IAEA: Iran Feeding Uranium Gas into Advanced Centrifuges Underground
- Francois Murphy (Reuters
Iran has fired up advanced uranium-enriching centrifuges that it had installed underground at its Natanz site, in the latest breach of its nuclear deal, a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency showed.
"On 14 November 2020, the Agency verified that Iran began feeding UF6 into the recently installed cascade of 174 IR-2m centrifuges at the Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) in Natanz," the IAEA said.
See also IAEA and U.S. Pressure Iran over Uranium Particles at "Atomic Warehouse"
The IAEA and the U.S. pressured Iran on Wednesday to finally explain the origin of uranium particles found two years ago at an undeclared site that Israel has called a "secret atomic warehouse."
IAEA inspectors visited the site in February 2019 and found traces of processed uranium.
"They need to give us information which is credible. What they are telling us from a technical point of view doesn't add up," said IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi.
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The Continued Iranian Presence in Syria
- Navvar Saban (Atlantic Council
During the last several years, the Iranian military involvement in Syria has grown and become more visible.
Iran has created the Local Defense Forces (LDF), supporting specific brigades within the Syrian army and, most recently, establishing local private security companies.
Foreign fighters and local militias employed by Iran in Syria are funded by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The Afghan Shia Fatemiyoun Brigade has 3-14,000 fighters spread between three battalions in Damascus, Aleppo, and Hama provinces.
The Pakistani Shia Zaynibion Brigade has 1-5,000 fighters.
Lebanese Hizbullah has 5-8,000 fighters in Syria.
The Scope of Hizbullah's Presence in Southern Syria
- Yaakov Lappin (JNS
Hizbullah's presence in southern Syria is significantly larger than previously known, according to a recent report by the Alma Research and Education Center.
The report revealed the location of 58 sites linked to Hizbullah activities in southern Syria in Quneitra and Dara'a provinces.
Two primary Hizbullah units are present, acting under Iranian patronage: The "Southern Command," made up of veteran Hizbullah operatives embedded in the ranks of the Syrian Armed Forces; and the "Golan File" unit, which involves Hizbullah commanders orchestrating localized terror cells made up of Syrians.
According to the report, the Southern Command is preparing operational plans and conducting intelligence-gathering in anticipation of the next war with Israel.
See also Hizbullah's Deployment in Southern Syria
- Maj. (res.) Tal Beeri
(Alma Research & Education Center
Sudan to Host Russian Military Base
- Alexander Bratersky (Defense News
Russia will establish a naval logistic center and repair yard in Sudan under an agreement signed on Nov. 6, Russia's first military base in Africa since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The base will host up to 300 personnel and can accommodate four naval vessels.
Egyptian Writer Living in Germany: Pluralistic Europe Is Surrendering to Extremist Political Islam
Hamed 'Abdel-Samad, an Egyptian writer living in Germany, wrote in the Egyptian newspaper Al-Maqal
on Nov. 5:
"The Islamists have once again struck in Europe," raising "numerous questions regarding Europe's treatment of political Islam."
"Western politicians are still confounded and don't know how to destroy this monster which [they themselves] permitted to grow in the name of cultural tolerance and pluralism."
"Political Islam...has infiltrated Europe and is now attempting to impose its laws on the descendants of Voltaire, Immanuel Kant and Mozart."
"It is trying to intimidate anyone who criticizes it and wants to dictate what the teachers say in schools, what lecturers say in the universities and what writers [write] in their articles and books."
"I came to Germany 25 years ago to live here in freedom and express my opinion without having to fear for my life or risk ending it in jail. Yet after all these years...I have started to travel only in an armored vehicle."
"I don't dare buy bread without an escort of seven officers from the Special Forces tasked with protecting public figures, and I don't deliver a lecture without wearing a bulletproof vest."
"Here I am, living in prison in the heart of Europe, fearing for my life every day, because the Islamist monster reached this country [Germany]."
Dubai Market Displays Israeli Fruits and Vegetables
The Fresh Market run by the Dubai Municipality began offering Israeli produce on Saturday, international media reported.
Shlomi Fogel, Chairman of Carmel Agrexco, one of Israel's largest exporters of agricultural produce, said, "We are excited to be part of the growing ties between Israel and the UAE."
