According to a former head of Israel’s military intelligence, the senior Iranian scientist assassinated last week was such a central figure in Tehran’s nuclear program that it would be nearly impossible to replace him and thus is liable to significantly set back the Islamic Republic’s atomic ambitions.
“There is no doubt that [Mohsen Fakhrizadeh] was the core source of authority, knowledge and organization of this [nuclear] program,” Maj. Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin said during a virtual conference hosted by MediaCentral.
Fakhrizadeh was killed on Friday in an elaborate operation attributed to Israel’s Mossad spy agency, although there are conflicting accounts of what exactly transpired.
While Yadlin emphasized that the harm to Iran’s “covert weaponization program [was] huge,” he qualified that the damage could not be precisely measured “since nobody knows exactly the scope and depth and what the Iranians are doing.”
Meanwhile, Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the Lebanon-based Iranian terror proxy Hezbollah, has reportedly taken shelter and canceled any “movements” over fears he may be targeted next.
In the interim, Israeli embassies and Jewish institutions across the globe have been placed on high alert following Iranian threats of retaliation. Jerusalem’s security establishment has also apparently warned that Tehran could be planning attacks on Israeli tourists visiting the United Arab Emirates.
Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, killed on Friday, was not just some civilian scientist. Fakhrizadeh was a general in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps.
Iranian leaders have repeatedly threatened to wipe Israel off the map, and Fakhrizadeh ran a nuclear program designed to give Tehran the weapon to carry out its threat. Those facts are what media reports about Fakhrizadeh’s death should have focused on — not the suspicions that Israel was involved, and certainly not portraying Iran as the victim.
Israeli officials green-lighted the transfer of some $700 million in taxes and tariffs collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, but which Ramallah since May had refused to accept despite its purported financial crisis. It comes after the PA earlier this month agreed to renew ties with Jerusalem – including security coordination in the West Bank – that it had suspended due to anger over Israel’s now-shelved plans to apply sovereignty to areas beyond the Green Line; this, in accordance with President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan.
Nevertheless, the cabinet deducted about $200 million from what would have been the total amount, in compliance with the 2018 “Pay-for-Slay Law” that requires Israel to withhold a sum approaching that which the PA pays to terrorists and their families.
It comes on the backdrop of PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ trips on Sunday to Jordan and Egypt, which were geared towards garnering backing for Ramallah’s insistence on the creation of a Palestinian state encompassing all territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War.
In his first call to an Arab leader after winning the US presidential election, Joe Biden last week spoke with Jordanian King Abdullah, telling the monarch that he hoped to cooperate on “supporting a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
Senior White House advisor Jared Kushner this week is slated to travel to Saudi Arabia, in what is being construed as a last-ditch effort to convince the House of Saud to normalize relations with Israel before President Donald Trump leaves office.
Kushner, along with lead US peace negotiator Avi Berkowitz and Iran point man Brian Hook, is scheduled to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the city of Neom, where Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu recently held a secret rendezvous with the Sunni Muslim kingdom’s de facto ruler.
American officials believe that a deal between Jerusalem and Riyadh would prompt other Arab nations to follow suit. This, in the wake of agreements already forged between the Jewish state and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan.
However, the Saudis are reportedly inclined to wait until after the inauguration of Joe Biden in January.
Despite a long and tense relationship with the Palestinians, Israel will reportedly allocate 3-4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
This exemplifies Israel’s ongoing willingness to provide the Palestinian Authority and Hamas terror group with humanitarian aid.
But the media too often focus only on the negative aspects of the conflict instead of positive cooperation.
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