Baby delivered prematurely after mother wounded in Ofra terror attack dies
The baby of Shira Ish-ran, delivered after his mother had been shot and critically wounded in Sunday’s terror attack near Ofra, was pronounced dead on Wednesday, Shaare Zedek Medical Center announced in a statement.
The parents had met their baby son earlier Wednesday morning, the hospital said.
The baby was delivered by cesarean at 30 weeks due to the wounds Ish-ran sustained in the shooting attack at a bus stop outside Ofra. Ish-ran remains in serious condition but is said to be improving.
Amichai Ish-ran, her husband, remains in moderate condition after he was shot in the leg during the attack.
In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, Ish-ran’s mother recalled the emotional moment when she woke up asking for her.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett called the death a tragedy, writing on Facebook, “our heart is with Shira and Amichai, the heart cries out.”
“It’s a vile murder of terrorists that stopped being afraid of us. We have to bring back deterrence that was lost. Otherwise, a wave of murders are on the way. Not with statements. In actions.”
As the anniversary of Abbas’ Fatah approaches – celebrated on the day of their first attempted terror attack against Israel in 1965 – the movement is emphasizing its values to the Palestinian public.
One of those values is Fatah’s devotion to “the armed struggle” against Israel and Fatah’s adoration for the rifle.
In an informative post on the terrorist attack three days ago in which 7 Israelis were wounded when terrorists shot at them, Fatah chose to adorn the post with the photo above showing masked Fatah members in military uniforms with assault rifles and yellow Fatah headbands.
Fatah overtly stressed its adherence to “the armed struggle” in another post showing a photo of a procession of masked men wearing military uniforms and carrying torches and yellow Fatah flags:
“Fatah is the torch of the armed struggle.”
[Official Fatah Facebook page, Dec. 8, 2018]
In another post, Fatah directly stated that it won’t abandon “the rifle”:
“The 54th anniversary of the Intilaqa (“the Launch” of Fatah)
The revolution continues, and we will not drop the rifle.”
[Official Fatah Facebook page, Dec. 7, 2018]
This announcement echoes a recent statement by Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki that was exposed by Palestinian Media Watch, in which Zaki declared that “the rifle will never fall.”
On Oct. 27, 2018, while intensive contacts were being led by Egypt and the UN to reach an arrangement between Israel and Hamas, IDF Spokesperson Lt.-Col. Jonathan Conricus said that Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) had delivered heavy barrages of dozens of rockets on Israel from Gaza while working “under guidance, instructions, and incentives from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Quds Force, based in Damascus.”
In other words, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards directly ordered Islamic Jihad and orchestrated the rocket fire. IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis pointed out that “Islamic Jihad did not wait to get a green light from Hamas” to fire the rockets. Its activator was Iran, which precluded the necessity for Hamas approval.
Last year, Hizbullah, together with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), formed the Golan Liberation Brigade in Syria, an umbrella organization of Shiite militias who can be activated on the Israeli-Syrian border.
In addition, in 2012, Tehran created the Shiite terrorist faction Sabireen in Gaza. Sabireen and Hizbullah have very similar logos, and the founding document of Sabireen starts with the same words Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah uses at the beginning of his speeches.
Iran has significantly strengthened its position in Gaza to the point that it is now a critical factor. Tehran’s chief goal is to obstruct the broad efforts of Egypt and the UN to stabilize the ceasefire between Israel and Gaza. Without Iranian interference, the situation in Gaza – indeed, in much of the Middle East – would be a great deal more promising.
A group of IDF reservists is set to file a complaint with the International Criminal Court in the Hague against Hamas and the Palestinian Authority for their use of human shields in the coming weeks.
My Truth, established following Operation Protective Edge in 2014 by Avihai Shorshan, has documented scores of testimonies from reservists in recent months describing the use of human shields to carry out terrorist attacks and other human rights violations.
“Our main goal is to be a non-political organization which presents the complete picture of what IDF soldiers face to the world, with no political angle. Just the situation on the ground,” Shorshan told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
“When the March of Return protests began in April, our soldiers were going in front of Hamas terrorists every Friday and we saw them use women and soldiers to attack our soldiers. When we turn on CNN, nobody ever talks about the evil methods that Hamas uses, only our methods,” Shorshan said. “This is the right time to not only speak about Israel but about what they do as well.”
