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August 1, 2014 0

Gaza’s Future: It’s Up to the International Community

by Abra­ham H. Fox­man
National Direc­tor of the Anti-Defamation League

This arti­cle orig­i­nally appeared in The Jerusalem Post

The “bar­baric vio­la­tion of the cease-fire agree­ment,” in the words of the White House spokesman, by Hamas when they attacked Israeli sol­diers, killing two and tak­ing one hostage, sums up the chal­lenge fac­ing Israel and the West in this vital conflict.

An orga­ni­za­tion that launches rock­ets at civil­ians, uses its own civil­ians as human shields, that has in its char­ter repeated calls for the destruc­tion of the Jew­ish state is, not sur­pris­ingly, an orga­ni­za­tion to whom an agree­ment on a cease­fire is just another tac­ti­cal oppor­tu­nity in its ongo­ing war and is there merely to be vio­lated to achieve their evil ends.

This bla­tant action high­lights the need for stronger solu­tions to the prob­lem of Hamas in Gaza. Make no mis­take about it. If this con­flict ends leav­ing Hamas stand­ing with­out a clear path toward pre­vent­ing its rear­ma­ment in the years ahead, the vio­lence to come will make what we have seen so far look pale in comparison.

Some would argue that what Israel has to do is expand its oper­a­tion to destroy the Hamas infra­struc­ture and lead­er­ship so that it is no longer a threat and can no longer dom­i­nate Gaza. Such a deci­sion lies, of course, with the Israeli gov­ern­ment, but clearly there has been a hes­i­ta­tion to go in that direc­tion because of the poten­tial for sig­nif­i­cant IDF casu­al­ties, the inevitable dra­matic rise of Pales­tin­ian civil­ian casu­al­ties, and the impact on it would have on inter­na­tional, and specif­i­cally U.S. opin­ion toward Israel.

Short of such an expan­sion of the war, the goals need to focus on two things: pre­vent­ing Hamas from rearm­ing after this con­flict and the need for a Secu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tion estab­lish­ing a super­vi­sory mech­a­nism and force to imple­ment the ban­ning of new weapons to Hamas.

The his­tory of such efforts is not good, as for exam­ple, the U.N. res­o­lu­tion about Lebanon after the 2006 war which banned weapons going to Hezbol­lah. It is believed that Hezbol­lah now has as many as 60,000 rock­ets, not to men­tion other advanced weaponry.

A com­mit­ment to pre­vent the rearm­ing of Hamas, how­ever, can be far more suc­cess­ful. In the case of Hezbol­lah, Iran was the main sup­plier of weapons and Syria the main conduit.

In the case of Hamas, all of its neigh­bors under­stand that Hamas is not only a threat to peace and sta­bil­ity but it rep­re­sents the larger threat of Islamic extrem­ism that is a dan­ger to mod­er­ate forces through­out the region. There­fore, Egypt, Jor­dan, Saudi Ara­bia, and the Pales­tin­ian Author­ity all would have an inter­est in ensur­ing that a Secu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tion of this sort would work and that a super­vi­sory body would have enough author­ity and means to make sure that it does work.

And here is the cru­cially impor­tant upside: only through such an agency could con­di­tions be ripe to improve the qual­ity of life for the res­i­dents of Gaza and for the Pales­tin­ian Author­ity to return to gov­ern­ing Gaza.

One of the dis­may­ing aspects of this con­flict is the lament about civil­ian casu­al­ties in Gaza with­out suf­fi­cient recog­ni­tion of why they have occurred and what has to take place to pre­vent them from recurring.

The com­bustible com­bi­na­tion of an extrem­ist orga­ni­za­tion hav­ing access to rock­ets, mor­tars, machines and mate­r­ial to dig and build tun­nels for mas­sive acts of ter­ror, made this war inevitable.  Future wars are like­wise inevitable unless a new dynamic is created.

The Israel Defense Forces will do their part. It is now time for the inter­na­tional com­mu­nity, led by the U.S., to do its part. The viciously cal­cu­lated vio­la­tion by Hamas of the 72-hour cease­fire agree­ment must serve as a reminder: with­out an over­see­ing body man­dated to pre­vent Hamas from rearm­ing, we will find our­selves in a worse sit­u­a­tion down the road.

