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Friday, March 3, 2017

From Ian:

Arrest made in bomb threats against US Jewish centers
US law enforcement agencies have arrested a man suspected of being behind at least eight bomb threats against Jewish organizations in recent week, Federal authorities said.
Authorities named the suspect as Juan Thompson, 31, and said that the threats were made as a campaign to harass a former girlfriend, using her name to make some of the threats.
“Today, we have charged Juan Thompson with allegedly stalking a former romantic interest by, among other things, making bomb threats in her name to Jewish Community Centers and to the Anti-Defamation League,” New York-based US Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.
“Threats of violence targeting people and places based on religion or race –- whatever the motivation –- are unacceptable, un-American and criminal.”
Thompson was arrested in St. Louis, Missouri and was expected to appear in a Missouri court later Friday on one count of cyberstalking.
Juan Thompson: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
1. Juan Thompson, 31-years-old, Is Suspected of Making Threats Against JCCs Using the Name of a Woman He Had Dated
2. He Has a Twitter Account Where He Says His Ex-Girlfriend Sent a Bomb Threat in His Name
3. Juan Thompson Was Fired from the Intercept for Fabricating Quotes and Sources
4. He Planned to Run for Mayor of St. Louis in 2017, According to His Twitter Account
5. Thompson May Have Made at Least Eight Threats, Which Leaves Many Bomb Threats Still Unaccounted For
The Intercept: Statement on the Arrest of Former Intercept Reporter Juan Thompson
We were horrified to learn this morning that Juan Thompson, a former employee of The Intercept, has been arrested in connection with bomb threats against the ADL and multiple Jewish Community Centers in addition to cyberstalking. These actions are heinous and should be fully investigated and prosecuted. We have no information about the charges against Thompson other than what is included in the criminal complaint. Thompson worked for The Intercept from November 2014 to January 2016, when he was fired after we discovered that he had fabricated sources and quotes in his articles.
NY governor orders probe as Jewish cemetery in Rochester vandalized
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday ordered state police to launch a full investigation after a Jewish cemetery in Rochester was vandalized, the third such incident in the United States in less than two weeks.
Five headstones were found toppled Thursday morning at the Waad Hakolel Cemetery, also known as the Stone Road Cemetery, in the city in western New York.
“A number of headstones were recently vandalized and toppled over at Waad Hakolel Cemetery in Rochester,” the governor said in a statement. “Given the wave of bomb threats targeting Jewish community centers and disturbing vandalism at Jewish cemeteries nationwide, I am directing the State Police to immediately launch a full investigation into this matter.”
The president of the nonprofit managing the cemetery said he did not want to call the incident a hate crime or anti-Semitism.
“I don’t want to label it a hate crime. I don’t think there’s any proof of that. I don’t want to label it anti-Semitism. I don’t think there’s any proof of that,” said Michael Phillips, president of the Britton Road Association, according to The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.



US reps say federal response needed to stop Jew-hatred
Lawmakers from both parties are expressing grave concern over a measurable spike in antisemitic threats, attacks and acts of vandalism across the US, and are calling on the Trump administration to coordinate a more proactive and comprehensive response.
A bipartisan congressional task force founded primarily to combat antisemitism overseas reconstituted itself last week in order to meet the growing challenge at home. That group, composed of four Democrats and four Republicans, sent a letter to President Donald Trump on Thursday detailing specific steps he could take to mitigate the threat.
Their letter was prompted by the overturning of hundreds of Jewish tombstones in Pennsylvania and Missouri last week, an unprecedented spike in antisemitic vandalism in New York State since November, and more than 100 bomb threats called in to Jewish Community Centers across the country since the beginning of the year. On Thursday morning, a Jewish cemetery in Rochester, New York, was found vandalized. Five headstones were found toppled at the Waad Hakolel Cemetery, also known as the Stone Road Cemetery.
Former ADL head says anti-Semitism in US not at ‘crisis’ level
The former head of the Jewish hate-crime watchdog Anti-Defamation League said concerns over rising anti-Semitism in the US are being blown out of proportion by political operatives and that US President Donald Trump should not be pressured over the issue.
