Lebanon, the Country that has Turned into a Garbage Dump

Lebanon, once the paradise of the Middle East, has become a large rubbish dump.

lebanon garbageBy Mordechai Kedar for IsraelNationalNews (Aug 28) — Sanitation services in Beirut have been at a standstill for several weeks due to labor disputes and endless arguments about the proposed location of garbage dumps. No one in the city will agree to having a dump in his backyard and for that matter, anywhere in his neighborhood. Thousands of tons of smelly trash are piled up in the city, and the hot weather that has hit the area over the last few weeks has made them even more unbearable than usual. A joke going around Beirut says that the price of clothespins is rising, as people have been buying them to stop up their noses.

The trash problem is also the result of a non-functioning officialdom. The government of Tamam Salam does not seem to be able to make any decisions, the parliament has not been able to appoint a president for over a year, and even the parliamentary elections have been put off in the legal vacuum that prevails. Lebanon is barely functioning, its citizens have no recourse. Their protest against the sanitation removal situation is really a protest against their dysfunctional state.

Add to that the population’s furor at the rampant corruption in government corridors that has been going on for years, but it is clear that the main problem paralyzing Lebanon’s government is that one basic truth lies behind everything that happens in the country: the fact that nothing, absolutely nothing, can happen in Lebanon without Hezbollah’s sanctioning it. That terror organization has turned into the largest, most organized and most influential entity in the country. It would not be an exaggeration to call it a “state within a state”. Hezbollah has significant economic power, including many public companies that deal with infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, construction, communications, water and electricity.

And Hezbollah is not alone. Iran stands right behind it. Opposing it are the Christians, Sunnis, Druze and some Shiites who are against Hezbollah’s role in Lebanon, backed by Saudi Arabia. The growing tension between Iran and the Saudis over the nuclear agreement with international powers has spilled over into Lebanon, causing the rival groups to widen the chasm between them. Everyone knows how the billions of dollars that Hezbollah will probably receive from Iran as a result of the agreement will be spent. The terror group will be able to buy politicians, media personalities and the media itself, in addition to arms and weapons, making their control over all of Lebanon just a question of time.

The large demonstrations in Beirut that erupted last week are a reflection of the situation. The army – that obeys Hezbollah’s orders – killed four protestors and wounded scores of them. The army surrounded the government’s offices with a concrete wall in order to protect the buildings, but the citizenry used the new barrier to post their protests.

Among the graffiti on the wall were some that are particularly interesting: “Our thanks to the government for providing us with the paper to voice our protests”; “There are monsters on the other side of this wall”; “The Class-Separation Wall”; “The Wall of Shame”; “The Wall of Oppression”; “I prefer to live on the border with Israel”; “You stink”‘; “The Theft Authority Pimps”‘ (= a takeoff on the expression in Arabic for “Ministerial Council meetings)”. In fact, Facebook has a new Lebanese account named “You stink.”

On one of the news websites a Lebanese citizen wrote: “Demonstrators must break into Dahiya (the southern suburb of Beirut, a Hezbollah stronghold), the shameful Shiite suburb, filled with those who collaborate with Iran and Russia – and behead the snake.” The reference is clearly to Hassan Nasrallah, who involved Lebanon in the Syrian conflict, which many, including Shiites, consider an unnecessary war. Nasrallah is careful to repeat that “we are in the place we are supposed to be” meaning the battlefields of Syria. A Lebanese took this mantra and drew it on a trashcan with Nasrallah in its center.

The one feeling shared by all the different ethnic groups in Lebanon is the sad realization that the Syrian conflict is going to reach them in the near future. There are constant clashes in the northern city of Tripoli between the Sunni neighborhood Bab al-Tabbaneh that backs the Syrian rebels and the Alawite neighborhood Jabal Mohsen that backs Assad. This has been going on since 2011 and scores of people have been killed in these clashes.

In Ain El-Helweh, the southern Lebanese Palestinian refugee camp near Sidon, Fatah militants are battling the Islamic group Jund al-Sham over the demands of the Islamists to allow them to draft residents to aid the rebels in Syria. Fatah is opposed to that for fear that Hezbollah will take revenge on the Palestinian Arabs in Lebanon it they join the rebels, the way Assad did to the Palestinians in the Yarmouk camp who did not help him fight the rebels.

The tensions among the Palestinian factions raise tensions in other refugee camps in Lebanon. The fear is that other camps will find themselves embattled soon enough.

Lebanon is on the brink of an abyss where every unusual event can ignite a civil war worse than the one that took place from 1975 to 1989. Israel, Europe and the rest of the world must be prepared for this eventuality, because the flood of refugees from Lebanon will rival that of Syria, while the Syrian atrocities may repeat themselves in that hapless country.

Click here for original source.

What Are Palestinians Doing With U.S. Money?

By Khaled Abu Toameh, an Arab Muslim, who is a veteran award-winning journalist who has been covering Palestinian affairs for nearly three decades.

