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Palestinians’ New Year’s Resolutions

January 2, 2019

The Palestinians are celebrating the beginning of 2019 by promising Israel more violence, a “revolution until victory,” and another year of conflict and suffering. The messages that the Palestinians are sending to Israel offer anything but hope. On the contrary, they are making it clear that Israel should expect yet more bloodshed. Some are also reminding Israel that the Palestinians’ real goal is to “liberate all Palestine, from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea,” (meaning the annihilation of Israel).

Palestinian leaders and various political and military groups are not seizing the opportunity of the arrival of a new year to reach out to their Israeli neighbors with message of conciliation, peace and coexistence. Palestinian leaders are not offering their people a better life, prosperity, security and stability. Instead, the leaders and groups are promising Palestinians more suffering, violence and misery, and are pressing their people to continue the fight against Israel. They are urging Palestinians to continue hating Israel and the US. They are urging Arab countries not to make peace with Israel: they consider normalization with Israel an act of treason.

The largest Palestinian group, Fatah, headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, is celebrating these days the 54th anniversary of the launching of its first terrorist attack against Israel. Then, Fatah terrorists infiltrated into Israel from Jordan and attempted to sabotage the National Water Carrier. The event took place on January 1, 1965. The explosive device, which did not explode, was discovered by the Israeli army. For Fatah, a group that is often described by some Westerners as moderate and pragmatic, the attack carried out 54 years ago “ignited the Palestinian revolution” against Israel. The Fatah anniversary celebration coincided with the beginning of the new year.

The words and photos published by Fatah that refer to the 54th anniversary of the launching of its first terrorist attack against Israel serve as a reminder that this group continues to glorify terrorism and terrorists.

A cartoon published on Fatah’s official Facebook this week depicts “Palestine” as a single entity, the exact shape of Israel, while making no mention of the existence of Israel.

The Fatah flag features a grenade with crossed rifles superimposed on a map of Israel.

A poster appearing on Fatah’s Facebook page under the title, “Revolution Until Victory,” features a Palestinian in military uniform with a grenade in his hand. The accompanying caption reads: “Fatah will continue with the revolution, and will continue to carry the torch of armed struggle.”

Another Fatah poster praises members of the group’s armed wing, Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, who were responsible for a series of terror attacks that killed and wounded scores of Israelis during the Second Intifada.

Fatah is also celebrating the anniversary of its first terror attack by threatening that “millions will march on Jerusalem and die as martyrs.”

This threat is taken directly from the words of Yasser Arafat, who used to incite Palestinians in public speeches with his famous battle cry: “To Jerusalem we march, martyrs by the millions.”

Mahmoud Aloul, deputy chairman of Fatah who is seen by many Palestinians as a natural successor to Abbas, declared in a speech during a celebration of the anniversary of the first terror attack on Israel: “The Palestinian revolution has been continuing for 54 years. The revolution will continue until the aspirations of our people are fulfilled.” He went on to praise the terror attacks carried out by Fatah against Israel and described them as “achievements” and victories.” Aloul also hinted that the armed struggle against Israel will continue: “We have clearly stated that all forms of resistance are legitimate.”

Fatah has chosen to celebrate the anniversary of a terror attack with images and rhetoric that promote violence and bloodshed. Fatah has nothing to say about building hospitals or schools for its people. Its leaders also have nothing to say about improving the economy and the living conditions of Palestinians. The message Fatah is sending to Israel: “We do not recognize your existence and we will continue the armed struggle against you.”

Similar messages were made by other Palestinian groups as the world prepared to receive the year 2019. Take, for example, Hamas, the Palestinian terror group that has been ruling the Gaza Strip since 2007. The group is currently celebrating the 31st anniversary of its founding, and the only messages it has for Palestinians and Israelis are those of violence. Like its rivals in Fatah, Hamas is also using the occasion to launch scathing attacks on the US and call for thwarting any peace plan presented by US President Donald Trump.

“The Hamas project is to liberate Palestine from the river to the sea,” said Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas official. “The Palestinian resistance won’t accept anything other than that.” Hamas, he added, is preparing “surprises” for Israel in the West Bank. When Hamas talks about “surprises,” it is referring to terror attacks against Israelis similar to the recent ones carried out by the group’s terrorists in the West Bank.

Another major Palestinian terror group, Islamic Jihad, sent the following message to Israel on the eve of New Year: “The armed resistance will remain the main priority of the Palestinians.”