Abraham Foxman, who stepped down as ADL director in 2015 after nearly 30 years at the helm, told the Forward newspaper that the wave of bomb threats at Jewish institutions and vandalism at cemeteries are a far cry from deadly anti-Semitic incidents that have wracked the community in the past.
“I am not shocked that this is happening,” Foxman told the paper. “What we’re seeing now is serious, but it is not a crisis.”
He accused politicians of “hijacking” concerns over anti-Semitism to use as a cudgel against Trump.
“The whole issue has become a political football and that doesn’t serve us,” he told the Jewish newspaper.
NY police: Anti-Semitic incidents have nearly doubled over last year
Anti-Semitic incidents are up 94 percent in New York City over this time last year, the New York Police Department reported.
The figure is part of a 55% increase overall in the number of hate crimes in the city as compared to the same time last year.
Through the first two months of this year, 35 anti-Semitic incidents have been reported, compared to 18 through February 2016.
Overall, the total number of hate crime incidents in the city for the first two months of 2017 is 68, up from 44 last year, according to the NYPD. Among the incidents, six people were targeted for being black, three for being Muslim and eight for their sexual orientation.
“Hate crimes are up in this city. They’re driven primarily by anti-Semitic hate crimes,” Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said at a news conference Wednesday, according to reports.
Man charged in bomb hoax was Concordia PhD student, says man who sublet to him
The man charged in connection with Wednesday's bomb threats at Concordia University, Hisham Saadi, was a PhD student in economics there, according to the man who sublet Saadi his apartment.
Speaking to CBC's French-language network, Radio-Canada, under the condition of anonymity, the man said he had met Saadi at Concordia to pick up a rent cheque.
He said Saadi is of Lebanese origin.
"I think he has [Canadian] citizenship," he said. "He has been here for many years."
Saadi has been ordered to undergo a psychological assessment. However, his sublessor brushed off a question about Saadi's mental health.
"He's a PhD student, he doesn't have [psychiatric] problems. He's lonely. Single, I mean," he told Radio-Canada.
Remember This Swastika? It Didn't Come From A White Supremacist.
For the knee-jerk leftists (we won’t mention names such as Shaun King and Sarah Silverman) who immediately reacted to the discovery of a swastika on a bathroom stall in a Minnesota high school by insinuating white supremacists were at work again, or even as a result of the election of Donald Trump, not so fast.
The graffiti read, “Hail the Klu (sic) Klux Klan,” in addition to a racial slur containing the n-word next to two Nazi swastikas.
But now, a statement from the Lakeville Area Public Schools revealed the perpetrator to be “non-Caucasian” with “significant special education needs.”
The Onion: Man Trying To Leave Hateful Message At Local Synagogue Frustrated Phone Line Always Tied Up With Other Threats (satire)
Growing increasingly exasperated at his inability to make himself heard, local man Alex Turner told reporters Wednesday that he was frustrated by the fact that he is unable to leave a hateful message for a local synagogue because the line is always tied up with other threats. “I make it a point to call every morning, but why bother when you can never get through?” said Turner, 38, adding that the line is so swamped by menacing calls that he often has to wait on hold half an hour to tell a synagogue staff member that Jews did not belong in his neighborhood, sometimes having to call back numerous times because he just receives a busy signal. “I’ve left a couple of messages on their voicemail, but I’m not sure if they even listen to those, and it’s usually full anyway. I’m sorry, but they should know by now to expect this kind of high call volume.” At press time, an angry Turner decided he would just hang up the phone and deliver his message to the synagogue in person.
