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Evidence Mounts That Soon-To-Be Unsanctioned Iran Already Spurring New Attacks on Israel

By Paul Alster for

An unsettling surge in terrorism by Iranian proxies has many Israelis convinced the release to Tehran of tens of billions of dollars in frozen funds is already putting the Jewish state in danger.

In recent days, rockets have rained down on Israel from Gaza in the south and the Golan Heights to the north, Israeli forces foiled a bomb plot at the tomb of biblical patriarch Joseph, and Gaza-based terrorist groups that also have a presence in the West Bank have openly appealed for aid on Iranian television.

Israeli officials fear the terrorist activity is spiking as groups audition for funding from Tehran, which is set to receive the long-frozen funds as part of its deal to allow limited nuclear inspections. They say the international focus on Iran's nuclear ambitions has left its more conventional methods of attacking regional adversaries unaddressed.

"The nuclear context is just one aspect of the negative Iranian activities in the region," Emmanuel Nahshon, senior Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, told "We can see the demonstration of this on a daily basis in Syria, in Yemen, and in Iraq. We see it also when we see the [Iranian] support of Hizbullah and other groups that operate against Israel."

Last month, National Security Adviser Susan Rice admitted that some of the money due to be released as part of the deal negotiated by the U.S. led P5+1 "would go to the Iranian military and could potentially be used for the kinds of bad behavior that we have seen in the region. The amount that Iran gives Hizbullah is not very much - around $200 million - not even 1% of Iran's budget last year."

Aside from the soon-to-be-released billions, Iran's finances will also be strengthened by the easing of trade embargoes that have seen a horde of major international business - many from P5+1 countries – rushing to sign lucrative deals with the ayatollahs. Earlier this week, British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond scoffed at the fears of Israel and many Arab countries in the Middle East, saying the deal would "slowly rebuild their sense that Iran is not a threat to them." Less than 24 hours later, the spokesman for Iran's top parliament member said, "Our positions against [Israel] have not changed at all; Israel should be annihilated."

If that remains Iran's intention, terror groups Hizbullah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are showing a renewed eagerness to continue as its proxies. Four rockets apparently fired by the PIJ from Syria into northern Israel last week – two into the Golan Heights and two more into the Upper Galilee – were the first such attacks since the start of Syria's bloody civil war more than four years ago. Israel responded with targeted missile strikes, including one which hit a car killing "five or six PIJ terrorists."

On August 18, Iranian state TV broadcast images of a new, 2.5-mile tunnel leading from Gaza into Israel. Dug by the Fatah-linked terror group the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, and seemingly competing with arch-rivals Hamas for a share of the imminently unfrozen Iranian funds, the terrorists made an unabashed appeal for more cash. In a segment translated by Palestinian Media Watch, the terror group's representatives said, "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."

On Tuesday, Israeli officials revealed that a joint Israeli internal security and military operation thwarted a potentially lethal bomb attack planned by the Islamic Jihad on visitors to Joseph's Tomb in Shechem in the Palestinian-controlled West Bank, the resting place of the biblical figure revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims alike.

The pace of attacks, as well as the diversity of their perpetrators, has prompted speculation that terrorist groups are competing for Iranian funding, and trying to show they are capable of giving Tehran bang for its buck. The terrorist groups however operate on budgets that are tiny given the scale of Iran's financing capability.

Meir Javedanfar, an Iranian-born Israeli expert on the region who writes at, told "If you want to stop Iranian support of Hizbullah, you would need to have inspectors on the ground in Syria and Lebanon, the most dangerous of places, checking Hizbullah's arsenal, bank accounts, bases, and Syrian bases which Hizbullah uses. I don't see any UN force, or anyone else volunteering to do that."

Paul Alster is an Israel-based journalist. Follow him on Twitter @paul_alster and visit his website:

Former CIA Chief: Give Israel Bunker-Buster Bombs


In an op-ed in the Washington Post, two former Obama administration officials urged for Israel to be provided with bunker-buster bombs, in order to be able to make a credible threat against Iran if that country gets too close to developing a nuclear device.

Dennis Ross, a former Middle East envoy, and David Petraeus, who directed the CIA after commanding US. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, wrote that the bunker-busters would be an effective "firewall" against Iranian nuclear development, especially in 15 years, when the agreement between Tehran and Western powers expires.

"Now is the time for the Iranians and the world to know that if Iran dashes toward a weapon, especially after year 15, that it will trigger the use of force," the two wrote. "At that point, it would be too late for sanctions to preempt an Iranian nuclear fait accompli."

In the op-ed, the two say that President Barack Obama's plan to furnish Israel with one such bomb – the 400-pound BLU-113 – as laid out in a letter to Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), was insufficient. "The Israelis would need the 30,000-pound massive ordnance penetrator (MOP) and the means to carry it," they wrote. "While some may question whether we would act militarily if the Iranians were to dash to a bomb, no one questions whether the Israelis would do so," they added.