What do we learn from the Palestinian messages on the eve of New Year? The Palestinians are determined to continue the fight against Israel. They are also determined to reject any peace plan presented by the US administration. They are determined to continue raising new generations on the glorification of violence and terrorists. They are determined to continue denying Israel’s right to exist. These messages demonstrate, with no room for doubt, that any talk about resuming a peace process between Israel and the Palestinians is one thing only: a colossal fraud. Palestinian leaders will never return to the negotiating table when they are pushing their people, day after day, to ensure that more Israeli blood runs in the street. The year 2019 will not be different from previous years: the Palestinians make it clear that their true intention is to carry a rifle and see Israel removed from the map.

Bassam Tawil, a Muslim Arab, is based in the Middle East.

Happy New Year .

December 31, 2018

Cotton, Cruz Introduce Resolution Encouraging U.S. to Recognize Israel’s Sovereignty Over Golan Heights

December 19, 2018

Golan Heights

Golan Heights / Getty Images

BY:

Republican Sens. Tom Cotton (Ark.) and Ted Cruz (Texas) introduced a resolution on Tuesday encouraging the United States to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over Golan Heights.

The resolution’s aim is for the U.S. Senate to recognize Israel’s 51 years of control over the contested region. Israel took control of the region in 1967, during the Six Day War in which Israel defended itself from attacks from Syria and other Arab nations in the region. In 1981, Israel annexed the Golan Heights. Since then, the U.S. has refused to recognize the region as sovereign territory of Jewish state.

Cotton and Cruz released a statement telling their colleagues it is now time for the U.S. to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the region.

“Israel’s northern border is threatened by Iranian forces and their proxies in Lebanon and Syria, including Hezbollah’s 150,000 rockets, armed drones, newly discovered terror tunnels, and more. Meanwhile, with the Ayatollahs’ help, Bashar al Assad’s regime is on the verge of securing victory in Syria’s civil war. He may soon turn his attention back to threatening the Jewish state.” Cotton and Cruz said. “Israel gained possession over the Golan Heights in a defensive war over 50 years ago, and has responsibly controlled the area ever since. It’s past time for the United States to recognize reality by affirming Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.”

Earlier this year, the House of Representatives debated a similar resolution. Then-Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.) introduced a resolution that would have Congress recognize the Golan Heights as fully belonging to Israel. The measure was never adopted and was killed by House leadership.

If the resolution introduced by Cruz and Cotton is adopted, the Senate would recognize six points:

(1) the United States supports the sovereign right of the Government of Israel to defend its territory and its citizens from attacks against Israel, including by Iran or its proxies;

(2) Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights is critical to Israel’s national security;

(3) Israel’s security from attack from Syria and Lebanon cannot be assured without Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights;

(4) it is in the United States’ national security interest to ensure Israel’s security;

(5) it is in the United States’ national security interest to ensure that the Assad regime faces diplomatic and geopolitical consequences for the killing of civilians, the ethnic cleansing of Syrian Sunnis, and the use of weapons of mass destruction, including by ensuring that Israel retains control of the Golan Heights; and

(6) the United States should recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

Israel says will study US pullout from Syria, ensure its own security

December 19, 2018
Russia hails US decision to withdraw, while Trump comes under fire from Republican lawmakers, British ally; Pentagon: withdrawal already underway
https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5429333,00.html

Israel will study the US decision to pull its forces from Syria and will ensure its own security, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday.

Netanyahu in a statement said he had spoken over the past two days with US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about their intention to withdraw troops from Syria.

“They made clear they have other ways to have influence in the area,” Netanyahu said.”We will study the timeline, how it will be done and of course the implications for us. In any case, we will make sure to maintain Israel’s security and protect ourselves from this arena,” he said.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, said the US decision to withdraw creates prospects for political settlement to the years-long, bloody Syrian civil war, according to the TASS news agency.

TASS also cited the ministry as saying that an initiative to form a Syrian constitutional committee had a bright future with the US troop withdrawal.

Russia is a key backer of Syrian President Bashar Assad, and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s support is believed by many to have turned the tide of the war in Assad’s favor.

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin with Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad (Photo: Reuters)

Russian President Vladimir Putin with Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad (Photo: Reuters)

Trump tweeted that the troops would be leaving as the US had defeated ISIS, which he said was his sole reason for being in Syria.

