Australia on Wednesday listed all of Hezbollah as a “terrorist organization,” extending an existing ban on armed units to the entire organization, which wields considerable power in Lebanon.
Australian Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said that the Iran-backed Shiite group “continues to threaten terrorist attacks and provide support to terrorist organizations,” and poses a “real” and “credible” threat to Australia.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who met with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison earlier this month at the UN climate conference, where he urged him to enact the Hezbollah ban, welcomed the decision.
“I thank the government of Australia and my friend Scott Morrison for their intention to define Hezbollah as a terrorist organization,” he tweeted. “We will continue to act in every way possible against terrorism, including in the international arena.”
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said that “Australia is a close friend of Israel in the fight against global terrorism.”
“The Australian decision joins similar and important decisions of 17 other countries in the last two years that have realized that there are no separate wings to terrorist organizations,” Lapid said. “This holds true for the terrorist organization Hezbollah — it is one body, and any separation between its wings is artificial.”
Hezbollah has been designated a terrorist group by parts of the West, although some countries have been reluctant to sanction the group’s political wing, fearing it could destabilize Lebanon and hamper contacts with authorities.
Labour’s Lisa Nandy has confirmed that her party will be supporting the Home Secretary’s move to ban the political wing of Hamas as well as its military offshoot telling Jewish News: “We think this is absolutely the right thing to do.”
On Wednesday the motion outlining Priti Patel’s bid to proscribe the Islamic terror organisation will be debated in the House of the Commons.
Confirming her party’s backing for the proposal, the shadow foreign secretary said: “It was a recommendation made by an independent body. The rationale for it is that there is no longer any meaningful distinction to be made between the military and political wings of Hamas.
“We have already proscribed the military wing – this essentially brings us in line with the rest of Europe, the United States and Canada.
“It essentially returns us to the status quo position. We think it is absolutely the right thing, the sensible thing to do.”
Nandy said that Labour will seek assurances from the Government in Wednesday’s debate that proscription of Hamas in full does not prevent aid reaching those in need of it.
But she said this was a “technical consideration” rather than a concern over the principle of the Home Secretary’s move.
U.K. government: “Hamas is an organisation which calls for the establishment of a Islamic Palestinian state under Sharia law and has repeatedly called for the destruction of Israel. It has long been involved in significant terrorist violence.” https://t.co/Nz4wAGNUs6
— R?????? K??? ? (@COLRICHARDKEMP) November 23, 2021
An event held in #Gaza today denouncing the decision by the UK to designate Hamas in its entirety as a terrorist organization. At the event a picture hung of Hamas’ Fadi Abu Shkhaydam who committed the terror attack in Jeruslem’s Old City on Sunday. pic.twitter.com/ozBVr1eTVW
— Joe Truzman (@JoeTruzman) November 23, 2021
JPost Editorial: Malaysia treatment of Israel is backward
In a 2019 speech at Columbia University, Mahathir said that his antisemitic statements were just an expression of “free speech.” “Why is it that I can’t say something against the Jews, when a lot of people say nasty things about me, about Malaysia?” he asked.
Mahathir, who at 96 is no longer prime minister, left an ugly imprint on the country. According to the ADL’s global survey on antisemitism, 61% of Malaysians hold antisemitic sentiments, the highest percentage – except for Greece – of any country outside the Mideast.
It should also come as no surprise that the Malaysian squash association wants to ban Israeli athletes – the country lost its chance to host the World Para Swimming Championship because of its decision in 2019 to bar Israeli athletes.
“I do not understand why the world must follow Israel,” was Mahathir’s unrepentant response. “The world has the power, but they choose to obey Israel. We do not obey.”
That was not the first time Israeli athletes were barred from international competition in Malaysia. In 2015, Malaysia came under a great deal of international criticism for preventing two Israeli windsurfers from competing in the Youth Sailing World Championships.
Those actions against athletes are not trademarks of the modern, forward-looking country that Malaysia aspires to be.
Israel is right to make a big deal out of this: it should never acquiesce to any manifestation of discrimination against its athletes or any of its representatives taking part in competitions or conferences around the globe.
If Malaysia’s decision is not rescinded, the World Squash Federation should move the tournament, just as the International Paralympic Committee did in 2019. If enough tournaments are canceled in Malaysia because of discrimination against Israeli athletes, then perhaps at some point the Malaysian government will get the message that its discrimination against Israeli nationals is a form of bigotry that is no longer tolerated.
Eugene Rostow, who was US undersecretary of state in 1967 and a drafter of Resolution 242, affirmed this by commenting on Paragraph 1(i): “Repeated attempts to amend this sentence by inserting the word ‘the’ failed in the Security Council. It is, therefore, not legally possible to assert that the provision requires Israeli withdrawal from all the territories.” The Soviets tried to insert a clause that would require Israel to withdraw to the prewar lines, but this language was rejected. The Soviet deputy foreign minister Vasily Kuznetsov conceded “there is certainly much leeway for different interpretations that retain for Israel the right to establish new boundaries and to withdraw its troops only so far as the lines it judges convenient.”
