October 22, 2018

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10/08 Links Pt1: Incitement breeds a despicable murderer; We Celebrate Life. They celebrate death; Gaza children deliberately transported to war zones

http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2018/10/1008-links-pt1-incitement-breeds.html

From Ian:


Incitement breeds a despicable murderer
It wasn’t lack of progress in peace talks, the situation of the Palestinians of Gaza, unemployment, lack of Israeli deterrence, or the nation-state law that influenced the loathsome murderer who brutally killed Kim Levengrond Yehezkel and Ziv Hajbi on Sunday morning. These explanations, which the Israeli Left churns out after terrorist attacks and incidents in Gaza and Judea and Samaria have nothing to do with reality.

The terrorist who killed his former colleagues was influenced by years of incitement against Jews and Israelis and by the sense that killing Jews will give him status in Palestinian society and that becoming a martyr will sanctify him and pave his way to the Muslim Paradise. This murderous narrative is spearheaded by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, his fellow PA leaders, and preachers in the mosques, who are the successors to former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Amin al-Husseini and PLO leader Yasser Arafat. The narrative is a violent one that reminds the victims’ bereft families of the respectable monthly stipends paid to the killers and their relatives and the cycle of their homes being demolished by the IDF and then rebuilt. The money for the terrorists’ salaries comes from European countries, where naiveté mixes with hatred of Israel and Jews.

It’s very difficult to deter a society built on radical, inhumane foundations, including legitimacy for honor killings. It is frustrating and complicated to confront a society in which mothers long for their children to die as martyrs. Western society, which is based on human rationalism and the desire to live, has not yet found appropriate tactics to use against radical Islam, which places no value whatsoever on human life. In the standoff between Western rationalism and Islamic fundamentalism, the West is at an inherent disadvantage.

U.S. envoys: A terrorist shattered Israeli-Palestinian co-existence

When right-wing politicians and settler leaders want to show visiting diplomats, including European parliamentarians and United States congressmen, that an alternative reality is possible, they bring them to Barkan Industrial Park to meet the Israelis and Palestinians who are not afraid to work together.

US envoy Jason Greenblatt and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said that Sunday’s terror shooting by a Palestinian employee at a factory run by the Alon Group, which killed two, was an attack against the co-existence in that West Bank park.

“The Barkan industrial center is a beacon for coexistence and a model for the future. Today’s terror attack is reprehensible and should be universally condemned. Join me in praying for the wounded and sending comfort to the families of the victims,” Greenblatt tweeted.

Friedman tweeted that Barkan “has been a model of Israeli–Palestinian coexistence since 1982, with thousands working and prospering together. Today a terrorist shattered that harmony by brutally murdering two Israelis at work. Our deepest condolences [go to] to the families of the victims.”

Set on a hilltop, the park is one of the jewels of the Samaria region and a symbol for its residents of the economic peace they hope to have with the Palestinians.

It is home to 164 factories and employs 7,200 workers, including 4,200 Palestinians and 3,000 Israelis, according to the Samaria Regional Council that has jurisdiction over the park.

The path to peace begins in the classroom

With the United Nations General Assembly meeting this week, they are keen to bring to the attention of the world the education that is being provided in UNRWA schools. We believe that the hate-filled education that has been provided to young Palestinians over the last three generations is a leading cause of the failure to achieve peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Our message is simple: The education of Palestinian school children must change drastically if there is ever to be a lasting negotiated peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Why? Because these schools have been inciting three generations of young Palestinians to hate and kill Jews, and the only means of conflict resolution that these students have been exposed to is one of violence.

For children all over the world, the new school year is filled with promise and excitement, affording them the opportunity for personal development so that one day they may become productive citizens of their respective communities. The same cannot be said for Palestinian children.

UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) and the Palestinian leadership have manipulated their education system to serve a different purpose. Rather than an education that strives to better the children, this system exploits their impressionable minds, indoctrinating them into a culture of hate, and thereby perpetuating the conflict, rather than resolving it. Until their education changes, the region is at least a generation away from a true, sustainable peace.

Hundreds attend funeral for Ziv Hajbi, slain in West Bank terror shooting

Hundreds attended the funeral Monday of Ziv Hajbi, a 35-year-old father of three who was killed the previous day in a shooting attack in the West Bank.

