April 12, 2021

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10/03 Links Pt1: UN Watch slams UNRWA officials who ‘fled Gaza to Israel’; ntellectuals, Journalists In Gulf Attack Hizbullah Following Israeli Revelation Of Its Missile Sites In Beirut


From Ian:

Bibi’s Rallying Cry
“Anyone but King Bibi,” is the sort of derisive comment you’ll hear from a Tel Aviv resident in a bar after a couple of Goldstar lagers. But Israel’s prime minister earned the nickname as praise after his United Nations appearance last week. Like him or not, Benjamin Netanyahu has proven effective at moving the ball down the court on the Iran issue. Even the extreme leftwing Haaretz complimented him for “one of his most convincing and effective performances.”

It was a far cry from the Obama years when Netanyahu appeared to be “on the wrong side of history,” a worn-out phrase favored by our ex-president, who could now use it to describe himself. As Netanyahu said: “When I spoke here three years ago Israel stood alone among the nations. Of the nearly 200 countries that sit in this hall, only Israel openly opposed the nuclear deal with Iran.”

The difference this time is that Netanyahu has a 500-pound gorilla grinning behind him. On this issue America has Israel’s back. Even as a candidate, Trump blasted the Iran deal as a sham. In May, he announced the United States was exiting the deal. In August, he re-imposed sanctions. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine the United States could have done more to signal its support last week. “We are with Israel 100%,” the president said at a joint press conference with Netanyahu Wednesday, a day after shredding Iran in a speech at the General Assembly in which he said Iran’s leaders “sow chaos, death, and destruction” and “spread mayhem across the Middle East and far beyond.”

National Security Adviser John Bolton got his shots in during a speech in New York, warning Iran of “hell to pay” if it defies America. “The days of impunity for Tehran and its enablers are over.” Netanyahu also held warm meetings with U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Watchdog slams UNRWA officials who ‘fled Gaza to Israel’

Hillel Neuer, director of U.N. Watch, a nongovernmental organization that monitors the U.N.’s performance, ridiculed UNRWA’s decision, saying it only confronts Hamas, the terrorist group that rules Gaza, when its employees’ well-being is jeopardized.

“UNRWA foreign staff flee Gaza to Israel after Hamas allows protests, death threats [against them]. Yet not one word criticizing Hamas from UNRWA, its chief [Pierre] Kraehenbuehl, spokesperson Chris Gunness or Gaza chief Matthias Schmale. But they attack Israel daily,” Neuer tweeted.

“Case in point of UNRWA hypocrisy. Hamas-led attacks on Israel border with guns, grenades, Molotov cocktails and wirecutters is Palestinians ‘exercising their right to protest.’ Protests targeting UNRWA’s German and British managers is ‘threat to security.'”

Kulanu MK and former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren also lambasted the agency, tweeting, “Hypocrisy or stupidity? Funny how the agency speaks of the Palestinians’ right to protest when Hamas organizes ‘Marches of Return’ [the weekly violent demonstrations on the Gaza border, which include terrorist attacks on Israeli troops], but now UNRWA directors are fleeing for their lives into Israel because Hamas has threatened them. Confused? Me too.”

According to Israeli officials, about 10 UNRWA employees were taken out of the Gaza Strip, but the agency’s director of operations and deputy have remained there.

IDF denies Palestinian claims of fatally shooting elderly Gaza farmer

The Israel Defense Forces rejected a Palestinian claim that troops on Tuesday shot dead an elderly farmer in the Gaza Strip, saying it was unaware of any shooting incidents in the area at the time.

Earlier the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry said a 78-year-old Palestinian, Ibrahim Ahmad Nassar al-Arouqi, was killed at his home by by Israeli fire near the al-Maghazi refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Some Palestinian reports claimed the man was killed by bullets, while others said he was hit by fragments of a tank shell.

The ministry said its investigation confirmed that al-Arouqi was killed by “the occupation” — its term for Israel.

An army spokesperson said the IDF did not know of soldiers or tanks opening fire in the area around the time of al-Arouqi’s death.

