Tip Staff

  • TIP CEO Op-Ed in The Hill on Iraq Being the First Test of U.S. Pushback Against Iran's Influence in the Region

    Iraq is the place to test US strategy to curb Iranian aggression

     

    By Joshua Block

    The Hill

    May 25, 2018

     

    Click here to read full article.

    Iraq’s May 12 election, its first since the defeat of the terrorist group ISIS, was a critical step in shaping the country’s future. The vote also was a test of the regional influence exerted by Iran at a time when the United States is determined to contain Tehran’s aggressive ambitions following the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

    The result of the election, in which a political bloc led by firebrand cleric Moqtada al-Sadr took the lead, likely was not what the Islamic Republic had hoped for. But any discussion of an end to Iran’s power grab in Iraq would be premature — speculative at best, and potentially dangerous.

    While al-Sadr’s victory complicates the situation for Tehran, the election turned America’s Iraq policy upside down, thus placing vital U.S. interests in the country at severe risk.

    For Iran, too, the stakes are high as Tehran looks to protect its regional plan of a “Shiite full moon” in a corridor stretching from the Islamic Republic, via Iraq and Syria to Lebanon, all the way to the Mediterranean Sea.

    In Lebanon, the mullah regime strengthened its grip when Hezbollah and its allies scored significant gains in the parliamentary election this month, bolstering the Iranian-backed terrorist group fiercely opposed to Israel and boosting Tehran’s growing regional clout. In Syria, where Iran is propping up the murderous regime of President Bashar al-Assad, Tehran has built a wide-reaching military infrastructure that threatens the Jewish State right on its northern border.

    Considering this, losing influence in Iraq is a scenario Tehran would not be willing to entertain. On the day of the election, Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani, the leader of the Islamic Republic’s IRGC-Quds Force, arrived in Baghdad to push for the formation of an Iraqi government favorable to Iran’s interests.

    The poor showing of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, the candidate backed by Washington, has dealt a blow to America’s interests, leaving Iraq exposed to Iranian attempts to dominate the country.

    Al-Sadr and the Fatih coalition of Hadi al-Ameri, the leader of the Badr Organization, are not exactly friends. But they share a deep-rooted contempt for America and both have made clear their intent to expel U.S. forces from the country immediately. Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq (AAH), an Iranian-backed militia group complicit in attacks on U.S. troops, also gained seats in the new parliament.

    Al-Sadr rose to prominence during the U.S-led intervention in Iraq in 2003, when his movement gave birth to powerful Shiite militia groups that carried out numerous atrocities against U.S. forces. A decade later, the same groups are fighting U.S. troops in neighboring Syria, thereby enhancing Iran’s power over Syrian territory. While al-Sadr is critical of Iran’s interference in internal Iraqi politics, he’s determined to expel the United States from the region at all cost — a shared goal that could lead to a marriage of convenience between al-Sadr’s Sairoun bloc and Iranian-backed al-Ameri’s Fatih Coalition.

    To make matters worse, the organization that the United States had hoped to sideline through an al-Abadi victory performed strongly in the election — the powerful Hash’d al Shaabi, or Popular Mobilization Forces. The Hash militia is an umbrella organization of roughly 140,000 Shiite fighters with close ties to Iran, the most prominent being AAH, al-Ameri’s Badr Organization, and Saraya al-Salam, formed in 2014 by al-Sadr.

    The question is, are we seeing the beginning of the end of U.S. influence in Iraq — a country where America has invested substantial blood and treasure — or, is there something to be done to turn around the grim situation? There is, but it will require a serious, coherent and long-term strategy. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday laid out the White House’s broader strategy to address Iran’s malign behavior, including the demand that “Iran must withdraw all forces under Iranian command throughout the entirety of Syria.”

    This is a step in the right direction. America pulling out of Iraq — and for that matter, out of Syria, leaving the country at the mercy of Iranian mercenaries — is an idea that U.S. policymakers should bury for good.

    In Iraq, the best chance for the United States to maintain a position of influence is to abandon its ill-advised strategy of placing all hope in al-Abadi and, instead, establish a strong multiethnic U.S.-aligned bloc composed of local forces opposed to Iranian interference. A deep mistrust toward Iran and Iranian-aligned candidates, such al-Ameri and former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, exists in Kurdish and Sunni Muslim communities across the country.

    Secondly, America should drill home to al-Abadi that U.S. patronage will depend on a fair power-sharing agreement between the country’s various ethnic and religious groups — a strong antidote to Tehran’s deadly sectarianism and an outcome that best appeases Iraq’s deeply divided society.

    Withdrawing from the JCPOA was the beginning of countering Iran’s illicit activities, but for the White House’s strategy to work, the nuclear accord needs to be replaced by a broader strategy that addresses all of Iran’s malign behavior. Iraq would be a good place to start to put Pompeo’s words to the test.

     

    Joshua S. Block is CEO and President of The Israel Project. He is a former Clinton administration official and spokesman at the State Department’s USAID. He got his start on Capitol Hill in the office of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and was a spokesman for the Clinton/Gore and Gore/Lieberman presidential campaigns. Follow him on Twitter @JoshBlockDC.

     

     

    [Photo: english.khamenei.ir/Wikimedia Commons]

     


  • TIP CEO Josh Block on Hamas' strategy and the US Embassy opening

    TIP's CEO Josh Block joins i24 to unmask Hamas' strategy of using human shields to create negative, powerful images that play on peoples' emotions around the world. Watch a 2 minute clip below or click here to watch the full segment.

    Josh also sat down the TIP's Talia Dekel to discuss the US Embassy move and what it means for Israel's future.

    Hamas doesn't have a military strategy to defeat Israel, it has a media strategy. That's not a battle the IDF is equipped to fight and it's why the work we do at TIP is so important. We are on the front-lines defending Israel from Hamas' attack in front of the entire world.

    If you care about how the world sees Israel, support our work by donating using the form below.


  • Hamas Riots In Gaza

     
    ALERT & BACKGROUND
    The “March of Return” and Nakba Day
    May 15, 2018
     
     
    BACKGROUND

    Over 50,000 Gazans participated in Hamas-led riots along the Israeli-Gaza border on Monday. In the chaos of events, and in response to blatant violations of Israel’s sovereignty, Israel was forced to defend her border, resulting in the deaths of dozens of Palestinian rioters. The death toll rose to 60 overnight, of which 24 so far have been confirmed as members of known terrorist organizations.

    During the riots, which took place on 13 different locations along the border, rioters hurled firebombs and stones at Israeli troops, set hundreds of tires ablaze, and tried to carry out bombing and shooting attacks under the cover of the riots. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) released videos and images showing rioters setting fire to the border fence, shooting at soldiers, and trying to breach the fence to infiltrate into Israeli territory.

    Israel was bracing for a second day of violent riots as Palestinians commemorate “Nakba Day” to mark the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. Riots, however, dwindled down on Tuesday with only 4,000 participants gathering at the border. The IDF said it arrested several suspects who attempted to infiltrate into Israel as part of riots on Tuesday afternoon.

     
    WHO IS TO BLAME FOR THE VIOLENCE?

    The full responsibility lies solely with Hamas, the terrorist group which exercises complete control over the Gaza Strip. The group has turned the citizens of Gaza into hostages and human shields. Hamas has created a press trap for the international media in which the terror group is in a win-win situation: If Israel allows the border to be overrun by those who would infiltrate Israeli communities, it wins. But if Israel prevents this, and Gazan civilians die in the process, it wins.

    The high casualty rate on Monday was a direct result of Hamas inciting rioters to breach the border fence and attack Israeli soldiers. On Tuesday, an eight-month-old baby died from tear gas that her family said she inhaled on Monday.