Jewish Settlers Grab Building in Jerusalem's Arab Neighborhood

By VOA News

Ultra-nationalist Israelis have taken over a four-story building in the heart of an Arab neighborhood in east Jerusalem, raising fears of fresh violence in the tense area.

A small group of activists from the Ateret Cohanim settler organization moved into the building on Thursday. It was the latest in a wave of settler advances since nationalist Jews began buying up properties in Palestinian neighborhoods two decades ago.

The building is located in Silwan, a neighborhood that is home to several hundred Jewish residents and some 50,000 Palestinians. Israeli soldiers were guarding the latest wave of settlers. Ateret Cohanim said it legally purchased the properties. Palestinian residents say they have been unfairly evicted or illegally bullied into leaving. Past takeovers have led to clashes and violent Palestinian demonstrations.

Hitler Film is a Satirical Slap in the Face

By (Commentary)

In October, "Look Who's Back", a satire based on the bestselling novel by Timur Vermes, which describes Adolph Hitler's return after decades of deep sleep, will be screened in Germany. Our reporter in Berlin, Eldad Beck, has noted that the promotion machine has already begun on the Internet in order to inform the public about the upcoming event.

Cinematic satire about Hitler? I have difficulty accepting this. In any event I do not see films or plays about the Holocaust, because I think that the destruction of six million Jews should not be material for the screen or the stage, whatever the intentions of the artist.

I also don't buy any one of the so-called explanations that accompany such films: Directors talk about the importance of the story, in part because it raises the question of whether the Germans would receive the teachings of the Fuehrer today and follow him as they did in the past.

But this is not a serious question, because no one would really be required to answer that. And if they would ask the wider public, it's clear that most would lie and reject any such possibility. It is also clear that a film of this nature is not made out of serious ideological considerations, but rather for financial gain.

For comparison purposes it is useful to consider the "Great Dictator," one of the great Charlie Chaplin's most famous films and his first talkie. The film, made by "the small man with the small moustache" in the 1930s and screened in 1940, is also a satire on the Fuehrer of the Third Reich.

Like most of Chaplin's films of, if not all, "The Great Dictator" is a classic film. Chaplin, who saw the film as one of his greatest achievements, as it served as a warning to the world of dictatorship and the power of a dictator, understood only later that the film was made too soon. That is, before he knew what the Nazi dictator did to the world - more than 60 million people died in World War II, which Hitler began in order to conquer Europe and the whole world. When he made the film Chaplin did not know that Hitler and his henchmen decided to destroy the Jewish people.

After realizing who this dictator really was, he took every opportunity in which he appeared before the public or the media to emphasize that had he known of Hitler's actions, he would never have made the immortal film. "You cannot make satire about a mass murderer, one of the abominable murderers in human history," he was wont to say.

Therefore, if a genius like Charlie Chaplin determined that he would never make a satire of Hitler, even though the film represented a professional achievement for him, why should we be willing today to see a German satirical film on the most vicious murderer in human history? Surely there were other heinous murderers, from Genghis Khan to Stalin and Mao Zedong, but an insane painter from Austria outranked them all. It's just a pity that people use the Holocaust to fatten their bank account.

Matisyahu Plays Concert Just Outside Auschwitz


Jewish reggae singer Matisyahu defiantly played a concert just outside of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp on Thursday, days after a Spanish music festival had cancelled - and then reinstated - his concert on the basis that he was Jewish.

"Played in the last remaining Synagogue outside of Auschwitz in the city Oswiecim," Matisyahu announced on his Facebook page. "Peace and blessings." The synagogue, according to JTA, was the "tiny" Chevra Lomdei Mishnayot synagogue in the infamous southern Polish town. This is not the singer's first appearance in Oswiecim; he has previously played there in 2011.

The decision by the Rototom SunSplash festival to pull Matisyahu, who fuses reggae and hip-hop with Jewish influences, from its line-up was criticized by Jewish groups, the Spanish government and by the US and Israeli embassies in Spain. The incident occurred after a local branch of the pro-Palestinian movement accused the 36-year-old of being a "Zionist" who supports the practice of "apartheid and ethnic cleansing."

When Matisyahu did not reply to festival organizers' questions about whether he was in favor of a Palestinian state, they cancelled his appearance in a decision denounced by the Spanish government.

Last week, festival organizers backtracked and apologized to the singer, reinviting him to perform at the week-long festival - one of Europe's largest reggae festivals which is held in Benicassim in eastern Spain. "Rototom SunSplash admits that it made a mistake, due to... the campaign of pressure, coercion and threats employed by the BDS Pais Valencia which made it think that the normal functioning of the festival could be threatened," organizers said in a statement on Wednesday. Pais Valencia, meanwhile, has claimed that its actions were not BDS because it allegedly does not target individuals, only organizations.

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