In the Middle East, People Are Realizing Russia's Relative Weakness
- Interview with Ehud Yaari (EU Reporter
Israeli Mideast expert Ehud Yaari told the Europe Israel Press Association last week:
"The amazing poor performance of the Russian army in Ukraine is reverberating all over the Middle East...also the poor performance of their weapon systems."
"Everyone in the region I spoke with has second thoughts about Russia. Russian prestige suffered an enormous blow."
The Russian army has "tested in Syria no less than 320 new weapon systems including their new tank, their best new helicopters, Kalibr cruise missiles which they fired from the Caspian Sea."
"There was no capable adversary confronting them, only different sorts of rebel militias not armed with heavy weapons, and probably the Russians are paying a price, a heavy one, for relying on the military lessons that they have been drawing from Syria."
Iran Guards Commander Says Death of All U.S. Leaders Would Not Avenge Soleimani Killing
Iran's Revolutionary Guards' former top commander, Qassem Soleimani, "was such a great character that if all American leaders are killed, this will still not avenge his assassination," senior commander of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Mohammad Pakpour said Wednesday.
Soleimani was killed in a U.S. drone attack at Baghdad airport in 2020.
Russia Is Not the Only Nation Threatening Its Neighbors
- Clifford D. May (Washington Times
The rulers of the Islamic Republic of Iran do not want Israelis to submit. They want them to perish. "Death to Israel!" is a slogan meant to be taken both literally and seriously.
For more than 70 years, Israelis have had to fight wars to retain their independence, sovereignty and self-determination. Right now, Ukrainians are fighting for exactly the same thing.
That's what nations with big, bad neighbors must do to survive.
The writer is founder and president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
Iran's Hope of Ukraine Oil Windfall Fades
- Tala Taslimi (Nikkei Asia-Japan
Anticipating the possible lifting of U.S. sanctions, Iran has amassed 150 million barrels of oil on ships off its coast.
But hopes for a breakthrough in negotiations over Iran's nuclear program seem to be dwindling, as the international talks in Vienna have been suspended for a month.
Follow the Jerusalem Center on:
Israel Insists on History
- David Harsanyi (National Review
Last month, the Associates for Biblical Research in Houston, Texas, announced that a team had uncovered an ancient tablet near Nablus in Samaria that may contain the earliest known mention of God's name in proto-alphabetic Hebrew, dating back to 1200-1400 BCE.
On April 10, 2022, Raja Abdulrahim wrote in the New York Times
that "Israel insists that there has been a Jewish presence in the West Bank for thousands of years."
Does Israel insist
on this, or is it a historical fact? Jews have a long and deep connection to Judea and Samaria, and the proof is pulled from the ground.
Reuters Whitewashes Palestinian Terrorism
- David Harsanyi (National Review
Here is how Reuters
covers terror attacks in Israel: "Israeli forces shoot dead Palestinian after Tel Aviv bar attack."
Those who did not read past the headline may never find out that the dead Palestinian had walked down Dizengoff Street, the city's most crowded commercial district, indiscriminately shooting people, murdering three Israelis.
Now the family of the dead terrorist is likely to be paid bounties by the Palestinian Authority, which is generously funded by U.S. taxpayers.
PA Making Terror Payments to Hundreds of Israeli Citizens
- Ariel Kahana (Israel Hayom
The Palestinian Authority pays out thousands of shekels to hundreds of relatives of Israeli citizens involved in terrorist operations.
According to PA law, anyone who has murdered a Jew - or the perpetrator's family - will receive a salary for life.
The Riddle of Modern Israel's Remarkably High Birth Rates
- Paul Morland (Jewish Chronicle-UK
Israel has all the features normally associated with ultra-low fertility rates: high levels of education among women, high levels of urbanization, high levels of income. Yet from the 1990s Israel's fertility rate started to rise.
Today it is slightly above three children per woman, compared to 1.6 and 1.7 in the UK and U.S. No other country in the OECD, with a fully developed economy, scores above two.
Israel has shown that the trend can be bucked and that it is possible to combine modernity and prosperity with a healthy level of childbearing.