But in the UK, minister in the Defense Ministry Tobias Ellwood used Trump’s favored means of communication to express his disapproval of the decision.”I strongly disagree,” Ellwood tweeted in response to Trump’s claim that Islamic State had been defeated. He warned that the organization “has morphed into other forms of extremism and the threat is very much alive.”

In the US, senior members of Trump’s own Republican Party denounced the decision as having a far-reaching, negative impact.

Withdrawing the troops, said Senator Lindsey Graham, a recent staunch supporter of the president, would be “a big win for ISIS, Iran, Bashar al-Assad of Syria and Russia.”

Fellow GOP Senator Marco Rubio also condemned the move, saying that a full, rapid withdrawal would be a “grave error” that had implications beyond the battle against Islamic State.

An American military base in Syria (Photo: AFP)

An American military base in Syria (Photo: AFP)

The Pentagon said Wednesday that the process of withdrawing had already begun, while a US official said that the full redeployment would take between 60-100 days.

“The Coalition has liberated the ISIS-held territory, but the campaign against ISIS is not over,” Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said in a statement, using an acronym for Islamic State.

“We have started the process of returning US troops home from Syria as we transition to the next phase of the campaign,” she said.

“For force protection and operational security reasons we will not provide further details. We will continue working with our partners and allies to defeat ISIS wherever it operates.”

 

Turkey Aiming to Head a Global Islamic Union Governed by Sharia

December 18, 2018

Engagement between Syria and Israel, as Russia changes its position

December 16, 2018

Posted on

https://ejmagnier.com/2018/12/14/new-rules-of-engagement-between-syria-and-israel-as-russia-changes-its-position/

 

Syria will adopt a new rule of engagement with Israel now that Russia has taken a tougher and clearer stance on the conflict between Israel and the “Axis of the Resistance”. Henceforth, Damascus will be responding to any Israeli strike. If it damages a specific military target it will reply with a strike against a similar objective in Israel. Decision makers in Damascus said “Syria will not hesitate to hit an Israeli airport if Damascus airport is targeted and hit by Israel. This will be with the consent of the Russian military based in the Levant”.

This Syrian political decision is based on a clear position taken by Russia in Syria following the downing of its aircraft on September 18 this year. In 2015 when the Russian military landed in Syria, it informed the parties concerned (i.e. Syria, Iran and Israel) that it had no intention to interfere in the conflict between them and Hezbollah and that it would not stand in the way of Tel Aviv’s planes bombing Hezbollah military convoys on their way to Lebanon or Iranian military warehouses not allocated to the war in Syria. This was a commitment to remain an onlooker if Israel hit Iranian military objectives or Hezbollah convoys transporting arms to Hezbollah from Syria to Lebanon, within Syrian territory. It also informed Israel that it would not accept any attacks on its allies (Syria, Iran, Hezbollah, and their allies) engaged in fighting ISIS, al-Qaeda and its allies.

Israel respected the will of Moscow until the beginning of 2018, when it started to attack Iranian bases and Syrian military warehouses, though it never attacked a Hezbollah military position. Israel justified its attack against the Iranian base, a military facility called T4, by claiming it had sent drones over Israel. Tel Aviv considered violation of its neighbours’ sovereignty as its exclusive prerogative. Damascus and Iran have responded with at least one confirmed shooting down of an Israeli F-16. Israel started to attack Syrian warehouses, mainly where Iranian missiles were stored. Iran has replaced every single destroyed warehouse with other more sophisticated precision missiles, capable of hitting any objective in Israel.

However, Russia’s neutrality towards Israel in the Levant turned out to be quite expensive. It has lost more than Iran, especially after the downing of its IL-20, and with it, 15 officers highly trained to use the most advanced communication and espionage systems.

Russia then brought to Syria its long-awaited advanced S-300 missiles and delivered them to the Syrian army while maintaining electronic coordination and radar command. The S-300 poses a danger to Israeli jets only if these violate Syrian airspace. Tel Aviv has kept its planes out of Syria since last September but launched long range missiles against a couple of targets.

For many months, the Russian President Vladimir Putin refused to receive Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Only through real harassment by the latter did Putin finally accept to briefly meet with Netanyahu over lunch or around the dinner table during a large Summit or meeting of Heads of State, without however accepting any compromise or reconciliation. Russia has now taken a clear position and has no intention of extending its embrace or pardon to Israel. Russia felt that its generosity (by closing its eyes to Israel’s activities in Syria) was neither recognised nor sufficiently appreciated by Tel Aviv.

