Newsletter : 19fx0212.txt
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Israel Strikes Quneitra, Near Syrian Border with Golan HeightsSana
By the Jerusalem Post
An Israeli tank struck Syrian territory in Quneitra, near the Golan Heights border,
Syrian state news agency SANA said on Monday, without providing refuter details. The media
outlet cited its reporter, who said the strikes caused "material damage" and nothing
further. The state-run outlet said the tank targeted a hospital and observation post "with
a number of shells."
Quneitra was re-gained by Bashar Assad's regime forces in July 2018, having been held by a
rebel faction for the majority of the country's seven-year-long civil war. The area sits
some 500 feet from the 1974 internationally-mediated ceasefire line.
In late December, IDF forces fired at armed suspects approaching the Israeli border from
Syria. Israel routinely hits Iranian targets in Syria, with officials taking credit for
strikes near Damascus in January. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has repeatedly said
Israel would not allow for Iranian entrenchment in Syria.
Moscow & Tehran Prepare to Arm Hizbullah with Iranian Air Defense Missiles
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif pointedly visited Beirut on Monday,
Feb.11, the day of the Islamic revolution's 40th anniversary, to highlight the length and
breadth of its reach even under US sanctions, threats and Israeli bombardment.
Like Moscow, Tehran has shifted its focus to the quest for a foothold in Lebanon to
consolidate their success in preserving the next-door Assad regime in Damascus. Both have
designated the Shite Hizbullah terrorist organization as their main channel of influence
Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister, who visited Jerusalem last week for talks with Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, insisted on Sunday, Feb. 10, that Hizbullah is not a
terrorist group, but a positive force for stability in the Middle East. The line Russian
spokesmen are now pushing in unison with Tehran is a thorough clean-up of Hizbullah's
Hizbullah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, last week proposed that Iran re-arm the Lebanese
army with new weapons including anti-air missiles. Zarif responded that Tehran is ready to
assist Lebanon "in every field" including the military sphere.
He spoke in general terms, but DEBKAfile's military sources report that, behind closed
doors, the Iranian foreign minister offered the Lebanese army a set of Iranian Bavar 373
air defense missile systems, which are a close replica of the Russian S-300s deployed
around military and nuclear sites across Iran. Iran may decide against sending these
missiles to Lebanon, lest Israel destroys them, but the offer in itself is raising raised
the military temperature around Lebanon.
Quite simply, all the parties concerned are aware that the Lebanese government will
decline this offer, because by closing the Iranian door they will open it to the start of
Russian weapons supplies to Lebanon and Hizbullah. Tehran has no objection to advanced
weapons reaching Hizbullah from Russia. The Iranians will claim that it is par for the
course. Kurdish forces in Syria are armed by the Americans to fight Islamic State terror,
and Hizbullah is fighting the same foe.
The Russians and Iranians are therefore getting their act together for the US military
pullout from Syria. Sources in Washington estimated this week that the US withdrawal would
be finished by April. Last week, the head of CENTCOM, Gen. Joseph Votel, said that,
depending on circumstances, US troops would be out of Syria "in a few weeks." Their
impending departure has boosted Hizbullah's rise to center stage for the next chapter of
the Syrian story and its ramifications.
Iran Threatens to `Raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the Ground' of USA Attacks
By Reuters. The Jerusalem Post, IsraelNationalNews.com & DEBKAfile
As hundreds of thousands of citizens marked the 40th anniversary of the triumph of
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Yadollah Javani, the Revolutionary Guards' deputy head for
political affairs said on Monday in Dubai that Iran would demolish cities in Israel to the
ground if the United States attacked the Islamic Republic.
Hundreds of thousands of Iranians marched and some burned US flags on Monday to mark the
date, the Shi'ite cleric who toppled the Shah in an Islamic Revolution that rattles the
West to this day.
On Feb 11, 1979, Iran's army declared its neutrality, paving the way for the fall of Shah
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the United States' closest ally in the Middle East. "The United
States does not dare to shoot a single bullet at us despite all its defensive and military
assets. But if they attack us, we will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground," Javani was
quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.
State TV showed crowds defying cold rainy weather and carrying Iranian flags while
shouting "Death to Israel, Death to America," trademark chants of the revolution which
ousted the United States' most important ally in the Middle East. "Much to the dismay of
America, the revolution has reached its 40th year," read one banner.
