Archive for May 5, 2018

Watch: Gazans fake injuries of women and children

May 5, 2018

Dozens of rioters infiltrate Gaza border crossing, lighting a fire and damaging goods intended for Gaza’s citizens.

Uzi Baruch, 05/05/18 21:21

On Friday, during the violent riots in Gaza, rioters ignited part of Gaza’s stockpile of gas, damaging the border fence and the gates of the Kerem Shalom crossing.

According to IDF reports, some of the damaged goods were intended for Gaza’s citizens, donated by Israel and other countries around the world.

“This violence, which directly harms Gazans, is led by the Hamas terror group, which puts on a false display, drawing in and endangering civilians. Every week, for years already, trucks full of merchandise and equipment, as well as gas and fuel, enter the Kerem Shalom crossing and are used by Gaza’s civilians. Hamas is acting against the interests of Gaza’s civilians, and is making their situation worse in order to advance its own interests,” the IDF said in a statement.

“During the violent riots, which are led by Hamas, various fake injuries have been documented, as well as abuse of women and children.

“All of these are intended to buffer Hamas’ terror activities, which include throwing explosives, grenades, and attempting infiltration into Israel, and to make it more difficult for the IDF to act in defense. Meanwhile, [Hamas] puts up this false display, and lies to the international community. The IDF will continue to defend and secure Israel’s citizens and sovereignty, as much as is necessary.”


Six Hamas members killed as large explosion rocks central Gaza

May 5, 2018

Palestinian media reports call the blast a ‘work accident,’ apparently referring to an accidental detonation of explosives being prepared by the terror group

Today, 8:27 pm

Illustrative: Palestinian men look at the debris of a tuk tuk vehicle at the site of an explosion east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on April 14, 2018. Four members of Islamic Jihad died in the blast (AFP PHOTO / SAID KHATIB)

A large blast rocked the central Gaza Strip on Saturday, killing at least six members of Hamas’ military wing, the terror group said.

The Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, said the fatalities were members of their group and blamed Israel for the explosion without providing details or proof.

The IDF said it was unaware of the cause of blast and had nothing to do with the incident.

The cause of the blast was not immediately clear, but Palestinian media reports said it was a “work accident,” a term usually used to describe the accidental detonation of explosives being prepared by one of the terror groups in the Strip.

The Ynet news site, quoting sources in Gaza, said the men, including senior members of the Hamas military wing, had been trying to dismantle an old Israeli missile that had failed to explode.

The Hamas-run health ministry said several bodies had been brought to a local hospital.

It identified the dead as Taher Essam Shahin, 29, Wissam Ahmed, 37,Musa Ibrahim Salman 30,  Mahmoud Walid, 34, Mahmoud Mohammed al-Touashi, 27, and Mahmoud Saeed Hilmi al-Qshahawi 27. It called them all “martyrs.”

Last month four Islamic Jihad members were killed in an accidental explosion near the Gaza Strip border with Israel.

The group said in a statement that the four died during “preparations,” without giving further details. Army Radio reported that the terrorists were killed while carrying explosives in an all-terrain vehicle, suggesting the blast may have been a “work accident.” AFP said they were riding a tuk tuk vehicle which exploded a few hundred meters from the border with Israel.

The incident comes amid tensions along the security fence in recent weeks, with the Palestinians holding mass marches near the border, and in some cases rioting, for the last six consecutive weekends. Israel says the violence is being orchestrated by Hamas, which it accuses of trying to carry out border attacks under the cover of large protests.

Trump exit from Iran nuclear deal would thrust world into uncharted territory

May 5, 2018

Source: Trump exit from Iran nuclear deal would thrust world into uncharted territory | The Times of Israel

A look at possible scenarios if the US president makes good on his threat to leave the 2015 accord

US President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden of the White House, Thursday, May 3, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s not as simple as just saying “we’re out” of the Iran nuclear deal.

If US President Donald Trump follows through on his threat to pull the nation out of the Iran nuclear deal on May 12, the rest of the world will be thrust into uncharted territory, forced to navigate a complex web of US sanctions that were lifted under the landmark accord but would ostensibly be put back in place.

Would Trump re-impose sanctions on those who do business with Iran? How quickly? And would Europe follow suit? How would Iran respond? And what happens to Iran’s pre-existing obligations to allow nuclear inspections?

“It’s going to be very complicated,” said Ama Adams, who advises clients on international sanctions compliance at the law firm Ropes & Gray. “There are lots of opportunities to trip up and make mistakes. It’s going to be a period of a lot of activity and flurry.”

