The billboard, put up in Tehran’s commercial center, shows destroyed American and Israeli ships in a “sea” made of a Palestinian keffiyehs, with an image of the Dome of the Rock in the background.
(May 29, 2019 / MEMRI) The Iranian Fars News Agency released a video this week showing a large billboard that was put up in Vali-e Asr Square in Tehran in honor of Quds Day.
The video is a time lapse of the billboard being put up in Tehran’s commercial center. The billboard shows destroyed American and Israeli ships in a “sea” made of a Palestinian keffiyehs, with an image of the Dome of the Rock in the background. The billboard reads: “We Drowned Them All” in Farsi, Hebrew and English.
Saturday, June 15, 2019
Four members of the US House of Representatives — two Democrats and two Republicans — have called on German Chancellor Angela Merkel to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist group, JTA reported on Friday.
The letter sent Thursday by Reps. Ted Deutch (D-FL), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Grace Meng (D-NY) and Lee Zeldin (R-NY) expresses concern over the failure earlier this month by the German parliament, or Bundestag, to extend a ban on Hezbollah’s military wing to its civilian arm. Deutch chairs the House’s Middle East subcommittee.
“We appreciate your government’s commitment to fighting terrorism, and we believe that taking the step to designate the political wing of Hezbollah will have a significant impact on Hezbollah’s activity in Europe and around the globe,” the letter says, according to JTA.
“Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, has clearly expressed his intent to spread jihad and wipe Israel off the map,” it notes. “The threatening influence of Hezbollah extends beyond Israel and poses a tremendous risk to the security interests of Europe as a whole.”
“We support the steps that Germany has already taken by designating Hezbollah’s military wing, and believe that it is critical that Germany take into full consideration the impact that designating Hezbollah’s political wing will have on the terrorist organization’s dangerous activities,” the letter adds.
In 2013, the European Union of which Germany is a member, blacklisted Hezbollah's “military wing” as a terrorist organization, while failing to blacklist the group’s political arm.
However, EU members the Netherlands and United Kingdom consider all of Hezbollah a terrorist entity, as do the United States, Canada, Israel and even the Arab League.
The British government formally announced in February that it intends to ban the political wing of the Hezbollah terror organization, after previously having banned its military wing.
Germany later stated that it will not follow Britain’s lead, with its Minister of State Niels Annen arguing that the Shiite Muslim organization remained a relevant factor in Lebanese society.
German Jewish leaders recently called on Merkel to fully outlaw Hezbollah. Similarly, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged Germany to follow in Britain’s footsteps during a recent meeting in Berlin with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
The head of the Hamas political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, and other senior members of the terrorist organization, insisted in a meeting on Friday with UN envoy to the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov that the Palestinian Arab factions in Gaza are not behind the two rockets that were fired at Israel this week, Channel 13 News reported.
On Thursday, a rocket from Gaza hit the building of a hesder yeshiva in the city of Sderot. There were no injuries but the building sustained damage.
A day earlier, a rocket that was fired from Gaza into Israeli territory was intercepted by the Iron Dome. There were no reports of physical injuries or damages.
According to the report, which cited the Palestinian Arab Al-Quds newspaper, Hamas officials told the UN envoy that they were investigating who was behind the rocket fire, and that they would not allow the efforts to achieve calm with Israel to fail.
The sources also noted that Haniyeh made clear to Mladenov that Hamas and the other factions want to continue the efforts to achieve calm and that they would allow time for progress to be made towards the ultimate goal of lifting the siege fully and meeting all the demands of the Palestinian people.
According to the report, Haniyeh asked Mladenov to pressure Israel to commit to the understandings of the truce and that Israel "stop reducing the fishing space over baseless excuses." In addition, Haniyeh demanded that Israel allow the entry of dual-use materials that have been banned from entering Gaza, allow the expansion of imports and exports, ease the movement of patients and traders at the Erez crossing, and not attempt to link these measures to internal disputes.