While the organization has collected some 33 testimonies from events from 2004 to present, ten of them will be submitted to the Hague in cooperation with lawyers from the International Legal Forum and the Jerusalem Institute of Justice, all of them relating to incidents which occurred over the past seven months of the weekly Great March of Return protests.
“The real shocking bit where I really couldn’t believe my eyes was when I saw an elderly man walking with a walking stick with a plastic bag and in that bag he had two bottles of gasoline which he intended to light and then throw towards Israeli soldiers,” said one testimony by a sniper who had been deployed to the protests along the fence until November.
“These soldiers were on the fence Friday after Friday until November,” Shorshan said.
“The main things about the protests along the fence is that they not simple civilian demonstrations. This is a terrorist attack against our fence, and we know exactly what Hamas plans to do when they cross the fence,” he said. “There is no Western country in the world which shares a fence with a terrorist organization, and we have four terror organizations on our borders. And some communities are just hundreds of meters from the fence.”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday that Hezbollah tunnels from Lebanon to infiltrate and attack Israel “violate the most basic premise of sovereignty.”
“The United States fully supports Israel’s right [to defend themselves from Iranian aggression], and we do our best to support their capability to defend themselves from Iranian aggression,” Pompeo told conservative radio-talk show host Hugh Hewitt. “These tunnels are Iranian-connected Lebanese Hezbollah efforts to violate the most basic premise of sovereignty, of national sovereignty—that is, digging tunnels onto someone’s terrain.”
The Israel Defense Forces launched “Operation Northern Shield” last week to discover and eliminate underground tunnels constructed by Hezbollah from Lebanon to Israel.
“We support Israel’s right to defend itself, including the exercises on the Israeli side of the border that they now are calling ‘Northern Shield,’ ” said Pompeo, who met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Brussels last week to discuss the Iranian threat and other issues.
The United States denied an Israeli request to place sanctions on Lebanon, a day before the IDF launched an operation to uncover and destroy what it says is a network of cross-border tunnels snaking into the country from its northern neighbor, a senior Israeli official has reportedly said.
Meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netnayahu in Brussels last Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo rejected the premier’s proposal to slap Beirut with a an economic embargo for its ostensible support for Hezbollah, Haaretz quoted a senior Israeli official as saying on Wednesday.
Pompeo reportedly cited the US’s strategic ties with Lebanon.
Instead, the secretary of state agreed to increase measures against the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist group, which Israel says planned to used the tunnels as a surprise component of an opening salvo in a future war, to allow dozens or hundreds of terrorists into Israel, alongside a mass infiltration of operatives above-ground and the launching of rockets, missiles, and mortar shells at northern Israel.
Pompeo told Netanyahu during the meeting that the US was committed to “confronting the totality of the Iranian regime’s threats through maximum pressure,” according to a State Department statement released at the time.
An IDF delegation will return to Israel from Moscow Wednesday night, following a working meeting between senior leaders of the two militaries on Israel’s operation Northern Shield.
The delegation of senior IDF officers led by the head of the IDF’s Operations Directorate Maj.-Gen. Aharon Haliva, departed to Moscow on Tuesday to brief their Russian counterparts on details of Operation Northern Shield and other operational issues including improving the deconfliction mechanism between the two over Syrian skies.
The IDF underlined to the Russian military officers that Israel will continue to operate against the entrenchment of Iran’s and it’s Shiite proxies north of its borders, as well as the ongoing arms transfers to Hezbollah.
Over the weekend, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin and stressed “once more Israel’s policy aimed at preventing Iran’s entrenchment in Syria and at acting against Iran and Hezbollah’s aggression.”
Israel frequently carries out airstrikes against Iran and its allies in Syria in an effort to prevent sophisticated weaponry from reaching Hezbollah.
The relationship between Jerusalem and Moscow has been strained since a Russian military plane was downed by Syrian air defenses following an Israeli airstrike on nearby Iranian targets, but according to the statement released by the IDF, the meeting on Wednesday between the senior officers “was conducted in a good and professional atmosphere.”
Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, seen as one of the leaders of the far-right political movement gaining ground throughout Europe, is a “great friend of Israel,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday.