Instead of withdrawing from all the territory, Rostow explained that Resolution 242, “allows Israel to administer the territories it occupied in 1967 until ‘a just and lasting peace in the Middle East’ is achieved. When such a peace is made, Israel is required to withdraw its armed forces ‘from territories’ it occupied during the Six Day War – not from ‘the’ territories nor from ‘all’ the territories, but from some of the territories.”
While Israel could have to withdraw from some of the territories as part of a negotiated peace, Resolution 242 also entitles Israel to new defensible borders to replace the 1949 armistice lines. The armistice lines were delineated in the armistice agreements that Israel signed with its neighbors in 1949, each of which stated that these lines would not constitute internationally recognized borders. Rostow stated that, “Resolution 242 is based on that provision of the Armistice Agreements and states certain criteria that would justify changes in the demarcation lines when the parties make peace.” This can be observed under Paragraph 1(ii) of Resolution 242 which recognizes “the right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.”
Ambassador Goldberg clarified that “it can be inferred from the incorporation of the words ‘secure and recognized boundaries that the territorial adjustments to be made by the parties in their peace settlements could encompass less than a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces.” Additionally, Lord Caradon, the British ambassador to the UN in 1967 and the chief drafter of Resolution 242, which was submitted by Britain, repeatedly reiterated that Resolution 242 doesn’t require that Israel return to the 1949 armistice lines and that new boundaries should be created. For instance, in an interview given with the Beirut Daily Star in 1974, Caradon explained, “it would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its position of 4 June 1967 because those positions were undesirable and artificial… They were just armistice lines.”
In summation, nothing in Resolution 242 requires Israel to withdraw from all the territories.
“Without Jerusalem, there is no Israel.”
From one of my favorite scenes in one of my favorite movies, ‘Cast A Giant Shadow.’ pic.twitter.com/E5WIsVNFEh
— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) November 23, 2021
The Arab population of the British Mandate of Palestine in 1948 was about 1.3 million. Today, the Palestinian population within the same region is about 6.8 million – of which some two million are Israeli Arab citizens.
Such robust population growth alone repudiates accusations of genocide.
Most puzzling, given the preponderance of facts that disprove both any intention or active campaign by Israel to conduct genocide against the Palestinians, is the question of why Israel’s enemies insist on repeating this false and inflammatory accusation.
There are two reasons: First, anti-Zionists – those who oppose the existence of the Jewish state – cannot convince rational people that Israel is evil by telling the truth. The truth is that Israel has been trying to make peace with the Palestinians ever since the nation’s birth 73 years ago. The truth is, the Palestinians have greeted every peace offer from day one with thousands of terrorist and missile attacks on Israeli civilians, killing some 3,500 innocent Israelis.
So the anti-Zionists tell dramatic lies of apartheid, colonization, the slaughter of children, stealing land, ejecting families from their homes. Though none of the accusations are true, the gullible – and fellow anti-Zionists – are quick to join the chorus.
Second, anti-Zionism is by definition anti-Semitic. Anti-Zionism is a denial of the right of Jews to establish a state in their ancient homeland. False accusations of genocide are attempts to delegitimize the Jewish state and demonize Jews. These tactics – delegitimization and demonization – are cornerstones of anti-Semitism according to the globally accepted International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition.
In short, there can be no rational reason to lie about the Jewish people and the world’s only Jewish state. Antisemitism is a form of hate. If you hear someone accuse Israel of genocide, you may safely assume that person is either misinformed or antisemitic.
— Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) November 23, 2021
Aryeh Lightstone, former special envoy for economic normalization for the Abraham Accords and chief of staff to former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, believes that the Biden administration needs to focus on bolstering Israel’s efforts for regional peace and not rewarding the Palestinian Authority by re-opening the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem.
“Biden made the promise to open the consulate, which seems to be against U.S. law under the  Jerusalem Embassy Act and also against Israeli and international law. I will let the lawyers and politicians fight this out. I’m a civilian. But I think the narrative matters,” he told JNS as part of a special briefing Nov. 18 hosted by American Friends of Likud.
He explained, “Israel has now extended its hand in peace to five different countries in the past 12 months. Every one of those countries from Sudan to Kosovo to Morocco to the UAE to Bahrain have only changed their relationship with one country: Israel.”
“To me,” he said, “if I was asking my Republican or Democratic senator or congressman, mayor or dogcatcher to speak to the Biden administration, I would ask, ‘Why aren’t we rewarding the absolutely fantastic efforts by the Israeli people and government in pursuing peace? What are we pushing [opening a consulate] for? You have people [in Israel] who are pursuing peace and you have people [in the P.A.] who are still paying people to kill Jews.’ I think everyone would agree that we should reward the peacemakers and we should not reward those people who are anti-peace at this moment, with the various nefarious laws that the P.A. has.”
During the event — “Embassy (and a Consulate?) in Jerusalem, Israel’s Undivided Capital” —Lightstone argued that the most significant accomplishment for Israel under former U.S. President Donald Trump was “not the recognition of Jerusalem, but rather sovereignty.”
