Even After Signs of Progress, Saudi Arabia Has a Long Way To Go: Robert Fulford, National Post, July 6, 2018
Hysteria Over Nation-State Law: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 7, 2018
Israel’s Mighty Army is no Match for Hamas’s Flaming Condom Bombs: Vivian Bercovici, National Post, Aug. 3, 2018
Britain Welcomes Radicals – Again and Again: Douglas Murray, Gatestone Institute, Aug. 4, 2018
“As we continue applying maximum economic pressure on the Iranian regime…I remain open to reaching a more comprehensive deal that addresses the full range of the regime’s malign activities, including its ballistic missile program and its support for terrorism.” — US President Donald Trump signed an executive order to restore nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, increasing economic pressure on Tehran and renewing his criticism of what he called a “horrible, one-sided” nuclear deal, the White House announced Monday. The sanctions target the use of dollars in Iran, the automotive sector and trade in gold and precious metals. A second round of more comprehensive sanctions will go into effect on November 5. The objective, the administration has indicated, is to change Iranian behavior. “Reimposition of nuclear-related sanctions through today’s actions further intensifies pressure on Tehran to change its conduct,” Trump said Monday. (Times of Israel, Aug. 6, 2018)
“I praise President Trump and the American government for making the important decision to restore sanctions on Iran. This is an important moment for Israel, the United States, the region and the entire world. It symbolizes the determination to block Iran’s aggression around the region, as well as Iran’s plans to obtain nuclear weapons…I call on European countries, who speak so often about stopping Iran, to join this action. The time for talking has past; the time for action is now. This is exactly what the United States has done and it is what Europe should do as well.” — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Jerusalem Online, Aug. 7, 2018)
“Negotiations with sanctions doesn’t make sense. They are imposing sanctions on Iranian children, patients and the nation… If you’re an enemy and you stab the other person with a knife and then you say you want negotiations, then the first thing you have to do is remove the knife.” — Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani. Rouhani spoke after Trump signed an executive order to restore nuclear-related sanctions on Tehran. Rouhani fell back on the rhetoric of many of his predecessors by referencing the 1953 CIA-backed coup that overthrew Iran’s elected prime minister and cemented the shah’s rule. “I have no pre-conditions” for negotiating with America “if the US government is ready to negotiate about paying compensation to the Iranian nation from 1953 until now,” Rouhani said. “The US owes the Iranian nation for its intervention in Iran.” (Times of Israel, Aug. 6, 2018)
“The Gulf States and Iran will have to deal with much future suffering if things continue as they are now, but if the regime falls, a new horizon will open up for cooperation in every area and to everyone’s benefit. I have said it before and am even more convinced that my observations were on the mark: Iran does not need nuclear arms nor does it need to be obsessed with military might. Iran is in possession of resources and a demographic makeup that allows for great economic growth, especially if there is a real development plan based, among other things, on cooperation with its neighboring states…I believe that once the nuclear weapons are dismantled, a new and positive spirit will emerge.” — Reza Pahlavi, Crown Prince of Iran. Pahlavi is the last heir apparent to the defunct throne of the Imperial State of Iran and is the current head of the exiled House of Pahlavi. Pahlavi is a prominent critic of Iran’s Islamic Republic government. (Breaking Israel News, Aug. 6, 2018)
“As the imposition of sharia law shows in Iran and territories ruled by Islamist groups, sharia law is not solely about placing religious leaders in positions of power to rule the nation; it is also about controlling people’s day-to-day activities, and every aspect of their lives, including their bodies. That is why radical teachings in schools and mosques should be halted, before the sharia dominates the state.” — Majid Rafizadeh. In July, an Iranian court ordered Shaparak Shajarizadeh, 43, to prison for two years, with 18 years’ probation, for removing her headscarf in public. (Gatestone Institute, Aug. 5, 2018)