Netanyahu’s comments came before a meeting he held with Salvini, who is also Italy’s interior minister, in his office. Salvini is in the country on a 24-hour visit, his fourth to Israel but first since he became a member of the Italian government in June.
Referring to a trip Salvini took to the Lebanese border immediately upon arriving on Tuesday to see the Hezbollah tunnels the IDF is uncovering, Netanyahu’s said that “you had the opportunity to see the terror tunnels yourself directly. This is a clear act of aggression of Hezbollah against us and against the norms of the international community.”
Pointing out that the head of the UNIFIL, Maj.-Gen. Stefano Del Col, is Italian, Netanyahu said that “we think UNIFIL has to do a stronger job, tougher job, but ultimately it’s the responsibility of the international community. They should stop Hezbollah from taking these acts of aggression against Israel.”
Of the 43 countries contributing the nearly 10,500 UNIFIL troops, Italy has the second largest contingent, with a force of 1,069 – second only to Indonesia, with 1,306 troops in the force.
Meeting with Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini on Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the international community to take a more aggressive stance toward Hezbollah, the Lebanese terror organization that has dug several attack tunnels across the border into Israel.
“You had the opportunity to see the terror tunnels yourself directly. This is a clear act of aggression of Hezbollah against us and against the norms of the international community,” Netanyahu told Salvini at the beginning of their two-hour meeting in Jerusalem.
Netanyahu noted that the commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, Major General Stefano Del Col, is Italian. “We think UNIFIL has to do a stronger job, tougher job, but ultimately it’s the responsibility of the international community,” the prime minister said. “They should stop Hezbollah from taking these acts of aggression against Israel.”
Salvini replied that he had met Del Col the night before, and went on to say that there is a “problem” with Italian media, which criticized him for calling Hezbollah a terrorist organization.
“Hezbollah hides behind civilians, fires on civilians, murders civilians, but how can you possibly call them civilians?” Netanyahu said sarcastically.
“If you have a problem with the Italian press, I cannot give you any advice, because I have no problems with the Israeli press at all, I wouldn’t know what to do with it,” he added ironically.
“Terrorists are terrorists,” Salvini replied.
The European Union has treated Israel unfairly, Italy’s far-right Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said Tuesday in Jerusalem, while also indicating that Rome would not be shifting its stance toward the country.
“The EU has in recent years been entirely unbalanced, it has condemned and sanctioned Israel left and right, for every step it took,” he said at a press conference Tuesday evening.
Salvini, the controversial head of the far-right Lega party, arrived earlier on Tuesday for a two-day trip, during which he will also visit the Western Wall, the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Before his press conference at the capital’s King David Hotel, Salvini met with Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who said they discussed “countering anti-Israel decisions at the UN and EU.”
“Whoever wants peace, needs to support Israel,” Salvini told reporters after returning from a tour at Israel’s northern border, where he receive a briefing about the IDF’s ongoing operation to expose Hezbollah’s cross-border attack tunnels.
The Housing and Construction Ministry began examining a site for a neighborhood of embassies in Jerusalem.
Thus far, only the US Embassy and the Guatemalan Embassy are in Jerusalem, but several other countries’ leaders have said they are weighing moving their embassies, including Australia and Brazil.
Now Housing and Construction Minister Yoav Gallant is preparing for the possibility of an influx of embassies, eyeing a 100 dunam (25 acre) plot of state land in Talpiot.
“I am convinced that many more countries will move their embassies to Jerusalem,” Gallant said, “therefore I instructed my ministry to come up with scenarios for appropriate solutions for the embassies in the future, including a unique ‘embassies quarter.’”
Gallant plans for the area to include buildings in which several countries can have their embassies, as well as housing for workers nearby. It would be surrounded by a wall for security, but still allow for there to be a view of the Old City.
The “embassies quarter” is within pre-1967 lines, and would be 1.5 km from the West Bank separation barrier.
Very fitting. Here are Australian diggers at the Western Wall. pic.twitter.com/nDjqAYIjDT
— Lenny Ben-David (@lennybendavid) December 12, 2018
The news out of the Australian capital today could not be worse for the righteous Palestinian cause: the government there appears on the verge of approving recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a move that threatens the very foundations of morality, civilization, and any other value you care to mention, that we can then co-opt for political purposes. If Australia indeed follows through, we Palestinians will have no choice but to engage in the same violent behaviors we have engaged in for more than a century to register our objection to Jewish sovereignty and survival, behaviors that we continue to fail to recognize play a central role in causing others to side against us.