Moreover, Israel has a significant role in the extensive intelligence cooperation in terrorism and nuclear proliferation, with no one agency able to contend with all the challenges alone. Israel also consults with the Five Eyes alliance between Australia, Britain, Canada and the United States.
How does military diplomacy serve Israel’s strategic interests?
Technological superiority and defensive capabilities add to the now-familiar triad of deterrence, early warning and decisive outcome.
True, the scenarios in the exercise were not designed to simulate any action against Iran, though the exercise did occur in conjunction with a rising level of tension and a statement by the IDF chief that preparations for a military response to the Iranian nuclear project are now underway. Israel certainly does not expect any participants to be of active help should such circumstances arise. Yet more generally, the recognition granted by other air forces to the strength and sophistication of Israel’s air force should give Tehran and other regional foes such as Turkey pause.
The regional forces opposing Israel seek its political, economic and military isolation. This military cooperation between Israel and its regional and Western allies, along with trade and other areas of exchange, demonstrate that at the end of the day, these factors are far more critical than meaningless votes at the United Nations.
Equally important is the message to Israel’s newly established friends in the region, and to Egypt and Jordan, who find themselves in the same trenches against revolutionary Islamists. This exercise and others, including those taking place in the Eastern Mediterranean, establish a significant alignment of forces.
Finally, the growing military and intelligence cooperation contribute directly to the overlap with Israel’s advanced technological solutions. This, in turn, generates interest in acquiring Israeli technology.
This provides income and employment – but above all, contributes significantly to Israel’s national security. Only a solid and reliable economic grounding – which requires larger markets than the IDF can provide – enables the defense industries to thrive and make their top-end products available.
Israel and Morocco signed a defense memorandum of understanding on Wednesday, in a major step forward in relations between the two countries and Israel and the greater Arab world.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Moroccan Minister Delegate to the Head of Government in Charge of National Defense Abdellatif Loudiyi signed the MOU, which formalized defense relations between the two countries, in Morocco during Gantz’s first official visit to the North African nation.
The MOU addressed cooperation on intelligence, industrial collaboration, military training, and other fields, the Israeli government said in a statement.
“It is a very significant development, which will enable us to work on joint projects and promote industrial cooperation,” Gantz said after the signing.
“Relations between Israel and Morocco should be expanded and enhanced,” he urged.
The agreement was followed by a discussion between Gantz and Loudiyi, during which they both expressed a desire for bilateral cooperation in the face of regional threats.
Earlier on Wednesday, Gantz laid a ceremonial wreath at the Mausoleum of King Mohammed V, grandfather of the current monarch, Muhammad VI. He is set to meet with Morocco’s military chief and Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita before returning to Israel on Thursday.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz signs historic memorandum of understanding with #Moroccan counterpart:
‘Relations between Israel and Morocco should continue to strengthen. I am glad we are a part of this.’ pic.twitter.com/33jA7iampd
— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) November 24, 2021
Israel accused Iran and Syria of antisemitism over their opposition to its UN resolution on agriculture technology for sustainable development, which was approved 140-1 with 34 abstentions.
Syria was the sole opponent of the text, with its representative explaining that Israel lacked the moral authority to submit such a text given the “atrocities it has committed against the Palestinian and Syrian people. If you have no shame, you can do whatever you want.”
Iran did not vote at all. “We don’t recognize the so-called State of Israel,” said its representative. “So we didn’t vote against or in favor of this resolution.”
Most of the Arab group – including Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Sudan – abstained. Morocco was absent.
Qatar, on behalf of the Arab group, said that a similar text had already been submitted by China and the G77.
“Seeing Israel submit this draft resolution while it is the occupying authority is an odious conduct and attitude to try and hide its crimes against Palestinian agriculture and people,” its representative said.
Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, thanked the countries that supported the text.
Belgium plans to label West Bank settlement products as not made in Israel. It’s a move that created an immediate crisis with Israel, with the Foreign Ministry stating that it condemned the move.
Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll, who is in Belgium, immediately canceled his meetings with the Belgian Foreign Ministry and the country’s parliament.
The labeling of products produced in Judea and Samaria “harms Israelis and Palestinians alike. It is inconsistent with the Israeli government’s policy that seeks to improve the lives of Palestinians, to strengthen the PA and improve Israel’s ties with Europe.
“The Belgian government’s decision strengthens extremists, does not help promote peace in the region and transforms Belgium into a force that does not contribute to Middle East stability,” Roll said.
The European Union has for decades exempted West Bank settlement products for its free trade agreement with Israel. Since 2015, it has provided EU member states such as Belgium with guidelines on how to legally apply consumer labels to Israeli products produced over the pre-1967 lines in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled in 2019 that such products must be labeled. But EU countries have been slow to act on that edict.
The UN Security Council in 2016 passed Resolution 2334 that called on all UN member states to differentiate in their dealings between those areas of Israel that are within the pre-1967 lines and those which are beyond that Green Line.