Certainly the birth rate of Haredim in Israel is sky-high, but moderately religious and secular Israelis have much larger families than their counterparts in rich countries in Europe, North America and East Asia.
University of Illinois Kills Student BDS Bill
- Aaron Bandler (Los Angeles Jewish Journal
The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) killed a student government bill endorsing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
The university and the Illinois Student Government (ISG) Judiciary nullified the bill that called for a referendum on BDS after it was approved by the ISG Senate on Feb. 23 by 17-14.
Russia's War on Ukraine Taking a Toll on Gaza
- Amany Mahmoud (Al-Monitor
The outbreak of the Russian war on Ukraine has reflected negatively on the Palestinian population in Gaza, with prices soaring for basic foodstuffs, such as wheat, cooking oil, and sugar.
Gaza imports wheat from Russia through Israel and large quantities of vegetable oil from Ukraine.
In the same vein, the Egyptian government recently announced the suspension of reconstruction projects in Gaza due to the rise in iron and cement prices.
Egyptian cement imports have dropped by 70% since March 10.
Cement prices have increased by 40% and iron by 35%.
Israeli Arms Exports in 2021 Hit All-time High
- Yaniv Kubovich (Ha'aretz
Israel's defense exports hit an all-time high in 2021 of $11.3 billion, the Defense Ministry said on Tuesday. In 2020 they totaled $8.55 billion.
Europe accounted for 41% of Israel's defense exports in 2021, and that was before Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Asia accounted for another 34%.
Israeli security products included missiles and aerial defense systems, training services, drones, radar and electronic warfare equipment, manned aircraft and electronic systems for planes, firing and launching equipment, and intelligence, information and cyber.
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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
- Iran Says Preliminary Deal Reached on Frozen Funds Abroad
Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said Wednesday, "An accord was concluded with a foreign bank to release a part of our financial claims." Tens of billions of dollars in Iranian money were blocked in a number of countries after the U.S. re-imposed sanctions on the Islamic republic in 2018. Tasnim news agency said the deal aims to find a solution for frozen Iranian assets valued at more than $7 billion.
- Russia Could Earn Billions from Revival of Iran Nuclear Deal - Andrea Stricker
The 2015 nuclear deal with Iran permits Russia to undertake civil nuclear projects in Iran worth billions of dollars. Moscow seeks to resume a $10 billion contract to build two additional reactor units at the Bushehr nuclear power plant. The Kremlin also seeks to recoup a $500 million debt for past work. More broadly, Russia wants to avoid running into Western sanctions for any such nuclear work in Iran.
The writer is a research fellow at FDD.
(Foundation for Defense of Democracies)
- Iran Accused of Deliberate Denial of Health Care to Prisoners
Rights group Amnesty International on Tuesday accused Iran of deliberately denying life-saving medical care to prisoners, saying it had confirmed 96 cases in 30 prisons in 18 provinces since 2010 of detainees dying after a lack of treatment, and the true number of cases is likely to be higher. The report comes after several high-profile cases this year alone of prisoners who died in custody.
"The Iranian authorities' chilling disregard for human life has effectively turned Iran's prisons into a waiting room of death for ill prisoners," said Diana Eltahawy, Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International. A large proportion of the deaths took place in northwestern Iran where many inmates are from the Kurdish and Azerbaijani minorities and in southeastern Iran where prisoners mostly belong to the Baluch minority.
See also Iran: Ailing Prisoners Left to Die after Denial of Medical Care (Amnesty International)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- Israel Thwarts Palestinian Attack Planned for Passover
Israel thwarted a major attack in Jerusalem planned for the eve of Passover on Friday night, as those planning the attack were arrested in the West Bank village of Silwad on Wednesday. One of those arrested was Hamas member Mu'ad Hamed, 33. (i24News)
See also Arrested Hamas Terrorist Had Escaped from PA Prison
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett tweeted: "Seven years ago, this vile terrorist Mu'ad Hamed shot a vehicle near the settlement of Kida and murdered Malachi Rosenfeld and wounded three of his friends who were on their way home from a basketball game.