    • White House press secretary Raj Shah said that the “responsibility for these tragic deaths rests squarely with Hamas,” and stated that the group was “intentionally and cynically provoking this response.” He added: “Look...this is a gruesome and unfortunate propaganda attempt. I think the Israeli government has spent weeks trying to handle this without violence, and we find it very unfortunate (…) Again, we believe Hamas is responsible.”
    • At an emergency meeting at the U.N. on Tuesday, U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley said the riots at the border had nothing to do with inauguration of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem: “Rather, the violence comes from those who reject the existence of the state of Israel in any location,” Haley said. “The location of the embassy has no bearing on the specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, or the resolution of contested borders. (…) It does not undermine the prospects for peace in any way.”

    Buses and trucks collected people from the streets to bring them to the border area, organized and paid for by Hamas. The terrorist group also promised financial rewards for rioters seriously injured ($500) or moderately injured ($200) in the riots, as well as paying the families of anyone killed a reward of $3,000.

    Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, an IDF spokesman, said hundreds of protesters carried out “concerted, coordinated” attacks on the border fence” and caused “significant damage.” Conricus added that Hamas terrorists disguised as rioters planted explosives along the fence and tried to infiltrate into Israel. The IDF reported at least three instances of armed Hamas gunmen trying to carry out attacks.

     
    HAMAS'S ROLE IN THE RIOTS

    Hamas claims the “March of Return” is a legitimate protest against the decision by the U.S. to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem on May 14 – a move which enjoys bipartisan political support in the U.S. and Israel. The riots, however, are just a cover for Hamas to pursue the group’s true intention: the “complete liberation of Palestine from the river to the sea,” as stated in their official Charter.

    The violence on Monday was driven as Hamas urged Gazans to attempt to tear down the border fence with Israel. Hamas, on Facebook, urged rioters to breach the fence in order to cross into Israel and kidnap Israelis. A new Hamas video was broadcast on Hadashot TV, which portrayed Gazan children saying that they would be “returning to our homeland.” The report also said that Hamas was urging Gazans to participate in the riots and assuring them that those killed would be assured of a place in paradise.

    • At a press conference last week, Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar envisioned “hundreds of thousands of people” storming the border fence with Israel. Earlier he had said that the riots “mark the beginning of a new phase in the Palestinian national struggle on the road to liberation and return [of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to their former homes inside Israel].”

    The “March of Return,” Sinwar added, “affirms that our people can’t give up one inch of the land of Palestine. The protests will continue until the Palestinians return to the lands they were expelled from 70 years ago.”

     
    HAMAS'S MOTIVE BEHIND THE RIOTS

    Hamas sees the riots as an opportunity to deflect from its crushing failures in Gaza and redirect anger within the coastal enclave towards the border with Israel.

    The group is running out of ways to attack Israel, faces intense financial strains, and popular dissent in Gaza. The terror group wants people to forget that the misery of its citizens is the direct result of its squandering of hundreds of millions in aid on tunnels and rockets to attack Israel, instead of on the homes, hospitals, regular water and electricity supplies which Gaza’s suffering population desperately need.

    • Jason Greenblatt, the White House’s lead negotiator, wrote in an op-ed published in The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that “Hamas continues to exploit protests to foment violence against Israel.” He charged that “Hamas has managed to bring the people of Gaza, a people with a proud history and great potential, nearly back to the Stone Age.” He added: “What an embarrassment, what a desolation, what a failure.”
    • Greenblatt called on the international community to “get real about this – Hamas, and its enablers, such as Iran, are squarely to blame for the desperate situation in Gaza. Hamas has consistently put its own destructive priorities above those of Gaza’s weary and increasingly desperate population.”
    Joshua S. Block, CEO and President of the Israel Project said: “Hamas is a cynical, murderous terror organization, bent on Israel's complete annihilation at the expense of their own civilian population. Hamas leaders are inciting the population – which deserves clean water, adequate health care, plenty of electrical energy, and a bright future – against the IDF and gets them killed.” He added: “True peace is only possible if the Palestinian leadership cedes, once and for all, its incitement and support for terrorism.”
     
     
     
    SOCIAL MEDIA ASSETS
    Click the images to download
     
    VIDEO: What really happened at the riots 
    VIDEO: The real reason for Hamas riots
    VIDEO: Nikki Haley defends Israel at UN 
    GRAPHIC: The terrorist killed yesterday 
    GRAPHIC: Hamas leader on the true purpose of riots
    VIDEO: Hamas leader explains how group lied to the world about "peaceful" protests
     
     
     
     

     


  • TIP CEO Op-Ed in USA Today on Relocating U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem

    Today's talker: Relocating U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem is a positive thing for the Middle East

    By Joshua S. Block

    USA Today

    Today’s Talker/Opinion

    May 14, 2018

     

    Click here to read full article 

     

    The Middle East has always been a place of universal truths. The first, and most prominent, is the belief that resolving the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is the gateway to broader peace in the region. Solve the conflict and, in doing so, address all the other deep-rooted quandaries that affect the Middle East. Fail and instability, war and hatred will flourish.

    However, the Middle East of today — shaken up by the Arab Spring revolts and alarmed by the rise of the Islamic Republic of Iran — is a profoundly different place than it was a decade ago. The decision by the Trump administration to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocate the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is an acknowledgment of these new realities.

    The timing of the decision — and the reaction to it, especially from the Arab world — have revealed some remarkable truths about the New Middle East.

    First, while most of the Arab world objected to the announcement of the Trump administration, they made a tactical decision not to back up their condemnation by any meaningful actions to support the Palestinians. Why? Because solving the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is no longer important enough for them to sacrifice more pressing security concerns.

    The Arab Spring revolts have shred into pieces the myth that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the epicenter of war in the region. The stability of the region has nothing to do with checkpoints between Gaza and its neighbors. Making peace between Jerusalem and Ramallah cannot rebuild the broken cities of Syria, nor can it end sectarian strife in Iraq or the civil war in Yemen.

    The Arab world’s backing of the Palestinian cause has always been motivated by pragmatism rather than passion. Yet, now it is the exact same pragmatism over Iran’s illicit nuclear and malign non-nuclear activities which brings Israel and its Arab neighbors closer together than ever before.

    Against these changes, the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem could inject new life into the stalled peace process, for it drives home to the Palestinians that unilateralism no longer is an attractive option — and genuine peace negotiations the only viable solution.

     

    Joshua S. Block is the president and CEO of The Israel Project, an educational organization focused on Israel and the Middle East and securing Israel's future.


  • TIP Factsheet On US Embassy Relocation

    Key Facts

    1. The embassy move reflects the law. It is a bipartisan effort that has enjoyed cross-party political support in the United States and Israel for decades.
    2. Jerusalem is the legitimate capital of Israel. Non-recognition was an aberration – Israel was the only country with no capital recognized by the United States.
    3. Israel, like any other nation, has the right to choose its capital. Israel’s historic ties to Jerusalem – which date back over 3,000 years – cannot be rewritten by international institutions.
    4. Jerusalem has, in reality, been Israel’s capital and seat of government since 1949. The President’s Residence, the Knesset, the Supreme Court, the Prime Minister’s Office and most government ministries are located in the city.
    5. Notwithstanding the embassy relocation, the U.S. does not take a position on the final status of Jerusalem. The U.S. supports two states for two peoples.
    6. The new embassy is located at an existing consular building in the Arnona neighborhood of Jerusalem, reflecting continuity of U.S. policy on Jerusalem.
    7. Recognition reinforces underscores Israel's faithful fulfillment of its role as guarantor of complete religious freedom in Jerusalem for all faiths.
     
     

    The Embassy Act: A Bipartisan Effort

    The announcement implements bipartisan Congressional requirements first passed into law over 20 years ago in the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, which were subsequently reinforced in multiple bipartisan motions – most recently in summer of 2017. Republicans and Democrats, in the House, the Senate and the White House, have long supported the decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The President is simply enacting the law.

    The Law

    • In 1990, Congress overwhelmingly adopted bipartisan resolutions (H.Con.Res. 290 and S.Con.Res. 106), which acknowledged that Jerusalem “is and should remain the capital of the State of Israel.”

