war, wrote that Iran’s missile launches into Syria were a “message of terror. Because they carry the meter-long inscriptions ‘Death to Israel and ‘Death to the USA’ – and that is deadly serious for the mullahs.”

Röpcke noted that “Iran’s rockets were not fired against the Islamic State, rather against those who stand in the way of the corrupt regime in Tehran; against those who do not want to stand inactively by when Iran’s leader again and again propagates the ‘extermination’ of Israel.” The BILD has a daily circulation of approximately 1,581,000.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said on Monday that it launched six missiles at paramilitary groups located close to the Euphrates River. Iran’s clerical regime claims the missile attack was in response to a terrorism attack on a military parade in the Iranian city of Ahvaz last month. The attack killed 25 people in Ahvaz and injured an additional 60.

MEMRI: High-Ranking Retired General Leonid Ivashov: The Pro-Israeli Lobby Permeates All The Administrative Structures Of The Russian Federation; Russia’s Sovereignty Is At Stake

The former high ranking Russian military and public official, retired Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov, a former member of the Russian Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote a stream of consciousness style article, titled “Russia’s Sovereignty Is At Stake,” accusing the “Israeli lobby” of putting at stake Russia’s sovereignty. Ivashov is not known for restraint and in 2012, he compared U.S. actions in Libya to Hitler’s actions in Poland and claimed that Russia would employ military power in defense of Iran and Syria.[1]

Ivashov wrote the article for the Izborsk Club that groups ultranationalist conservatives and Communists who are united by their hatred for the West and their espousal of a Eurasian alternative. The philosopher Alexander Dugin is perhaps the club’s most famous member.

Ivashov accused the pro-Israeli lobby of the death of the Russian servicemen on board of the Russian Ilyushin-20, which was shot down over the Mediterranean, on September 17. He described Israel as a hostile power, and suggested taking immediate punitive counter-measures.

Below are excerpts from Ivashov’s article:[2]

If A Hostile Power Committed An Aggressive Act Against Our Aircraft, Then One Should Immediately Take Political And Diplomatic Measures

“The death of our servicemen on September 17 happened precisely because the pro-Israeli lobby in Russia tied the military to a certain format of activities that did not correspond to the realities of the military, strategic, and political situation in the region. Neither did it correspond to the missions that the Russian armed forces contingent conducts in Syria. I will remind you of a few details. Firstly, an entire package of agreements signed earlier, and even during the conflict in Syria, was humiliating to us. Back at the time of [former Minister of Defense of Russia Anatoliy] Serdyukov, we signed an agreement about intelligence sharing with Israel. What information could we give to Israel? Naturally, data about Syria, Iran, Turkey, the Arab countries. That is, the areas and countries which are Israel’s adversaries. That is, even back then we entered their service.

“Next — agreements on military and technical cooperation. We refused to send the S-300 even to Iran, although the Ministry of Defense supported deliveries under the signed contract. The Ministry of Defense declared that the S-300 would be supplied to the Syrian Arab Republic. They cancelled that decision and supplied nothing.

“We also remember how our Foreign Ministry interfered into the strategic situation, when the military made decisions together with the Syrian government and the army, organizing an offensive. At that time, there was a call from Kerry to Lavrov, and there was a pause, which was used by the rebel fighters, Israel, and the US with its satellites.

Iranian FM: Holocaust does not excuse Israeli apartheid policy

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused Israel of using the Holocaust as justification for “an apartheid policy in Palestine” in an interview with CBS News’ “Face the Nation” that aired Sunday.

Questioned about Iran’s Holocaust denial, Zarif said that “of course” the Holocaust happened.

“Iran has stated very clearly, we reject the killing of innocent people no matter what the numbers, no matter by who,” he said.

But the Holocaust “does not justify depriving others of their homeland. It does not justify building settlements in the territory of other people. It does not justify violating en mass the rights of Palestinians. The Holocaust cannot be used as a justification for an apartheid policy in Palestine,” Zarif said.

The Islamic republic holds an annual exhibition on Holocaust denial. Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad frequently denied the Holocaust and incumbent President Hassan Rouhani has said the question of whether the Holocaust happened and the extent of the slaughter was “a matter for historians and researchers to illuminate.”

In the interview, Zarif was asked to clarify Rouhani’s remarks alleging U.S. President Donald Trump had Nazi tendencies. “He didn’t call him such. He said these are behavior exhibiting the same type of approach,” Zarif responded.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blasted Rouhani over his comments at the time.

“For a Holocaust-denying country that is threatening Israel to compare the United States or its leader to Nazis is among the most outrageous things I have ever heard,” Pompeo had said.