President Barack Obama, accompanied by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, reviews the PA honor guard in Ramallah, March 21, 2013. (Image source: AFP video screenshot)

President Barack Obama, accompanied by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, reviews the PA honor guard in Ramallah, March 21, 2013. (Image source: AFP video screenshot)

The Gatestone Institute (Aug 19):

  • Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah did not tell the visiting U.S. Congressmen that the $4.5 billion the Americans invested in promoting Palestinian democracy went down the drain or ended up in secret Swiss bank accounts. Nor did he tell the Congressman that the Palestinians do not have a functioning parliament or a free media under the PA in the West Bank or under Hamas in the Gaza Strip. And, of course, Hamdallah never told the Congressman that for Palestinians, presidential and parliamentary elections remain a remote dream.
  • The refusal of the international community back then to hold Arafat accountable was the main reason a majority of Palestinians were driven into the open arms of Hamas. Palestinians saw no improvement in their living conditions, mainly as a result of the PA’s corruption. That is why they turned to Hamas, which promised them change, reform and an end to financial corruption.
  • The Americans and Europeans are therefore responsible for Hamas’s rise to power.
  • One does not have to be an expert on Palestinian affairs to see that the billions of dollars have neither created democracy for the Palestinians nor boosted the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The “investment” in Palestinian democracy and peace with Israel has been a complete failure because of the refusal of the U.S. Administration to hold the Palestinian Authority fully accountable.
  • Unless Western donors demand that the PA use their money to bring democracy to its people and prepare them for peace, the prospects of reviving any peace process will remain zero.

Click here for full article.

UNRWA school encourages running over Jews with cars

Elder of Zion (Aug 23) — An UNRWA school in Syria has featured posters encouraging Arabs to kill Jews with cars.

The Rameh school in Damascus has included this poster, which translates to “car intifada – run over”

rameh1And also this antisemitic cartoon with the frightened religious Jew running away from a toy car controlled by the happy Palestinian Arab:

rameh2Click here for original source.

Secret Agreement between Iran and IAEA to Let Iranians Conduct Inspections Themselves

iaeaAP (August 22) — An AP report has revealed that the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency has agreed with Iran that Iranian experts and equipment will be used to inspect Iran’s Parchin military site, located not far from Tehran, where Iran is suspected of conducting covert nuclear weapons activity more than a decade ago.

Here are some questions and answers about the document, and what it means for the larger deal between Iran, the United States and five other world powers to limit Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for easing sanctions against Iran.

WHAT HAVE IRAN AND THE IAEA AGREED?

According to a draft document viewed by AP, Iran has agreed to cooperate with the U.N. in answering longstanding allegations about possible past work to develop nuclear weapons at its Parchin plant — but only with the Iranians conducting the inspections themselves. Iran would collect its own environmental samples on the site and carry out other work usually done by IAEA experts. The IAEA will be able to review the Iranians’ work after the fact. The deal on Parchin was between the IAEA and Iran. The Obama Administration was not a direct party to the agreement, but apparently was aware of it.

Click here for full article.

The Nuclear Deal: No Pause in Iran’s Vow to Destroy Israel

The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (Aug 17):

Tehran July 10, 2015

Tehran July 10, 2015

  • Ayatollah Khomeini’s founding vision – that the eradication of Zionism is an inevitable precondition for redeeming contemporary Islam – still guides Iran’s current religious, political and military establishment. Today, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei bears the torch and is the chief agitator for the extermination of Israel, spreading this message worldwide over social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, in books, and addressing various audiences in English, Arabic and Persian. The Iranian religious, political, intellectual and military elite support and repeat Khamenei’s messages.
  • When negotiating with Western powers, Iran sugar-coats its belligerent ideology, presenting it as the “Iranian Peace Plan.” As part of this peace plan, Iran calls for” a just and permanent solution of the Palestinian question,” which in practice means the elimination of the Jewish state.
  • On July 25, 2015, Facebook pages and websites associated with the Revolutionary Guards reported the statement of commander Mohammad Ali Jafari: “Once the Supreme Leader orders all forces to start jihad, we can reduce Israel to dust within 24 hours. Our missiles have been eager to be launched for years.”
  • Hojatoleslam Ali Shirazi, Khamenei’s representative in Iran’s Al-Quds Force, said on February 26, 2015: “We shall not rest until the banner of Islam flies over the White House. This is the wish of the Islamic Community.”
  • Mohsen Rafighdoost, one of the founders of the Revolutionary Guards, declared at a press conference on Januar 21, 2015: “The countdown to the annihilation of Israel has begun….Now, we wish to be in the front line of the fight for liberating Jerusalem.”

Click here to read the full article.

IDF Lt.-Col. (ret.) Michael (Mickey) Segall, an expert on strategic issues with a focus on Iran, terrorism, and the Middle East, is a senior analyst at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and at Foresight Prudence.

The Palestinians’ Real Strategy

Khaled Abu Toameh, an Arab Muslim, is a veteran award-winning journalist who has been covering Palestinian affairs for nearly three decades.

By Khaled Abu Toameh for the Gatestone Institute:

  • Marzouk’s remarks refute claims by some in the Arab and Western media that Hamas is moving toward pragmatism and moderation, and that it is now willing, for the first time, to recognize Israel’s right to exist. Many in the West often fail to understand Hamas’s true position because they do not follow what Hamas says in Arabic — to its own people. In Arabic, Hamas makes no secret of its call for the destruction of Israel.
  • The current strategy of the Palestinian Authority (PA) is to negotiate with the international community, and not with Israel, about achieving peace in the Middle East. The ultimate goal of the PA is to force Israel to its knees. For the PA, rallying the international community and Europe is about punishing and weakening Israel, not making peace with it.
  • Their strategy is no longer about a two-state solution so much as it is about inflicting pain and suffering on Israel. It is more about seeking revenge on Israel than living in a state next to it.
  • Hamas’s terrorism also helps the PA’s anti-Israel campaign in the international community. Each terrorist attack provides the PA with an opportunity to point out the “urgent” need to force Israel to submit to Palestinian demands as a way of “containing the radicals.”
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (r) meets with the Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Mashaal in Qatar, July 20, 2014.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (r) meets with the Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Mashaal in Qatar, July 20, 2014.