Among those in attendance, the Walla news site reported, were relatives of Kim Levengrond Yehezkel, who was also killed in the attack at the Barkan Industrial Park in the northern West Bank and was buried on Sunday night.

Hajbi’s wife, Natalie, wept as she addressed her deceased husband at the ceremony, which was held in the southern agricultural community of Nir Yisrael.

“My darling, I can’t say watch over us from above because you are here,” she said. “Help me to raise the children. We’ve been together since we were 17 and half. Come back, I will love you forever.”

Hajbi’s mother, Iris, recalled her son as someone who “loved life, loved work.” She called for the death of his suspected murderer, who is still at large.

“I want this person to die,” Hajbi said of Ashraf Na’alowa, who was a coworker of her son and Levengrond Yehezkel at the Alon Group. “Anyone who touches Jews should be killed.”

“He left early in the morning for work and this is what he got in the end, this is what we got in the end,” Hajbi said. “My son didn’t go out to wage war, he went out to work.”

At funeral, father apologizes for not saving daughter from terrorist

Her father, Rephael, heard of the attack and tried to call her. When she failed to answer, he went to the factory where he learned of his daughter’s death.

At her funeral, Raphael apologized to his daughter for not arriving in time to save her.

“I want to tell you that I am sorry that I was not at your side. I have been at your side for your entire life,” the grey haired man said. He wore a torn blue T-shirt and spoke into a hand held microphone as he stood next to the table where his daughter’s shroud covered body lay.

Friends and family crowded around him, filled the small eulogy hall and spilled out in the courtyard.

“To my sorrow,” Raphael continued, “I did not arrive in time. When I did arrive, I saw what they had done to you. I promise you, I promise you that Guy and Kai will get everything they need and even more than that. I promise that I will take care of them. You can rest in peace,” Raphael said.

Kim’s husband Guy Yeheskel, sobbed and said, “I will never forget you. I love you. You will always be my best friend.”

He promised to raise their son, exactly in the manner that she would have done.

Kim’s cousin Sapir said, “I always promised that I would watch out for you, but this morning I wasn’t able to do so. Your rolling laughter has gone away. I always wanted to be like you and learn from you. Now all that is left is my many memories of you. I will love your forever. Goodbye. You were the prettiest girl in the nursery.”

Among those who attended the funeral were Communications Minister Ayoub Kara (Likud) and Likud MKs Oren Hazan and Yehuda Glick.

Ziv Hajbi, 35, a father of three, from Rishon Letzion, planned to celebrate his birthday this weekend. His family decided to donate his organs.

Ziv’s father told Kan News that his son has spontaneously decided to come visit him last Saturday morning.

“Apparently he came to say goodbye,” the father said.

His mother Iris told the media, “My son left for work, not for war.”

‘I told myself: Breathe’: Survivor of Barkan terror hid from gunman under desk

An Israeli woman who was shot and wounded in a deadly terror attack in the Barkan Industrial Park in the northern West Bank on Sunday morning said that she had survived by hiding, injured, under a desk, when the gunman reentered her office after killing two of her coworkers.

“I came to work in the morning as usual, I said good morning to everybody,” Sara Vaturi, 54, told reporters Monday from her hospital bed after her condition improved significantly.

She said she had understood something was wrong and stepped outside her office thinking someone was feeling sick.

But she ended up standing in front of 23-year-old Ashraf Walid Suleiman Na’alowa, after he had handcuffed and killed Kim Levengrond Yehezkel, 28, and before he shot dead 35-year-old Ziv Hajbi. All three were her colleagues at the Alon Group factory.

“He shot me,” Vaturi, who was wounded in the stomach, recounted. “I escaped into my office, went under the desk, put a hand on my wound, realized I was bleeding and all I could think was to breathe and everything will be okay. And then I heard four or five more loud gunshots.

Eyewitness to West Bank Terror Attack: ‘I Fired One Bullet at Him and He Disappeared’

Eyewitnesses to Sunday’s terror attack at a factory in the Barkan industrial area near the West Bank city of Ariel described the scene to the Israeli media, including a man who fired at the fleeing suspect.

The attack took place early on Sunday morning at the Alon Group factory. The terrorist, armed with a homemade weapon, tied up a man and a woman and killed them execution-style. He then fired at another woman, who was moderately wounded but is expected to survive. The terrorist then fled the scene of the crime.

The suspect worked in the factory where the attack took place and has been identified by the security services, though he has not yet been publicly named. A manhunt is underway.

