Beresheet Impact Site


The Israeli lunar lander Beresheet impacted at too high a velocity for a safe landing. The images for this before and after comparison of the landing site were taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. The dates in the lower left indicate when the images were taken. It appears the spacecraft landed from the north on the rim of a small crater, leaving a dark smudge on Mare Serenitatis that’s elongated towards the south.

Image Credits: NASA / GSFC / Arizona State University

Don’t Know Much About History


That would be the charitable way of categorizing Congresscritter Rashida Tlaib’s (D-MI) statement that her “Palestinian” ancestors provided a safe haven for Jews fleeing the Holocaust.

First, there were no “Palestinians” during the Holocaust or the immediate aftermath. The arabs living in Palestine during the Ottoman Empire and the British Mandate called themselves “Arabs.” No one referred to them as “Palestinians” until after Israel had survived being invaded by multiple Arab armies in 1948.

Second, even if she used the term “Palestinian” proleptically, the arabs almost universally opposed Jewish immigration into the region, and they did so violently for the half-century prior to the founding of the State of Israel. And in 1967, and in 1973, and in …

Of course, it could be that Tlaib really believes the Palestinian propaganda version of Near Eastern history, but I don’t think so. I believe she knows the truth, but it doesn’t fit her narrative. Her response to outrage over her statements has been to double down with a statement repeating the lie that Palestinians welcomed Jewish refugees.

Not even CNN is buying it.

Stuxnet II


The Times of Israel has an article up about recent intelligence operations directed against Iran.

Iranian infrastructure and strategic networks have come under attack in the last few days by a computer virus similar to Stuxnet but “more violent, more advanced and more sophisticated,” and Israeli officials are refusing to discuss what role, if any, they may have had in the operation, an Israeli TV report said Wednesday.

The report came hours after Israel said its Mossad intelligence agency had thwarted an Iranian murder plot in Denmark, and two days after Iran acknowledged that President Hassan Rouhani’s mobile phone had been bugged. It also follows a string of Israeli intelligence coups against Iran, including the extraction from Tehran in January by the Mossad of the contents of a vast archive documenting Iran’s nuclear weapons program, and the detailing by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the UN in September of other alleged Iranian nuclear and missile assets inside Iran, in Syria and in Lebanon.

And Reuters reports that the Iranians have sorta/kinda fessed up on the computer virus attack.

Gholamreza Jalali, head of Iran’s civil defense agency, said on Sunday that Iran had recently neutralized a new version of Stuxnet.

“Recently we discovered a new generation of Stuxnet which consisted of several parts … and was trying to enter our systems,” Jalali was quoted as saying by the semi-official ISNA news agency at a news conference marking Iran’s civil defense day. He did not give further details.

Sounds like some folks at the Mossad have been earning their pay.

Two Views of Jerusalem


One point of view concerning President Trumps decision to obey the law and move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem (Congress mandated the move before the turn of the century) is summed up by the headline on a post at Breitbart Unmasked Bunny Billy Boy Brett Unread: Trump Throws Gasoline on Middle East Fire by Recognizing Jerusalem as Israeli Capital. There’s not much original thought in the BU piece by “Staff Writer”—just a bunch of cut-and-paste from the usual suspects such as CNN and the NYT.

A more insightful view is outlined in a piece over at Bloomberg: Trump Teaches Palestinians About the New Middle East. The article begins by noting that the Sunni Arabs are more concerned about Iran than the West Bank. Indeed, there are signs that the Sunnis are ready to consider a three-way alliance with Israel and the U.S. to roll back Iranian expansion.

And so, Israel’s full participation in the Trump-Sunni project comes at a price. Netanyahu has a vision of how to solve the Palestinian issue. It includes a unified Jerusalem legally belonging to Israel, as well as continued West Bank settlement and, if there ever is a deal, a demilitarized Palestinian entity. The alternative — no deal — is okay with him, too.

Seen this way, Trump’s move today is not a Hanukkah present at all.  It is a down payment. How long will it take to build that embassy? Three years? Four? No rush. Time is on Israel’s side.

Read the whole thing.