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Netanyahu at UN Reveals Hizbullah Weapons Depot near Beirut Airport


Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed the 75th annual United Nations General Assembly Tuesday. The address was delivered via video due to the coronavirus pandemic. Netanyahu began by referencing the Abraham Accords, the peace agreement signed between Israel and the Gulf states of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. "The Middle East is not exactly renowned for producing good news, and few expected this year to be any different. The pandemic virus is ravaging our part of the world like everywhere else. But I am pleased to report to you that this year, I can tell you about good news from the Middle East. In fact, I can report two pieces of good news," Netanyahu said. "Earlier this month, at a White House ceremony hosted by President Trump, Israel signed historic agreements with the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Bahrain. This was the first peace treaty between Israel and an Arab country in over a quarter of a century, and it was the first time peace agreements between Israel and two Arab countries were signed on the same day. These new agreements will bring our peoples the blessings of peace. I also have no doubt that more Arab and Muslim countries will be joining the circle of peace soon," Netanyahu declared. He further stated that the recent peace accords "came about because of a clear break with the failed strategies of the past." "For far too long, the Palestinians effectively wielded a veto on peace between Israel and the broader Arab world. "For decades, all progress was halted and was held hostage to completely unrealistic Palestinian demands, such as the demand that Israel withdraw to the indefensible lines of 1967 and place its security in the hands of others; or the demand that Israel expel tens of thousands of Jews from their homes, effectively committing ethnic cleansing; or the demand that Israel absorb millions of Palestinians who are descendants of refugees from a war that was launched by the Palestinians against Israel more than half a century ago," he said. Netanyahu thanked Trump for changing the paradigm for peace talks in the Middle East and for choosing "a path anchored in reality." During his speech, Netanyahu noted the danger posed by Iran and its proxies, including the Hizbullah terrorist organization in Lebanon. Recalling the massive explosion which rocked the Beirut port last month, Netanyahu warned that a similar explosion could occur in the neighborhood of Janah near the Beirut airport because Hizbullah is storing missiles there. "It's right next to the international airport," he said. "And here, Hizbullah is keeping a secret arms depot. This secret arms depot, right here, is adjacent, a meter away, from a gas company. These are gas canisters. Right here. It's a few meters away from a gas station. It's 50 meters away from the gas company. Here are more gas trucks. And it's embedded in civilian housing here, civilian housing here. For the Janah neighborhood residents this is the actual coordinates. "I want to show you the entrance to Hizbullah's missile factory," he pointed out, showing the location of Janah on a map pf Beirut. "Because that's what it is. It's right here. This is the gas company, and this is the missile explosive depot. I say to the people of Janah, you've got to act now. You've got to protest this. Because if this thing explodes, it's another tragedy. "I say to the people of Lebanon, Israel means you no harm. But Iran does. Iran and Hizbullah have deliberately put you and your families in grave danger. And what you should make clear is that what they have done is unacceptable. You should tell them, tear these depots down." Netanyahu called on the international community to act to prevent Hizbullah from "using Lebanon and Lebanese civilians as human shields." He also called on the international community to "stand up to" Hizbullah's patron, Iran. "There is no question that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons. The once secret nuclear archive Israel's agents obtained from the heart of Tehran, proves that beyond a shadow of a doubt. "In the run-up to the nuclear deal, Israel was told—especially by our European friends—that any Iranian violation would be met with a quick and severe response. But in the face of Iran's brazen violations, in the face of the irrefutable evidence of the nuclear archive, the Security Council has done, well, absolutely nothing. And wedded to the failed nuclear deal, the Security Council also still refuses to see what was obvious to anyone who understands anything about the Middle East. Rather than curb Iran's aggression, the nuclear deal fed and funded it," he declared. "Last month, when the Security Council refused to extend an arms embargo on Iran, the United States snapped back the sanctions," he recalled. "While the Security Council is divided, we in the region are united. Both Arabs and Israelis are together urging tough action on Iran. And when Arabs and Israelis agree, others should pay attention. "Israel calls upon all members of the Security Council, stand with the United States against Iran's aggression, stand with it in insisting that Iran end its nuclear weapons program once and for all, stand with the United States in confronting the greatest danger to peace in our region," Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu: Coronavirus Lockdown to Last at Least a Month

