English LCCC Newsbulletin For Lebanese, Lebanese Related, Global News & Editorials
For November 14/2023
Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

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Bible Quotations For today
Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son
John 14/08-14: “Philip said to him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.’Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.”

Titles For The Latest English LCCC Lebanese & Lebanese Related News & Editorials published on November 13-14/2023
Saint John Chrysostom, the Golden Mouth
Netanyahu warns Hezbollah as Halevi approves 'defense and attack plans'
Report: Austin warns Gallant about Israeli military actions in Lebanon
Lebanon front with Israel heats up, stoking fears of wider war
Escalation on the southern Lebanese front kills and injures civilians
Israeli drone targets journalists in Yaroun, two killed in Ainata
Border clashes intensify, casualties reported on both sides
Brazil arrests 3rd suspect in case Israel says is linked to Hezbollah
LF: Berri to wait for govt. to extend Aoun term before scheduling legislative session
Israel blocks websites of Beirut-based Al-Mayadeen TV
Al-Rahi, Shea stress need to keep Lebanon out of Gaza war
US stresses stability in Lebanon, rejects its involvement in Gaza war
Lebanon says seized 800 kilos of Kuwait-bound drugs
Israel 'ready to take further action' after Hezbollah attack on 'civilians'
Israeli soldiers on the northern front fear massive confrontation with Hezbollah
Berri follows up on South Lebanon developments, meets “Strong Republic” bloc delegation, Belgian Ambassador, Army Intelligence Chief
Hezbollah Supports Extension of General Aoun’s term: Anticipating a Solution to Prevent Military Void
Israeli drone launches four missiles near Kfarkela, Lebanon

Titles For The Latest English LCCC Miscellaneous Reports And News published on November 13-14/2023
US launches 3rd strikes on Iran-linked groups amid attacks on American soldiers: fficials
US airstrikes hit IRGC site in Syria in latest bid to halt attacks
Eight pro-Iran fighters dead in US strikes in Syria
US hints at more strikes unless Iran-linked groups halt attacks
Syria front on edge as Israel targets airports, US hits Iran-linked groups
U.N. observes minute's silence for 101 staff killed in Gaza
Hundreds, including babies, trapped in Shifa hospital surrounded by heavy gunfire
Hundreds of Canadians cross at Rafah on Sunday, but none appear on list for today
Israel holds off on threatened shut-down of Al Jazeera locally
Hamas armed wing discussed releasing 70 hostages in return for 5-day truce
EU nations condemn Hamas for using hospitals, civilians as 'human shields'
United Nations fails again. It gives cover to Hamas while abandoning Israel.
Dubai Air Show opening as aviation soars following pandemic lockdowns, even as wars cloud horizon
UK's Sunak Brings Back Cameron, Sacks Interior Minister in Latest Reset
Ex-PM makes shock return to UK government, Home Secretary Braverman fired
British Lawmakers Urge Govt to Label ‘Revolutionary Guard’ as Terrorist Organization
Israel's Gaza war opens room for Turkey-Iran rapprochement

Titles For The Latest English LCCC  analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on November 13-14/2023
Hamas's Useful Idiots in the U.S., Europe/Bassam Tawil/Gatestone Institute/November 13, 2023
Defund the Soros Hamas Insurrection/Daniel Greenfield/Gatestone Institute./November 13, 2023
No one can deny Hamas’ aim is to kill Jews — it fully admits it/Mark Dubowitz and Natalie Ecanow/New York Post/November 13/2023
Will Netanyahu step down after Israel-Hamas war is over?/Mazal Mualem/Al-Monitor/November 13, 2023
In Never-Before-Seen Video Of Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei's 1998 Tehran/MEMRI/November 13, 2023
Inhumanity in Gaza must awaken our collective humanity/Baria Alamuddin/Arab News/November 13/2023
A time for peace and a two-state solution/Ronald S. Lauder/Arab News/November 13/2023

Latest English LCCC Lebanese & Lebanese Related News & Editorials published on November 13-14/2023
Saint John Chrysostom, the Golden Mouth
Did you know that “Chrysostom” is a nickname that means “golden-mouthed”? A legendary orator, St. John Chrysostom enjoyed immense popularity as a preacher in Antioch. Many of the texts of his sermons, which skillfully blend incisive scholarship with practical instruction, are available today and are considered some of the best examples of the theological thought of his era. Despite fierce cultural opposition, John was unafraid to criticize the evils of his society and government, no matter what the cost. As we celebrate the Feast of St. John Chrysostom on September 13, we reflect on his life and legacy, inspired by his unflinching boldness in proclaiming the truth.
Early Life
John was born in 347 in Antioch, Syria. The son of an army officer, he was primarily raised by his mother, as his father died when he was very young. When John converted to Christianity at age 23, he decided to live with the monks in the mountains on the outskirts of Antioch. For a few years, he cloistered himself in a damp cave – to his own detriment. After suffering poor health from his living conditions, John returned to the city, and in 397 became bishop of Constantinople.
St. John Chrysostom east façade
St. John Chrysostom portrayed in the east façade
John’s Bold Speech
Many of John’s sermons criticized the sensuous and lavish lifestyles led by the wealthy while the poor languished in the slums. At that time, Eudoxia, the empress, was notorious for her extravagant, superficial lifestyle. Some of the aristocratic practices surrounding modesty were not only dehumanizing to servants and slaves, but very often led to the exploitation of the lower classes. John’s fearless excoriation of these customs led people to accuse him of specifically criticizing the empress, and years later, after being tried for that “crime,” he was banished to a remote town on the Black Sea. Unfortunately, he was forced to make the journey on foot in the middle of a blazing summer, pushed onward at an impossible pace by inhumane guards. Just a few months later, he was carried to a nearby chapel at the point of exhaustion and died with the words “Glory be to God for all things,” on his lips. St. John Chrysostom is portrayed in the Basilica in the east Façade, the Baldachin, and in the east apse lunette window of the St. Susanna of Rome Chapel in the Crypt Church.

Netanyahu warns Hezbollah as Halevi approves 'defense and attack plans'
Naharnet/November 13/2023
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday issued a warning to Hezbollah amid escalating tensions on the border, saying the Lebanese group is “playing with fire.”“There are those who think they can expand their attacks against our troops and against civilians. This is playing with fire,” Netanyahu said, without explicitly mentioning Hezbollah. “Fire will be met with much stronger fire. They must not try us, because we have displayed only a little part of our power. We will harm those who harm us,” he added.“We are going to win. There are no pauses. This isn’t an operation, this isn’t another round of fighting. We are going here for total victory … We will restore security in the north and in the south … Hamas will be eliminated,” Netanyahu went on to say. Israeli army Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi meanwhile held a situation assessment at the Northern Command together with the Northern Command Commander, in which he approved “defense and attack plans” for continuing the battle on Lebanon’s front and instructed that all forces maintain readiness, an army spokesman said. "We are preparing strongly with action plans for the North. Our mission is to bring security. The security situation will not be abandoned in such a way that the residents of the north will not feel safe to return to their homes,” Halevi said, according to the spokesman.

Report: Austin warns Gallant about Israeli military actions in Lebanon
Naharnet/November 13/2023
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin expressed concern to his Israeli counterpart Yoav Gallant in a call on Saturday about Israel's role in escalating tensions along the border between Israel and Lebanon, three Israeli and U.S. sources briefed on the call said. “Austin's message to Gallant reflected growing anxiety in the White House that Israeli military action in Lebanon is exacerbating tensions along the border, which could lead to a regional war,” U.S. news portal Axios reported overnight. “Some in the Biden administration are concerned Israel is trying to provoke Hezbollah and create a pretext for a wider war in Lebanon that could draw the U.S. and other countries further into the conflict,” sources briefed on the issue told Axios. Israeli officials have flatly denied the accusation, Axios said. One U.S. source said the White House asked Austin to express concern to Gallant about escalating Israeli military action in Lebanon. In the public readout of the call, the Pentagon said Austin "emphasized the need to contain the conflict to Gaza and avoid regional escalation" without specifically mentioning Lebanon. But, two U.S. and Israeli sources with knowledge of the call said it was a very direct and frank conversation and Austin specifically mentioned concerns about Israeli military action in Lebanon. An Israeli source said Austin asked Gallant for clarification about Israeli air strikes in Lebanon and asked that Israel avoid steps that could lead to an all-out war between Israel and Hezbollah. Gallant for his part told Austin that “Israeli policy is not to open a second front in Lebanon and stressed he doesn't think such a scenario is going to happen,” the Israeli source said. Gallant also told Austin that Hezbollah is escalating its attacks, including an alleged drone attack from Syria on the city of Eilat 350 miles away. "Hezbollah is playing with fire," Gallant told Austin. The Biden administration has been pressing the Lebanese government and other regional powers to do what they can to prevent Hezbollah from joining the war. President Biden's senior adviser Amos Hochstein traveled to Lebanon last week and delivered a strong warning to Hezbollah through Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri and other Lebanese officials not to escalate the situation, a source with direct knowledge of the issue said. “The impression the Biden administration got during and after Hochstein's visit was the Lebanese government and public as well as Hezbollah are not interested in a war with Israel,” two sources with knowledge of the situation told Axios. “Biden administration officials are satisfied that Hezbollah's leader Hasan Nasrallah's speeches over the last week didn't include a call for further escalation and saw that as a sign that their messages were being heard,” one source said. “The Biden administration was alarmed by two incidents with a high potential of pushing Hezbollah to respond in a way that could significantly widen the conflict with Israel, according to the Israeli source. In one incident an Israeli airstrike hit a car in southern Lebanon and killed an elderly woman and three of her grandchildren. It took days for the Israeli military to acknowledge it,” Axios said. “The second incident happened on Saturday before the call between Austin and Gallant when the Israeli military conducted a drone strike about 25 miles north of the border. It was the longest range strike in Lebanon since the war started,” Axios added. Biden administration officials are also concerned by Gallant's public threats against Hezbollah and think these threats only increase tensions, the Israeli source said.

Lebanon front with Israel heats up, stoking fears of wider war
Reuters/November 13, 202
BEIRUT/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Weeks of hostilities across the Lebanese-Israeli border have escalated, with growing casualties on both sides and a war of words fuelling concerns of a widening conflict between Israel and the Iran-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah. Israeli strikes killed two people in south Lebanon on Monday, according to a first-responder organisation affiliated to the Hezbollah-allied Amal Movement. On the Israeli side, a Hezbollah missile attack on Sunday wounded several workers from the Israel Electric Company and one died of his wounds on Monday, the firm said.
Hezbollah has been trading fire with Israeli forces since its Palestinian ally Hamas went to war with Israel on Oct. 7. The exchanges mark the deadliest violence at the border since Israel and Hezbollah fought a month-long war in 2006. So far, more than 70 Hezbollah fighters and 10 civilians have been killed in Lebanon, and 10 people including seven troops have been killed in Israel. Thousands more on both sides have fled shelling. Until now, violence has largely been confined within a band of territory on either side of the border. Israel has said it does not want war on its northern front as it seeks to crush Hamas in the Gaza Strip, while sources familiar with Hezbollah's thinking said its attacks have been designed to keep Israel forces busy while avoiding all-out war. The United States has said it doesn't want conflict to spread around the region, sending two aircraft carriers to the area to deter Iran from getting involved. But that has not stopped the escalating rhetoric from Hezbollah and Israel. Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said on Saturday the Lebanon front would "remain active", and said there was "a quantitative improvement" in the pace of the group's operations. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Hezbollah on Monday not to broaden its attacks. "This is playing with fire. Fire will be answered with much stronger fire. They should not try us, because we have only shown a little of our strength," he said in a statement. Asked at a news conference on Saturday about what Israel's red line was, Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said: "If you hear that we have attacked Beirut, you will understand that Nasrallah has crossed that line."
Lebanon's caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati, in an interview with Al Jazeera on Sunday, said he was reassured by the "rationalism" of Hezbollah so far. "We are preserving self-restraint, and it's up to Israel to stop its ongoing provocations in south Lebanon," he said. Lebanon took years to rebuild from the 2006 war and can ill afford another one, four years into a financial crisis that has impoverished many Lebanese and paralysed the state. Israel has long seen Hezbollah as the biggest threat along its borders. The 2006 war killed 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly civilians, and 157 Israelis, mostly soldiers. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin characterised the violence as "tit-for-tat exchanges between Lebanese Hezbollah and Israeli forces in the north", predicting Israel would remain focused on the threat from Hezbollah "for the foreseeable future". "And certainly no one wants to see another conflict break out in the north on Israel's border in earnest," he told reporters in Seoul, although he said it was hard to predict what might happen. Mohanad Hage Ali of the Carnegie Middle East Center said: "I can definitely see a wider escalation but I am not sure about a full conflict that nobody wants". "Nobody wants one on one hand, and I think the U.S. is playing a strong role keeping things under control," he said.

Escalation on the southern Lebanese front kills and injures civilians
Arab News/November 13/2023
BEIRUT: Weeks of hostilities between Hezbollah and the Israel Defense Forces have escalated, with growing casualties on both sides. US Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea visited the Maronite Patriarch Bechara Al-Rahi. According to the patriarchal media office, the meeting emphasized “the necessity to elect a president, as the US is interested in Lebanon’s stability on all levels and refuses its involvement in the Gaza war.”Political analyst Ali Al-Amin told Arab News that Hezbollah and Iran “will not sacrifice Lebanon, neither for the Gaza Strip nor for Jerusalem, except in case of unexpected developments.”
Another round of tit-for-tat attacks took place on the Lebanese southern front on Monday. Both sides have exchanged fire at the frontier since Oct. 8. An Israeli strike hit a house in the Lebanese border town of Ainata, killing a civilian and injuring another. The IDF also bombed a media convoy while it toured the border village of Yaroun with two missiles. No casualties were reported. According to Israeli media outlets, one Israeli succumbed to his injuries after Hezbollah targeted the Dolev outpost with an anti-armor missile on Sunday.
Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said the group “supports Hamas in the Gaza Strip in its confrontations with the Israeli army.”Russian TV channel RT quoted Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the aerospace force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, as saying that “the war has expanded, and the magnitude of conflicts might increase further.” He added that “the future is uncertain, but Iran is prepared for all circumstances.”Besides the ongoing hostilities, Israel has also threatened to “expand and intensify its response to Lebanon,” especially following Hezbollah’s attacks against IDF outposts on Sunday. The expansion of hostilities has prompted more residents of border villages away from the Blue Line to flee to safer areas. According to the IDF, on Monday 15 missiles were launched from southern Lebanon toward Nahariya and Shlomi, causing casualties.
Al-Qassam Brigades in Lebanon claimed responsibility for bombing the two settlements as well as other areas north of Haifa in response to Israel’s operation in the Gaza Strip. Israeli shelling on Monday targeted the region between Tayr Harfa, Naqoura, and Alma Al-Shaab, setting forests adjacent to the Blue Line and opposite the villages of Naqoura, Alma Al-Shaab, and Al-Dahira on fire. A salvo of rockets was also fired from Lebanon toward the Kiryat Shmona settlement. Hezbollah’s military wing said that it targeted an infantry force in the Dahira outpost in western Galilee with a significant salvo of rockets, causing direct casualties. The party added that it also targeted the Israeli Bayad Blida outpost and Al-Marj outpost in occupied Hounin. Two casualties in the Netua settlement were reported by Israeli media outlets. Sirens have also been activated at the UNIFIL’s headquarters in Naqoura. Hezbollah announced that two more of its members had been killed, increasing the death toll in its ranks to 72 in 37 days. It also published on Al-Manar website the number of injured Israelis based on “the official website of the Israeli Health Ministry.”The website claimed that “the number of injured Israelis receiving treatment in Israeli hospitals in Haifa and northern Israel has reached 1,405 (by) Sunday morning. It added that “they are being treated in the hospitals of Zif, Safad, Nahariya, Rambam, Hillel Yafe, Carmel, and Bnai Zion, among others.”