He recently escaped prison in the Palestinian Authority and was on his way to carry out a terrorist attack against Israelis. Our forces...captured him, thus preventing a horrible attack. Our forces also arrested other suspects involved in the attack." (Ynet News)
- Israeli Police Officer Stabbed in Ashkelon - Josh Breiner
A Palestinian from Hebron in the West Bank, in Israel illegally, was approached by an Israeli police officer at a construction site in Ashkelon on Tuesday. The Palestinian pulled out a knife and stabbed the officer in the head. The officer then shot and killed him. (Ha'aretz)
- Palestinian Throwing Firebomb at Israeli Soldiers Killed in West Bank - Emanuel Fabian
Palestinian Qusay Hamamra, 16, hurled a firebomb at Israeli forces in the West Bank town of Husan on Wednesday night and was shot and killed.
(Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
- The Reemergence of Jenin as a Palestinian Terror Hub - Khaled Abu Toameh
Armed groups in the Jenin area of the West Bank have managed to rebuild a vast terror infrastructure while the PA chose to look the other way. PA security forces acted against the gunmen only when they dared to challenge the PA.
In 2008, the PA, supported by Israel and the international community, embarked on the Jenin Pilot Project to be a model for successful PA governance.
The plan envisioned a reinforcement of the PA security forces in the Jenin area.
A large number of infrastructure projects were approved, including 36 quick impact projects in cooperation with USAID and other international donors that included the establishment of an industrial zone and upgrading the sewage system and electricity infrastructure. In addition, Israel allowed Israeli Arabs to enter the Jenin area, a decision that significantly boosted the local economy.
But while matters in the Jenin area seemed to be moving in the right direction, the armed groups continued to grow and amass weapons.
- New Terror Attacks Hurt Palestinian Businesses in West Bank - Danny Zaken
Israel has issued 140,000 work permits to West Bank Palestinians - 100,000 to work in Israel and another 40,000 to work in industrial areas and Israeli communities in the West Bank.
A construction worker with a permit is paid between NIS 5,500 and 8,000 a month, while an agricultural laborer with a permit usually receives the minimum wage. The average salary in the Palestinian Authority is only about NIS 1,800. At the same time, unemployment is high. In addition, 20,000 permits are issued to workers from Gaza.
The recent terrorist attacks in Bnei Brak and Tel Aviv were by Palestinians who came from Jenin in the northern West Bank - a city whose economy is considered one of the most stable, a prosperous agricultural center, and a commercial center that has grown significantly over the last decade, with a growing number of factories selling to Israel and exporting internationally.
Beginning in 2009, the city became a shopping hub for Israeli Arabs, who spend hundreds of millions of shekels there every year. The city had one large mall at the beginning of the previous decade; the number grew to 13 modern malls by the decade's end. In the wake of the attacks, Israel closed the border crossings to Israeli Arabs, a severe blow to the economy of Jenin and the northern West Bank. (Globes)
- Yet Again, the Vandalizing and Desecration of Joseph's Tomb - Amb. Alan Baker
On the night of April 9, dozens of Palestinian rioters in Nablus (Shechem) raided and vandalized the Jewish holy site known as Joseph's Tomb. The rioters set fire to the site, smashed the cenotaph above the grave, smashed electrical lighting, burned prayer books, and ruined and burned equipment within the tomb area. Similar attacks have taken place in the past. Under the Oslo agreements, Nablus is under the full control and jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority.
In the Old Testament, the Book of Joshua, 24:32, says: "And Joseph's bones, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the tract of land that Jacob bought for a hundred pieces of silver from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. This became the inheritance of Joseph's descendants."
The 1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement specifically lists the Tomb as a Jewish holy site and states: "The protection of [Jewish holy sites], as well as of persons visiting them, will be under the responsibility of the Palestinian Police."
Given the acute sensitivity attributed by both Palestinians and Israelis to all religious sites, it is incumbent upon the Palestinian leadership to fulfill their responsibilities as agreed in the Oslo Accords.