By the Jerusalem Post

Israel's current coronavirus lockdown will last at least a month, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu clarified Tuesday during a Facebook briefing. During that time, he said, the government will prepare a proper exit strategy. "I want to be honest - it will not be less than a month. It may take much longer," the prime minister said. He then verbally presented a number of his goals for the next few weeks, similar to those that he had released in a statement after Yom Kippur: preparing the health system, ensuring the public wears masks, implementing rapid tests and, of course, reducing the country's rate of infection. He stressed that the number of patients is climbing fast. "There are more than 800 serious patients," Netanyahu said. "The number of dead is also rising." According to the Health Ministry, 1,151 people tested positive on Yom Kippur - a small number, but close to 15% of the less than 9,000 people screened for the virus over the holiday. The number of serious patients was 778 at press time Tuesday, including 203 who were intubated. Thirteen people died between midnight and press time on Tuesday, bringing the death toll to 1,523. Israel surpassed the United States in the number of deaths per day from coronavirus relative to the population, a report by the Coronavirus National Information and Knowledge Center revealed on Tuesday. "I do not remember a Yom Kippur holiday as difficult as it was this year," Dr. Masad Barhoum, director-general of Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya said on Tuesday. He said that the number of serious and intubated patients in his facility is increasing and they are considering opening a fifth coronavirus ward. "We are moving from fighting coronavirus to battling on three fronts," the director-general continued: "fighting coronavirus, fighting the flu ahead of the winter season and fighting to protect our patients." He said hospital patients are often surrounded by visitors and it is hard to know in advance who carries the virus, adding that he thinks the current closure is "breathing too much," and needs to be further tightened in order to stop the spread of the virus. During his Facebook briefing, Netanyahu was asked about the exit strategy, including if and when the education system might open. He spoke only about first and second graders returning to school in capsules and not older children. The prime minister held a late-night discussion on the state of affairs of the country's vaccine development on Tuesday. He also was briefed on how quickly Israel could implement rapid testing. Deputy Health Minister Yoav Kisch tweeted Tuesday morning that Israel had purchased hundreds of additional rapid coronavirus tests. "The goal is an additional 20,000 rapid tests per day," Kisch wrote. He said the tests will be deployed in hospitals, health funds, nursing homes and clinics, and used by the Home Front Command in its work. They will be administered like a standard PCR swab test and require the supervision of a doctor, nurse or pharmacist. The coronavirus cabinet is set to meet on Wednesday to review these issues and begin exit strategy discussions. Health Minister Yuli Edelstein and Internal Security Minister Amir Ohana also spoke to the public on Tuesday, this time to review how the Health Ministry guidelines will be enforced. During his speech, Edelstein also discussed the need for a proper exit strategy. "We will not repeat mistakes" of the past, he said, when Israel opened too rapidly. "We will be very careful not to give in to pressure. No lobby will be able to help," the minister stressed. "We will release the economy and life with medically necessary care." He commented on the violation of guidelines on Monday night in Bnei Brak, where several Hassidim held events of several hundred people. He said these violations "endanger us all. Scientists do not know everything, but one thing everyone agrees on - the virus has no political views." Ohana said that he forwarded a video of the event in Bnei Brak to the Israel Police, which immediately ticketed the guilty yeshiva NIS 5,000. "The police do not discriminate between populations and neither does the virus," he stressed. Edelstein spoke directly to the observant community, calling on them not to host guests in their sukkahs (temporary outdoor booths). The holiday of Sukkot begins Friday at sundown. "There is no happier event than Sukkot," he said. "I want to tell you unequivocally that… a sukkah that is built properly is a closed space… It is forbidden to entertain people in the sukkah." He added that, "We need to trust the public. We will not have a policeman who enters your house or your sukkah. Adherence to the rules and maintaining public health is in the hands of all of us – and we will win together." Edelstein added that the infection rate rose as high as it did partially because of "the incessant questions about exactly how many were infected in the gyms, how many were infected in restaurants and how many exactly on one street or another," the minister said. "No such data exists and will not exist in any country in the world."