The 78-year-old was said to have been hit outside his home in the al-Maghazi refugee camp, which is located over a kilometer from the security fence — a long, but not impossible, distance for a bullet or shell to travel.

IsraellyCool: Latest Palestinian Libel: The Killing of The Elderly Dual-Identity Farmer

The palestinow Facebook page laments the “killing” of 72-year-old palestinian Ibrahim-Al-Arouqi, who looked like the average, loving grandfather. Well, except for the Hamas hat and scarf.

Quds News Network lament his “killing” as well. Except according to them, he was someone else – 72-year-old Ibrahim Nawwaf.

Note also how palestinow claimed we killed him after randomly opening fire at protesters at the fence, while Quds News Network claims he was killed after we opened fire at houses.

And the inconsistencies don’t end there. Palestinow report about the supposed killing on their website, claiming he was hit by a 250-mm bullet – fired by a tank.

Except there is no such thing as a 250-mm IDF tank bullet (confirmed with a military expert friend in the IDF). Note also how here, palestinow claim he was shot while in front of his house, which is “relatively far from the border fence” – even though in the Facebook post they claimed he was shot after we opened fire on protesters at the fence.

According to Ha’aretz, the Gaza Health Ministry say he was shot in the back – which I suggest would be difficult if he was sitting in front of his house as claimed above – unless he was sitting facing his house. Again, this does not seem kosher.

And in yet another version of what supposedly happened, Iran’s Press TV claims he was shot while working his land.

Add all of these inconsistencies to the fact that this has not even been reported by other palestinian news agencies like Ma’an and Wafa, and I am willing to bet this is yet another libel.

On the cluelessness of If Not Now

If you are interested in the “Palestinian perspective” you can listen to their own words

From the Twitter account of Jtruzmah

Blocked in a car by a mob, kept from their HQ: Why UNRWA staff had to flee Gaza

The emergency evacuation of nine foreign employees of UNRWA from Gaza to Israel on Monday was necessitated after Palestinian protesters surrounded and blocked a car containing UNRWA officials for an hour that day in a “threatening” and “dangerous” confrontation, the head of the agency’s operations in the coastal enclave told The Times of Israel.

Furthermore, he said, a crowd of Gazans mobilized by the UNRWA employees’ union have prevented some 300 employees of the Palestinian refugee agency from accessing their offices at the organization’s Gaza headquarters for eight of the last ten days, and have made “serious” threats against senior staffers.

Matthias Schmale described what had become an untenable situation for many employees of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, the UN body tasked with aiding Palestinian refugees, in a telephone interview late Tuesday from Gaza, where he and a reduced overseas team remain for the time being.

“The UNRWA employees’ union in Gaza has been protesting the dismissals and other changes we made last month by blocking our access to our offices. We have only been able to enter them two out of the past ten days,” he said. “I understand the frustration of the people who have lost jobs or been moved from full to part-time work, but we need to be able to function and do our jobs.”

Majority of Democratic Congress members plea to restore UNWRA aid

Almost two-thirds of Democratic Congress members, 112 members of the House of Representatives and 34 senators, sent a letter in appeal to US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to reverse the decision to “end vital United States contributions to the United National Relief [and] Works Agency (UNRWA).”

Addressed to Pompeo, the letter expressed concern regarding the administration’s decisions to pressure Palestinian leadership back to the negotiating table at the expense of furthering the current humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

“The administration’s decision will exacerbate the already dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza, where one million people – half the population – depend on UNRWA for food assistance,” the letter said.

UNRWA also runs 278 schools in Gaza, which are attended by some 300,000 students.

In August, the Trump administration cut all funding to UNRWA, claiming the organization’s “fundamental business model and fiscal practices” that have served a growing community “is simply unsustainable and has been a crisis mode.” In January, Trump’s administration had already suspended more than half of its annual funding – $65 million out of $125 million.

On Monday, UNRWA withdrew some of its foreign staff from Gaza for safety reasons. UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness said that workers had been “harassed and prevented from carrying out their duties” by people angered by the organization’s cost-cutting measures.