Malaysian Prime Minister Doubles Down on Antisemitism, Calls Jews ‘Hook-Nosed,’ Denies the Holocaust

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad doubled down on his previous antisemitic and anti-Israel statements, calling Jews “hook-nosed” and denying the Holocaust in an interview with the BBC.

During an appearance on the network’s interview program Hardtalk, Mohamad was questioned about his antisemitism. He responded, “There are many races in this world, I have said nasty things about them but they never accused me of being anti-this or anti-that.”

Asked about his claim that Jews are “hook-nosed,” Mohamad said, “They are hook-nosed. Many people call the Malays flat-nosed. We did not object. We did not go to war for that.”

Mohamad repeated anti-Israel sentiments he expressed on Friday in his speech to the UN General Assembly blaming Israel for terrorism and all regional problems, saying, “If you are going to be truthful, the problem in the Middle East began with the creation of the State of Israel, that is the whole truth.”

He then openly denied the Holocaust, asserting, “But the Israelis are special, you cannot even mention that in the Holocaust it was not six million.”

Mohamad has been feted during his ongoing visit to Britain. According to the UK’s Daily Mail, on his initial arrival last week, Mohamad first visited Imperial College, where he was warmly welcomed by the vice-president and provost. He followed this with a visit to Oxford University, where he gave a speech at the Centre for Islamic Studies. He then made an appearance at Chatham House, a major British think tank.

Former PLO envoy in US takes over as top Palestinian diplomat in UK

Husam Zomlot, the Palestine Liberation Organization’s former top diplomat in Washington, DC, has taken on the role of head of the PLO’s mission in the United Kingdom.

Zomlot arrived in London last week, less than a month after US President Donald Trump’s administration ordered the PLO representative office in Washington closed.

“Today I took over as Palestine’s ambassador in Britain. My first meeting was with the Arab League Ambassador in London Ibrahim Mahi al-Din, a friend of Palestine,” Zomlot posted on his Facebook page on Monday.

He replaced Manuel Hassassian, who served as the head of the PLO mission in London for more than 10 years.

Zomlot has previously spent considerable time in London, earning a masters at the London School of Economics and a doctorate at the University of London, and serving briefly as charge d’affaires at the PLO mission in the UK.

Irish broadcaster won’t punish staff who refuse to attend Eurovision 2019

RTÉ, the Irish public broadcaster, said this week that it will not penalize staff members who don’t want to attend the 2019 Eurovision in Tel Aviv.

A spokesman for the broadcaster told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that it “confirmed in a meeting with representatives of the Irish campaign for a boycott of Eurovision 2019 in Israel that there will not be any sanction against anyone from within RTÉ who doesn’t wish travel to the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel on conscientious grounds.”

RTÉ said it did not believe any member of its staff had ever protested a Eurovision in the past. In 2012, the contest was held in Azerbaijan, and in 2009 it was held in Russia – both countries with questionable records on human rights.

“RTÉ is not aware of any previous case where RTÉ staff refused to travel to the Eurovision Song Contest on conscientious grounds,” the spokesman said.

The Ireland Palestinian Solidarity Campaign said it met last week with Dee Forbes, the director-general of RTÉ, and other officials from the public broadcaster. In a statement, the activist group said it presented the RTE representatives with a petition calling to boycott the Eurovision in Israel signed by more than 11,000 people.

Anti-Zionism meets anti-Semitism, as a sukkah is vandalized in New York City

This week in Carl Schurz Park on the Upper East Side of New York City, a community sukkah was vandalized, spray painted with the words “Free Gaza”.

The structure had been erected by Chabad to commemorate the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

According to Chabad:
In a neighborhood where an apartment with a balcony or private rooftop large enough to host a family sukkah costs about $4 million, public sukkahs are a must for just about anyone who wants to spend time and eat in a sukkah.

Even in New York City, Sukkahs in public area are at risk.

When anti-Israel graffitti vandalizes a Jewish religious structure, it is pure anti-Semitism.

True to Chabad tradition, the grafitti was painted over with messages of peace and unity.

Jewish groups call for activist Linda Sarsour to be banned from Canadian speaking event

New York resident Linda Sarsour may be a darling of the progressive movement south of the border, but her impending presence at a Muslim community convention on Oct. 6 has prompted calls for organizers to dis-invite her and has led to at least two online petitions, one of which calls for her to be banned from entering Canada.

Sarsour, the co-founder of the Women’s March on Washington and a prominent critic of Israel, is slated to address the Carry the Light convention, which runs at The International Centre in Mississauga, Ont., on Oct. 6 and 7. The event is sponsored by the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), an organization that has been accused of having links to the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) and B’nai Brith Canada have raised concerns about Sarsour’s participation at the conference, noting her support for Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Meanwhile, a petition posted by the Canadian Coalition for Responsible Government (CCRG) on the CitizenGO website is calling on the RCMP to prohibit Sarsour from entering the country. A second petition launched by B’nai Brith calls on ICNA to dis-invite Sarsour, as well as five other speakers.