The report also said that Mladenov stressed to Haniyeh and the Hamas members that the projects agreed upon for the Gaza Strip are still being worked out, and that serious steps are being taken to implement them. He also said at the meeting that Israel was interested in peace and the implementation of the agreements. In addition, he confirmed to Haniyeh and the Hamas leadership that Qatari money would continue to be transferred to Gaza and that projects related to employment and health in Gaza would be implemented.
Friday, June 14, 2019
Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said on Thursday that his country is not interested in producing nuclear weapons but, even if it were, the US would not be able to prevent Tehran from doing so.
"If [Iran] planned to produce nuclear weapons, America could not do anything,” claimed Khamenei during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, according to The Associated Press.
The Iranian leader also made clear to Abe that Tehran “will in no way repeat” talks with the US, according to the report.
“We have no doubt about your good will and seriousness, but ... I don’t regard [President] Trump as deserving any exchange of messages,” Khamenei told Abe.
The purpose of Abe’s visit to Iran was to discuss trade with Japan and US-Iran relations, after offering US President Donald Trump help in dealing with Iran.
The Japanese premier’s trip to Tehran comes amid increased tensions between Iran and the United States, a year after Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers and imposed several rounds of crippling sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Iran announced last month it was suspending some of its commitments under the 2015 deal in response to the US withdrawal in May of last year.
In addition, tensions between the two longtime foes has increased after Washington sent more military forces to the Middle East in a show of force against what US officials say are Iranian threats to its troops and interests in the region.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said that IDF fighter jets and aircraft targeted terror infrastructure in military compounds and a Hamas naval force military compound overnight Thursday, as part of a strike on a number of Hamas terror sites throughout the Gaza Strip.
The attack was carried out in retaliation to the rocket fire from Gaza towards southern Israel on Thursday evening.
"The IDF will continue operating against any attempt to harm Israeli civilians and holds Hamas responsible for all events transpiring within the Gaza Strip and emanating from it,” the IDF Spokesperson's Unit said in a statement.
The rocket that was fired on Thursday evening from Gaza hit the building of a hesder yeshiva in the city of Sderot.
There were no injuries but the building sustained damage.
Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz responded to the rocket attack and said, "When you occupy yourself with fishermen and the transfer of 'protection money' from Qatar, you're not solving the crisis in the Gaza envelope and you see the result in the field. So what do we do differently? First, attack with unprecedented force. Target the senior Hamas figures.”
"Afterward, we take advantage of the quiet for a diplomatic initiative with economic levers - water desalination and electricity projects and the employment of thousands of high-tech workers and laborers in Israel and Ramallah who will be dependent on the maintenance of quiet. Then we initiate a ceasefire with international mediation and don't allow Hamas to dictate it. We are obligated to do everything in order to restore the initiative to us and quiet to residents of the western Negev," added the former chief of staff.
Jewish Home chairman Rabbi Rafi Peretz said, "While they stir up the 'Deal of the Century' In the air-conditioned lounges, children are running fearfully to the bomb shelters in Sderot and the Gaza envelope. We're obligated to overturn this equation and transfer the fear to the other side, to the heads of the murderous Hamas, who disrupt our lives without being held accountable."
Former IDF ombudsman Maj. Gen. (res.) Yitzhak Brick spoke about his meeting with Deputy Chief of Staff Eyal on a military podcast on 103FM on Friday. Zamir was a major general in the IDF during the writing of Brick's ominous report in January 2019 about the IDF's lack of readiness for a major military confrontation.
According to Brick, Zamir didn't debate the facts presented in the report. "Zamir said he accepts the fact that we are in serious trouble. He read the report, wrote down my recommendations and began implementing them, as did Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi, who understood the problem even when he was deputy chief of staff."
