September 3, 2019

In-Depth Issues:

Report: Iran's Air Force Chief Fired for Israeli Jets' Undetected Violation of Airspace (Middle East Monitor-UK)
    The commander of Iran's Air Force, Brig.-Gen. Farzad Ismaili, was fired in May by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei after he concealed violations of Iranian airspace by Israeli Air Force F-35 stealth fighter jets, Kuwait's Al Jarida reported Saturday.
    A source said that Iran's air defense system, as well as its Russian S-300 anti-missile system, failed to detect the Israeli planes entering and leaving Iranian airspace, and that Ismaili kept the information secret.
    It was also reported that Khamenei suspects the Russians gave Israel the secret code to access the S-300 radars in Iran.

Dutch Mole Aided the U.S.-Israeli Stuxnet Cyberattack on Iran - Kim Zetter and Huib Modderkolk (Yahoo News)
    How did the U.S. and Israel get their Stuxnet malware onto computer systems at Iran's highly secured uranium-enrichment plant?
    An Iranian engineer recruited by the Dutch intelligence agency AIVD at the behest of the CIA and the Israeli intelligence agency, the Mossad, provided critical data that helped the U.S. developers target their code to the systems at Natanz, according to four intelligence sources.
    The Iranian then slipped Stuxnet onto those systems using a USB flash drive.

Iran Curbs UN Probe into Tehran Nuclear Equipment Site - Laurence Norman (Wall Street Journal)
    Iran is stifling a UN probe of its storage of nuclear equipment and radioactive material in Tehran, first made public by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a year ago, diplomats say.
    Netanyahu last September urged the IAEA to immediately visit the site, saying the Turquz Abad site had contained 300 tons of nuclear-related equipment, including 15 kg. of radioactive material.

Israeli Startups Raised over $350 Million in August (Globes)
    Israeli startups raised over $350 million in August, with $200 million raised by cybersecurity company Cybereason, $29 million by healthcare data cloning company MDClone, $25 million by music teaching app JoyTunes, $23 million by AI sports platform WSC Sports, and $20 million by cybersecurity company Axonius.

Israeli Runner Smashes European Women's 10K Record (Israel Hayom)
    Israeli distance runner Lonah Chemtai-Salpeter on Sunday clocked a time of 30:04 in the Tilburg Ten Miles race in the Dutch city of Tilburg, cutting 17 seconds off the European women's record for the 10K, set in 2003.
    "This race today was part of my training program for the Marathon World Championships in Doha [Qatar]," Chemtai-Salpeter said.