“Judging by the roster of participating speakers, the event seems more likely to foment anti-Israel hatred and promote anti-Semitic and homophobic conspiracy theories within Toronto’s Muslim community,” B’nai Brith stated in a news release.

Polish PM slammed ‘greedy’ Jewish, American hedge fund owners

Poland’s prime minister was allegedly heard making anti-Semitic remarks in secret recordings from 2013, before he rose to power.

The recordings of Mateusz Morawiecki complaining to friends about “greedy” and rich “Americans, Jews, Germans, Englishmen, and Swiss” that run hedge funds were published today by the news site Onet.

Part of a corruption scandal, the remarks appeared in a 3-hour recording of Morawiecki, who was then a senior banker, discussing politics and finance with his friends at a prestigious Warsaw restaurant.

That conversation was part of a series of tapes that hammered the popularity of the then Civic-Platform led government and helped drive it from power in 2015, when it was replaced by Morawiecki’s right-wing Law and Justice party.

In another recording, then Interior Minister Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz appeared to ask the country’s central bank chief to give the economy a boost to help the government get re-elected. Under Polish law, the central bank must remain independent of politics.

Court says to return Nazi-looted Pissarro painting to Jewish owners

An American couple on Tuesday lost their bid to win back a painting by Impressionist master Camille Pissarro, as a French court confirmed it must be handed to the family of the Jewish collector it was looted from during World War II.

Wealthy art collectors Bruce and Robbi Toll had launched an appeal after a court ruled in November that the painting belonged by rights to the descendants of Simon Bauer, a Jewish businessman disappropriated by the Nazis in 1943.

The Tolls insisted they had no idea the painting, “La Cueillette” (“Picking Peas”), had been looted when they bought it at Christie’s in New York in 1995 for $800,000.

But the Paris appeals court ruled Tuesday that the original court decision stood, in a move hailed by the Bauer family.

The ruling “gives victims of the savagery committed by the Vichy government the right to recover their looted possessions, without a time limit,” their lawyer Cedric Fischer said in a statement.

Famed Egyptian author Youssef Ziedan wants to visit Israel

Well-known Egyptian philosopher, Islamic studies expert, lecturer and novelist Dr. Youssef Ziedan said he wants to lecture in Israel, “where they are more interested in [my] views than in Egypt.”

The author of Azazeel, a historic and theological novel that won him the International Prize for Arabic Fiction, said on Tuesday in an interview with Army Radio that it was “in Egypt’s interest to enter a genuine dialogue with Israel.”

Since the 1977 Camp David Accords, Egypt and Israel have shared close security and intelligence ties but almost no social or cultural cooperation.

The author, who has published more than 50 books, made headlines in 2015, when he insisted in an interview on Egyptian television on using the words beit hamikdash in Hebrew, referring to the Temple Mount, and explained why, in his opinion, Muslim claims to al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem were baseless.

“Al-Aqsa Mosque didn’t exist back then,” said Ziedan in the interview. “There was no city named al-Quds, and modern teachings claiming this are disastrous.”

Instead, he claimed that the phrase “al-Aqsa” refers to a mosque on the outskirts of the city of Ta’if, west of Mecca.

Legendary French Singer Charles Aznavour, Whose Family Rescued Jews During the Holocaust, Dies at 94

Legendary French singer Charles Aznavour, whose family helped rescue Jews during the Holocaust, died on Sunday at the age of 94.

Aznavour, commonly referred to as the “Frank Sinatra of France” was active as a musician and actor for nearly 70 years, releasing his first album in 1953. He wrote over a thousand songs and performed to sold out audiences all over the world well into his 90s.

Born in France to Armenian parents who fled the Turkish genocide in the early 20th century, Aznavour grew up in an immigrant neighborhood which included many Jewish families. It was only late in his life, however, that Israeli professor Yair Oron revealed that the Aznavours had rescued many of their Jewish neighbors during the Nazi occupation of France, hiding them from the German authorities who sought to deport them to the death camps.

“We grew up together” Aznavour said of his Jewish neighbors in an interview with Haaretz. “My father’s stall in the market was next to the stalls of Jewish merchants. Armenian merchants, among them my father, protected the Jewish stalls after they were arrested in the great deportation of Parisian Jews in June 1942.”

“Because of this,” he added, “the acceptance and concealment of Jews in our house during the war was the simple and natural thing from our point of view: They were our neighbors and friends, we had a shared life. We were for them and they were for us.”

Aznavour played in Israel numerous times, with his last appearance in the country taking place just last year. He had a lifelong affinity and affection for the Jewish state.

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