     

    • Jerusalem Embassy Act, November 1995: “Statement of the Policy of the United States: (1) Jerusalem should remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected. (2) Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel.”

     

    • Congress overwhelmingly adopted the FY 2003 Foreign Relations Authorization Act in 2002, which requires all government-funded documents that list countries and their capitals to name Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

     

    • Res.176 – a resolution commemorating the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, June 2017: “The Senate… reaffirms the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 as United States law, and calls upon the President and all United States officials to abide by its provisions.”

     

    Bipartisan Political Support

    The United States was represented at the ceremony by a formally designated “Presidential Delegation” led by Deputy Secretary of State, John. J. Sullivan, and including U.S. Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Presidential Advisor Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, and Jason Greenblatt, the White House’s lead negotiator. A bicameral Congressional delegation and other U.S. dignitaries were also present for the ceremony, which was also attended by top diplomats from 33 other nations.

     

    • President Donald Trump, May 14: “Israel is a sovereign nation, with the right like any other sovereign nation to designate its capital.” The President continued by stressing America’s continuing quest for peace. “The United States will always be a great friend of Israel and a partner in the cause of peace. We extend a hand in friendship to Israel, the Palestinians and to all of their neighbors. May there be peace.”

     

    • Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, May 14: “The American Congress has, for many years now, recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. And I want to thank the many members of the Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike, for their love and support for Israel.”

     

    • Senator Charles Schumer, Senate Democratic leader, May 14: "In a long overdue move, we have moved our embassy to Jerusalem. Every nation should have the right to choose its capital. I sponsored legislation to do this two decades ago, and I applaud President Trump for doing it."

     

    • Senator Bill Nelson, D-Fla, May 14: "Today we celebrate the relocation of the U.S. Embassy to its appropriate place in Jerusalem. But the hard work of helping bring about a secure and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians must go on."

     

    • House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif, May 14: “Seventy years ago today, the United States was first to recognize Israel as an independent state. On this important anniversary, it’s fitting that the U.S. finally open an embassy in Israel’s self-determined capital. A bipartisan majority in Congress has been calling for this important action since the 1990s.”
     
     

    Jerusalem: The Legitimate, Undivided Capital of Israel

    For over 3,000 years, Jerusalem has played a central role in the history and identity of the Jewish people. Numerous archaeological excavations have established an undeniable physical, historical, and symbolic link between the Jewish people and Jerusalem. 

    The long-overdue decision to relocate the embassy reflects the reality on the ground by recognizing that Jerusalem is where Israel's capital is located, as indeed it has been since 1950. It is the location of parliament, the High Court, and Prime Minister's office, as well as most major ministries and national institutions.

     

    Fighting the International Delegitimization Campaign

    Israel, like all other nations in the world, has the right to choose its own capital. Israel was the only country with no capital recognized by the U.S., an aberration – unless you apply double-standards to the only Jew among nations.

    In December 2016, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution severing Israel's right to Jerusalem. The resolution fueled even more aggressive anti-Israel efforts, including by UNESCO, which promotes anti-Semitic positions, denying any Jewish connections to Jerusalem. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital lays the groundwork for fighting these and similar measures across international forums.

    • Zionist Union leader Tzipi Livni ahead of UNESCO's vote on a resolution calling to recognize Hebron's Old City—and with it the Cave of the Patriarchs—as a Palestinian World Heritage Site, June 2017: "I lead the opposition in Israel, but not an opposition to the history of my people nor an opposition to the truth (…) These resolutions won't harm my people's ties to these sites, but they will harm UNESCO and the ability to advance shared efforts. This is not the way. It prevents cooperation, the kind we are trying to do here today."
     
     

    U.S. Support for Two States for Two Peoples

    Under the Oslo Accords, Jerusalem is a final status issue which can and will be negotiated between the parties. The U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to relocate its embassy is not a position on the final status of Jerusalem; neither is it a recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians claim for their future capital.

    The Trump administration has repeatedly stressed its support for the two-state-solution if the parties themselves choose it, as well as its hopes that the decision will inject new momentum into the stalled peace process. The White House is currently working on a wide-reaching peace plan.

    • S. President Donald Trump, December 2017: “The United States remains deeply committed to helping facilitate a peace agreement that is acceptable to both sides. I intend to do everything in my power to help forge such an agreement. Without question, Jerusalem is one of the most sensitive issues in those talks. The United States would support a two-state solution if agreed to by both sides.”
     
     

    New Embassy: Relocated in a Historic Place

    The new embassy is located at an existing consular building in the Arnona neighborhood of Jerusalem, an area which has been in the hands of Israel since 1948. The building crosses the “1967 lines,” but without touching territory that would be reserved for a Palestinian state – it crosses into what used to be called “no-man’s land,” in between the territory Israelis and Jordanians respectively held 1948-1967. Today, Arnona is situated between the neighborhoods of Talpiot and Ramat Rachel (see maps).

    • Daniel B. Shapiro, who served as U.S. ambassador to Israel during the Obama administration, wrote in Foreign Policy in January 2017: The presence of a U.S. Embassy in parts of Jerusalem no one disputes are Israeli territory is one way of acknowledging the centuries of history that link the Jewish people to the city, the questioning of which is closely linked to the denial of Israel’s very legitimacy.
     

    MAP I :1948-1967

     

     

    Map II: Present

     

    Palestinian Incitement: No Obstacle to Relocation

    Implementation of the decision to relocate the embassy long delayed by misplaced concerns over Palestinian rejectionism and incitement. The Palestinian leadership’s denial of the Jewish connection to Israel and Jerusalem, and its related incitement to and reward for terror, constitute the greatest obstacle to peace.

    • Yair Lapid, the leader of Yesh Atid, December 2017: “Policies should not be dictated by threats and intimidation. If violence is the only argument against moving the embassy to Jerusalem, then it only proves it is the right thing to do.”

     

    • Joshua S. Block, CEO and President of The Israel Project, wrote in The Algemeiner in October 2017: “Moving the embassy isn’t the reason that Palestinian leaders continue to spew out a constant barrage of poison against the Jews. The resentment is far more deep-rooted than that, propagated by central political institutions and celebrated on Palestinian streets. When you name public squares and women centers after terrorists, you are encouraging a culture of hatred. When you celebrate suicide bombers as “martyrs” and role models for Palestinians, you are glorifying violence. When you deny Israel’s right to exist, you are preaching a genocidal ideology.”

     

    Israel's guarantees religious freedom for all faiths in the Holy City Israel reunified Jerusalem in 1967 and removed barriers and divisions within Jerusalem, reunited the city, and allowed free movement and worship for Jews, Muslims and Christians. That reversed previous policies which had barred entry to Judaism’s most sacred sites to all Israelis and Jews, and under which further Jewish holy sites were desecrated and destroyed.

    In a gesture of peace after the Six-Day War, Israel allowed the Waqf (Muslim religious authorities) to retain its authority over the Temple Mount under the aegis of Jordan.

     
     
    SOCIAL MEDIA ASSETS
    Click the images to download
     
    VIDEO: Jews have called Jerusalem home for 3,000 years
    VIDEO: Highlights from the US embassy opening ceremony
    VIDEO: US Presidents on Jerusalem
    VIDEO: The 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act 
     
     
    GRAPHIC: Stand with America and Jerusalem
    GRAPHIC: Jerusalem is Israel's capitol
    GRAPHIC: US law has called Jerusalem Israel's capital since 1995
    GRAPHIC: Jerusalem is the historic home of the Jewish people

  • The U.S. has withdrawn from the Iran nuclear deal. Here’s what you need to know.

    On May 8, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that he's pulling the United States out of the nuclear deal with Iran, which was agreed to by the U.S. and other world powers in 2015. The President further announced the U.S. would reimpose sanctions at “the highest level” on Iran. Trump stated that the U.S. would "not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail" and will not allow "a regime that chants 'death to America'" to get nuclear weapons.