“The Syrian army is not making do with taking control of all of Syria’s territory, instead explicitly building up a broad, new ground army that will resume its prior dimensions and even surpass it.” — Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. The Assad regime is rebuilding its military power after recapturing most of Syria’s territory from rebel groups, according to Lieberman. At the end of July, Syrian government forces retook positions along the border after I.S. gave up the last pocket of territory in the area, state media reported. (Ha’aretz, Aug. 7, 2018)
“We are always going to speak up for human rights, we are always going to speak up for women’s rights and that is not going to change.” — Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland. Freeland said Ottawa will wait to hear more details from Saudi Arabia before responding to the country’s decision to freeze new trade deals and expel Canada’s ambassador. Saudi Arabia also said flights to and from Canada would be suspended. The Saudis made the decision in retaliation to a Global Affairs Canada tweet that expressed concerns about the arrests of activists in the kingdom. “Canada is gravely concerned about additional arrests of civil society and women’s rights activists in Saudi Arabia, including Samar Badawi,” the tweet said. “We urge the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful human rights activists.” (National Post, Aug. 5, 2018)
“What I’m trying to show is that historically speaking, the Palestinian cause has lost time and again because of the extremists, not because of the moderates. Because of the extremist loudmouths … Israel has never benefited from the moderates, but from people who scream: ‘The Deal of the Century? No to peace!…Today, when you go to Jerusalem and the West Bank, you see that they have changed entirely. The number of settlers has reached one million, and they will never leave. These are no longer prefabricated structures, like they were at the beginning. Now it is all concrete. No hill is left vacant. So unless we turn to the kind of reasonable thinking that we have lacked for a century, we will continue to accuse the voices of reason of being traitors, criminals, and collaborators, in order to walk in the path of extremism, which always ends in a catastrophe.” — Former Kuwaiti Minister of Information Sami Al-Nesf. Al-Nesf warned in an interview translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) that it is extremists, and not moderates, who have harmed the cause of people in the Palestinian Authority. (Jewish Press, Aug. 1, 2018)
“Antisemitism exists in Europe. This is not an isolated incident…What is happening to my father’s home is a small indication of what is happening on a continental level. Both Holocaust memory and Jews are under attack.” — Elisha Wiesel, the only child of the late Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel. Wiesel has responded to the antisemitic desecration of his father’s childhood home in northwestern Romania over the weekend. Among the messages daubed on the small structure in the town of Sighetu Marmatiei was, “Nazi Jew lying in hell with Hitler” and “Public toilet, antisemite pedophile.” Elie Wiesel and his family were deported in 1944 to Auschwitz. While he and two of his sisters survived, his father, mother and younger sister were murdered there. (Algemeiner, Aug. 5, 2018)
INCENDIARY BALLOONS SPARK 40 FIRES IN SOUTHERN ISRAEL OVER WEEKEND (Jerusalem) — Over forty fires broke out in southern Israel over the weekend sparked by incendiary balloons launched from the Gaza Strip. On Saturday, firefighters battled 10 fires in the areas adjacent to the Gaza Strip, and over 30 fires the day before, Kan reported. The broadcaster said it was the highest number of arson attacks since Hamas declared an unofficial ceasefire with Israel last month. In response to the continued launching of incendiary balloons from Gaza, the IDF on Saturday said it struck two separate cells of Palestinians flying the devices over the border. (Times of Israel, Aug. 4, 2018)
SYRIA BLAMES ISRAEL FOR ASSASSINATION OF TOP SCIENTIST (Damascus) — Syria has pointed the finger at Israel as being behind the assassination of Dr. Aziz Asbar, a senior Syrian scientist who was killed in a car bomb in Homs province. Syria’s al-Watan newspaper said that Israel’s Mossad secret service agency was behind Asbar’s assassination, which also killed his driver. Asbar was one of the directors of the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center in Masyaf. He is believed to have been in charge of managing Hezbollah warehouses and headed Department 4 at the Center which focuses on the development of all of Syria’s ballistic missile and rocket programs and was reportedly involved the development of medium and long range missiles with Iranian experts. (Jerusalem Post, Aug. 6, 2018)