New York Times Compares Israel to Ku Klux Klan, Calls for End to Jewish State

By The Algemeiner (Commentary)

The New York Times offered readers a signal of what the post-James Bennet, post-Bari Weiss opinion and editorial pages would look like with an op-ed and podcast by Peter Beinart proposing the elimination of the Jewish state of Israel and its replacement with a country Beinart calls "Israel-Palestine," "a Jewish home that is also, equally, a Palestinian home," "a Jewish home that is not a Jewish state." With its reaction to the peace agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, the Times is doubling down on the anti-Zionism of Beinart and his internal champion at the Times, senior opinion editor Max Strasser. The Times published an op-ed piece by Diana Buttu, a Canadian-born champion of the Orwellian-named "One Democratic State Campaign." As recently as May, Buttu compared Israel to the Ku Klux Klan, "Just as we would think it unfathomable to dialogue with the KKK, or to accommodate the KKK, so too we must stop coddling Israeli settler-colonialism." Under the Times headline, "The UAE-Israel Flight Is Nothing to Celebrate," Buttu wrote, "Rather than continuing to press for a two-state solution, the PLO should instead press for equal rights. … Mr. Abbas and other Palestinian leaders should aim to provide a workable strategy for achieving our rights rather than working to appease Israel, and the international donor community, by adopting an anti-apartheid strategy." The Buttu article follows the Beinart-Strasser line that Zionism is South Africa-style racist apartheid and a one-state solution is preferable to a Jewish state and a Palestinian-Arab state. More provocatively, this approach is subtly spreading beyond the op-ed page and into the staff editorials that represent the Times' official, institutional point of view. A recent Times editorial concluded: A true Middle East peace deal will require an accommodation with the 4.75 million Palestinians in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] and Gaza, a people who have been denied a homeland for more than seven decades. Their plight will continue to draw sympathy and censure from around the world, and their frustration will continue to fuel violence. The two-state solution remains the only viable alternative to either the current state of affairs, or a single country in which Jews are a minority. This is wrong on so many levels it is hard to know where to begin, but start with the number 4.75 million. The CIA World Factbook lists the population of Gaza at 1.9 million and the population of the West Bank at 2.9 million, of whom about 630,000 are Israeli settlers. By that reckoning, the Times is overcounting the number of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza by about half a million. Next is the claim that these people "have been denied a homeland for more than seven decades." Well, that is odd. What is the Palestinian Authority if not a homeland for the people who live there? Between 1948 and 1967, Gaza was under Egyptian control and the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem were under Jordanian control. Who was doing the "denying" then? The "more than seven decades" phrase makes it clear the Times' issue is not so much 1967 and the "occupation" that followed but rather the creation of the modern state of Israel in 1948. The Times claims that the plight of the Palestinians "will continue to draw sympathy and censure from around the world," but what the UAE and Bahrain deals show is that this "sympathy" is just so much lip service. The Palestinians will draw sympathy from editors at the New York Times but not so much elsewhere. Similarly, it isn't the "frustration" of the Palestinians that is fueling violence but rather various dictators and demagogues exploiting the situation for their own purposes. There are plenty of ways to react to frustration other than violence that are more productive. The Times claims, "The two-state solution remains the only viable alternative to either the current state of affairs, or a single country in which Jews are a minority." But "the current state of affairs" is changing as more countries like the UAE and Bahrain accept Israel's existence and as Israel's Jewish population grows. The Times editorial doesn't express a preference against "a single country in which Jews are a minority," it just describes it as a possible alternative. One interesting question is whether this point of view is confined to the editorial and op-ed pages or whether it spills over to the news columns. Buttu is increasingly and frequently quoted in Times news articles. She turned up in a page one news article in December 2017, in Times news articles in November 2017 and September 2017, in July 2014, and in multiple other instances. She's hardly ever identified as Canadian-born, though the Times frequently dwells on the supposed European origins of Israel's founding generation. It's a pretty good sign of how far out on the ideological margins the New York Times is. Arab Muslim leaders like those of the UAE and Bahrain turn out to be more willing to accept the reality of modern Israel than are the editors at the New York Times. Perhaps it would be a step up to replace Strasser, Beinart and company with some up-and-coming journalists from the UAE or Bahrain. It would help the Times meet its oft-stated goal of diversifying its editorial workforce, and it might just make the newspaper more pro-Israel.

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