     

    1. Why did the U.S. pull out of the deal?

    • Simply put, the JCPOA provides Iran with a patient pathway to a nuclear bomb. By following the terms of the agreement, Tehran will emerge as a nuclear threshold state with an industrial-size enrichment program and the ability to produce nuclear weapons with close to zero-breakout time in less than a decade.
    • The administration extended waivers on Iran’s nuclear sanctions on multiple occasions, keeping alive the deal to allow for the U.S. together with European allies to fix the JCPOA. These efforts failed, leading to today’s action.

     

    2. What happens next?

    • The President announced crippling new sanctions on Iran, putting pressure on the regime and penalizing foreign companies that do business with the Islamic Republic. Despite the JCPOA companies were reluctant to do business with Iran and these actions will accelerate the descent of their economy, which is already in significant decline.
    • The Treasury Department released an info sheet which details how the U.S. will reimpose nuclear-related sanctions – some following a 90-day and the rest after a 180-day wind-down period.
    • By re-imposing sanctions, European banks and companies will be forced to choose between America’s $19 trillion financial system and Iran's $400 billion economy. Should they ignore the sanctions, their assets in the U.S. –  which far exceed existing business ties with Iran –  would be subject to harsh penalties.

     

    3. The way forward

    • The challenges remain the same. Iran looms large over major U.S. national security concerns including non-proliferation, international terrorism, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon.
    • In cooperation with our allies -- especially Europe, India and Japan -- a new framework can be forged to dramatically increase economic pressure on Iran's weakening economy that will provide Iran with a simple choice: change its behavior and again become a member of the international community, or face increasing isolation and internal unrest.
    • Iran negotiated the JCPOA from a position of strength, knowing its negotiating partners wanted the deal at all cost. Now a sense of crisis in Iran runs deep and wide. The currency is collapsing and the economy is in free fall. Popular dissent is on the rise. By re-imposing sanctions, America will regain leverage to bring Iran to the table on our terms.

     

    4. A broader strategy

    • America’s withdrawal from the JCPOA provides an opportunity to develop a new, broader Iran strategy, one that addresses both Iran’s illicit nuclear and non-nuclear activities - which go hand-in-hand.

    Nuclear

    • Any new solution must include the following: Snap inspections of all Iranian suspected nuclear facilities, including military ones; a verifiable end to Iran’s missile programs, whether long- or short-range; no sunset — a permanent and verifiable end to Iran’s nuclear ambitions; robust limitations on Iran’s research and development on advanced centrifuges; and reinstatement of the U.N. arms embargo on Iran, and sanctions on IRGC officials that were removed under the deal.

    Non-Nuclear

    • The U.S. should be clear that Iran will face increased pressure until they completely withdraw from Syria. A permanent Iranian military presence in Syria is unacceptable.
    • The U.S. should support our allies in containing Iran’s influence in Iraq, which Tehran exercises through powerful Shiite militia.
    • The U.S. should reformulate its Lebanon policy to acknowledges that Hezbollah – and by extent, Iran – is in complete political and military control of the country.
    • The U.S. should work with the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen to limit Iran’s hand in the conflict. Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have fired missiles at Saudi Arabia, targeted coalition vessels in international waters, and are complicit in war crimes.

     

    5. Work with our allies

    • History has shown that Iran responds to pressure when it is encircled with a united international front. We must work with our allies to achieve that.
    • While withdrawing from the JCPOA puts us at odds with European allies as to how prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear capabilities we all agree that Iran should never become a nuclear weapons capable state.
    • We also share an interest in bringing the war in Syria to an end, to stabilize Iraq, to stop the suffering in Yemen, and to prevent a new Israel-Lebanon war.

     

    Statement from Josh Block, CEO and President of The Israel Project

    Josh Block, President and CEO of The Israel Project, said “The JCPOA was built on false premises and riddled with flaws. It enabled Iran's bad behavior across the region, enriched and empowered the Islamic Republic's military and terrorist operations, and put them on a path to a massive, modern nuclear program with a nuclear breakout time of just weeks in less than 8 years.”

    "A new solution must rectify those flaws by ensuring full transparency into Iran’s nuclear program with immediate access inspections without exemption, an end to Iran's work and use of ballistic missiles of any range, permanently end their nuclear pursuit without sunset, and end Iran's terrorism and aggressive regional behavior, including a total withdrawal of all forces and equipment, official and unofficial, from Syria.”


  • TIP STATEMENT ON THE JCPOA WITHDRAWAL

    The JCPOA, as currently written, is an unverifiable agreement that relies on Iran to tell the truth about their nuclear program through “self-inspections” of sensitive military sites. This is the same regime that routinely violates U.N. Security Council Resolutions on its ballistic missile development program – a strategic military capability that Iran only requires if its intention is to have the ability to deliver nuclear payloads and other weapons of mass destruction.

    According to International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano, who is charged with monitoring and implementing the agreement, the IAEA is unable to verify the nuclear accord and ensure Iran is not working on nuclear weapons, because Iran is refusing to allow inspectors access to key facilities and documents. That is an untenable situation, and is itself proof that Iran is not in compliance with the current JCPOA.

    The current JCPOA has substantial flaws that we hoped European leaders would work to fix. Going forward, and in cooperation with our allies, especially, Europe, India and Japan, a new framework can be forged to dramatically increase economic pressure on Iran's weakening economy, that will provide Iran with the choice to change its behavior and again become a member of the international community in good standing, or face increasing isolation and internal unrest that has already spread to over 100 cities across the county where everyday Iranians are seeking regime change and life free of the yolk of totalitarian repression.

    Any fix to the JCPOA must include the following: Snap inspections of all Iranian suspected nuclear facilities, including military ones. No more taking them at their word; a verifiable end to Iran’s missile programs, whether long- or short-range; No sunset — a permanent and verifiable end to Iran’s nuclear ambitions; robust limitations on Iran’s research and development on advanced centrifuges; and reinstatement of the U.N. arms embargo on Iran, and sanctions on IRGC officials that were removed under the deal.

    Josh Block, President and CEO of The Israel Project, said “The JCPOA was built on false premises and riddled with flaws. It enabled Iran's bad behavior across the region, enriched and empowered the Islamic Republic's military and terrorist operations, and put them on a path to a massive, modern nuclear program with a nuclear breakout time of just weeks in less than 8 years.”

    "A new solution must rectify those flaws by ensuring full transparency into Iran’s nuclear program with immediate access inspections without exemption, an end to Iran's work and use of ballistic missiles of any range, permanently end their nuclear pursuit without sunset, and end Iran's terrorism and aggressive regional behavior, including a total withdrawal of all forces and equipment, official and unofficial, from Syria.”


  • TIP Southeast Regional Director in Newstalk Florida on Israel's Report on Iran's Secret Nuclear Program

    Still confused about what Israel's bombshell report on Iran's secret nuclear program means?

    Listen to TIP's Ken Bricker explain with Chris Ingram on www.NewstalkFlorida.com

     

     

    [Photo: kremlin.ru/Wikimedia Commons]


  • Why Europe’s “New” Iran Deal Isn’t Really New

    Background


    French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday proposed negotiations on a “new” Iran deal aimed at curbing Iran’s military power and regional activities to exist alongside the JCPOA, agreed between the Islamic Republic and six world powers in 2015. U.S. President Trump has given European signatories to the deal a deadline of May 12 to “fix” the accord or face its collapse.

    After months of a U.S.-led effort to make the Europeans fix the agreement on a hard deadline, the best Europe came up with was a rebranded, redecorated old agreement, sold to the Trump administration as a gesture of goodwill towards the U.S. position. The President should reject the fake “new” deal offered by Europe – which benefits Iran and Russia – and instead continue moving forward with imposing sanctions, using all available diplomatic and economic tools.