IDF KILLS 7 TERRORISTS IN SOUTHERN SYRIA ALONG ISRAEL’S BORDER (Damascus) — Seven Islamic State terrorists were killed in an Israeli attack last week in Syria’s Golan Heights. The terrorists came as close to 200 meters to the Israel-Syria border when Israeli troops launched an attack against them. The group was fleeing fighting against the Assad regime, the IDF noted, adding that it found five firearms and belts containing explosive devices. (Ha’aretz, Aug. 2, 2018)
SUICIDE BOMBER KILLS 3 NATO TROOPS ON DAY OF VIOLENCE IN AFGHANISTAN (Kabul) — A suicide bomber struck a joint patrol of NATO and Afghan forces just outside the Afghan capital on Sunday, killing at least three NATO service members and injuring three others, officials said, on a day that saw deadly violence across the country. An Afghan soldier was killed in the eastern city of Jalalabad trying to stop a suicide bombing at a checkpoint, and in the south, the Taliban continued a bloody assault on the district of Chinarto, in Uruzgan Province. All three service members killed were from the Czech Republic, according to the Czech Army’s chief of general staff. (New York Times, Aug. 5, 2018)
BIN LADEN’S SON MARRIES 9/11 LEAD HIJACKER’S DAUGHTER (Kabul) — Usama bin Laden’s son, Hamza bin Laden, reportedly married the daughter of the lead hijacker of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. The late Al Qaeda leader’s half-brothers said Hamza, who has said he wants to avenge his dead terrorist dad, married the daughter of Mohammed Atta, an Egyptian who hijacked and flew the first plane that crashed into the World Trade Center in 2001. Hamza bin Laden, officially designated a terrorist by the U.S., surprised his family by going to Afghanistan where he has become an Al Qaeda leader under Ayman al-Zawahiri, The Guardian reported. (Fox News, Aug. 6, 2018)
MANCHESTER BOMBER WAS RESCUED FROM LIBYA BY BRITISH NAVY IN 2014 (London) — The man who killed 22 people in an attack in Manchester, UK, at an Ariana Grande concert in 2017 was rescued from the civil war in Libya three years earlier by the British navy. Salman Abedi, a British citizen born to Libyan parents, is believed to have been on holiday in Libya in August 2014 when fighting broke out and British officials offered to evacuate U.K. citizens stranded there. Abedi and his younger brother were reportedly among 100 citizens rescued from Libya and taken home to Britain. 22 people were killed in the Manchester attack and hundreds were injured. (Daily Beast, Aug. 1, 2018)
NORTH KOREA HAS NOT HALTED NUCLEAR MISSILE PROGRAMME: UN REPORT (Pyongyang) — North Korea has not halted its nuclear missile programme and is trying to sell weapons to the Middle East and Africa, a UN report has found. The isolated nation is also defying sanctions and continues to cooperate militarily with Syria although it is banned, according to the confidential 149-page report. Among the groups North Korea is trying to sell weapons to is Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels, it said. Independent experts submitted the report to the UN Security Council’s North Korea sanctions committee. The North Korean mission to the UN did not comment. (Sky News, Aug. 4, 2018)
MAORIS HOLD APOLOGY CEREMONY OVER NEW ZEALAND’S OPPOSITION TO ISRAEL AT UN (Auckland) — A group representing the Maori people of New Zealand held this week a traditional ceremony of apology for the country’s opposition to Israel at the UN. According to J-Wire, the whakapāha ritual particularly emphasized New Zealand’s co-sponsorship of UNSC Resolution 2334, which labeled all territory captured in the Six-Day War in 1967 as “occupied Palestinian territory,” including eastern Jerusalem and the Old City. J-Wire reported that in recent years “increasing numbers of Māori have become more vocal and active in their support for Israel.” (Algemeiner, Aug. 1, 2018)
IAF GETS FIRST-EVER FEMALE SQUADRON COMMANDER (Washington) — The Israeli Air Force has appointed the first female squadron commander in its 70-year history. The commander, who for security reasons is referred to only as “G.,” will be promoted to lieutenant colonel and put charge of the 122nd Squadron, known as “Nachshon.” The squadron is composed of planes specifically geared toward intelligence gathering. The 34-year-old G. has been active in the Air Force since 2003, and has served in several command positions, including deputy commander of the “Nachshon” Squadron itself. (Algemeiner, Aug. 7, 2018)
