As negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program are extended, on Friday, millions of Iranians attended anti-American and anti-Israeli rallies across Iran to celebrate al-Quds Day, a holiday that The New York Times calls an “annual anti-Israel extravaganza.” In 1979, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini instituted the holiday, which occurs on the last Friday of Ramadan, as a day to rally against Israel. At the demonstrations, Israeli, American, and Saudi flags were burned and posters showed President Barack Obama, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Saudi King Salman in flames. The Los Angeles Times reported that the Iranian regime “helped build the crowd by busing in participants.”On Wednesday the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps released a statement saying that the destruction of Israel “is Muslims’ first priority.” The New York Times reported that in Iran, “the chants of ‘Death to America’ and the burning of American flags in the streets are as familiar a part of life here as air pollution and traffic jams” and that “the anti-Americanism is getting even more strident.”
President Hassan Rouhani, who is often characterized as a moderate, attended a Quds Day rally. On Wednesday the Iranian Fars News agency reported that President Rouhani emphasized that Iran will “shout its hatred for the Zionists on the Quds Day.” Earlier this week, former Iranian president Ali Akhbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who is also often portrayed as a moderate, declared that Israel is an artificial, temporary and alien entity that should be wiped off the map.
Iran’s terror proxies have perpetrated many acts of violence against the US, killing hundreds of US soldiers in Iraq, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia. Negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, which have been extended to Monday, were supposed to eliminate Iran’s potential to develop nuclear weapons. Instead, the emerging deal will leave Iran as a nuclear threshold state, with only temporary restrictions on its nuclear program that will expire in 10-15 years. The US has backtracked on many of its positions, and the current agreement adheres closer to Iran’s red lines than to our own.
Hamas is exploiting the plight of two Israelis in an attempt to free more terrorists from jail, Avi Issacharoff reported in The Times of Israel yesterday.
[Avraham] Mengistu and a second captive Israeli, a Bedouin who crossed into the Strip, constitute significant assets for Gaza’s Islamist rulers. Hamas tried hard but failed to capture Israeli soldiers in the course of last summer’s 50-day war, but now holds two Israelis who fell into its lap — who apparently crossed the border of their own accord. …After visiting the family of captive Avraham Mengistu today, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “We face a very cynical and cruel enemy that denies the basic humanitarian obligation to send innocent citizens back to their country.” Netanyahu vowed to bring both hostages home.
On Wednesday, Hamas’s leader-in-exile Khaled Mashaal talked about negotiations between Israel and Hamas for two dead and two missing Israelis. He claimed that Israel has sought to work via European intermediaries for their return. But, said Mashaal, Hamas will not give up any information whatsoever until Israel releases all the Hamas members who had gone free in the Shalit exchange but who were rearrested late last spring, when Israel was seeking information on the three Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped by a Hamas terror cell and later found murdered in the West Bank.
In other words, Hamas is seeking a major gain before it even consents to negotiate for the Israelis it is holding dead and alive. It wants to repay a pre-war “debt” to the Palestinian public, and especially to the affected Palestinian families, by securing the release of those re-arrested Shalit prisoners. This would also give Hamas a significant boost in Palestinian public opinion.
Exchanging hostages for Palestinian terrorists carries risks for Israel. Last year, a terrorist who was released in the 2011 deal to free captured soldier Gilad Shalit killed a police commander and injured his pregnant wife and son. A number of terrorists who were freed in the Shalit deal have gone to Turkey where they assist Saleh al-Arouri, a senior Hamas leader, in directing terror operations in the West Bank. (via TheTower.org)