A look at possible scenarios for what stays and goes if Trump exits the accord:

US sanctions

Under the 2015 deal, the United States issued waivers to longstanding sanctions punishing Iran for its nuclear program. Iran, in turn, restricted its program and allowed more inspections.

Trump has essentially two options for re-imposing sanctions.

On May 12, he faces a deadline on whether to renew the waivers that eased one basket of sanctions: those on Iran’s central bank, intended to hit Iranian oil exports. Another basket of sanctions waivers are up for renewal on July 11, focusing on more than 400 specific Iranian companies, individuals and business sectors.

One of Trump’s options, being called “the nuclear option” by some experts, would re-impose all the sanctions at once — even those not scheduled for renewal until July. That would put the US in immediate violation of the deal’s terms, which say sanctions remain lifted as long as Iran is complying with its terms. So far, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN’s nuclear monitoring agency, has said Iran is complying, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo agrees.

A busy street in Tehran, November 25, 2014 (AFP/Atta Kenare)

A second option: re-imposing only the central bank sanctions. That would start a 180-day clock in which companies or countries would be expected to reduce their purchases of oil from Iran. Those that don’t would ultimately be penalized by Washington.

Why not restore all the sanctions at once? Proponents of doing it piece by piece say it would give the US more leverage to bring about a “fix” to the deal so that Trump could stay in after all. Trump has long said the deal needed to be strengthened or abandoned, but efforts with European allies to strengthen it haven’t yet succeeded. With sanctions about to kick in again in 180 days, there might be enough pressure on the Iranians, the Europeans and other members of the deal to give in to Trump’s demands, proponents say.

But supporters of the nuclear deal say that’s not a viable option because the US, by starting the 180-day clock, would have already breached the deal. And as soon as Trump announces sanctions will be coming back, companies will immediately start shutting down their business with Iran. That means Iran would suffer from lost business and could decide to walk away from the deal itself.

Adams, the sanctions attorney, said some companies have already started winding down business in anticipation that Trump may re-impose sanctions.

The rest of the world

What would Europe do? Germany, France and the UK have suggested they have no intention of leaving the deal, even if the US withdraws. But it might not matter much. The global financial system is so interconnected and so tied to New York that it would be almost impossible for anyone anywhere in the world to continue their business with Iran without risk of violating US sanctions. For example, Europe businesses owned or controlled by American parent companies would breach the sanctions if they didn’t cut off Iran.

In this March 23, 2018, file photo, French President Emmanuel Macron, right, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel speak at a news conference in Brussels (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert, File)

It’s a major dilemma for European businesses, made even more complicated if the European Union decides to invoke a measure put in place in the 1990s to counter the US embargo on Cuba. The EU can use those regulations to prohibit European companies from complying with some US sanctions. That puts businesses in the position of choosing whether to defy the United States or the EU.

Iran’s response

Iran’s leaders have been coy, although Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told The Associated Press last week Iran would “most likely” abandon the deal if Trump withdraws. Yet the key question is whether Iran would resume nuclear activities, such as enrichment and processing, beyond the limits that were imposed by the deal — and how aggressively.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is interviewed by The Associated Press, in New York, Tuesday, April 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

How would the world even know? If the deal collapses, Iran would no longer be bound by the rigorous inspections regime by the IAEA that it agreed to in the deal. That regime included the so-called Additional Protocol, which expanded the IAEA’s access to sites in Iran, including giving inspectors insight into all parts of the nuclear fuel cycle, access on short notice to all buildings at an acknowledged nuclear site, and the right to obtain samples from military sites.

Even without the nuclear deal, Iran would still be required to allow a more limited regime of inspections required by the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which Iran has signed. But it’s unclear how rigorously Iran would comply. After all, alleged cheating and delay tactics by Iran were a major concern prior to the 2015 deal. And Iranian officials haven’t explicitly ruled out the possibility that if Trump blows up the nuclear deal, Iran may also leave the Nonproliferation Treaty.

Then there’s the question of whether Iran, feeling swindled on a deal the US itself brokered, would take other steps to retaliate — such as ballistic missile tests or more support for militant groups abroad.

New US Ambassador to Germany calls on companies to end Iran trade

May 5, 2018

Source: New US Ambassador to Germany calls on companies to end Iran trade – International news – Jerusalem Post

Grenell is sharp critic of Iran’s nuclear program and a strong supporter of the Jewish state.

 MAY 5, 2018 01:34
US President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron at t

 US President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron at the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, 2017. (photo credit: POOL)

When asked by Fox News’ Martha MacCallum on her show “The Story with Martha MacCallum” about the Iran nuclear deal, Grenell, a seasoned foreign policy expert, said Iran is a “state-sponsor of terrorism, they spend billions of dollars to spread terrorism around the world. Why would a country want to do business with them? So I think it is going to be incumbent on me to explain to German businesses that they do not want to do business inside of Iran. It is just not right.”