YANKEES LEGEND RIVERA SHOWS SOLIDARITY WITH IDF, VISITS ARMY BASE (Tel Aviv) — Former New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera visited an IDF base in northern Israel to lend solidarity to Israeli soldiers. Rivera, who played 19 seasons with the Yankees and was widely regarded as one of the best closers in baseball, was in Israel as part of a spiritual interfaith mission led by the New York Board of Rabbis. As part of this mission, Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) arranged a base visit, where Rivera and mission participants learned about the FIDF programs. Among the FIDF programs are courses that help new immigrants and soldiers from minority groups learn Hebrew. (United With Israel, Aug. 3, 2018)
ISRAELI TEAMS DEFEAT TOP EUROPEAN UNIVERSITIES IN DEBATE (Tel Aviv) — Two Israeli teams were crowned champions of the European Universities Debating Championship in Serbia last week after a grueling nine-round tournament against the best debaters from across the continent. Noam Dahan and Tom Manor of Tel Aviv University competed alongside native English speakers. Despite the language barrier they won in the competition, beating out some lead universities, such as University of Cambridge and University of Oxford. Amichay Even-Chen and Ido Kotler, also from Tel Aviv University, won in the “English as a Second Language” category this year. (Jerusalem Post, Aug. 7, 2018)
ISRAELI MEN’S GYMNASTICS TEAM WINS GOLD (Tel Aviv) — Mazel Tov! For the first time ever, Israel’s men’s gymnastics team won a gold medal at the World Championships. They defeated powerhouses such as China and Russia. Watch the video here. (Breaking Israel News, Aug. 6, 2018)
HUCKABEE SAYS HE WANTS HOLIDAY HOME IN WEST BANK (Washington) — Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) told a crowd in Israel that he dreams someday of owning a vacation home in Efrat, an Israeli settlement south of Jerusalem in the West Bank. Huckabee used a trowel to help pave a wall at a building ceremony before telling a crowd that he was investing in his possible future home. Efrat is located about seven and a half miles south from Jerusalem in the West Bank. Huckabee, however, pointed to Efrat as “really a bridge to peace” during his remarks on Wednesday. He said more than 1,000 Palestinians that are employed there, some as construction workers, in the town of around 9,000. The mayor of Efrat has previously touted the statistic. (The Hill, Aug. 1, 2018)
FROM THE ARCHIVES: “From the early 1990s, and particularly after the beginning of the Oslo process in 1993, the mantra of a “demographic threat” was again widely repeated in the media and cited in diplomatic circles as a reason for ever greater Israeli territorial concessions to Yasir Arafat’s PLO. Yet every such concession made by Israel in those years was met by a hardening of the PLO’s demand for a complete withdrawal to the state’s pre-1967 borders and for granting a “right of return” to all descendants of the 1948-9 Arab refugees. To Arafat, who understood this process perfectly, the goal was to break the spirit of the Israelis, as he stated explicitly in a February 1996 speech to Arab diplomats in Stockholm: ‘The PLO will now concentrate on splitting Israel psychologically into two camps [i.e., for and against concessions]. . . . We plan to eliminate the state of Israel and establish a Palestinian state. We will make life unbearable for Jews by psychological warfare and population explosion. Jews will not want to live among Arabs.’ “— Ofer Haivri, “Israel’s Demographic Miracle”, Mosaic, Aug.7, 2018.
Even After Signs of Progress, Saudi Arabia Has a Long Way To Go: Robert Fulford, National Post, July 6, 2018 —The crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad bin Salman (a.k.a. MBS), has been getting great reviews from the media in the West for his plans to modernize his kingdom.
Hysteria Over Nation-State Law: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 7, 2018 —It is inevitable – and laudable – that there are debates and differences over most new legislation. However, that does not justify the global hysteria generated over the recently passed nation-state law, which the clear majority of Israelis support.
Israel’s Mighty Army is no Match for Hamas’s Flaming Condom Bombs: Vivian Bercovici, National Post, Aug. 3, 2018 —Late afternoon last Wednesday, I climbed a sandy knoll at the edge of Sderot, a town of 25,000 in southern Israel, four kilometres from the border with the Gaza Strip.
Britain Welcomes Radicals – Again and Again: Douglas Murray, Gatestone Institute, Aug. 4, 2018 —It is more than a year since the UK suffered three Islamist terrorist attacks in quick succession. It is also more than a year since the Prime Minister, Theresa May, stood on the steps of Downing Street and announced that ‘enough is enough’. Yet the striking aspect of the last year has been how little has changed.