British diplomats are holding discussions with leaders of the Lebanese-based radical Shiite group, then transferring the information to the Americans, the Post reported, citing information from Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai.
The United States considers Iran-backed Hezbollah a terrorist organization but is willing to hear its views and “warm up to a direct relationship in the future,” Washington diplomatic sources told the Post.
Talks “are aimed at keeping tabs on the changes in the region and the world, and prepare for the upcoming return of Iran to the international community,” those sources said, the Post reported.
Al-Rai noted that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke to British Prime Minister David Cameron last week, and placed the talks in the context of the ongoing negotiations between the West and Tehran, the Post said.
Relations between Britain and Iran deteriorated after Iranians stormed the British embassy in Tehran in November 2011. But in October, Britain and Iran decided to renew diplomatic relations, and Britain named a new chargé d’affaires to Iran.
“Iran has pledged to destroy the United States, it’s developing military bases throughout Central and South America for that explicit purpose, and Obama just approved a deal that all but guarantees that Iran will acquire nuclear weapons,” Glick told “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV.
Story continues below video.
“And it did so at Israel’s expense . . . because its aim is to try to protect Iran from an Israel military strike in order to preserve Iran’s nuclear program against Israel,” he said Monday.
“This is just a stunning, stunning act of betrayal by the United States government against U.S. allies in the Middle East.”
Glick, a former adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, says there are two areas of the new deal that effectively recognize Iran’s right to enrich uranium.
“[Those are] in contravention of six U.S.-sponsored binding U.N. Security Council resolutions, which means that the United States and its partners are actually acting unlawfully when they signed this agreement with Iran,” she said.
“The agreement says that they can continue enriching uranium, something that they’ve been doing unlawfully and continue to do unlawfully, and it also says that they’ll agree to the enrichment in the final agreement.”
Glick says the entire Sunni Muslim and Arab world “fears Iran, hates Iran, is scared out of their pants by the fact that the United States has just given the green light to Iran to become a nuclear power.”
See the “Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV each weekday live by clicking here now.
An Israeli soldier stands at the exit of a tunnel discovered near the Israel-Gaza border on Oct. 13.
Thursday, 17 Oct 2013 03:40 AM
By Joel Himelfarb
A Hamas official has indirectly acknowledged his organization’s responsibility for digging a sophisticated tunnel under the Gaza-Israel border, saying it was built to facilitate the transfer of a kidnapped Israeli into Gaza and to help free Palestinian militant prisoners,The Times of Israel reported.
“The tunnel which was revealed was extremely costly in terms of money, effort and blood. All of this is meaningless when it comes to freeing our heroic prisoners,” wrote Moussa Abu Marzouk, deputy head of Hamas’s political bureau, on his personal Facebook page.
After the Israel Defense Forces found the new tunnel on Sunday, Maj. Gen. Shlomo Turgeman, head of the IDF Southern Command, stated that had if Hamas used the tunnel to carry out a terrorist attack against Israel, the Israeli response would “leave Gaza looking very different.”
No explosives were found in the tunnel, leading Israeli military officials to conclude that it was dug for the purpose of kidnapping more Israelis.
“It would not have been possible to free hundreds of our prisoners without the Shalit tunnel,” Marzouk said, referring to the June 2006 abduction of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in June 2006 near Israel’s border with Gaza.
Shalit was smuggled under the fence through a tunnel dug in advance by Hamas. He was freed in an October 2011 deal between Israel and Hamas, in which Jerusalem released 1,027 Palestinian security prisoners.
The prisoner exchange divided terror Israeli terror victims and their families, the Jerusalem Post reported at the time.While the Shalit family, government officials and others argued that the deal was the only way to bring a kidnapped Israeli home, many terror survivors said the prisoner releases would embolden terrorists and encourage more violence.
The other night we were watching the Hebrew news on TV when a special story was featured concerning an Israeli nongovernmental organization that was operating secretly inside of Syria.
The founder of the organization, whose face was hidden and name withheld, said, “Nobody asks permission to kill. We do not ask permission to save lives. We don’t work for anybody, just for our conscience.”
The founder—whom we will call “Yael”—of this amazing NGO explained that the organization is made up of some 1,200 Israelis who love their homeland and believe in a Jewish tradition and culture that values a compassionate, open-minded respect for the sanctity of human life and dignity.
“We believe we are blessed to be born in a democratic country that enables its citizens to travel to challenging and dangerous places,” Yael said.
Along with this commitment to human life, the organization is also devoted to faithfully defending Israel’s borders and citizens in the face of threat.