The letter also addressed Hamas’s role in perpetuating chaos in the Gaza Strip, by acting “in complete disregard for the safety and freedom of the people of Gaza.” The measure, however, will only “aggravate tensions in the region and further erode prospects for a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.”

J Street, a Washington-based advocacy group, released the letter in a press release, in which it claimed that “this administration’s reckless actions can and must eventually be reversed – and replaced with policies that promote Israelis’ and Palestinians’ shared aspirations for a secure and peaceful future.”

JPost Editorial: Merkel and Iran

In comments reported by Tablet magazine, the president of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, Dr. Josef Schuster, suggested that Germany has failed to internalize the lessons of the Holocaust. According to Schuster, Tablet reported, Merkel’s “flourishing trade with a regime in Tehran that is both the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world and also the world’s top sponsor of lethal antisemitism and Holocaust denial, is incompatible with the spirit of the Federal Republic’s own foundational commitments, and with the laws of a country where Holocaust denial is a crime punishable by up to five years in prison.”

We support Schuster’s call for “an immediate halt to any economic relations with Iran. Any trade with Iran means a benefit for radical and terrorist forces, and a hazard and destabilization for the region.”

So far, Merkel has rejected the pleas of Israel, the US, Schuster and others to halt her support of Iran, choosing instead to find ways to circumvent the new American sanctions. She said in her podcast that because of the Holocaust, “Germany carries a special responsibility regarding its relationship to Israel.” But if she wants to be on the right side of history, the chancellor should reconsider her relationship with Tehran, the world’s foremost sponsor of terrorism that could pose an existential threat to Israel. If Iran realizes its dream to become a nuclear power, it could threaten not only Israel and the rest of the Middle East, but the US and Europe as well – and that includes Germany.

The Islamic Republic of Iran would like nothing more than to see the erosion of democracy and the spread of extremist Islamic ideology around the world. Merkel, perhaps Europe’s most powerful leader, is capable of ending German support for the Ayatollahs’ destructive dreams. We urge her to change her course.

Merkel Will Abort Visit to Israel If Bedouin Village Is Razed

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has threatened to cancel her visit to Israel if the government evacuates the illegal Bedouin settlement of Khan al-Ahmar before her arrival, according to Israel’s Army Radio on Wednesday.

Merkel and a number of German ministers are expected to arrive on Wednesday evening to take part in governmental meetings, which were pushed off for almost a year and a half due to German disapproval of Israeli building in Judea and Samaria, and rejection of Israeli policy toward the Palestinian Authority.

In May, Israel’s Supreme Court found Khan al-Ahmar to be an illegal encampment and ordered it to be razed, in accordance with Israeli policy on illegal building. As Israeli police and army services have been readying the site for dismantlement, pro-Palestinian activists have been appealing to European powers to halt the move.

Merkel’s is currently scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, visit Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem and receive an honorary doctorate from Haifa University, Merkel’s third honorary Israeli doctorate.

Meetings are expected to emphasize economy, innovation, technology, geopolitics, Iran and Khan al-Ahmar.

Bedouin families appeal to Merkel to help block village’s demolition

Holding posters of German Chancellor Angela Merkel ahead of a scheduled visit to Israel, Bedouin children on Tuesday appealed to her to help block Israeli plans to raze their village.

The case of Khan al-Ahmar, an illegally built village located off the highway that runs ‎through the West Bank from Jerusalem to the Dead ‎Sea, has garnered massive international attention.

Israel’s plan to demolish the village and ‎relocate its 180 resident to a site 12 kilometers (7 ‎miles) away has drawn criticism from Palestinians ‎and some European states, which said the move would ‎hinder peace efforts.‎

Khan al-Ahmar’s residents, backed by foreign activists who have gathered at the site, have been waiting for bulldozers to move in at any time after the Oct. 1 deadline from Israel for the villagers to demolish their own homes expired.

