November 30, 2021

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12/11 Links Pt1: Terror victim’s father seeks prayers for daughter, newborn grandson; Netanyahu vows no Jew to be uprooted from West Bank as long as he leads

From Ian:

Terror victim’s father seeks prayers for daughter, newborn grandson
Medical staff at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem were still battling on Tuesday to save the life of a baby delivered by cesarean section after his mother, Shira Ish-Ran, was shot in her upper body in a terrorist attack near the settlement of Ofra on Sunday.

Six other Israelis were wounded in the attack, including Ish-Ran’s husband. She was 30 weeks pregnant.

As of Tuesday morning, the baby was still in very serious condition. Ish-Ran’s father, Chaim Silberstein, told Israeli media on Tuesday morning that while his daughter’s condition was improving, her hemoglobin levels had dropped. Silberstein said this could indicate that there was still some bleeding and hoped that it was not serious.

The hospital reported Tuesday that Ish-Ran was awake and communicating.

Silberstein said his daughter had not yet been informed of her newborn son’s precarious condition.

Dr. Alon Schwartz, a senior trauma surgeon at the hospital, said Monday that the medical team was concerned that the baby had sustained neurological damage as a result of the shooting.

“The baby is in critical condition in the neonatal intensive care unit. He is on a ventilator and his blood pressure is being regulated by medication. We’re still fighting for his life,” Schwartz said.

Silberstein said his daughter teared up when she first saw her parents.

“We were so excited we had to leave [the room] because her heart rate spiked,” he said.

A Culture Of Death Versus A Culture Of Life — In 7 Tweets
On Sunday, as Hanukkah wound to a close, Palestinian terrorists attacked Jews waiting for a bus, targeting them with a hail of bullets. A pregnant woman and the baby she was carrying were hit, among others. Here is how two cultures reacted to the murderous attack, in a story of death, life, and God’s providence told in seven tweets.

International Human Rights Day

Today is International #HumanRightsDay, a day that reinforces the universal rights of people all over the globe. Yet, one group of people continue to face hatered and discrimination, everywhere around the world. The one place on earth that ensures the saftey of the Jewish people is Israel.

Netanyahu vows no Jew to be uprooted from West Bank as long as he leads

“As long as I am the prime minister of Israel, not a single Jew will be uprooted from his home,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday at the dedication of a new interchange in the West Bank on Tuesday.

Not only will no Jewish homes be uprooted from Judea and Samaria, he said at the ceremony near Geva Binyamin in the Binyamin region, but more homes will be built.

Channeling the Jewish biblical claim to Judea and Samaria, Netanyahu said, “Here in this place where our forefathers [walked] thousands of years ago, names like Geva Binyamin, Michmas, Ofra and Anatot take us straight to the days of the Bible. These are places that are at the heart of our history 3,000 years ago – the Kingdom of Saul and then the Kingdom of Judah. These places come straight from the Bible to the heart of our homeland, and we will continue to strengthen the settlement there.”

Netanyahu, who was accompanied at the ceremony by Transportation Minister Israel Katz, said the interchange sends a “tremendous message” to the residents of the area because it will significantly ease traffic from the settlements in Samaria on Route 60 to and from Jerusalem.

“We are not stopping here,” he said. “We will complete the construction of bypass roads, widening lanes, improving infrastructures. There are two aspects here: transportation and security combined.”

Netanyahu began his statements by relating to Sunday night’s terrorist attack near Ofra, sending wishes for a complete recovery to Shira Ish-ran and her infant son, who is fighting for his life.

“This act of terror, like others, shows the depth of our enemies’ hatred of us, Jews and Israelis,” he said. “They have no moral inhibitions when they come to harm innocents. We will chase those responsible for the attack and make them pay. We will prove to them that their desire to uproot us from our land will meet a fortified wall. They want to uproot us from here, but they will not do so.”

Two car-ramming attempts reported in West Bank; one suspected attacker shot dead

Israeli border guards shot dead a Palestinian driver who they said tried to ram his car into them outside of Hebron on Tuesday morning.

In a separate incident, in the northern Jordan Valley, a Palestinian man allegedly accelerated his car toward a group of Border Police officers. The troops fired warning shots into the air, and the suspect stopped and was arrested, police said.