     

    What Europe Says It Would Do


    The French President said that while the JCPOA restricted Iran’s major nuclear activities until 2025, a new deal would go further, preventing Iran from stepping up its nuclear activity after the deal’s so-called sunset clauses expire, while also restricting the Islamic Republic’s development of ballistic activities, and containing Tehran’s aggressive expansionism in the Middle East.

    • Macron: “We therefore wish, from now on, to work on a new deal with Iran…The first one (topic) is to block any nuclear activity of Iran until 2025. This was feasible thanks to the JCPOA.  The second is to make sure that, in the long run, there is no nuclear Iranian activity.  The third fundamental topic is to be able to put an end to the ballistic activities of Iran in the region.  And the fourth one is to generate the conditions for a solution — a political solution to contain Iran in the region — in Yemen, in Syria, in Iraq, and in Lebanon.”

    With those remarks the President of France, and by extension the European Union, are conceding that what President Obama and proponents of the nuclear agreement promised in 2015 was false.

    • Obama: “After two years of negotiations, we have achieved a detailed arrangement that permanently prohibits Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. It cuts off all of Iran’s pathways to a bomb. It contains the most comprehensive inspection and verification regime ever negotiated to monitor a nuclear program.”

     

    What Europe Is Really Doing


    The “new” Iran deal proposed by the Europeans is not a fix to the JCPOA. It is the JCPOA plus a few additional constraints placed on Iran, which do not address the major flaws of the original nuclear accord.

    • Europe is not explicitly supporting the elimination of the 2025 sunset clauses, which allows Iran to emerge as a nuclear threshold state with an industrial-size enrichment program and close to zero-breakout time in little more than a decade.
    • The Europeans reject the implementation of powerful sanctions against Iran in relations to its ballistic missiles program and support sanctions only in the event of the testing of long-range missiles – a technology the Iranians don’t have. Missiles that can target the entire State of Israel, key allies such as Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain, as well as U.S. military installations in the Middle East, would not fall under a robust sanctions regime.
    • European countries don’t want to restrict the lucrative business relationships they have established with the Islamic Republic since the ratification of the JCPOA. Germany is Iran’s largest and most important EU trade partner. German exports to Iran increased in 2017 by 19%, amounting to just under €2.4 billion in export volume. However, without a rigid sanctions regime the cash flow to Tehran will continue and exacerbate Iran’s illicit nuclear and non-nuclear activity.

     

    What a New Deal Needs to Look Like


    The proposed European “fixes” fail to address key components necessary to adequately fix the major flaws of the agreement: the sunset clauses, ballistic missiles, research and development on advanced centrifuges, verification mechanisms, and the sanctions windfall from the JCPOA.

    Sunset Clauses:

    • The sunset clauses, the most fatal flaw of the JCPOA, must be completely eliminated. Instead of dismantling Iran’s nuclear program, the sunset clauses put it under international protection for 15 years. It equips the Iranians with a patient pathway to achieve its goal.
    • The regime in Tehran knows that by following the terms of the JCPOA, Iran will emerge as a nuclear threshold state with an industrial-size enrichment program and close to zero-breakout time in little more than a decade.

     

    Ballistic missiles:

    • Any fix that does not fully ban ballistic missiles is a failure. Congress and the Israelis both agree on this. The only acceptable fix to the Iran deal is one that prohibits all nuclear capable ballistic missiles, a policy enshrined in UN Security Council Resolution 2231 which codified the JCPOA.
    • Paragraph 3 of Annex B calls upon Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology. 

     

    Research and Development:

    • The deal proposed by the Europeans offers no solution to stop Iran’s research and development on advanced nuclear centrifuges. The centrifuge replacement clause allows Iran, once it has replaced the old centrifuges with the more advanced ones, to rush toward the bomb.
    • The JCPOA states that Iran’s breakout time is one year, however, were Iran to replace its less-efficient, first generation IR-1 centrifuges with more powerful IR-8s, Tehran could enrich uranium for a weapon much faster.

     

    Verification:

    • The verification procedures to ensure Iran’s compliance are deeply flawed. Iran can hold international inspectors at arm’s length for at least 24 days, and likely even for a period of three months or longer before some of the nuclear sites can be inspected. This would allow Iran to clean up small facilities where the country engages in weaponized activities.
    • In 2003, the Iranians delayed access to the Kalaye Electric Company for two weeks and completely scrubbed it. The same happened at the Lashkar Abad laser uranium enrichment plant.
    • IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano confirmed that the nuclear watchdog has been unable to verify that Iran is implementing Section T of the nuclear agreement, based on Iran's refusal to provide adequate information and access.
    • IAEA officials say they won't even ask for access because they know Iran would say “no” and it would give the Trump administration an "excuse" on the deal.
    • Effectively, it means that we can’t be sure that they are not designing a bomb, the crux of the nuclear agreement.
    • In addition, condition 1 of Corker-Cardin requires the president to certify Iran has implemented all parts of the agreement, not that Iran hasn't been caught cheating on the parts they have implemented. Second, the IAEA hasn't caught Iran cheating because they haven't been able to look where Iran is cheating.

     

    Stop the cash flow:

    • A fix is not a fix if it results in the Iranian regime receiving billions in cash to bankroll proliferation, sponsor terrorism and finance the country’s aggressive regional expansionism.
    • The U.S. can reimpose sanctions to any Iranian entity — including the Central Bank of Iran, which ensures the regime has the resources to commit atrocities, and the Supreme Leader’s own personal business empire EIKO — if it is connected to terrorism or non-nuclear activities such as ballistic missile development. This is a consensus view in the U.S., shared by both Democrats and Republicans.
    • If the U.S. imposes sanctions on Iran, our allies will follow. U.S. sanctions would force European banks and companies to choose between America’s $19 trillion financial system over Iran’s $400 billion economy.

     

    The Bottom Line

     

    This “new” Iran deal being peddled by the EU does not begin to address the fatal flaws

    of the JCPOA, does nothing to contain Iran’s sponsoring of terrorism, regional ambitions and, as the

    Free Beacon reports, “would leave Israel, America's Arab allies, and U.S. military based vulnerable to

    Iranian ballistic missiles.”

     

    Joshua S. Block, CEO and President of The Israel Project, said, "We know that the mullah regime already has the capability to strike targets up to 1,240 miles from Iran's borders—a range sufficient to hit the State of Israel, our Arab allies across the region, every U.S. military installation and American soldier in the region, and even parts of Europe.” Block continued, “America must continue to demand real fixes to the existing flaws and a deal that permanently prevents Iran from ever acquiring nuclear weapons capability.”


  • Dismantling the myths of John Oliver’s pro-Iran deal speech

    The deadline for President Donald Trump to re-certify the Iran nuclear deal is looming on May 12th. On Sunday's Last Week Tonight, John Oliver detailed the "long-term and potentially irreversible" damage of allowing that agreement to fall apart. The Israel Project identified Oliver’s main arguments in favor of the JCPOA and explained the shortcomings in his analysis.

    Myth 1

    Minute 5:55 Oliver suggests that “Iran’s President Rouhani is relatively moderate.”

    Wrong: Rouhani is not a moderate. He’s just a less extreme extremist. First, Rouhani was only elected because the ayatollah establishment put him on the ballot – the real moderates were disqualified before the election took place. Second, the human rights situation in the country has deteriorated under his reign. According to an investigation by the U.N.’s Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran, at least 966 people were put to death in the country in 2015—the highest number since 1989, twice as many as in 2010, and 10 times as many as in 2005.

    Myth 2

    6:04 Oliver is citing a tweet from Rouhani in which he wishes “all Jews” a Happy Ros Hashana as a sign of his moderation.

    Wrong:  The accusation of having real or perceived ties to Israel is a powerful tool of oppression in the Islamic Republic and is frequently levelled against the country’s few remaining Jews. The regime denies the Holocaust and regularly calls for the elimination of the state of Israel. State-owned publications publish anti-Semitic cartoons that depict Jews as demonic and malevolent creatures.

