December 3, 2020

In-Depth Issues:

Security Experts Skeptical that Iranian Nuclear Scientist Was Targeted by "Remote Control" - Oren Liebermann and Nic Robertson (CNN)
    Iran's state media have painted an elaborate picture of the killing of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh that sounds like something out of a second-rate spy movie, involving a remote-controlled machine gun.
    Yet intelligence and security experts told CNN they are skeptical that such a sensitive and precise operation would have been carried out remotely.
    "I don't think that (a remote-control gun) was used," said an Israeli security expert. "I think the Iranians published that to minimize the scale of the group who did it and the scale of penetration into the country by operational elements."
    Iranian officials have yet to display any evidence or show pictures that would confirm their assertion that Israel was involved in the killing.

UAE and Israel's Whirlwind Honeymoon Has Gone Beyond Normalization - Ben Wedeman (CNN)
    Never has the process of normalization been so fast, and pursued with such mutual enthusiasm, as between Israel and the UAE.
    The Israeli airline El Al and Etihad, the Emirati airline, will start direct flights between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi early next year, while budget airline flydubai has already started its commercial service to Ben-Gurion Airport.
    On Nov. 22, the Israeli cabinet ratified a mutual visa exemption with the UAE - the first of its kind with any Arab state.
    Palestinian ambassador to Austria Salah Abdel Shafi called the pace of normalization between the UAE and Israel "shocking."

Video: Peace with Israel Requires Courage and Boldness - UAE Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba interviewed by Sander Gerber (Algemeiner)
    "Normalizing with Israel, in the face of the conventional wisdom that we must have progress on the Palestinian track first, is not an easy decision," UAE Ambassador to the U.S. Yousef Al Otaiba said Tuesday.
    However, "it's good for young Emiratis and Israelis to grow up understanding and believing that they are not adversaries, that they are not enemies."

Israeli Arabs Enjoy Fruits of Normalization with Emirates - Afif Abu Much (Al-Monitor)
    An increasing number of Israeli-Arab citizens are flying to Dubai for business or pleasure.
    The normalization agreement is, according to many, an opportunity to build bridges and connect with the Arab world.

Sudanese Say Prosperity Better than Hungry Idealism - Ziv Genesove (Times of Israel)
    Weeks after the Sudanese and Israeli governments announced their plan to normalize ties between the two countries, Ahmed, a welder in Khartoum, told a Times of Israel reporter:
    "I don't understand what the Palestinians want from us. They have all kinds of ties with Israel: Trade relations, security coordination, and medical cooperation. If the Palestinians are allowed to benefit from these ties with Israel, why should we be denied?"
    Nasser, a car salesman from Omdurman, says, "Many other Arab countries have relations with Israel, so what's the problem here?" 

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Gaza's Hamas Leader Gets Coronavirus as Cases Surge - Daniel Estrin (NPR)
    Hamas leader Yehiya Sinwar is in stable condition after contracting Covid-19, according to Gaza's Health Ministry, which says 30% of coronavirus tests have come back positive in recent days.
    There have been 22,000 confirmed cases in Gaza, with 815 new cases reported Tuesday.
    The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank also reports record infection levels.

Israel to Send Aid Team to Honduras after Hurricanes - Tobias Siegal (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel will send a relief and rescue team to Honduras following the devastation left by hurricanes Eta and Iota, it was announced Monday.
    An Israeli delegation departed Tuesday to evaluate the damage.

Norway to Extradite Palestinian to France over 1982 Attack on Paris Jewish Restaurant (Reuters)
    Norway will extradite a Palestinian man to France who is suspected of taking part in an attack that killed six people in a Jewish restaurant in Paris in 1982, the government said on Friday.
    Walid Abdulrahman Abu Zayed is a former member of the Abu Nidal Organization, a splinter group of the PLO.
    Norwegian authorities rejected a 2015 extradition request but recently adopted new pan-European regulations on arrests, leading French prosecutors to again seek his extradition.

Spanish King's Palace Uses Israeli Tech to Purify Air from Covid-19 - Abigail Adler (Jerusalem Post)
    Madrid's Palace of Zarzuela, in which the King of Spain welcomes foreign guests, has incorporated Israeli technology that purifies the air tainted by coronavirus.
    Aura Air monitors the air and when its sensors detect unusual phenomena or a dangerous increase in pollution, the system causes a complete turnover of air 2.5 times per hour to purify it.
    A study at Israel's Sheba Medical Center determined that the system can destroy viruses, including coronavirus, at a rate of 99.9%.
    The system can also detect fire even before there is smoke by detecting a high level of burnt plastic and carbon dioxide.