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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
- Pompeo Says BDS Movement Is Anti-Semitic - David M. Halbfinger
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday during a visit to Jerusalem that the U.S. now viewed an international campaign to boycott, divest from and impose sanctions on Israel as anti-Semitic and will deny government support to groups that participate in it. "We want to stand with all other nations that recognize the BDS movement for the cancer that it is," he said.
During his visit, Pompeo was scheduled to visit a winery in a Jewish community in the West Bank, becoming the highest-ranking U.S. official to make such a visit. A year ago, Pompeo rescinded a State Department memorandum calling Jewish communities in the West Bank a violation of international law. Pompeo will also visit the Golan Heights, where President Trump recognized Israel's authority in March 2019. (New York Times)
See also Fact Sheet: Furthering the U.S. Relationship with Israel (U.S. State Department)
- Biden Speaks with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Rivlin, Says Ties Will Remain Close - Ron Kampeas
President-elect Joe Biden assured Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a phone call Tuesday that the ties between their countries would remain strong.
"The president-elect expressed his determination to ensure that the U.S.-Israel relationship is strengthened and enjoys strong bipartisan support," Biden's transition team said. Biden held a separate conversation the same day with President Reuven Rivlin. In statements describing the calls, Biden emphasized his support for "Israel's security and its future as a Jewish and democratic state." (JTA)
See also Biden and Netanyahu Have "Warm Conversation" and Agree to Meet Soon - Quint Forgey (Politico)
- Palestinian Authority to Resume Cooperation with Israel
The Palestinian Authority announced Tuesday that it would restore ties with Israel, renewing civil and security cooperation after a six-month standoff that kept millions in tax revenues from reaching Palestinians in the West Bank.
See also Palestinians Quietly Return Ambassadors to UAE, Bahrain
The Palestinian Authority has quietly returned its ambassadors to Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates after it recalled them in protest of the two states’ decision to normalize ties with Israel, according to media reports Wednesday.
(Times of Israel)
- Rival Palestinian Factions Criticize PA for Ending Boycott of Israel
Hamas condemned the PA's decision to resume its relationship with Israel, saying "the decision gives justification to the normalization agreements between Arab states and Israel." Islamic Jihad warned that "it is a dangerous retreat, a departure from the national consensus." (Xinhua-China)
See also Abbas Isn't Fooling Anyone with Palestinian "Victory" in Renewing Israel Ties - Amira Hass
Hussein al-Sheikh, the minister for civil affairs in the Palestinian Authority, told PA TV that the renewal of coordination with Israel was "an exceptional victory for the steadfastness (of the people) and greatness of the president of the people, Mahmoud Abbas." It was totally expected that Abbas would order the renewal of security coordination. The problem is the crude lie about "victory," which is an insult to common sense.
- Seeking Restart with Biden, Palestinians Eye Change to Prisoner Payments - Adam Rasgon
The Palestinians are laying the groundwork for an overhaul to one of their most cherished practices, officials say: compensating those who serve time in Israeli prisons, including for violent attacks.
That policy, which critics call "pay to slay," has long been denounced by Israel as giving an incentive to terrorism because it assures would-be attackers that their dependents will be well cared for. And because payments are based largely on the length of the prison sentence, critics say the most heinous crimes are the most rewarded.
"They finally understand that they have to do something," said IDF Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, one of the most outspoken critics of the payments. "That's a good thing. But we need to be watchful. I'm still suspicious." (New York Times)
See also Will the Palestinian Authority Stop Paying Terrorists? - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- Israel Strikes Iranian Forces in Syria in Response to Bombs Planted on Border - Noa Shpigel
The Israel Defense Forces said Wednesday that it struck Iran-backed targets in Syria in response to explosive devices discovered by soldiers on the Israeli side of the Israeli-Syrian border on Tuesday. Israel attacked eight targets, including arms depots, military headquarters and compounds and surface-to-air missile batteries. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that 10 were killed in the strike, including Syrians and Iranians.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Israel would not tolerate the planting of explosives in the Golan. "We cannot turn a blind eye to this. It's a grave incident." The IDF accused an Iranian-led Syrian squad of being responsible for placing the explosive devices, recalling that it intercepted troops dressed as shepherds who attempted to plant explosives in August. (Ha'aretz-IDF)
See also Israel: "We Will Not Allow the Iranian Military to Attack Us from Syrian Territory"
The IDF released footage from its attack on eight Syrian and Iranian military targets in southern Syria.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "We will not allow the Iranian military to establish itself in Syria, nor will we allow any attempt to attack us from Syrian territory. Whoever attacks us has a target on his head." (Ynet News)
- Bombs Planted near Syrian Border Were Designed to Inflict Maximum Damage - Yoav Zitun
The explosive devices placed on the Israel-Syrian border and uncovered on Tuesday were anti-personnel mines activated remotely and designed to cause maximum injury to IDF troops. The IEDs were hidden inside bushes on the Israeli side of an enclave along the border that previously housed the humanitarian hospital set up by the IDF to treat Syrian civilians wounded in the civil war. Each device contained 2.5 kg. of explosives and 2,000 metal ball-bearings as shrapnel. Each IED would have killed anyone within a 15-meter radius and wounded anyone standing up to 50 meters away.