All signs indicate that the Palestinians are planning to step up their efforts to force Israel to comply with their demands. But as the Palestinians are not united, they are working on two fronts to achieve their goal.

One party, headed by the Palestinian Authority (PA), believes that, with the help of the international community, Israel will be forced to fully withdraw to the pre-1967 lines, including east Jerusalem, and accept the “right of return” for millions of refugees and their descendants to their former homes inside Israel.

The second party, represented by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and several other terror groups, continues to reject any form of compromise, and insists that the only solution lies in the elimination of Israel. Unlike the first party, this one believes that direct or indirect negotiations with the “Zionist enemy” are a waste of time and that terrorism is the only means for the Palestinians to achieve their goal.

The two Palestinian parties, the PA and Hamas, have been at war with each other since 2007, when Hamas seized full control over the Gaza Strip and forced the Palestinian Authority to flee to the West Bank.

But while the two rival parties are fighting each other, they are also working separately to overpower Israel.

… These groups made it unavoidably clear that their real objective is not to “liberate” the West Bank, but to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. As one of them said, “We will continue to support any resistance action on the land of Palestine until it is liberated, from the (Mediterranean) sea to the (Jordan) river, and cleansed from all Zionist usurpers.”Hours after the West Bank attack, a senior Hamas leader, Musa Abu Marzouk, repeated that his movement was seeking to replace Israel with an Islamist state: “Hamas wants a state not only in the Gaza Strip, but in all of Palestine; we won’t give up our weapons and will continue to fight in order to liberate our land.”

Marzouk’s remarks refute claims by some Arab and Western media that Hamas has been moving toward pragmatism and moderation, and that it is now willing, for the first time, to recognize Israel’s right to exist. Many in the West often fail to understand Hamas’s true position because they do not follow what Hamas says in Arabic — to its own people. In Arabic, Hamas makes no secret of its call for the destruction of Israel. To Hamas’s credit, this message is often repeated in English and other languages.

While Hamas and its allies work toward destroying Israel through terrorism, the Palestinian Authority seems more determined than ever to step up its worldwide campaign to delegitimize and isolate Israel with the help of various international parties, such as the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Some senior Palestinian officials like to describe this campaign as a “diplomatic war” against Israel. They argue that this war has thus far proven to be much more “effective” than rockets and suicide bombings. “When we launch rockets at Israel, we don’t get any sympathy,” explained one official. “But everyone in the international community is now supporting our diplomatic efforts. That’s why we believe that what Hamas is doing right now is harmful to Palestinian interests.”

Shortly before the Israeli man was fatally shot in the West Bank, the chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, revealed his plan to rally the world against Israel so that it would be forced to submit to the Palestinian Authority’s demands, above all a complete withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines.

Erekat’s plan calls for working very closely with EU countries and members of the UN Security Council, to increase pressure on Israel to comply with the Palestinian demands. It also calls for recruiting international support for recognition of a Palestinian state and paving the way for it to join various international organizations and conventions.

In his plan, Erekat warns against endorsing any UN Security Council resolution that would include recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, or offer concessions on the “right of return” for refugees. He also repeats the Palestinian Authority’s rejection of the idea of land swaps between the future Palestinian state and Israel. In addition, Erekat emphasizes his opposition to the idea of creating a demilitarized Palestinian state or giving up any part of Jerusalem.

The Palestinian Authority’s current strategy is to negotiate with the international community, and not with Israel, about achieving peace in the Middle East. The PA knows that it is not going to get from Israel all that it is asking for. That is why the Palestinian leaders have chosen to negotiate with France, Britain, Sweden and the US. The Palestinians are hoping that these countries will give them what Israel cannot and is not prepared to offer at the negotiating table.

Even if Israel wanted to give one hundred percent of what it gained in 1967, the reality on he ground does not allow it. Since 1967, both Jews and Arabs have created irreversible “facts in the ground,” such as the construction of tens of thousands of houses for both Arabs and Jews. A full withdrawal would mean that tens of thousands of Jews and Arabs would lose their homes both in the West Bank and in Jerusalem.

The ultimate goal of the Palestinian Authority is, with the help of the international community, to force Israel to its knees. For the PA, rallying the international community and Europe is about punishing and weakening Israel, not making peace with it. The PA wants to see Israel degraded, isolated and turned into a rogue state. It wants to see Israelis brought before the International Criminal Court and expelled from as many international organizations as possible.

From talking to senior Palestinian Authority officials, one is left with the impression that their true goal is to see Israel in a state of surrender and defeat. Their strategy is no longer about a two-state solution so much as it is about inflicting pain and suffering on Israel. It is more about seeking revenge on Israel than living in a state next to it.

In many ways, the PA’s “diplomatic war” on Israel also helps Hamas. By constantly accusing Israel of “war crimes” and “atrocities,” the PA is helping Hamas justify its terror attacks against Israelis. The PA’s anti-Israel campaign also helps in creating sympathy and understanding for Hamas’s terror attacks.

Meanwhile, Hamas’s terrorism also helps the Palestinian Authority’s anti-Israel campaign in the international community. Each terrorist attack provides the PA with an opportunity to point out the “urgent” need to force Israel to submit to Palestinian demands as a way of “containing the radicals.”

This is how Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, although remaining sworn enemies, complement each other’s role against Israel.

And many in the international community seem to be helping these two Palestinian camps in their effort to undermine and destroy Israel.

Click here for full article.

The Secret Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinians

By Khaled Abu Toameh for Gatestone Institute (Aug 10).

Khaled Abu Toameh, an Arab Muslim, is a veteran award-winning journalist who has been covering Palestinian affairs for nearly three decades.