Brick added that the committee which conducted the criticism of his report, the Ilan Harari Committee, admitted to him that he was right: "The IDF commander, Harari, told me that the facts are daunting," said Brick, who emphasized that "Harari is the IDF chief of staff's appointment and subordinate to him - so naturally he couldn't say that the army was not ready for war."
Brick strongly asserts that a significant change is required in the IDF's organizational culture. "If the army doesn't learn to accept criticism and deal with the problems, God help us," Brick said, repeating his warning that the next military campaign would be more difficult than any of its predecessors.
"The next war will be the worst in the history of Israel. Every day 1,000 to 2,000 missiles will fall, weighing as much as 100 kilograms per missile and with precision targeting capabilities," Brick warned, adding that Judea and Samaria would also become a front with thousands of armed Tanzim who will leave the Palestinian villages and shoot in all directions. "We will need infantry units on several fronts and at the moment we don't have such capabilities," concluded Brick.
And what about the political arena? According to Brick, the political situation is even worse. "I sit and talk to cabinet members, one by one, spending an hour with each one - and it turns out that they don't know the army. These are the people who make the fateful decisions - and they know almost nothing." Brick says that no one took him seriously in his meetings with cabinet members. "Ultimately the main desire of cabinet ministers is to advance in politics," he said.
In spite of the harsh attacks against him, including statements that the trauma of the Yom Kippur War has affected him and statements on social media networks which hint at Brick's insanity, Brick hasn't given up on revealing the truth about the deeply rooted problems in the IDF. "Many are worried about my health, fearing I could have a stroke or a heart attack. There aren't many people who have boldly and determinedly faced such a formidable system [as the IDF]."
"I've been through a lot of life and I've seen what happens to the state of Israel when it's not ready for war. I'm doing something right for the people of Israel - so we won't be counting our losses [after the next war]."
Thursday, June 13, 2019
Israel will act preemptively and will not wait for its enemies to attack, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Wednesday.
Speaking at a state memorial ceremony for former President Ephraim Katzir at the Rehovot cemetery, Netanyahu said: "The chain of tests that we are dealing with is unending. We respond vigorously and with force to all attacks against us; however, we do not take action only after the fact. We deny the enemy's capabilities before the fact. We are acting methodically and consistently to prevent our enemies from establishing offensive bases against us in our vicinity."
The prime minister's statements followed reports from Syrian media of Israeli airstrikes in southern Syria overnight.
According to the reports, the Israeli attack targeted the town of Tell al-Hara, located in the Daraa region, a strategic point overlooking the Golan Heights.
It was also reported that there were no injuries in the attack but that damage was caused to buildings. In addition, Syria claims that Israel used technological means to disrupt radar systems during the attack.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that Turkey has already bought the Russian S-400 missile defense systems and that is a done deal.
“I'm not saying Turkey will buy S-400 defense systems, it has already bought them; we’ve closed the deal,” Erdogan told his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party’s group meeting in Ankara, according to the Anadolu news agency.
He noted that Ankara and Moscow signed the deal with a pledge for a reasonable price and future joint production.
“It is coming in a short time,” Erdogan added.
On Friday, the head of Russian state conglomerate said that Russia would start deliveringthe S-400 missile systems to Turkey in two months.
Turkey’s decision to purchase the Russian system has resulted in tensions with the United States.
Washington says the S-400 poses a threat to the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 stealthy fighters, which Turkey also plans to buy.
The US also believes the S-400 sale is part of Russian efforts to disrupt the alliance amid Western concern over Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's burgeoning relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Last week, US officials said that the United States has decided to stop accepting any additional Turkish pilots who planned to come to the United States to train on F-35 fighter jets due to the S-400 purchase.
Touching on Turkey’s procurement of F-35 fighter jets from the US, Erdogan said on Wednesday his country is not only a customer, but also co-producer of the jets.
Turkish officials insist that the deal to purchase the S-400 does not affect the security of the US and have repeatedly stressed that they will go ahead with the deal despite Washington’s objections.