CBS Calls Gaza "Israeli-Occupied"  (CAMERA)
    An Aug. 27 article on the CBS news site reported: "The Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip is controlled by the Hamas group."
    In fact, Israel withdrew every last soldier and civilian from the territory in 2005.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • France Proposes $15 Billion Bailout for Iran to Save Nuclear Deal - David E. Sanger
    A senior Iranian delegation arrived in Paris on Monday to work out the details of a financial bailout package to compensate Iran for oil sales lost to American sanctions. A senior American official said the core of the package is a $15 billion letter of credit, equal to about half the revenue Iran would expect to earn from oil exports in a year.
        U.S. officials say the French effort, which other European nations appear to support, is undermining its effort to exert "maximum pressure" on Tehran. Without U.S. support for the deal, it is not clear whether European banks would risk American sanctions by extending credit to Tehran. (New York Times)
  • Rouhani: Iran Has No Intention to Hold Bilateral Talks with U.S.
    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told Parliament on Tuesday: "We have no intention to hold bilateral talks with the United States. We never did and never will....It is still possible for the U.S. to be part of the 5+1 [countries that negotiated the 2015 nuclear deal], granted that it first removes all sanctions."  (Mehr-Iran)
  • UN Panel Calls on Palestinians to Halt Hate Speech Against Israelis - Yossi Lempkowicz
    The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) in Geneva said in a report released Thursday that it was "concerned about statements by Palestinian officials, as well as in school textbooks, that promote hate speech against Israelis." The panel called on the Palestinians "to stop hate speech and incitement to violence that fuels anti-Semitism" and to "remove any derogatory comments and images from school curricula and textbooks that perpetuate prejudices and hatred."
        In addition, the panel found that Palestinian laws and policies failed to implement UN treaties on racism, or to properly investigate complaints for acts of racial discrimination. (European Jewish Press)
        See also Text: Report of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UN-CERD)
        See also A Taste of Their Own Medicine at the UN - Gerald Steinberg
    Suddenly, Palestinian officials, who have had years of experience in attacking Israel, scrambled to deal with evidence of anti-Semitism and incitement. (Canadian Jewish News)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Nasrallah Asked Israel to Halt Fire - Yaniv Kubovich
    Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah relayed a message through other countries asking Israel to halt Sunday's exhange of fire, a senior Israeli official said Monday. "Nasrallah acted through [Lebanese Prime Minister Saad] Hariri, asking to end the incident."  (Ha'aretz)
        See also Israel Was Ready to Destroy Hizbullah Missile Program If Soldiers Were Hit
    "The fact that [Hizbullah leader Hassan] Nasrallah missed and didn't kill any Israelis saved Hizbullah from the destruction of its precision missile program. The planes were already in the air," an Israel Defense Forces source was quoted as saying by Channel 12 news. (Times of Israel)
        See also IDF Chief to UNIFIL: Stop Hizbullah's Missile Program, or We Will - Judah Ari Gross
    IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi on Sunday told Maj.-Gen. Stefano Del Col, the head of UNIFIL, "We will not accept Hizbullah's precision missile project on Lebanese soil. The state of Lebanon and UNIFIL must bring an end to Iran and Hizbullah's precision missile project in Lebanon."  (Times of Israel)
  • Israel Welcomes Ethiopian Prime Minister to Jerusalem
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday welcomed Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem. Attending the ceremony were leading members of the Ethiopian community in Israel, including Agernesh Mengistu - the mother of Avera Mengistu [who is being held by Hamas in Gaza], Chief Rabbi for Ethiopian Jewry Reuven Wabashat, Kes Avihu Azarya - Chairman of the Council of Ethiopian Spiritual Elders, and Kes Samay Elias - Chairman of the Spiritual Council of Ethiopian Jewish Kesim.
        Prime Minister Netanyahu said: "Our ancient peoples have historic ties, but it's a special bond because it is also strengthened by a human bridge of 150,000 Israelis of Ethiopian descent who bring the culture of Ethiopia, the pride of Ethiopia to Israel, just as they maintain the culture of the Jewish people and the pride of the Jewish people in Ethiopia."  (Prime Minister's Office)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Is Pakistan Preparing to Recognize Israel? - Kunwar Khuldune Shahid
    The once-taboo subject of Pakistan probing potential relations with Israel is now entering mainstream discourse. The subject has been trending on Pakistani Twitter, and commentators have queried whether Imran Khan's government itself is encouraging this debate - perhaps as a trial balloon.
        In 1948, Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, sent a telegram to the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, in a bid to establish diplomatic relations. There was no reply. The Pakistan Air Force was covertly involved in the Arab-Israeli wars of 1967 and 1973.
        In the 1980s, while Pakistanis were volunteering in significant numbers to join the PLO during the siege of Beirut in 1982, the Pakistani spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, was working in tandem with the Mossad in CIA-led operations in Afghanistan.
        On Sep. 1, 2005, Pakistani and Israeli foreign ministers held their first ever publically acknowledged meeting in Ankara. Military dictator General Pervez Musharraf set the ground for that meeting after opening the debate on relations with Israel in Paris in 2003. Since then, he has continued to urge Pakistan to establish relations with Israel, as recently as this year.
        One element that has prompted the recent discussion of diplomatic ties with Israel in certain quarters is the Arab world's refusal to openly back Pakistan's position on Kashmir. The argument - voiced by a significant minority - goes: if the Arab states are actually enhancing their relations with India despite its violations in Kashmir, what possible obligation does Pakistan have to not even acknowledge Israel? If Gulf Arab states are cosying up to Israel, why should Pakistan, alone, keep waving the boycott flag? The writer is a Pakistan-based journalist. (Ha'aretz)
  • Iran Battles "Bad Hijab"
    In recent months, Iranian police have tried to implement the "Watch 1" plan to confront women who ignore strict standards for wearing the Muslim hijab head covering while riding in vehicles. If women are seen with "loose hijab" revealing any hair while driving or being passengers in vehicles, the police send a text message to the car's owner, giving them 72 hours to present themselves to the Morality Police headquarters and commit in writing that they will never repeat the offense. If the offense is repeated for a third time, the police will confiscate the vehicle.
        Beginning this week, police are set to implement the "Watch 2" plan, in which officers will be deployed in public places, including supermarkets and beaches, to "verbally warn" women considered to have "bad hijab." An additional plan, "Watch 3," will control women's dress factories and shops to prevent them from producing or selling "non-Islamic" clothes. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has advised law enforcement officers to enforce the Islamic dress code with full force. (Radio Farda)

The True Story of an Iranian Sportsman's Fight for Life - Nicolas Messner and Pedro Lasuen (International Judo Federation)
  • For years, Iranian athletes have been prohibited from competing in any sport against Israel. From questionable injuries, to throwing matches, Iranian athletes across all sports have been ordered to crush their own dreams.
  • On May 9, 2019, the International Judo Federation received on official letter from the National Olympic Committee of Iran stating:"We would like to confirm that the I.R. Iran NOC shall fully respect the Olympic Charter and its non-discrimination principle."
  • On August 28 at the Judo World Championships in Tokyo, the Iranian coach received a call from Iran's first deputy minister of sport, Davar Zani, ordering him to withdraw Iran's world champion, Saeid Mollaei, from the competition to avoid a potential contest between Iran and Israel. The demand was accompanied by threats against Mollaei and his family.
  • Mollaei continued to compete, reaching the semi-finals. Then a delegation from the Iranian Embassy arrived at the venue, and one delegate trespassed into the athlete warm up area to approach Mollaei with messages of intimidation.
  • Just prior to the semi-final, Mollaei's coach received another phone call, this time from Iranian Olympic Committee President Reza Salehi Amiri, who explained that Iranian national security officials were at his parents' house. Mollaei's friends from Iran also texted him that people came to his house and asked his father to tell his son to follow the law or he would have problems.
  • Mollaei explained: "Today, the National Olympic Committee of Iran and the Sport Minister told me to not compete, that I had to comply with the law. I am a fighter. I want to compete wherever I can. I live in a country whose law does not permit me to....I need help. Even if the authorities of my country told me that I can go back without any problems, I am afraid. I am afraid of what might happen to my family and to myself."