As has become my practice now, I start with some good news.
As to this first item, it’s possible that the jury is still out on whether we are certifiable, or whether we simply have a higher moral standard than the rest of the world. I go with the second option, and believe we must continue in our efforts to let the world know who we are (emphasis added):
“While the mass murder of hundreds of thousands of Syrians by the Assad regime and a raft of regional Islamic terror organizations shows no sign of ending, an unheralded Israeli humanitarian mission recently marked the treatment of 2,000 Syrian patients.
“Although the two countries remain sworn enemies, advocates of Israel’s program caring for badly wounded Syrians highlight the Jewish imperative to save life whenever possible. Despite endangering the lives of Israeli soldiers and medical personnel, it has enabled critically injured Syrians, with no one else to turn to for lifesaving treatment, to cross the border to an Israeli field hospital…
One of the most senior IDF officials involved in the program described it:
“’This [pointing across the valley to the Syrian warzone from a high vantage point] is the main area of the fighting…Many wounded people come from this area.
“’All of the doctors in this area were probably killed. Most of the people that are left are the poor and the most vulnerable. The [Syrian refugees] who go to Europe are the people with thousands of Euros who are fit enough for the journey. Any time the rebels occupy one of the villages the regime places it under siege, stopping electricity, water [and food]. This has been going on for about three years…
“’As an orthopedic surgeon I can tell you this is the most horrible thing that I have ever seen. Blast injuries, shrapnel, amputations, head injuries. In my orthopedic department we say the people aren’t dead because they haven’t read the record of their trauma…’”
Members of the Israeli army medical staff tend to a Syrian man who was wounded in the ongoing violence in Syria, in a military hospital located in the Golan Heights near the border with Syria on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014. Since the Syrian conflict erupted almost three years ago hundreds of Syrians have received treatment in Israeli hospitals. (AP Photo/Menahem Kahana, Pool)
Another, “Mazel Tov! It’s about time.”
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely has given instructions that Foreign Ministry cadets [diplomatic trainees] will now also tour settlements and study about their legality.
What? you may say on reading this. Until now people moved into the world as representatives of Israel without solid knowledge about our rights in Judea and Samaria? You’ve got it. The diplomatic corps has a reputation for tilting left, which has been one of our problems.
So I say, “Hurray for Tzipi,” who observed:
“It is important that ambassadors be able to deal with the challenge of the boycott of Israel and the delegitimization of our right to self-defense that is linked to the fundamental issues of the connection of the Jewish people to its land.”
“Dry Bones” cartoonist Ya’akov Kirschen is also fighting BDS and delegitimization of Israel. For many years he has done a sterling job of presenting Israel’s positions in his cartoons. But now, understanding the importance of fighting media bias, he has a Dry Bones Academy that will train “an army of cartoon activists” to fight anti-Israel media-bias.
Bravo, Ya’akov, and much luck in moving forward with this!
Please see this major JPost feature about his new venture below and spread the word:
Now, “the big stuff”: Not terror attacks, not the incitement of Abbas. I’m talking Iran, the dangers of which trump all the rest. In any event, terror attacks are fomented and funded by Iran and its proxies – so the issues are intertwined.
Because I’ve been focusing more on immediate domestic issues, I’ve not addressed the Iran situation for a while, and the fact is that it is horrendous and grows more so daily.
In late September, Reuters conveyed Iranian media reports establishing that the Iranians recently took their own environmental samples at their Parchin military facility, where they conducted tests relevant to the detonation of nuclear warheads, in lieu of having IAEA inspectors take the samples
In mid-October, Omri Ceren of TIP wrote, “Iranian media reported that Tehran recently tested a new precision-guided long-range ballistic missile, the Emad (show below), which is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. The test is a black-letter violation of United Nations Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 2231, in which ‘Iran is called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology’ for the next eight years.”
However, the Obama administration and its allies “insist that the nuclear deal does not ban Iran from developing nuclear missiles.”
Wrote Ceren regarding this: “[The situation] is a fairly damning indictment of how badly American negotiators got rolled in Vienna, but the immediate question is much more straightforward: the Iranians have definitely advanced their ballistic missile program and have definitely violated a binding United Nations Security Council resolution in the process, and what is the Obama administration going to do about that?
To the best of my knowledge Obama is going to do nothing, whatever the ferment within Congress. Obama espouses this position in spite of the fact that ”from the earliest days of Iran negotiations, White House officials promised Congress that they would bring home a deal limiting Iran’s ballistic missile program.”
Please, absorb the full import of this.
Also in mid-October, the Iranians arrested Siamak Namazi an Iranian-American businessman, with dual citizenship, who operated from Dubai and was in Iran to visit a friend.
According to the NYTimes, he is “head of strategic planning at Crescent Petroleum… also alleged to have ties with people in the National Iranian American Council.”
Namazi was reportedly picked up by Iranian intelligence officials and taken to the Evin torture prison; according to the Wall Street Journal, friends say Iranian intelligence agents ransacked his family home in Tehran and confiscated his computer.
A Daily Beast article suggests that he was central in assisting the White House in pushing the Iran deal (which would fit with ties to the National Iranian American Council). The implications here are huge, regarding who is running Iran and what hardline backlash we may be seeing against those who promoted the nuclear deal.
Another theory suggests that Iran is deliberately trying to provoke the US.
These scenarios are all bad news with regard to Iran’s relationship with the US, particularly in the context of the nuclear deal. Iran was already holding four Americans prior to this incident and since has arrested Nizar Zakka, a Lebanese with permanent US residency.
In some quarters it’s being said that for Iran it’s open season on Americans.
There was a bit of a firestorm over these incidents in Congress, with demands to know what the US government was going to do about the situation.