Part of the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp, near Damascus, Syria, after being damaged by fighting. (Image source: RT video screenshot)

Part of the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp, near Damascus, Syria, after being damaged by fighting. (Image source: RT video screenshot)

  • According to the researcher, many Palestinians captured by Shiite militias in Iraq have been brutally tortured and forced to “confess” to their alleged involvement in terrorism. Since 2003, the number of Palestinians there has dropped from 25,000 to 6,000.
  • Most interesting is the complete indifference displayed by international human rights organizations, the media and the Palestinian Authority (PA) toward the mistreatment of Palestinians in Arab countries. International journalists do not care about the Palestinians in the Arab world because this is not a story that can be blamed on Israel.
  • The UN and other international bodies have obviously not heard of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in the Arab world. They too are so obsessed with Israel that they prefer not to hear about the suffering of Palestinians under Arab regimes.
  • PA leaders say they want to press “war crimes” charges against Israel with the International Criminal Court. However, when it comes to ethnic cleansing and torture of Palestinians in Arab countries such as Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, they choose to look the other way.
  • An Arab killing or torturing an Arab is not an item worth publishing in a major newspaper in the West. But when a Palestinian complains against the Israeli authorities or Jewish settlers, many Western journalists rush to cover this “major” development.
  • Not only do the Arab countries despise the Palestinians, they also want them to be the problem of Israel alone. Since 1948, Arab governments have refused to allow Palestinians permanently to settle in their countries and become equal citizens. Now these Arab countries are also killing and torturing them and subjecting them to ethnic cleansing, all while world leaders continue to bury their heads in the sand and point an accusing finger at Israel.

Click here for full article.

Turkey Attacks the Kurds and the Islamic State

The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (Aug 14)

The light-colored portion of the map is the area inhabited by the Kurds. (Wikimedia Commons)

The light-colored portion of the map is the area inhabited by the Kurds. (Wikimedia Commons)

  • The Turkish military campaign against the Islamic State (IS) and the Kurdish Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) fuels suspicions as to the real motives behind the sudden involvement of Turkey in a conflict it carefully managed to distance itself from for more than four years.
  • Out of the 1,302 people arrested in Turkey, in what officials have described as a “full-fledged battle against terrorist groups,” 847 were accused of links to the PKK and just 137 to Islamic State.
  • The Turkish Air Force has turned its fire mainly against Kurdish PKK militants in Northern Iraq and PKK shelters, bunkers, and storage facilities in the Qandil Mountains where the PKK high command is based.
  • Concerned by the renewed Turkish military campaign against the PKK, Selahattin Demirtash, the leader of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition People’s Democratic Party (HDP), accused Erdogan of launching airstrikes on Kurdish targets in order to prevent the Kurds from unifying areas they control in Syria.
  • Many Turks believe that by reviving the confrontation with the PKK (and the HDP) Erdogan is undermining the support enjoyed by the HDP in view of possible repeat elections.

Click here to read the full article.

Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah, a special analyst for the Middle East at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, was formerly Foreign Policy Advisor to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Deputy Head for Assessment of Israeli Military Intelligence.

Israeli vice PM: Don’t trust Iran’s words – look at its actions

By Silvan Shalom, Israel’s vice prime minister and interior minister for the Guardian (Aug 10):nuclear-dove-Ben-Jennings-009

  • We in Israel have been at the receiving end of gun and missile fire for decades. In that time we have learned, the hard way, that it is only our actions that ensure our survival, not written promises. Our neighborhood does not play by Western rules, and as the only democracy in the region we know all too well what it is to fight an enemy that abuses our values.
  • In our region, one regime stands out above all others in its destructive role. The ayatollahs in Tehran would have us believe that they are a peace-loving regime, and that the Vienna nuclear deal is proof of their benign intentions. But reality is telling us a different story, one that totally contradicts this narrative.
  • If we are to understand the Iranian regime, we must look at what it is doing, not just saying, and ask ourselves whether its actions are compatible with Western interests and values. Iran is the world’s leading state-sponsor of terrorism, arming and supporting Hizbullah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Syrian regime, and Houthi rebels in Yemen. It employs the Revolutionary Guards to perpetrate acts of terrorism throughout the world.
  • Tehran’s military nuclear record is well documented: the regime has been working clandestinely for decades to develop a nuclear weapon. Rouhani himself boasted of how in previous rounds of negotiations he took advantage of talks in European capitals to secretly advance the nuclear military project.
  • The West must look beyond its economic interests, and ask itself what values it has in common with the ayatollahs in Tehran. Iran has not signed up for peace. Iran is merely utilizing the tools given to it by Western democracies in order to stave off international pressure.
  • We must be clear eyed when it comes to Tehran’s intentions. If the past teaches us anything about the current regime, it is this: the terror will continue, as will Tehran’s destructive regional role, and the military nuclear project will be close on its heels.

Click here for full article.

Young Palestinians graduate from Hamas’ military-style summer camp

Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades gives 25,000 residents military training; Islamist group is militarizing Palestinian society, human rights activists say

A Palestinian boy attends the graduation ceremony in Gaza City Picture: Rex Features

A Palestinian boy attends the graduation ceremony in Gaza City
Picture: Rex Features

The Times of Israel (Aug 10) — Palestinian youths — many of them minors — and older residents of Gaza graduated late last week from what Hamas termed a “summer camp” in the Palestinian enclave.

In the camp, the youths learned skills ranging from traipsing down buildings to launching shoulder-fired missiles. According to AFP, during the camp some 25,000 Palestinians took part in combat training. The youngest were as young as 15; the oldest trainees are 60-years-old.