Isi Leibler: Don't jeopardize this great opportunity
With triumphant visits abroad under his belt, now is the time for Netanyahu to display courage and make serious ‎decisions that will determine his legacy.‎
Trump seems determined to achieve a deal. However, unlike Obama, he is unlikely to promote ‎any scheme that would undermine Israel's security. Netanyahu must engage positively in these ‎negotiations and if the Palestinians remain inflexible, Trump will in all likelihood fully support ‎us. ‎
But prior to that, Netanyahu must stand firm, and if his radical partners seek to embark on ‎unauthorized initiatives, he must be willing to dissolve the government. ‎
Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid is today a contender for prime minister. He has been extremely ‎responsible in his statements over the past 12 months. Setting aside personalities, he and ‎Netanyahu probably share a similar vision of what should be done. Were he to publicly ‎support Netanyahu, he would strengthen his own status in the public as a future leader and ‎enable Netanyahu to move forward.‎
Today, we are in a remarkable position. We have been presented with the great opportunity ‎to shape our destiny with a genuinely pro-Israel U.S. administration. But this will depend on ‎Netanyahu and whether he succeeds in resisting the pressures from the radical elements of his ‎own party and coalition. In achieving this, he would have the nation's support to steer through ‎the diplomatic minefields and capitalize on his personal relationship with Trump and lead the ‎nation toward stability and security. ‎
BESA: Myth: American Ties to Israel Harm US Interests in the Muslim Middle East
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Many believe that US financial and military support for Israel harms the interests of the US, especially in the Middle East and North Africa. One way to test this assumption is to explore whether US support for Israel has a negative effect on exports of the US to the countries of the region. It doesn’t. US exports to the region have grown. Fluctuations within that overall growth trend are easily explained by oil prices, the chief source of income of many of the consumer states – not by Israel’s “offenses” against Hezbollah and Hamas.
Modern advanced states and their citizens pride themselves on being scientific and rational, with opinions and convictions that are tested against facts. One widespread conviction among many State Department officials, academics, think tank professionals, and members of the informed public is that US financial and military support for Israel at the UN harms American interests, especially in the Middle East and North Africa. In this region, the majority of states take a dim if not openly hostile view towards Israel.
This is a hypothesis that can be tested. One avenue among many is to see if US support for Israel, which is certainly powerful at the UN and in other international fora, has a negative effect on exports of the US to the countries of the region.
Ruthie Blum: Kudos to Trump for Ignoring McMaster’s Advice Against Using Term ‘Radical Islamic Terrorism’
Even Israel, whose government and military have had no choice but to confront the often impossible task of killing terrorists without resorting to their methods, is often at a loss when it comes to asymmetric warfare. But it does not hesitate to identify and call its enemies by name.
When Obama took office in January 2009, two days after the end of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead against Hamas in Gaza, he made it his business to reach out to radical Islamists, rather than defeat them. This move was born out of a dim view of American power and the accompanying belief that the US was hated by the mullah-led regime in Tehran and terrorist organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood with good reason.
In keeping with this policy, Obama eliminated terms such as “radical Islam” and “terrorism” from his administration’s lexicon. Indeed, the self-described “leader from behind” of the free world tried to alter reality with a pencil eraser — all the while working furiously toward inking a nuclear deal with Iran.
The electoral ouster of the Democrats was due in large measure to the above. Why, then, would Trump’s national security adviser tell him not to mention it in his address to the joint session of Congress on Tuesday evening?
Kudos to Trump for doing it anyway and reassuring us that he has no intention of emulating Obama.
David Singer: Trump and Putin Must Co-operate to Defeat Islamic State
President Trump made his intention to destroy Islamic State crystal clear in his stirring address to the Congress on 28 February:
"As promised, I directed the Department of Defense to develop a plan to demolish and destroy ISIS -- a network of lawless savages that have slaughtered Muslims and Christians, and men, women, and children of all faiths and beliefs. We will work with our allies, including our friends and allies in the Muslim world, to extinguish this vile enemy from our planet.”
The Department of Defense plan had already been delivered to members of the National Security Council's Principals Committee – and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis was due to brief the committee on 27 February.
Whether this plan recommends co-operation with Russia still remains under wraps.
Certainly President Obama’s decision in September 2014 to degrade and destroy Islamic State by forming a broad international coalition of 68 States without:
1. Including Russia and
2. first securing a Security Council resolution endorsing such action has proved both catastrophic and very expensive.