Israeli drone targets journalists in Yaroun, two killed in Ainata
Naharnet/November 13/2023
Two Lebanese were reportedly killed and several others were wounded Monday in an Israeli airstrike on a house in the southern Lebanese town of Ainata hours before two Israeli shells targeted a gathering of reporters in the town of Yaroun on the Lebanese border. Al-Jazeera cameraman was lightly injured and cars were damaged. Two Israelis were earlier wounded in a Hezbollah attack on Netu'a and an Israeli who got injured by an anti-tank missile strike near the northern community of Dovev on Sunday night was reported dead on Monday. Twenty-one Israelis were wounded in total on Sunday in two anti-tank guided missile attacks. As reporters from al-Mayadeen, MTV, al-Manar, al-Jadeed, al-Jazeera and other outlets gathered in Yaroun to cover an earlier strike on a house in the town, they got targeted twice by a drone. The second missile was captured on air as an MTV journalist was reporting the first attack. This is not the first targeting of Lebanese journalists since October 8. Earlier this month, Israeli strikes hit a group of journalists in southern Lebanon, killing Reuters videographer Issam Abdallah and wounding six journalists from Reuters, AFP and al-Jazeera, although the journalists were clearly identified as press.
In another incident, a journalist team of seven people covering news near the Israeli al-Abad site outside the town of Houla was stranded and targeted with Israeli machine guns. One was killed and another was injured. Last week, an Israeli airstrike killed three girls, ages 10, 12 and 14, and their grandmother in a car between the towns of Ainata and Aitaroun.

Border clashes intensify, casualties reported on both sides

Naharnet/November 13/2023
Two Lebanese were killed and several others were wounded Monday in an Israeli airstrike on a house in the southern Lebanese town of Ainata as Hezbollah targeted Israeli posts and infantry forces in Dhaira, Branit, al-Marj, al-Raheb, and Netu'a, causing confirmed casualties. Israeli artillery meanwhile shelled Mhaibib, Blida, and the outskirts of Alma al-Shaab, Aita al-Shaab, Ramia, Dhaira, al-Jebbayn, Ain Azzarka, Shihine, al-Naqoura, Markaba and Houla in south Lebanon, using flare bombs on Aita al-Shaab. Israeli warplanes also bombed al-Labbouneh, Aita al-Shaab, Bint Jbeil and Ainata.
Israeli residents of the Upper and Western Galilee were instructed to stay in bomb shelters until further notice as alert sirens sounded in Safed, Haifa, and nearby towns in the Upper Galilee, as well as in Acre and suburbs in the Western Galilee.
The Israeli army earlier said that twenty mortars were fired from Lebanon at northern Israel, setting off sirens in Gornot HaGalil and in the northern village of Arab al-Aramshe. All mortars landed in open areas, causing no injuries or damage.
Israel claimed it had struck "a terror cell" preparing to carry out an attack near the Biranit army base overnight. Israel had fired Sunday white phosphorus shells on several southern border towns causing cases of suffocation in Houla, Mays al-Jabal, Blida and Yaroun.In the north since October 7, more than 90 people have been killed on the Lebanese side, and eight inside Israel, including six soldiers. Israeli media announced Monday the death of an Israeli who had been injured Sunday by an anti-tank missile fired by Hezbollah towards Dovev, raising the death toll in northern Israel to at least nine.

Brazil arrests 3rd suspect in case Israel says is linked to Hezbollah
Agence France Presse/November 13/2023
Brazilian police said Monday they arrested a third suspect for involvement in planning "terrorist attacks" in the country, a plot Israel says was backed by Lebanon's Hezbollah. The alleged plot came to light last week, when Brazil's federal police carried out a series of raids across several states and arrested two suspects in Sao Paulo in an "anti-terrorism" investigation. "A third suspect under investigation was arrested Sunday in Rio de Janeiro," police said in a statement. The first two suspects arrested in the case denied the accusations Friday in an initial court hearing. Israel's Mossad spy agency says it helped foil the alleged plot, which it claims was planned by Hezbollah and aimed at Israeli and Jewish targets in Brazil. Iran-backed Hezbollah is allied with Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist group locked in a bloody conflict with Israel. Several top Brazilian officials have reacted angrily to Israel's statements on the case. Justice Minister Flavio Dino on Thursday condemned a "rush to conclusions about an ongoing investigation" for "propaganda" purposes. Dino said the Brazilian investigation started before the current Israel-Hamas conflict erupted on October 7.Anti-terror operations are rare in Brazil, which has never suffered a major attack. The country is home to around 107,000 Jews, the second-biggest Jewish community in Latin America, after Argentina. Security experts have long tracked alleged Hezbollah operations in South America's "tri-border area" between Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. All three countries are home to large populations of Lebanese origin.

LF: Berri to wait for govt. to extend Aoun term before scheduling legislative session
Naharnet/November 13/2023
The Strong Republic parliamentary bloc of the Lebanese Forces on Monday visited Speaker Nabih Berri to ask that he schedule a parliamentary session for extending the term of Army chief General Joseph Aoun. “We have been promised by the Speaker that he will only wait until the end of the month, because he prefers the extension to take place in Cabinet. After that he will set a session and our proposal will be the first item on the agenda of the urgent bills,” MP George Adwan of the bloc said after the meeting.
“Speaker Berri hopes the extension will take place in Cabinet over the next two weeks and we also hope so,” Adwan added. “Since things have become clear, we call on (caretaker) PM (Najib) Mikati to quickly schedule a session in the next days so that we extend the General’s term and preserve the army command,” Adwan went on to say.

Israel blocks websites of Beirut-based Al-Mayadeen TV
Agence France Presse/November 13/2023
The websites of the Beirut-based, pro-Iranian TV channel Al-Mayadeen have been blocked in Israel over "security" concerns, an official said Monday, as the war in Gaza raises worries of a regional conflict. Israel's communication minister Shlomo Karhi said the security cabinet had approved emergency measures to prevent Al-Mayadeen from harming the state's security. "Immediately upon the cabinet approval this morning, I signed the first order to block the internet sites of Al-Mayadeen in Israel," Karhi wrote on his Facebook page. "The broadcasts and reporters of Al-Mayadeen serve the despicable terror organizations," Karhi said. There was no immediate comment from Al-Mayadeen in Lebanon, but the outlet's Israeli correspondent told AFP she "will abide by the law."The Israeli minister also said he requested the army's chief of central command to apply the same measure in the occupied West Bank. The Palestinian production company working with Al-Mayadeen in the occupied West Bank announced they had cut ties with the Lebanese channel. A spokesman for Karhi told AFP that Al-Mayadeen television could not be blocked since it was broadcast via satellite, but that officials intended to prohibit Al-Mayadeen reporters from working in Israel. In a Monday statement, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Al-Mayadeen has "turned into a mouthpiece of Hezbollah."He accused the Lebanese network's journalists of "supporting terror while pretending to be reporters."Last month, Karhi's office presented the security cabinet with a plan to close the Israeli operation of Al-Jazeera in light of "evidence" the Qatari channel was broadcasting content "that harm national security."No measures have since been taken against Al-Jazeera. Qatar has been key in attempts to mediate a deal that would see the release of the nearly 240 hostages taken by Hamas militants during their October 7 attack on Israel, which allegedly killed around 1,200 people, mainly civilians, according to Israeli authorities. Israel's ensuing bombing campaign and ground invasion in Gaza has killed over 11,100 people, most of them civilians. Near-daily exchanges of fire between Israel and militants in southern Lebanon, predominantly Hezbollah, have killed at least six Israeli soldiers and two civilians, according to the Israeli army. Among the dead in Lebanon are at least 70 Hezbollah fighters and 11 civilians, according to an AFP count.

Al-Rahi, Shea stress need to keep Lebanon out of Gaza war
Naharnet/November 13/2023
Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi met Monday with U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea.No statement was made after the meeting but the National News Agency said the two discussed the need for a swift election of a Lebanese president and the need to prevent Lebanon from joining the Gaza war. Al-Rahi also reiterated his support for the extension of the term of Army chief Gen. Joseph Aoun, whose term ends in January.

US stresses stability in Lebanon, rejects its involvement in Gaza war
LBCI/November 13/2023
Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Mar Bechara Boutros al-Rahi received the US Ambassador to Lebanon, Dorothy Shea, who left Bkerki without making any statements. According to the National News Agency, various topics were discussed during the meeting, emphasizing Lebanon's urgent need for the election of a president. The United States is keen on Lebanon's stability on all fronts and rejects its involvement in the Gaza war. Regarding the expiration of the army commander's term, Patriarch al-Rahi reiterated his stance opposing the dismissal of the army commander.

Lebanon says seized 800 kilos of Kuwait-bound drugs
Agence France Presse/November 13/2023
Lebanon has seized more than half a tonne of drugs destined for Kuwait, authorities said, as Beirut seeks to combat narcotics trafficking, particularly to Gulf countries. Authorities "seized around 800 kilograms of drugs" bound for Kuwait via the Netherlands, the office of Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi said in a statement carried by Lebanon's official National News Agency (NNA). The drugs were "professionally" concealed in wooden figures inside a bulletproof box, the statement said, without specifying the type of narcotics seized. An individual allegedly involved in the trafficking operation was arrested, it added. The move came as part of "ongoing intensive security cooperation between the Kuwaiti and Lebanese interior ministries", the statement said. Lebanese authorities have ramped up efforts to counter the production and trafficking of stimulant captagon after backlash from conservative Gulf nations. Most of the Middle East's captagon is produced in Syria and Lebanon, and smuggled to its main consumer market in the Gulf.

Israel 'ready to take further action' after Hezbollah attack on 'civilians'
Associated Press/November 13, 2023
The Israeli army’s chief spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, has said the Hezbollah attack on Israeli civilians on Sunday was “very serious.”Hezbollah had wounded Sunday seven Israeli troops and 10 employees who were in Dovev to repair power lines downed by earlier strikes, according to Israel. Hezbollah said the guided missiles targeted a “logistical force belonging to the occupation army that was about to install transmission poles and eavesdropping and spying devices near the Dovev barracks.” Some of the wounded are in critical condition.
Hagari said Israel is focused on its war in Gaza but it also remains at a “very high level of preparedness in the north” and ready to take further action. The Israeli military “has operational plans to change the security status in the north,” he told reporters. “The security status will not remain such that the civilians of the north do not feel safe returning to their homes.” The Israeli military said in a statement that "seven IDF soldiers were lightly injured as a result of the mortar shell launches in the area of Manara in northern Israel earlier today.” Israeli rescue services did not identify the location or provide information about the 10 others wounded by rocket blasts and shrapnel, but said two of them were in critical condition. The Israeli military said they identified 15 launches from Lebanon over the past hour and their defense systems intercepted four of them. The rest fell into open areas.
Hamas’ military wing, meanwhile, claimed responsibility for shelling the northern Haifa and the Israeli border towns of Na’ura and Shlomi from southern Lebanon without giving any further details. Israel struck several southern Lebanese towns, including Yaroun, Mays el-Jabal, and Alma al-Shaab. The Israeli military Sunday night shared an aerial video showing strikes on what it said was Hezbollah militant infrastructure including a “military compound with a warehouse of weapons and military infrastructure." It did not give any additional details. Israeli troops and Hezbollah militants and their allies have been clashing along the border since the Israel-Hamas war started five weeks ago with a bloody incursion into southern Israel by Hezbollah ally Hamas. While largely contained, clashes have increased in intensity as Israel conducts a ground offensive in Gaza against Hamas. Also Sunday, the United Nations peacekeeping force in south Lebanon, UNIFIL, said one of its peacekeepers had been wounded by gunfire overnight near the Lebanese town of al-Qawza. It was not immediately clear where the shooting had come from or whether the peacekeepers were targeted or caught in crossfire. UNIFIL said it was investigating.

Israeli soldiers on the northern front fear massive confrontation with Hezbollah
Agence France Presse/November 13, 2023
A drone from Lebanon appears on the other side of the hill from the Israeli soldiers. The sighting is reported by radio, but its buzz has already alerted the troops. Two of the camouflaged soldiers on the ground train their M-16s skywards.
"This is how it is here. We go from 0 to 100 in a few seconds," says Kamal Saad, 33, who commands the Israeli army's 299th Battalion operating in the north. Cross-border exchanges of fire have intensified since Hamas's October 7 attack on Israel, mostly between Lebanese armed group Hezbollah, an ally of Hamas, and Israeli forces. Israeli tanks aim at the buzzing unmanned aircraft, alongside other weaponry, the details of which the army has asked AFP not to disclose. The action lasts an hour, during which the whole battalion is ordered to take cover. The military position, which AFP has been authorized to visit, serves as a rear base for the battalion. It is famous throughout the country for its infantry being 70 percent Druze, an Arabic-speaking minority in Israel who are known for being fierce fighters. "We grew up here, it's our home. We know every stone," says Saad. "Our mission is to protect the security forces operating here and the remaining civilians," adds the commander whose brother Alim was killed by Hezbollah on October 9 in the area.
Civilians evacuated -
On Saturday, with the unit on high alert, some of Saad's men in the battalion watched Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah speak in only his second televised address since the Hamas-Israel war began. "The threat can come from anywhere -- sea, sky and land," says Saad. It is not like during Israel's 2006 war with Hezbollah, when salvoes of rockets were fired from Lebanon. Now the fire is sporadic, but it does take place every day. And for the first time in Israel's 75-year history, all civilians in areas along the border have been evacuated. At another section of the border, three soldiers were wounded in an attack on a position at Margaliot, near Kiryat Shmona, on Friday. On Saturday, the area was targeted again, with AFP journalists reporting plumes of smoke over the key Israeli position. Nearby, the residents of Kfar Giladi kibbutz say they are the last line of defense against Hezbollah. Tom Cohen, 28, returned from Australia to where he had grown up to join the kibbutz's self-defense group. "People were afraid that Hezbollah was just going to move in... as we have seen in the south," he says, referring to the Hamas attacks of October 7.
Mission: deterrence -
"Now the big threat is the rockets coming from above... and attack drones."He says he hopes that once Lebanon is rid of Hezbollah the border will open and he can discover the country that he grew up facing. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he will only engage in a war with Hezbollah if it forces him to. On Friday, in a visit to troops near Gaza, he said the mission of those forces deployed in northern Israel could be summed up in one word: deterrence. All of the Israeli soldiers AFP has spoken to fear a massive confrontation. "Hezbollah from the second day is trying to get into this war," Cohen says. "Rockets on your bases, on people, on civilians -- it's declaring war," he adds, pointing to the memorial commemorating the death of 12 soldiers in 2006, killed by a rocket at the kibbutz gate. The bloody Gaza war erupted after Hamas fighters smashed through the militarized border with Israel on October 7, killing around 1,200 people and taking about 240 people hostage, according to Israeli figures. Israel's relentless campaign in response has killed more than 11,100 people, mostly civilians and including thousands of children, according to the health ministry in Gaza. In the north since October 7, more than 90 people have been killed on the Lebanese side, and eight inside Israel, including six soldiers. Among the dead in Lebanon are at least 70 Hezbollah fighters and 11 civilians, according to an AFP count.

Berri follows up on South Lebanon developments, meets “Strong Republic” bloc delegation, Belgian Ambassador, Army Intelligence Chief
NNA/November 13, 2023
House Speaker, Nabih Berri, on Monday received at the Second Presidency in Ain El-Tineh, Belgian Ambassador to Lebanon, Koen Vervaeke, with whom he discussed the general situation and developments in Lebanon and the region, in light of the escalating Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip and on the southern border Lebanese villages and towns with occupied Palestine. Speaker Berri also followed up on the development of the general situation, especially the security and field developments in south Lebanon, during his meeting with Army Intelligence Director, Brigadier General Tony Kahwaji. Speaker Berri also met, in Ain al-Tineh, with a delegation representing the “Strong Republic” bloc, headed by MP George Adwan. The delegation included Ghassan Hasbani, Camille Chamoun, Elias Stephan, Nazih Matta, Ghada Ayoub, Jihad Pakradouni, Pierre Bou Assi, Melhem Riachi, Razi Al-Hajj, Ziad Hawat, Elias Khoury and Fadi Karam. Discussions reportedly touched on the current political developments and legislative affairs.