The Palestinians claim that razing the Bedouin village is part of an Israeli plan to create an arc of Jewish settlements that would effectively cut off east Jerusalem, which they seek as the capital of their future state, from the West Bank.

Israel maintains that Khan al-Ahmar, which sits between the communities of Maale Adumim and Kfar Adumim, was built without the required permits. Palestinians say such documents are impossible to obtain.

The United Nations, European Union and human rights groups have urged Israel not to demolish Khan al-Ahmar, citing the serious impact on the community and prospects for peace.

With demolition deadline passed, Bedouin village living on borrowed time

Residents of Khan al-Ahmar were operating on borrowed time Tuesday as the deadline set by Israel to demolish the Palestinian hamlet had passed nearly 48 hours prior.

Nonetheless, it appeared to be business as usual in the central West Bank community, and classes continued to be taught at its Italian-funded elementary school. Teachers could be heard leading lessons in each of the seven classrooms that surround a small rectangular courtyard, where a handful of young children played hopscotch.

Still, a sense of urgency underlay the normalcy, as over 100 activists, journalists and Palestinian supporters congregated in and around the village’s welcome tent.

Keeping with a custom established in recent months as the demolition has crept closer, one of the Palestinian Authority’s ministries held its weekly meeting in Khan al-Ahmar to show solidarity with residents who were given until October 1 to pack their belongings or see state authorities flatten their community, which had been built without permits. Tuesday brought officials from the education ministry who — before turning to more routine affairs — opened their session with an address by Eid Abu Khamis, a leader and spokesman for the Bedouin community.

NGOs Cite Sukkah Disassembly As Evidence Israel Has No Problem Demolishing Settlements (satire)

Activists urging a complete Israeli withdrawal to the 1949 ceasefire lines countered longstanding arguments today that wholesale removal of Israeli communities remains a political ad practical impossibility, by pointing to the widespread phenomenon of many thousands of Jewish-owned structures undergoing dismantlement this week even in communities beyond the Green Line.

Representatives of Peace Now, Yesh Gvul, and several other groups dismissed claims that the 2005 Disengagement from Gaza and North Samaria, which uprooted thousands of Jews from their homes, caused too much national trauma to risk a reprise elsewhere, citing the non-traumatic removal of palm-frond- and bamboo-roofed huts that began construction last month and stood for more than a week.

“We’ve been hearing from the right-wing for more than a decade now that dismantling Jewish homes en masse is a non-starter,” challenged Avner Gvaryahu of Breaking the Silence. “But what we’re seeing right now gives the lie to that claim. In such hardcore settler enclaves as Yitzhar, Bet-El, Ofra, Har Bracha, Hebron, and elsewhere, all you’ll see right now is Jews taking down the residences they’ve been inhabiting since the end of September. So much for the argument that it’s unwise or impossible to get Jews to move out.”

“It would be one thing to discuss the recent demolition of Jewish homes in the ‘Patriarch’s Way’ neighborhood,” explained Yariv Oppenheimer of Peace Now. “There were protests, of course, but overall even those who objected to the demolitions respected the rule of law and all we got was some grumbling, which is to be expected. But here, we have Jews actively disassembling the residences they built with their own hands, places in which they actually lived. That belies the entire notion of the ostensible unfeasibility of destroying the settlements without major resistance or trauma.”

Shin Bet says it arrested 3 members of Hamas terror network in West Bank

The Shin Bet security service announced Wednesday that it had arrested three Palestinians in the West Bank that been recruited by a network of Hamas military wing members in the Gaza Strip to carry out attacks beyond the Green Line.

Their cell is alleged to have been established in 2015 and has been devoting particular efforts to recruit engineering students at Birzeit University outside Ramallah, who could be useful in executing attacks and transferring “terror funds.”

The security agency said it has arrested dozens of the network’s other members since its founding, but that recently the network has stepped up its activity in the West Bank.

The Shin Bet arrested three Palestinians from the West Bank during July and August who were indicted on various terror charges in September.

