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Huckabee Declares West Bank to be Part of Israel

By The Guardian (UK)

Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee waded into Middle Eastern politics by declaring the West Bank to be part of Israel. Huckabee made the remarks on Tuesday while visiting a West Bank settlement. He told reporters "if you're going to visit Israel you should visit all of Israel, and that would include Judea and Samaria", the biblical name for the West Bank. His comments are at odds with US policy.

Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan in the 1967 war. Palestinians demand the area along with Gaza and East Jerusalem for a future state. The fate of West Bank settlements is one of the core issues at the heart of the conflict. Palestinians blamed settlement expansions for the breakdown in 2014 of US-mediated peace talks with Israel – a position supported in part by Washington, but rejected by the Israelis.

Many evangelical Christians in the US view Israel as the modern iteration of the Old Testament Israelites designated as God's chosen people. Huckabee, an ordained southern Baptist minister, noted on Sunday that he has traveled to Israel "dozens and dozens of times" since his first trip in 1973. Huckabee said he is visiting Israel to meet with officials to discuss the Obama administration's nuclear agreement with Iran. Last month, Huckabee said President Obama was "marching the Israelis to the door of the oven" with the recent Iran nuclear deal.

Netanyahu on Golan Border: We're Ready for Any Scenario

By DEBKAfile &

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said during a visit to Golan and Northern Command HQ Tuesday: "I'm here to check on the IDF's preparedness for meeting threats. We are ready for any scenario. If anyone seeks to harm us, we shall harm them."

Netanyahu was accompanied on his visit by top defense and military chiefs, led by Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gady Eisenkott and OC Northern command Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi. The prime minister did not name the potential source of harm. But this was the second official reference in a week to Israel's military preparations on the Syrian border and Golan.

Netanyahu used Tuesday's opportunity to warn against the funds that will flow to Iran as a result of the nuclear deal struck with world powers. "Iran's leader (Ali) Khamenei said yesterday: 'We will take all steps to support all those who fight Israel. Iran's foreign minister (Mohammad) Zarif said a few days ago in Beirut, in a meeting with Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah: 'the nuclear deal has created a historic opportunity to stand against the Zionist entity."

"Everything we have always said is true and accurate," Netanyahu said. "The money that will flow to Iran following the nuclear accord will be used to strengthen the terrorist organizations that operate against us in its name and under its sponsorship, with the avowed aim of destroying Israel.

Ya'alon also said that the Iranians are sending their proxies to carry out attacks against Israel. "Representatives of the (Iranian) Revolutionary Guards are, in effect, waiting here for the implementation of the bad deal being made with the powers, in order to bring more money to Hizbullah and to the other terror organizations, both in the Golan Heights and in the Palestinian theater."

Iran Deploys New Fighter Jets Meant to Combat Israel


Iran's Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehqan on Tuesday gave a run-down of the army's upcoming military buildup, and revealed that a new fighter jet announced in February has been delivered to the Iranian Air Force. He said the domestic double-cockpit supersonic Saeqeh 2 jets - whose name means "Thunderbolt" - have been deployed, reported the semi-official Fars News Agency.

The jet, unveiled in February, is meant to be capable of tracing American and Israeli fighter jets according to the paper, which cited a senior Air Force commander Col. Houshang Monfaredzadeh saying as much back in February. "Saeqeh 2 fighters have been delivered to the Air Force and a training jet has also been tested and is ready for manufacturing," Dehqan announced on Tuesday in time for National Defense Industry Day. He also spoke about Iran's ballistic missile program, which it is preparing to test while flouting UN resolutions concerning the missile tests in context of the Iran nuclear deal.

Speaking directly about the upcoming ballistic missile drills, he said they will not be stopped by the UN Security Council resolution. "We are working on increasing our missiles' precision and want to make them impenetrable to electronic warfare and interception, " adding that long-range ballistic missiles with multiple reentry vehicle payloads have been domestically produced, saying, "we are after turning our ground-based missiles into air-launched missiles."