Hezbollah Supports Extension of General Aoun’s term: Anticipating a Solution to Prevent Military Void

LBCI/November 13, 2023
After shuffling the extension file for The Lebanese Armed Forces Commander General Joseph Aoun for months, it seems "the recipe" is ready. According to information made available to LBCI, Hezbollah has informed Speaker Nabih Berri and Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati, as well as the Army Commander, of its agreement on the principle of postponing the retirement of General Aoun, as well as attending a session for the caretaker government on this matter. Hezbollah's decision, tied to Lebanon's current circumstances due to the war on Gaza, prompted political figures to reach an understanding to prevent a power vacuum in the military. The proposed solution involves the caretaker government deciding to delay the retirement based on the National Defense Law, considering the prevailing circumstances, rather than relying on the defense minister's proposal, who initially opposed the extension principle. A delegation from the Strong Lebanon bloc in Ain el-Tineh discussed the extension of General Aoun. The file was also present in discussions between US Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea and Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Mar Bechara Boutros al-Rai, who has a stance against removing the army commander.

Israeli drone launches four missiles near Kfarkela, Lebanon
LBCI/November 13, 2023
An Israeli drone fired four missiles at the area east of Kfarkela, near Tal Al-Nahhas and a Merkava tank stationed at the Metula site shelled the same area.

Latest English LCCC Miscellaneous Reports And News published on November 13-14/2023
US launches 3rd strikes on Iran-linked groups amid attacks on American soldiers: fficials
ABC News/November 13, 2023
American aircraft on Sunday struck a weapons storage facility and a command-and-control center used by Iran-linked militants in Syria in the latest round of retaliatory strikes amid continued attacks on U.S. troops in the Middle East, officials said. "Within the last two hours, the U.S. has taken precision defensive strikes against two sites in Syria," one official told ABC News. The operation was in response to what the Pentagon has called ongoing attacks, injuring dozens of American troops, by proxy fighters supported by Iran since the Israel-Hamas war began after Hamas' terror attack last month. The U.S. military said the strikes are part of a larger strategy of deterrence intended to keep other groups from escalating conflict in the region, where tensions have been sharply inflamed by the fighting between Israel and Hamas. "The president has no higher priority than the safety of U.S. personnel, and he directed today's action to make clear that the United States will defend itself, its personnel, and its interests," Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement on Sunday. The strikes were "intended to disrupt and degrade the freedom of action and capabilities" of the groups "directly responsible for attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria," Austin added Monday, speaking during a press conference in South Korea with counterpart Shin Won-sik. "And we have said, and we will continue to say, that we will take all necessary measures to protect our troops, the safety of our troops, and our civilians. It is our utmost importance to the president of the United States and to me," Austin said. Gen. Michael Kurilla, head of U.S. Central Command, also issued a statement calling the strikes a "response" to "continued provocations by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and their affiliated groups in Iraq and Syria." "The United States will continue to defend itself, its personnel, and its interests," the statement concluded. The strikes were the third round of retaliation, according to the Pentagon: The military said on Wednesday that warplanes struck a weapons storage facility in eastern Syria that was being used by Iran-backed militants responsible for the dozens of drone and rocket attacks against American troops in the region over the previous three weeks. "We hold Iran accountable for these attacks, not just the militia groups," a senior defense official told reporters at the time. Ten days after Hamas launched its attack on Israel, on Oct. 7, sparking the war, Iran-backed militants began what has become a spate of near-daily aggression, U.S. officials have said. The Iran-linked attackers "in all cases were taking shots at what they believed to be very large numbers of U.S. personnel with the intent of killing them," a senior military official said last week. On Oct. 26, in the first strikes, U.S. fighter jets hit two weapons and ammunition facilities in eastern Syria that officials said were used by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and affiliated groups. "Iran wants to hide its hand and deny its role in these attacks against our forces. We will not let them," Austin said then. "If attacks by Iran's proxies against U.S. forces continue, we will not hesitate to take further necessary measures to protect our people."

US airstrikes hit IRGC site in Syria in latest bid to halt attacks
Jared Szuba/Al-Monitor/November 13, 2023
WASHINGTON — US warplanes struck two facilities in eastern Syria on Sunday as the Biden administration attempted to halt a cycle of attacks by Iran-backed militias in Iraq and Syria against US troops amid Israel's war in the Gaza Strip. US aircraft dropped precision-guided munitions on a training facility near Albukamal and a safe house used by Iran-backed militias and members of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) near Syria's eastern border with Iraq, US officials said Sunday. "The president has no higher priority than the safety of US personnel, and he directed today’s action to make clear that the United States will defend itself, its personnel, and its interests," Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement. Why it matters: The strikes mark the third time US President Joe Biden has authorized aerial strikes on IRGC-linked sites in Syria in less than three weeks.
Washington is struggling to deter Iran's proxies from daily drone and rocket attacks on US bases in Iraq and Syria. The latest retaliatory airstrikes came less than a week after the previous round on Nov. 8, which targeted a weapons storage facility near Deir ez-Zor. Iran-backed militias in Syria and Iraq have cited US support for Israel's war effort against Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip in repeated public threats against US troops over the past month. Attacks began to target US bases in the region on Oct. 17, breaching a more than six-month lull that had previously reached a crescendo in early 2020 after the Trump administration ordered the assassination of IRGC Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani. As of late last week, Iran-backed groups had attempted to attack US positions at least 46 times during the current back-and-forth, leaving at least 56 US troops with injuries, including traumatic brain injuries. Defense officials say most of the attempted militia rocket and drone barrages have been parried by US air defenses. Biden administration officials say Iran aims to expel US troops from the Middle East by pressure via proxy militias its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps backs throughout the region, but that Tehran does not seek to provoke the United States to respond at the level of full-scale war. The United States has deployed two aircraft carrier strike groups, additional warplanes and air defense systems to the Middle East in a bid to deter Iran and its proxies from launching further attacks as Israel's military surrounds Gaza City for what is expected to be a lengthy, grinding urban battle for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) as it seeks out and kills Hamas operatives. More than 11,000 Palestinians have been killed since Israel declared war in response to the worst terrorist attack in Israel's history, in which Hamas militants massacred some 1,200 people in southern Israel. What's next: Iran-backed groups are likely to retaliate for the US airstrikes. Washington has been seeking to halt the tit-for-tat while avoiding escalation, and military officials say it is only a matter of time before the militia attacks seriously injure or kill US personnel. Pro-Hezbollah news outlet Al-Mayadeen claimed that militias fired 15 rockets on Sunday toward the US military base at the Conoco gas field on the east side of the Euphrates River in Deir ez-Zor in retaliation for the strikes. US officials have not confirmed this attack as of publication time.
Fox News on Sunday cited a senior US defense official as saying that the US airstrikes killed six or seven Iran-backed militia members at one of the targeted facilities in Syria.
A US military official speaking to Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity could not confirm the casualty assessment but noted that facilities, not personnel, were the focus of the deliberative targeting process. The Biden administration has faced criticism from some Republicans in Congress for its tailored responses to the attacks in recent weeks, which has consisted of carefully timed US airstrikes designed to minimize casualties while destroying weapons storage facilities in a bid to signal to the IRGC Washington's demand that it rein in its proxies.
Former senior US military officials with past responsibility in the Middle East, including former CENTCOM commander Gen. Joseph Votel, have publicly suggested a stronger US response to deter the continued attacks.
Biden administration officials have warned they will hold Iran accountable for the actions of its proxies. The Pentagon's top regional policy official, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East Dana Stroul, publicly warned last week that the United States may strike IRGC personnel in a bid to halt the attacks. Stroul last week said US forces maintain "a range of options" to push back on Iran-backed groups in self-defense. "The United States has taken — and as necessary, will continue to take — military action against the IRGC and its affiliates," Stroul told House lawmakers during a hearing on Wednesday as US warplanes carried out the second round of strikes in recent weeks. "This includes the use of force against IRGC and IRGC-affiliated personnel and facilities," Stroul said. Know more: Five US troops were killed when their helicopter crashed into the Mediterranean Sea during a refueling exercise on Friday. The New York Times first identified the personnel as members of the elite 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR) flying an MH-60 off of the coast Cyprus. The "mishap" remains under investigation, the Pentagon said. The United States European Command said on Saturday the incident "was purely related to training and there are no indications of hostile activity." It has not released details of the unit or its mission. The Pentagon has dispatched elements of Joint Special Operations Command to the region to assist the IDF with potential hostage rescue operations, but there are no plans to put US operators on the ground in the Gaza Strip, defense officials have said.

Eight pro-Iran fighters dead in US strikes in Syria

Associated Press/November 13, 2023
At least eight pro-Iran fighters were killed in U.S. strikes on eastern Syria, a war monitor said Monday, after Washington carried out raids a day earlier in response to attacks on American forces. The toll is "eight pro-Iran fighters dead, including at least one Syrian, and Iraqi nationals", the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, following the strikes late Sunday on the Mayadeen and Albu Kamal areas of Syria's eastern Deir Ezzor province near the Iraqi border. The United States had carried out strikes against two Iran-linked sites in Syria in response to attacks on American forces, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Sunday. It is the third time in less than three weeks that the U.S. military has targeted locations in Syria it said were tied to Iran, which supports various armed groups that Washington blames for a spike in attacks on its forces in the Middle East."U.S. military forces conducted precision strikes today on facilities in eastern Syria used by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iran-affiliated groups in response to continued attacks against US personnel in Iraq and Syria," Austin said in a statement."The strikes were conducted against a training facility and a safe house near the cities of Albu Kamal and Mayadeen, respectively," he said. The Britain-based Observatory said the strikes completely destroyed a weapons depot in a town in the Albu Kamal countryside, reporting successive explosions due to ammunition catching fire. Near Mayadeen, it said the strikes targeted a rocket launch platform. The United States says the strikes are aimed at deterring attacks on American forces in Iraq and Syria -- numbering at more than 45 since October 17 -- that have wounded dozens of US personnel. The Observatory said pro-Iran fighters fired around 15 rockets at a base belonging to the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Syria's Conoco gas field early Monday. An Iraqi group said it carried out an overnight attack on the Green Village base in Syria's Al-Omar oil field. Both sites are in Deir Ezzor province. The surge in attacks on U.S. troops in recent weeks is linked to the war between Israel and Hamas, which began when the Palestinian militant group carried out a shock cross-border attack from Gaza on October 7.

US hints at more strikes unless Iran-linked groups halt attacks

SEOUL (Reuters)/November 13, 2023
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Monday left open the possibility of more strikes against Iran-linked groups if attacks against American forces in Iraq and Syria don't stop, hours after overnight U.S. air strikes in Syria. The U.S. military carried out its third air strike in as many weeks in Syria late on Sunday, targeting a training facility near the city of Albu Kamal and a safe house near the city of Mayadeen. The strikes came after at least 40 attacks against U.S. and coalition troops in Iraq and Syria by Iran-backed forces in recent weeks, as regional tensions mount over the Israel-Hamas war. At least 45 U.S. troops have suffered traumatic brain injuries or minor wounds. "These attacks must stop, and if they don't stop, then we won't hesitate to do what's necessary, again, to protect the troops," Austin told reporters at a news conference in Seoul. Austin said the latest air strikes in eastern Syria targeted facilities used by Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps and related groups. "These strikes are intended to disrupt and degrade the freedom of action of these groups, which are directly responsible for attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria," Austin said. The United States has 900 troops in Syria, and 2,500 more in neighboring Iraq, to advise and assist local forces trying to prevent a resurgence of Islamic State, which in 2014 seized large swathes of both countries but was later defeated. There is growing concern that the Israel-Hamas conflict could spread through the Middle East and turn U.S. troops at isolated bases into targets of heavier weaponry than the smaller rockets and one-way drones seen so far. The United States has deployed additional air defenses and sent warships and fighter aircraft to the region since the Israel-Hamas conflict erupted on Oct. 7, including two aircraft carriers, to try to deter Iran and Iran-backed groups. The number of troops added to the region is in the thousands. Reuters has reported that the U.S. military was taking new measures to protect its Middle East forces during the ramp-up in attacks by suspected Iran-backed groups, and was leaving open the possibility of evacuating military families if needed.
The measures include increasing U.S. military patrols, restricting access to base facilities and boosting intelligence collection, including through drone and other surveillance operations, officials say. It was still unclear whether anyone was killed in the latest U.S. strikes in Syria. A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a U.S. review was under way.

Syria front on edge as Israel targets airports, US hits Iran-linked groups
Danny Makki/Al-Monitor/November 13, 2023
DAMASCUS — Amid the relentless monthlong bombardment of the Gaza Strip, focus on the Syrian and Lebanese fronts with Israel has taken a backseat. But bouts of irregular fighting and isolated missile strikes obscure a deeper, "shadow war" that is threatening to boil over. On Israel’s eastern front, Syria — so often a predictable target for Israeli airstrikes — has seen a marked intensification in fighting both on the border and around US bases. The US military has carried out three rounds of airstrikes in Syria since the war in Gaza started, targeting Iran-linked proxies in response to drone attacks on its forces.
The Israelis — for an unprecedented fourth time in a month — have taken Damascus and Aleppo international airports out of service with heavy air raids. Since the Hamas attack on Israel Oct. 7, Syrian airports have been under constant barrage, leading to near paralysis of the country's entire aviation industry as a result of direct and serious bombings of the runways on multiple occasions. Conceivably, the only saving grace for the Syrians has been the ability to scramble the remaining planes to the Russian-controlled Khmeimim air base in Lattakia that Israel refrains from attacking under any circumstances. Particularly in Damascus, the strikes — killing two workers and creating three huge craters in the runway — were a preemptive attempt to ward off potential Syrian involvement in the Israel-Hamas war and to stop Iranian weapons shipments to the Syrian capital.
Aviation paralysis
After the initial damage at the runway was repaired, Syrian maintenance teams were still assessing the runway before another salvo of rockets hit in the light of day. The Syrian military called it a “desperate Israeli attempt to divert attention from the Gaza conflict.”
A member of Syrian ground staff at Damascus International Airport told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that the consecutive Israeli strikes at the airport came just over an hour after the runway was mended. “The airport runway is not your average tarmac. There are several layers and complexities involved — even the materials are not simple to just repair. After the [first] attack we spent days restoring the runway,” the source said. “Maintenance had only just been completed when another volley of rockets struck the runway. Israelis don’t care about civilians or planes, or that an attack could actually harm innocent travelers and passengers. They want to take out their frustration and failure here. They attacked both Damascus and Aleppo airports, but didn’t even consider going near Lattakia airport — as the Russians are there — so flights were all redirected to there,” the source added.
After the strikes crippled the airports, United Nations spokesperson Stephane Dujarric confirmed the attack would temporarily halt the UN Humanitarian Air Service, which operates out of both airports to serve the Syrian humanitarian programs. The service remains halted. Attacks from within Syria on border areas with Israel and US troop installations simultaneously have been led by Iranian-backed groups in the country, and have added an element of volatility to the war in Gaza in the regional context. While Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah stopped short of committing to a full escalation with Israel in a much-anticipated speech, he still boldly averred, “What’s taking place on our [Lebanese] front is very important and significant.” Nasrallah referenced the deadly clashes at the border with Israel that have killed 70 Hezbollah soldiers thus far, almost a third of the number lost in the 2006 war.
However, the last seven of those fighters — crucially in the regional sense — were killed in an Israeli airstrike near Homs, Syria, where another theater of escalation against Israel and US troop installations has been simmering, far from the spotlight. In a statement by Hezbollah, death notices were posted online of the soldiers who were “martyred on the road to Jerusalem."
Syria's growing proxies
Kamal Alam, a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, told Al-Monitor that the Syrian border brings more risk to Israel than Lebanon because of the number of proxies involved. The last direct confrontation between Syria and Israel was in 1973 in the Fourth Arab-Israeli War. “Whilst everyone talks about an escalation on the Lebanese border, it is actually the Syrian border that worries Israel the most. With the Russians, Iranian-backed groups and the Syrian military itself, there is an amalgamation of severely tested and battled hardened forces that would combine to threaten Israel,” he said. “Israel can get away with hitting Iranian targets, but if they attack Syrian military targets that shall trigger the Russians as well, given Russia is the main ally of the Syrian army,” Alam added. The United States had to contend with troublesome barrages of rockets and missiles on its bases, too, retaliating by bombing Nov. 8 an apparent storage facility in Maysalun in Deir ez-Zor as a deterrent. A US military official told Al-Monitor that “the United States is fully prepared to take further necessary measures to protect our people and our facilities.”Yet the deterrent element was clearly not in consideration by Iranian-backed groups, as shortly after the American strikes a drone attack on US forces at al-Tanf garrison in southern Syria occurred, adding to the tally of incidents where US installations have been regularly harassed in over 60 separate attacks since Oct. 17. The many complexities and different sides in Syria could continue to come to the boil, adding another layer of danger and threat to Israel and the US presence in the country as the war in Gaza rages on. Multiple new incidents and escalations continue to emerge leaving the Syria front with the potential to heat up rapidly in the coming weeks.