Two of them — 21-year-old Issa Shalalda and 20-year-old Omar Ma’soud — were active in the Hamas-affiliated Islamic bloc at Birzeit University. According to the Shin Bet, the pair underwent military training during their recruitment.

The third member indicted was Hazem Hamayel, a resident of the northern West Bank. The 24-year-old is alleged to have attempted to carry out a terror attack after being in contact with a Hamas official in Gaza who used a Facebook account under a fake identity.

Two Gazans arrested crossing into Israel

Israeli troops arrested two Palestinians who crossed into Israeli territory from the northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday, one of whom was armed with a knife, the army said.

The two men were spotted as they crossed the security fence in the territory’s north.

“The suspects were arrested close to where they crossed [into Israel],” the Israel Defense Forces said.

They were handed over to the Shin Bet security service for questioning.

The incident came amid a recent increase in violence along the Gaza border.

Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip and actively calls for Israel’s destruction, has increased the pace of rioting and demonstrations against Israel, and created new units tasked with sustaining tensions along the border fence including during nighttime and early morning hours.

Minister calls to suspend Rajoub from Olympic Committee for incitement

Palestinian Olympic Committee chairman and convicted terrorist Jibril Rajoub should be suspended from the International Olympic Committee for inciting violence, Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan wrote in a letter to IOC President Thomas Bach on Tuesday.

“Sports should be used to build bridges and spread peace between nations, and should not be used to promote divisiveness and racism,” Erdan wrote.

Erdan highlighted Rajoub’s ban and fining by FIFA earlier this year for inciting violence against players on the Argentinian national football team, and called on the IOC to follow suit. The Argentinian team had been planning to play a friendly match against the Israeli team this June, but canceled following threats against the players and their families.

“Rajoub called on football fans to burn shirts and posters of Argentinian National Team player Lionel Messi, simply because Messi was in favor of playing in Israel,” the minister recounted.

The Olympics, he wrote, are meant to “unite the nations of the world through sport, in peace and harmony.”

Beirut residents warned about a Hezbollah site in Whatsapp message

Thousands of residents of the Dahieh suburb south of Beirut, an area controlled by Hezbollah, received anonymous mobile phone notifications warning them they live in close proximity to a weapons storage compound that has the potential of exploding at any moment, the Asharq al-Awsat newspaper reported on Wednesday, implying Israel is responsible for incident.

“Important message, near your home, a Hezbollah site has been established, proceed with caution,” read the mysterious Whatsapp message.

According to the Arab newspaper, Israeli political sources refused to comment on the claim that Israeli intelligence is behind the messages.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking at the United Nations last week, identified three locations near Beirut airport where he said the Shi’ite group Hezbollah was converting “inaccurate projectiles” into precision-guided missiles.

Immediately after the prime minister’s speech at the UN General Assembly, the IDF released video evidence of what it said were Hezbollah rocket building sites in Beirut.

Netanyahu said in his speech that Hezbollah was acquiring the technical know-how from Tehran to convert non-precision missiles into precision missiles to hit Israeli cities with an accuracy level of 10 meters.

MEMRI: Saudi Journalist: The Resistance Axis Is Hypocritical – It Fights The Israeli Occupation In Palestine While Ignoring Arab Land Occupied By Iran And Other Countries

In an article he published following the September 22, 2018 attack on the military parade held by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in Ahvaz, Saudi journalist Hussein Shubakshi attacked the resistance axis – Iran, Syria, Hizbullah and Hamas – which, he said, wages resistance against Israel’s occupation of Arab lands while ignoring the Arab lands that are occupied by Iran, such as Ahvaz. He noted that the resistance axis restricts the term “occupied Arab lands” only to those held by Israel, while the fact is that there are also Arab lands occupied by Iran, Turkey and even Spain, and that all these occupied lands should be accorded equal importance. The failure to do so is a form of “hypocritical doublespeak,” he said, which harms the noble concept of resistance.