This week, Moscow agreed to receive an Israeli military delegation led by Major-General Aharon Haliva,  following Israel’s insistence on breaking the ice between the two countries. However, Russia’s position is not expected to change in Syria and no Israeli bombing of Syrian or Iranian targets will be tolerated.

According to these sources, “Russia has informed Israel that there are Russian officers present at every Syrian or Iranian military base and that any strike against Syrian or Iranian objectives would hit Russian forces as well. Putin will not allow his soldiers and officers to be struck down by Israel’s direct or indirect bombing”.

Moreover, Russia has given Syria the green light – said the source- to strike Israel at any time if and when Tel Aviv’s planes launch raids against Syrian military targets or launch long-range missiles without flying over Syria (for fear of the S-300 and to avoid seeing its jets downed over Syria or Lebanon).

The source confirmed that Syria – contrary to what Israel claims – now has the most accurate missiles, which can hit any target inside Israel. The Syrian armed forces have received unrevealed long and medium-range missiles from Iran. These operate on the GLONASS system – the abbreviation for Globalnaya Navigazionnaya Sputnikovaya Sistema, the Russian version of the GPS. Thus, the delivery of Iran and the manufacture of missiles inside Syria (and Lebanon) is now complete. Israel, however, claims it has destroyed Syria’s missile capability, including that of the missiles delivered by Iran. According to the source, Damascus controls a very large number of precision missiles, notwithstanding those destroyed by Israel. “In Iran, the cheapest and most accessible items are the Sabzi and the missiles”, said the source.

The new Syrian rule of engagement – according to the source – is now as follows: an airport will be hit if Israel hits an airport, and any attack on a barracks or command and control centre will result in an attack on similar target in Israel. It appears that the decision has been taken at the highest level and a clear “bank of objectives” has now been set in place.

The rules of engagement are changing and situation in the Levant theatre is becoming more dangerous; regional and international confrontations are still possible. The Middle East will not be quiet unless the Syrian war ends—a war in which the two superpowers, Europe, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have played essential roles. The final chapters have not yet been written.

Proofread by:  Maurice Brasher and C.B.

Iranian jet carrying arms flies directly to Beirut

December 2, 2018
Iranian airline affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards reportedly continues transferring to Hezbollah advanced weapon systems meant to convert inaccurate projectiles into precision-guided missiles, conducting for the first time a direct flight from Tehran to the Lebanese capital.
https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5416771,00.html
A Boeing 747 belonging to Iranian airline Fars Air Qeshm, reportedly used by the country’s Revolutionary Guards to smuggle weapons to Tehran’s allies, conducted a direct flight from the Iranian capital to Beirut for the first time on Thursday.Last month, Fox News reported that a Fars Air Qeshm flight from Tehran to Damascus, which later continued to Beirut, was carrying weapon systems—including GPS components—intended to convert inaccurate projectiles into precision-guided missiles.

Hassan Rouhani and Hassan Nasrallah

Hassan Rouhani and Hassan Nasrallah

The 27-year-old Jumbo jet, registered as EP-FAB, took off on Thursday morning at 8:02am from Tehran to Beirut on flight QFZ9964, and landed in Lebanon at 10:19am. In the past, the jet has been in service of Japanese, Afghan, Armenian and Russian airlines.

Suspicions first arose that Iran uses the cargo airline to smuggle advanced weapons two months ago after reports emerged that the Israel Air Force (IAF) carried out an attack on targets at the Damascus airport.

“The Iranians are trying to find new ways to smuggle weapons to their allies in the Middle East … They are exploring the West’s ability to locate the smuggling sites,” said a Middle Eastern intelligence source, who chose to remain anonymous.

The route of Fars Air Qeshm's Boeing 747 (Photo: FlightRadar24)

The route of Fars Air Qeshm’s Boeing 747 (Photo: FlightRadar24)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed two months ago, during a speech at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), that over the past year, Hezbollah—guided by Iran—has attempted to build an infrastructure for the conversion of surface-to-surface missiles into precision-guided missiles near an airport in Beirut.

“I have a message for Hezbollah today: Israel also knows what you’re doing. Israel knows where you are doing it and Israel will not let you get away with it,” Netanyahu stressed during the speech.