U.N. observes minute's silence for 101 staff killed in Gaza
GENEVA (Reuters)/November 13, 2023
United Nations workers observed a minute's silence on Monday to honour the more than 100 employees killed in Gaza since the Israel-Hamas war began last month as U.N. flags flew at half mast. Staff at U.N. offices in Geneva bowed their heads as a candle was lit in memory of the 101 employees of U.N. Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) killed in the Israeli assault on Gaza. "This is the highest number of aid workers killed in the history of our organisation in such a short time," said Tatiana Valovaya, Director-General of the United Nations in Geneva. "We are gathered here today, united in this very symbolic location, to pay respect to our brave colleagues who sacrificed their lives while serving under the United Nations flag." UNRWA has said that some staff members were killed while queuing for bread while others were killed along with their families in their homes in Israel's aerial and ground war against Hamas in response to the Oct. 7 cross-border assault by the Islamist group. Israel blames Hamas for civilian deaths in the densely populated enclave, saying the group uses the population as human shields. Hamas denies the charge. "I would like to say that we are really facing very challenging times for multilateralism, for the world," Valovaya said. "But the United Nations is more relevant than ever." Established in 1949 following the first Arab-Israeli war, UNRWA provides public services including schools, healthcare and aid. Many of UNRWA's 5,000 staff working in Gaza are Palestinian refugees themselves.

Hundreds, including babies, trapped in Shifa hospital surrounded by heavy gunfire
Associated Press/November 13, 2023
Thousands of people appear to have fled from Gaza's largest hospital as Israeli forces and Palestinian militants battle outside its gates, but hundreds of patients, including dozens of babies at risk of dying because of a lack of electricity, remained inside, health officials said Monday. With only intermittent communications, it was difficult to reconcile competing claims from the Israeli military, which said it was providing a safe corridor for people to move south, and Palestinian health officials inside the hospital, who said the compound was surrounded by constant heavy gunfire. The military also said it had placed 300 liters (79 gallons) of fuel near the hospital to help power its generators, but that Hamas militants had prevented staff from reaching it. The Health Ministry in Gaza disputed that, and said the fuel would have provided less than an hour of electricity. World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Shifa has been without water for three days and "is not functioning as a hospital anymore," in a post on social media. Both sides have seized on the hospital's plight as a symbol of the larger war, now in its sixth week. The fighting was triggered by Hamas' unprecedented Oct. 7 surprise attack into Israel, and Israel's response has brought unseen levels of death and destruction to Gaza's 2.3 million Palestinian residents, nearly two-thirds of whom have had to flee their homes with no safe refuge available in the besieged territory. For Palestinians, Shifa evokes the suffering of civilians. Doctors running low on supplies perform surgery on war-wounded patients, including children, without anesthesia. Thousands of people displaced by airstrikes that have destroyed entire city blocks have sought shelter in its darkened corridors. Israel says the hospital is the prime example of Hamas's alleged use of human shields, claiming — without evidence — that the militants have a command center and other military infrastructure in and beneath the medical compound. Hamas and hospital staff deny those allegations. Mohammed Zaqout, the director of hospitals in Gaza, says there are about 650 patients and critically wounded people in Shifa being treated by around 500 medical staff. He estimated that around 2,500 displaced Palestinians are sheltering inside hospital buildings. On Saturday, the Health Ministry estimated that some 3,000 medics and patients, as well as 15,000 to 20,000 displaced people, were sheltering there.
A U.N. health official said many displaced families and patients with moderate injuries fled Shifa as Israeli forces encircled the hospital over the weekend. The official, who was not authorized to brief reporters and so spoke on condition of anonymity, said most of the remaining patients could only be relocated with ambulances and other special procedures. It's unclear where they would go, as several hospitals and clinics in Gaza have been forced to shut down, while others are already working at full capacity with dwindling supplies. The Health Ministry says 20 patients, including three babies, have died since the hospital's emergency generator ran out of fuel on Saturday. It said another 36 babies and other patients are at risk of dying because there is no way to power life-saving medical equipment. The military said troops would assist in moving babies on Sunday, without saying how it would transport them or where they would be relocated. There was no indication Monday that any had been moved. Medical Aid for Palestinians, a U.K.-based charity that has supported Shifa's neonatal intensive care unit, said transferring critically ill infants is complex. "With ambulances unable to reach the hospital ... and no hospital with capacity to receive them, there is no indication of how this can be done safely," CEO Melanie Ward said. She said the only option was to pause the fighting and allow in fuel. Christos Christou, the president of Doctors Without Borders, an international aid group, told CBS' "Face the Nation" it would take weeks to evacuate the patients. The U.S. has pushed for temporary pauses that would allow for wider distribution of badly needed aid to civilians in the territory, where conditions are increasingly dire.
But Israel has only agreed to brief daily periods during which civilians can flee ground combat in northern Gaza and head south on foot along two main roads. Israel continues to strike what it says are militant targets across southern Gaza, often killing women and children. More than 11,000 Palestinians, two-thirds of them women and minors, have been killed since the war began, according to the Health Ministry in Gaza, which does not differentiate between civilian and militant deaths. About 2,700 people have been reported missing. Health officials, many of whom work out of Shifa, have not updated that toll since Friday because of the difficulty of accessing hard-hit areas and collecting information. At least 1,200 people have been killed on the Israeli side, mostly civilians killed in the initial Hamas attack. Palestinian militants are holding nearly 240 hostages seized in the raid, including men, women, children and older adults. The military says 44 soldiers have been killed in ground operations in Gaza. About 250,000 Israelis have evacuated from communities near Gaza, where Palestinian militants are still firing barrages of rockets, and along the northern border with Lebanon, where Israel and the Hezbollah militant group have repeatedly traded fire, risking a wider conflict. Attacks by Hezbollah on Sunday wounded seven Israeli troops and 10 others, Israel's military and rescue services said.

Hundreds of Canadians cross at Rafah on Sunday, but none appear on list for today

The Canadian Press/Mon, November 13, 2023
OTTAWA — After 234 Canadians, permanent residents and their eligible family members were allowed to cross from Gaza into Egypt yesterday, a published list of those who will be allowed to cross today doesn't appear to have any Canadians on it.
The General Authority for Crossings and Borders posts a daily list of foreigners cleared to make the journey through the crossing at Rafah, compiled in co-ordination with the Egyptian and Israeli governments.Canadians do not appear to have made the latest list, which was released Sunday, for permission to cross on Monday. On Friday, the list was expanded to include 266 Canadian citizens, permanent residents and their family members, meaning some people on the list have not yet made it out. The war, now in its sixth week, began on Oct. 7 when Hamas militants stormed into Israel, killing an estimated 1,200 people and taking roughly 240 others back into Gaza as hostages. Israel has retaliated with daily air and land strikes, and the Hamas-run health authority says casualties in the territory have topped 11,000. Sunday's crossings occurred after the Rafah crossing reopened after a two-day closure. The Egyptian government is allowing those who cross the Rafah border to stay in the country for up to 72 hours. The Canadian Embassy in Egypt is assisting those who crossed with transportation to Cairo, as well as food and accommodation until they have arranged their travel plans.

Israel holds off on threatened shut-down of Al Jazeera locally

JERUSALEM (Reuters)/November 13, 2023
Israel signalled on Monday it would hold off on a threatened closure of the local bureau of Al Jazeera, leaving the powerful Qatar-owned satellite station unmentioned in a government decision about emergency media regulations for the Gaza war. The omission pointed to a balancing act by Israel, which has been angered by Qatari ties to its arch-foe Iran and Hamas, but is looking to Doha to persuade the Palestinian militant group to free scores of hostages held in the Gaza Strip. A statement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's security cabinet said it had authorised action against Lebanese pro-Iranian channel Al Mayadeen for "making wartime efforts to harm (Israel's) security interests and to serve the enemy's goals". Though Israel and Lebanon are formally in a decades-old state of war and the Lebanese Shi'ite group Hezbollah has joined the current hostilities on the side of Gaza's Palestinians, Al Mayadeen has been airing reports from inside Israeli territory. Following the Israeli security cabinet decision, Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi was working with police on a proposed blocking of Al Mayadeen websites and seizure of equipment linked to the station, a ministry spokesperson said.
Karhi also asked the Israeli military chief in the occupied West Bank, another territory where Palestinians seek statehood, to shut down Al Mayadeen offices there, the spokesperson said. There was no immediate comment from Al Mayadeen.
Asked why Al Jazeera was not cited in the Israeli security cabinet decision, the Communications Ministry spokesperson said: "The security cabinet has not discussed that." On Oct. 15, a week after Hamas triggered the Gaza war with a cross-border killing and kidnapping spree in southern Israel, Karhi said he would seek cabinet approval to shut down Al Jazeera's local operations. He accused the station of pro-Hamas incitement and of exposing Israeli soldiers to attacks. Al Jazeera and the government in Doha refrained, at the time, from responding to the allegations. Israeli media have since quoted unnamed Netanyahu government officials as saying the time was not right to act against Qatar's top media outlet. Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said on Monday that he still favoured a crackdown on Al Jazeera. Asked in a Kan radio interview if that was diplomatically feasible, he answered: "I have made my opinion and position on the matter known."

Hamas armed wing discussed releasing 70 hostages in return for 5-day truce
Reuters/November 14, 2023
CAIRO: The armed wing of Palestinian militant group Hamas said on Monday they told Qatari mediators that the group is ready to release up to 70 women and children held in Gaza in return for a five-day truce. “The truce should include a complete cease-fire and allowing aid and humanitarian relief everywhere in the Gaza Strip,” Abu Ubaida, the spokesman for the armed wing of Hamas, Alqassam Brigades,. said in a recorded audio published on the group’s Telegram channel.He went on to accuse Israel of “procrastinating and evading” the price of the deal.

EU nations condemn Hamas for using hospitals, civilians as 'human shields'
Associated Press/November 13, 2023
The 27 European Union nations have jointly condemned Hamas for what they described as the use of hospitals and civilians as "human shields" in the war against Israel. EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said Monday that at the same time the bloc asked Israel "for maximum restraint in targeting in order to avoid human casualties."At a meeting of the bloc's foreign affairs ministers, Borrell brandished a statement he issued on behalf of the 27 nations as a show of unity following weeks of often contrasting statements on how the group should address the Israel-Hamas war.
"You know how difficult it has been the last times, after the vote in the United Nations, where countries were voted in different ways, to present a completely united approach," Borrell said. Only hours after EU leaders professed unity over the Israel-Hamas war on Oct. 28, the member states were totally split in a vote on a General Assembly resolution calling for humanitarian truces in Gaza leading to a cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hamas. Now, though, the EU nations said in a statement they join "calls for immediate pauses in hostilities and the establishment of humanitarian corridors, including through increased capacity at border crossings and through a dedicated maritime route, so that humanitarian aid can safely reach the population of Gaza." And they reiterated their "call on Hamas for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages. It is crucial that the International Committee of the Red Cross is granted access to the hostages."And as a key tenent, it said that "the EU condemns the use of hospitals and civilians as human shields by Hamas."Latvian Foreign Minister Krisjanis Karins said that "Hamas is unfortunately using civilian infrastructure and civilians as shields against the Israeli Defense Forces. So the situation absolutely not black and white."He added that "no one in the West is interested in supporting any terrorist organization."The nations stopped short of calling for a cease-fire. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said she understood "the impetus for a cease-fire." But she said those who seek one must answer questions "for example, how can the demand for a cease-fire, acutely, and now in this terrible situation guarantee that Israel's security is assured? What happens with the 200 hostages, and who negotiates it in a situation where negotiations barely seem possible?"

United Nations fails again. It gives cover to Hamas while abandoning Israel.
Aviva Klompas/USA TODAY/November 13, 2023
There is an eerie familiarity to how the world is reacting to the war between Israel and Hamas. In 2014, I was a speechwriter for the Israeli delegation to the United Nations when Hamas terrorists kidnapped and killed three Israeli teenagers, kicking off 50 days of war. For the past month, I have felt an unsettling sense of deja vu as I’ve watched the U.N. go through the same tepid motions in response to today’s war. The modus operandi of terrorist groups like Hamas has long been to prey on the weak and defenseless. On June 12, 2014, Palestinian terrorists abducted Eyal Yifrach, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, Naftali Fraenkel, 16, on their way home from school. Israel launched a military operation in the West Bank to locate the boys and found their bodies 18 days later, buried in a shallow grave north of Hebron. The ensuing war saw an Israeli ground offensive into Gaza. The goal was to stop Hamas’ unceasing rocket fire into Israeli towns and destroy its underground tunnel network. Then, as now, the response from the United Nations and the international community made clear that Hamas would never be held accountable for its actions. Shortly after the three boys were abducted, our delegation called on the U.N. to denounce the kidnapping. A U.N. spokesperson replied that there was no “concrete evidence” the boys were kidnapped by terrorists. U.N. agencies then embraced the “both sides” approach. UNICEF, which exists to protect children, posted online: “Recent violent events affecting Palestinian and Israeli children underline the urgent need for stronger protection for children in the region.” From there, it wasn’t long before U.N. officials were laying the blame on Israel.
Hamas' crimes against Israelis have gotten worse
Nearly a decade later, the U.N. is following the same dance steps. The difference is that Hamas’ crimes have grown exponentially. The Oct. 7 slaughter of more than 1,200 Israelis was the single-largest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust and the second-largest terrorist attack since 9/11.
Antisemitism is an unending plague: My father, Elie Wiesel, survived Auschwitz. He'd ask these questions about Israel-Hamas war. Since that horrific day, the U.N. has called numerous emergency sessions, held hours of debate, drafted hundreds of pages of draft resolutions – all of which amount to very little.
It has not passed a single resolution to condemn Hamas’ savagery, even though terrorists wore GoPros to document themselves slaughtering, raping and torturing civilians. Similarly, the U.N. has not called for the release of more than 200 hostages, including babies, children and the elderly.
Instead, the U.N. has set its focus on conditions in Gaza, blaming Israel even as Hamas hides behind the civilian population and continues to fire rockets at Israel’s civilian centers. U.N. officials are pressing for a cease-fire, knowing full well it would give Hamas the chance to regroup, rearm and renew its attacks. Back in 2014, there were a series of short-lived cease-fires, which Hamas breached. The United Nations was founded in the wake of World War II to maintain peace and security and prevent atrocities like the Holocaust. It is failing to live up to that mission.
'We will kill you': I was held hostage in a war zone. Years later, the trauma remains.
UN provides cover for terrorists
Eight decades later, the U.N. is a clubhouse for dictators and a den of moral equivocation. It is a home for corrupt tyrants to stand in judgment of free democracies, where warmongers like Russia wield a veto and notorious human rights abusers like Iran get tapped to lead human rights forums.
By cultivating the appearance of a virtuous global body, the U.N. dangerously telegraphs to terror organizations and their state sponsors that there will never truly be a price to pay for committing atrocities. Worse, the U.N. gives them cover.
Jewish students are being vilified. Will our allies stand up to antisemitism? After Oct. 7, the international outcry shifted from horror for Israel to horror at Israel in less than a week. While it is reasonable to expect Israel to abide by the laws of war, it is entirely unreasonable to expect nothing from Hamas.
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U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Security Council that the deadly Hamas attack on southern Israel “did not happen in a vacuum.” These six words were all the world needed to hear to decide that Hamas, genocidal in its intent and brutal in its action, was justified on Oct 7.
In one way, Guterres is right: The attacks didn't happen in a vacuum. Since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in 2007, the U.N. has watched the terrorist group steal billions of dollars in international aid, build command centers inside hospitals and store rockets in schools operated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. On the U.N. watch, Gaza has become what the Israeli ambassador to the United States calls “the biggest terror complex in the world” – and Hamas has learned repeatedly that they can get away with murder.
*Aviva Klompas is the former director of speechwriting at the Israeli Mission to the United Nations and co-founder of Boundless Israel, a nonprofit organization that partners with community leaders in the U.S. to support Israel education and combat hatred of Jews.