I canceled my planned meetings with the Belgian Foreign Ministry and Parliament. The Belgian government’s decision to label products from Judea & Samaria strengthens extremists, does not help promote peace in the region, and shows Belgium as not contributing to regional stability
— Idan roll – ???? ??? (@idanroll) November 24, 2021
Christian supporters of Israel from around the world have donated another 36 portable bomb shelters to Israelis living on the country’s borders.
The shelters were delivered through the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) in coordination with Operation Lifeshield. The funds have been raised over the last six months in the aftermath of the latest Hamas-Israel war that ended with 13 Israelis dead.
Donations came from Christians in Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Fiji, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, South Africa, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States, among other places.
While the country’s southern region, especially the Gaza border communities, has received much attention, the need for bomb shelters in the North has become an increasing concern. Residents fear rocket attacks coming from Syria and Lebanon.
“Many Israelis living along the Gaza border have told us that these mobile bomb shelters indeed save lives and give their families the peace of mind they need to continue their daily lives under the constant threat of rocket attacks,” said ICEJ president Dr. Jürgen Bühler. “We now want to focus more on the need for additional bomb shelters to protect civilians in the North.”
David Draiman, lead singer for US hard rock superstars Disturbed and a staunch advocate for Israel, announced on Wednesday that he’ll be coming to Jerusalem next week to visit the Western Wall, and to light a candle at the Old City site of the terror attack that killed South African immigrant Eli Kay.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post from Hawaii, Draiman said he wanted to make a statement by coming to Israel after seeing the coverage of this week’s attack in which a Hamas terrorist opened fire on pedestrians in the Old City.
“The coverage was reprehensible in the vast majority of American and European media,” said Draiman. “It’s scandalous how they presented it. Headlines like ‘Palestinian shot dead.’ Well, why was the Palestinian shot dead? Because he was perpetrating a terrorist attack. I love how the context is always flipped around.”
Draiman, who noted that he has some 200 relatives living in Israel, said that his candle-lighting ceremony is intended to say that “we will not be intimidated, we’re not going anywhere. People need to learn to live with us [Jews].”
A taxi passes by in front of The New York Times head office, Feb. 7, 2013. Photo: Reuters / Carlo Allegri The New York Times has published yet another correction to the work of the newspaper’s error-prone Jerusalem bureau chief, Patrick Kingsley. Kingsley’s recent article about a deadly terrorist attack in Jerusalem, Israel, now carries two corrections, covering three facts:
Correction: Nov. 21, 2021
An earlier version of this article misstated what the Palestinian attacker was wearing. He was not disguised as an ultra-Orthodox Jew. It also misstated the number of Israelis killed so far this year in the West Bank. It is one, not at least 12. Correction: Nov. 22, 2021
An earlier version of this article described incorrectly the Western Wall. It is one of the last remaining parts of an ancient Jewish temple compound, not the last remaining part of an ancient Jewish temple. The Western Wall-related correction is particularly egregious, because the revolving-door cast of Times reporters in Jerusalem (Kingsley, when named to the job, became the fifth Times journalist to hold the position in six years) have consistently had accuracy problems on that topic. A 2015 Times article about the Temple Mount generated both an editor’s note and a correction, as did another Times article on the topic later the same year. A 2017 Times article had similar problems but has gone uncorrected.
— Canary Mission (@canarymission) November 23, 2021
Two people were killed and seven wounded by an Israeli missile strike in Syria early Wednesday morning, according to Syrian state media reports. Six of the wounded were soldiers while the rest of the casualties were civilians, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported, citing an unnamed military source. The Israeli military did not comment on the report. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based group with sources on the ground in Syria, the missiles were launched from Lebanese airspace and targeted sites in the western outskirts of Homs. SOHR said that the targeted areas are known to house sites associated with militias loyal to Lebanon’s Hezbollah, though the exact targets of the attacks could not be confirmed. SOHR sources reported that four people died as a result of the strike, two of them due to falling debris from the interception of one of the Israeli missiles by Syrian air defenses. The strike is the fifth in Syria attributed to Israel in the past four weeks. On Nov. 9, Syrian media reported that Israel had struck a number of targets in the country’s central and coastal regions, wounding two Syrian soldiers and causing material damage. On Nov. 3, Syrian media reported an Israeli strike near the town of Zakiyah in Rif Dimashq. On Oct. 30, five militia members were reported to have been killed in a strike in the Damascus area and on Oct. 25, Israel reportedly struck sites in Quneitra Governorate in southwestern Syria.