The police said both cases were being investigated.

The Border Police officers in the town of Idhna, outside Hebron, were standing guard as members of the Defense Ministry’s Civil Administration, which oversees day-to-day activities in the West Bank, were taking part in an effort to crack down on the illegal burning of garbage.

According to police, the Palestinian suspect drove through a checkpoint the border guards had set up, hit a security vehicle with his car and then “accelerated toward a Border Police officer.”

The border guards opened fire at the vehicle, fatally wounding the suspect, who was identified by Palestinian authorities as 27-year-old Omar Hassan al-Awawdeh.

No Israeli troops were injured.

Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians: Ofra attack didn’t take place in area under our control

Sunday night’s terrorist attack near the West Bank settlement of Ofra took place in an area under Israeli military control, a senior Palestinian Authority security official said on Monday, adding that it would be “inconceivable” to hold the PA responsible.

His remarks came as several Palestinian groups applauded the “heroic operation,” saying it proves that the Palestinian “resistance” was continuing in the West Bank.

“The Palestinian Authority can’t be held responsible for something that takes place in an area where it has no security control,” the official told The Jerusalem Post.

The official refused to say whether the PA security forces were helping Israel in the manhunt for the terrorists who opened fire on a group of settlers, wounding seven, including a pregnant woman.

On Monday afternoon, IDF troops entered parts of Ramallah and its twin city, Al-Bireh, and confiscated surveillance cameras installed on a number of buildings. The PA’s official news agency Wafa reported that soldiers stormed its offices, fired tear gas and stun grenades and prevented employees from leaving.

As of Monday night, the PA did not comment on the terrorist attack. However, a PA official pointed out that PA President Mahmoud Abbas last Saturday again expressed opposition to the use of weapons against Israel.

3 Palestinians reported hurt in clashes as army hunts Ofra attackers

At least three Palestinians were reported shot and several more arrested amid intense clashes with Israeli troops overnight during a manhunt for suspects behind a Sunday shooting attack in the West Bank.

Troops also set up checkpoints around Ramallah and area villages, according to Palestinian reports.

The Israel Defense Forces refused to comment on the reports, directing questions to the Border Police, who did not immediately respond.

Troops have been engaged in a manhunt since a drive-by terror attack on a bus stop near the settlement of Ofra, north of Ramallah. Seven people waiting at the stop were injured, including a pregnant woman who was rushed to a hospital in critical condition. Doctors managed to deliver the baby but are fighting for his life.

Jerusalem Shaare Zedek medical center said Tuesday morning that the woman’s condition had improved and she had woken up, but the baby was still in “very serious” condition.

The IDF said troops carried out raids in a number of locations in the central West Bank.

“Among other things, they are carrying out additional checks at the entrances and exits of villages in the area,” the army said.

In the town of Tubas, south of Nablus, Border Police troops fired at Palestinian rioters during clashes that broke out during a raid, injuring at least three people, according to reports.

Low-level clashes and arrest raids were also reported in other Palestinians towns and villages.

According to the IDF, soldiers arrested 19 suspects throughout the West Bank.

The army said it also seized thousands of shekels in the town of Idhna in the southern West Bank, which it said were going to be used to fund terrorist activities.

JPost Editorial: UN’s moral mandate

As Operation Northern Shield continues uncovering Hezbollah’s terror tunnels and infrastructure spreading from southern Lebanon into sovereign Israeli territory, more questions need to be raised about the current and future roles of UN peacekeepers in the area.

Hezbollah’s activity is a flagrant violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which set the terms to end the month-long Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006. The resolution bans any military presence south of the Litani River except for the Lebanese Army and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). Evidently for a long time, Hezbollah has been building military infrastructure along – and underneath – the border with Israel while UNIFIL either looked on without taking action or purposely ignored what was taking place. It should be noted that in addition to building the tunnel network, apparently with the intention of using it to seize a town or community in the Galilee, Hezbollah is reportedly building underground factories where it can produce sophisticated rockets. It is also receiving a supply of precision-guided missiles from its patron, Iran, a sponsor of international terrorism. Hezbollah has also deployed tens of thousands of rockets throughout southern Lebanon.