Dubai Air Show opening as aviation soars following pandemic lockdowns, even as wars cloud horizon
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP)/November 13, 2023
The biennial Dubai Air Show opened Monday as airlines are poised to make major aircraft purchases after rebounding from the groundings of the coronavirus pandemic, even as Israel's war with Hamas clouds regional security. That conflict, as well as Russia's war on Ukraine, likely will influence the five-day show at Al Maktoum Airport at Dubai World Central. It is the city-state's second airfield after Dubai International Airport, which is the world's busiest for international travel and home base for the long-haul carrier Emirates. While commercial aviation takes much of the attention, arms manufacturers also have exhibitions at the show. Two major Israeli firms — Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. and Israel Aerospace Industries had been slated to participate. But the IAI stand, bearing the slogan “Where Courage Meets Technology,” was roped off and empty Monday morning as people poured into the show. A stand for Rafael handed out coffee, though there were no salespeople there. A request for comment left with an attendant there was not immediately returned. Rafael also sponsored a meeting of air force commanders Sunday at a luxury Dubai hotel, highlighting the balancing act being struck by the UAE amid anger in the Arab world over the Israel-Hamas war. The UAE, a federation of seven sheikhdoms, established diplomatic relations with Israel in 2020. The firm Russian Helicopters will likely have staff on hand for the air show after appearing at the Abu Dhabi arms fair earlier this year despite being sanctioned by the U.S. and others over Moscow's attack on Ukraine. ROSCOSMOS, the Russian state space company, is also at the show. Global aviation is booming after the coronavirus pandemic saw worldwide lockdowns and aircraft grounded — particularly at Al Maktoum Airport, which served for months as a parking lot for Emirates double-decker Airbus 380s. Air traffic is now at 97% of pre-COVID levels, according to the International Air Transport Association. Middle Eastern airlines, which supply key East-West routes for global travel, saw a 26.6% increase in September traffic compared to a year earlier, IATA says. Emirates, a main economic engine for Dubai amid its booming real estate market, announced record half-year profits of $2.7 billion Thursday. That is up from $1.2 billion for the same period last year, potentially putting the airline on track for another record-breaking year. The airline says it has repaid some $2.5 billion of the loans it received during the height of the pandemic to stay afloat. Tim Clark, president of Emirates, told Bloomberg in September to “watch this space” when it comes to purchases from both Airbus and Boeing during the air show. The airline is hiring a slew of new pilots and crew, likely to staff new aircraft. “We've got a lot of big plans for the airline going forward,” Clark said. “New fleet, larger numbers, larger network.” Also in the market is Riyadh Air, a new Saudi carrier being created as part of trillions of dollars worth of spending planned in the kingdom. In March, the airline announced an order of up to 72 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner jetliners and has further plans to expand. Turkish Airlines may also make a record-shattering purchase of 355 aircraft from Airbus, including 250 A321neo aircraft, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency. By Monday afternoon, Boeing Co. announced that SunExpress, an airline jointly owned by Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa, made a commitment to purchase up to 90 single-aisle Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. The deal includes 28 Boeing 737-8s and 17 Boeing 737-10s models, as well as the opportunity for another 45 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. The companies did not offer a dollar figure for the deal.

UK's Sunak Brings Back Cameron, Sacks Interior Minister in Latest Reset
Reuters/November 13/2023
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak brought back former leader David Cameron as foreign minister on Monday in a reshuffle triggered by his firing of interior minister Suella Braverman after her criticism of the police threatened his authority.
It was the latest reset for a prime minister whose party is badly lagging the Labour Party before an election expected next year, and the return of Cameron to government suggested Sunak wanted to bring in more centrist, experienced hands rather than appease the right of his party which supported Braverman.
Under fire from opposition lawmakers and members of the governing Conservative Party to eject Braverman, Sunak seemed to have brought forward a long-planned reshuffle to bring in allies and remove ministers he felt were not performing. Sunak's hand was forced when the ever-controversial Braverman defied Sunak last week in an unauthorized article accusing police of "double standards" at protests, suggesting they were tough on right-wing demonstrators, but easy on pro-Palestinian marchers. The opposition Labour Party said that inflamed tensions between a pro-Palestinian demonstration and a far-right counter protest on Saturday, when nearly 150 people were arrested. She was replaced by James Cleverly, who had relished his job as foreign minister but who is seen as a safe pair of hands. In a surprise move, Cameron, who was ousted from power after his gamble to call a referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union in 2016 backfired, was made foreign minister. His appointment was welcomed by more centrist Conservatives, who say his international experience will help steady the ship.But Braverman's removal and Cameron's return angered some Conservatives on the right of the party. One lawmaker said her removal was disappointing and Braverman could become a vocal force on the so-called backbenches in parliament.

Ex-PM makes shock return to UK government, Home Secretary Braverman fired
Associated Press/November 13/ 2023
Former British Prime Minister David Cameron made a shock return to high office on Monday, becoming foreign secretary in a major shakeup of the Conservative government that also saw the firing of divisive Home Secretary Suella Braverman.
Cameron, who led the U.K. government between 2010 and 2016, was appointed by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in a Cabinet shuffle in which he sacked Braverman, a divisive figure who drew anger for accusing police of being too lenient with pro-Palestinian protesters. She was replaced by James Cleverly, who had been foreign secretary. Cameron's appointment came as a surprise to seasoned politics-watchers. It's rare for a non-lawmaker to take a senior government post, and it has been decades since a former prime minister held a Cabinet job. The government said Cameron was being appointed to Parliament's unelected upper chamber, the House of Lords. The last foreign secretary to serve in the Lords, rather than the elected House of Commons, was Peter Carrington, who was part of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's government in the 1980s. Cameron, 57, said Britain was "facing a daunting set of international challenges, including the war in Ukraine and the crisis in the Middle East." "While I have been out of front-line politics for the last seven years, I hope that my experience — as Conservative leader for 11 years and prime minister for six — will assist me in helping the prime minister to meet these vital challenges," he said in a statement. Cameron's appointment brings back to government a leader brought down by Britain's decision to leave the European Union. Cameron called the 2016 EU membership referendum, confident the country would vote to stay in the bloc. He resigned the day after voters opted to leave. Sunak was a strong backer of the winning "leave" side in the referendum. Cameron's return, and Braverman's sacking, are likely to infuriate the Conservative Party's right wing and inflame tensions in the party that Sunak has sought to soothe. Prominent right-wing lawmaker Jacob Rees-Mogg said sacking Braverman was "a mistake, because Suella understood what the British voter thought and was trying to do something about it."Sunak had been under growing pressure to fire Braverman — a hard-liner popular with the party's authoritarian wing — from one of the most senior jobs in government, responsible for handling immigration and policing. In a highly unusual attack on the police last week, Braverman said London's police force was ignoring lawbreaking by "pro-Palestinian mobs." She described demonstrators calling for a cease-fire in Gaza as "hate marchers."
On Saturday, far-right protesters scuffled with police and tried to confront a large pro-Palestinian march by hundreds of thousands through the streets of London. Critics accused Braverman of helping to inflame tensions. Last week Braverman wrote an article for the Times of London in which she said police "play favorites when it comes to protesters" and acted more leniently toward pro-Palestinian demonstrators and Black Lives Matter supporters than toward right-wing protesters or soccer hooligans. The article was not approved in advance by the prime minister's office, as would usually be the case.Braverman said Monday that "it has been the greatest privilege of my life to serve as home secretary," adding that she would "have more to say in due course."
Braverman, a 43-year-old lawyer, has become a leader of the party's populist wing by advocating ever-tougher curbs on migration and a war on human rights protections, liberal social values and what she has called the "tofu-eating wokerati." Last month she called migration a "hurricane" that would bring "millions more immigrants to these shores, uncontrolled and unmanageable."As home secretary Braverman championed the government's stalled plan to send asylum-seekers who arrive in Britain in boats on a one-way trip to Rwanda. A U.K. Supreme Court ruling on whether the policy is legal is due on Wednesday. Critics say Braverman has been building her profile to position herself for a party leadership contest that could come if the Conservatives lose power in an election expected next year. The bold changes are an attempt by Sunak to reset his faltering government. The Conservatives have been in power for 13 years, but opinion polls for months have put them 15 to 20 points behind the opposition Labour Party amid a stagnating economy, persistently high inflation, an overstretched health care system and a wave of public sector strikes. Last month Sunak tried to paint his government as a force of change, saying he would break the "30-year status quo" that includes the governments of Cameron and other Conservative predecessors. "A few weeks ago, Rishi Sunak said David Cameron was part of a failed status quo. Now he's bringing him back as his life raft," said Labour lawmaker Pat McFadden. As well as bringing about Brexit, Cameron's government imposed years of public-spending cuts after the 2008 global financial crisis that have frayed the country's welfare system and state-funded health service. After leaving office he was caught up in a scandal over his lobbying for Greensill Capital, a financial services firm that later collapsed. Tim Bale, professor of politics at Queen Mary University of London, said Cameron's appointment "is a measure of the desperation that surrounds this government." "It's difficult to believe that this is going to impress voters, whether they are convinced Brexiteers who despise David Cameron for being a remainer, or convinced remainers who despise David Cameron for holding and losing a referendum," he said. "On the upside, it's a useful distraction from Braverman's sacking, and as a former prime minister it will mean that the U.K. has rather more clout in international circles than perhaps might have been the case."

British Lawmakers Urge Govt to Label ‘Revolutionary Guard’ as Terrorist Organization

London: Asharq Al Awsat/November 13/ 2023
British lawmakers and members of the upper house of parliament are exerting pressure on the government of Rishi Sunak to proscribe Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization, saying it would be a step towards restoring stability to the Middle East. In a letter to the Prime Minister, more than 60 lawmakers from the lower house of parliament and members of the House of Lords said “given the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, it is now more urgent than ever to proscribe the IRGC,” according to Reuters. “We call upon our government to recognize the urgency of proscribing the IRGC as a terrorist organization and proceed to do so. Such a decision would constitute a significant step towards peace, stability, and justice in the Middle East and beyond,” read the letter, signed by senior Conservatives such as Iain Duncan Smith, David Davis and David Jones. Proscribing the IRGC as a terrorist group would mean it would become a criminal offense in Britain to belong to the group, attend its meetings or carry its logo in public. The IRGC is already subject to British sanctions for violating human rights and for their missile activities, in addition to being responsible for supplying Russia with kamikaze drones that were used in the Ukrainian war. Last month, British media outlets said British counter-terrorism officers are monitoring closely if Iran will try to exploit the Israel-Hamas war for its own ends in the UK, amid wider anxieties that Tehran is an increasing security menace to dissidents and critics.
The officers are also monitoring more than 10 mosques, groups and educational institutions that are linked to Iran’s IRGC around the country. In remarks specifically about Iran, Ken McCallum, MI5’s director, said last month that London had “been concerned” about its behavior within Britain “for a long time,” with the current Middle East situation heightening those concerns. “There clearly is the possibility that profound events in the Middle East will either generate more volume of UK threat and/or change its shape in terms of what is being targeted, in terms of how people are taking inspiration,” McCallum said. “In particular, the last 18 months or so have been a particularly intensive phase of Iran-generated threat on UK soil,” he added. Last November, the MI5 director said Iran’s “aggressive intelligence services” were actively targeting Britain and had made “at least 10” attempts to “kidnap or even kill” British or UK-based individuals since January. By February this year the figure had increased to 15.In August, a British media report said the British Home Secretary Suella Braverman and her team believe that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps is the biggest threat to the country’s national security.
“The Iranian threat is the one that worries [the UK] the most,” a source close to the home secretary told The Sunday Times. “It’s a big issue because they are getting much more aggressive and their appetite is increasing ... They are very defensive to anyone challenging their regime”, the source added.
In January, a foreign office minister said Britain was actively considering proscribing the IRGC as a terrorist organization but had not reached a final decision. Last February, The Times reported that the government had “temporarily” halted a plan to classify the Revolutionary Guards on the terrorist list, after the opposition of Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, despite the insistence of the Home Secretary and Security Minister Tom Tugendhat. Two weeks ago, The Guardian said the Foreign Office believes that the plan would lead to the expulsion of the British ambassador to Tehran and, as a result, the loss of the UK’s remaining influence in Iran.