The time to act is now.

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April 9, 2014 0

Iran Weekly: Selected News & Developments

The fol­low­ing is a selec­tion of news reports and com­men­tary from Iran­ian media and main­stream pub­li­ca­tions on devel­op­ments per­tain­ing to Iran. This weekly update includes a sam­pling of pub­lished reports from Iran’s Farsi-language media* as well as rel­e­vant arti­cles from the inter­na­tional press.

Iran­ian Media

FM: Iran’s nego­ti­a­tions with Pow­ers not related to eco­nomic pressures

(Fars News Agency – April 9, 2014)

While address­ing expa­tri­ate Iran­ian researchers and uni­ver­sity pro­fes­sors in Vienna before the resump­tion of talks with the P5+1, Iran­ian For­eign Min­is­ter Moham­mad Javad Zarif said, “The Iran­ian nation has opted for nego­ti­a­tions based on its mod­er­ate spirit and its ten­dency for mod­er­a­tion and inter­ac­tions. He also added, “If any­one thinks that the Iran­ian nation has cho­sen nego­ti­a­tions due to the eco­nomic pres­sures, he/she is def­i­nitely wrong in his/her analysis.”

Iran’s over­hauled war­ship proves suc­cess­ful in joint drills with Oman

(Fars News Agency – April 9, 2014)

Fol­low­ing the com­ple­tion of joint naval drills with Oman on Mon­day, Deputy Com­man­der of the Navy for Oper­a­tions Rear Admi­ral Shahram Irani said, “[The] Shamshir missile-launcher war­ship is capa­ble of fir­ing dif­fer­ent mid-range and long-range surface-to-surface mis­siles, includ­ing Nour and Qader, or any other type of mis­sile after its recent overhaul.”

Com­man­der raps West for double-standards towards human rights issues

(Fars News Agency – April 9, 2014)ali-fadavi-irgc-iran

In response to last week’s Euro­pean Union res­o­lu­tion crit­i­ciz­ing Iran’s human rights vio­la­tions, Brigadier Gen­eral and Com­man­der of the IRGC Ali Fadavi said, “The ene­mies of the Islamic Rev­o­lu­tion con­sider jus­tice and Human Rights to be in their right places when they serve the inter­est of company-owners, dom­i­neer­ing power and inter­na­tional Zionism.”

Zarif ques­tions EP’s legit­i­macy to preach on human rights

(Tas­nim News Agency – April 6, 2014)

Fol­low­ing the Euro­pean Union’s res­o­lu­tion against Iran on human rights, For­eign Min­is­ter Moham­mad Javad Zarif responded with: “Given the polit­i­cal weight, laws and the recent his­tory in Europe…, it is obvi­ous that the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment lacks legit­i­macy and pop­u­lar­ity to preach to the oth­ers on observ­ing the human rights.”

Aya­tol­lah Ker­mani: The peo­ple of Iran will not per­mit the Euro­peans to estab­lish a new den of spies*

(Basij News Agency – April 4, 2014)

Aya­tol­lah Moham­mad Ali Mova­hedi Ker­mani, one of Tehran’s Fri­day prayer lead­ers, responded to the EU’s human rights res­o­lu­tion against Iran by telling the faith­ful that “The peo­ple of Iran will not allow the Euro­pean Union to open a new spy den in the country.”

IRGC Com­man­der: Iran to give ‘stun­ning’ response to ene­mies’ threats

(Fars News Agency – April 3, 2014)

Com­man­der of the IRGC’s elite Qods Force Qassem Suleimani boasted of Iran’s prowess over its ene­mies. “The ene­mies do not real­ize that the Iran­ian peo­ple are able to astound them. Rely­ing on its devoted nation, our coun­try will strongly con­front any threat posed by the ene­mies,” Suleimani said in South­ern Ker­man province.

Inter­na­tional Media

 

Iran’s supreme leader: Nuclear talks should con­tinue, but with­out concessions

(Ynet – April 9, 2014)

Supreme Leader Aya­tol­lah Khamenei con­firmed that nego­ti­a­tions will con­tinue; how­ever, he empha­sized that “all should know that nego­ti­a­tions will not stop or slow down any of Iran’s activ­i­ties in nuclear research and development.”