“I saw him run quickly toward the street and he fired in my direction,” Yogav Fried, who encountered the suspect moments after the shooting, told Israel’s Channel 2. Fried returned fire, saying, “I fired one bullet at him and he disappeared.”

“The Palestinian came to the warehouse that is separated from the offices,” Fried added. “The Palestinian workers shouted that something had happened, so we ran to the floor to see what happened. The moment we saw one of the wounded lying with a bullet wound, we understood that we were talking about a terrorist attack. I drew my gun and searched everywhere.”

“I went room by room and office by office,” Fried continued, but could not locate the terrorist. “When I went out to the street opposite, he came up from behind me, I saw him escape toward the street below. He managed to aim his gun at me, shot a single bullet. I was able to return fire in his direction in a millisecond, and he disappeared from my sight.”

‘No way’ to check Palestinians entering Barkan, says guard who inspected gunman

Israel can’t conduct a full security check on Palestinian workers entering the Barkan Industrial Park, a security official said Monday, a day after a terrorist killed two Israelis and wounded another using a submachine gun he smuggled into the compound in the northern West Bank.

The security guard who was in charge of inspecting the thousands of Palestinian workers on the morning of the brutal attack said there were too many people to inspect during just one hour at the beginning of each workday.

“The metal detector beeps all the time and we can’t do anything about it,” the guard told public broadcaster Kan. “We barely manage to check that their work permits aren’t fake. We have no way to perform a substantial security check on the workers.”

The terrorist, 23-year-old Ashraf Walid Suleiman Na’alowa, had a valid work permit and had been carrying the firearm used to commit the shooting attack in his backpack, which wasn’t inspected.

On Sunday morning, Na’alowa entered the offices of the Alon Group in the Barkan Industrial Park near the settlement-city of Ariel armed with a locally produced Carlo-style submachine gun, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

We Celebrate Life. They celebrate death

Today two young families are devastated. Four children will go to bed without a parent to tuck them in or read them a story.

This morning 2 Israelis were slaughtered by a Palestinian coworker in the Barkan Industrial park. Barkan is often hailed as an example of regional co-existence and cooperation, where Arabs and Jews have worked side by side since 1982.

KimYehezkel, 27 years old and Ziv Hajbi, 35 were tied up and shot at point plank range, execution style. A third victim was also injured. Kim was the mother of 1 year old toddler. Ziv was the father of 3.

Palestinians celebrated the news of the murders by passing out candy.

KimYehezkel’s family made the decision to donate her organs, because they, and we as a people, cherish life.

Israel envoy calls on UN to condemn Barkan terror attack

Israel’s envoy to the United Nations on Monday called on the Security Council to condemn a deadly terror attack a day earlier in the West Bank in which two Israelis were killed by a Palestinian co-worker.

Kim Levengrond Yehezkel, 28, a mother of one, and Ziv Hajbi, a 35-year-old father of three, were shot dead by a Palestinian gunman at the Barkan Industrial Park near the settlement-city of Ariel.

“The members of the UN Security Council should clearly condemn the murderous terror attack,” he wrote in a letter to the council. “This is your responsibility and your obligation to the Middle East and the world. And even more so for the sake of the children of Kim and Ziv who are left orphaned.”

He also called on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to clearly condemn the attack.

“Instead of preaching to Israel and blocking suggestions to calm the region, [Abbas] should come out clearly and forcefully against the inciters and the terrorists who come from the Palestinian Authority,” Danon wrote. “Financing terrorists is fuel for attacks just like the one that took place in Barkan, and only by stopping the funding can you help fight against terror.”

Cruz: The incitement and atrocities must end

US Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Sunday condemned the terrorist attack in the Barkan Industrial Zone in which two Israelis were murdered.

“Last month a Palestinian terrorist murdered Ari Fuld, an American-Israeli. Palestinian leaders said the terrorist became eligible for salaries and benefits, a reward and incentive. Today a terrorist murdered two Israelis—the incitement and atrocities must end,” tweeted Cruz.

Kim Levengrond-Yehezkel, 28, from Rosh Ha’ayin, and Ziv Hajbi, 35, of Rishon LeZion, were the victims of the attack which took place on Sunday morning.

The attack took place shortly after 7:30 a.m. The terrorist Ashraf Na’alwa, a resident of the village of Shweika, arrived at a factory belonging to the Alon group in the Barkan Industrial Zone, where he had worked for the past seven months.