Israel's Gaza war opens room for Turkey-Iran rapprochement
Fehim Tastekin/Al-Monitor/November 13, 2023
Turkey's efforts on a cease-fire in Gaza and the release of hostages held by Hamas are continuing, though so far without results. Its Gaza diplomacy has, however, invigorated Ankara's ties with Iran. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has pleased Tehran by refusing to label Hamas a “terrorist” organization, and instead calling it a “mujahideen liberation group.” He intends to play a leading role at Sunday’s summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) together with his Iranian counterpart, Ebrahim Raisi.
Turkey and Iran also appear willing to see if their convergence on Gaza can help resolve thorny bilateral files. Raisi is expected to visit Turkey later this month, following on the heels of Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, who traveled to Ankara for talks in early November. Similar rapprochements between the two previously took place after Erdogan’s outburst at Israeli President Shimon Peres in Davos in 2009 and after the collapse of Turkish-Israeli ties following Israel's deadly raid on a flotilla carrying pro-Palestinian activists toward Gaza in 2010. Such temporary closeness hardly eliminates the incompatibilities of Turkey and Iran's policies on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or resolve the fundamental discord in their bilateral ties.
While Iranian media cite Turkey's stance to claim that Iran is not alone in its Palestinian policy, Erdogan has not allowed his anger on the Palestinian issue to reach the point of breaking ties with Israel and the United States. After the Israel-Hamas escalation that began Oct. 7, Erdogan restrained himself for several days, wary of jeopardizing Turkey’s recent normalization with Israel or his hopes of playing a mediator role in the conflict. He returned to his factory settings, however, as the situation in Gaza worsened, his prospects for mediating waned and the embarrassing revelation that Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh had been asked to leave Istanbul following Hamas' incursion into Israel. According to some reports, Haniyeh traveled back to Turkey this month for talks with Erdogan following phone calls between the two. Ankara’s contacts with Israel have continued as well.
Still searching for a role
All in all, Turkey's Gaza diplomacy appears to have gotten nowhere thus far despite dozens of contacts and visits. Erdogan failed to secure a declaration to his liking even at the Nov. 3 summit of the Organization of Turkic States, to which he attaches so much importance. The remarks he made to journalists on his return flight from the summit show that Ankara has decided to focus on three main objectives. The first is the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza. Ten planeloads of aid have departed Turkey for Egypt, but the supplies have yet to enter Gaza. Second, Erdogan has pressed for an immediate cease-fire and places importance on the joint position expected to emerge from the OIC summit in Riyadh. Yet, Washington is the first party that needs to be convinced to press for a cease-fire. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s talks in Ankara this week seem to have produced nothing to this effect. Blinken was given a low-level welcome at the airport, and Erdogan did not bother to meet him. Blinken’s remarks in Ankara about “making sure that people can continue to come out of Gaza” triggered speculation that the evacuation of Gaza was on his agenda. This was followed by rumors on social media that Turkey would accept 750,000 Gazans. Ankara denied the assertions. Third, Erdogan has repeatedly spoken of Turkey’s willingness to be a post-conflict guarantor for the Palestinians. The options discussed between Israel and the United States, however, have nothing to do with that system, which also involves a two-state solution. Erdogan has offered up the example of the guarantor states of Cyprus, and the proposal has created a media buzz, but it is unlikely to be accepted. When asked about the proposal during his visit to Ankara, Amir-Abdollahian said that Iran supports “all political initiatives that would prevent the spread of war and guarantee the rights of the Palestinian people.” Yet Iran's backing is irrelevant. In the talks on Gaza's future, the United States and Israel have reportedly been discussing an international force to prevent Hamas’ return after its eventual ouster. That is not the peacekeeping force that Iran and Turkey have in mind.
Turkey has been in contact with Hamas on the release of the hostages that the group abducted in Israel, but Qatar remains the primary channel on this issue, followed by Egypt. Palestinian sources say Turkey could play a facilitating role at best.
Some wonder whether Turkey could be acting as a channel between Washington and Tehran. Though Ankara has such a capacity, two Iranian sources told Al-Monitor that US messages had so far arrived via Qatar and Iraq. Before traveling to Ankara, Blinken held talks in Baghdad, after which the Iraqi premier rushed to Tehran.
Bilateral connections and differences
The most important result of Turkey’s Gaza diplomacy so far is the revival of Turkish-Iranian contacts. The two non-Arab regional powers have sought to unite their voices in support of the Palestinians, but their visions differ significantly. Turkey supports the creation of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, while Iran refuses to recognize Israel and proposes a joint state for Muslims, Jews and Christians. Erdogan’s support for Hamas has also been much different from that of Iran, which has armed Palestinian groups. Ankara’s relationship with Hamas is unlikely to ever evolve to the level of Tehran's. It would be a victory for Iran if Turkey severed ties with Israel, but Erdogan appears to have no such intentions. Last week, he said he had “written off” Netanyahu as an interlocutor while noting that Turkey’s intelligence chief, Ibrahim Kalin, continued contacts with Israeli officials and Hamas.
“I’ll make a decision on this issue after my meetings at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation summit. Let’s see the atmosphere there. But cutting ties fully . . . will not happen,” Erdogan said. Amid the escalation in Gaza, Erdogan last month formally signed the protocol on Sweden’s accession to NATO and sent it to parliament for ratification — a sign of his unwillingness to increase frictions in Ankara’s fraught ties with Washington. Erdogan supporters were stunned to see police firing tear gas and water cannons last weekend at pro-Palestinian demonstrators outside Incirlik Air Base, which houses US forces in southern Turkey. Moreover, a call to sever ties with Israel by IHH — the Islamic charity that called for the protest — drew rebukes from members of Erdogan’s party. As for other Turkish-Iranian issues, Abdollahian said in Ankara that the two sides had agreed to boost border security, establish new border crossings and set up free trade zones as well as convene the bilateral High-Level Cooperation Council. According to the aforementioned Iranian sources, the talks during Raisi’s visit will have a wide-ranging agenda, including Syria and the Caucasus, transboundary waters and fighting terrorism. As a staunch ally of Azerbaijan in its territorial conflict with Armenia, Turkey backs Baku’s demands for a corridor via Armenian territory to connect its exclave of Nakhchivan and mainland Azerbaijan. Iran fears that the corridor could sever its land link with Armenia and wants to see how a Turkish-proposed regional consultation platform would function, involving Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Russia and Turkey. On the issue of water, Iranian officials have held Turkey responsible for dust storms, blaming them on reduced water levels in the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, which rise in Turkey and flow down to Iraq and Syria. Similarly, they have blamed Turkey for decreased flows in the Aras River, which originates in the eastern part of the country and forms some of Iran’s border stretches in the region. As for Syria, a regionalization of the Gaza war might upset the existing equilibrium, in which both Turkey and Iran are involved.
Bilateral rapprochement on the Palestinian issue could have a very limited impact on all those complex files.

Latest English LCCC  analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on November 13-14/2023
Hamas's Useful Idiots in the U.S., Europe
Bassam Tawil/Gatestone Institute/November 13, 2023
These demonstrators, who appear to feel so virtuous, send a message to the terrorist groups that people in the West happily support violence, terrorism and the Jihad (holy war) not only against Israel and Jews, but also against Christians, all "infidels," Europe, the United States and the West.
Although many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip support Hamas and its genocide, many others deeply oppose Hamas. In recent years, thousands have fled the Gaza Strip for Europe, where they hope for a better life -- like the one the demonstrators enjoy -- where they will not have to fear a knock on the door at two in the morning or have their government lodge rocket launchers next to their playgrounds and homes. A recent video shows a Gazan woman saying, "Those bastards at Hamas," before a man clamps his hand over her mouth.
Countries and groups that commit terrorist attacks view the anti-Israel demonstrations as an extension of their war against the West.
Meanwhile, the "pro-Palestinian" demonstrators masquerade as peace-seekers. In fact, they celebrate terrorism and imperialism -- Islamic imperialism -- that seeks forcibly to expand Iran's territorial gains not only throughout Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Iraq, but through Yemen, Saudi Arabia and South America on its way to the "Big Satan," the United States. The Iranians have already infiltrated Venezuela and met in Cuba...
Apparently not realizing how destructive these peace-loving demonstrators are to themselves and their free way of life... they do not even... bother to think for a minute what life would actually be like for them if they lived in Gaza, Beirut, Damascus or Tehran. It is easy to be a demonstrator in London, Washington DC or New York.
Despite all the claims to the contrary, these are not pro-Palestinian rallies. These are hate marches of people seeking the destruction of Israel and the West. Make no mistake: those who are now protesting against Israel are advocating for a totalitarian way of life, for poverty -- except for the leaders, of course -- and for the same sort of utopia now being relished by the citizens of Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan, Cuba, Venezuela... and Gaza.
These demonstrators, who appear to feel so virtuous, send a message to the terrorist groups that people in the West happily support violence, terrorism and the Jihad (holy war) not only against Israel and Jews, but also against Christians, all "infidels," Europe, the United States and the West.
The "pro-Palestinian" demonstrations that have taken place in the US and some European countries over the past few days are all about hating Israel and Jews, not about helping the Palestinians – especially those who have been living under the rule of the Iran-backed Hamas terrorist group in the Gaza Strip since 2007.
People who are really pro-Palestinian would be demonstrating for them to have leaders that do not siphon off billions in international aid, or who shoot at them when they try to flee to safety, or who do not store weapons and ammunition in and near their homes and schools. Instead of supporting the eradication of Israel, the demonstrators should be calling for the eradication of Hamas, whose members are holding two million Palestinians as hostages, while their leaders are living luxuriously in hotels in Qatar.
Instead of calling for genocide against Jews and the destruction of Israel, the "pro-Palestinian" demonstrators should be calling for the liberation of the Gaza Strip – from Hamas, which has brought a new nakba (catastrophe) on two million Palestinians living there, and whose people are finally starting to speak out about their despair over their own brutal leadership there.
Disgorging hateful messages against Israel does not make one "pro-Palestinian." For decades, Hamas and other radical Palestinian groups have engaged in continuous genocidal incitement and attacks against Israel. Has this helped the Palestinians in any way? Not even a bit .
The demonstrators in the US and some European countries have repeated lies against Israel without assigning one iota of blame to Hamas, or even to its mastermind, Iran.
Such demonstrations achieve only one thing: they embolden terror-masters such as Hamas, Al-Qaeda, Islamic State -- and an Iran that is on the threshold of having nuclear bombs with which to attack or blackmail the West.
These demonstrators, who appear to feel so virtuous, send a message to the terrorist groups that people in the West happily support violence, terrorism and the Jihad (holy war) not only against Israel and Jews, but also against Christians, all "infidels," Europe, the United States and the West.
Two days after Hamas's October 7 massacre -- complete with a baby baked alive in an oven, and other children burned alive or beheaded, as well as kidnappings and mass-murder -- "pro-Palestinian" demonstrators in New York's Times Square waved Palestinian flags and chanted, "Resistance is justified", "Globalize the intifada", "Smash the settler Zionist state" and "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free."
Those who chant "From the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea, Palestine will be free" are echoing Hamas's charter, which calls for the extermination of Israel and replacing it with an Islamic state:
"The land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be given up. Neither a single Arab country nor all Arab countries, neither any king or president, not all the kings and presidents... possess the right to do that." (Article 11)
Gaza has, in fact, been completely free of Jews since 2005, when it was given -- unconditionally -- to the Gazans, so they could build a "Singapore on the Mediterranean." Instead, they built a terror state.
These "pro-Palestinian" demonstrators have not even faulted Hamas for starting the war. For the demonstrators, "it all started when Israel fired back."
If the "pro-Palestinian" demonstrators really want to help the Palestinians, they can start by denouncing the war crimes committed by Hamas -- against Jews, Christians and Muslims, on October 7.
If the "pro-Palestinian" demonstrators on the streets of New York, Washington and London really wanted to help the Palestinians, they would point their bloody finger at Hamas. They would be doing an enormous favor to the Palestinians who want to live in peace and security. Although many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip support Hamas and its genocide, many others deeply oppose Hamas. In recent years, thousands have fled the Gaza Strip for Europe, where they hope for a better life -- like the one the demonstrators enjoy -- where they will not have to fear a knock on the door at two in the morning or have their government lodge rocket launchers next to their playgrounds and homes. A recent video shows a Gazan woman saying, "Those bastards at Hamas," before a man clamps his hand over her mouth.
Why are the demonstrators ignoring the fact that Hamas has plunged the Gaza Strip into several wars with Israel since 2007? Why are the demonstrators ignoring the fact that Hamas has turned the Gaza Strip into an arms depot and a base for global Jihad and terrorism? Why are they ignoring the fact that instead of building hospitals and schools, Hamas has been manufacturing weapons, building a vast network of tunnels for its men, and smuggling rockets and advanced weaponry into the Gaza Strip?
Where were the "pro-Palestinian" activists in the US, Canada and Europe when members of Hamas committed human rights violations against their own people -- forcing them to be in the line of fire so their dead bodies can be shown to television crews? Where were the "pro-Palestinians " activists when Hamas was arresting, torturing and murdering Palestinian journalists and human rights advocates? Where were the demonstrators when Hamas was beating and arresting hundreds of Palestinians who took to the streets over the past few years to protest the economic hardship and Hamas's financial corruption? Why are the three top Hamas leaders -- all billionaires -- living luxuriously in five-star hotels in Qatar? Where are the "pro-Palestinian" protestors for that?
Those leading Hamas, a terrorist group, are evidently so pleased with the support they are receiving from the streets of Washington, New York and London that they saw fit to issue a statement thanking the anti-Israel demonstrators:
"We, in the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), applaud the mass movement, marches and solidarity events that took place... in various American cities and Western capitals," they announced in a statement in late October. Hamas called on the Western demonstrators to "escalate all forms of popular resistance [against Israel]." Hamas, in short, is calling on the Western demonstrators to join them as terrorists in their Jihad against Israel and Jews. Eventually it will also be against Christians and all "infidels". "First the Saturday people," the jihadi saying goes, "then the Sunday people."
The mullahs ruling Iran, with Hamas in tow, doubtless see the demonstrations in the US, Canada and Europe only as an act of solidarity with them, support for the October 7 massacre, and for just the first step of their plan: to become the hegemon of the Middle East, before "exporting the Revolution" worldwide.
Countries and groups that commit terrorist attacks view the anti-Israel demonstrations as an extension of their war against the West.
In recent weeks, Iran has carried out at least 48 attacks on US troops in Syria and Iraq. More than 46 US servicemen have been wounded, many with traumatic brain injury. Since Biden took office, Iran has launched at least 131 attacks against US troops in Syria and Iraq (83 before March; 48 after). These assaults seem to be part of a Russian-Iranian -- and lately Communist Chinese -- plan to drive the US out of the Middle East altogether, perhaps so its oil will remain available just to them. A few US retaliatory pinprick strikes on unmanned Iranian weapons depots do not appear to have had a deterrent effect.
Meanwhile, the "pro-Palestinian" demonstrators masquerade as peace-seekers. In fact, they celebrate terrorism and imperialism -- Islamic imperialism -- that seeks forcibly to expand Iran's territorial gains not only throughout Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Iraq, but through Yemen, Saudi Arabia and South America on its way to the "Big Satan," the United States. The Iranians have already infiltrated Venezuela and met in Cuba to discuss "confront[ing] 'Yankee Imperialism.'"
Apparently not realizing how destructive these peace-loving demonstrators are to themselves and their free way of life -- economically, sexually and verbally -- they do not even seem to see their own deep-seated bigotry and antisemitism, or bother to think for a minute what life would actually be like for them if they lived in Gaza, Beirut, Damascus or Tehran. It is easy to be a demonstrator in London, Washington DC or New York.
Despite all the claims to the contrary, these are not pro-Palestinian rallies. These are hate marches of people seeking the destruction of Israel and the West. Make no mistake: those who are now protesting against Israel are advocating for a totalitarian way of life, for poverty -- except for the leaders, of course -- and for the same sort of utopia now being relished by the citizens of Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan, Cuba, Venezuela... and Gaza.
*Bassam Tawil is a Muslim Arab based in the Middle East.
© 2023 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute.