Turning his attention to the advanced S-300 anti-missile system from Russia, which Dehqan said would be transferred by next week, he said Tehran has requested 3 batteries of the system and a fourth system has recently been added to the order. It is estimated that the advanced system would be able to thwart a strike against Iran's nuclear program.

Dehqan spoke about the Iranian Navy as well, saying "a new 500-ton sub-surface vessel will join the navy this year and we will take other steps to develop heavy subsurface vessels in future. We are also working on the phased-array radars and are on the path to make them passive systems," he said of attempts to make Iran's analog wireless systems digital. Finally he spoke about Iran's various drones for combat, reconnaissance and surveillance, which he said has brought customers from various countries without elaborating which states.

Abbas' Fatah Asks Iran for Money to Destroy Israel


Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction, often touted internationally as a "moderate" potential peace partner, asked Iran in an Iranian TV report for money to finance its terror war aiming to destroy Israel.

Iranian Al-Alam TV ran a report on the activities of Fatah's "armed wing," the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, which was translated and exposed by Palestinian Media Watch on Tuesday. In the report, a female Iranian TV reporter interviewed Fatah terrorists in an attack tunnel said to be 3.5 kilometers (just over two miles) long leading from Gaza into Israel, meant to be used to launch large scale terror attacks against Israeli civilians.

"There will now be a qualitative change in the unit named after Martyrdom-seeker (suicide terrorist - ed.) Nabil Mas'oud in the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, by using attack tunnels against the Zionist entity," the terrorist said, explaining the growing role of terror tunnels before showing off the tunnel.

Down in the tunnel, he said, "we spend all our time trying to get money to fulfill our duty concerning our occupied lands and liberate them from the Zionist entity. This is why we are asking (for money)...especially (from) Iran, which is a known long-time supporter of the resistance and the Palestinian cause."

In response to the appeal, the Iranian reporter said, "the book of resistance is still open...and its last line will not be written until Palestine is liberated." The call for funding from Iran by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, internationally recognized as a terror organization - as was Fatah until the 1993 Oslo Accords removed that status internationally - comes as the PA announced Abbas is set to visit Iran, likely in a bid for funding. Senior PLO official Abbas Zaki said recently that strengthening ties with Iran is "an inevitable step if we want to confront the Israeli occupation."

It is likely that the revamped requests for funding are consciously timed to come now, after the Iran nuclear deal was reached last month putting Iran in position to receive hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief. Even President Barack Obama has admitted the released funds to Iran, the leading state sponsor of terror, will go to funding terrorism.

While Fatah has been held up as a "moderate" alternative to Hamas, its charter also calls for terrorism to destroy Israel, and Abbas has openly called for religious war against Jews. Fatah launched rockets at Israeli civilians in last summer's terror war from Gaza, in addition to its terror tunnel activity, and has falsely claimed to have murdered "11,000 Israelis."

`Israel Must Be Obliterated': New Iranian Video Imagines Muslim Invasion of Jerusalem


A new video out of Iran presents the imagined scenario of Jerusalem being conquered by a military alliance of the country's Revolutionary Guard forces and Hizbullah and Hamas terrorists, a Jewish news site reported Tuesday.

Quoting the Middle East terrorism research organization the Investigative Project, the Algemeiner reported that the video was released two weeks after the Iran nuclear deal was announced. The video showed the fighters preparing for battle with their gear, headbands, shoes and weapons, then descending on Jerusalem.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has repeatedly pointed to Iran's continued sponsorship of international terrorist groups including Hizbullah and to its dedication to destroying Israel as two reasons he believes the deal is dangerous for Israel.

The Algemeiner detailed the lineup of fighters portrayed in the video which, according to the Investigative Project, was produced by the Islamic Revolution Design House: "One dons the IRGC [Revolutionary Guards] insignia on his left arm, another the emblem of the Iran-backed Iraqi Shia Badr Organization. Yet a third dons a headband bearing the Lebanese Hizbullah logo, and a fourth is seen clad in Hamas' characteristic balaclava and the Qassam Brigades green headband."