The IEDs were placed along the border three weeks ago by Syrian residents of the area, guided and assisted by the Iranian Quds forces. Israeli military sources said Iranian troops are still on the ground in Syria and continue to transport weapons into the country and to command pro-Iranian militias on the Golan Heights.
See also IDF Identifies Unit 840 of Iran's Quds Force as Responsible for Explosives on Syrian Border - Anna Ahronheim (Jerusalem Post)
- Israel Demands UN Action Against Hizbullah's Military Buildup in Southern Lebanon - Tobias Siegal
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan wrote on Tuesday to the Security Council demanding immediate action against Hizbullah's military buildup and continued activity in southern Lebanon. UN Resolution 1701, which came into effect during the 2006 Second Lebanon War, called for "the disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon" other than the Lebanese army.
Erdan wrote that not only was Hizbullah never disarmed, but that it "uses human shields to protect its arsenal of more than 130,000 rockets and military infrastructure. It systematically deprives UNIFIL of its ability to discharge its mandate by restricting the organization's freedom of movement in an effort to hide its activity." Erdan included a map that shows Hizbullah terrorist tunnels, observation posts, and sites from which attacks against Israel originated. (Jerusalem Post)
- Coronavirus in Israel
There were 780 new coronavirus cases in Israel on Wednesday, the Health Ministry announced Thursday morning. 304 patients are in serious condition, with 138 intubated. The death toll is 2,739.
See also Covid-19 Cases Surge in Gaza, West Bank - Aaron Boxerman
Palestinians reported a record 1,268 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, half of them in Gaza.
There are currently 3,806 active coronavirus cases in Gaza and 4,948 in the West Bank.
(Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
- On Monday, an EU delegation led by EU Representative Sven Kuhn von Burgsdorff visited the Givat Hamatos hilltop in Jerusalem to make known their opposition to planned housing construction at the site. Their visit raises questions as to why they are involved in the first place in a matter involving Israeli building plans in its capital, Jerusalem.
- While the construction of 1,200 housing units is portrayed as a "settlement," the reality on the ground does not mesh with these claims. Givat Hamatos is inside Jerusalem's municipal boundaries, it is not a settlement, and it is surrounded by civilian neighborhoods. Housing has been planned here for years to alleviate the city's growing housing need, and people already live in the area.
- It is asserted that the area, if built on, somehow changes the two-state solution. It does not. Givat Hamatos is geographically part of Jerusalem and not some area that is negotiable with the Palestinians. There has already been widespread building in nearby areas. The sudden, heated rhetoric about this area appears more political than based in reality, manufactured to create a headache for the incoming U.S. administration.
- It is important to ask why a relatively small number of homes in this one area is of such great importance. While millions have been forced to become refugees in Syria, while Turkey is involved in ethnic cleansing in Afrin and northern Syria, and a war between Azerbaijan and Armenia has displaced thousands, it is worth wondering why European officials once again single out Israel.
See also BBC Ignores Impartiality Guidelines in Report on Jerusalem Housing Construction - Hadar Sela
On Nov. 16, BBC News published a report headlined "Israeli plan for new East Jerusalem settler homes criticised." The report includes a partisan map created by the political NGO B'Tselem.
Readers are also provided with the unchallenged view of a Palestinian Authority representative, while there is no comment included from either the Israeli government or the Jerusalem municipality. Nor are they informed that the project includes housing for Arab residents.
The site has been used for temporary housing for new immigrants from the former USSR and Ethiopia since 1991. BBC has never presented its audiences with any viewpoint which contradicts the narrative advanced by the political NGOs which it repeatedly chooses to quote and promote. (CAMERA-UK)
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