It should be noted that the Arab press, and in particular the Gulf press, has published articles in the past criticizing the Arab focus on the Israeli occupation versus the disregard of Arab land occupied by Turkey and Iran, especially the Ahvaz region.[1]

The following are translated excerpts from Shubakshi’s article:[2]

“The latest armed attack on units of Iran’s IRGC – the terror and oppression apparatus of Iran’s sectarian Ayatollah regime – reminded us of the need to renew the debate on the term ‘occupied Arab lands.’ [This attack] was claimed by a faction of the Ahvazi resistance, which is demanding independence for this occupied Arab region that Iran annexed by force in the beginning of the previous century. For many long years, the term [‘occupied Arab lands’] has been restricted to the lands occupied by the Israeli enemy, and since the Al-Assad regime sold the Golan [to Israel], it has been applied exclusively to the Palestinian lands. But the term ‘occupied Arab lands’ refers not only to the Palestinian lands, to the Syrian Golan Heights and to the Shab’a Farms, all of which are unjustly occupied by Israel. It should also be applied to the Syrian region of Alexandretta, which was forcibly annexed by Turkey along with its Arab residents, and to the three UAE islands of Abu Musa, Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb, which were forcibly occupied by the Iranian regime, that same regime that still holds the Ahvaz region, the overwhelming majority of whose residents are Arabs and members of Arab tribes. In addition, Spain is occupying the Moroccan cities of Melilla and Ceuta.

MEMRI: Intellectuals, Journalists In Gulf Attack Hizbullah Following Israeli Revelation Of Its Missile Sites In Beirut

Hizbullah and the Lebanese authorities were quick to deny Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s revelation in his speech at the September 27, 2018 UN General Assembly in New York that Hizbullah has built three missile facilities in Beirut amid the civilian population and close to the international airport, and is thereby “deliberately using the innocent people of Beirut as human shields.”[1] However, intellectuals and prominent journalists in the Gulf wrote that they believe Netanyahu more than the denials coming out of Lebanon. The editor of the Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyassa, Ahmad Al-Jarallah, even called on Netanyahu to attack Hizbullah’s missile sites, stating that the peoples of the region will applaud and thank him for this.

It should be noted that this is not the first time that intellectuals in the Gulf, especially in Saudi Arabia, have expressed support for Israel’s positions and actions. In May 2018, Saudi intellectuals and journalists welcomed Israel’s attack on Iranian military sites in Syria in response to the firing of Iranian missiles from Syria into Israel.[2] Following the death of dozens of Palestinians in the Gaza border riots on May 15, 2018, the day the U.S. moved its embassy to Jerusalem, Saudi intellectual ‘Abd Al-Hamid Al-Hakim placed the responsibility for the fatalities on Iran, Turkey and Hamas.[3]

This report reviews responses by journalists and intellectuals in the Gulf in support of Netanyahu’s statements against Hizbullah in his recent General Assembly speech.

Saudi Liberal: I Believe Netanyahu More Than Hizbullah
In a September 28, 2018 tweet, Saudi liberal Turki Al-Hamad wrote that he is inclined to believe Netanyahu more than Hizbullah: “Lebanon has denied Netanyahu’s claims that Hizbullah manufactures precision missiles in [Beirut’s] Al-Ouza’i [neighborhood]. To be truthful, I don’t know where the truth lies, but I believe Netanyahu more than I believe Hizbullah. In ’67, Israeli radio described the advance of the Israeli forces, while [Egypt’s radio station] Sawt Al-Arab counted Israeli planes that were falling one by one. And then we were surprised by the [Arab] defeat.”[4]

Russia delivers S-300 air defense systems to Syria

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced Tuesday that the ‎delivery of S-300 air defense systems to Syria has ‎been completed.‎

Shoigu said Russia had delivered four S-‎‎300 launchers along with radars and support vehicles ‎to the Syrian military, and said it would take ‎three months to train Syrian personnel in how to operate ‎the system.‎

The move followed the Sept. 17 incident in ‎which Syrian air defenses trying to counter an ‎Israeli strike downed a Russian reconnaissance plane ‎over Latakia, and has sparked concerns in both Israel ‎and the United States.‎

Jerusalem and Washington both contend that giving ‎Syria S-300 surface-to-air missiles will embolden ‎Iran and escalate the Syrian civil war.‎

Shoigu insisted Tuesday that the S-300s would ‎improve the security of Russian military personnel in ‎Syria.‎

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.