Spain arrests four accused of attempt­ing to export equip­ment to Iran

(CNN – April 8, 2014)

One Iran­ian and three Spaniards were arrested by Span­ish author­i­ties for secretly try­ing to export indus­trial equip­ment to Iran that could be used to make mis­sile parts or enrich uranium.

Iran’s choice for U.N. post denied entry into the U.S.

(The New York Times – April 7, 2014)

The U.S. Sen­ate voted against issu­ing a visa to Iran’s new ambas­sador to the United Nations due to charges that he was involved in the 1979 United States Embassy hostage-taking cri­sis in Tehran.

Chi­nese man, Iran firms charged in nuclear export case

(Bloomberg – April 4, 2014)

A Chi­nese national and two Iran­ian firms were charged with con­spir­ing to export devises that can be used to enrich uranium.

Iran must see ram­i­fi­ca­tions if nuclear talks fail, for­mer advi­sors say

(The Wall Street Jour­nal – April 4, 2014)

Two for­mer advis­ers to the Obama Admin­is­tra­tion call for the White House and Con­gress to increase the threat of using mil­i­tary force against Iran if talks fail.

Boe­ing, GE say get U.S. license to sell spare parts to Iran

(Reuters – April 4, 2014)

Boe­ing and Gen­eral Elec­tric Co. announced that they had received licenses from the U.S. Trea­sury Depart­ment to export some spare parts for Iran’s aging com­mer­cial aircrafts.

Ira­ni­ans avoid bad luck with out­door festival

(The Sun Her­ald – April 2, 2014)

A report on the Iran­ian fes­ti­val of “Sizdeh Bedar,” the last day of the long Per­sian New Year celebration.

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April 2, 2014 1

Iran Weekly: Selected News & Developments

The fol­low­ing is a selec­tion of news reports and com­men­tary from Iran­ian media and main­stream pub­li­ca­tions on devel­op­ments per­tain­ing to Iran. This weekly update includes a sam­pling of pub­lished reports from Iran’s Farsi-language media* as well as rel­e­vant arti­cles from the inter­na­tional press.

Iran­ian Media

The pur­pose of prop­a­gat­ing ‘Iron Dome’ is to intim­i­date oppo­nents and it does not express real­i­ties*
(Fars News Agency – April 1, 2014)

Ismail Kosari, a mem­ber of the Iran­ian parliament’s National Secu­rity Com­mit­tee, said that Israel’s Iron Dome sys­tem is noth­ing more “than a type of psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare.” Kosari added, “Israel’s pri­mary goal in pub­li­ciz­ing the ‘Iron Dome’ is to intim­i­date its opponents…”

Iran­ian envoy slams West for back­ing ter­ror­ists in Syria
(Fars News Agency – March 30, 2014)

Ali Reza Sheikh Attar, the Iran­ian ambas­sador to Ger­many, accused the West of sup­port­ing ter­ror­ist groups in Syria dur­ing his speech at an inter­na­tional con­fer­ence on Syria in Munich. “The West had not learned from its past strate­gic mis­takes in Syria by sup­port­ing ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Lev­ant (ISIL) and the Al-Nusra Front,” Attar said dur­ing the conference.

Senior law­maker describes Ahmed Sha­heed as CIA, Mossad agent
(Fars News Agency – March 29, 2014)

In response to the renewed man­date of Ahmed Sha­heed as the United Nations Spe­cial Rap­por­teur on Human Rights in Iran, Iran­ian mem­ber of par­lia­ment Hos­sein Naqavi Hos­seini accused Sha­heed of “work[ing] as an agent for the Zion­ist regime and also the CIA.”

