Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin declared on Monday that Iran’s ballistic missile launches last week were not violations of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, stating that the language in the resolution is non-binding. The Russian position mirrors the Iranian view that the ballistic missile restrictions in Resolution 2231, passed in July codifying the nuclear agreement, was a weakened and non-binding version of the previous UN resolution on Iran’s ballistic missile activity, Resolution 1929. China and other members of the Security Council agree with that interpretation as well. UN Resolution 1929 stated that “Iran shall not undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles.” This resolution was, however, folded into the new resolution with different wording. Instead of consistently asserting that Iran “shall not” undertake these activities, Resolution 2231 “calls upon Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.” When the resolution passed the Security Council last July, members of Congress expressed concerns that the administration had acquiesced to Russian and Iranian demands and allowed the language to be weakened. On Monday, Russia’s ambassador argued, “A call is different from a ban so legally you cannot violate a call, you can comply with a call or you can ignore the call, but you cannot violate a call. The legal distinction is there.”At the State Department briefing on Monday, reporters pressed State Department Spokesperson John Kirby about his statement last week that if Iran did launch ballistic missiles they would be in violation of Resolution 2231. Veteran journalist Arshad Mohammed of Reuters stated, “So, last week, you argued that it was a violation. Now, you are using very different language, that it is not consistent with -- or that it is in defiance of. Why did you say it was a violation last week, unless you were certain that it was a violation? And why have you changed the language to, ‘not consistent with’ and ‘in defiance of?’” Kirby would not say that Iran’s activities violate the resolution, only that Iran is “still not acting in accordance with their obligations.”
Since the nuclear deal was reached in July and the resolution passed the Security Council, Iran has launched five ballistic missiles. Members of Congress have expressed their frustrations at Iran’s continued aggression and defiance. Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) released a statement asserting, “If the United Nations does not finally take action against these illegal missile tests, it once again calls into question the willingness to take action against Iranian violations of the nuclear agreement.” Rep. John K. Delaney (D-Md.), who has introduced legislation called the Iran Ballistic Missile Prevention and Sanctions Act, said that “Iran’s ballistic missile tests this week show the need for stricter sanctions and for hyper vigilance.”
The latest wave of terror in Israel may not be conducted by “lone wolves,” as is commonly believed, but guided by the hidden hand of Hamas, a leader terror researcher has reported.
Shaul Bartal of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies wrote that obscuring the genesis and motivations of such attacks is a common Hamas tactic. The Iran-backed terror organization is “aware of the many advantages and the protection that deception and obscuration provides its operatives, their families and the organization’s institutions,” he wrote. “The Sunni organization uses the concept of concealment (‘taqiyyah’) which is more common in Shiite Islam, in order to make political and propaganda gains, mostly in order to change its image as a terror organization and present itself to the world as a legitimate organization.”
While Bartal acknowledged that “lone wolf” terrorists carry out their attacks “without any proven connection or direct order from the organization they belong to,” he found connections to Hamas in many cases.
The idea of taking a knife from home and using it to attack Israeli was laid out in a book-length Hamas document from the First Intifada era, “The Efforts of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) in the Palestinian Intifada 1987-1994.” The document, which is available on Hamas’ website, includes instructions on how to carry out attacks that largely have been followed by attackers in the past year. “This system of operations would ensure that the Shin Bet and Israeli security services will not be monitor the attacker, expect him, or predict anything that would allow them to foil the attack,” it says. It goes on to suggest that “The attacker should yell ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is great) before, during, and after the stabbing, while finding creative ways to achieve that objective. The daring execution, by using the element of surprise, will confuse the enemy.”
Bartal also noted that “lone wolves” often have family ties to other terror organizations, increasing the possibility of attackers receiving external guidance. For example, Israa Jaabis, who drove her booby-trapped car into a checkpoint near Ma’aleh Adumim last October, is a cousin of a terrorist who killed one man and injured several more when he ran an excavator into a crowd in Jerusalem in August 2014. The sophistication of the explosive device in Jaabis’ car raised questions as to whether she was capable of devising such a device on her own.
Aspects of last Tuesday’s terror attacks—in which an American student was killed and eleven more people wounded in a stabbing attack in Jaffa, two policemen in Jerusalem were shot in Jerusalem, and one more wounded in a stabbing in Petah Tikva—also suggest some level of coordination with Hamas. The attacks took place on the 13-year anniversary of the day Israel assassinated Dr. Ibrahim al-Makhadmeh, one of the leaders and chief ideologues of Hamas. In a speech shortly after the attacks, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh not only praised the terrorists for helping the Palestinian struggle, but also paid tribute to al-Makhadmeh. The Jaffa attacker showed his allegiance to Hamas on his Facebook page, and the 17-year-old Petah Tikva stabber came from a family with a long affiliation with Hamas, Ynet reported.
While a military intelligence officer questioned Bartal’s findings, telling Ynet that Hamas often takes credit for attacks carried out by unaffiliated terrorists, a defense official told the news website that that there was something to Bartal’s findings. While Hamas is known to sometimes “adopt the terrorists after the fact,” there are often unanswered questions after attacks occur that could be explained by broader coordination. For example, the teenagers who murdered an IDF sergeant in his home last month traveled to Shaar Binyamin, rather than attacking a nearer community. They also penetrated two security perimeters and likely avoided being caught by metal detectors by concealing their knives in plastic. “They were 14 and 15—who taught them to do that?” He asked. “These questions also affect other cases. And this is not the lone example that requires new thinking. By the way, to my knowledge, there are those in the Shin Bet and the IDF who understand that there are many cases like this.” (via TheTower.org)
Herbal remedies can be extremely harmful for cancer patients, a new Technion-Israel Institute of Technology study shows. The research, which focuses on cancer patients in the Middle East, is meant to help guide care providers when using herbal medicines for all patients the world over. The study shows that nearly two-thirds of the herbal medicines used by cancer patients in the Middle East have potential health risks. Researchers show turmeric may increase the toxic effects of certain chemotherapies, while gingko biloba and green teas could increase the risks of bleeding in some cancer patients. Other herbs including black cumin and turmeric can alter the effectiveness of chemotherapy. In all, 29 of the 44 most popular herbal medicines used in 16 Middle Eastern countries—from Turkey to Tunisia—could pose one or more health risks to cancer patients in the region. “In the Middle East, herbs are commonly used as part of traditional medicine, based on the impressive affinity of the people here to the herbal heritage that continuously prospers from the time of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia,” said Professor Eran Ben-Arye, of the Technion. The findings come from a survey conducted by Ben-Arye and colleagues, who asked more than 300 cancer care providers in the countries about the kinds of herbal medicines their patients were using. They found that 57 percent of the providers had patients who used at least one herbal remedy. Women and Muslim providers were more likely to report having patients who used the herbs. Although many patients use the herbs without telling their physicians, in this study Ben-Arye and colleagues wanted to focus on cancer care providers who are aware of their patients’ herbal supplement use. “In the majority of cases, patients seek to combine the best of the two worlds and do not perceive herbal medicine as a real alternative to modern oncology care,” said Ben-Arye. Patients most often turn to the herbs to enhance their quality of life and to cope better with the effects of their treatment, Ben-Arye said, rather than use them in an attempt to cure their cancers. (via Israel21c)