    Myth 3

    7:53 Oliver asked: “What did we get out of the deal, the answer is quite a lot.”

    Wrong:  The JCPOA does not permanently prohibit Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. To the contrary, it equips the Iranians with a patient pathway to achieve its goal. The regime in Tehran knows that by following the terms of the JCPOA, Iran will emerge as a nuclear threshold state with an industrial-size enrichment program and close to zero-breakout time in little more than a decade.

    Myth 4

    8:48 Oliver claims that the deal has strict “verification mechanisms to ensure they’re in compliance.”

    Wrong: IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano confirmed that the nuclear watchdog has been unable to verify that Iran is implementing Section T of the nuclear agreement, based on Iran's refusal to provide adequate information and access. Effectively, it means that we can’t be sure that they are not designing a bomb, the crux of the nuclear agreement.

    Myth 5

    11:54 Oliver charges that “the deal allows for regular monitoring at all declared nuclear sites.”

    Wrong: The verification procedures to ensure Iran’s compliance are not nearly as airtight as Oliver claims. Iran can hold international inspectors at arm’s length for at least 24 days, and likely even for a period of three months or longer before some of the nuclear sites can be inspected. This would allow Iran to clean up sites where the country engages in weaponized activities. Experts also warn that “Tehran may only need two days to remove nuclear equipment from a small facility and remove any traces of uranium, which even environmental sampling may be unable to detect.”

    Myth 6

    12:17 Oliver suggests that Iran is in compliance because the IAEA didn’t find breaches of the agreement.

    Wrong: First, that's not relevant for certification: condition 1 of Corker-Cardin requires the president to certify Iran has implemented all parts of the agreement, not that Iran hasn't been caught cheating on the parts they have implemented. Second, the IAEA hasn't caught Iran cheating because they haven't been able to look where Iran is cheating.

    Myth 7

    14:00 Oliver charges that the deal is a good deal because without it Iran could start building a bomb now.

    Wrong: Oliver inadvertedly admitted that the deal is not living up to what it promised. He acknowledges that Iran can sit out the terms of the agreement and re-launch its nuclear program. Yet President Obama said in a speech at the American University in Washington D.C. in August 2015:

    “After two years of negotiations, we have achieved a detailed arrangement that permanently prohibits Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. It cuts off all of Iran’s pathways to a bomb. It contains the most comprehensive inspection and verification regime ever negotiated to monitor a nuclear program.”


  • The Daily TIP: Hamas Leads Violent March, Using Human Shields, at Israeli-Gaza Border

    Hamas Leads Violent March, Using Human Shields, at Israeli-Gaza Border

    Middle East Expert: "Regional Empire Building" Spurred Iran’s Involvement in Syria

    Former Students, Faculty Members Call on Oberlin to End "Concerted Hostility Toward Israel"

    Israeli, Palestinian Doctors Work Together to Save Baby Born with Heart Defect


    Hamas Leads Violent March, Using Human Shields, at Israeli-Gaza Border

    In a deliberate attempt to provoke a violent confrontation with Israel over the Passover holiday, the Islamic terrorist organization Hamas, which is in complete political and military control of Gaza, is trying to break through Israeli defenses with a violent march at the Israeli-Gaza border, The Times of Israel reported Friday.

    The Israel Defense Forces estimated that 20,000 Palestinians were taking part in “March of Return” demonstrations along the Gaza border. Seven Palestinians were killed and some 500 were wounded when Israel retaliated.

    Jason Greenblatt attacked Hamas on Friday over its actions saying, “Hamas is encouraging a hostile march on the Israel-Gaza border.” He noted further that the group “should focus on desperately needed improvements to the lives of Palestinians in Gaza instead of inciting violence against Israel that only increases hardship and undermines chances for peace.”

    Omri Ceren, a managing director at The Israel Project, warned that Hamas is using civilian protests as cover for a massive military operation, risking widening instability and potential conflict. Ceren said, "The Israelis will do everything possible to prevent escalation and avoid casualties, but this is the kind of thing that could go really bad really quickly," he explained.

    The U.S. State Department said that it was monitoring the situation closely and emphasized that it considers Hamas a terrorist organization. "Our position on Hamas has not changed," the official said. "It is a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization. Any use of human shields is absolutely unacceptable."


    Middle East Expert: "Regional Empire Building" Spurred Iran’s Involvement in Syria

    In a conference call with The Israel Project on Tuesday, Dr. Jonathan Spyer, a Middle East journalist and analyst, said that Syria has “become a subcontractor for the ambitions of outside powers,” notably the Islamic Republic of Iran. Spyer explained that Iran's involvement in Syria is a key part of its "regional empire building program," which it views to be of "critical importance."

    Dr. Spyer said the Syrian uprising against Assad was now “without any hope” of success. But “in the moment of victory,” the Assad regime, rather than being victorious and strong, “was absolutely depended for its victory and continued existence on its patrons, Russia and the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

    He addressed the emerging conflict between Israel and Iran in southwest Syria. Spyer said Iran “played a crucial role in the preservation of the Assad regime, now seeking to push its project westwards towards the Golan Heights.” Israel, meanwhile, is “determined to stop that process in its tracks.”

    Spyer stated that the JCPOA, the nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, played a significant role in cementing Iran’s totalitarian and hegemonic agenda in the Middle East.

    The million-dollar windfall from sanctions relief “strengthened and broadened the Iranian hand.” Dr. Spyer insisted, even before the deal was signed “Iran still managed to find billions of dollars to prop up the Assad regime in Syria, to finance the Shiite militias in Iraq, and the uprising of the Houthi movement in Yemen.”

    Click here to hear the conversation


    Former Students, Faculty Members Call on Oberlin to End "Concerted Hostility Toward Israel"

    More than 90 alumni of Oberlin College called on the university on Wednesday to end “the concerted hostility toward Israel,” saying Jewish students face a challenging environment on campus, Shiri Moshe reported for The Algemeiner.

    “The stream of negative messages about Israel creates the distorted impression that Israel is a unique evil in the world,” warned the alumni in an open letter sent to the Oberlin President.

    The campaign was organized by the group Oberlin Alums for Campus Fairness — which opposes the BDS campaign against Israel. They observed that “there were eight times as many events portraying Israel negatively as there were portraying Israel positively” at the school during the fall 2017 semester.

    While defending the right of veteran BDS activist Ali Abunimah to speak, “we do object to professors endorsing his position by offering extra credit to students who attend…We also believe that without offering students the opportunity to hear counter-narratives and robust debate and dialogue, Oberlin College is engaging in political indoctrination rather than offering rigorous education.”

    In 2016, the same organization issued a letter in which the group expressed concern over “the continued intimidation of Jewish students and the many other forms of antisemitism occurring on campus.”

    The Tower reported that an assistant professor at the college, Joy Karega, posted on social media blaming “Israeli and Zionist Jews” for the terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015. She was later dismissed, but concerns have persisted over the college’s failure to adequately address a history of anti-Semitic incidents.


    Israeli, Palestinian Doctors Work Together to Save Baby Born with Heart Defect

    Doctors at both Israeli and Palestinian-operated hospitals joined forces to save the life of a Filipino baby boy in Jerusalem, The Times of Israel reported Thursday.

    On February 14, Francis Joseph was born at the Red Crescent Hospital in East Jerusalem with a rare and serious heart defect, which required a complicated and risky open-heart surgery. The so-called “Jatene procedure,” which the Palestinian-operated hospital did not have the facilities to perform, was however possible in Hadassah Hospital.

    When Dr. Julius Golender, a pediatric cardiologist at the hospital, received an emergency call from his colleagues at the Red Crescent Hospital, Golender consulted immediately with his fellow pediatric cardiologists from Hadassah, Dr. Juma Natshe and Dr. Sagi Gavri, who together came up with a plan to save the baby’s life.