The writer, who heads the international law program at the Jerusalem Center, served as legal adviser and deputy director-general of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and participated in the drafting of the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians.
(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
See also Joseph's Tomb Repaired after Palestinian Vandalism - Tzvi Joffre
The Samaria Regional Council renovated Joseph's Tomb in Nablus on Wednesday after the site was set alight and vandalized on Saturday night and Monday morning.
The construction team rebuilt the destroyed sections of the tomb, repainted the fire-blackened walls, removed broken materials and rubble, repaired the windows and the damaged plumbing system, and reinstalled the electrical system.
One Palestinian was killed and 17 more were injured in a firefight with IDF troops as they oversaw the restoration work.
- Palestinian Terrorists Want to Eradicate the Jews - Fiamma Nirenstein
The aspiration to live in peace in a free society are words we're hearing constantly these days about Ukraine since Russia's invasion. Meanwhile, Israelis have been killed in the thousands because we are Jewish and democratic. During the Second Intifada, 1,137 Israelis were killed and 8,341 were wounded. The latest wave of Palestinian terror has seen 14 deaths in Israel across 10 days.
Palestinian terror has nothing to do with a "Palestinian state" that never existed, and continues to be offered and refused countless times. It has nothing to do with the pretense of Jewish colonialism. The Arabs know very well that Jerusalem belonged to the Jewish people long before the Arabs were here. The Jews never brought war. They only defended themselves.
The terrorism of recent weeks has to do only with the ideological and religious determination to eradicate the Jews and destroy Israel. After attacks on Jews, sweets are distributed in Arab towns as symbols of joy and celebration.
The writer, former vice president of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the Italian Chamber of Deputies, is a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
- Why Palestinians Celebrate the Murder of Jews - Khaled Abu Toameh
Palestinians took to the streets in the West Bank and Gaza to cheer, dance, hand out sweets, and chant slogans in support of the terrorists to celebrate the recent terror attacks in Israel, another sign of the growing radicalization among the Palestinians and their refusal to recognize Israel's right to exist. The expressions of joy are reminiscent of the celebrations that took place when Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein fired missiles at Israel in 1991, or when Hamas, Fatah, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad carried out suicide bombing attacks during the Second Intifada, which erupted in 2000.
Apart from demonstrating the Palestinians' disrespect for human life and support for terrorism, the celebrations prove that a Palestinian who murders a Jew is a hero, whereas one who seeks peace with Israel is a traitor. Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar said on April 9, "These recurring heroic operations prove a clear fact - that there is no future for the Jews on our Palestinian land."
A recent poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research showed that most Palestinians (58%) are opposed to the two-state solution. Why? They do not believe in Israel's right to exist. These Palestinians want peace without Israel, not peace with Israel. That is why most Palestinians continue to support Hamas, whose charter openly calls for the elimination of Israel.
Palestinians are told by their leaders that the terrorism aims to stop Israel from "committing crimes" against the Al-Aqsa Mosque. This, of course, is completely false because since the beginning of Ramadan, tens of thousands of Muslim worshippers have been freely and safely accessing the mosque for prayers.
Continuing to pretend that the Palestinian Authority is a reliable partner for peace will only lead to further violence and bloodshed. It is time for the Biden administration to start banging on the table and demanding an end to the poisonous campaign to delegitimize Israel and demonize Jews.
- Sanctifying the Murder of Innocents, the Palestinians Fall Farther Behind - Prof. Eyal Zisser
Terrorist attacks perpetrated by evil murderers, in the heart of flourishing and prospering cities, encapsulate the history of Israel's struggle. From the outset of the Zionist enterprise, we have settled this land, building a modern, progressive state and diverse, pluralistic, and dynamic society, while the response from the Palestinians has been death and bloodshed. They rejected the UN Partition Plan in 1947; then again after the signing of the Oslo Accords, when instead of trying to establish state institutions they focused on preparing waves of terror; and another time in the wake of the Gaza disengagement, when they turned Gaza into a terror incubator.