PA media: Barkan attack was ‘shooting incident’

The website of the official Palestinian Authority (PA) news agency Wafa has yet to publish any official condemnation of the murder of two Israelis in the Barkan Industrial Zone on Sunday morning.

Three reports about Sunday’s terrorist attack were published on the Wafa website. The headline of the first report said that “the occupation blocks the entrances to villages from the west of Salfit after the killing of two settlers in a shooting operation.”

The second report dealt with “the occupation’s invasion of the Shweika neighborhood of Tulkarm neighborhood and the siege of the Al-Katin neighborhood,” and the third discussed “the occupation’s arrest of a young man from the Shweika neighborhood north of Tulkarm.”

The murder in Barkan is described in these three articles as a “shooting operation.”

Bloomberg Corrects Officials Cited Terror (Not Militant) Attack

CAMERA’s Israel office has prompted correction of a Bloomberg article yesterday (“Palestinian Gunman Kills 2 Israelis in West Bank Shooting“) which incorrectly reported: “A Palestinian man opened fire in an Israeli industrial park in the West Bank, killing two Israelis and wounding a third in what officials characterized as a militant attack.” (Emphasis added.) In fact, officials rightly characterized yesterday’s attack in the Barkan industrial park, in which a Palestinian gunman fatally shot two Israeli civilians and wounded a third, as a terror attack, not a militant attack.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of yesterday’s Cabinet meeting: “This was a very severe terrorist attack in which two Israelis were brutally murdered and a citizen was also wounded.”

President Reuben Rivlin said in his statement yesterday: “I am shocked and saddened by this morning’s terrible terrorist attack at the Barkan industrial area.”

AFP reported yesterday (“Palestinian kills two Israelis in West Bank shooting: army”): “Israeli army spokesman Jonathan Conricus called it a ‘terrorist attack’ but added that other unspecified factors were involved.”

Bloomberg editors agreed with CAMERA that the officials’ position was misrepresented, and commendably amended the article to refer to the killing two Israelis and wounding a third in what officials characterized as a terror attack,” as opposed to militant attack.

In addition, Bloomberg appended a correction to the bottom of the article, alerting readers to the change.

Gaza children deliberately transported to war zones

In the last few weeks, several children have been reported killed in the border clashes with Gaza. How does this happen? Why are children in a battle zone, instead of in school?

Sadly, the children are bought to the combat zone deliberately, either by their parents and family members

or in free buses organized by Hamas, who regards the death of children as a win important tool in their efforts to demonize Israel.

It is a war crime to use children as both combatants, and as human shields.

Sappers neutralize incendiary balloon found in settlement north of Jerusalem

Israel Police said sappers neutralized an incendiary device attached to a balloon that was discovered Monday in the courtyard of a home in the West Bank settlement of Givat Ze’ev, just north of Jerusalem.

An investigation into the incident has been opened, the force said in a statement.

Police sappers arrived at the scene and after checking the device, took it away for further examination.

There was no damage reported in the incident.

Givat Ze’ev is located about five kilometers north of the capital.

The tactic of sending airborne incendiary devices into Israeli territory has been used almost daily by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip since the start of weekly border protests there in March, but it is unlikely this balloon device was launched from the coastal enclave.

Police reiterated a call for the public to be extremely careful around any such similar objects — balloons and kites — as they could contain dangerous explosive or inflammatory material.

Anyone who finds such objects should report it to the police call center and to leave handling of the device to sappers, the statement said.

Proposal would split Israel from Palestinians – but don’t call it a peace plan

Following two years of research and consultation with figures throughout the Middle East, a leading Israeli think tank on Monday presented a comprehensive plan of action to separate Israel from the Palestinians. The plan could ensure that Israel remains a “Jewish, democratic, secure and ethical state” — if it acts fast enough — one of the plan’s main authors, Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, said.

The primary assumption in the 121-page proposal is that Israel, through inertia and a lack of political will, is on track to becoming a binational state without a clear Jewish majority, which could mean the end of Israel either as a Jewish state or a democratic one.

A major assumption of the plan is that Israel is the strongest it’s ever been and that the “stars have aligned” to give Israel an unprecedented ability to sculpt its future.

“There’s a window of opportunity that never existed before,” Yadlin, who leads the Institute for National Security Studies, which produced the plan, said.