The animated video shows the soldiers approaching Jerusalem, with the iconic yellow dome of the Dome of the Rock situated on the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism and third-holiest site in Islam. Later in the video, a wider shot is presented, showing dozens of fighters on a hilltop across from the holy city.

At the end, Persian script appears saying "Israel must be obliterated," or literally, "erased from the annals of history … and the youth will definitely see that day when it comes," the Algemeiner noted. It's not only the "Islamic Revolution Design House" that favors destroying Israel. The same sentiment has been expressed recently by Iran's supreme leader.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Tuesday asserted his support for those who fight Israel, tweeting: In a speech following the nuclear agreement, Khamenei praised Iranian demonstrators who in July chanted "death to Israel" and "death to the U.S." during protests marking the pro-Palestinian Al Quds Day commemoration.

British Tourist Under Attack for Expressing Love for Israel


Emma Carter, 34, from London fell utterly in love with Israel and its people during her first visit to the Holy Land. She took to social media to share her new found passion for Israel, but found herself under attack by her friends. It got so bad that she had to close her Facebook account altogether.

Carter's good friend, Dafna Endoditch-Rau, a young Jew who lives in the British capital, decided to celebrate her 40th birthday in Tel Aviv and invited her to join her for the trip. "I was worried about visiting Israel and I hesitated quite a bit before I agreed," Carter said. "As an Englishwoman, all I knew about Israel were the wars in Gaza. But Dafna told me that I would be safer in Israel than in London, and I decided to go and see the country for myself."

Twenty-four hours is all it took for Carter to fall in love with Israel. She said she clicked with Tel Aviv on the very first night. "Everything I saw was completely different from the way Israel is portrayed in the media," she recounted. "Tel Aviv is a vibrant and liberal city, people here are kind, and the welcome I have received here was more incredible than any other place I have ever visited in the world. Strangers invited me to visit their homes. Israelis are warm and inviting, not aggressive or bad as described in the news."

Carter recounted an experience that changed her perception of Israel more than any other: "During my second evening I met a friend of Dafna's, a reserve officer, who told me about the Iron Dome system and the enormous budget that Israel invests in security to protect itself. He told me that Israel was constantly being criticized by the whole world for its attempts to protect itself. My conversation with him and my personal acquaintance with Israelis influenced me greatly."

Highly inspired, Carter decided to write her impressions in a detailed and well-written Facebook post. "There are a few factors I consider when liking a place - people, food and architecture! All are fully met in Israel. Learnt the most amazing facts today. For example Israeli cities have an 'Iron Dome' in the atmosphere surrounding their cities which intercepts short range missiles. Israelis only ever respond to an attack never provoke. The various defense systems defend the only democracy in the Middle East. "Israel is considered to be a state at war, and yet I feel calmer here than in London. Why? Because life's values are appreciated here. And there are also ice cream shops open 24 hours a day," she remarked.

Carter ended her post with a recommendation to her friends: "I've just finished spending an amazing day in a country the BBC describes as barbaric just to pander to Muslim viewers. I recommend you place a question mark next to any piece of news, especially when you are watching a news network financed by the government."

When Carter wrote the post, she never could have imagined the wave of opposition it would provoke. Within a short amount of time, a couple of her Facebook friends started to attack her: "Israel murders innocent Palestinian children and steals their land," wrote one of them. Another added: "You're justifying an apartheid state."

Following the messages she received from Facebook, Carter decided to close her Facebook account. "What kind of a social network site is it if it does not allow one to carry on a debate or express an opinion?" she asked in anger. "I didn't attack anyone. Instead of using Facebook, I'll tell all my friends in London personally my impressions of Israel. I'm in love with Israelis and with that beautiful country."

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