For decades we have insisted that we have the right to oppose Zionism by any and all means, and no one may restrict or abridge that right in any way by claiming we must avoid violence. This argument has the benefit of falling neatly into absolutist rhetoric, according to which the absolute evil of the Zionist regime necessitates and justifies even the most extreme violent acts. This is why we oppose Australia’s move, and also why we fail to comprehend that the very adherence to an eliminationist, absolutist line has led Canberra to conclude that indulging us any further can only make a peaceful resolution more difficult and more remote. Of course we agree on the latter point, but have different aims and assumptions in that respect.
This reality leaves us with no other option than to keep trying to kill as many Jews as possible in the name of Palestinian independence, leading to more and more nations realizing they stand to gain nothing by accepting our zero-sum attitude, our intransigence, and our sanctification of the very violence they wish to end. We will then react with further zero-sum tantrums, which of course will prompt a further wave of pro-Israel diplomatic moves, which will all but force us to commit more terrorism, and then we win. We are still fuzzy on the details of that last bit.
The House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill on Monday that would enact sanctions on those who use human shields in war.
The Senate unanimously passed its version in October. The bill now goes to US President Donald Trump to sign it into law.
Introduced by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) and Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.), and co-sponsored by 25 representatives, the Sanctioning the Use of Civilians as Defenseless Shields Act, also known as the STOP Using Human Shields Act, officially condemns the US-designated terrorist group Hezbollah’s use of human shields “as a gross violation of internationally recognized human rights.”
The bill mandates that the president impose sanctions on any entity that “knowingly and materially supports, orders, controls, directs or otherwise engages in” the exercise of human shields by the terrorist organizations Hezbollah and Hamas.
The president may waive sanctions for up to 120 days if he or she reports to Congress saying that a waiver is crucial to national-security interests.
Groups such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Christians United for Israel, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) and the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) applauded the bill’s passage.
“This is the first time Congress has taken legislative action against this heinous practice,” AIPAC said in a statement.
“The importance of this legislation is underscored by the recent discovery of Hezbollah terror tunnels into Israel that originated under the cover of civilian houses in Lebanon,” they added. “And just weeks ago—using the cover of civilian populations in Gaza—Hamas fired [nearly] 500 rockets at communities across southern Israel.”
The gunman who carried out a mass shooting in Strasbourg cried the Islamic phrase “Allahu Akbar” (“God is Greatest”) as he opened fire, France’s anti-terror prosecutor Remy Heitz told a news conference Wednesday, citing witnesses.
Four people connected to the main suspect were detained overnight in the eastern French city, he added.
Police union officials identified the suspected assailant as Cherif Chekatt, a 29-year-old with a thick police record for crimes including armed robbery. The two officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to publicly discuss details of the large and ongoing investigation.
Hundreds of police and soldiers hunted for the extremist suspect that they believe sprayed gunfire near one of Europe’s most famous Christmas markets the night before, killing three and wounding at least 13 in the eastern city of Strasbourg and putting the whole country on edge anew.
Senior Interior Ministry official Laurent Nunez said Chekatt had been radicalized in prison and had been monitored by French intelligence services since his release from jail in late 2015, because of his suspected religious extremism.
A Palestinian who worked with Israel to prevent terror attacks appeared before a Knesset committee on Tuesday and described his brutal treatment at the hands of the Palestinian Authority.
According to the Hebrew newssite Walla, the unnamed man told lawmakers, “I am a man who received a death sentence because I prevented the spilling of blood. I prevented terror attacks. Because of this, children grew up today and were not killed, and I did the job.”
He said that he took the actions he did because “I didn’t want attacks, I wanted peace.”
The man then described being tortured by PA forces, as well as other incidents of torture that he witnessed.
“They take you to a room,” he said, “and have you work on their construction, lifting five, seven blocks, and go up to the fifth floor. And on every floor there is a Palestinian soldier. If you take a break, he hits you. You go up — and come back down again. They open the sewer and say, ‘Get down there.’”
The Knesset meeting was called in response to the arrest by the Palestinian Authority of a Palestinian-American man suspected of selling land to Jews. Thus far, he remains in custody.