Soldiers, students, clerics and black-clad women holding small children thronged streets
across Iran, many carrying portraits of Khomeini, who died in 1989, and Iran's current
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The large turnout in state-sponsored rallies came
as Iranians face mounting economic hardships many blame on the country's clerical leaders.
Marchers carried cardboard cutouts of dogs. One had the face of Trump and the other the
face of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. State TV showed a cartoon of the Shah being
thrown into the "dustbin of history," wearing clothes in US colors and holding Iranian
newspapers headlined "The Shah has left!"
Last year, Iran cracked down on protests over poor living standards that posed the most
serious challenge to its clerical leadership since a 2009 uprising over disputed
elections. Prices of basic foodstuffs, particularly meat, have soared since President
Donald Trump withdrew Washington from the 2015 nuclear deal last year and reimposed
In January, President Hassan Rouhani said Iran was facing its worst economic crisis since
the Shah was toppled. But he remained defiant as Iranians recalled the end of a monarch
who catered to the rich and unleashed secret police on dissenters. In a speech at Tehran's
Azadi (Freedom) square, Rouhani said US efforts to isolate Iran would fail. "We will not
let America become victorious
Iranian people have and will have some economic
difficulties but we will overcome the problems by helping each other," he said.
Iran displayed its ballistic missile capabilities during a parade marking the anniversary,
including the Zolfaqar, a ground-to-ground missile with a 700 km (435 miles) range and the
Qiam, with a range of 800 km, according to Tasnim news agency.
Brigadier General Hossein Salami, the Revolutionary Guards deputy head, said Tehran would
not withdraw forces from the region, dismissing US calls for Iranian clout to be curbed
Netanyahu said Monday that he is not impressed by Iranian threats: "I do not ignore the
Iranian regime's threats, but I'm not intimidated by them either," Netanyahu said in a
video address. "If this regime makes the awful mistake of trying to destroy Tel Aviv and
Haifa, it will not succeed. However, this would be the last anniversary of the revolution
that they celebrate. They should take this into account."
US National Security Adviser John Bolton on Monday had a message for Iran's Supreme
Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who continues to attack US leaders verbally. "This week,
Iran marks the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, and what 40 years it's been.
Tyrannizing its people and terrorizing the world. Iran continues to seek nuclear weapons,
to intimidate peaceful people all around the globe and ballistic missiles to use as
delivery systems," Bolton said in a video posted by the White House.
"Iran under the Ayatollahs remains the central banker of international terrorism, and its
conventional military forces are all over the Middle East: In Yemen, Iraq and Syria.
Perhaps worst of all, the people of Iran have suffered grievously. Right now, unemployment
is at record levels, inflation is at all-time highs, the Iranian currency has gone through
the floor," he continued.
"So, Ayatollah Khamenei, for all your boasts, for all your threats to the life of the
American president, you are responsible for terrorizing your people and terrorizing the
world as a whole. I don't think you'll have many more anniversaries to enjoy," concluded
Khamenei explained last week that the slogan "Death to America", which Iranians regularly
shout at rallies, is directed at President Donald Trump and US leaders including Bolton,
and not the American nation.
"As long as America continues its wickedness, the Iranian nation will not abandon `Death
to America,'" he told a gathering of Iranian Air Force officers marking the 40th
anniversary of Iran's Islamic Revolution. "`Death to America' means death to Trump,
(National Security Adviser) John Bolton, and (Secretary of State Mike) Pompeo. It means
death to American rulers," he explained.
The Friday Prayer Imam of Tehran and influential conservative cleric Ahmad Khatami has
said that Iran "has the formula for building a nuclear bomb."
IRNA reports that during a mourning ceremony in Mashhad on February 9 Khatami announced,
"Iran never had the intention to build an atomic bomb. Of course, we have the formula but
we do not want to use weapons of mass destruction." Iranian officials have always denied
any move toward building nuclear weapons. On this occasion, Khatami did not elaborate
about Tehran having "the formula."
Dutch Soccer Fans Chant `Jews Burn Best,' 'Gas the Jews' Shouted at Australian Jewish
By JTA & the Jerusalem Post
Dutch police arrested five soccer supporters allegedly for singing at a match an
increasingly popular chant about burning Jews. The incident, which reflects both growing
resolves to punish chanters and the proliferation of anti-Semitic sports chants, took
place recently near the De Kuip stadium in Rotterdam.