“Today, with such economic power and defense capabilities, Israel feels a moral and ethical duty to become ‘the voice of the voiceless,’ and, in this particular case, even if it is the voice of the vulnerable populations among some of our toughest and cruelest enemies,” Yael said.
Unfortunately, the harsh reality in which the organization is operating is on behalf of the victims of Assad’s atrocities, which demands they carry out their activities below the radar and hide their identities.
They work in full cooperation with democratic secular Syrian groups who have significant presence on the ground and deliver tons of food, medicine and basic supplies to specific places according to an agreed-on distribution map.
Yael explained how the banking system collapsed in Syria and most rebel families could not access their funds. They sold their few precious items, but after two and a half years, they are destitute.
Many children have seen their mothers brutally raped, while their mothers beg them to remain silent to prevent further harm.
“We are all parents. We all have families, and we all understand the consequences if we ever get in trouble,” Yael told the Jerusalem Post. “There is no smart way to deal with fear. But the choice to do this, to feel that you are in the right place at the right time and that you are helping make a significant change is so rewarding.”
One of the organization’s most difficult challenges is the Muslim Brotherhood, which distributes aid in mosques but only lets specific people in to receive the aid. Then the Brotherhood fights anybody else who tries to distribute aid in other ways. The secular rebels have been attacked for bringing in their own aid supplies.
Furthermore, the Assad regime has been cutting off supplies of water in regions affected by the use of chemical weapons. Water is essential for people in those areas in order to rinse their bodies from the chemicals.
The organization has delivered hundreds of tons of basic food; sanitation items including soap, toothbrushes, women’s sanitation kits, toilet paper and tissues; vital refugee items such as insulating material, mattresses, blankets, iron sheets to build housing units and water canteens; and 300,000 dry meals, each meant to feed five people for a week.
“I think that for most of my volunteers, what they fear more than death is indifference,” Yael said. “The belief that indifference kills is stronger than any fear.”
Israeli Hospitals Treat Syrians
Along with these noble and brave volunteers who are surely risking their lives, the Israeli army and northern Israel’s civilian hospitals have also opened wide their arms to help wounded Syrians.
The public is not told how Syrians cross the Syrian-Israeli border, but the news is spreading in Syria that the wounded can get help in Israel.
The army has a field hospital in the Golan Heights near the Syrian border where doctors set bones, bandage up and do whatever possible to stabilize a person’s medical situation before sending them back to Syria.
Those who are more seriously wounded are transferred to hospitals around northern Israel. Some need treatment for many months as they are rehabilitated and given numerous operations. The hundreds of Syrians the hospitals have treated and are treating is a drop in the sea compared to the hundreds of thousands who are victims of the civil war.
But Jewish heritage recognizes that every human being is important. The director of one hospital told of a 3-year-old girl crying days and nights for her mother. Proudly, he said, “I saw my staff doing everything they could to comfort her.”
The hospitals do all in their power to make the patients feel comfortable, with Arabic-speaking staff on hand to talk with those patients who are conscious upon arrival and accompany them through their stay.
Most of the time, patients come in alone without family and without any personal belongings and then, finding themselves in a Jewish hospital, are doubly traumatized. One little boy thought he was in Lebanon and panicked when he realized he was in Israel. But when one of the social workers spoke to him in Arabic and he saw how the doctors were going to help him, he relaxed and gained control.
Dr. Barhoum, director of the Western Galilee Hospital shares that for his staff, there is the professional aspect in which nurses and physicians do the job they were trained to do: help.
But there is also a moral aspect, he explains, in which the hospital staff has an obligation as human beings to provide humanitarian assistance to ease suffering. Barhoum believes this aspect most impacts his staff.
In another department, Dr. Sella tells of a 23-year-old Syrian man who was injured by an explosion that caused a piece of shrapnel to go through his cheek, cut through his jaw and entered his chest. He had received some kind of operation in Syria, but was bleeding from the neck so the Israeli field hospital sent him on to Dr Sella.
The staff developed a bond with him over the months, bringing him clothing, books and eventually small snacks—anything to make him feel more comfortable.
All he knew about Israel revolved around the Arab-Israeli conflict and he had no idea Arabs and Jews co-existed and have formed ties of cooperation within Israel.
When he saw that the staff included Muslims, Christians and Jews working together and treating everyone the same, he couldn’t figure out what was going on. After many months he was able to leave. He cried as he said goodbye to the staff, explaining that his time in Israel had changed his perspective on the country and the conflict.
Dr. Sella remarked, “God is in the small details, not the big ones. Go down to the small details, and that’s how you change the world.”