The State Department trumpeted that the breadth and diversity of America’s coalition partners demonstrated the global and unified nature of Obama’s endeavour.
Trump’s Israel envoy nominee likely to earn Democrat support
A top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said Thursday that he is considering supporting US President Donald Trump’s nominee to serve as ambassador to Israel, despite controversies surrounding his support for West Bank settlements.
New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez said that he is likely to approve the appointment of David Friedman after going over his confirmation hearing.
“I’m inclined to be supportive,” he told The Weekly Standard. “I’m reviewing his answers to questions for the record, and when I finish all of that I will make a final decision.”
The Senate foreign relations panel will soon schedule a vote on whether to allow the nomination to head to the Senate floor. If Friedman clears the committee, he will need a simple majority vote in the full chamber to be confirmed.
Sanders to Friedman: Should some Israel funds go to Gaza?
Sen. Bernie Sanders asked David Friedman, President Donald Trump’s nominee to be ambassador to Israel, whether he would back using funds earmarked for assistance to Israel to help rebuild the Gaza Strip.
Sanders in a letter he handed Friedman after they met Wednesday also asked whether he thinks the tax-exempt status of groups that fundraise for settlers should be reviewed. JTA obtained a copy of the letter on Thursday.
The questions in the letter are significant as they suggest the path forward for Israel policy among progressive Democrats.
Sanders has emerged as a de facto leader of progressives following his insurgent but unsuccessful campaign last year for the Democratic presidential nomination. In perhaps the best-received speech over the weekend at the annual conference of J Street, the liberal Middle East policy group, Sanders pushed the theme that pro-Israel Jews need not hesitate to criticize Israeli government policies.
His letter outlines three questions for Friedman: whether he supports a two-state outcome to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; the appropriateness of an ambassador having deep involvement in the settler movement as a fundraiser and advocate, as Friedman does; and regarding Israeli assistance.
Israel bars Human Rights Watch worker from country — again
Despite pledges to allow an American employee of Human Rights Watch into the country, Israel on Thursday again blocked his entry, this time on a tourist visa.
Omar Shakir, HRW’s Israel and Palestine Director, was first denied a work visa last week over his alleged anti-Israel bias. The Israeli Embassy in Washington then suggested Shakir would be allowed to enter on a a tourist visa.
But on Thursday that was also denied by the Border Control Department, a branch of the Interior Ministry’s Population and Immigration Authority.
In its rejection letter, the department states that Shakir was first denied an employment permit as a human rights researcher on behalf of Human Rights Watch, based on “the opinion provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs… that, for some time now, the organization’s public actions and reports have focused on politics in the service of Palestinian propaganda while falsely raising the banner of ‘human rights,’ and therefore, the recommendation was to deny the application.” (h/t israelftw)
Is this the beginning of a new era for Israel at the UN?
With the new administration in the White House and Ambassador Nikki Haley representing the United States at the UN, Israel now has “an opening” for change at the international body, Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
In her first press briefing on January 27, Haley strongly denounced the Security Council’s bias against Israel and vowed that the US would no longer turn a blind eye to it. A video of her speech went viral online.
According to Danon, many at the UN were caught by surprise by the results of the US presidential election and still are uncertain what approach the new administration will take with the UN.
“I think the approach of Ambassador Haley is the right approach. It’s not a given that the UN will deal with anti-Israel propaganda 24/7, and it’s not a given that the Security Council will spend so much energy and time on Israel,” he said. “I think people are not used to it, but they are starting to understand that maybe there is a new era now at the UN.”
Danon told the Post that he and Haley have already “worked on some issues” in the past month.