    “I was surprised when suddenly these experts from Hadassah showed up at the Red Crescent Hospital, and in my view it was a miracle,” said Nina, Francis Joseph’s mother.

    The successful surgery took a little over five hours, according to the hospital.

    Nina thanked the doctors and the hospital for stepping in and performing the life-saving surgery on her son. “We were undoubtedly very lucky that Hadassah got involved and saved my child and my family,” she said.

    A few weeks after the surgery, Francis Joseph was allowed to go home. When he returned to the hospital for a checkup, his doctors said he was “in good condition, active and smiley.”




     

     


  • Rare trove of bronze Jewish Revolt coins unearthed near Temple Mount

    coin-crop-640x400.jpg

     

    A hoard of rare bronze Jewish Revolt coins has been discovered at the recently renewed Ophel excavations. The trove of dozens of bronze coins minted during the last years of the ill-fated four-year rebellion of the Jews against Roman rule was uncovered in a cave just south of the Temple Mount by Hebrew University archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar.

    The Ophel excavations, located below the Temple Mount’s southern wall, were relaunched in early 2018 after a four-year hiatus. They garnered international headlines after the publication of the recent “Prophet Isaiah” seal impression, which was discovered in the lead-up to the current dig season.

     

     

    Read full article on The Times of Israel.


  • The Daily TIP: Gallup: Americans are “As Strongly Pro-Israel” as Anytime in Past Three Decades

    Gallup: Americans are “As Strongly Pro-Israel” as Anytime in Past Three Decades
    Israel's Elbit Systems Signs $65 Million Contract with Asian-Pacific Nation for Rescue Tech
    IDF Paratroopers Teach U.S. Marines “Lost Art” of Fighting in Tunnels During Juniper Cobra
    EU-Sponsored Program Encourage Joint Israel-Palestinian Agricultural Ventures


    Gallup: Americans are “As Strongly Pro-Israel” as Anytime in Past Three Decades

    Americans are "as strongly pro-Israel" as anytime in the thirty years Gallup has polling American attitudes on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the polling agency assessed in a news alert released on Wednesday.

    The 64% of Americans who sympathize more with Israel matches the high previously recorded in 1991 and 2013.

    In contrast, only 19% of those surveyed expressed greater sympathy for the Palestinians and 16% favored neither side.

    The increased percentage of Americans showing sympathy for Israel was driven by an increase in Republican support for the Jewish state now at an all-time high of 87%. Democratic sympathy stood at 49%, which is up from 42% in 2001 and consistent with the average since then. 59% of independents felt more sympathy for Israel, up from 51% in 2001.

    This is consistent with the findings of a 2014 Pew poll which found that while Democratic support for Israel remained strong, Republican support has surged in recent years.

    The news release also showed that nearly twice as many Americans favored more United States pressure on the Palestinians to make peace than on Israel by a margin of 50% to 27%.

    In addition, 74% of American view Israel favorably, while 21% view Israel unfavorably. Israel's favorable rating is the highest it’s been since 1991, when Israel was targeted by Scuds launched by Iraq's then-dictator Saddam Hussein. The numbers for the Palestinian Authority were nearly reversed with 71% of Americans viewing the PA unfavorably, while only 21% viewing it favorably.



    Israel's Elbit Systems Signs $65 Million Contract with Asian-Pacific Nation for Rescue Tech

    Elbit Systems Ltd., Israel’s largest non-government-owned defense firm, announced on Wednesday that it was awarded a $65 million contract by an Asian-Pacific country to provide a comprehensive Search and Rescue (SAR) solution. The project will be performed over a three-year period.

    The company did not name the country.

    The Times of Israel reported that, as part of the company’s comprehensive airborne radio communication solutions portfolio Elbit will install Airborne Locator Systems (ALS) and Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs) on board a number of fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft in use by the customer's air force, army and navy. The Israeli defense firm will also supply thousands of Personal Survival Radio (PSR) systems.

    Yehuda Vered, the General Manager of Elbit Systems, said: "We are pleased with this contract award to supply a comprehensive SAR solution, attesting to the maturity of our systems and to our market leadership.”

    He added: “Based on our vast portfolio of Radio and Communication solutions, already operational with dozens of armed forces worldwide, we are able to provide a technological edge, and we hope that additional customers will follow in selecting our unique SAR systems as their solution of choice."

    The company provides a wide range of defense, homeland security and commercial defense technologies globally, including in aerospace, land and naval systems, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance systems, unmanned aircraft, advanced electro-optics and cybersecurity systems.

    Earlier this week, the Israeli government approved Elbit's acquisition of state-owned weapons maker IMI Systems for $520 million.



    IDF Paratroopers Teach U.S. Marines “Lost Art” of Fighting in Tunnels During Juniper Cobra

    As part of the ongoing Juniper Cobra 2018 exercises between the IDF and the United States military, IDF paratroopers have been training their counterparts in the U.S. Marines in the "lost art" of fighting in tunnels, The Times of Israel reported Tuesday.

    Over the past ten days Israeli and U.S. forces have participated in exercises that have involved "sharing techniques and knowledge on beach-landings and aspects of urban warfare," according to the Times.

    Lt. Col. Marcuz Mainz, commander of the U.S. Marine Corps’ 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, the joint training has included learning to fight in tunnels, which he termed a "lost art" for the American military, who haven't engaged in that form of combat since the Vietnam War.

    In general, Mainz explained to reporters, "“We came to learn, train, and share our techniques and ideas with the IDF. In the end that’s to make us a more effective force in future operations, if we’re doing them together or independently."

    Lt. Ron Semel, the training officer of the IDF's Paratroopers’ Brigade’s Reconnaissance Battalion, said that Israeli troops learned how better to use light-armored vehicles in combat from their American counterparts, "“We did a joint training session with them, fighting side by side, with the armored vehicles, and the way they used them on the battlefield was really effective."

    Semel added that there was a value in sharing combat techniques with other armies, "A visitor sees every flaw. We had someone coming from outside, seeing us work, and then can figure out every issue that we have in our technique and help us strive for perfection."

    EU-Sponsored Program Encourage Joint Israel-Palestinian Agricultural Ventures

    On the first day of a pilot program pairing Israeli and Palestinian farmers interested in joint agricultural ventures, each population sat warily on opposite sides of the room.

    Though all had agreed to be part of the trailblazing training program held at the Galilee International Management Institute (GIMI) on Kibbutz Mizra, significant social and linguistic barriers stood in their way.

    “The biggest challenge was to overcome the notions we have of the ‘the other,’” says Silvana Nahmad, director of European and Mediterranean Affairs at GIMI. The program was funded by the European Union and developed in cooperation with a foundation that prefers not to be identified.

    To be considered for the program, applicants had to have at least a bachelor’s degree in agriculture or a related field, such as water management, and a willingness to work together over a period of two years to launch businesses growing and exporting olives or dates, two of Israel’s largest crops.

    Nahmad chose 10 Israeli participants and the partnering foundation chose 15 Palestinian participants, mostly between the ages of 23 and 50. Their initial seminars at GIMI last November focused on both the agricultural and business aspects of the future joint ventures.

    Over the course of three five- to six-day learning modules at GIMI, “the participants had a lot of opportunities to speak to one another. They ate together in the kibbutz dining room and they went out to eat in Haifa and Acre together,” Nahmad tells ISRAEL21c.

    “Only some of the Palestinians were able to speak English or Hebrew, and they helped the others. At the end of the three seminars we already had a few ideas for projects they can do together.”

    (via Israel21c)


  • TIP On i24NEWS - THE RUNDOWN | AIPAC's role

    Click here to watch the i24NEWS interview 

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  • TIP Managing Director Quoted in WFB on Iran

    By 

    FreeBeacon

    March 8, 2018

    Click here to read full article

    Iran is undertaking a massive buildup of its ballistic missile program, sparking fears of a "second Holocaust" amid sensitive international negotiations that could see the Trump administration legitimize Iranian missiles capable of striking Israel, according to multiple sources familiar with ongoing diplomatic talks.