JERUSALEM — Israel wants to see Syrian President Bashar Assad toppled, its ambassador to the United States said on Tuesday, in a shift from its non-committal public stance on its neighbor’s civil war.Even Assad’s defeat by al-Qaida-aligned rebels would be preferable to Damascus‘s current alliance with Israel’s arch-foe Iran, Ambassador Michael Oren said in an interview with the Jerusalem Post.
His comments marked a move in Israel’s public position on Syria’s two-and-1/2-year-old war.
Though old enemies, a stable stand-off has endured between the two countries during Assad’s rule and at times Israel had pursued peace talks with him in hope of divorcing Syria from Tehran and Iranian-sponsored Hezbollah guerrillas in neighboring Lebanon.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had long avoided openly calling for the Syrian president’s fall. Some Israeli officials now worry that radical Sunni Islamist insurgents fighting Assad will eventually turn their guns on the Jewish state.
But with Assad under U.S.-led condemnation for his forces’ alleged chemical attack on a rebel district of Damascus on Aug. 21, Oren said Israel’s message was that he must go.
“We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran,” Oren said in the interview, excerpted on Tuesday before its full publication on Friday.
Assad’s overthrow would also weaken the alliance with Iran and Hezbollah, Oren said.
“The greatest danger to Israel is by the strategic arc that extends from Tehran, to Damascus to Beirut. And we saw the Assad regime as the keystone in that arc,” he said.
Oren said that other anti-Assad rebels were less radical than the Islamists.
Israel believes around one in 10 Syrian rebels are Sunni militants sworn to its destruction. Assad’s Alawite sect is closer to the rival Shi’ite Islam of Iran and Hezbollah.
Oren, a Netanyahu confidant, did not say in the interview whether or how Israel was promoting Assad’s fall.
Netanyahu casts Iran’s disputed nuclear drive as the main menace to Israel and world stability.
Israel, which is widely assumed to have the region’s sole atomic arsenal, has played down any direct Syrian threat to it but is concerned that a weak Western policy towards Assad could encourage Iran.
The Israelis have conferred closely with Washington as it first threatened military reprisals over the Damascus gas attack and then struck a deal with Russia for placing Syria’s chemical weapons under international control.
Netanyahu has urged Syria be stripped of such arms, while insisting that his government was not getting involved in Assad’s feud with the rebels.
Al-Mustaqbal reported the trucks crossed the Iraq-Syria border Thursday and Friday. Border guards did not inspect their contents, raising suspicions the trucks contained illicit cargo, according to the newspaper.
Al-Mustaqbal, a publication that has long been affiliated with anti-Syrian political elements in Lebanon, quoted a denial from Iraqi Interior Ministry spokesman Saad Maan.
Maan said security forces were deployed along the border and were checking all vehicles coming into the country.
“Iraq today is not Saddam Hussein‘s Iraq,” he said. “These accusations are all rumors and . . . no one believes them.”
Last week, the head of the Free Syrian Army, which is fighting to topple the Assad regime, told CNN that opposition intelligence indicated Damascus was moving chemical arms out of the country.
“Today, we have information that the regime began to move chemical materials and chemical weapons to Lebanon and to Iraq,” Gen. Salim Idriss claimed.
Idriss said the rebels were not interested in the new U.S.-Russian deal over Assad’s chemical-weapons arsenal.
“Russia is a partner with the regime in killing the Syrian people,” he said. “A crime against humanity has been committed and there is not any mention of accountability.”
A 2012 report by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) reveals that Christianity is growing at a rate of 1.3 percent annually in the Holy Land. Clerics, however, recently expressed a concern about the life challenges faced by the Christian population there.
CBS reports that two percent of the country’s population—or 158,000 people—claim to be of the Christian faith. What may be surprising to many is that 80 percent of those are Arabs.
Officials from many denominations met earlier this week with international journalists in Jerusalem’s Old City to discuss the plight of Christians in Israel. Clerics are worried that Israeli Christians face an identity crisis among the general population, as well as major limitations when it comes to job opportunities and housing.
“We’re having some difficulties in defining ourselves in the Holy Land,” Father Pietro Felet of the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land told The Jerusalem Post. “We are not a national church, we are a mixture of Arab Christians, Hebrew-speaking Christians and Christians from the former Soviet Republic. About 45 percent are Catholic, 40 percent are Orthodox and 20 percent fall under the category of ‘other.’”
The CBS report indicates that the majority of Christian Arabs live in northern Israel, including 22,400 in Nazareth and 11,700 in Jerusalem.
Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa of St. Savior’s Monastery in Old Jerusalem says the Catholic Church has an 800-year presence in Israel, giving legitimacy to the sect. He noted that although the education level among Christians is high, many have had difficulties finding sustainable employment.
CBS reports the employment rate for Christians in Israel stood at 63.8 percent for men and 45.3 percent for women, compared to the national average of 75 percent and 66 percent, respectively. Among Christian Arabs, the number is 48 percent overall.
Pizzaballa says the church has built hundreds of housing units for Christians in the Old City’s Christian quarter, with projects planned in Jaffa and Nazareth. Fiscal limitations have prevented more being built.
“One of the problems for the Catholic Church in Jerusalem is land and housing, which is very expensive,” he told The Jerusalem Post. “To get more land that means money, but for a normal family, the prices are almost impossible [to afford].”
Pizzaballa says through recent negotiations between the church and the state, he is encouraged that the standard of living for Christians in Israel will improve soon.
Another issue that worries the church is hate crimes against Christians, including vandalism of holy sites. Israeli police and authorities have worked with the church to reduce the number of hate crimes, but Pizzaballa says they are still prevalent.
“If you don’t denounce these issues when they happen, they will continue. We need to work on this,” he says.
The church’s concern for the “alarming level of ignorance about Christianity in Israel” is very real. Lutheran World Federation President Bishop Munib A. Youman—a Palestinian—says the Hebrew media propagates the bias and denounced travel restrictions for Christians from Bethlehem and Ramallah to Jerusalem.
“When I read in the Hebrew about Christianity, I wonder if I’m Christian,” he told TheJerusalem Post. “One of the things we face as Christians are generalizations about us being persecuted in Palestine or Israel. There are issues between us and the governments, but please don’t say ‘persecution.’ Everybody wants to be in Jerusalem. Why can’t a person cross with dignity? This is not acceptable.”
Not to be confused with Christians, Maoz Israel reports there are approximately 15,000 Messianic Jews—Jews who have accepted Christ as their Savior—living in Israel. Challenges for that sect of the population are also numerous.
“Israel should have attacked Iran yesterday. Every day that goes by puts Israel in greater danger, every day Iran makes more progress,” Bolton told The Jerusalem Post.
“I can understand why Israel wants us to take action, but the longer Israel waits for something that is not going to happen, the greater the danger Israel is in,” said the senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
While the Obama administration indicated that the U.S. would not resupply weapons to Israel to attack Iran, Bolton said, he believes that the U.S. would take the measures necessary to argue that Israel was acting in self-defense.
Bolton’s interview came a day after Israeli Prime MinisterBenjamin Netanyahu said Iran was “approaching the red line,” a warning that Israel could attack Iran as a last resort to prevent it from gaining nuclear-weapons capability, according to The Jerusalem Post.
Bolton said he believes the election of Hassan Rouhani as Iranian president will only lull the U.S. into a false sense of security that the country can be negotiated with to stop its nuclear program.
“The idea that Rouhani will negotiate seriously shows that this administration is on a different planet,” Bolton said, according to The Jerusalem Post.
Rouhani, Bolton said, repeatedly had boasted about how he “suckered” the European Union during negotiations. If Israel attacks Iran, Israel and the U.S. must be politically aligned and sharing intelligence, he said.
The Republican Jewish Coalition is calling on Kerry to retract the statement or risk the world thinking America has “lost its moral bearings.”
“It’s unconscionable to compare the loss of life resulting from an act of self-defense to the results of cold-blooded, premeditated murder by terrorists,” RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks was quoted in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
Kerry’s statement also was not well received in Israel, where The Jerusalem Post reports members of the legislature, the Knesset, from across the political spectrum said they found it extremely offensive.
Kerry was speaking at an Instanbul press conference when he noted, “I know it’s an emotional issue with some people. I particularly say to the families of people who were lost in the incident: We understand these tragedies completely and we sympathize with them.”
Kerry went on: “And nobody – I mean, I have just been through the week of Boston and I have deep feelings for what happens when you have violence and something happens and you lose people that are near and dear to you. It affects a community, it affects a country. We’re very sensitive to that.”
Relatives of the nine Turkish activists killed by the Israeli Defense Force in the 2010 raid say their relatives were killed in cold blood while trying to render humanitarian aid to Gaza residents.
But Israel, a longstanding U.S. ally, has released video showing the activists beating Israeli soldiers with metal sticks and chairs as they boarded their boat, the Post reports, adding that the IDF reported that metal rods, sharp metal objects, sticks, clubs, hammers, firebombs and gas masks were found on board.