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Israel Exposes Travel Agency as Front for Hamas Money Laundering

July 17, 2019 Peace and Conflict

Fadi Abu al-Sabah, another Hamas terrorist hiding in civilian guise. Photo Courtesy of the ISA.

The Israelis continue to break up terrorist financial schemes, with the latest being the exposure of a group in Judea and Samaria (also known as the West Bank) that was laundering money for Hamas—via a travel agency. “Meet the West Bank-based Al-Haramain ‘travel agency’. Instead of booking hotels, Al-Haramain has in fact been operating a Hamas money laundering ring, transferring illicit terror funds from Gaza to the West Bank. This dirty money funded terror activity and Hamas salaries,” said a post on the IDF Twitter feed.

A follow-up post said earlier this week they had apprehended three Hamas operatives who were part of the ring. Said the tweet on busting this fake travel agency, “We won’t let terror be Hamas’ destination.”

Unmasking the travel agency scam is just the latest exposure of an effort by Hamas to hide terror activities in civilian guise. Earlier this month, the Israel Security Agency announced in a press release they had uncovered a plot to get an explosives expert from Gaza into Israel via a “humanitarian permit in order to receive medical treatment.” … Continue Reading

Netanyahu: If Hezbollah ‘Dares’ to Attack, Israel Will Respond ‘With Crushing Military Blow’

July 14, 2019 Peace and Conflict

PM Netanyahu in the north of Israel. Illustrative.
Photo courtesy of Haim Zach / Israeli GPO.

Israel will unleash a devastating counterattack if Hezbollah were to attack from Lebanon, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Sunday, in response to the latest threats from Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. “Over the weekend we heard Nasrallah’s remarks on his attack plans. It should be clear that if Hezbollah dares to do some nonsense and attacks Israel, we will hit him and Lebanon with a crushing military blow,” said Netayahu in comments released by his office.

The counter-threat came after Hezbollah Secretary General Nasrallah said in an interview with Al-Manar that another war with Israel would put the Jewish state “on the verge of vanishing.” To prove his point, Nasrallah boasted that they had weapons capable of reaching up and down the Israeli coastline and targeting Israel’s international airport, seaports and petrochemical plants. He claimed Hezbollah had precision missiles and drones, while staying evasive on whether or not they had anti-aircraft missiles.

Netanyahu mocked Nasrallah’s specificity, stating, “I do not intend to detail our plans.” Instead, he simply pointed to how they foiled the plot to build terror tunnels into Israel. “It is enough to recall that Nasrallah had—for years—dug terrorist tunnels, which we destroyed within days.” … Continue Reading

US Accuses Iran of Nuclear ‘Extortion’ at UN Meeting with World Powers

Renewed US sanctions on Iran making an impact. President Donald J. Trump signs an Executive Order on Iran Sanctions. Illustrative. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

The United States on Wednesday harshly criticized Iran’s recent nuclear advancements in a meeting with other world powers at the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog Board of Governor’s meeting, while separately US President Donald Trump threatened increased sanctions on Iran on Twitter. Recent announcements by Iran that the Islamic Republic had exceeded certain nuclear fuel limits imposed under the nuclear deal have been confirmed by International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano, with those reports published to the IAEA website.

In view of Iran’s moves, US Ambassador Jackie Wolcott told the 35-nation Board of the IAEA, “There is no credible reason for Iran to expand its nuclear program, and there is no way to read this as anything other than a crude and transparent attempt to extort payments from the international community.”

“This is an interpretation the Iranian regime itself readily admits, stating openly that it will continue to engage in such provocations until it receives various economic benefits.”