U.N. rights council targets Israel in 6 reports
Instead, according to the U.N., here are the descriptions of their six reports targeting Israel, all of which will be presented under the council’s special agenda item (No. 7) targeting Israel:
Report #1: “In accordance with its resolution 5/1 and decision 2/102, the Human Rights Council will consider the report of the new Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Stanley Michael Lynk (A/HRC/34/70)…”
Report #2: “Pursuant to its resolutions S-9/1 and S-12/1, the Human Rights Council will consider the report of the High Commissioner concerning the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, especially in relation to East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip (A/HRC/34/36)…”
Report #3: “The Council will also consider the report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of its resolution 31/34 on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem (A/HRC/34/38) (see para. 44 above)…”
Report #4: “Pursuant to its resolution 31/25, the Human Rights Council will consider the report of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan (A/HRC/34/37)…”
Report #5: (Oral report) “In its resolution 31/35, the Human Rights Council requested the High Commissioner to conduct a comprehensive review detailing the status of implementation of the recommendations addressed to all parties since 2009 by the relevant Council mechanisms, and to identify patterns of non-compliance, non-implementation and non-cooperation, to propose follow-up measures to ensure implementation, and to present an oral update on the progress of that review at its thirty-fourth session. The Council will hear the oral update of the High Commissioner…”
Report #6: “The Council will consider the report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of its resolution 31/36 on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan (A/HRC/34/39)…”
Pollard pleads against strict parole conditions
Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard asked a US court of appeals on Tuesday to reverse a district court decision turning down his request to ease a series of strict conditions of his parole from prison.
The conditions were imposed on Pollard by his parole commission when he was released from prison in November 2015 after he served 30 years of a life sentence for passing classified information to Israel.
They require him to stay home between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., to be monitored by a GPS device that forces him to violate Shabbat and holidays, and for his computers to be monitored, which has prevented him from being employed.
Pollard’s lawyers, led by Eliot Lauer, wrote in the appeal that instead of enabling Pollard to work at a job consistent with his education and intelligence, the conditions are designed to have the opposite effect and keep Pollard from reintegrating into society.
They argued that Pollard could not possibly remember information he saw before his arrest, and that even if he did, the parole conditions arbitrarily limited his computer usage and not his ability to transfer information by other means.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Next Thing You Know, Jews Will Be Judaizing The Bible! By Ali Ahmad, Al-Aqsa Activist (satire)
By now everyone knows of the Jews’ ongoing attempts to render Muslim sites Jewish, especially in the old city of Al-Quds (Jerusalem). Daily disruptive visits of Jewish settlers and provocateurs at the Haram al-Sharif, where Al-Aqsa resides, involve Talmudic rituals and expressions of spirituality that by their very nature deny the Islamic pedigree of the site, in their attempts to make it Jewish. Their aim of conquest knows no bounds. We should not be surprised if they even try to assert a Jewish origin for the Bible, one of Western Civiliation’s foundational texts.
You think I exaggerate, but the Jews have claimed for years that the so-called Temple Mount held two Jewish temples in ancient times, when anyone with a proper Palestinian Muslim education knows that claim to be false. What imbecile would believe such demonstrably false arguments? It has always been a Muslim holy site – all those archaeologists and “historians” have fallen for the Jewish trap of believing anything of non-Islamic origin. What fool, for example, accepts that the Earth is round? Islamic thought knows it to be flat.
I say, they will target the Bible next. How else to sow the seeds of Western affinity for a Jewish connection to Palestine? Already, they have expunged the historical and archaeological record of Islamic presence in Jerusalem before the arrival of the Caliphate almost 1400 years ago. It should take no one by surprise that their nefarious revisionist operations extend to that text, held so sacred by billions. Imagine the legitimacy they could claim with such a document backing up their contentions! That is why we must work, proactively, to prevent the Jews from usurping the Bible as they have usurped Palestine.
Iran axis in Syria leads Israeli security concerns, top official says
Despite ongoing concerns over Iran’s nuclear ambitions, dealing with threats emanating from the Syrian war theater currently tops the agenda of Israel’s security apparatus, according to a top intelligence official.
“The most important strategic issue we’re currently facing is the strengthening of the Shiite axis led by Iran in Syria, especially after the fall of Aleppo,” Chagai Tzuriel, the director-general of the Intelligence Ministry, told The Times of Israel.
In mid-December, pro-government forces captured the war-torn city from the hands of rebels fighters.