The IDF raided al-Quds University in the Abu Dis neighborhood of Jerusalem on Wednesday. It collected surveillance footage from the campus cameras, according to official Palestinian media channel WAFA.
Soldiers were met by protesting locals who attempted to block their way. After demonstrators hurled stones and glass bottles, the soldiers fired tear gas grenades and rubber bullets, according to the report.
The purpose of the mission is unknown. Soldiers searched faculty and student offices before seizing the video recordings.
Earlier this week, the IDF carried out two similar missions in Ramallah. On Monday, soldiers locked WAFA reporters in a room to search the premises, according to Palestinian reports; on Tuesday they collected security footage from the building.
Before Tuesday’s mission, soldiers also encountered protesters throwing stones. The confrontation ended again with tear gas and stun grenades.
After a week-long scandal over his anti-Israel posts on social media, Haifa deputy mayor-designate Raja Zaatry announced Wednesday that his party would instead give the post to his number two, who has also posted anti-Israel statements on Facebook.
In a press conference in Haifa, Zaatry said he would not apologize for his past statements defending Hezbollah and comparing Zionism to Nazism and the IDF to Islamic State. But he clarified that he is against all targeting of civilians.
“I am against terror and all harm to innocent people, whether they are Arabs, Jews, Chinese, or Americans” Zaatry said. “But we know that a nation under occupation has a right to oppose occupation with all legitimate means.”
Zaatry praised new Haifa mayor Einat Kalisch-Rotem, who decided to appoint him to the sole paid deputy mayor post. He said she withstood tremendous pressure to remove the Haifa Front (Hadash and Communists) party he heads from the coalition.
“I am proud of my party,” Zaatry said. “We didn’t come to the Haifa city council through a tunnel or on a rocket. We were elected to the council because we promoted peace, social justice and real coexistence.”
But then Zaatry said his party had decided after the controversy to instead give the deputy mayor post to Shahira Shalabi, who was second on the Haifa Front list.
Shalabi expressed support for terror during Operation Protective Edge in August 2014, when she posted on Facebook “With spirit and blood, we will redeem Gaza.” When asked at the press conference if she would condemn Hezbollah, she said she preferred to “condemn the occupation.”
A top Israeli diplomat revealed on Wednesday that a Twitter account apparently originating in Egypt was impersonating the IDF chief rabbi.
Elad Ratson, the director of research & development and special envoy for digital diplomacy at the Israeli Foreign Ministry, tweeted on Tuesday, “FAKE ALERT @rabbieyalkarim is impersonating @IDF Chief Rabbi!”
The tweet appeared over an image of the fake profile under the name @RabbiEyalKarim, describing the owner as “Israeli Army Chief Rabbi, Brigadier General Eyal Karim.” Karim became IDF chief rabbi in 2016. He does not appear to have a Twitter account.
The fake account appears to be of Egyptian origin. “A week ago, same Twitter ID presented this bio,” wrote Ratson,
name: Kamel Kamel
location: Cairo, Egypt
bio: Vice-President of the Political Section
The motive for the fake account remains unclear.
Journalist Lahav Harkov of The Jerusalem Post referred to similar incidents, writing, “More fake twitter activity around Israeli figures. This supposed account for IDF Rabbi Eyal Karim? Up until a week ago it was someone named Kamel and registered to Cairo.”
Ministry of Agriculture Central Unit supervisors, in conjunction with the Israeli Police, uncovered strawberries that had been brought to Israel from the Gaza Strip in four stalls of Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda Market.
Together, the four stalls held 80 cartons of strawberries, weighing close to 600 pounds total, that were meant to be sold to the Israeli market. The suspects, residents of Jerusalem, were arrested and are set to stand trial in the coming weeks. The strawberries have been transferred to a separate location to be destroyed.
Israel’s Agricultural Products Marketing Law demands that harvested products sold to the public be regulated and approved under government law. This means, specifically, that the product must be inspected to determine that it possesses an acceptable level of pesticide residue and that proper irrigation practices were being implemented, including the use of clean water.