MEMRI: Dr. Osama Abu Irshaid, Head Of Americans For Justice In Palestine: The U.S. May Collapse; Talking About Israeli Apartheid And Racism Helps Build Support For The Palestinians; The UAE Is Criminal, Financing Zionist Lobby
Dr. Osama Abu Irshaid, the executive director of Americans for Justice in Palestine, said in a November 21, 2021 video that was uploaded to the Middle East Studies Center (Jordan) on Facebook that if the United States collapses – “a real issue that is on the agenda of the leading strategists in the U.S.,” according to Irshaid – then Israel will not be able to survive longer than 20, 30, or 40 years. He also said that Native Americans, Africans, and Latinos can all relate to the “apartheid” in Israel, and that rhetoric about Israeli apartheid and racism is an opportunity to garner international support for the Palestinians. In addition, he criticized the “criminal” UAE, as well as “Arab countries financing the Zionist lobby so that it could target our work.” “People Are Talking Today About The Possible Collapse Of The U.S. This Is Not Just Random Talk – It Is An Academic Discussion In The U.S. Today” Osama Abu Irshaid: “I specialize in American studies. People are talking today about the possible collapse of the U.S. This is not just random talk – it is an academic discussion in the U.S. today. “Today, this is not a mere philosophical question. This is a real issue that is on the agenda of the leading strategists in the U.S. – the possible collapse of the U.S. under its own weight.” “Without Western Support – American Support In Particular – It Will Not Last 20, 30, Or 40 Years” “I am telling you, if you see the change that is taking place in the U.S., which is the teat from which Israel suckles…With all due respect to my colleague… Indeed, Israel has power of its own. There is no doubt about it. “However, without Western support – American support in particular – it will not last 20, 30, or 40 years. That is impossible. It can defeat us for another 4, 10, or 15 years – and here we go back to the issue of strategic depth – but it cannot survive for all eternity. “Today, when I talk about the apartheid in Palestine – for African-Americans in the U.S., this resonates with the apartheid that exists in America to this day. “There is a clash today in the U.S., in the West, in Latin America, and all over the world. People see this and they do ‘frame-bridging.’ They say: ‘This is exactly what happened to me.’ There was a video that went viral on YouTube of a young girl who said to [an Israeli] settler: ‘You are stealing my home.’ The settler said to the girl: ‘If I do not steal it, others will.’ You have no idea how big an effect this has in the world, because Native Americans – the natives of that continent – see this as the same thing that happened to them.”
While participating in a school event marking Palestinian Keffiyeh Day – i.e., Arab headdress day – Palestinian school children at the Kafr Qaddum High School for Girls in Qalqilya received a strong message:
“Palestine – the entire land is ours, from the [Mediterranean] Sea to the [Jordan] River” Images from the event posted by the PA Ministry of Education show that several PA maps of “Palestine” that erase Israel were prominently displayed at the event. The PA ministry wrote that similar celebrations were held “in all the homeland’s schools.” The image below shows a man speaking at the event. Behind him are three versions of the PA map of “Palestine” that presents all of Israel together with the PA areas as “Palestine.” The poster in the middle announces that the event is held “under the auspices of Qalqilya District Governor Rafe’ Rawajbeh and [PA] Minister of Education Marwan Awratani”:
Text on poster (right): “Palestine – the entire land is ours, from the [Mediterranean] Sea to the [Jordan] River” [Facebook page of the Kafr Qaddum High School for Girls in Qalqilya, Nov. 17, 2021] Text on poster (top left): “My homeland” [Facebook page of the Kafr Qaddum High School for Girls in Qalqilya, Nov. 17, 2021] The third map erasing Israel is displayed on a tripod (left of speaker) and is covered in the colors of the Palestinian flag with a keffiyeh pattern overlaid on it.
PMW: Israel plans to “build their alleged Temple,” says Fatah official
Fatah Jerusalem Branch Secretary Shadi Mattour: “The occupation has a plan according to which there will be a Jewish majority in [Jerusalem], larger than the Muslim majority, and it wants to change the entire religious nature of the holy city. We say that the break-ins to the Al-Aqsa Mosque plazas serve a purpose: They are meant to change the site that is holy to the Muslims and [they want to] build their alleged Temple.” [Official PA TV News, Nov. 15, 2021] The PA and its leaders misrepresent all of the Temple Mount as an integral part of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Therefore, they vilify any presence of Jews on the mount as an “break-in.” It should be noted that Jews who visit the Temple Mount only enter some sections of the open areas, and do not enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque or the Dome of the Rock. Israeli police ban Jewish prayer at the Temple Mount because of threats of violence by Palestinians. “We’re going to free Palestine… from the river to the sea,” chants girl in Fatah video
Girl: “We’re going to free Palestine And finally comes our time We’re going to free our land Together and hand in hand Palestine will be free From the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea No, we can’t hesitate We’re going to build our state The refugees will come back And here flies our flag” [Facebook page of the Fatah Youth Institution for Young Boys and Girls – Nablus Branch, Nov. 18, 2021]
A banner is held praising the ‘mujahid’ Fadi Mahmoud Abu Shkhaydam as sweets are distributed in Shuafat celebrating Sunday’s terror attack in Jerusalem’s Old City. The flag held by a participant and the logo on the banner belong to Hamas. pic.twitter.com/yyOCTptrCQ
— Joe Truzman (@JoeTruzman) November 23, 2021
Palestinian Islamic Jihad members visited the home of the family of Saif al-Din Mahmoud Sadiq, a field commander killed by an Israeli strike in 2012. The act of visiting the home of fallen comrades on the anniversary of their death is a common practice by Gaza’s militant groups. pic.twitter.com/kKr55nzfGs
— Joe Truzman (@JoeTruzman) November 23, 2021
Prominent journalist Ala’ Al-Mashharawi, who worked with several foreign news organizations in Gaza, was arrested by Hamas’s Internal Security Service more than 3 weeks ago. His family has been banned from seeing him. No charges filed against him so far. pic.twitter.com/02PFNZf1sQ
— Khaled Abu Toameh (@KhaledAbuToameh) November 24, 2021
Hamas has condemned Justin Bieber’s scheduled Tel Aviv concert as an “infidel noise crime against sensitive Islamist ears.” Hamas’ Cultural Minster Yassin Yallah spoke to The Mideast Beast on Zoom from his subterranean office, conveniently located below Gaza’s main hospital and merely five minutes away from Gaza’s famous Camels & Goats strip club. “The infidel brat Justin Bieber is the Zionist occupation’s latest lethal weapon and a criminal Jew effort to commit audio-based noise genocide against our peace-loving Gaza martyrs.” Yallah stressed that Hamas had been traumatized by years of Western pop concerts in the “Zionist entity.” “We used to think that that moon-walking eunuch Michael Jackson was bad, not to mention Madonna when she still somehow looked like a well-preserved failing virgin. Gaza is our safe space, and we are not going to tolerate any audio-based weapons of mass-destructive noise from Tel Aviv. No wonder Canada is so quiet and pristine when it arrogantly litters the Middle East with its unbearable Bieber racket.”