Grenell said that “there is room for German companies to stop doing business inside of Iran. We can’t have that. You look at what Iran does. Their human rights records.”

The European Union extended its human rights sanctions on Iran last month but declined to impose new penalties on the regime for widespread repression of civil liberties, according to human rights groups.

Grenell slammed Iran for destabilizing Syria. Iran is the main financial sponsor of  Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Grenell, who was sworn in as ambassador to Germany on Thursday, is sharp critic of Iran’s nuclear program and a strong supporter of the Jewish state.

Vice President Mike Pence ,who officiated the swearing in ceremony, said that when Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Washington last week, “President Trump called you an ‘outstanding man,’ who will do a great job as our Ambassador to Germany. And everyone gathered here, and people across this country, share that confidence and conviction.”

He added that “it’s absolutely clear that your career as a policy and communications advisor in the private sector and at every level of government makes you uniquely qualified to represent our nation in Berlin and on the world stage.”

Pence said that “from 2000 to 2008, you were the longest serving spokesman for America’s Ambassador to the United Nations and you did a great job for all those years. Ric actually served under four different ambassadors, including President Trump’s National Security Advisor, John Bolton, during his stint at the UN”

“Across them all, you earned your colleagues’ respect and admiration for your ability to promote America’s interests on the world stage, while building international cooperation around our shared goals of security and prosperity,” noted Pence.

Trump said of German-US relations during Chancellor Merkel’s late April visit: “For decades, the alliance and friendship between Germany and the United States has advanced the cause of peace, prosperity, and freedom.” Pence added that “And we know that will even grow stronger with you [Grenell] as the American Ambassador to Germany.”

In a Fox News opinion article titled “A landmark moment in Gay history,” Gregory T. Angelo , the Executive Director of the Log Cabin Republican group in the US, wrote “His confirmation marks a major milestone: Grenell has now become the highest ranking openly gay official in any Republican administration in American history.”

German-Iran trade has steadily increased since the Iran nuclear deal was settled in 2015. German exports to Iran rose to 3.5 billion euros in 2017 from 2.6 billion euros in 2016.According to German economic experts, bilateral German-Iran trade could soar to 10 billion euros within a short period of time.

The New York Times reported on Thursday that “Iran’s exports of mainly fuel and other energy products to the EU in 2016 jumped 344 percent to 5.5 billion euros ($6.58 billion) compared to the previous year, while investment in Iran jumped to more than 20
billion euros.”

The Jerusalem Post learned in March from two sources familiar with talks with German, British and French diplomats that the Merkel administration is the “least cooperative” of the three major European powers (France, UK, Germany) in offering concession to fix the defects of the Iran nuclear deal.

Germany’s government has refused to agree to a key US demand to classify the entire Lebanese Islamic militia Hezbollah a terrorist organization as part of talks to stop Iranian-sponsored jingoism in the region.

The Federal Republic currently has only outlawed Hezbollah’s so-called military wing. Germany permits 950 Hezbollah members to operate on its soil. Hezbollah operatives raise funds and recruit new members. The US sanctioned Hezbollah’s entire organization a terrorist entity. Hezbollah is widely viewed as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Iran.

Last week, the Germany’s president Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a zealous advocate of the Iran nuclear deal, came under fire for hosting Iranian regime-affiliated clerics who spread antisemitism and homophobia. A British cable contained in Wikileaks said Iran’s regime has executed 4,000 to 6,000 gays and lesbians since the Iranian Islamic revolution in 1979.

Germany was engulfed in a trade scandal with Iran in February. Construction parts from the German company Krempel were found in Iranian chemical rockets in an attack on Syrians. The poison gas attacks injured 24 people. Germany’s Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (Bafa) defended the sales to Iran because the material was not classified as dual-use merchandise that can be applied for military purposes. Bafa did not restrict further Krempel sales to Iran.

Michael Tockuss, managing board member the German-Iranian Chamber of Commerce, said prior to the 2015 Iran deal: “Some two-thirds of Iranian industry relies on German engineering products.”

Pat Condell: Why I Support Israel

May 5, 2018



Says it all… – JW




Watching Netanyahu in Tehran 

May 5, 2018

Source: Column One: Watching Netanyahu in Tehran – Opinion – Jerusalem Post

The only way to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power without a major war is to overthrow the regime. Netanyahu’s presentation advanced that goal in a profound way.