On Tuesday, State Department press office director Elizabeth Trudeau held a briefing and was asked about the issue of the arrests.
After saying a couple of times that of course the government is concerned and of course those arrested should be home, she was asked about consequences [for Iran].
Her answer: “Consequences. You know, on this, this is something that we continue to have dialogue on. You know, this is something we will continue to discuss.”
There you have it, my friends: Dialogue. The Obama panacea.
You can access the briefing here: http://www.c-span.org/video/?400251-1/state-department-briefing
Lastly, but possibly most importantly, I refer to a briefing by Yigal Carmon, president and co-founder of MEMRI (the Middle East Media Research Institute), “The Emperor Has No Clothes.” (Emphasis has been added)
“What is mistakenly perceived as an agreement under the title of ‘Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action’ (JCPOA)…is neither a contract nor even a real agreement between Iran and the P5+1. It is a set of understandings and disputes compiled into a single document.
“For example, the JCPOA states that in the event of Iranian violations, sanctions will be re-imposed (snapback). However, the Iranian position, which rejects all sanctions, is incorporated in the same document…This is not merely an Iranian reservation expressed outside of the negotiating room. It is incorporated into the text of this selfsame document – and one that completely contradicts preceding provisions that stipulate otherwise…
“The JCPOA is best characterized by bangs and whimpers – by bold prohibitions on Iran that peter out in qualifying terms such as ‘unless,’ ‘except if,’ and the like.
“The JCPOA includes a timetable and obligations applying to both sides. Within this time frame, both parties had 90 days from July 14 to secure approval for the agreement from their respective national institutions. By ‘Adoption Day,’ set for October 19…agreement was meant to have been approved by both sides. The EU was to have announced the lifting of its sanctions, while President Obama, on behalf of the U.S., was to have announced the lifting of the U.S. executive branch’s sanctions, along with waivers on sanctions imposed by the U.S. legislative branch…
“The Western side showed its consent long before October 19…
“In Iran, however, following discussion in both its Majlis [legislative body] and its Guardian Council, the JCPOA as concluded and announced on July 14 was not approved. The Majlis ratified something else – a set of recommendations to the government of Iran regarding how it should execute the JCPOA…The Guardian Council, for its part, approved what the Majlis had done…
“Was this a fulfillment of what Iran was obligated to do under the JCPOA? No! Did the U.S. administration insist that Iran approve the JCPOA, as concluded and announced in Vienna on July 14? No! Does the U.S. realize that Iran’s ultimate authority to approve laws rests with Supreme Leader Khamenei, and that he has not yet approved the JCPOA? NO! Nevertheless, the U.S. and Europe have chosen to regard what Iran has done as approval – so that the peace process will not be halted.
“The U.S. and Europe then proceeded to the first post-Adoption Day phase in the JCPOA timetable: The EU announced that its sanctions would be terminated. President Obama announced that the U.S.’s executive sanctions would be lifted and its legislative sanctions waived; this announcement was not for immediate execution, but in fact advance notice that these measures would come into effect by December 15 – provided that the IAEA would report that Iran has fulfilled its obligations under the JCPOA.
“What are these obligations that Iran has to fulfill between Adoption Day and December 15 in order to merit this sanctions relief?”
[A list follows: reducing and storing centrifuges, reducing the stockpile of uranium, etc.]
“Did Iran hasten to meet these obligations? No!…
“At this stage, events have taken an absurd turn. Iran has started dragging its feet…No one wanted to budge without explicit permission from Supreme Leader Khamenei.”
In an interview this week, Carmon declared, “Not one centrifuge has been removed.”
In this report, he writes: “Now the big secret is out. Khamenei has not approved the JCPOA.”
Explains Carmon, once Khamenei knew that President Obama was “either unwilling or unable to capitulate any further, Khamenei broke his silence. Stepping in in the final act, Khamenei…dictated, in a letter to President Rohani, nine new conditions for the JCPOA, and declared that if these were not met Iran would stop the agreement.”
Carmon says that a key demand of Khamenei is the full lifting of sanctions, whereas where the Congressional sanctions are concerned, Obama, cannot override them; he can only issue a suspension via waiver. “Politically too, it might be too far for him to go to break his promise of the JCPOA’s built-in security mechanism – snapback of the sanctions. Obviously, snapback is possible only if the sanctions remain in place under suspension.”
Carmon believes it would be impossible for the AIEA to provide confirmation that Iran has complied with required stipulations because “the Iranians themselves are declaring loudly that they are not going to do it.
“With every passing day, Iran is more and more in violation of the JCPOA. But neither the Republicans nor the Democrats, nor the media, nor anyone else will acknowledge this, for the implications are too devastating. The agreement is no longer in effect. Its clock has stopped.”
A great deal to assimilate, I know. But this cannot be ignored.
Yesterday, in the Hevron area, a young Border Police officer was critically wounded in a car attack. The terrorist was shot dead.
Yehoram Gaon is one of my very favorite Israeli singers. And so I was pleased at comments he made this week about our situation (emphasis added):
“I’ve been here long enough to look back and say honestly that there were attempts to establish genuine peace. There were enough prime ministers who tried. There have been enough negotiations…
“We have been living for years with the feeling that if we return these territories or others, a tremendous peace will be established here and we’ll drink coffee in Damascus. But in light of recent events, I’ve begun to realize that it’s much more complex, deep, rooted and most importantly – not a story of territory.
“I lived in Jerusalem before the IDF’s conquest of the city, and I remember well the families slaughtered in the Jewish Corridor, before there was a dispute over territories…
“These latest events make me think, in fact, that the other side’s will is we simply not be here at all, no matter what we do.”
All right then! I close with a song by Yehoram Gaon. A classic celebrating Israel, “Shalom Lach Eretz Nehederet” – Shalom to you, glorious land.