Defund the Soros Hamas Insurrection
Daniel Greenfield/Gatestone Institute./November 13, 2023
The illegal pro-terrorist activities of both JVP and IfNotNow, as well as many other groups in the anti-Israel network, reflects the refusal of the IRS to enforce the tax code against the Left.
The IRS had previously found that the tax code bans funding of anti-war groups or any organization whose "primary activity is the sponsoring of... protest demonstrations in which demonstrators are urged to commit violations of local ordinances and breaches of public order." Such organizations don't "qualify for exemption under section 501(c)(3) or (4) of the Code."
IfNotNow and JVP are one of many leftist organizations and other anti-Israel protest groups whose very existence is a violation of IRS regulations. But above and beyond the tax code, Soros is knowingly funding riots and illegal activities by hate groups with a long history of such activities.
If the IRS will not do its job and enforce the tax code against nonprofits engaged in illegal activities, Congress must move to close the loopholes and end the nonprofit status of groups engaged in violence, crimes and support for terrorist organizations.
On October 18, pro-terrorist insurrectionists stormed the United States Capitol after a hate rally by two anti-Israel groups: IfNotNow and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP). Both hate groups had issued statements that either justified or rationalized the Hamas atrocities against Israelis. Pictured: Capitol Police officers detain anti-Israel protesters at the Cannon House Office Building on October 18, 2023 in Washington, DC.
On October 18, pro-terrorist insurrectionists stormed the United States Capitol after a hate rally by two anti-Israel groups: IfNotNow and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP). Both hate groups had issued statements that either justified or rationalized the Hamas atrocities against Israelis.
IfNotNow's statement after the Hamas rapes, killings and kidnappings argued that, "we cannot and will not say today's actions by Palestinian militants are unprovoked. Every day under Israel's apartheid system is a provocation." Jewish Voice for Peace described the Hamas attacks as an incident in which "Palestinian fighters from Gaza launched an unprecedented assault" in response to Israeli "oppression" which is the real "source of all this violence".
The pro-Hamas insurrectionists rallying for a "ceasefire" that would allow Hamas to attack again had come knowing that their actions were illegal, and over 400 of them had intended to be arrested. Over 300 eventually were arrested for their insurrection in the rotunda of the Capitol's Cannon House Office Building. Three of the extremists were taken into custody for assaulting police officers.
IfNotNow has a long history of getting its activists arrested to support terrorists and JVP has previously promoted events featuring terrorists. Those arrested included key organization figures like Alissa Wise, a top JVP official who has supported terrorists and engaged in sustained harassment of Jewish people over their support for Israel.
The Capitol Insurrection was one of a number of illegal rallies held by these hate groups, including an attempt to take over New York's Grand Central Station on the Sabbath, which also led to multiple arrests. Participants included May Ye, a Chinese-American activist from Maine who claimed that she "became a rabbi to be a Jewish voice for Palestinian liberation".
Both groups, like much of the pro-terror network, have benefited heavily from Soros funding.
The If Not Now Education Fund, the 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit arm of the 501(c)(4) extremist organization, received two sets of two-year grants from the Soros Open Society Foundations (OSF) totaling $400,000 beginning in 2019 and running until 2023. JVP has taken in $650,000 from OSF with multi-year grants beginning in 2017 and running through 2023. Like IfNotNow, JVP is a 501(c)(4) and has a 501(c)(3) arm. Both have benefited from recent Soros grants.
The illegal pro-terrorist activities of both JVP and IfNotNow, as well as many other groups in the anti-Israel network, reflects the refusal of the IRS to enforce the tax code against the Left.
The IRS had previously found that the tax code bans funding of anti-war groups or any organization whose "primary activity is the sponsoring of... protest demonstrations in which demonstrators are urged to commit violations of local ordinances and breaches of public order."
Such organizations don't "qualify for exemption under section 501(c)(3) or (4) of the Code."
IfNotNow and JVP are one of many leftist organizations and other anti-Israel protest groups whose very existence is a violation of IRS regulations. But above and beyond the tax code, Soros is knowingly funding riots and illegal activities by hate groups with a long history of such activities.
On Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, anti-Israel protesters were arrested for blocking traffic at an event co-sponsored by Adalah, a BDS group which helped produce the Black Lives Matter (BLM) platform calling for a boycott of Israel, and has received $1.5 million from Soros, as well as from JVP and IfNotNow.
In Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, Hamas supporters gathered for a "Flood Brooklyn for Palestine" hate rally whose name echoed "Al Aqsa Flood": the Hamas name for its October 7 butchery in Israel. Nineteen rioters were arrested after NYPD officers were assaulted and hit with fireworks and bottles by the hate filled mob. Participating groups included Linda Sarsour's Arab American Association of New York, which received $60,000 from the Soros network, as well as Samidoun: a terrorist front group banned by Israel and Germany, whose fiscal sponsor, the Alliance for Global Justice (AFGJ), received $250,000 from Soros in 2020. (This money may have been intended for AFGJ's BLM groups.)
The Ford Foundation and other major leftist donors have stated that they will no longer fund Samidoun, after the terror front group handed out candy to celebrate Hamas atrocities, but the Soros network has offered no such promise of ending its funding of the extremist sponsor.
At another "Flood Brooklyn for Palestine" rally targeting the vicinity of the Crown Heights community, home to the largest group of Jewish Chabad Lubavitch Chassidim in the world, participants celebrated the Hamas attack and called for the destruction of Israel. Members of the hateful mob vandalized police cars and local businesses and then proceeded to hijack the Brooklyn Bridge. Terrorist supporters marching on Lower Manhattan carried a large black and white banner reading, "Honor the Martyrs" referring to the dead Islamic terrorists.
That rally was called by Within Our Lifetime, along with other Islamic groups, whose chair, Nerdeen Kiswani was defended and "proudly supported" for her hateful activities by Palestine Legal, which received $25,000 from the Soros network.
The support for pro-Hamas groups is not surprising. George Soros has a history of defending Hamas. "America and Israel must open the door to Hamas," he urged in a 2007 editorial after the group first came to power in Gaza, while claiming that Hamas had a "more moderate political wing".
"Neither Hamas nor Hezbollah can be treated merely as targets in the war on terror because both have deep roots in their societies," he argued in an earlier editorial. And in another editorial, he complained that pro-Israel activists were "abetting" Israel's "insistence on treating Hamas only as a terrorist organization."
While Soros was editorializing for Hamas, Robert Malley, the son of an adviser to the PLO's Yasser Arafat, was conducting backchannel talks with Hamas as a director at Soros's International Crisis Group. The revelation of the Hamas link forced the Obama campaign to temporarily drop Malley, who later returned as Obama and Biden's Iran "nuclear deal" negotiator. (Malley is currently under investigation by the FBI for mishandling classified information.)
Malley, who served as the CEO of the Soros group before joining the Biden administration's Iran effort, had argued that it's a mistake to think of Hamas only "in terms of their terrorist violence dimension" and claimed that "there's so much misinformation about them".
The real mistake may be thinking that it's a coincidence that George Soros has funded hate groups rallying for Hamas and against Israel, after defending Hamas in the past.
The Hamas insurrection in the streets of our major cities has been fueled by money from major leftist donors, including Soros. The funding of organizations engaged in illegal activities is a violation of both the tax code and the law. The failure to hold accountable the funders of radical domestic terrorism, whether by BLM or Hamas supporters, has led to violence in the streets.
The Soros insurrection must be defunded and the entire network of organizations, including the billionaire Nazi collaborator behind it, must be held responsible for its illegal activities. If the IRS will not do its job and enforce the tax code against nonprofits engaged in illegal activities, Congress must move to close the loopholes and end the nonprofit status of groups engaged in violence, crimes and support for terrorist organizations. Taxpayers should not be funding terrorism, and tax-exempt organizations cannot engage in illegal activities and back terrorists.
Soros has spent much of his life organizing the destruction of the nation by funding a vast network of extremist groups. And he is not alone. Billionaire donors and foundations have brought the country and the world to a series of crises by taking fringe organizations and causes, and injecting enough money into them that they appeared to be mainstream.
Congress can deal a serious blow to the empire of extremists by reforming the tax code and closing the "terror loophole" that enabled the ugly displays of hatred in New York City and across America. If BLM wasn't enough of a wake-up call, the Islamic terrorist rallies within miles of Ground Zero ought to be. It's time for Congress to defund the Soros Hamas insurrection.
*Daniel Greenfield is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. This article previously appeared at the Center's Front Page Magazine.
© 2023 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute.

No one can deny Hamas’ aim is to kill Jews — it fully admits it
Mark Dubowitz and Natalie Ecanow/New York Post/November 13/2023
Gushing with pride, a Hamas terrorist phoned home Oct. 7 to tell his parents: “I killed 10 with my own hands! Dad, 10 with my own hands!”One month after Hamas exacted the bloodiest day for Jews since the Holocaust, it is worth remembering its mission is wickedly simple: kill Jews.
Just listen to the terrorists themselves.
Hamas leaders aimed to use the Oct. 7 massacre to “set off a sustained conflict that ends any pretense of coexistence among Israel, Gaza and the countries around them,” The New York Times reported after interviewing them.
“I hope that the state of war with Israel will become permanent on all the borders, and that the Arab world will stand with us,” Taher El-Nounou, a Hamas media adviser, declared. As the Times put it, the attack put an end to the idea Hamas is “a governing body” — it’s “still fundamentally an armed force, unrelentingly committed to destroying Israel and replacing it with an Islamist Palestinian state.”
But we already knew this. Hamas’ 1988 charter “rejects any alternative to the full and complete liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea” and says “the Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight Jews and kill them.”In other words, Hamas’ goal is to annihilate Israel and murder Jews. For more than 30 years, Hamas has acted on its word. Not a year after the first Oslo Accord was signed, a Hamas suicide bomber attacked a bus station in the Israeli city of Afula on April 6, 1994, killing seven civilians.
A week later, a Hamas bus bombing in Hadera took five lives.
The group carried out a third suicide bombing in October, killing 21 Israelis and one Dutch citizen on a public bus in Tel Aviv. This murderous campaign continued throughout the 1990s and 2000s as Hamas and other Palestinian terror group members strapped on suicide belts with nails dipped in rat poison for maximum carnage and murdered and maimed hundreds of Israelis.
After Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005, Hamas seized the opportunity to gain political legitimacy. Hamas swept 2006 elections in the enclave and proceeded to fight a bloody civil war with its Palestinian rivals for political dominance.
In some cases, Hamas members murdered their Palestinian opponents by throwing them off buildings and shooting them in their kneecaps. Hamas emerged victorious in 2007 and has ruled the Gaza Strip with an iron fist ever since. Needless to say — though the group finally is saying it — Hamas has chosen to forgo its responsibility to take care of Gazans, opting instead to build up its military capabilities and wage attacks on Israel.
Israel and Hamas have fought five wars in 15 years: in 2008-09, 2012, 2014, 2021 and now 2023.
Each time, Hamas has used Gazan civilians as human shields.
Hamas operates a command center inside and underneath Shifa Hospital, the largest hospital in Gaza. And the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, the body tasked with providing aid to Palestinians, has repeatedly found Hamas rockets hidden beneath their schools. Hiding military assets underneath civilian infrastructure is a practice known as human shields, and international law prohibits it.
Hamas maintains a sprawling tunnel network it uses to transport weapons and personnel.
The Israeli defense establishment dubbed the labyrinth the Gaza “metro.”
Hamas diverts concrete meant for civilian construction projects to reinforce the tunnel system. A senior Hamas official said just last month it’s the UN’s responsibility to build bomb shelters in Gaza because the group is focused on building terror tunnels to protect its fighters and weapons. Hamas leaders, meanwhile, live as kings in Qatar as more than 2 million Palestinians under their rule remain in abject poverty.
Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’s political chief, is worth $4 billion, as is his predecessor, Khaled Mashal. Hamas has been killing Israelis for more than three decades and Palestinians for almost two decades.
We didn’t need a Times interview to inform us.
It’s long past the time to destroy this evil.
*Mark Dubowitz is the chief executive of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where Natalie Ecanow is a research analyst.

Will Netanyahu step down after Israel-Hamas war is over?

Mazal Mualem/Al-Monitor/November 13, 2023
JERUSALEM — More than a month since Hamas assailants mounted the monstrous attack Oct. 7, Israel has changed beyond recognition. It is becoming increasingly clear that the debacle also marks the end of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's long and tumultuous career.
"The question is no longer whether Netanyahu will go, but when," a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party and his government told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity last week. The Likud minister's assessment is sober. In all probability, even a gifted political juggler like Netanyahu cannot survive the failure that caught Israel woefully unprepared on Oct. 7 and resulted in what is being described as the greatest catastrophe in Israeli history.
Even Netanyahu’s staunchest supporters, who continue to insist that he was not to blame for the fiasco, cannot dispute this assessment. The image he nurtured throughout his career as the guarantor of Israel’s security and defender of the Jewish people against a second Holocaust makes his likely collapse that much more resounding.
Israel is suffering a national and unprecedented trauma. Hundreds of thousands of regular and reserve soldiers are deployed in the Gaza Strip and Israel's south, as well as along the Lebanese border. They have been mobilized for a war that many Israelis regard as not only justified but also nothing short of existential — a war of survival. While clearly hyperbole, the description by Netanyahu and other politicians of the war against Hamas as Israel’s second war of independence intensifies the perception of his failure as the country’s longest-serving prime minister.
It is too soon to draw up a definitive scenario of his descent from the political stage. Netanyahu is unlikely to be ousted as long as the war rages, and his generals have warned that the campaign will be long. Discussions about the political day after are taking place in private.
"We will not go against Netanyahu now," a Likud source told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. "No one would call the prime minister to leave his position in the middle of the war. Still, with everything that happened, it is clear to me that the term of a prime minister must be limited by law. Staying in this position for so long is evidently a recipe for trouble." A minister from the coalition Shas party takes it further. "The war reshuffled all the cards. We must all do soul-searching, and we will not let Netanyahu survive politically. In my estimate, we will have new elections within a year, and Shas will not necessarily commit to support a Likud candidate for the position of premier," the minister told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity.
Opposition leader Yair Lapid has refrained from directly demanding Netanyahu's resignation in wartime. On the other hand, opposition figures who have campaigned for Netanyahu’s resignation in recent years, such as former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, have openly called for his immediate departure from office.
Tens of thousands of Israelis rallied on Saturday in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, urging the government to ensure the release of hostages. On Nov. 4, hundreds demonstrated outside Netanyahu's Jerusalem and Caesaria homes, demanding he step down.
Polls have been reflecting the obvious. Support for Netanyahu is at an unprecedented low, matched only by his standing after the 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, when as head of the opposition Netanyahu was accused of having a hand in the incitement that led to the murder. Although Netanyahu recovered within a few months and won the 1996 elections, Israel and Netanyahu have greatly changed in the 28 years since that traumatic event.
Netanyahu’s status already shaky over judicial overhaul
Netanyahu arrived at the current pivotal moment in the history of Israel and the Jewish people a maligned figure among half the public that opposed his deeply controversial campaign to curb the country’s judiciary.
That being said, although Netanyahu’s eroded support is also pulling down his own Likud, which he has headed continuously since 2006, most of the public still leans to the political right. At the same time, the Oct. 7 massacre also dealt a painful blow to the far smaller left-leaning electorate, with opponents accusing it of weakness and naivete in believing that a two-state peace with the Palestinians is possible.
Netanyahu is now leading a military campaign. He is a realist and well aware of his political and public weakness, but as the son of a historian (Benzion Netanyahu, whom he often quotes), he is also focused on the legacy he will leave behind. He appears to be trying to minimize the damage to his image by hailing the war's achievements.
Only six weeks ago, Netanyahu stood on the United Nations podium in New York and heralded an expected historic peace agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia. Even with his waning popularity and the massive public protests against his judicial overhaul, he seemed to have once again risen like a phoenix, confounding the many who had prophesied the end of the Netanyahu era. Two weeks later, instead of a peace agreement, he found himself waging war, supported by US President Joe Biden, who led the rapprochement with Saudi Arabia and wanted a peace deal just as much.
The keys to the end of the Netanyahu era are in the hands of former Defense Minister Benny Gantz. Although Netanyahu’s political rival, Gantz joined the war cabinet, declaring that this was a partnership dictated by the fateful events of Oct. 7, not a political alliance.
Gantz is now the leading candidate for prime minister in every poll, supported even by Likud voters for his willingness to set aside his bitter political experience at Netanyahu’s hands and join the Cabinet for the good of the country. For instance, a poll published on Nov. 3 by Maariv showed that only 27% of Israelis believe Netanyahu is the right person to run the government, while 49% favor Gantz.
As such, once Gantz decides that this chapter of the war is over, he will step down, thereby bringing down Netanyahu's sixth government and prompting elections.
Will Netanyahu run again? "Support for Netanyahu within the Likud and among party members is absolute. Netanyahu is not to blame for the [Gaza] border being breached. Ever since the 2014 Gaza war, the army kept telling the Cabinet that Hamas was deterred. Netanyahu had no reason to think otherwise," veteran Likud activist Moti Ohana told Al-Monitor. "War time is not the moment for searching who is to blame, but we [Likud activists] support the establishment of a commission of inquiry that will examine the entire history of what brought us to the current situation, including the behavior of the media, the anti-judicial protest movement and the Supreme Court," he said. While Ohana expresses support for Netanyahu, the prime minister is a pragmatist. If he is convinced that the public is fed up with him, he is unlikely to open himself up to humiliation. The prime minister has already begun fighting for his legacy, arranging photo opportunities with the troops and his generals, bringing in an opponent (Gantz) to help run the war and welcoming a series of international leaders who came to Israel to show their support. Netanyahu could also try to complete the task of signing a peace agreement with Saudi Arabia as the ultimate victory photo of the war before stepping off the stage. This could be his best bet, though it's unlikely to take place as the war rages.
Upon his (possible) retirement, the Likud will deteriorate into a fierce war of succession. New players will emerge, perhaps former Mossad chief Yossi Cohen, who is currently involved in efforts for a deal to release the hostages, and veteran actors, such as former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who is preparing for the day after.