“The goal of these military training camps is to train the vanguard for liberation — spiritually, intellectually and physically — to be ready and able to play its role in liberation,” said a statement by the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing in late July, when the camp opened.

GAZA-Young-Palesti_3400893kParticipants spent two weeks being “trained in military techniques and in firing live ammunition” as well as “first aid and rescue techniques.”

Hamas has long run summer camps devoted to sport and study of the Koran in Gaza but over the winter the al-Qassam brigades launched a new kind of camp, giving military training to 15 to 20-year-olds.

Human rights activists condemned it as a forced militarization of Gazan society and a violation of children’s rights.

Click here for more pictures.

Click here for full article.

The best video ever against the Iran nuclear deal

Dennis Prager Just Dropped an Atomic Bomb on This Nuclear Deal With Iran

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Published August 3rd 2015.

Is the nuclear agreement between the United States and Iran a good or bad deal? Would it be harder or easier for Iran to develop nuclear weapons? Would it make Iran and its terror proxies stronger or weaker? Should the U.S. Congress support or defeat the deal? Dennis Prager answers these questions and more.

Netanyahu: This Iran Nuclear Deal Will Bring War

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in a webcast on Tuesday.

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Summary:

  • The nuclear deal with Iran doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb. It actually gives Iran two paths to the bomb. Iran can get to the bomb by keeping the deal or Iran could get to the bomb by violating the deal.
  • Keeping the deal allows Iran to maintain and eventually expand a vast and increasingly sophisticated nuclear infrastructure. This infrastructure is unnecessary for civilian nuclear energy, but it’s entirely necessary for nuclear weapons. Astonishingly, the deal gives Iran’s illicit nuclear program full international legitimacy and makes it far easier for Iran to build dozens, even hundreds of nuclear weapons in a little over a decade.
  • Iran has a second path to the bomb, one that would give it a nuclear weapon in far less time. Iran could violate the deal. Now, people argue that Iran will be prevented from cheating because we’ll have good intelligence and unprecedented inspections. But honestly, for years none of us discovered the massive underground nuclear facilities Iran was building at Fordo and at Natanz, or that the Syrians were building a nuclear reactor for plutonium production. So it’s very precarious to bet the deal’s success on intelligence. Neither intelligence nor inspections prevented North Korea from building atomic bombs despite assurances that they wouldn’t be able to do so.
  • The deal also gives Iran a massive infusion of cash and Iran will use this cash to fund its aggression in the region and its terrorism around the world. As a result of this deal, there’ll be more terrorism. There will be more attacks. And more people will die.
  • Here in Israel, Isaac Herzog, the leader of the Labor opposition, the man who ran against me in this year’s election, has said that there is no daylight between us when it comes to the deal with Iran. This is simply not a partisan issue in Israel. A huge majority of Israelis oppose the deal.
  • The deal’s supporters claim that those who oppose this deal want war. That’s utterly false. We in Israel don’t want war because it’s we who are on the front lines. We face Iran’s terror on three borders. We face tens of thousands of Iranian rockets aimed at all our cities. We face Iran, whose regime repeatedly calls for the destruction of the Jewish state, whose terrorist proxies try to kill Jews every day, and who is also the leading state sponsor of anti-Semitism.
  • Israelis are going to be the ones who pay the highest price if there’s war and if Iran gets the bomb. The claim that we oppose this deal because we want war is outrageous. Israel wants to dismantle Iran’s nuclear program and Israel wants peace. This deal will advance neither goal. I oppose this deal because I want to prevent war, and this deal will bring war.

Click here for original source and full transcript.

Palestinian Authority promoting religious war

Caption: "The next explosion" On grenade: "The Middle East" On Jews' suit: "Excavations" [Webpage of Fatah's Information and Culture Commission, July 28, 2015]

Caption: “The next explosion”
On grenade: “The Middle East”
On Jews’ suit: “Excavations”
[Webpage of Fatah’s Information and Culture Commission, July 28, 2015]

The Palestinian Media Watch (Aug 6) — One of the most dangerous libels promoted by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Fatah is that Israel is planning to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque. As documented by Palestinian Media Watch, this libel has been disseminated by the PA for many years and increases occasionally, often appearing alongside calls by the PA to increase “popular resistance.” According the the PA, this includes rioting, stone throwing and other attacks against Israelis.

The above cartoon posted by Fatah shows a Jew trying to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and warns of religious war. The Jew in the cartoon has the word “excavations” written on his suit. The PA adamantly opposes excavations near the Temple Mount and in the City of David because the many archaeological finds in those areas related to Jewish history expose the falsehood of PA claims that Jews never lived in Jerusalem and that there never was a Jewish Temple. The PA therefore charges that the excavations are intended to cause the Mosque to collapse.

Two other recent cartoons, one posted by Fatah and the other in the PA official daily, likewise depict Israel destroying the Al-Aqsa Mosque. In one cartoon, an Israeli soldier is cutting the dome off the Dome of the Rock. In the other, Israeli PM Netanyahu is digging up the foundation of Al-Aqsa Mosque with a bulldozer:

Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 29, 2015 and Oct. 18, 2014; Fatah-run Awdah TV, July 29, 2015

Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 29, 2015 and Oct. 18, 2014; Fatah-run Awdah TV, July 29, 2015

Website of Fatah's Information and Culture Commission, June 16, 2015

Website of Fatah’s Information and Culture Commission, June 16, 2015

Last month, in the period leading up to the recent riots by Palestinians at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the PA had increased the frequency of this libel. PA Minister of Religious Affairs, Sheikh Yusuf Ida’is, who is appointed by PA Chairman Abbas, claimed that Israel is carrying out an “evil plan to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and establish the alleged Temple”:

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The PA solution to Jewish visits to the Temple Mount is to increase violence there and eventually get rid of any Jewish presence there, as is shown in this cartoon broadcast on PA TV and posted on the Facebook page of Palestinian National Security Forces:

Official PA TV, July 17, 2015; Facebook page of the Palestinian National Security Forces, Nov. 8, 2014

Official PA TV, July 17, 2015; Facebook page of the
Palestinian National Security Forces, Nov. 8, 2014

Click to view more examples of the PA promoting the libel that Israel is attempting to destroy Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Click to view more examples of the PA defining the conflict with Israel as a religious war.