Wolcott, in comments posted to the US Mission to International Organizations in Vienna website, said the US is “committed to denying” Iran receives such economic benefits as a result of the their latest aggressive actions. President Trump took it one step further, warning that more sanctions were on the way, while again slamming the nuclear deal with Iran that the US exited last year. … Continue Reading

Iran Violates Nuclear Deal’s Fuel Stockpile Limit

July 1, 2019 Peace and Conflict

Illustrative photo of Netanyahu discussing Iran’s “secret nuclear files”. Photo courtesy of: Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)

The Iranians on Monday announced publicly that they had exceeded the 300kg limit on enriched uranium imposed under the 2015 nuclear deal with the major world powers. While Iran claimed the move was their own response to Europe failing to hold up their end of the deal in economic benefits for Iran, Israel argued that the step explicitly violated the nuclear accord and called for Europe to resume sanctions as the deal’s prescribed penalty.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif officially confirmed his country had gone past the limit on nuclear fuel enriched to civilian-use-levels, according a report by the Fars News Agency, and he said the next step was to increase the enrichment level of uranium in the country. At low levels, enriched uranium is used for nuclear power plants and medical research, while very high levels are needed for nuclear weapons. Each step can build on each other, which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu highlighted in his call to Europe to sanction Iran in response.

“Today Iran announced that it has violated its explicit commitment and crossed the threshold of 300 kg. of enriched uranium. Iran is taking a significant step toward producing nuclear weapons,” said Netanyahu on Monday in comments released by his office. … Continue Reading

Netanyahu Contrasts Arab States Openness to Peace with Palestinian Rejectionism

June 30, 2019 Peace and Conflict

The Palestinian Authority is rejecting US peace efforts. PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Illustrative. Photo Courtesy of UN Photo/Marco Castro

The Palestinian government’s highly negative response to the United States’ Middle East peace approach has left Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with just one conclusion. “One thing is clear from all this. The Palestinians are determined to continue the conflict at any price, including that of the well-being of the Palestinians themselves,” said Netanyahu on Sunday in comments released by his office. “This is not how those who want to advance peace should act. In contrast, we are continuing to advance ties with the Arab world, including today, and this serves everyone.”

Netanyahu highlighted as an example of the Palestinian Authority (PA) rejectionism their arrest of a Palestinian businessman who attended the recent US-led “Peace to Prosperity” conference that launched the economic side of the peace plan. Netanyahu said the PA later released the businessman “due to American pressure. His only crime was that he attended an economic conference designed to advance the Palestinian economy.”

Netanyahu contrasted that with the noteworthy words of Bahrain Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, who Netanyahu quoted as saying that “Israel is part of the heritage of this whole region. The Jewish People have a place amongst us. The Israeli public needs to trust that there are countries in the region that do want to have peace and do encourage the Palestinians to do it.” … Continue Reading

Netanyahu Says Iranian Aggression Spike Due to Generous Nuke Deal, Not US Actions

PM Netanyahu & US National Security Adviser John Bolton.
Photo courtesy of: Haim Zach / Israeli GPO

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emphatically pushed back against the narrative that the latest Iranian acts of aggression—including attacking the global oil industry and shooting down an American drone—are due to recent decisions from United States President Donald Trump, particularly his pulling out of the nuclear deal with Iran. On the contrary, Netanyahu argues that the instigator of Iran’s uptick in violence was actually the financial benefits accorded to Iran by the nuclear agreement, and they started years ago.

“The supporters of the Iran deal argued that the infusion of cash, massive cash into Iran’s economy, would moderate Iran. They argued that Iran would become inward-focused, would start nation-building. And in fact, the opposite has happened. The very opposite has happened,” said Netanyahu on Sunday in comments released by his office with visiting US National Security Adviser John Bolton

“Iran used those hundreds of billions of dollars to fund empire-building, not nation-building—that is the stamping of one state after the other, and the devouring of one state after another in the Middle East. Those who argue that Iran’s aggression began after the recent actions are not living on the same planet. This is completely false.”

The debate is key because of what the US response should be—the Americans could return to the nuclear deal with Iran and lessen sanctions as a result, or they could press forward with Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign. One of the leading candidates to challenge President Trump in the 2020 US Presidential elections is Joe Biden, who was Vice President when the nuclear deal was signed. While not stating his ultimate response to the current Iran situation, Biden recently claimed on Twitter that Trump’s decision to leave the deal has led to the increase in Iranian aggression. … Continue Reading

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