My Mideast Punchlines: wolf whistle…

Palestinian Authority and PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has announced that the PA is renouncing the peace deals it signed with Israel along with its agreements with the United States. According to several left-leaning Israeli television commentators and retired generals, his speech was an earthquake. It was a calamity of epic proportions. Most importantly, it was a reason to bury the government’s plan to apply Israeli law to the Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria and to the Jordan Valley.

biffBut as Caroline Glick says, the truth is not at all what they claim. This isn’t an earthquake. It isn’t even a hiccup. It isn’t a calamity. It’s just a tired, recycled, empty threat. I’ve lost count the number of times Abbas has cried wolf. If he ceases cooperation between PA security forces and Israel, who will be in the greatest danger? The ageing and ailing Abbas is being kept alive by Israel informing him whenever the trigger fingers of his Hamas rivals seem to be getting a bit itchy. The most important cooperation is not between Israel and the PA, but between Israel and the various local militias (discounting Hamas, of course). Abbas should heed the ancient Arab proverb, “be wary around your enemy once, and your friend a thousand times. A double-crossing friend knows more about what harms you.”

So Abbas will continue to whistle in the wind, safe in the knowledge of where his best interests lie.




My Mideast Punchlines: blah-blah…

Iran‘s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Israel will not survive and will “be eliminated” on Twitter Friday morning.

“First, I would like to highlight the magnitude of the tragedy of the occupation of #Palestine and the formation of the Zionist cancerous tumor in that country,” Khamenei said. Among crimes against humanity in recent times, there is no crime that equals this crime in terms of scope and gravity”.

Khamenei said that “today, the resistance front is moving with increasing power and hope, while the front of oppression, unbelief and arrogance is growing more hopeless and powerless by the day. Today the ‘invincible’ Zionist army is forced to retreat against resisting people in Lebanon and Gaza.”

biffBlah-blah and more blah-blah. Remember those Daleks in Dr Who? “You will be eliminated…you will be eliminated.” Taking a brief look at the relative economies of Iran and Israel, I’d say it is Iran that is looking more hopeless and powerless by the day. Coronavirus notwithstanding, the price of oil has plummeted (although, to be fair, the U.S. boycott meant it couldn’t sell much of the black stuff anyway). Like the Daleks, Khamenei is from another planet, a place where self-delusion reigns supreme. I wish the ageing Ayatollah would simply zahré mār.   Although in Farsi this literally means to “take the poison of the snake”, it is in fact an exhortation to “shut the f*** up!”

My Mideast Punchlines: port whine…

Israel carried out a recent sophisticated cyberattack on an Iranian port facility, causing widespread chaos, apparently in retaliation for an attempt by Tehran to target Israel’s water infrastructure, the Washington Post reported Monday.

The report, citing foreign and US officials, said Israel was likely behind the hack that brought the “bustling Shahid Rajaee port terminal to an abrupt and inexplicable halt” on May 9.

“Computers that regulate the flow of vessels, trucks and goods all crashed at once, ­creating massive backups on waterways and roads leading to the facility,” the Post reported, adding that it had seen satellite photos showing miles-long traffic jams leading to the port and ships still waiting to offload several days later.

biffIran whined only that an unknown foreign hacker had briefly knocked the port’s computers offline. Well, now that the country’s legislators have banned everything containing Israeli technology (see my previous punchline), all those computers will have to be tossed onto the bonfire. It’s the will of Allah, you see.

Man proposes, God disposes.

My Mideast Punchlines: flight of fancy…

Iran’s parliament on Monday approved legislation barring any cooperation with Israel, including the use of any Israeli computer hardware or software, and branding any such cooperation an act against God.

“Based on the first article of the bill, all Iranian bodies are required to use the country’s regional and international capacities to confront the Zionist regime’s measures,” an Iranian parliamentary spokesman, Seyed Hossein Naqavi Hosseini, said. According to the Fars news site, any cooperation or spying for “the Zionist regime” is to be considered “equal to enmity towards God and corruption on earth,” and “activities of the Israeli software platforms in Iran and using its hardware and software products is forbidden.”

biffOh, dear, they really haven’t thought this thing through, have they? As every mobile phone in the world works only because of Israeli software, how are Iranians going to cope without them?

Carrier pigeons, anyone?

My Mideast Punchlines: Waze and means…

Iran has apparently built a “Waze” to navigate the seas.

It claims to have created a network to identify undersea terrain and map the sea for its submarines. Called “Wasa,” the network of underwater wireless sensors was designed and built by Iran’s navy to collect subsurface information, Iran’s Fars News claims.

Iran usually boasts of new military technologies so its claims should be taken with scepticism. However, the article asserts that this network of “science designed underwater wireless sensors” is one of the most innovative in the world. Only advanced countries and superpowers have such systems, Tehran claims.

biffLike the United States, for example. Far be it from me to depth charge their ambitions, but Iran’s navy is just a shadow of America’s Fifth Fleet based in the Gulf. With discretion being the better part of valour, perhaps Iran’s Waze will help its relatively minuscule submarine force avoid the traffic jams of U.S. and allied anti-sub ships in the Gulf.