Click here for full article about the PA promoting religious war.

The problem: Iran’s underlying motives

By Ido Aharoni who is the consul general of Israel in New York.

IRAN/New York Daily News (Aug 2) — Here is why you should be worried about the Iran nuclear deal: The agreement does not prevent Iran over time from threatening America and her allies with nuclear war. It does not permanently prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

But there’s more.

The most significant problem with this agreement, which is discussed far too little, is that it does nothing to address, much less curb, Iran’s expansionist, anti-Israel, anti-American motivations.

Every security expert will tell you that in order for your enemy to succeed, three preconditions have to exist: First, the enemy has to have the desire to attack; second, the enemy must have the capabilities to carry out the attack; finally, the enemy has to have the opportunity to attack.

While the Iran deal might temporarily delay the capabilities and opportunity parts of the equation, it does nothing about the most important element of the three: the very nature of its regime. An agreement that does not effectively address the root of the problem is incomplete at best, dangerous at worst.

Israel’s minister of defense, Moshe Yaalon, put it simply: “The international community looks at Iran as the solution; we see Iran as the problem.”

Iran’s ayatollah-led regime has been, by far, the biggest destabilizing force in the Middle East and the leading producer of state-sponsored terrorism in the world. It is not about democracy and freedom; it systematically suppresses the moderate, student-driven reform movement inside the country.

If anything, allowing the Iranian regime to walk away with a huge diplomatic achievement will further undermine those fighting for freedom and democracy in Iran — and cement the hostile strategies of the current rulers.

The mullahs’ goals are Islamic rule and regional domination. This is what they use the long and deadly arm of the Revolutionary Guard Corps in neighboring and nearby countries to attempt to obtain. And that meddling is utterly undisturbed by the nuclear deal.

This was sadly demonstrated by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s outrageous public statement, only days after the deal was reached, justifying “death to America” and vowing to continue to see the United States as Tehran’s enemy — despite the agreement, and perhaps more vigorously as a result of it.

The leaders of Iran have openly declared that they have no intention of stopping their war against the Western world. They have no intention to stop their brutal violation of human rights. They have no intention to stop the incitement against America and other free and open societies.

Iran is the only member state in the United Nations to formally seek the extinction of another member state. The nuclear deal doesn’t change that.

Even on the nuclear issue alone, this agreement is far too lenient. It allows Iran to restart a new and robust nuclear program in just a few short years. Soon, the Iranians will be allowed to stockpile an unlimited amount of highly enriched uranium with which they will be able to build an entire arsenal of nuclear weapons as well as ballistic missiles. Anyone who plans to live through the 2020s will see an Iran able to threaten America and her allies with these abilities.

The international community surrendered on several principles it had previously declared to be nonnegotiable: Under the agreement Iran will be allowed to continue to enrich uranium, maintain, operational centrifuges and stockpile nuclear materials. The list of concessions goes on and on and on.

But exacerbating these failures is the fact that the international community has essentially bolstered rather than challenged the core world-view of the expansionist, repressive, anti-Western, anti-American, anti-Israeli, Islamist regime.

All of which greatly increases the likelihood that when, a few years down the road, Iran obtains nuclear weapons, that regime will continue to be at the helm in Tehran.

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UN may allow Iran to take its own nuclear site samples

This is the latest evidence of just how terrible the Iran nuclear deal is. This is insanity.

“Oversight of soil-sampling by IAEA could include video monitoring, but potentially allows Iranian tampering in process”

Satellite image of the Parchin facility, April 2012 (AP)

Satellite image of the Parchin facility, April 2012 (AP)

AP (July 30) — Iran wants its own officials to take soil samples at a site where it is alleged to have experimented with ways to detonate a nuclear weapon, and the UN agency probing the suspicions may agree provided it is allowed to monitor the process, two officials told The Associated Press Tuesday.

The investigation by the International Atomic Energy Agency is part of the overarching nuclear deal reached earlier this month between Iran and six world powers. Iran denies any such work but has agreed to give the IAEA access to the Parchin military complex.

Several US senators cited Obama administration officials last week as saying Iran could conduct its own soil sampling at Parchin. The officials who spoke to the AP said a final agreement has not yet been reached between Iran and the IAEA.

The officials said stringent oversight of the soil-sampling could include video monitoring. They did not say what reasons Iran gave for wanting to take its own samples. The samples would be analyzed by the agency for traces left by any nuclear experiments.

The officials come from IAEA member nations and are tasked with following Iran’s nuclear program. They demanded anonymity because their information is confidential. The IAEA had no immediate comment.

David Albright, whose Institute for Science and International Security is often consulted by the US government on proliferation issues, said the IAEA “could instruct Iran in where and how to take the sample, as they would an inspector. They could try to keep a close watch on how Iran follows the instructions.”

At the same time, “the IAEA could not exclude Iran tampering with the sample in some way,” he said.