This makes a mockery of Security Council Resolution 1701, and has some disturbing implications regarding just how much Israel can trust UN forces. According to UNIFIL’s own website, under Resolution 1701, the UN Security Council authorized UNIFIL to “take all necessary action in areas of deployment of its forces and as it deems within its capabilities, to ensure that its area of operations is not utilized for hostile activities of any kind. It should also resist attempts by forceful means to prevent it from discharging its duties under the mandate of the Security Council.”

UN Security Council Resolution 1701 states that UNIFIL is to “assist the Lebanese armed forces” in ensuring that southern Lebanon – from the Litani River to Israel’s northern border – is free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the government of Lebanon.

There are currently just over 10,600 UNIFIL troops, and UNIFIL publications stress that their main focus has been on “restoring international peace and security.” They have clearly failed. Allowing Hezbollah to develop a terrorist infrastructure along the border does not bode well for international peace and certainly does not provide security.

Netanyahu: Hezbollah will get ‘unimaginable blow’ if it attacks

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who visited the north Tuesday for the second time in less than a week, said that the uncovering of the third Hezbollah attack tunnel is part of the process of “systematically dismantling” these weapons.

Netanyahu said that Hezbollah will “make a big mistake” if it tries to harm IDF soldiers or resist the army’s operation to expose the tunnels, and would receive a blow “that it cannot even imagine.”

Netanyahu and Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen Gadi Eisenkot held a security assessment with OC Northern Command Maj.-Gen Yoel Strick, and other senior officers. Netanyahu also met brigade and battalion commanders and soldiers involved in the operation, and then with ocal authority heads in the north.

Netanyahu praised the spirit and preparedness of the soldiers and officers.

“Hezbollah thought that it was building these tunnels without any hindernance,” he said. “We knew about it, and planned for it, and this did not leak out. We keep the secret , and planned [this operation] carefully.”

IDF discovers third tunnel, Hezbollah releases photos of operation

Israel’s military announced that a third Hezbollah tunnel was unearthed on Tuesday, just hours after dozens of close-up pictures and videos of IDF troops taking part in Operation Northern Shield were released by Hezbollah including a map indicating where Israel’s military is currently operating.

“Hezbollah’s war media department launched an intensified campaign to show the weakness and fragility of the Israeli army, shooting the enemy soldiers from rear positions, which shows that the Resistance soldiers can infiltrate into their positions and capture them,” read a report by the Lebanese al-Manar website.

“The Israeli soldiers deployed on the border with Lebanon have become a joke as the Lebanese public enjoyed making fun of them,” it continued adding that the “Hezbollah phantom is always haunting the Israelis, imposing on them certain formulas which they would never have followed.

Several of the pictures showed IDF troops operating alongside UNIFIL Peacekeepers, while other close-up pictures showed troops smoking or resting. The map released by Hezbollah shows five locations where they claim that Israel’s military is currently excavating to locate tunnels across from the southern Lebanese villages of Kfar Kila, Mis Al-Jabel, Blida, Ramya, and Alma Ash-Sha’b.

Australia to recognize Jerusalem as Israeli capital, delay embassy move – report

The Australian government is reportedly set to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on Wednesday, but will likely delay moving its embassy there from Tel Aviv due to cost concerns.

Senior government sources told The Australian newspaper that Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s cabinet approved the policy change at a national security meeting Tuesday night following extensive discussions on the matter.

Cabinet ministers agreed that moving the embassy to Jerusalem would take place at a later stage, the report said, due to the estimated $200 million it would cost to relocate the diplomatic mission.

Sources told the paper that Canberra would establish a consular office in Jerusalem until the embassy could be moved there.

The report said the decision would likely be announced during Wednesday’s Council of Australian Governments meeting.

It was not clear if the government intended to recognize the entirety of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, or just West Jerusalem, which Israel has held throughout its existence — as opposed to the eastern sectors of the city that it captured in the 1967 Six Day War.

Arab League tells Brazil Israel embassy move to Jerusalem could harm ties

The Arab League has told Brazil’s right-wing President-elect Jair Bolsonaro that moving Brazil’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem would be a setback for relations with Arab countries, in a letter seen by Reuters on Monday.