In the past months, while exacerbating the economic crisis in Lebanon, Hizbullah has been conducting a campaign against the U.S. in the country, blaming it for all of Lebanon’s troubles, including the dire economic situation and the fuel and electricity shortages, and even the rampant corruption. Hizbullah has also been accusing the U.S. of interfering in Lebanon’s judiciary system, especially in the investigation of the August 2020 Beirut Port blast, and of meddling in Lebanon’s politics by employing local agents and funding civil society organizations that promote its agenda. In fact, the organization has for months been constructing a discourse of incitement against the U.S., making more and more accusations against it. Hizbullah leaders, from secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah to minor officials, have been repeating these messages at every meeting, gathering and public event. Media outlets affiliated with the organization, such as the Al-Ahed website and the daily Al-Akhbar, have been reiterating these messages as well. Hizbullah’s primary accusation against the U.S. is that it is waging an economic war against Lebanon and its people with the aim of humiliating and subjugating them. According to Nasrallah, “the Americans are starving [the Lebanese people] so that they give up their honor, sovereignty, and national rights…” This economic war against Lebanon, say Hizbullah officials, includes the U.S. sanctions on the Lebanese banking sector and Lebanese politicians; the Caesar Act, which prohibits trade and transactions with the Syrian regime and thereby harms Lebanon’s economy as well; a ban on various countries transferring financial and other aid to Lebanon, and threats aimed at deterring Lebanese leaders from receiving aid from the Eastern countries, especially Russia, China and Iran. Hizbullah officials accuse the U.S. of bringing Lebanon to a state of bankruptcy, with 80% of its citizens living in poverty, and of fostering corruption among Lebanese politicians. As noted, Hizbullah also accuses the U.S. of interfering with Lebanon’s judiciary, and especially of trying to subvert and distort the probe into the August 2020 Beirut Port blast, so as to place the blame on Hizbullah. In the recent months, as Tarek Bitar, the judge presiding over the investigation, sought to question officials close to Hizbullah and to its political allies, the organization began accusing him of bias and of politicizing the investigation, and appealed to the government, the president and the judiciary, demanding his dismissal. Hizbullah officials claim that the U.S., seeking to settle scores with the organization, is intervening in the probe in an attempt to impose dictates and lay the blame on Hizbullah and its allies.
Iran spreads its revolutionary Islamic doctrine worldwide using invasion, terrorism, infiltration, bribery, and smuggling arms and drugs. In the aftermath of Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979, the theocratic Shiite regime has spread its influence and control throughout the Middle East and beyond in the hopes of achieving imperialist-style hegemony through the exportation of the Islamic Revolution. Iran periodically advances a claim to ownership of Bahrain. In 1957, the Iranian Parliament passed a bill claiming Bahrain as the 14th province of Iran. Affirming this unabashedly imperialist, colonialist claim, Hossein Shariatmadari, the head of the Iranian state-run newspaper Kayhan, wrote in 2008 and 2018 that Bahrain rightfully belongs to Iran. As long as Iran controls Yemen through the Houthis, the suffering of the Yemeni people is unlikely to end, and Iran can deny any culpability for its attacks on Saudi Arabia and shipping in the regions. “It wasn’t us; it was the Houthis.” For Iran, Iraq is considered of paramount strategic importance. Tehran wants to ensure Iraq never again poses a threat to Iran like it did under Saddam Hussein during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war. What is it that Sanaa, Baghdad, Manama, Damascus, and Beirut have in common? Iran has attempted to dominate them all, subordinating them to its theocratic geopolitical ambitions at the expense of their sovereignty and the wellbeing of their people. The classic definition of colonialism can be found in this one sentence: “The Iranian forces in Syria have repeatedly exploited the Syrian natural resources for their personal interests, as well as looted economic resources and evaded paying taxes to the Syrian state.” (Al Hadath, a Saudi television network operated by Al Arabiya.)