This is essentially the crux of the problem. The parents of the Tel Aviv attacker quickly praised his actions and relatives flocked to the family's mourning tent to glorify and laud his deeds. And those who label terrorists as shahids (holy martyrs) and pay salaries to their families legitimize their actions. Zionism has never sanctified the murder of innocents, and never made terrorism and armed struggle its entire purpose and reason for existence. Israel's heroes are not shahids.
We in Israel continue on our journey, paying a painful price for every step, yet marching from victory to victory for the past 74 years of independence. The Palestinians, meanwhile, fall farther and farther behind.
The writer is a lecturer in Middle East history at Tel Aviv University. (Israel Hayom)
- Israel Is Not Russia, and Palestinians Are Not Ukraine - Shany Mor and David May
When the Arab boycott of Israel began to fall apart in the early 1990s, groups of Western NGOs conceived of a new boycott of Israel. Instead of being policed by repressive Arab governments, it would be pushed by pure-hearted human rights activists. The strategy was formalized at an NGO conference in Durban in 2001.
Ukrainians have not pursued their cause by blowing up Russian buses or cafes. They have not hijacked Russian airplanes or murdered the Russian Olympic team. They have not taken hostage and murdered pupils at Russian primary schools. Unlike Palestinians, Ukrainians do not pay their people to murder Russian children. That is why calls for sanctions on Israel will never command the kind of consensus that exists today for punitive actions against Russia.
Shany Mor is an adjunct fellow at the FDD, where David May is a senior research analyst.
(Foundation for the Defense of Democracies)
- Princeton's Caterpillar Referendum Overlooks Important Realities - Jacob Katz
I am a junior at Princeton and a veteran of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
I cannot support Referendum No. 3, which calls on Princeton University to boycott Caterpillar equipment because it is used by Israel.
Jewish people have lived in historic Palestine for millennia, and the Palestinian leadership has rejected the two-state solution on multiple occasions. Since 2000, at least 1,392 Israeli citizens - including women and children - have been murdered by Palestinian terrorists. I have personally watched hundreds of rockets fired from Gaza fly over my head towards Israeli cities.
The referendum ignores the fact that Caterpillar machinery is often used to de-escalate violence. In the IDF, I frequently worked with Caterpillar D9 tractors to preemptively set structural boundaries for Hamas-orchestrated riots. Without Caterpillar tractors, Israeli soldiers would have to face the impossible task of stopping thousands of people from charging towards Israel's border at once. I was there. I watched Caterpillar tractors minimize disaster and prevent calamity. The equipment was used to protect the lives of protesters in Gaza and civilians in Israel.
Boycotting Caterpillar would also harm the Palestinian Tractor & Equipment Company (a designated Caterpillar distributor) which describes itself as "a leading participant in Palestine's economic and industrial development."
This referendum is precisely the kind of performative, empty activism that non-stakeholders use to solve a problem they scarcely understand. (Daily Princetonian)
See also BDS Referendum Fails at Princeton - Alexandra Orbuch
A student referendum at Princeton University, which aligned with the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement and called to halt the use of Caterpillar construction equipment, failed to win a majority of student support. Supporters received 44% of the vote, the opposition received 40%, and 16% voted to abstain. The measure needed a majority of votes cast to pass.
- What the UAE Taught Egypt about Doing Business with Israel - David Rosenberg
It took more than 40 years, but Egypt is waking up to the potential of economic ties with Israel. Signs abound that President al-Sissi wants to strengthen economic ties beyond the $15 billion natural gas deal the two countries reached four years ago. Last October, state-owned EgyptAir began flying to Tel Aviv under its own name rather than through its unflagged Air Sinai affiliate, and in April the first direct flights between Ben-Gurion Airport and the Sinai resort of Sharm el-Sheikh took place. Earlier in the year, the leader of Egypt's Coptic Church gave official imprimatur to pilgrimages to Jerusalem.
"The government of Egypt and the elite now realize that economic ties with Israel are a net positive. They have seen the success of the UAE and Israel, and they think they should jump on board," says Hussain Abdul-Hussain, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington.