 MAY 3, 2018 22:37
Benjamin Netanyahu

 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a news conference at the Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv, Israel, April 30, 2018.. (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)

Taken together, the two events demonstrate the purpose of Netanyahu’s presentation.

Netanyahu’s detractors in the US and Israel called his presentation as a dog and pony show. “He didn’t tell us anything we haven’t known for years,” they sniffed.

Moreover, they insisted, Netanyahu’s presentation was actually counterproductive because he couldn’t show evidence that Iran is in breach of the nuclear deal it concluded in 2015 and so did nothing to persuade the Europeans to abandon the deal.

None of these claims is correct. Mossad agents who seized a half ton of documents and computer discs from a secret warehouse in Tehran brought proof that Iran has been lying about its nuclear ambitions since 1999. The information was never more than surmised by nuclear experts.

As for the nuclear deal, the archive itself is a material breach of the nuclear deal. Paragraph T.82 of the deal bars Iran from conducting “activities which could contribute to the design and development of a nuclear explosive device.”

Since the only possible purpose of the archive was to enable Iran to build on the progress it already made toward designing and developing a nuclear explosive device, its existence was a breach of Paragraph T.82.

As for who was impressed, and who wasn’t, this too misses the point.

The Trump administration wasn’t simply impressed with Netanyahu’s presentation. The Trump administration was a full partner in Israel’s decision to make the presentation. Netanyahu reportedly briefed President Donald Trump and his top advisers about the operation and its initial findings during his White House visit on March 5. The same day, the Mossad gave the CIA a copy of the entire archive.

Netanyahu coordinated his presentation with Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last Saturday and Sunday.

As for the Europeans, they aren’t key players. If Trump abandons the nuclear deal, Congress will reinstate sanctions suspended in January 2016 when the deal went into effect. And then the Europeans will have an easy choice to make. Trade with the US or trade with Iran.

Which brings us to the soldiers singing a love song in Persian the day of Netanyahu’s speech.

Netanyahu had two main target audiences on Monday evening: The Iranian regime and the Iranian people.The

power of his presentation rested on two key observations. First, the Iranian regime believes its antisemitic rhetoric.

At its base, Jew-hatred is a neurotic condition. Antisemites fear Jews. They perceive them as all powerful. This neurotic worldview makes rational analysis impossible for antisemites. Everything is a Jewish plot for them. Through circular reasoning, antisemites see Jewish fingers in everything bad that happens to them.

Netanyahu’s presentation pushed all of Iran’s leaders’ neurotic antisemitic buttons.

Netanyahu opened by revealing the existence of Iran’s secret archive of its military nuclear program.

“Few Iranians knew where it was, very few,” he began.

And without missing a beat, as if stating the obvious, he added, nonchalantly, “And also a few Israelis.”

In other words, Netanyahu told the Iranians that just as they fear, the Jews know everything about them. The Jews know their deepest secrets. It doesn’t matter how closely guarded a secret is. The Jews know it.

That would have been enough to send the likes of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps Commander Gen.

Kassem Suleimani into a fetal position. But Netanyahu was just getting warmed up.

Netanyahu then showed photographs of the nuclear archive – first from the outside, and then from the inside. It was as if he just wrote, “Kilroy was here,” on Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s bedroom door.

And then came the coup de grace. Netanyahu pulled down two black curtains and revealed the files themselves. Two hundred or so binders filled three bookcases. Two panels contained row after row of CDs – all taken from Iran.

Many spectators scratched their heads at the seemingly archaic find. Why did the Mossad officers go to the trouble of removing the actual notebooks? Why didn’t they just scan them into a flip drive and carry them out of Iran in their pockets? That way, they could have gotten access to the archive without tipping the Iranians off. The files could have remained in place.

This line of questioning misses a key purpose of the operation. Israel wanted the Iranians to know its agents seized the files.

For years, Israel’s enemies and allies alike have recognized its technological prowess. But ironically, rather even as it raised the fears of its enemies, Israel’s technological superiority also fed their contempt.

Israel’s enemies insisted that Israel resorts to cyber warfare and other indirect assaults because it is too afraid to have its soldiers face the enemy on a physical battlefield.

The very existence of the nuclear archive indicates that the Iranian regime bought into this line. Khamenei and Suleimani wouldn’t have risked placing the physical archive of Iran’s illicit military nuclear work under one roof if it had feared that Israel would send its forces to seize it.

Under the circumstances, if the Mossad had simply scanned the documents onto a hard drive and not taken the trouble to physically seize the files themselves, the effect of the raid would have been significantly diminished.

When Netanyahu pulled back the curtains, he exposed not only the regime’s perfidy, but its weakness.