Noting the loss of American leverage, the lack of an American military threat, and the potential for more Iranian escalation in the weeks ahead, Israel has launched a rather public effort to signal that it is developing its own military option against Iran. Its military is budgeting for preparations for a strike on the Islamic Republic, and sources tell the media the IDF will begin rehearsing various scenarios next year. The moves feel a bit hokey coming from a military that built up its mystique by operating with a “show don’t tell” philosophy. Indeed, these pronouncements have a distinctly political flavor—especially in the context of the razor-thin majority of the fragile governing coalition and the desire to project strength vis-à-vis Tehran while Benjamin Netanyahu (who billed himself as Mr. Iran) leads the opposition. And President Biden might not mind a little Israeli saber rattling, believing it helpful to empower the negotiation of his disastrous Plan B nuclear arrangement. No one truly knows the Israeli red line for military action, although there’s little doubt that it’s approaching much faster than America’s. The Israelis believe the U.S. military has the luxury of waiting longer because of its capabilities for penetrating deep underground mountain-covered facilities. The “zone of immunity” for nuclear-weapons capability, therefore, comes much sooner for Israel than it does for the United States. The conventional wisdom posits that Israel has long maintained the military capability to degrade Iran’s nuclear program but not to destroy it. That may or may not be true. As evidenced by its Hollywood-style covert actions in recent years, the Mossad has deeply penetrated the inner sanctum of the Islamic Republic, gaining an unknown treasure trove of intelligence along the way. Through a combination of bombs, electronic warfare, cyberattacks, and sabotage, the Israeli Air Force, Mossad, and Unit 8200 (Israel’s National Security Agency) might well be able to do considerable damage to Iranian nuclear infrastructure. Whether it can destroy it, rather than just set it back, remains an open question—as does whether it can reach Iran’s under-the-mountain enrichment facility near the holy city of Qom. The Abraham Accords raise the possibility that Israel would no longer have to worry about the air-to-air refueling challenges that a sustained aerial bombing campaign would present, since Israeli jets could land on Arab desert airfields for quick refueling. Jerusalem, in recent days, expressed interest in buying America’s latest bunker-buster, a 5,000-pound bomb that can be launched from an F-15 fighter. The Biden administration should approve that request—and Congress should support it. But Israel shouldn’t have to do the world’s dirty work. A nuclear-threshold terror-sponsoring regime with long-range missiles presents a grave threat to American national security. And while more creative and bolder than the American military at times, the IDF is no match for the power of the United States. Mark Kirk was defeated for re-election in 2016. But Menendez is still there, and now the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. We need another Menendez-Kirk moment a decade after the last. Who will stand up and take on the mantle?
NEW Podcast episode: With less than a week before the return to nuclear talks in Vienna, we speak to @rich_goldberg from @FDD about their chances of success, and whether the international community has done enough to restrain Iran’s nuclear activity: https://t.co/ZaylXyDMuU
— BICOM (@BritainIsrael) November 24, 2021
Iran has used two bases in the south of the country to launch maritime attacks with unmanned aerial vehicles, Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz disclosed on Tuesday, as Israeli leaders spoke of potential military action against Tehran ahead of negotiations to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Speaking at the Security and Policy Conference held at Herzliya’s Reichman University, Gantz discussed Iran’s operational tactics and exposed two of the Islamic Republic’s bases — in the Chabahar region and on the island of Qeshm, in southern Iran — used to carry out maritime attacks and store “Shahed-type” unmanned aerial vehicle (UAVs). “Iran is also operating outside the region, transferring oil and weapons to Venezuela, operating its Quds Forces in South America and trying to infiltrate its influence into Afghanistan. Iranian terrorism is exported under the directive of Khamenei and the regime’s top leaders,” Gantz said. “One of their key tools is UAVs — a precise weapon that can reach strategic targets within thousands of kilometers. As such, this capability is already endangering Sunni countries, international forces in the Middle East and countries in Europe and Africa.” On Monday, world powers are set to resume negotiations to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which have been frozen since June. By revealing details of the drone bases, Israel aimed to send a message that Iran is not just a nuclear issue, and that the Islamic Republic’s drone program presents a growing threat to regional security, according to Jason Brodsky, policy director at United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI).
The UN nuclear watchdog’s head said on Wednesday that he “could not agree” in talks with Iranian officials to resolve disputes over the monitoring of the country’s atomic program, a day after returning from Tehran. Rafael Grossi, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told the quarterly meeting of the board of governors that his talks in Tehran were “inconclusive,” despite what he had earlier described as “intense” negotiations. “We could not agree yesterday, in spite of my best efforts,” Grossi told reporters on Wednesday, shortly after addressing the board meeting. Among other officials in Tehran, he met Mohammad Eslami, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. He had been hoping to make progress on several points of contention between the agency and Tehran. These include the constraints put on IAEA inspections activity earlier this year, outstanding questions over the presence of undeclared nuclear material at sites in Iran, and the treatment of IAEA staff in the country.