“Syria is the key arena, because it’s a microcosm of everything: world powers, such as Russia and the US; regional actors such as Iran and Turkey; and rival groups within the country, such the Assad regime, the opposition, the Kurds and the Islamic State,” Tzuriel said during a briefing last week in his Jerusalem office. “Whatever happens in Syria today will greatly impact the region, and beyond, for years to come.”
Lieberman: Hamas won't suddenly become pacifists
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman claimed Thursday that there was no diplomatic alternative to going to war in Gaza in the summer of 2014, saying that those who think Hamas can suddenly become pacifists are "delusional and detached from reality."
In a report on Operation Protective Edge released on Tuesday, State Comptroller Yosef Shapira reprimanded Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for not bringing any alternative diplomatic options to the Security Cabinet ahead of the military operation.
Lieberman, who was the foreign minister and a member of the Security Cabinet at the time, rejected that claim.
"There was no diplomatic alternative," he insisted. "People keep thinking more can be done, another move, to throw (Hamas) another bone and everything would suddenly work itself out. They think Hamas will suddenly become pacifists, a kind of Peace Now, and not want to destroy us."
The only diplomatic alternative, according to Lieberman, "is primarily to raise awareness among the residents of Gaza that they are suffering because of the Hamas leadership. The second thing is that the Hamas leadership must understand it is always losing."
Street named after Yasser Arafat in Israel?
IDF veterans’ and reservists groups expressed outrage this week, following the discovery of a street named after PLO chief and arch terrorist Yasser Arafat – inside of the State of Israel.
Liran Baruch, a former IDF combat soldier wounded in the line of duty, discovered Yasser Arafat Street recently in the Israeli Arab town of Jatt in central Israel.
“A friend of mine who was on his way to reserve duty near the village noticed on Waze [a GPS navigation application] a street named after Yasser Arafat. He pointed this out to me, and I wrote a post on Facebook about it and notified the CEO of the Im Tirtzu organization,” Baruch told Channel 10.
“I represent a group of people who were wounded during combat operations – I myself was wounded in Kalandia. The other people who put up the post with me are Oran Ohr, a former undercover officer in the Border Police, and Rafael Shein, who was in Orav Golani veterans organization.”
Hamas threatens escalation if Israel 'crosses red line'
Hamas on Thursday threatened a security escalation if Israel continues targeting the terrorist group's posts in the Gaza Strip.
Over the past week, several rockets have been fired from northern Gaza at Israeli communities near the border. The Israeli Air Force struck Hamas targets in the enclave in retaliation.
On Thursday, IDF troops on routine patrol along the Israel-Gaza border came under artillery fire. No injuries were reported, but one military vehicle sustained damage. IDF tanks fired at the source of the Palestinian fire, while IAF aircraft destroyed Hamas positions.
Palestinian media reported that Israeli tank fire targeted Hamas posts in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahiya, significantly damaging two buildings.
An article titled "Will there be a New Equation in Gaza?" posted on the Hamas-affiliated Al-Majd website on Thursday, quoted a senior Hamas official as saying that since the end of the 2014 Gaza campaign, Israel has worked to "impose a new equation for its response to [rocket] fire from the strip, based on striking Hamas targets. Israel knows this equation has its red lines regarding casualties, and if it crosses those lines it will lead to an escalation. ... Public opinion in Gaza is beginning to see the need to respond to [Israeli] strikes.
Israeli official to Hamas: We know of your cooperation with ISIS In Sinai
OGAT’s Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai told Hamas on Thursday that the IDF is well aware of its cooperation with Islamic State in Sinai.
“Hamas leaders: Your efforts to hide your cooperation with Islamic State’s smuggling from Sinai, through lies and manipulation in attempts to broadcast ‘business as usual’ with Egypt, are not hidden from our view,” the head of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories unit wrote in Arabic on Facebook.
According to Mordechai, Bilal Brahma, a Salafist- linked Hamas member and top smuggler with Sinai Province, the Islamic State group in Sinai, was reported by Hamas to have been killed in the restive peninsula. But despite Hamas setting up a mourning tent for him, he is alive and receiving a salary from Hamas’s “military” wing, Izzadin Kassam, while being treated in a hospital in Gaza by Jihad Cahlut, who is supposedly responsible for contact with ISIS terrorists in Sinai, according to Mordechai.