My Mideast Punchlines: DEET that tweet…

A lawmaker from the Arab-majority Joint List on Friday accused the IDF of an “atrocity” by spraying Palestinians “with an unknown substance,” before acknowledging the video clip of the incident actually shows Palestinian Authority forces disinfecting a West Bank checkpoint.

“Another atrocity [being committed] by the occupation under the cover of the coronavirus — the IDF is spraying Palestinians at the Qalqilya checkpoint with an unknown substance. Everyone agrees the spraying method is not effective in the fight against the virus,” Joint List MK Aida Touma-Sliman wrote on Twitter.

She added: “The horrors being committed under the cover of the crisis can’t be ignored.”

biffThe only horror committed was Touma-Sliman’s knee-jerk reaction in blaming the Israel army. How Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz could even think of forming a coalition with this type of person is beyond me.

Touma-Sliman later deleted the post and said she had been “misled” about the video. “At least I have the courage and the integrity to admit mistakes. You continue to callously lie even when the truth is clear,” she said. Yes, madam, the truth is clear to us all: you are a terror-supporting anti-Semite. Pure and simple.


My Mideast Punchlines: flying cholent?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday threatened Hamas leaders with “the surprise of their lives” if a spate of attacks from the Gaza Strip didn’t come to an end. Minutes later, yet another rocket was fired from Gaza at Israel’s south.

“I’m telling you as prime minister, I don’t rush to war,” Netanyahu said in an interview with Channel 20 on Tuesday night. “I don’t puff out my chest, bang drums and blow trumpets. But we’re preparing for Hamas the surprise of their lives. I won’t say what it is, but it will be different from anything that came before.”

Whether Israel carries out its “surprise,” he added, “is entirely up to them. If they don’t come to their senses with the rockets and don’t stop the balloons, it’s only a matter of time before we deploy it. Remember what I’m telling you,” he said.

biffMy guess is that having experienced an exceptionally cold and wet winter, the Israelis are planning to send thousands of exploding cholents* into the Gaza Strip. Failing that, we might expect to see targeted assassinations of some high-ranking Hamas leaders

*The overnight Jewish stew, cholent, is typically started on Friday afternoon and allowed to cook overnight to be eaten at noon on the Sabbath. It is a flavorful, comforting slurry of beef short ribs, beans, potatoes, onions, honey and smoked paprika.

My Mideast Punchlines: open sesame…

In a bizarre and highly irregular case, senior officers in an elite intelligence unit were harshly punished on Friday for ordering unnecessary missions by a Palestinian agent and later lying about it, the Israel Defense Forces said. The operations: buying tubs of tehina in the West Bank.

One lieutenant colonel was removed from his position and another was sentenced to 28 days in prison for ordering the missions. Other senior officers involved in the affair received official censure, but no other punishments.

Earlier this month, Channel 12 interviewed an officer from Military Intelligence Unit 504, responsible for cultivating and operating human assets in enemy countries, who revealed that on at least two occasions he had been ordered by his commanders to use one of his spies to purchase jars of the sesame seed paste as a gift for the IDF’s chief intelligence officer.

biffQuite right too. Unit 504, a unit feared by friend and foe alike, should concentrate on Hamas rather than hummus, and the Tanzim (a militant faction of Fatah) rather than tahina. By their arrogant actions, the hapless officers opened a jar of tsuris (Yiddish for trouble) for themselves. Open sesame, indeed.

My Mideast Punchlines: dusty bin…

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas firmly rejected the Trump administration’s plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Tuesday, calling it the “the slap of the century.”

Abbas addressed the plan in a speech to senior Palestinian leaders, including representatives of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups, at the PA presidential headquarters in Ramallah.

My Mideast Punchlines: planting a seed…

Prince Charles has said he would want to visit Iran, praising the Iranian nation as “remarkable”, while also describing himself as a peacemaker.

In an interview given to the Sunday Times at the World Economic Forum in Davos and published on Saturday, the heir to the throne said: “Yes, obviously I would like to [go to Iran].”

He went on to praise Iran for its contributions in “human knowledge, culture, poetry, art”, saying that Iranian people were “remarkable.”

biffAt first sight, it might seem preposterous that a man who has discussions with plants would having something in common with the ayatollahs. But you never know, the clerics might see themselves as kindred spirits, given that they have an apocalyptic belief that the world must come to a virtual end so that the twelfth imam (in this usage meaning a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad through his cousin Ali and his daughter Fatimah ) did not die but went into a spiritual form of existence known as occultation, and will return at the end of time as a messianic Mahdi to restore justice and equity on earth.

Makes talking to plants seem entirely logical.