Such a move by Bolsonaro, who takes office on Jan. 1, would be a sharp shift in Brazilian foreign policy, which has traditionally backed a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Ambassadors from Arab nations are expected to meet in Brasilia on Tuesday to discuss Bolsonaro’s plan to follow US President Donald Trump’s decision to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to recognize Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, according to the Arab diplomat who asked not to be named.

The letter to Bolsonaro from the league’s Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit and delivered to Brazil’s foreign ministry said the decision on where to locate an embassy was the sovereign decision of any country.

“However, the situation of Israel is not normal, seeing that it is a country that has been occupying Palestinian territories by force – among them East Jerusalem,” the letter said.

Moving the embassy to Jerusalem would be considered a violation of international law and the United National Security Council resolutions, Aboul Gheit said.

The embassy move has been praised as “historic” by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who plans to attend Bolsonaro’s presidential inauguration, according to the Brazilian’s transition team.

“The Arab world has much respect for Brazil and we want not just to maintain relations but improve and diversify them. But the intention of moving the embassy to Jerusalem could harm them,” the diplomat said.

Brazil is one of the world’s top halal meat exporters and that trade could run into trouble if Bolsonaro angers Arab nations by moving the embassy. That could hurt exports to key Middle Eastern markets for Brazilian beef and poultry producers BRF SA and JBS SA.

Halal meat is butchered and prepared as prescribed by Muslim law.

NZ “aids terror” at UN as US-led resolution condemning Hamas fails.

New Zealand voted for a historic United States-led resolution against Hamas terror at the United Nations, along with 87 other countries. There were 36 abstentions and 57 nations voted against the resolution.

Despite a majority in favour of the resolution, it was not adopted because the general assembly voted to require a two-thirds majority. Nikki Haley pointed out that the demand for a two-thirds majority was a double-standard since no such demand was made on anti-Israel resolutions, including the six passed in a “planned attack” on Israel last week.

Shamefully, New Zealand’s representative at the UN abstained, unlike most other democratic countries, on whether the double-standard be allowed. The motion passed with 75 countries in favour and 72 against. Hillel Neuer, director of UN Watch, tweeted that, in abstaining, New Zealand had “aided terror”.

Italian Government Leader Matteo Salvini visits Israel

Italian Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini responding to The Jerusalem Post and other international media at a Rome Foreign Press Association conference on Monday, day before leaving for Israel, stated that “Israel is one of the greatest and most modern democracies on the planet”, and his visit needed no other justification. He again confirmed that “antisemites are imbeciles and delinquents” and that as Interior Minister he would do everything possible to counter it. Antisemitism is growing in Europe and “Islamic extremism is the prime enemy of civil society and social peace, both in Italy and in Israel”, he said.

Asked whether he would propose moving the Italian Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, he replied smiling, “Let me make this journey in peace for now. You know my views, we can talk again when I return, although I am not the Prime Minister or President of Italy.”

Rumors that President Reuven Rivlin had turned down an appointment with him were “false news”, he said, since he had “not requested one. Meetings with Israel’s Premier, with the Ministers of Justice, of the Interior, and of Tourism are sufficient for a 24 hour visit.” He will also visit with Israel’s Italian Jewish Community as well as Yad Vashem (where he had already done on a previous trip).

He will be joined by Israel’s Ambassador to Italy, Ofer Sachs, who is already in Jerusalem attending an international ambassadors meeting.

Rights group says new video shows no rioting before troops killed Palestinian

Rights group B’Tselem on Tuesday released new video footage from multiple security cameras which it said proved that a young Palestinian shot dead in a northern West Bank city last week was fired at without provocation, and that no unrest or rioting was taking place as the incident unfolded.

The army had initially said soldiers had fired at stone throwers who attacked them during operational activity in Tulkarem on December 4.

But video footage released Sunday appeared to show that 22-year-old Muhammad Habali was shot in the back, and did not appear to be involved in any violent action before he was hit.

In response the IDF opened a military police investigation into the incident.

B’Tselem said new footage from several security cameras released Tuesday showed soldiers walking calmly along a road in the city until moments before the shooting. Palestinian residents stand around near Habali and appear calm as well.