Iran has refused to give IAEA experts access to people, documents and sites allegedly linked to the suspected weapons work for nearly a decade. But in its quest for the end to nuclear-related sanctions, it agreed earlier this month to work with the agency, and IAEA chief Yukiya Amano has said he expects to be able to deliver a report by December.

The alleged weapons work and the IAEA’s investigation are not central to the nuclear deal, which calls for the US and other world powers to end economic and military sanctions in exchange for concessions from Iran in its nuclear program. Tehran says its program is entirely peaceful, but the US and most other nations believe it is aimed at acquiring nuclear weapons.

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Iran nuke deal is a missed opportunity — and worse

The deal won’t stop Iran from attaining a nuclear bomb, but it will lend the country unearned international legitimacy.

irannegotiations.jpg.size.xxlarge.letterboxBy: Rafael Barak for The Toronto Star Tue Jul 21 2015

Last week, Canadians woke up to breaking news of a deal reached over Iran’s nuclear program.

To understand why Israel sees this agreement as a threat to global peace and security, let me share with you five key questions:

Does the agreement stop Iran from attaining a nuclear bomb?

No, plain and simple.

Over the years, the international community constructed a robust system of sanctions, squeezing the Iranian economy and bringing the Iranian regime to the negotiating table. The aim was to dismantle Iran’s military nuclear program.

Just as this objective was finally within reach, the negotiators changed their approach. They handed the Iranian regime a dream deal that will quickly end the sanctions, the one form of leverage, while leaving most of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure in place.

Now Iran is all but guaranteed a nuclear bomb.

Assuming it doesn’t cheat, it can simply wait ten years — continuing to advance its nuclear capabilities — and then quickly become a nuclear superpower with full international legitimacy.

Does the deal stop Iran from cheating?

Again, the answer is no.

The negotiators were initially guided by a strong awareness of Iran’s long history of deceiving the international community — including its clandestine underground enrichment facilities at Fordow and Arak.

What was supposed to be “anywhere, anytime” inspections with just 24 hours’ notice, became a bureaucratic process that can last at least 24 days. Now, even if we learn about Iran’s undeclared sites, the regime has nearly a month to hide the evidence.

This is especially disconcerting for Israel. As a small country, two-thirds the size of Vancouver Island with half our 8.2 million citizens located in the central core, Iran’s ability to build and deliver just one nuclear warhead can mean our total demise.

Will the ayatollahs use the $150 billion of sanction relief to help the Iranian people?

Here, too, the answer is no.

It is not a coincidence that some of the deal’s fiercest opponents are Iranian democracy advocates. Despite the election of President Hassan Rouhani, a so-called “reformer,” these dissidents know that the regime has only upped its oppression of women, political activists, religious minorities, and members of the LGBT community.

Moreover, the world’s experience with North Korea demonstrates that a generous economic package to feed and help the population, including half a million tons of heavy oil, didn’t find its way to the people who need it the most, nor did it stop that country from breaking commitments and going nuclear.

Will the deal succeed in making Iran a regional partner for peace?

Absolutely not.

Iran is playing a direct role in the instability raging across the Middle East — propping up the embattled Assad regime in Syria, building up Hezbollah’s arsenal of over 100,000 missiles aimed at Israel, supporting the Houthi rebels in Yemen, and playing dangerous games in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Those who live under this shadow, not just Israel but many Arab countries, stand united against this bad deal that gives international legitimacy and transforms Iran — the region’s main source of instability — from the problem to being a wishful part of the solution.

For Israel, this is a significant game changer that hands the Iranian regime — which was never shy in calling for our annihilation and denying the Holocaust — an exceptional geopolitical asset.

Israel and the Jewish people deeply understand the link between rhetoric and action. We pay close attention to the fact that four days before the announcement of the deal, President Rouhani was leading mobs in the streets of Tehran in chanting “Down with America, Death to Israel.” Two days ago, with the ink on the deal not even dry, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reiterated his regime’s commitment to its allies and to continue its collision course with the West.

Is war the only alternative to this agreement?

Not at all. Diplomacy is always the best option.

The alternative has always been a better deal — one that rolls back Iran’s military nuclear program and links the easing of sanctions to a total change in Iran’s behaviour vis-à-vis Israel, its Arab neighbours, and its own population.

Rafael Barak is the ambassador of Israel to Canada.

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Israel’s people want peace too. Pressure doesn’t help

If progress towards peace has stalled, it is not because the Israeli people have lost the will to make bold decisions. They need constructive international engagement, not criticism.

Palestinian and Israelis light candles for peace in the West Bank. EPA

Palestinian and Israelis light candles for peace in the West Bank. EPA

By Daniel Taub, Israel’s Ambassador to the UK for the Guardian (July) — This month I return to Israel after four years as its ambassador in the UK. I’ve been privileged to witness an extraordinary expansion in our bilateral cooperation, and I’ve also had many conversations about Israel and the prospects for peace. One troubling and recurrent theme has been that the main thing Britain can do to promote peace in the Middle East is to exert pressure on Israel.

On hearing this, I am reminded of the fable of the north wind and the sun. In their competition, the north wind fails to blow the cloak off a passing traveller no matter how hard it blows; yet the sun succeeds, by warming the traveller’s surroundings, and encouraging him to take off the cloak himself.

Recent years have yielded no shortage of wind. Resolutions and boycott campaigns have all attempted to force Israel’s hand. Yet the response by Israel’s people has been emphatic: twice re-electing the government these efforts have sought to censure.

Standard-bearers for the pressure camp routinely claim that a conciliatory approach only reinforces the status quo. But in fact, the Israeli people’s boldest steps towards peace have taken place when the international community has been most receptive to their concerns.