Israel Transforms into Scale-Up Nation - Simon Griver (Globes)
    Seven Israeli tech companies now have a valuation of more than $2 billion.
    They include digital insurance company Next Insurance, cyber security company Snyk, dynamic smart transportation platform Via, sales performance enhancement company Gong, supplier payments automation company Tipalti, cyber security company SentinelOne, and work teams management platform developer Monday.com.

Israel's Hadassah Hospital to Accept Critical Non-Covid Patients from Cyprus - Jonathan Shkurko (Cyprus Mail)
    Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem will accept non-Covid patients from Cyprus with serious and life-threatening medical conditions to relieve local hospitals under strain from Covid-19.
    In addition, Hadassah is in talks with a Cypriot company to operate a new state-of-the-art hospital complex in Nicosia and a rehabilitation center in Limassol.
    The hospital will provide medical services in a wide range of fields, some of which are not currently offered in Cyprus.

Israeli Firm to Provide Security for UN Bases in Mali - Ami Rojkes Dombe (Israel Defense)
    Israel Aerospace Industries will provide security for UN bases in Mali, Africa, using threat detection and identification systems, CCTV cameras and drones, Africa Intelligence reported.
    The project will be conducted by IAI's subsidiary in Belgium, Belgian Advanced Technology Systems.

Israel Wins Gold, Silver at Windsurfing European Championship (Jerusalem Post)
    Israeli windsurfer Yoav Cohen took home the gold medal and Shahar Zubari the silver at the RS:X European Championships in windsurfing on Saturday.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Iran Vows to Double Its Nuclear Budget - Campbell MacDiarmid
    Iran's Defense Minister Amir Hatami vowed Monday to double the budget of the Defense Research and Innovation Organization once headed by Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, during a fiery speech at his funeral. (Telegraph-UK)
        See also Iran Moves to Increase Uranium Enrichment and Bar Nuclear Inspectors - Farnaz Fassihi (New York Times)
  • Saudi Arabia Allows Israeli Commercial Planes to Use Its Airspace - Steve Holland
    Saudi Arabia agreed on Monday to let Israeli airliners cross its airspace en route to the United Arab Emirates after talks between Saudi officials and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, a senior Trump administration official said. (Reuters)
  • UN Security Council Unlikely to Act on Iran Scientist Killing
    Tehran has demanded that the UN Security Council condemn the killing of a top Iranian nuclear scientist and take action against those responsible, but diplomats say the call is likely to go unheeded. South Africa's UN ambassador, Jerry Matjila, council president for December, said on Tuesday that no member had so far requested to discuss the killing. (Reuters)
  • Report: Turkey Opens Secret Channel with Israel - Amberin Zaman
    The chief of Turkey's national intelligence service, Hakan Fidan, has been holding secret talks with Israeli officials, three well-placed sources have told Al-Monitor. There is mounting worry in Ankara that the incoming Biden administration will be less indulgent of Turkish President Erdogan's bellicosity.
        The biggest concern is that Biden will not shield Turkey from sanctions over its purchase of Russian S-400 missiles and for Turkish state lender Halkbank's role in facilitating Iran's multibillion-dollar illicit oil for gold trade. One source aired skepticism at the prospects of a real reset in relations with Israel "as long as Turkey continues to be the global headquarters for Hamas."  (Al-Monitor)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Coronavirus Cases on the Rise in Israel
    The Israel Health Ministry on Thursday reported 1,523 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, the highest daily rate since Oct. 15. There were 11,751 active cases, with 267 people in serious condition including 99 people on ventilators. The death toll is 2,883. (Times of Israel)
  • Hundreds of Immigrants from Ethiopia Arrive in Israel - Jeremy Sharon
    316 members of the Falash Mura community from Ethiopia arrived in Israel on Thursday with 100 more expected on Friday. The government intends to bring over a total of 2,000 by the end of January. Those who arrived are the children or grandchildren of members of the community who immigrated to Israel many years ago. (Jerusalem Post)
  • UN General Assembly Approves Anti-Israel Resolutions, But Palestinians Lose Votes - Tovah Lazaroff
    The UN General Assembly approved five anti-Israeli resolutions on Wednesday, but all passed with less support than in 2019. Israel's Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan thanked the countries that changed their voting pattern in favor of Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:


  • Iran Has Been Cheating the Whole Time - Richard Goldberg
    Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was the founder of Iran's nuclear weapons program, known as the Amad Plan. In 2011, he went on to lead a secretive organization called the Organization for Defensive Innovation and Research, referred to by its Persian acronym of SPND. In 2014, the Obama administration declared SPND as "primarily responsible for research in the field of nuclear weapons development" and accused Fakhrizadeh's new organization of taking over "activities related to Iran's undeclared nuclear program." In 2019, the State Department revealed that SPND has employed as many as 1,500 individuals, including nuclear weapons scientists associated with the Amad Plan.
        The Trump administration imposed sanctions on 14 SPND employees and 17 SPND-linked front companies for their involvement with proliferation-sensitive activities. This September, the Commerce Department blacklisted another five Iranian nuclear scientists "for enabling or assisting Iran's nuclear development program." Fakhrizadeh and SPND continued to operate during the Iran nuclear deal.
        Taken together, SPND's existence, Iran's curation of a secret nuclear weapons archive, and its concealment of undeclared nuclear material present a simple truth. We can no longer pretend that the Iran deal prevented the Islamic Republic's nuclear advancement. It did not.
        The writer, a former National Security Council official, is a senior adviser at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (New York Post)
  • No Connection between Killing of Fakhrizadeh and New U.S. Administration - Jacob Kornbluh
    Veteran Israeli journalist Yossi Melman called the death of top Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh "a major psychological and professional blow for Iran." Former deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East Michael Mulroy called it "a setback to Iran's nuclear program."
        While some critics said it complicates a U.S. return to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, former U.S. Mideast envoy Dennis Ross maintained that "such an operation takes extensive planning, having operatives on the ground, actionable intelligence. It can't be spur of the moment....Saying this was done to derail what a Biden Administration will do simply ignores the reality of how these operations take place."
        Mark Dubowitz, CEO of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said, "This operation would have occurred regardless of the U.S. election results because he [Fakhrizadeh] was a first order threat to the survival and security of the State of Israel."  (Jewish Insider)
  • Assessing the Damage to Iran's Nuclear Weapons Effort - Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin and Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Assaf Orion
    Iranian nuclear weapons were Gen. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh's life's mission. The damage to Iran's nuclear weapons effort, which experts consider to be very significant, is not necessarily due to the loss of scientific knowledge, but due to the loss of project leadership, managerial experience, and access to Iran's top political echelon. It is possible that his departure will lengthen the time Iran needs for a nuclear weapons breakout or sneak-out. Those with such leadership, management, and professional abilities are few and far between, and their loss leaves a void that is difficult to fill.
        It seems that Mohsen Fakhrizadeh joins others such as Imad Mughniyeh and Qasem Soleimani, whose positions were filled but could not be replaced. While there have been condemnations of the killing as an act of terrorism against civilians, it is perhaps more appropriate to treat it as an offensive operation against a key officer in a strategic sector.
        Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin, former head of IDF Military Intelligence, is director of INSS. Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Assaf Orion, former head of the Strategic Division in the Planning Directorate of the IDF General Staff, is a senior research fellow at INSS. (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
  • Saudi Journalists Welcome Killing of Iran's Top Nuclear Scientist
    Saudi journalist Tariq Al-Homayed, writing on Nov. 30 in 'Okaz, attacked those who condemned the killing of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. "The Iranian scientist who was killed was not engaged in helping humanity...but in an evil project and a wicked plan against the entire region....How can they condemn the killing of a man who devoted his life to building an evil bomb for an evil regime when they do not condemn Iran's killing of unarmed people across the region?"
        "Iran is the reason for the deaths of Syrians, Iraqis and Lebanese. It is destroying Yemen and sheltering all the terrorist elements in the region....The countries that consoled Iran and condemned the killing of the Iranian scientist are essentially Iran's partners in shedding Arab blood."