“Hamas is brazenly lying to its neighbors and to Egypt, which works to destroy tunnel infrastructures; this comes one week before representatives of the terrorist organization will make an expedition to Egypt,” he said. “Hamas’s senior delegation may want to consult with Bilal to know which tunnels are best for crossing from Gaza to Egypt and save the time waiting in Rafah.”
PLO Tehran Envoy: We Will Liberate Palestine ‘From the River to the Sea’ With Stabbing, Ramming and Rocket Attacks
All tactics to combat Israel are justifiable, the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Tehran envoy declared this week.
In a interview published by Lebanon’s Al-Akhbar newspaper on Wednesday — excerpts of which were translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute — Salah al-Zawawi said, “Everyone should fight in their own way, from carrying out stabbing and vehicular attacks to launching rockets. That is how we will liberate Palestine from the river to the sea.”
“Everyone should contribute from where they are, using the means at their disposal and in accordance with their various situations,” he continued. “All means of combat are legitimate in order to realize Allah’s promise for liberation: From [the traditional dance] Dabke to armed struggle.”
Furthermore, al-Zawawi stated, the Oslo Accords — the interim agreements signed by Israel and the PLO in the 1990s that were meant to lead to a comprehensive peace deal — are “bankrupt.”
“US President Donald Trump is the Zionist face of this enterprise,” he went on to say. “Additionally, the futility of dialogue with the enemy is now becoming clear.”
PreOccupiedTerritory: Hamas Boasts It Has More Rockets That Can Fall Short And Kill Gazans (satire)
The militant Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip bragged this afternoon that it has more than replenished its supply of rockets since the last war with Israel in 2014, and now possesses tens of thousands of the explosive projectiles capable of misfiring and hitting inside the Gaza Strip instead of across the border in Israel.
Hamas spokesman Mahmoud al-Zahar boasted to a delegation of visiting dignitaries that despite a naval blockade and restrictions on the goods that can be imported into the coastal territory, the organization has managed to replace the arsenal of rockets depleted or destroyed before and during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge that summer. With the stockpile of rockets up to full strength, he exulted, the movement’s capacity to cause death, injury, and destruction to residents of the Gaza Strip with weapons that fall short of their intended targets has been fully restored.
“Let the enemy not test us, for he will feel the blow of our mighty hand,” crowed al-Zahar. “Watch the Zionist cower in fright as we unleash the power of our rockets on our own people. Of course we will then claim it was an Israeli attack that caused the casualties and damage, and the international media will take us at our word.”
JCPA: Yemen Has Become Iran’s Testing Ground for New Weapons
The ongoing crisis in Yemen is giving Iran an opportunity to turn Yemen into a testing ground for various weapons it is developing for the maritime and military arenas.
The Houthi rebels are getting ongoing assistance from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), mainly via Hizbullah trainers, in the use of missiles and rockets, drones, explosive devices, and battlefield materiel.
Houthis have increased their missile fire, including Scuds, from Yemeni territory at different targets in Saudi Arabia, including airports and civilian infrastructures. Hizbullah advisers are taking part in some of the missile launches.
The Houthis have been increasingly active in the maritime arena in the strategic Bab el-Mandab area. In addition to the occasional launch of Iranian-supplied anti-ship cruise missiles, the Houthis have begun to deploy, apparently with Iranian assistance, unmanned remote-controlled maritime craft.
Iran’s active involvement in the conflict in Yemen, including the various weapons it is introducing and testing in the arena, has implications for the Palestinian terror organizations’ and Hizbullah’s future rounds of warfare against Israel.
Report: Iran preparing massive military buildup
Iran’s armed forces are likely to receive a significant boost in 2020, as an international ban on conventional weapons purchases is lifted – part of the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration, in conjunction with the four other permanent United Nations Security Council members and Germany.