    As the Trump administration and European allies continue discussions aimed at fixing a range of flaws in the landmark Iran nuclear deal, sources familiar with the progression of these talks say the United States is caving to European demands limiting restrictions on Iran's ballistic missile program.

    While the Trump administration went into the negotiations with a hardline stance on cutting off Iran's ballistic missile program, it appears the United States is moving closer in line with European positions that would only regulate a portion of the missiles.

    Multiple sources with knowledge of the ongoing talks told the Washington Free Beacon U.S. officials have been backpedaling on key demands originally proposed by President Trump in order to preserve the agreement and appease European allies who are eager to continue doing business with Tehran.

    Senior Trump administration officials recently told the Free Beacon the United States is prepared to abandon the nuclear deal if European allies fail to address what it views as a range of flaws in the nuclear deal that have enabled Iran's missile buildup and allowed it to continue critical nuclear research.

    However, it appears the United States is losing ground in the talks, moving closer to the European position, which includes what insiders described as only cosmetic changes to the nuclear deal that fail to adequately address Iran's massive missile buildup.

    "If Trump doesn't take control of these negotiations, he will be to Iranian missiles what Obama was to Iranian enrichment," said one veteran foreign policy official with direct knowledge of the ongoing negotiations in Europe. "Combined, Obama and Trump's negotiators could end up giving us a bipartisan Iranian nuclear weapon capable of bringing a second Holocaust. What does it say that Donald Trump's negotiators have a weaker position on Iranian missiles than the United Nations?"

    Speculation the Trump administration will cave on the missile issue has been fueled by off-record meetings between Trump administration officials and foreign policy insiders, as well as recent comments by the State Department that only "long-range" missiles are currently up for discussion, according to sources who spoke to the Free Beacon.

    The State Department would not comment on the current state of the talks, but told the Free Beaconthe ballistic missiles issue remains on the agenda.

    This includes "preventing Iran from developing or testing a long-range ballistic missile," according to a State Department official.

    This does not appear to include shorter-range missiles that could strike Israel.

    A White House National Security Council official also declined to discuss the current state of the negotiations, only telling the Free Beacon, "talks are ongoing."

    One senior congressional official with knowledge of the efforts to crackdown on Iran's missile program expressed shock at how the administration's negotiating position has evolved.

    "Give me a break," said the source, who was not authorized to speak on the record about the sensitive discussions. "Is the U.S. negotiating position really going to be watered down from the standard laid out in UNSCR 2231," the United Nations Security Council resolution banning Iranian ballistic missile work.

    "We need to address the Iranian ballistic missile threat as it appears today, and ensure Iran does not have a free pass to potentially test and acquire ballistic missiles that can be used to rain nuclear bombs down on Riyadh and Jerusalem," the source said.

    As discussions of the deal continue, the U.S. intelligence community has issued a wide ranging warning about the progress Iran has made in its ballistic missile work, which is among the largest stockpile in the region.

    Iran currently "has the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East," according to the U.S. director of national intelligence, who recently highlighted the issue in an annual threat assessment.

    "Tehran's desire to deter the United States might drive it to field an ICBM," or intercontinental ballistic missile, which is capable of carrying a nuclear payload, according to the DNI. "Progress on Iran's space program, such as the launch of the Simorgh SLV in July 2017, could shorten a pathway to an ICBM because space launch vehicles use similar technologies."

    Iran has used billions of dollars in cash windfalls it received as part of the nuclear agreement to pursue ballistic missile research and construction, according to the U.S. intelligence community.

    "Iran continues to develop and improve a range of new military capabilities to target U.S. and allied military assets in the region, including armed UAVs, ballistic missiles, advanced naval mines, unmanned explosive boats, submarines and advanced torpedoes, and anti-ship and land-attack cruise missiles," the DNI warned. "Iran has the largest ballistic missile force in the Middle East and can strike targets up to 2,000 kilometers from Iran's borders."

    This endangers Israel and is fueling concerns the Trump administration will fail to constrain the program at a time when Iran is increasingly threatening the Jewish state with a strike.

    While United Nations Security Council resolutions currently ban Iran from conducting ballistic missile work, the Islamic Republic has openly flaunted the ban and vowed to never stop its buildup.

    In 2013, the Obama administration and Congress agreed that Iran should not be able to test fire any ballistic missile exceeding 500km, or about 310 miles. That benchmark eventually increased to 2,000km, or 1,240 miles, following opposition by Iran.

    Legislation proposed by Rep. Peter Roskam (R., Ill.) includes a "zero tolerance" clause on Iranian ballistic missiles, meaning that all sanctions waived as part of the nuclear deal would snapback if Iran tests any ballistic missile. Supporters have described the legislation as the "gold standard for how to fix the Iran deal when it comes to ballistic missiles."

    With concerns mounting that the Trump administration will walk back its support of a full ballistic missile ban, insiders worry that Israel will suffer the consequences.

    "Trump will be legitimizing Iranian missiles that can wipe Israel off the map," said one insider with knowledge of the talks and the administration's evolving position. "What does it say that Donald Trump's negotiators have a weaker position than [Democratic leader] Harry Reid and the United Nations?"

    Omri Ceren, a managing director at The Israel Project, a DC-based educational organization that has worked closely with the administration on Iran issues, told the Free Beacon that any fix that does not fully ban ballistic missiles is a failure.

    "Congress and the Israelis are on the same page about this. The only acceptable fix to the Iran deal is one that prohibits all nuclear capable ballistic missiles, which is what the relevant U.N. resolution says anyway, if the international community would ever bother to enforce it," Ceren said. "House Republicans even explicitly laid out those expectations in recent legislation they advanced."


  • Germany hunts for Iranian agents who reportedly spied on Israeli, Jewish targets

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    German authorities said Tuesday they were conducting searches countrywide in connection with 10 suspected Iranian spies, with one report saying that the suspects were members of an elite military force that had been watching Israeli and Jewish targets.

     

    The weekly German-language magazine FOCUS reported that arrest warrants for the suspects listed them as being members of the al-Quds force, which is part of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and is considered a terrorist organization by the United States.

     

    Read full article on The Times of Israel.


  • Child orphaned in 2008 Mumbai attack makes first visit to site

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    NEW DELHI (AP) — Moshe Holtzberg, a young boy whose parents were killed at a Jewish center in Mumbai during a 2008 terror attack, returned to that city for the first time Tuesday to visit the site of the attack with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

     

    Netanyahu arrived in New Delhi for a six-day visit Sunday and will travel to Mumbai on Thursday, where he will visit the Chabad House where Holtzberg’s parents, Rabbi Gabriel Noach Holtzberg and his wife Rivkah, were gunned down as 10 Muslim terrorists rampaged through Mumbai in a three-day siege. Netanyahu is to unveil a memorial to 166 people killed in the attacks.

     

    Read full article on The Times of Israel.


  • PA President Abbas: 'Israel a colonial project, has nothing to do with Jews'

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    Gloves come off during meeting of PLO's Central Council surrounding US recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital, with PA President Abbas launching scathing attack against President Trump over decision to cut aid: 'May your house come to ruin. The deal of the century has become the slap in the face of the century.'; 'Israel a colonial project that has nothing to do with Jews,' Abbas adds; Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad boycott conference.

     

    Read full article on Ynetnews


  • Netanyahu says Israel is ‘systematically eliminating’ Hamas tunnel infrastructure

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    After the IDF attacked and destroyed a terror tunnel on Saturday night, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad “should not try” Israel. “We are systematically eliminating the tunnel infrastructure of Hamas and Islamic Jihad,” he said from India.

     

    Read full article on Jerusalem Online

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