New York Times allowing Israel to become Iran’s Trojan Horse? The media’s minimization of Iranian belligerence can only be emboldening the mullahs to accelerate their plans for regional hegemony. When Tehran went so far as to launch a drone strike against a US military base in southern Syria, the NYT depicted this hostile act as retaliation for Israeli airstrikes. Newsflash: Iran does not need excuses to target US assets in the Middle East, as has repeatedly been the case, especially in Iraq. But the NYT knows this, considering the publication a few months ago printed, Iraq Is Caught in the Middle as US and Iran Spar on Its Soil. For good measure, the NYT has reported on the Biden Administration’s authorization of airstrikes in Syria targeting Iranian-backed groups. Yet, Israel is apparently to blame. In reality, the “shadow war” between Jerusalem and Tehran was bound to spill over given that the Islamic Republic has always had the US, the “Great Satan” with Israel being the “Little Satan”, in its crosshairs. The NYT, along with much of the media, would do well to finally wake up to an incontrovertible fact: Israel is almost always the canary in the coal mine — and what happens therein, specifically as it relates to Iranian-backed terrorism and the ramifications of Tehran’s accelerating nuclear weapons program, rarely stays therein.
When ISIS launched its blitzkrieg across Iraq in 2014 it appeared on the cusp of conquering Baghdad. In June of 2014, as ISIS was massacring Shi’ites and committing the most brutal crimes, Iraq’s Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani issued a fatwa calling men to arms to defend Iraq from the black-clad extremists. At the same time, across the border in Iraq the IRGC Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani was beginning to contemplate a mission that would bring him to Baghdad, Erbil, Damascus and Moscow to encourage locals to fight ISIS and to bring Iran’s influence and expertise to the frontline. Soleimani was often seen as a key force behind Iran’s confrontation with Israel and also a key to Iran’s influence in the region that opposes the US. However other sides of his role are also clear and Iran’s Tasnim News has laid out some of the backstory behind his role fighting ISIS. This new story comes almost two years after he was killed in a US airstrike in Baghdad in January 2020. ISIS was mostly defeated by 2017. The news story relates to a letter Soleimani sent to Iran’s Supreme Leader. “The evil movement, known as the ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’, managed to plunge tens of thousands of young Muslims into a very dangerous crisis in the very first months by deceiving tens of thousands of young Muslims,” he wrote. At the end of the letter, it stated: “I declare and represent all the anonymous commanders and Mujahideen of this scene and the thousands of martyrs and veterans who defended the sanctuary of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Pakistan who sacrificed their lives to defend the lives and honor of Muslims and their saints. This is a great victory.” Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei apparently wrote back, thanking Soleimani for his role. “By disintegrating this cancerous and deadly mass [ISIS], you have done a great service not only to the countries of the region and the Islamic world, but also to all nations and to humanity. This is a divine victory.”
As in Lebanon, Iran’s militias in Iraq are not in a hurry. Through a combination of stalling government and using violence against rivals, including assassinations and a full-scale civil war if need be, Tehran’s proxies are patiently culling their opponents and imposing their will. If left unchecked, Iran could turn Iraq into another one of its satellite countries. But not so fast. Iraq might prove to be a harder nut to crack than Lebanon. To start with, Lebanon’s Shiite population that Iran has subsumed, using funds and arms, numbers 1 million. In Iraq, the Shiites count around 20 million, which means that it would take Iran 20 times as much money to buy the Iraqi Shiite community, a sum it could never afford. Second, unlike impoverished and resourceless Lebanon, Iraq is the fourth-largest oil producer in the world, bringing its treasury some $50 billion annually and allowing the Iraqi state to be one of the largest employers in the world. As such, the Iraqi government has been able to outbid Tehran in trying to buy Shiite loyalty. Third, unlike Lebanon, which has no claims to Shiite history, the southern Iraqi cities of Najaf and Karbala are the most revered in the Shiite world, giving the Iraqi Shiite religious authorities, such as Sistani, much more prestige over the Qom-based Iranian Shiite clerics, such as Khamenei. Since 2003, Iran has been trying to transform Iraq into another satellite state like Lebanon. The attempt on Kadhimi’s life resembled the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005. A U.N. tribunal indicted five Hezbollah leaders on charges related to Hariri’s killing. In Yemen, too, Iran instructed its proxy militia to kill former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in 2017, when he was on his way to break ranks with Tehran and join its opponents. So far, Iraq has proven to be far more difficult for Tehran to control, a lesson Washington should heed. Before the United States withdraws the remaining 2,500 military advisers in Iraq, it is worth remembering that the country is not lost to Iran yet and that, with global support, Baghdad can beat Iran and disband its militias. All Washington needs to do is have some faith in anti-Islamic Iran Iraqis, and some patience in maintaining the currently costless U.S. policy on Iran in Iraq.