Under the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), more commonly known as the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, United Nations Security Council Resolution 1737 – which includes sanctions barring conventional arms purchases by the Islamist regime in Tehran – will be mostly lifted in 2020.
A report by the US Office of Naval Intelligence, which was obtained by Bloomberg News, suggests the Iranian government is likely to acquire a wide variety of new armaments following the termination of the arms ban.
In light of the JCPOA clause regarding the UN arms ban, Iran in 2020 will be able to “pursue foreign acquisitions that have been inaccessible since sanctions were imposed,” the report states.
Venezuelan Dissident: Trump Administration Should Punish Maduro Regime for Nefarious Activities, Including Iran and Hezbollah Ties That Directly Threaten US Security
The Trump administration should make the Nicolas Maduro regime pay a price for its nefarious activities — particularly its ties with Iran and Hezbollah — a Venezuelan dissident who lives in the US told The Algemeiner this week.
“There are a lot of tools the US can play with to punish the Venezuelan government,” Martin Rodil — a financial risk analyst based in Washington, DC — said. “That’s why we’re telling the new administration, put the pressure on now. Now is the time for more pressure, to engage with the opposition and try to make democracy come back to Venezuela.”
For example, Rodil pointed out, the US is “the only country still paying in cash for Venezuelan oil. Everybody else is basically paying old debt. The only income that the Venezuelan government has today is from the around 750,000 barrels of oil per day it sells to the United States. If that is affected by a new policy of the US government to reduce or eliminate American purchases of Venezuelan oil, the regime would be dead — it would be gone within days.”
Furthermore, Rodil said, one potential way to respond to Iran’s recent hostile behavior, including a ballistic missile test, would be for the US government to take action against PDVSA — Venezuela’s national oil company, which, according to Rodil, has helped the Islamic Republic evade international sanctions.
IsraellyCool: World Chess Federation Cowtows To Iran
A few weeks ago, I posted about chess players and siblings Dorsa and Borna Darakhshani, who were expelled from the Iranian national team for not covering her hair/playing an Israeli respectively.
18-year-old Dorsa has been interviewed by Chess.com about it, and her answer to a question regarding her brother Borna playing an Israeli reveals a very problematic attitude on the part of the World Chess Federation.
I have a real problem with this. Politics should not enter sports. Even more so hatred. The World Chess Federation should be making this very clear, laying down the law to Iran: you will play players from any country or do not bother competing. Instead, they are cowtowing to the Iranians, ostensibly to avoid trouble.
And what sort of message does this send kids like Dorsa and Borna? They are already subjected to Iran’s unreasonable, immoral demands. Now they see that making such demands actually gets desirable results.
Come to think of it, that is the same message the world’s cowtowing to the palestinians sends.
Western Feminists Snub an Iranian Heroine
Dorsa Derakhshani may be today’s bravest feminist. As the 18-year-old Iranian chess grandmaster competed at a January tournament in Gibraltar, she refused to don a hijab, in defiance of her country’s Islamic authorities. She was later removed from the national team. Her 15-year-old brother, Borna, was also booted, for facing off against an Israeli chess player.
It would be nice to report that Western feminists rallied to Ms. Derakhshani’s defense, but they didn’t. America’s liberal feminists have been busy planning a “Day Without a Woman” to protest President Trump’s alleged misogyny.
In Iran, the Interior Ministry investigates more than a million women every year for refusing to cover their heads. In 2014 several bareheaded young Iranian women posted a video of themselves dancing and singing to Pharrell Williams’s “Happy.” They were arrested for “hurting public chastity” and sentenced to a year in prison and 91 lashes. (The sentences were suspended contingent on three years of good behavior.)
Feminists and progressives have a habit of ignoring Islamism’s female victims, preferring to focus on phantom reports of Islamophobia in the West. Enormous attention has been paid to “burqa bans” in European countries. But how many readers have heard of Ms. Derakhshani?
Sweden claims it has a “feminist foreign policy,” yet during an official trip to Iran last month several female cabinet members covered their heads. How will Iranian women escape Islamism’s chokehold if European feminists submissively bow to men who refuse even to shake a woman’s hand?



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