“On the face of it, the strawberries look like the rest of the strawberries that are allowed to be marketed and are in the refrigerators of our homes,” said an Agriculture Ministry statement. “But it is important to understand that there is a clear danger to anyone eating fruits and vegetables that are not under our supervision. The Ministry’s inspectors work to ensure that the source of the fruits and vegetables sold in Israel are supervised. We will continue to act vigilantly to prevent such attempts.”
However, this is not the only reason why the strawberries were declared illegal. The blockade of the Gaza Strip, imposed by Israel and Egypt in 2007, prohibits the import, sale and distribution of any product coming in or out of the Hamas-controlled region.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians: Qatar seeking to establish Palestinian state in Gaza
Palestinian officials on Tuesday accused Qatar of working toward establishing a “separate Palestinian state” in the Gaza Strip and called for the expulsion of the emirate’s envoy, Mohammed Al-Emadi.
Some officials described the Qatari envoy as the “military commander of the Gaza Strip” and the “new high commissioner” – a reference to United Kingdom’s High Commissioner during the British Mandate for Palestine and Transjordan.
The accusations came after Al-Emadi was quoted as saying that he had proposed the establishment of an airport in the Gaza Strip, but had received no response from Israel.
“They (Israel) said it would be discussed and they procrastinated..We will renew our request,” he told a Gaza-based news agency. “The Israeli side had security concerns and we told them we can resolve them by having the planes fly to Doha and return to Gaza from there and under Qatari security supervision.”
Last week, Al-Emadi delivered the second payment of $15 million Qatari grant to the Gaza Strip – a move that has also drawn sharp criticism from a number of Palestinian officials, including top PLO officials in Ramallah.
This hashtag #PBLOTD is going to go viral pretty soon because there’s one a minute.
— The Mossad (@TheMossadIL) December 11, 2018
Gaza University Professor Subhi Al-Yazji: We Should Hit a Synagogue Every Time Israel Hits a Mosque
Dr. Subhi Al-Yazji, who is the Dean of Quranic Studies at the Islamic University of Gaza, said that while the Palestinians in Gaza are capable of carrying out military attacks in Tel Aviv, simply firing a missile can achieve the same result and doesn’t require sending people to be “martyred.” He added that the Gazans should adopt an “eye-for-an-eye policy” and that killing an Israeli for every Palestinian killed is not enough. Rather, he suggested that they should bomb a synagogue or school every time Israel bombs a mosque or school. Dr. Al-Yazji was interviewed on Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas-Gaza) on November 18, 2018.
A Palestinian child succumbed to wounds he sustained last Friday during a protest on the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry.
Four-year-old Ahmad Abu Abed was hit by bullet shrapnel in the face, chest and stomach at a protest in the border area in southern Gaza, a senior official in the ministry, who asked to remain unnamed, told the Times of Israel.
He added that the bullet was fired by Israeli security forces.
The IDF said it was looking into what happened to Abu Abed, while accusing Hamas of using Palestinians in Gaza, including children, as “human shields.”
“The Hamas terrorist organization cynically uses Gaza residents, especially women and children, as human shields and place them at the forefront of the violent riots, terrorist attacks and the terror of arson, demonstrating their contempt for human life,” the IDF said in an emailed statement.
Kuwaiti Political Analyst Meshal Alnami: I Am Opposed To Normalization with Israel
During a December 2, 2018 interview on Diwan Al-Mullah Internet TV (Kuwait), Kuwaiti political analyst Meshal Alnami said that he opposes normalization of ties with Israel because Israel does not abide by international agreements and covenants. He said that the Jews have a long history of treachery, betrayal, discord, and dissent, and added: “We don’t even have Jews here, but you can see how they play us.” He also said that Palestine will ultimately return to the Islamic nation.
In recent months, King ‘Abdallah II of Jordan has been facing growing criticism within the country and calls to limit his powers, from both popular elements and political circles. On October 6, 2018, the “National Follow-Up Committee,” a group of 143 politicians and military veterans, issued a statement in which they harshly protested what they called the dire condition of the country, the king’s disregard of demands for reform, and the abuse of the powers conferred upon the king and his court, and called to curtail these powers. Since its initial release, the statement has been signed by over 1,000 people.