Report: Saudis helped assassinate Arafat, former aide says

Bassam Abu-Sharif, an aide to late PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, claimed on Monday that he was in possession of a document proving Saudi Arabia was a partner to Arafat’s assassination, Shehab News Agency reported.

Abu-Sharif said that the document states that late Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon and the United States agreed to assassinate Arafat by poisoning with Saudi permission.

The report claimed that Sharon decided to eliminate Arafat because it would be the best way to stop the Palestinian resistance.

Abu-Sharif told Shehab that the poison was likely administered via Arafat’s toothpaste.

Palestinians have long believed that Israel was responsible for Arafat’s death in 2004.

Poem Recited by Palestinian Girl: Wild Apes and Miserable Pigs (Jews) Are Destined for Humiliation

During a conference held in Gaza on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, a Palestinian girl recited a poem that referred to the Jews as wild apes, miserable pigs, and evil creatures destined for humiliation. She said that they are like herds of stupid cattle, and that Jerusalem “spits out [their] filth” because it is a pure virgin. She also said: “I do not fear the rifle… As long as I have my arm and my stones… I will not sell out the Palestinian cause.” The conference was held on November 29, 2018 and aired on Al-Jazeera TV (Qatar). November 29 was declared by the United Nations General Assembly as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

Avigdor Lieberman: Former Israeli Defense Minister: Nations of the Free World Must Speak in Unison on Iran

The United States is doing an invaluable service to the West by resolutely confronting Iran with crippling economic sanctions. Though they might not even realize it today, the nations of the free world – and the people of Iran themselves – will look back and thank this U.S. administration for the strategic clarity guiding its Iran policy.

The threat posed by Iran to Israel and to most of the Arab world is imminent. There is a reason Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, Bahrain and other countries in the region support the tough U.S. policy on Iran: Iran’s attempt to assert regional hegemony and spread its revolutionary ideology through terror proxies and massively building up its missile arsenal poses an acute danger.

Under the direction of Quds Force leader Qassem Soleimani, Iranian operatives work closely with Hamas counterparts on Lebanese soil in order to synchronize a future attack on Israel from Lebanon and Gaza. Over the last decade, the Quds Force has provided hundreds of millions of dollars to Hamas and Islamic Jihad for their military buildup in Gaza.

But the Iranian threat is not restricted to the Middle East. In recent months, Israel has repeatedly conveyed real-time intelligence to European governments to thwart imminent terrorist attacks by Iranian operatives on European soil.

Disunity and muddled strategic thinking are always seen in only one way by the world’s malign powers: as an opportunity. Fumbling the ball on Iran will have dire consequences down the road, which far exceed the threat of Iran itself. But when the nations of the free world pool their energies, speak in unison and act in concert, no force of tyranny is powerful enough to withstand.

Europe is ‘saving’ the Iran deal by ignoring the violations

Iran on Saturday launched a ballistic missile that can deliver nukes — and the near-complete silence of the media aside, it’s a big deal. The latest test revealed, once more, the flaws in the Iranian nuclear deal and the confusion of our European allies, who are alarmed by the mullahs’ behavior but fear losing the deal that enables it.

“The Iranian regime has just test-fired a medium range ballistic missile that’s capable of carrying multiple warheads,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted Sunday, adding: “This test violates UNSCR 2231” — the United Nations Security Council resolution that made the nuclear deal international law.

One problem for Pompeo and President Trump is that their predecessors settled for a watered-down UN resolution on Iranian missile tests. Desperate to get to a “Yes,” President Obama agreed that the council will merely “call upon” Tehran to please, please, pretty-please not test.

And here we are.

While Tehran hasn’t confirmed the launch, the regime insists it has the right to test missiles for its national defense. France and Britain convened the Security Council Tuesday to discuss what Europeans pointedly refuse to call an Iranian violation but admit is “inconsistent” with the resolution.

America’s UN ambassador, Nikki Haley, called for a unanimous condemnation. But don’t hold your breath. The council plans no action, and even if it meets again, several diplomats tell me, it can’t unite behind even a mild rebuke.