That window of opportunity has been formed by a weakened Palestinian Authority, a lessening of antipathy toward Israel in Arab countries around the Middle East, and an American administration that is seen as supportive of Israel and that is due to present its own peace plan at some point in the future.

However, Yadlin cautioned, that window of opportunity could close within two to six years, with the election of a different US president or other geopolitical shifts around the world. So Israel should take advantage of the situation while it can.

According to Yadlin, Israel has two existential threats on the horizon: a nuclear Iran and a binational state.

Greenblatt tells ToI: US won’t propose Israel-Jordan-Palestinian confederation

The US administration’s forthcoming peace proposal does not call for a tripartite confederation consisting of Israel, Palestine and Jordan, Jason Greenblatt, President Donald Trump’s special envoy for international negotiations, said.

“We’re not looking at a confederation model,” Greenblatt told The Times of Israel during a recent meeting in New York.

Last month, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Greenblatt and Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner asked him about his view of such a confederation.

“I said [to Kushner and Greenblatt]: Yes, I want a three-way confederation with Jordan and Israel,” Abbas said at the time.

Speaking to The Times of Israel on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, Greenblatt declined to provide detailed information about the administration’s peace plan, but agreed to give a broad outline.

“It will include a resolution to all of the core issues, including the refugee issue, and will also focus on Israel’s security concerns,” he said. In fact, he added, the proposal will “be heavily focused on Israeli security needs.”

“But we also want to be fair to the Palestinians. We have tried hard to find a good balance. Each side will find things in this plan that they don’t like. There are no perfect solutions,” he added.

Last month’s UN General Assembly focused heavily on the US’s policies vis-a-vis the Middle East, with many in the international community criticizing Washington’s drastic and sudden funding cuts to agencies aiding Palestinians, such as the refugee organization UNRWA.

But Greenblatt said he was “very encouraged” by the meetings he held in New York. “Not every country agrees with everything we do on the Israeli and Palestinian front, but there was not a single meeting in which we were told that countries would not work with us. Everybody has a strong desire to work with us, despite the policy differences we may have.”

Abbas seeks ‘new strategy’ towards Israel, U.S. and Hamas

At the request of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, PLO and Fatah officials are scheduled to meet later this month to devise a new policy towards Israel and the US, and decide on the future of relations with Hamas, Palestinian officials in Ramallah said on Monday.

The officials told The Jerusalem Post that Abbas will ask the representatives of the two bodies – the PLO and Fatah – to endorse a series of measures that will determine the future of the PA’s relations with Israel, the US and Hamas.

“The time has come for decisive decisions,” one official told the Post. “President Abbas feels that he is facing a conspiracy to undermine the Palestinian Authority and eliminate Palestinian rights.”

Another PA official said that Abbas has reached the conclusion that the US administration and the Israeli government are “determined to destroy the two-state solution in order to pave the way for the implementation” of US President Donald Trump’s plan for peace in the Middle East, which is also known as the “Deal of the Century.”

The officials said that Abbas was now considering a number of measures that would “send a strong message” to the international community.

“We’re under attack by the US administration and Israel,” the officials argued. “This requires the Palestinian leadership to take unprecedented and important steps to counter this offensive.”

In Combating the Ideology of Terror, Washington’s Allies Must Cease Repressing Civil Society

Last Thursday, the Trump administration publicized its new national strategy for counterterrorism, which emphasizes the need to go beyond military and law-enforcement measures to defeat jihadism. Indeed, writes Elliott Abrams appreciatively, the “view that terrorists have an ideology, and that we need to combat it, rightly permeates the document.” Abrams in particular praises a statement on the role civil society can play as a bulwark against radical Islam, but worries that the White House might be unwilling to follow through on its implications:

[S]ome of our putative allies in the struggle against terror view civil society not as a partner but as an enemy. They simply seek to crush it, in ways that can only assist people trying to sell terrorist ideology. The best (or, rather, worst) example is Egypt. The regime there has under way a broad effort to destroy civil society. This began in 2011 with the closing of several American nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), including the International Republican Institute, National Democratic Institute, and Freedom House. Their offices and personnel were accused of receiving foreign money—and in fact, because Egypt is a very poor country, most NGOs depend on foreign money. Those now-infamous “NGO trials” continue to this day.