Sayyed Nas­ral­lah tack­les regional devel­op­ments
(Mehr News Agency – March 29, 2014)

Hezbol­lah Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Has­san Nas­ral­lah gave an inau­gural speech for the open­ing of a cul­tural insti­tute in south­ern Lebanon that saw heavy fight­ing between the armed Shi’a orga­ni­za­tion and Israeli forces in 2006. Nas­ral­lah boasted, “Lebanon’s gold does not exist in the whole world, and with wood, the Lebanese had built the coffins of Israeli sol­diers, and will con­tinue to exist for each occu­pier of this holy land.”

hossein-deghan-iran

Iran­ian Defense Min­is­ter Hos­sein Deghan

Defense Min­is­ter: Amer­ica has long-term plans for the gov­ern­ment of Saudi Ara­bia*
(Tas­nim News Agency – March 29, 2014)

Fol­low­ing U.S. Pres­i­dent Obama’s pub­li­cized visit to Saudi Ara­bia, Iran­ian Defense Min­is­ter Hos­sein Deghan lashed out against alleged U.S. “plans” for the sur­vival of the Saudi monar­chy. Deghan also attacked Israel, stat­ing, “In the field of our military’s intel­li­gence capa­bil­i­ties, we are able to con­front the Zion­ist regime because they do not pos­sess such strength in oper­a­tional mil­i­tary systems.”

Inter­na­tional Media

Iran infla­tion slows to two-year low, ful­fill­ing Rouhani pledge
(Bloomberg News – March 30, 2014)

Iran’s infla­tion rate has fallen to a two-year low while con­sumer prices rose 23 per­cent from a year ago.

Gin­gerly, Iran begins to rock out
(Chris­t­ian Sci­ence Mon­i­tor – Mach 30, 2014)

Pop music may still be for­bid­den in Iran, but there are signs that slowly things are changing.

Iran’s chief rabbi passes away over Shab­bat
(Ha’aretz – March 30, 2014)

Iran’s Chief Rabbi Yosef Hamadani Cohen, who led Iran’s Jew­ish com­mu­nity since 1994, died last weekend.

Iran plans to replace U.N. ambas­sador in New York
(Reuters – March 29, 2014)

The cur­rent Iran­ian Ambas­sador to the United Nations will be replaced by Hamid Abu­talebi, a long­time diplo­mat with close ties to Pres­i­dent Rouhani and for­mer Pres­i­dent Raf­san­jani. Abu­talebi is sus­pected of hav­ing been involved in the 1979 U.S. embassy hostage cri­sis; how­ever, this infor­ma­tion is still unconfirmed.

N.Y. tower in suit tied to Iran is for­feited, judge rules
(Bloomberg Busi­ness­week – March 28, 2014)

A U.S. Dis­trict Judge ruled that an Iranian-government owned com­mer­cial build­ing in mid­town Man­hat­tan will be for­feited by its own­ers for vio­lat­ing U.S. embargo and fed­eral money laun­der­ing laws.

Museum items can’t be seized to pay Iran judg­ment
(USA Today – March 28, 2014)

A fed­eral judge in Chicago ruled that Iran­ian ter­ror sur­vivors may not be awarded Per­sian antiq­ui­ties and relics in place of the $412 mil­lion judg­ment against the Iran­ian government.

 

Iran fuel price hikes will be big test for Rouhani
(Reuters – March 27, 2014)

As part of Pres­i­dent Rouhani’s pledge to repair the Iran­ian econ­omy, painful fuel sub­sidy cuts are in store and pose a risk to Rouhani’s popularity.

Con­gress pre­pares sec­ond front on Iran sanc­tions
(Al-Monitor – March 27, 2014)

U.S. Con­gress is work­ing on new sanc­tions tar­get­ing Iran­ian sup­port for Hezbol­lah and sup­port­ers of Syria’s embat­tled Pres­i­dent Bashar Assad.

Sen. Carl Levin gar­ners 23 Dems for softer-toned Iran talks let­ter
(JTA – March 27, 2014)

Sen­a­tor Carl Levin (D-Mich.) cir­cu­lated a let­ter among law­mak­ers urg­ing the White House to con­tinue engag­ing in diplo­macy with Iran.

U.N. extends term of human rights mon­i­tor, anger­ing Iran
(New York Times – March 28, 2014)

Iran­ian gov­ern­ment offi­cials expressed anger by the United Nations Human Rights Council’s vote to renew the term for its Iran human rights expert.

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