UN court orders US to halt Iran sanctions linked to humanitarian aid

The UN’s top court ordered the United States Wednesday to suspend sanctions on “humanitarian” goods for Iran in a stunning setback for US President Donald Trump.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry welcomed the ruling as a “clear sign” that “Iran is in the right.”

The ruling by the International Court of Justice “once again shows that the US government… is day by day becoming more isolated,” the ministry said in a statement.

The ICJ handed down the bombshell judgment after Iran asked it to halt economic measures that Trump reimposed after pulling out of a landmark nuclear deal with Tehran.

Judges in The Hague unanimously ruled that the sanctions on some goods breached a 1955 “friendship treaty” between Iran and the US that predates Iran’s Islamic Revolution.

“The court finds unanimously that… the United States of America… shall remove by means of its choosing any impediments arising from the measures announced on 8 May to the free exportation to Iran of medicines and medical devices, food and agricultural commodities” as well as airplane parts, chief judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf said.

The court said sanctions on goods “required for humanitarian needs… may have a serious detrimental impact on the health and lives of individuals on the territory of Iran.”

US sanctions also had the “potential to endanger civil aviation safety in Iran and the lives of its users.”

Trump Admin Seeks Investigation Into New Claims of Secret Iran Nuclear Sites

The Trump administration is pushing international nuclear inspectors to launch a new investigation into evidence Iran has been stockpiling nuclear weapons technology and materials at a secret undisclosed site, according to U.S. officials who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.

Evidence of this previously unknown nuclear site was presented last week by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during an address before the United Nations General Assembly.

The disclosure sent shockwaves through the international community and prompted the Trump administration to push for a renewed investigation into the claims by the IAEA, or International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. body tasked with performing oversight on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

The United States is expected to spearhead efforts to further expose what Netanyahu described as a massive atomic warehouse in Iran, according to U.S. officials and senior congressional sources familiar with the Trump administration’s strategy, which aims to further isolate Iran economically and diplomatically.

“We look to the IAEA to continue to act in a responsible and timely manner in pursuit of any credible information, including the information presented by [Prime Minister] Netanyahu, that could indicate Iran has fallen short of the nonproliferation obligations the IAEA is charged with verifying,” a senior State Department official told the Free Beacon.

The official would not comment on the veracity of Netanyahu’s information, telling the Free Beacon the administration was “not a party to any planning to disclose it.”

Families of Hostages with Western Ties in Iran Join Forces

The families of American citizens and dual nationals with strong Western ties held for years in Iran joined forces and met for the first time last week on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting to press international diplomats for their release.

The family members agreed to team up and press the Trump administration and key European officials to help amplify and coordinate their message.

The action came after trying to work individually and complying with their governments’ advice not to work together in the hope that private efforts to lobby the Iranian government would pay off with the release of their loved ones.

Among the family members at the meeting was Sarah Moriarty, daughter of Robert Levinson, the longest-held hostage in U.S. history, assuming he is alive, and a former Drug Enforcement Administration and FBI agent who disappeared in 2007 in Kish Island, Iran.

During the gathering with family members in New York last week, Moriarity grew emotional, lamenting that there are no recent clues or news angles to sell to the media to raise more awareness about her father’s disappearance but committing to continuing trying to seek his release and work with other families on a coordinated strategy.

“We’ve been through three American administrations … he’s 70 years old and he’s had no contact with anyone, no one from our family for the last 11 years, not anyone that he loves—no human touch,” she said. “These are violations of the most basic human rights … he has missed three weddings including my own and the birth of five grandchildren, including two of my own.”

“There needs to be more accountability and repercussions for the government of Iran,” she said. “If he is still alive … we need to move. Every day that we lose is another day that he is getting older. We don’t know how much longer we have.”

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