"My father was in the commandos; my mother was in the SS, together they burned Jews
'cause Jews burn the best," the suspects chanted, according to the Center for Information
and Documentation on Israel, a Dutch watchdog on anti-Semitism known as CIDI. It called
the chant a "recurring problem" in a statement.
The suspects, who were fined $570 each, allegedly were cheering for the Feyenoord team of
Rotterdam, who won a match over Amsterdam's Ajax team. Ajax is one of several European
soccer teams that are seen as historically Jewish. Fans from rival teams often taunt
supporters and players of the supposedly Jewish teams with anti-Semitic limericks and
symbols, though the song about burning Jews is seen as among the most offensive of these
The chant, whose use was first reported by the media in 2015, has proliferated in the
Netherlands and Belgium in recent years. It has appeared in situations connected to
neither Jews nor soccer, including a high school graduation party in 2016 near Amsterdam.
And in suburban Melbourne. Australia. three Jewish teenagers have been left traumatized
after recently being subjected to anti-Semitism while on a bus. According to the
Australian daily The Age, the three had gotten onto the wrong bus after an afternoon of
shopping when they were accosted by a large group of teenagers, who started shouting
abusive language at them.
"A girl in the group asked, `What would you do if I grabbed [the skull cap] off your
head?'" one of the Jewish boys, Elimelech, said. "The person behind me then said, `Gas the
Jews.'" Elimelech said that he attempted to defuse the situation to protect his friends,
but the group outnumbered them. He told The Age that he had politely explained that the
skull cap, called a kippah, "represented his Jewish heritage and beliefs, but that only
seemed to encourage their anti-Semitic remarks."
Elimelech added that he has also experienced anti-Semitism while walking in his
neighborhood. "I've had situations where people have yelled out derogatory comments from a
car going past on Saturday as we walk to Sabbath [services]," he said. "People should be
aware of the Holocaust and how damaging these comments are to someone who is a descendant
of people who got killed and murdered."
Anti-Defamation Commission chairman Dvir Abramovich said on Facebook that he "feared a
further increase in anti-Semitic attacks," and has "urged Melbournians to take a stand
against such abhorrent remarks." Abramovich, who was told about the incident by the boys'
families, said the community must adopt "a zero-tolerance approach to bigotry" and avoid
downplaying what had become a "rampant" problem.
Also recently, a Melbourne rabbi was verbally abused with anti-Semitic slurs while driving
to his local synagogue. The rabbi, who wished to remain anonymous out of fear of further
attacks, began to film the incident. As he did so, the man in the car next to him
continued to shout at him, "Would you like me to get out and show you what Hitler did? You
should have died in Auschwitz."
The rabbi added that the man had also called him a "dirty Jew," and had said that "Hitler
should have killed you all." The video also shows the middle-aged man calling the rabbi a
"f*****g selfish cu** of a Jew" while they remained stationary at a red traffic light. He
said that he had picked up his mobile phone to make a call while stopped at the red light
when the middle-aged man began yelling.
Hizbullah Leader Appears on Israeli Recycling Billboard
By Israel Hayom
Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah has invaded the Israeli city of Tel Aviv as
the face of an eye-catching satirical new recycling campaign. A gigantic poster featuring
the Lebanese terrorist leader overlooking Tel Aviv's Ayalon highway went up recently and
encourages Israelis to recycle plastic bottles.
Above Nasrallah's head reads the caption: "I don't recycle bottles." Beneath him, the
poster says: "Nasrallah has been stuck in a bunker for 12 years. What's your excuse?" ELA,
Israel's recycling company, was not immediately available for comment.
Nasrallah has rarely been seen in public since the 2006 Second Lebanon War, apparently
because of concerns he might be targeted in an Israeli attack. The terrorist leader's most
recent television appearance, on January 26, followed news reports in Israel and elsewhere
that his health was failing. He dismissed the reports as "lies." Another report said
Nasrallah was under house arrest, guarded by Iranian forces, for allegedly embezzling
millions of dollars from the terrorist organization's coffers.
The Hizbullah leader has customarily addressed his supporters and made TV appearances
about pressing issues in the region and Lebanon, but the 58-year-old had not appeared
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