The wave of criticism has been growing since the unrest in the spring of 2018 protesting the dire economic situation in Jordan. These protests included strikes and mass demonstrations throughout the kingdom at which calls against the king were occasionally heard, holding him responsible for the crisis. Even after these protests died down and a new government was formed in June 2018, calls for reform and in particular for limiting the king’s powers persisted, voiced by social media users and small grassroots protest movements, but also by members of parliament. For example, a parliamentary faction comprising mainly of Muslim Brotherhood (MB) members demanded the transfer of some of the King’s powers to the government. In addition, two MPs criticized Queen Rania’s intervention in matters of state, saying she has no authority to do so. The tense atmosphere was exacerbated by the king’s long and unexplained absence from Jordan in July 2018, which sparked criticism on social media and malicious rumors that he is in ill health or has changed his position on the Palestinian issue.
King ‘Abdallah tried to rebuff the criticism. Implicitly alluding to the Follow-Up Committee’s statement, he admitted that mistakes had been made and that the dissatisfaction among the citizens reflected their waning confidence in the state institutions, but called to focus on the kingdom’s achievements and to channel the dissatisfaction toward improving the situation. On several occasions he also denied the rumors that had been spread about him. The Jordanian press also rallied to the King’s defense. Writers, especially in the government daily Al-Rai, rejected the calls to limit the King’s powers and condemned those who spread the rumors, accusing them of attempting to destabilize the country.
Gen. Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which is responsible for subversive operations carried out by the Revolutionary Guard abroad, has again visited Iraq. Apparently, this is the first visit in about a year, during which Iran has involved itself deeply in the current Iraqi political turmoil in an effort to influence the composition of Iraq’s government.
The last time Soleimani was seen in Iraq was at the end of December 2017, when he was accompanied by Hassan Danaeifar, the former Iranian ambassador to Baghdad, who used to be a senior officer in the Quds force. Soleimani met with Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani about three months after the failure of a referendum over independence in the Kurdish region. Before the referendum was held, Iran exerted heavy pressure to prevent it and essentially achieved its goal. Following Soleimani’s visit at that time, Iran agreed to reopen two border crossings between Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan, which Tehran had closed because of the referendum initiative.
A Sword on its Way to Liberate Palestine
According to the Iranian Al-Alam channel (which broadcasts in Arabic to a target audience across the Arab and Muslim world as part of the Iranian propaganda network), Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, vice-commander of the Iraqi Shiite militia Al-Hashd Al-Sha’abi (the Popular Mobilization Committee), accompanied Soleimani during the meeting. At this meeting, the commander of the Quds force gave a sword to his Sunni host, declaring that this sword is similar to that of Imam Ali, the first imam of the Shiites, as it is “a sign of honesty and draws attention to the liberation of Palestine.”
While the discovery of Hizbullah tunnels has exposed one aspect of Iran’s intervention in Lebanon, there is another aspect that also must be noted. Iran has infiltrated into the refugee camps in Lebanon and the new Wahabi-Sunni alliance created during the entire war in Syria. In Lebanon, the primary manifestation of this alliance is the Usbat al-Ansar, or Brotherhood of the Supporters of the Prophet, which corresponds to ISIS in Syria, and its bases are located in the Palestinian refugee camps.1
The most prominent expression of its existence was the participation of the group’s spokesman Sheikh Abu Sharif Aql at this year’s Islamic Unity Conference held in Tehran. This is the first time the Usbat al-Ansar group has participated in such a conference.
At the same time, meetings took place between the leaders of the group in Lebanon and Lebanese security chiefs. Afterward, the group stated that it would not interfere in activities in Lebanon and it considers the official Lebanese forces to be a legitimate body that is also protecting the Palestinians.
In early December 2018, Abu Sharif Aql, speaking in the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp in a message undoubtedly addressed to the Lebanese Army, publicly disassociated Usbat al-Ansar from two ISIS-affiliated jihadis who led attacks against the Lebanese Army in the last year. “O Jihadi brother, Shadi Mawlawi,” Aql said, “I speak for the children, orphans, and elderly in the camp, to whom you have caused suffering. There are 100,000 Palestinians in this camp who will not be able to provide you with any help. They will not support you if you are here.”2
The Tehran regime’s leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, urged Iranians on Wednesday to stay united, saying the United States would exploit divisions and was likely to launch plots against Iran in 2019.
Iran is struggling with the economic impact of President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers and re-impose sanctions.