This, even though the launched missile could reach Israel, Egypt and Southern Europe. As Brian Hook, Trump’s senior adviser on Iran, told reporters in Brussels Monday, “we have been warning the world for some time that we are accumulating risk of a regional conflict if we do not deter Iran’s missile testing and proliferation.”

EU official: Preparing trade vehicle to circumvent U.S. sanctions

The European Union’s foreign policy chief said on Monday a system to facilitate non-dollar trade with Iran and circumvent US sanctions could be in place by year’s end.

The European Union wants the so-called Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to help preserve the economic benefits for Iran deriving from the curbs it placed on its nuclear program under a 2015 deal with world powers, from which President Donald Trump withdrew the United States in May.

EU diplomats had hoped to have the SPV in place by now but ran into delays as member states balked at hosting it for fear of being targeted by the revived US sanctions regime against Iran.

Asked about progress on the SPV, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told reporters: “I would expect this instrument to be established in the coming weeks so before the end of the year as a way to protect and promote legitimate business with Iran.”

She did not offer any other details following a meeting of the bloc’s foreign ministers in Brussels but said work on creating the mechanism was “advancing well.”

France and Germany are now due to take joint responsibility for the SPV. But EU diplomats have said its ambitions could be scaled back to encompass only less sensitive items such as humanitarian and food products – rather than oil trade.

Netanyahu: Israel is preventing Iran from taking over the Mideast

Israel will prevent Iran from using cross-border tunnels from Lebanon as a “weapon of aggression” against it, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Fox News on Thursday, two days after the Israel Defense Forces launched Operation Northern Shield to expose and neutralize ‎terror tunnels dug by Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah.

The interview was held just hours after Netanyahu toured Israel’s northern border with reporters and diplomats. Excerpts were aired on Saturday.

Asked about Iran and the threat it posed together with Hezbollah, Netanyahu said: “They want not only to conquer all Muslims who don’t share their faith or subjugate and kill them, [but also] go against all the infidels. And guess who the great Satan is? The U.S. And who the small Satan is? Israel. We just happen to be closer.”

“We are just preventing them from taking over the Middle East, they are trying to mask their campaign to get nuclear weapons; that has to be stopped,” he said.

Netanyahu stressed that the cross-border tunnels that Israel has discovered, and is working to neutralize, dug from Lebanon into Israeli territory, underscore Iran’s efforts to target Israel before it acquires nuclear weapons.

How Iran turned a ‘counterterror’ meeting into a push for new global order

Iran continues to try to increase its clout in the region and beyond by hosting important high level meetings and portraying the US and its allies as isolated.

A key meeting took place on Saturday in Tehran between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and officials from China, Pakistan, Russia, Turkey and Afghanistan. Rouhani used the meeting to attack “the US, the West and the Zionist regime,” which he claimed are supporters of terrorist groups. As such he leveraged a meeting on terrorism to attack Iran’s adversaries. The Tehran meeting came a day before the Gulf Cooperation Council, which consists primarily of western allies, gathered in Riyadh on Sunday.

The gathering of leaders in Tehran was the second “Meeting of the Parliament Speakers on Combating Terrorism and Extremism.” According to pro-regime media in Tehran, the meeting also highlighted “regional connectivity.” The attendees at the meeting are important because Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan are ostensibly US allies, while China and Russia are two of the most powerful global states challenging the US on different fronts. China is engaged in arguments with the Trump administration over trade while Russia is involved in putting pressure on western allies, such as Ukraine, by detaining Ukrainian naval boats, harassing shipping and supporting proxies.

Iran, which is supposed to be under new US sanctions and which the Trump administration has been attempting to confront, showed its ability to arrange a high-level conference in Tehran and slam the US both among American allies and adversaries.

Speaking with the Pakistani National Assembly speaker Asad Qaiser, Iran’s leader claimed that the two countries must battle “terrorism” and then said that this would mean “resisting US bullying.” Iran wanted to expand relations, Press TV reported.

Iran detained Australian academic for ‘infiltrating’ institutions

Iran has detained an Australian-based academic on charges of trying to “infiltrate” Iranian institutions, according to official media.

Meimanat Hosseini-Chavoshi was detained as she was leaving Iran, the state news agency IRNA said.

Hosseini-Chavoshi, a population expert, is affiliated with the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, according to the University of Melbourne’s website.