While U.S. officials often refer to Egypt as a close ally, the United States government has not yet succeeded in getting the government of Egypt to drop charges even against the American citizens who were working for those semi-official U.S. NGOs.

The repression of civil society goes much further. President Trump himself intervened in 2017 to get Egypt to release Aya Hegazy, an Egyptian-American who with her husband ran an NGO dedicated to helping street children. Most recently, Egypt jailed a woman who complained about sexual harassment in Egypt, for the crime of “spreading false news.” . . .

Parents of Slain Israeli Soldier Seek the Death Penalty for Accused Terrorist

The family of a soldier killed during an IDF raid near Ramallah in May has asked for the judges trying his accused killer to be replaced by judges who have the power to hand down the death penalty.

Staff Sgt. Ronen Lubarsky, from the IDF’s elite Duvdevan ‎counterterrorism unit, was critically injured ‎when a marble slab was dropped on his head during an arrest raid on terror suspects in the al-‎Amari refugee ‎camp. He was rushed to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital ‎in Jerusalem, but doctors were unable to save him.‎

The suspected killer, Islam Yusuf Abu Hamid, 32, was arrested after a focused manhunt. His trial was set to begin in a military court on Monday.

On Sunday, Lubarsky’s family wrote a letter to Military Advocate General Maj. Gen. Sharon Afek asking that the judges currently presiding over the trial be replaced with higher-ranking officers—lieutenant colonel and up—as lower-ranking judges do not hold the legal authority to approve capital punishment.

Lubarksy’s family threatened to boycott the trial if the judges are not replaced.

The request follows a meeting family members held with Afek several weeks ago at which they raised the issue.

IDF won’t buy vegetables from Gaza

he IDF will no longer purchase fruits and vegetables from farmers in Gaza and Tulkarm, 0404 reported.

Previously, the IDF had purchased thousands of cartons of produce annually.

Tulkarm is considered one of the major “terror capitals.”

According to the IDF, the recent decision is due to the fact that there is no shortage of fruits and vegetables in Israel, and therefore there is no reason to purchase produce from farmers living under terrorist authority.

A previous 0404 report had quoted the IDF as claiming that certain vegetables were hard to find in Israel. At the time, Israeli farmers refuted the claim, and said that not only was there no shortage, substantial amounts of produce were going to waste.

Arab Israeli man given 3.5 years for conveying Hamas funds from Turkey

An Arab Israeli man was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for helping the Hamas terror group to transfer hundreds of thousands of euros from Turkey into Israel to fund its operations, the Justice Ministry said in a statement Monday.

In a plea bargain, the Jerusalem District Court convicted Dara’am Jabarin, a resident of the northern Arab town of Umm al-Fahm, of contact with a foreign agent, providing services to a terror organization, prohibited use of property for terrorist purposes, and prohibited transactions, as well as other offenses.

The case led to the Shin Bet security service earlier this year accusing Turkey of aiding the Gaza-based Hamas organization raise and launder funds for its military activities against Israel.

Prosecutors said that in total Jabarin brought €300,000 ($344,000) to Israel on behalf of Hamas during business trips he made to and from Turkey over the past two years.

He was also given a suspended sentence and a fine of NIS 20,000 ($5,500). NIS 560,000 ($154,00) were forfeited for the state, the statement said.

Israel Has Exercised Maximum Caution to Not Harm Russian Soldiers in Syria

While Israel and Russia maintain an operational hotline meant to prevent unwanted incidents, Israel does not coordinate its operations in Syria with Russia. Israel’s actions in Syria have always been calculated and prudent, from the moment it began actively thwarting Hizbullah’s armament efforts in 2012.

Since 2015, when Russia stepped into the Syrian civil war, Israel has exercised maximum caution as it intensified its efforts against Iran’s attempts to entrench itself militarily in Syria. The Israeli Air Force has spared no effort to avoid compromising Russian bases, equipment and weapons and avoid even the slightest chance of harming the Russian soldiers deployed in Syria.

This has not been easy, as in many cases Russian and Syrian forces share bases and fight alongside each other, and Israel has dedicated considerable intelligence resources to pinpointing the location of Russian soldiers. The professionalism shown by the Israeli and Russian soldiers manning the hotline has contributed greatly to the fact that in the hundreds of strikes Israel has carried out in Syria since 2015, not one Russian soldier was harmed.