“Everyone should be vigilant, because our enemy America is sly and evil … and may have plans for 2019,” Khamenei said in a speech, the text of which was posted on his website. “But we are stronger than them and they will fail as they have in the past.”
The rial currency has lost about 60 percent of its value in 2018, as Iranians have increasingly sought dollars and gold coins to protect their savings. Factional tensions and worker protests have been on the rise as the sanctions have spurred inflation and unemployment.
“My advice to the Iranian nation, especially the youth and the country’s various organizations, professional or political, is to be careful and not make matters easier for the enemy,” Khamenei said.
On Sunday, the Trump administration’s State Department, a far cry from the Obama State Department’s sycophantic dealings with Iran, targeted the Iranian government with a series of blunt tweets that pointed out the corruption of Iranian officials, even referring to Iran’s Supreme leader, the Ayatollah Khamenei, as a “so-called holy man.” The State Department wrote, “Today is #AntiCorruptionDay. Sadly, for the Iranian people, their government is full of corrupt hypocrites. Take Ayatollah Khamenei, who has a tax-free hedge fund worth billions. This so-called holy man devours property from religious minorities, then funnels the cash to IRGC.”
Today is #AntiCorruptionDay. Sadly, for the Iranian people, their government is full of corrupt hypocrites. Take Ayatollah Khamenei, who has a tax-free hedge fund worth billions. This so-called holy man devours property from religious minorities, then funnels the cash to IRGC. pic.twitter.com/rnAwNaLhfW
— Department of State (@StateDept) December 9, 2018
Just in case you thought the State Department was only targeting Khamenei, think again. They were taking no prisoners. They followed with more tweets targeting more officials. They next tweeted, “This #AntiCorruptionDay Iranians have much to despair about. Their government is full of corrupt hypocrites. Meet Sadegh Mahsouli—The Billionaire General. Somehow he had a knack for winning lucrative construction and oil contracts from IRGC businesses. He is now worth billions.”
Two launch units for anti-tank guided missiles recovered by a Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen appear to have been manufactured in Iran during 2016 and 2017, according to a confidential United Nations report seen by Reuters on Tuesday.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres does not specifically state whether the discovery of the units in Yemen was a violation of a UN resolution that took effect in January 2016. It prevents Iran from importing and exporting arms or related materiel unless the Security Council has given approval.
“The Secretariat found that they had characteristics of Iranian manufacture and that their markings indicated production dates in 2016 and 2017,” Guterres said in his biannual report to the Security Council on the implementation of sanctions on Iran.
“The Secretariat also examined a partly disassembled surface-to-air missile seized by the Saudi-led coalition and observed that its features appeared to be consistent with those of an Iranian missile,” he wrote.
A proxy war is playing out in Yemen between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The Saudi-led coalition intervened in 2015, backing government forces fighting the Iran-allied Houthis. The Houthis have been subject to a separate arms embargo since 2015. Iran has repeatedly denied supplying weapons to the Houthis.
The UN Security Council is due to discuss the latest report from Guterres on Wednesday, diplomats said.
With Israel joining the prestigious FATF (Financial Action Task Force) on Monday, will it be able to work with the US to pressure Iran financially at the upcoming February 17 meeting?
Iran already has problems with the FATF with it being singled out along with North Korea for a line of negative public statements in recent years and as a high-risk jurisdiction.
In addition, an October FATF statement said its members should “continue to advise their financial institutions to apply enhanced due diligence, including obtaining information on the reasons for intended transactions, to business relationships and transactions with natural and legal persons from Iran.”
However, these points were secondary with the bottom-line from the October statement being FATF’s decision not ti re-impose economic countermeasures against Iran which it had imposed prior to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
The US-based Wisconsin Project which monitors a range of Iran developments, noted in a November report that FATF’s decision not to reimpose economic sanctions on Iran” provides temporary support for efforts by the remaining parties in the nuclear agreement with Iran…to preserve the agreement” in contradiction to US efforts.
A Hebron synagogue. Damaged during the 1929 massacre. The synagogue was built in *1540*. The Jews were forced out and the synagogue was destroyed in 1948.
Today *all* Jews in Hebron are considered ‘invaders’ by ‘progressives’.
Sure looks like racism & ethnic cleansing to me pic.twitter.com/VDlSRcXetb
— David Collier (@mishtal) December 11, 2018
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.