        Abdullah bin Bajad 'Otaibi, writing on Nov. 29 in Asharq Al-Awsat, said: "The Iranian regime chose assassination as one of its favorite weapons, never hesitating to use it throughout the [past] 40 years, during which it has ruled Iran by force of arms and hounded its opponents to the ends of the earth, seeking to kill them. All the Iranian regime's proxies in the region - in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon - use the same methods."
        The Iranian regime must realize that "what goes around comes around, and that whoever chooses the evil path of assassinations, bombings, and terror must know that this can boomerang."  (MEMRI)
  • Heed the Concern of Israel and Arab Nations Regarding Iran - Jonathan Schanzer
    Tehran has lied about its military nuclear program, and it never stopped supporting terrorism. Saudi Arabia, Israel, and other Middle East states are concerned that a bad deal with Iran could empower the chief threat in their region. It is their region. They have to live there. They are the ones who will suffer the consequences. They tried to warn America that the Iran deal would have a deleterious impact on their national security interests. And it has. Iran used sanctions relief to build militias and to send precision-guided missiles to its proxies.
        The regional actors are the ones who live within missile range of the Islamic Republic. They are the ones who pay the price when sanctions relief underwrites mayhem in the region. Despite what the critics say, maximum pressure on Iran has been working. The regime is reeling. The Arab states and Israel will not want to see the U.S. lift that pressure in exchange for a deal that does not permanently end Iran's nuclear and hegemonic ambitions.
        The writer, a former terrorism finance analyst at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, is senior vice president for research at FDD. (Foundation for Defense of Democracies)
  • On the Iran Nuclear Deal, Israel Gets a Vote - Eli Lake
    In the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, Israel was not a party to the deal. When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced to the world that Israeli operatives had stolen reams of detailed Iranian schematics and plans for building a nuclear weapon in 2018, he urged the audience to remember the name of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.
        Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons poses an existential threat to Israel and Gulf Arab states. Thus, it's mistaken to view the strike against Fakhrizadeh through the lens of its effect on President-elect Joe Biden's goal of re-entering the nuclear deal. It's more likely that the timing had more to do with the opportunity that presented itself to take out a high-value target such as Fakhrizadeh.
        Most observers believed that the only chance to destroy Iran's nuclear infrastructure was an air attack. The explosions at Iranian sites over the summer suggest that much of this task can be accomplished through intelligence operations.
        The upshot is that any future deal with Iran will have to address Israel's security needs. In 2015, Netanyahu was willing to risk Israel's most important alliance by addressing a joint session of Congress to oppose a deal that he believed imperiled his country's future. So it's highly unlikely that Israel would be willing to end its activities in Iran so the U.S. can rejoin that same deeply flawed nuclear agreement. Israel won't give up the capability to strike inside Iran unless Iran agrees to abandon the aspects of its nuclear program suitable for building bombs. (Bloomberg)
  • Europe Sends Its Condolences to Iran - Editorial
    Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was a leader of Iran's effort to obtain an atomic bomb to use on Israel. Yet the Europeans rushed out a statement calling his killing a "criminal act." The EU High Representative, Josep Borrell, extended condolences to the bombmaker's family. The EU expressed not a syllable of appreciation for the possibility that the attack might yet buy time and safety for Israel (and Europe). Nor did it acknowledge the early warnings from Jerusalem about what Fakhrizadeh was up to. (New York Sun)
  • Israel and the U.S. Have Good Reason to Take Hard Line on Iran - Editorial
    Some people give Israel no credit for being one of the most modern societies in the world when it comes to gender equality. The same people seem never to criticize Israel's neighbors, all of whom are ultra-conservative societies and most of whom are somewhere on the failed state spectrum. Few nations in the Middle East are as repressive as Iran, rooted in an almost medieval view of how a country should be run. It is still a society that interprets Islam in such a way as to think it is acceptable to hang people from cranes for certain crimes.
        For decades Iran has used terrorism abroad to advance its international aims. This has been tolerated to a remarkable extent. Even the Americans have very rarely retaliated against Iran, though earlier this year they assassinated Gen. Qasem Soleimani, a ruthless military leader. It is unclear who on Friday killed Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the man who is reputed to have been in charge of Iran's nuclear program. But it would be a remarkably naive Westerner who took Iran's side against Israel. (News Letter-Belfast, UK)