Israel’s historic peace treaty with Egypt was made possible by US guarantees on security and continued oil supply. Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon was premised on the UN’s commitment to deploy peacekeeping forces in the area and prevent terrorist aggression against Israel by Hezbollah. Its disengagement from Gaza followed international assurances that Hamas and other terror groups would be prevented from gaining access to arms via the Sinai.

If progress towards peace has stalled, it is not because the Israeli people have lost the will to make bold decisions. Polls consistently show a majority want a lasting peace with the Palestinians.

Yet those same polls show Israelis are also sceptical about the possibility of realising such a peace. In part this scepticism relates to the ability of the international community to live up to its assurances. UN peacekeepers have not prevented the rearming of Hezbollah and its attacks on northern Israel. Nor has the international community been able to stop the smuggling of weapons to Hamas in Gaza, or, as Israeli intelligence services recently disclosed, its support for Islamic State terrorists in Sinai. Even with regard to reconstruction in Gaza, while Israel has transferred over a million tons of building supplies to date, reconstruction remains hindered by the failure of international donors to meet their aid pledges, and by the internal Palestinian Fatah-Hamas power struggle.

As much as Israelis want peace, when they look at the fate of international assurances in Gaza, Lebanon and elsewhere in the region, they cannot help but ask what is to stop an evacuated West Bank turning into yet another launch pad for attacks against Israel, but this time only miles from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

In a region undergoing such tectonic changes, with ungoverned spaces increasingly dominated by brutal jihadist extremists and Iranian proxies, Israelis are perplexed that the song sung by international voices in relation to their corner of the region remains the same. Israelis have come to recognise that new regional realities must mean new thinking, including embracing opportunities to cooperate with states with which we have never worked before. Yet away from our region, debate on the peace process continues as if Israelis and Palestinians exist in a vacuum.

The value of emulating the sun rather than the wind is not just about recognising the concerns of the Israeli people. It is about seeing the reality that exists today; not the reality of 10 years ago, or of 1948. The resilience of Israel’s peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan shows how transformative constructive international engagement can be. But the attempt to change the Middle East by brute pressure will only ever be so much hot air.

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Iran’s Rouhani gets his way on nuclear weapons

88ad8d94a59945f5834389217a9e0004-88ad8d94a59945f5834389217a9e0004-0By Yehuda Yaakov for the Boston Globe JULY 20, 2015

For more than a decade I have had the opportunity to be intimately involved with the Iranian crisis. So it’s probably understandable how alarming I find the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran.

The agreement reached between the P5+1 and Iran makes far-reaching concessions in all areas meant to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons capability. It does not adequately limit Iran’s research and development capabilities. It does not exclude to a sufficient degree Iran’s weaponization activity. It does not ensure a tight enough monitoring and verification mechanism.

The deal impairs Israel’s national security. It prominently bears the fingerprints of perhaps the most intriguing Iranian figure of this 13-year crisis: Hassan Rouhani. President of Iran since August 2013, it was Rouhani who originally devised his country’s nuclear negotiating strategy when Tehran’s illicit nuclear activities were uncovered in August 2002. It is Rouhani who shepherded the crisis to the conclusion he always sought.

Rouhani, a long-standing member of the Islamic Republic’s inner circle, has had a career that mirrors the strategic development of his country and indicates a close familiarity with its military nuclear program. The previous highlight of this career was the period between 1989 and 2005, when he led Iran’s National Security Council. During that time — especially from 2003 to 2005 — he repeatedly maneuvered the international community to ensure the program’s advancement. He did this mostly by exploiting his interlocutors’ strong desire to resolve the crisis — and by reaching agreements he would later break.

When Rouhani campaigned for president, his platform was explicitly based on a belief that his strategy had worked, and that Iran would find its way out of sanctions if only he were elected and given the necessary leeway. It is therefore no surprise that within hours of the deal, he tweeted:

[This admin believes in dialogue. I myself headed the very first #nuclear

negotiating team back in 2003–when no sanctions had been imposed.

4:32 AM – 14 Jul 2015]

This was apparently Rouhani’s way of saying: I promised, I delivered.

Indeed, he has.

Rouhani is known not only for his adept handling of nuclear negotiations; among experts, he is also famous for bragging about his success afterwards. So it was in late 2004, when he revealed a dozen or so areas of concrete advancement made in the nuclear program even as Iran was supposed to be fulfilling its negotiated commitments.

It was the same on the day this new agreement was announced, when he publicly made it clear that Iran had achieved the four objectives it set out to attain: advancing its nuclear activities, lifting sanctions, canceling UN Security Council resolutions, and closing the UN’s Iranian nuclear file. In other words, to paraphrase Rouhani, the international community is removing sanctions, while Iran is keeping its nuclear program.

One more word about Rouhani: He’s no pacifist. He hasn’t shied away from expressing public support for Bashar al-Assad, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and the lot. He has also threatened Israel, and more than once.

So it was no surprise to see this tweet on the day many in the international community were celebrating the supposed dawn of a new era:

[To our neighbours: Do not be deceived by the propaganda of the

warmongering Zionist regime. #Iran & its power will translate into

your power 5:06 AM – 14 Jul 2015]

Rouhani understands the weight of this “power” and knows all too well what Iran’s military nuclear program is for. He is also aware that nuclear capabilities in Tehran’s hands will undermine regional security in the Middle East.

Israel knows this too.

Iran continues to seek our destruction. We are not bound by this deal with Tehran. Plain and simple.

Yehuda Yaakov is Israel’s consul general to New England.

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