In Never-Before-Seen Video Of Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei's 1998 Tehran

MEMRI/November 13, 2023
Iran, Palestine | Special Dispatch No. 10957
Meeting With Hamas Founder Ahmad Yassin, Released By Khamenei's Office, Khamenei Tells Yassin: 'We Are The Enemies Of The Zionists... This Cancerous Growth... And We Will Fight Them'; 'We Are Proud Of You, You Are A Source of Honor For Islam'
MEMRI/November 13, 2023
Iran, Palestine | Special Dispatch No. 10957
On November 9, 2023, a month after Hamas invaded southern Israel and massacred over 1,200 Israeli civilians on October 7, the office of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei published a video that included never-before-seen footage of a May 1998 meeting in Tehran between Khamenei and Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, who had arrived in Iran at the head of a Hamas delegation. Yassin was assassinated by Israel in 2004.
From the video: Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei meets with Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmad Yassin in 1998
Since its establishment, Hamas has openly declared, in its 1988 charter and ever since,[1] that its goal is the destruction of Israel – a goal touted by Iran's Islamic regime, which refers to Israel as a "cancerous growth."
The video shows parts of the 1998 meeting, including Khamenei's and Yassin's discussion of the need to destroy Israel through military conflict, as well as scenes from the current Israel-Hamas war, with a focus on Gazans climbing on Israeli tanks and military vehicles, Hamas tunnels underneath Gaza, rocket attacks against Israel, and more. It also describes Hamas's military evolution, achieved via Iranian efforts, from stone-throwing at the time of its establishment by Yassin up to its use today of rocket and drone attacks penetrating deep into Israeli territory.
Screenshots from the video published on Khamenei's website: Gazans climb on an Israeli tank on October 7, 2023; Hamas militants load rocket launchers aimed at Israel.
Screenshots from the video published on Khamenei's website: Rockets for launching into Israel
The message sent by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei by publishing this video on his website was that the Islamic Republic of Iran stands behind its protégé and proxy Hamas and that 25 years after the Khamenei-Yassin meeting, and one month after October 7, Khamenei's Iran is supporting Hamas ideologically and militarily, is guiding its activity in order to advance its goals in the region, and takes pride in the October 7 attack and its results.
In this way, Iran is taking ownership of Hamas, as having supported it from its earliest stages. Although Hamas is not a Shi'ite movement but a Sunni movement affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, its desire to destroy Israel and its explicit public declarations of this are considered by both as a religious obligation.
Thus, Khamenei tells Yassin in the video: "We are proud of you. We consider this Islamic movement to be a source of honor for Islam, [and] I see all of it to be completely compatible with Islamic principles and the laws of Islam and the Quran."
The following is a translation of the segments of the 1998 Khamenei-Yassin meeting from the video published by Khamenei's official website.[2]
Khamenei To Yassin In 1998 Meeting: We Will Not Accept The Rule Of The Cancerous Growth In An Islamic Land, We Will Fight It; Your Words Are Entirely In Line With Islamic And Quranic Principles
Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei told Sheikh Ahmad Yassin during the meeting:
"I believe that you, Mr. Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, and these brothers and the brothers in Palestine are fighting on the frontline of the war between Islam and unbelief, and the war between truth and falsehood...
"We have not recognized and will not recognize the usurping [Israeli] government in the Palestinian lands and the country of Palestine for even a single hour. We oppose the Zionists, that usurping government, and that cancerous growth that they have planted in the Islamic lands, and we will fight it. We have no doubt about the future. What's important is the plan of action, so that the time needed for this will be shortened as much as is possible...
"Of course, we are proud of you. We consider this Islamic movement to be a source of honor for Islam. I carefully listened to what you said, and I see all of it to be completely compatible with Islamic principles and the laws of Islam and the Quran. Without a doubt, this will be victorious. God's promise is true when He says, "Allah will surely help those who help his cause – indeed, Allah is strong and mighty [Quran 22:40]."
Yassin To Khamenei In 1998 Meeting: We Will Continue To Fight Until We Attain Victory Or Martyrdom And Until Jerusalem And The Al-Aqsa Mosque Are Liberated
Ahmad Yassin said to Khamenei:
"First of all, I am thankful to you for this good meeting and for these good hours where I have had the opportunity to be in the land of the Islamic Revolution... We need the support of everyone in all the Arab and Islamic lands for us to be able to strengthen the Islamic ranks and help the Palestinian people so that they can stand firmly and strongly in confronting the Zionist-U.S. aggressions, God willing...
"I am also thankful for the firm stance taken by the Leader and the people of Iran with regard to the Palestinian cause...
"We won't relinquish even a bit or a handspan of the territory of our homeland. We will remain committed to Islam. We will continue to be fighters who either achieve victory or are martyred, God willing, so that Al-Quds [Jerusalem] and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the first qibla of the Muslims, are freed."
[1] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 10897, The Hamas Charter – The Ideology Behind The Massacre, October 23, 2023; MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 1313, Hamas Policy Document: Palestinian State In 1967 Borders Is 'National, Agreed-upon and Joint Formula' By Hamas, PLO – Yet Armed Struggle Will Continue, And Palestine Extends From River To Sea, May 5, 2017.
[2] Farsi.khamenei.ir/video-content?id=54344, November 9, 2023.

Inhumanity in Gaza must awaken our collective humanity
Baria Alamuddin/Arab News/November 13/2023
Amid all the unimaginable horrors facing Palestinians in Gaza, special mention should be made of the more than 50,000 women who are pregnant.
Many new mothers are so emaciated after weeks of inadequate food that they are unable to produce milk for their babies. UNICEF has estimated that 180 women a day are giving birth in Gaza without adequate care, including undergoing cesarean sections without painkillers and being discharged, still bleeding, within hours of delivery. Dozens of babies face death in neonatal intensive care units, where lifesaving incubator machines lack electricity.
At a time when they are most desperately needed, about half of Gaza’s 35 hospitals are destroyed or nonoperational, while the remainder lack equipment and electricity. We enter the lowest circles of hell when even hospitals are being bombed and doctors and patients alike are caught in the crossfire, with Israel accused of turning the besieged Al-Shifa Hospital into a war zone. Imagine the horror of being maimed in the destruction of your own home, only to incur further injuries when the ambulance conveying you to hospital is hit by an airstrike. The inability of hospitals to bury hundreds of bodies contributes to horrific conditions and the wildfire spread of infections.
Even if Hamas were to set up a headquarters in the middle of a hospital, attacking that institution would still unambiguously be a war crime. Israel acts as if international law does not apply because an indulgent and unheeding Western world has, for years, allowed this to be the case. Hamas in no way represents the Palestinian nation and the group bears responsibility for triggering this situation, but world leaders are also culpable for the bloody consequences of affording Israel decades of absolute impunity.
In a spectacular own goal, British interior minister Suella Braverman, who was sacked on Monday, denounced the London Armistice Day pro-Palestine demonstration as a “hate march” and unsuccessfully piled pressure on the police to have it banned. Largely thanks to Braverman’s free publicity, hundreds of thousands of people peacefully participated in one of the largest marches in British history. Indeed, will we ever live to see a memorial day for the 4,500 children and thousands of other innocent civilians who have already been killed in Gaza, alongside those senselessly murdered in Israel? To avoid history repeating itself, we should emphasize and commemorate the sacredness of all human life.
The huge marches also taking place in Spain, France, Germany, America and elsewhere demonstrate how rapidly Israel is losing sympathy among its closest allies. I have been struck by the fluidity of Western public opinion. Immediately after Oct. 7, anyone expressing pro-Palestinian sentiments was denounced as a terrorism sympathizer. But now, with the obvious exclusion of emotionally and morally dead self-serving politicians, can anybody with a few granules of humanity not be moved by Gaza’s heart-wrenching horrors? Many Western media outlets have lurched from outbursts of slavish support for Israel to more nuanced language for fear of losing their audiences, although certain outlets persist with editorial lines that wholly dehumanize Palestinians.
Whether the victims are Israeli or Palestinian, this relentless diet of inhumanity must awaken our innate humanitarian empathy in seeking to end this brutality and establish a path toward lasting and just peace.
These events have unleashed the hateful seeds of antisemitism and Islamophobia around the world, with far-right elements speculating about genocidal measures against Jewish and Muslim communities. Even in Israel, thousands of demonstrators, including the families of hostages, demanded a halt to the violence and the launch of determined negotiations to free about 240 hostages before too many of them are killed by Israel’s own airstrikes.
Israeli observers worry that, despite the obvious objective of mass collective vengeance against Palestinian civilians in Gaza, Benjamin Netanyahu’s war goals appear grossly unrealistic and self-defeating — other than seeking to temporarily save his own political skin. Although Israeli troops have timidly encircled the outskirts of Gaza City, where more than a third of buildings have been damaged by bombing, they still have not made significant incursions through the city’s rubble-strewn streets. So, if Israel is serious about following through on “eliminating” Hamas, the war has barely started yet. Indeed, the conflict could get infinitely worse if provocations on the Lebanon border and in the West Bank trigger full-scale conflagrations.
For all Hassan Nasrallah’s rhetoric about “victory” in his latest speech, the situation in both Gaza and Israel is not what victory looks like. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi weighed in with similarly escalatory language about how “there is no other way but to resist Israel.” Yet, other than stoking the pot and exacerbating the regional situation, it is not clear how the actions of Iran and its proxies help the Palestinians.
Meanwhile, in unusually strong language, Saturday’s Arab-Islamic summit in Riyadh denounced the “war crimes and barbaric, brutal and inhumane massacres committed by the colonial occupation government,” while calling for an end to the Gaza siege. Among the summit’s tangible proposals were the establishment of media monitoring units to document and publicize violations against Palestinians, along with a number of international initiatives for holding Israel legally accountable.
As International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan argued, we cannot allow ourselves to be desensitized to this level of anguish and this “pandemic of inhumanity.” We must remember that those pulled from the rubble are the same as us and equally deserving of justice. Several decades as a working journalist have caused me to be deeply cynical of politicians, even when they are saying the right things. It is not acceptable for us as global citizens to passively accept a world where thousands are meaninglessly slaughtered before our eyes.
Whether the victims are Israeli or Palestinian, this relentless diet of inhumanity must awaken our innate humanitarian empathy in seeking to end this brutality and establish a path toward a lasting and just peace — an essential component of which is ending the illegal occupation of Palestinian land once and for all.
• Baria Alamuddin is an award-winning journalist and broadcaster in the Middle East and the UK. She is editor of the Media Services Syndicate and has interviewed numerous heads of state.

A time for peace and a two-state solution
Ronald S. Lauder/Arab News/November 13/2023
When I planned my trip to the Middle East last week with key representatives from Jewish communities in England, France, Switzerland and Germany, our plan was to try and help in the hostage situation, to promote a peace plan between Israelis and Palestinians and a two-state solution. Friends and colleagues of mine urged me not to go. They thought the very idea of peace between the Israelis and Palestinians seemed impossible at this time. But I disagreed.
I traveled to Jordan, where I met with King Abdullah and the crown prince. Afterwards, in Qatar, I met with Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani and then I sat down with Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani. We discussed the terrorist attacks by Hamas, as well as the hostage situation and the need to protect civilians on all sides. We also expressed our gratitude for Qatar’s efforts in finding a solution and freeing the hostages.
Though the topics and the timing were difficult and painful, we had open and honest exchanges on the basis of mutual respect and with the understanding that, in the end, we all want the same thing — a better future where Israelis and Palestinians live in peace side by side. A future where a “Marshall Plan” for the Palestinians, as I proposed in a previous article in Arab News, would offer an alternative to the brainwashing of Iran and terrorist organizations. It would be an important step toward long-term security and stability for all in the Middle East. A future where we can actually remember that we are the children of Abraham and should be able to live together as such.
I understand that the idea of talking about peace in the current atmosphere, as Hamas was able to create after the attacks on Oct. 7, could seem ludicrous. However, I believe history will back me up. Fifty years ago, after the devastation of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, peace between Egypt and Israel seemed equally unattainable. But it was precisely that war that led late President Anwar Sadat to travel to Jerusalem to shake the hand of his Israeli counterpart. When President Sadat offered a real peace treaty, right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin gave the Sinai back to Egypt without hesitation. That peace has lasted now for almost half a century.
The idea of talking about peace in the current atmosphere could seem ludicrous. However, I believe history will back me up.
As a second example, in September 1993, I was among the invitees on the White House lawn when late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and late Chairman Yasser Arafat shook hands and manifested that they wanted to see a future of their people living in peace. Never will I forget the atmosphere of happiness and hope. People who had nothing to do with one another stood up together, applauded and we became friends that day.
Out of all the friendships created that day, I cherished mine with the late Dr. Saeb Erekat for many years. I would call him one of the voices of wisdom among the Palestinian leadership. Unfortunately, he passed away in November 2020, a huge loss for all those in the world who wanted to see a future with peace in the region and considered themselves to be bridge-builders. We visited each other’s homes and I will never forget how his wife offered to teach me how to make maqluba. It became one of my favorite dishes after they graciously introduced me to it. Saeb and I did not always agree on every topic, but we agreed on one thing: that only a two-state solution would guarantee Israelis and Palestinians a life in dignity, safety and with a better perspective on the economic situation, which would lead to a sustainable future. We also agreed that one of the biggest threats came from religious extremists on all sides, who would use violence against the voices of bridge-builders. And let us be clear, in my opinion, a two-state solution would mean a Palestinian state living side by side with Israel.
True leaders stand strong in such difficult times and do not fall into the trap of hatred or labeling others.
We are missing the voices like Saeb’s today in this current situation. His wisdom, his ability to also raise his voice against the extremists on all sides and fight for a better future; I wish it would be the voices of reason — and I know they do exist on both sides — that would get the airtime in today’s media.
Sadly, for now, Hamas, with its attacks and per se declaration of war on Oct. 7, seems to have succeeded in polarizing the world. Not only that, but we also live in times where a minority of people allow extremists to intimidate, silence and cancel the majority.
I believe that was entirely their objective. With the strong possibility of other Arab countries joining the Abraham Accords, that would have left one player in the region completely out of the loop. That, obviously, is Iran.
Iran and its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps trained the Hamas fighters and gave them their weapons, just as they have trained other militias in the region, such as the Houthis, Hezbollah and the Shiite militias in Iraq. The one country that had the most to lose from more peace in the region was Iran.
This is not in the interest of anyone who stands for peace nor for anyone who is a bridge-builder. This is not the time to be indifferent.
I call upon anyone — leaders, politicians, business owners, journalists, students — who want to have a future in peace, to not give into the voices of extremism. In difficult times, like the ones we live in today, it is easy to fall into the trap of hatred, but true leadership is when we still hold on to the idea of peace. We must all understand that those who consider themselves bridge-builders will not give into the voices of extremists, who are trying to divide or cancel us.
True leaders — no matter if old or young — stand strong in such difficult times and do not fall into the trap of hatred or labeling others. It is the time where bridge-builders on all sides come together and urgently discuss the long-term solutions and what we all have in common, not what divides us.
I have always been a man of peace and I know there are many more out there who think the same way. We cannot give up on a better future for our children and grandchildren.
• Ronald S. Lauder is President of the World Jewish Congress.
X: @lauder_ronald