  • Other Issues

  • Has Hizbullah Become the Middle East's Weak Horse? - Michael Rubin
    Nabatieh is Hizbullah's heartland, 15 miles from Lebanon's border with Israel. Locals say there are three types of Hizbullah members: the true ideologues, those who initially embraced Hizbullah's mission but are now embarrassed by its actions and antics, and those who just signed up for the money. Hizbullah members may still receive salaries far above the local rate, but Iran's financial troubles have led to the payments being reduced by half.
        Locals also point to the 4,000 Hizbullah members dead in Syria and question why an organization that depicted itself as Lebanese allowed its members to serve as mercenaries for Iran in Syria. While some proclaim the "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran to be a failure, in the heart of Hizbullah country, residents say cash-poor Hizbullah has lost its luster.
        The question is whether the new U.S. administration will snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by pumping resources into the Islamic Republic of Iran, which will benefit groups like Hizbullah. The writer is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. (National Interest)
  • Egyptians Oppose Normalizing with Israel - Dina Ezzat
    Photographs of Egyptian actor and singer Mohamed Ramadan alongside an Israeli singer and a footballer in Dubai provoked an outcry back home. "I am banned from acting in Egypt," Ramadan posted. Ramadan claimed he was unaware of the identity and nationality of the figures who appeared with him in the picture, pointing out that he was attending a party in an Arab city after having been invited by an Arab businessman.
        Nasserist commentator Abdallah Sennawi noted, "The sentiments of Egyptians against all forms of public normalization are deeply embedded...and cannot be ignored for the sake of catching up with the mood of normalization that has taken over some Arab countries."
        A foreign diplomat based in Cairo said the campaign against Ramadan "is not just a reflection of public apprehension about Israel but a message being sent by Cairo about where it stands on the Gulf countries' hasty normalization moves. Clearly, the press campaign could not have happened without a nod from the state authorities, and it's undoubtedly a big campaign."
        Recently, Israeli commentators have said that while Israel could end up signing peace deals with every state in the Arab Gulf, when it comes to Egypt the psychological barrier seems too tough to crack. (Al-Ahram-Egypt)
  • The Israeli Ambassador Who Visited Pakistan and Offers Hand of Friendship - Jahanzaib Ali
    In an interview with Pakistan's Daily Times at the Embassy of Israel in Washington, Ambassador Ron Dermer offered a hand of friendship to Pakistan. Dermer visited Pakistan in the mid-90s; at the time he was a U.S. citizen. He said when he was at Oxford his closest friend was a Pakistani student who hosted him in Pakistan.
        "It was a memorable time that I had there and I appreciate very much his friendship. He introduced me to his friends who were also wonderful people. So I think with the people-to-people relationship between Pakistanis and Israelis, between Muslims and Jews, we can solve all the problems. We should have more contacts, not less."
        "I do not see any reason why a country like Pakistan could not have better relations with Israel. Many Muslim countries have good relations with Israel now and they all are getting great benefits....We are right there in the center of the region. Why not benefit from this cooperation with Israel?"  (Daily Times-Pakistan)
  • The Parallel Reality of Palestinian Resolutions at the UN - Czech Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek
    Why is it that the Israeli-Palestinian issue has been filling the UN's agenda practically since its very inception? Hundreds of various resolutions have formed a parallel reality that has very little to do with the reality on the ground. Every fall the UN General Assembly debates a package of Palestinian resolutions prepared chiefly by the Palestinians themselves, with the EU as their main partner.
        UN Palestinian resolutions do not bring us any closer to the goal of returning Israel and the Palestinians to the negotiation table. According to them, Israel is the sole perpetrator of all Palestinian problems. That goes against the long-standing Czech Republic's foreign policy, which seeks a balanced position. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Czech Republic to Open "Diplomatic Office" in Jerusalem - Lahav Harkov (Jerusalem Post)

  • Anti-Semitism

  • Anti-Semitism and Israel's Right to Exist - Jeremy Havardi
    122 Palestinian and Arab intellectuals (Letters, Nov. 29) have taken it upon themselves to define anti-Semitism and the struggle for Jewish rights. This is a mistaken approach which also fails to understand the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism manifests itself, in part, by denying to Jews their collective right to self-determination under international law. That is why the view of Israel as a "racist endeavor" is an example within the IHRA definition. A Jewish majority state is no more racist than a Muslim or Christian one.
        The current plight of Palestinians, far from being an intrinsic feature of Zionism, is the outcome of a tragic conflict between two peoples. In recent decades, Israel has made at least four offers to partition the land and create a Palestinian state, with every offer rebuffed, often violently. Palestinian rejectionism is thus the main cause of their statelessness. The writer is Director, B'nai B'rith UK's Bureau of International Affairs. (Guardian-UK)