Now it is up to Israel to convince the professionals in Russia that it acted in good faith and, as always, did everything within its power to prevent any harm from coming to any Russian aircraft, and that it was Syrian negligence that caused this tragedy.

Israel has always been careful to show Russia – a world power – the proper operational and diplomatic deference in the years since it intensified its involvement in the Middle East, and Israel must continue to do so. Still, Russia must be made to understand that Israel will not tolerate an Iranian presence in Syria, nor will it abide the Islamic Republic’s efforts to arm Hizbullah in Lebanon with game-changing weapons.

JPost Editorial: Dealing with Iran

In an interview with the Post’s Herb Keinon last week, Russia’s Ambassador to Israel Anatoly Viktorov hinted at Russian efforts to open some kind of dialogue between the two arch-enemies. Asked if he thought Israel was overreacting to the Iranian threat in the region, Viktorov said, “I wouldn’t say overreacted, but I think all the issues should be resolved through political and diplomatic means.” Asked if he thought this was possible, he replied, enigmatically, “It’s a two-way process, not just one way.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country has close ties with the Iranian regime, stated very clearly during her visit to Jerusalem last week that Israel and Germany “share the view that everything must be done to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.” Her comments were warmly welcomed by Netanyahu, who accused Europe in his recent UN address of appeasing Iran.

Perhaps the world should take note of the wise words written by legendary historian Walter Laqueur, who died last week at the age of 97. “Will deterrence work against Iran?” he asked. “One should not rule it out. Iranian intentions concerning Israel are known, but its leaders do not wish to pay too high a price, such as losing the means to achieving their main ambition of becoming the predominant power in the Middle East, or perhaps endangering their very existence.”

Is there a diplomatic option with regard to Iran? Probably not, although apparently Russia, China and the European Union still believe there is, and the Trump administration is leaving the door slightly ajar. The administration clearly believes that new punitive sanctions will cause the ayatollahs to abandon their nuclear program and halt sponsoring terrorist organizations in the Middle East. Here in Israel, we remain highly doubtful.

Ultimately, the best option for all might be an expansion of the current uprising by the Iranian people to the point that it would trigger an overthrow of their radical regime. The international community should be supporting the popular protesters, not the evil regime they are protesting against.

US Rejects Iran’s Legal Claim to Recover $1.75 Billion in Frozen Assets

The United States on Monday asked judges at the International Court of Justice to throw out a claim by Iran to recover $1.75 billion (1.5 billion euros) in national bank assets seized by US courts.

The US Supreme Court ruled in 2016 that the assets must be turned over to American families of victims of the 1983 bombing of a US Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, among others.

The hearings at the tribunal were separate from Iran‘s claim relating to current US sanctions against Tehran.

Iran‘s claim in both cases is based on a 1955 Amity Treaty, which was signed 24 years before Iran‘s Islamic Revolution

“The actions at the root of this case center on Iran‘s support for international terrorism,” Richard Visek, legal adviser to the US Department of State, said on Monday, calling on the court to reject Iran‘s suit.

Washington announced last week it would withdraw from the Amity Treaty after the tribunal ordered the US to ensure that sanctions against Iran do not affect humanitarian aid or civil aviation safety.

Pompeo Says North Korea Ready to Let Inspectors Into Missile, Nuclear Sites

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was ready to allow international inspectors into the North’s nuclear and missile testing sites, one of the main sticking points over an earlier denuclearization pledge.

Pompeo, who met Kim during a short trip to Pyongyang on Sunday, said the inspectors would visit a missile engine test facility and the Punggye-ri nuclear testing site as soon as the two sides agree on logistics.

“There’s a lot of logistics that will be required to execute that,” Pompeo told a news briefing in Seoul before leaving for Beijing.

The top US diplomat also said both sides were “pretty close” to agreement on the details of a second summit, which Kim proposed to US President Donald Trump in a letter last month.

Trump and Kim held an historic first summit in Singapore in June.

“Most importantly, both the leaders believe there’s real progress that can be made, substantive progress that can be made at the next summit,” Pompeo said.

Stephen Biegun, new US nuclear envoy who was accompanying the secretary, said he offered on Sunday to meet his counterpart, Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui, “as soon as possible” and they were in discussion over specific dates and location.

Pompeo’s trip to Pyongyang, his fourth this year, followed a stalemate as North Korea resisted Washington’s demands for irreversible steps to give up its nuclear arsenal, including a complete inventory of its weapons and facilities.



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