Population control has become a sensitive issue in Iran since Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued an edict in 2014 calling for a population increase after decades of state-promoted birth control.

In October, Khamenei called for increased efforts to combat enemy “infiltration” as tensions escalated with the United States after Washington withdrew from a landmark nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions on Iran.

Asked about reports that several experts advocating population curbs had been arrested, judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei told reporters on Sunday:

With Advanced Technology, Russia Is Making It Harder for the U.S. and Israel to Operate in Syria

In recent weeks, Russia has completed the creation in Syria of a network of surface-to-air missiles as well as electronic-warfare devices that can jam mobile phones, radar, and the like and interfere with the systems used by aircraft. The most advanced Russian anti-aircraft missiles now provide protection to almost the entire country, and their range extends into northern Israeli airspace. Matti Suomenaro and Jennifer Cafarella discuss the implications for both Washington and Jerusalem:

Russia is using its electronic-warfare systems to monitor and disrupt operations by the U.S. anti-Islamic-State coalition in Syria. . . . Russia is likely to continue, if not to escalate, its use of electronic warfare against the U.S. in Syria. Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu stated on September 24 that Russia would jam the satellite navigation, airborne radar, and communication systems of combat aircraft in the eastern Mediterranean Sea in order to protect its facilities on the Syrian coast. Shoygu likely issued this threat in order to deter future strikes by the U.S. and Israel against Syria. . . . The U.S. must be prepared to defend against a future escalation that combines electronic warfare with ground operations against its partner forces in eastern Syria.

Russia ultimately aims to use its technical capabilities as part of its wider campaign to force the withdrawal from Syria of the U.S.-backed coalition. Russia can use these systems to decrease the overall freedom of maneuver—and increase the overall risk—faced by the U.S. in Syria, [thus raising] the cost of future airstrikes aimed at deterring chemical-weapons attacks by Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. [These systems] also increase the cost of future strikes by Israel against Iran in Syria.

The U.S. and Israel both must be prepared to suppress a larger number of air-defense systems and use more expensive stealth aircraft, such as the F-35, in Syria. Russia stands to gain a long-term strategic advantage over NATO through its new capabilities in Syria. The U.S. and NATO must now account for the risk of a dangerous escalation in the Middle East alongside any confrontation with Russia in Eastern Europe.

Assad says Israel deliberately caused Syria to down Russian spy plane

Syria’s President Bashar Assad said Monday that Israel acted deliberately during a September 17 incident that led to the downing of a Russian spy aircraft by Syrian forces, which were responding to an Israeli strike over Syrian airspace.

In an interview with an Omani newspaper, a Gulf state that has seen a recent warming of ties with Israel, Assad said that Damascus and Moscow had reached a consensus that the downing of the place was not an accident.

“Our leadership is united with the Russians, and it is clear that the incident is deliberate. The Russian media is transparent and has managed to expose the lies of some of the claims,” he said, according to Ynet.

The interview came after Russian President Vladimir Putin told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday that Israel and Russia must improve their military cooperation in Syria.

Putin emphasized the importance of upcoming consultations between defense experts from the two countries during the conversation, which was held at the initiative of Netanyahu, the Kremlin said.

The two leaders were said to be considering holding a meeting in person.

Hey, let’s give the plateau overlooking half our country to that guy who gassed his own citizens! (satire)

Hey guys, I just came up with an A-MA-ZING idea! Let’s give back the Golan Heights! Yeah, the strategic plateau that overlooks the Galilee! The one with Zero Palestinians and that also lets the IDF have a clear shot at Damascus! We need to do this, like, yesterday. Look, over the last 50 years, we’ve established wineries and farms and a ski resort, so it would be kinda cool to give those things to Bashar Assad. Yeah, Asma’s husband! That guy! The one who dropped barrel bombs full of chlorine gas on kids! Great idea, right? C’mon, enough is enough. The UN General Assembly just passed a non-binding resolution condemning us for holding onto it!

It’s not like Assad owes Hezbollah and Iran any favors after they saved his regime. If we can’t trust him, we may as well not trust anybody. I mean, I think you guys just need to relax. John Kerry said it was a good idea!

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

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