  • Weekend Features

  • 3,000-Year-Old Gold Bead Discovered in Temple Mount Earth - Amanda Borschel-Dan
    A First Temple-era gold bead was discovered in August during sifting of earth from the Temple Mount by Binyamin Milt, age 9, from Jerusalem. The bead was in such outstanding condition that it was initially dismissed as modern. But Temple Mount Sifting Project co-director Prof. Gabriel Barkay took a closer look and dated the bead to the First Temple period, based on almost-identical silver beads manufactured using the same "granulation" technique, which Barkay had excavated in Jerusalem in the 1970s.
        The handmade bead is fashioned from four layers, each made of tiny gold balls that adhere to each other. To produce it required the ability to melt the metal at high temperatures, and a high level of skill from the artisan. In the past 15 years, through the help of some 200,000 paying volunteers, the sifting project has recovered over 500,000 artifacts, including 5,000 coins. (Times of Israel)
  • Allied Forces Saved 400,000 Jews in North Africa in World War II - Edith Shaked
    During World War II, 400,000 Jews living in Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco came under the German sphere of influence, as French North Africa came under control of the new Vichy regime of Field-Marshal Petain, who collaborated with Hitler. Jews living in French territory on both sides of the Mediterranean were identified, ostracized, discriminated against, and deprived of their civil rights and property as the machinery to implement the "Final Solution" was set for them.
        On Nov. 8, 1942, U.S. and British forces in Operation Torch landed on the beaches of North Africa and fought against Vichy French forces. U.S. Gen. Eisenhower wrote in his memoir Crusade in Europe: "Underground resistance forces staged a coup d'etat in Algiers and were able to neutralize the French XIX Army Corps....Of the 377 participants in the coup, 315 were French Jews."
        On Nov. 9, the Allied landings triggered the invasion of Vichy Tunisia by Hitler's forces. An Einsatzkommando unit led by SS commander Walter Rauff, who was responsible for the murder of Jews in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe using mobile gas vans, also entered Tunis to implement the "Final Solution" there. During its six months of occupation, the Nazi regime created a local Judenrat, forced Jews to wear a yellow badge, and sent more than 5,000 Jews to forced labor camps. In May 1943, the Allies liberated Nazi-occupied Tunisia, liberating the 100,000 Jews there after 260 had died in the forced labor camps. (Jerusalem Post)

The Killing of a Nuclear Scientist May Save Countless Lives - Col. Richard Kemp (Gatestone Institute)
  • As European Iran-appeasers rushed to condemn the targeted killing on Nov. 27 of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, they exhibited shocking disregard for the death, destruction and suffering likely to be inflicted by the Iranian regime utilizing Fakhrizadeh's pernicious expertise.
  • Former CIA Director John O. Brennan described the killing as "state-sponsored terrorism." Yet as CIA Director, Brennan presided over and publicly justified an extensive program of CIA targeted killing by drone strikes in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. I was in meetings with Brennan when he extolled the utility and legitimacy of targeted killings against terrorists.
  • Brennan says targeted killings are lawful against terrorist operatives, but not officials of sovereign states in peacetime, with the implication that in this case the perpetrators of the killing were not at war with Iran. This is to misunderstand the reality that the lines between peace and war have been intentionally blurred by Iran, often using surrogates to strike its enemies.
  • Under the slogan "Death to America," Iran has been at war with the U.S., Israel and their Western allies since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, using proxy groups to kill hundreds of Americans in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and other places; and to launch terror attacks across the Middle East, Europe, the U.S. and Latin America. Iran has prosecuted a long-term concerted war against Israel with the declared intention of eliminating the Jewish State. It has funded and directed attacks from Gaza, Lebanon and Syria, inside Israel and against Israelis beyond the region.
  • Fakhrizadeh was a brigadier general in Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and several other countries. Therefore, he was not only a senior military commander in a country at war with the U.S. and its allies, but also a proscribed international terrorist.
  • Brennan and the European supporters of his argument seem to believe that Iran can be contained by appeasement and negotiation rather than military strength and political will. This is a failure to comprehend either the psychology or ideology of the Iranian leadership. The path advocated by the proponents of appeasement can only lead to infinitely greater bloodshed, violence and suffering than the death of a proscribed terrorist.

    The writer, a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, was chairman of the UK's national crisis management committee, COBRA.
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