At the same time, "Within Egypt, public sentiment against Israel is very high - that's not going to change in the foreseeable future, as much as Sissi would like to make the change," says Gabriel Mitchell, of the University of Notre Dame's Tantur Center in Jerusalem. The powerful professional syndicates, which organize doctors, lawyers and even artists, are a major source of anti-Israel feelings. Anyone doing anything that smacks of normalization with Israel is likely to be called out.
- Anti-Zionism Means Anti-Semitism - Jonathan S. Tobin
Those who claim that the recent actions of the Palestinian killers were an understandable reaction to the "occupation" or to some other alleged Israeli sin are once again misunderstanding the nature of the conflict. As the Palestinians have made clear throughout the last century, their problem isn't with what Israel does but the mere fact of its existence. Having seen them reject numerous two-state-solution deals over the last generation, support for such a scheme among Israelis has dwindled.
The idea of more than 7 million Israeli Jews giving up the sovereign state that protects their national existence is madness. That's not just because the invasion of Ukraine illustrates what happens when hostile neighbors feel empowered to attempt to destroy a country. It's also the lesson that even a cursory knowledge of Jewish history imparts to its students. For 20 centuries, Jewish powerlessness and the lack of sovereignty over its ancient homeland was a prescription for degradation, oppression and slaughter that culminated in the Holocaust.
The Palestinian goal is not stripping Israel of the territories it won in a defensive war in 1967. They will not recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn. Anti-Zionists are taking the side of those who seek to eliminate the one Jewish state on the planet by the same violent means and hateful ideas that have always been the toolkit of anti-Semites.
- Protesters Who Sing Hamas Slogans Are "Not Anti-Semitic," University Decides - India McTaggart
Protesters who chant Hamas slogans on campus are not anti-Semitic, the University of Essex has ruled, despite instructions by Nadhim Zahawi, the Education Secretary, that those who chanted the pro-Palestinian slogan "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free" could be referred to the police following the outlawing of support for Hamas.
Zahawi told the Jewish Chronicle in January that the Hamas rallying cry is "the kind of anti-Semitic, intolerant, murderous attitude of the organization that's proscribed."
The students chanted the slogan outside a university event last October where the speaker was Col. Richard Kemp, the former head of British forces in Afghanistan, known for his support for Israel. Col. Kemp said that the university should "reconsider their blindsided denial of anti-Semitism" and that the university's conclusion "does not tally with British law nor our country's respect for civil debate." (Telegraph-UK)
- Israel's ambassador to the U.S. Michael Herzog told the Washington Post on Monday: "Our government was very clear about its concern regarding the possibility of a new deal with Iran, the reason being, we have no illusion about Iranian...nuclear ambitions, regional ambitions. We have no illusions about their anti-Western and anti-Israel ideology, and the fact that they've been working to build the tools, including nuclear tools, to realize their ambitions....So, for all of these reasons, we are very much concerned that this deal will not add stability but may be counterproductive."
- "In a few years, given this deal, all limitations on the Iranian nuclear program will be lifted. Iran would be able to enrich at will to any level of enrichment, with any number of centrifuges on an industrial scale, and be legitimized as a nuclear threshold state. This is intolerable to Israel, and I think it's also intolerable to some of our neighbors in the region....We are not going to sit idly by or be indifferent to a situation where Iran is legitimized as a nuclear threshold state."
- "Iran is a predator state. Iran is a destabilizing factor in the region, and no deal would put Iran in the box unless there is serious deterrence vis-a-vis Iran....I do believe that if you reinstate deterrence, you prevent war. I certainly believe that if you show assertiveness vis-a-vis Iran, as Israel has shown in the last few years in the region, you will deter Iran. Iran, with all due respect, is not an 800-pound gorilla that cannot be deterred."
- Regarding Ukraine, "from the beginning of this war, Israel unequivocally stated that it is against the Russian attack on Ukraine, against upsetting international norms, and against going against the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine....I disagree with those who say that Israel hasn't decided about taking sides. That's absolutely not true....We have very clearly and have unequivocally taken sides, my government, myself, and all of Israel....We do everything we can to help the Ukrainian people."
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