The Jews breached its vaunted defenses and made off with a half ton of incriminating documents without being discovered.

There can be no greater humiliation.

Channel 10 News Arab affairs commentator Zvi Yehezkely reported Wednesday that the Arab world responded with glee to Netanyahu’s speech.

This then brings us to the Iranian public. How did the Iranian people respond to Netanyahu’s presentation? Iran’s anti-regime protests in December and January were widely covered. But the protests didn’t end in January. They are ongoing – and spreading.

According to recently retired Pentagon adviser on Islamic affairs, Dr. Harold Rhode, the anti-regime protests span from one end of Iran to the other and include people and sectors from all walks of life.

“When you ask Iranians where anti-regime protests are taking place in Iran today, they respond that the list of cities where anti-regime protests aren’t taking place is shorter than the list of cities where they are taking place.”

Iranian women have had it with the regime’s religious coercion, which forces them to wear hijabs, forces them out of public events, and enforces misogynist regulations through female goon squads that patrol the streets searching for women with hair showing to beat and bludgeon.

Iranian traders have had it with the regime. Its proliferation of ballistic missiles and terror sponsorship caused the US to impose sanctions that severely limit Iran’s access to the international banking system.

Barred from open currency trading, the Iranian rial has sunk like a stone. Iranian traders cannot carry out commerce.

Their plight will only deteriorate and their anger at the regime will increase if the US reinstitutes its nuclear sanctions on May 12.

Residents of Isfahan have had it with the regime.

Its water policies have dried up the city’s river. For the first time in history, Isfahan is suffering from an acute water shortage.

Iran’s Kurdish, Baluchi and Arab minorities are sick of the regime that oppresses them due to their ethnic identities.

Anti-regime protesters who have taken to the streets since last December shout slogans attesting to their loss of fear of the regime. Israel’s stunning intelligence coup, and Netanyahu’s stone cold humiliation of the regime is not likely to persuade them to rally around their leaders. To the contrary, it will empower them to revolt.

And this brings us to Israel’s strategic goal. Netanyahu’s presentation indicates that Israel’s goal is to empower the Iranian people to overthrow the regime.

The first step toward achieving that goal is to make the regime lose confidence in itself. The US is Israel’s partner in achieving this step.

The day before Netanyahu made his presentation, massive air strikes attributed to Israel destroyed bases in Hama and Aleppo, Syria, that housed major Iranian assets. One base was a recruitment and training center for Iranian-organized Shiite militias. The other housed 200 precision-guided Iranian missiles.

Whereas Iran responded with threats of retribution after Israel attacked the T-4 airbase outside Palmyra on April 7, its response to Sunday’s attacks was muted.

Between the two attacks, a new reality presented itself to the Iranians.

Since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the US consistently shielded Iran and its proxies from Israel. In 1982, the US compelled Israel to remove its forces from Beirut. In 2006, the US insisted that Israel accept cease-fire terms in the war with Hezbollah that left Iran’s Lebanese proxy in charge of south Lebanon and paved the way for its takeover of the government in 2008.

During the Obama administration, the US shielded Iran from Israel on multiple fronts.

Over the past several months, commentators have noticed that Israel has taken its gloves off in Syria.

Many have attributed the rising power of Israel’s air strikes to the heightened threat posed by Iran’s entrenchment in the country. While true enough, over the past three weeks, the Trump administration has made clear that it has no intention of restraining Israel. Central Command Commander Gen. Joseph Votel’s working visit in Israel last week was deliberately leaked to the media. The White House and State Department have repeatedly stated that Israel informed them of its plans to carry out various air strikes.

The Iranians now realize that Israel has been given a green light from the US to defeat its forces in Syria.

And they are terrified. This is why they insisted that there were no Iranian forces killed in Sunday’s air strikes against Iranian targets in Syria.

Netanyahu’s critics have claimed that his presentation Monday, along with Trump’s anticipated announcement that the US is abandoning the nuclear deal increase the threat of war. But this is not necessarily the case. Indeed, in all likelihood, his presentation, together with the strikes against Iranian targets in Syria and the US’s support for Israel reduced the prospect of war.

Hemmed in by an empowered US-backed Israel, and an angry, rebellious Iranian public that just watched its humiliation on Israeli television, it is hard to see the scenario where the regime embarks on a war it is now convinced it will lose.

The only way to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power without a major war is to overthrow the regime. Netanyahu’s presentation advanced that goal in a profound way. Declarations of friendship to the Iranian people, like the IDF’s Persian love song, further empower the people of Iran to bring down the regime that oppresses them and endangers the entire world.