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US Sanctions on Iran Are Working
By Micah Halpern

Friday March 18, 2018

I've Been Thinking:

New US sanctions against Iran are already having an impact.

On Thursday the largest international shipping container company in the world, A.P. Moller-Maersk, closed all operations in Iran. Maersk is so large that one cannot drive on a highway without seeing dozens of the containers rolling along on eighteen wheelers on the way to their destinations.

The day before that, on Wednesday, Total Energy shut their shop in Iran. Total Energy is one of the largest energy companies in the world, specifically for oil and gas. They employ over 100,000 people.

These are only two of the many companies that now feel the pressure of US sanctions to abandon Iran.

The sanctions mean that if companies continue doing business with Iran they will not be able to engage in any US economic banking activity.

That could destroy any company.


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50 of 61 Were Hamas Members
By Micah Halpern

Thursday May 17, 2018

I've Been Thinking:

Monday was a bloody day on the Gaza border. 61 Palestinians died.

On Wednesday senior Hamas official Salah Bardawil announced to Baladana TV, an official Hamas network, that 50 of the 61 dead were members of Hamas. In an interview Bardawil said that they were part of the Hamas ranks and that he was proud of their actions and their deaths. He said that they were fighting Israel and died as warriors and martyrs.

If that is correct - and there is no reason to dispute his claim, they were official members of a terror group, not innocents at the border.

That means that these 50 "protesters" were actually part of Hamas operations fighting against Israel. That is significant.

The remaining 11 may be connected to any number of other, anti-Israel, terror groups. Or they may have been simple rioters.

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Israel Delivers Aid to Gaza
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday May 16, 2018

I've Been Thinking:

On Tuesday Israel sent supplies in to Gaza.

8 trucks filled with 53 tons of medical supplies crossed the border into Gaza.

And a line of gas trucks crossed from Israel into Gaza - but there was no one there to receive the gas, so the trucks turned around and returned to Israel taking with them the gas.

Hamas leadership, which controls Gaza, is actively working to destroy any attempts for aid to enter their domain - especially Israeli aid.

This assistance is from the Israeli army, the same group that the Gazans are fighting. The irony is staggering. The people you are attacking respond by sending you aid. Why? Because you were wounded striking out at them.

This is the Israeli way.

But did you see any international press showing the Israelis shipping humanitarian aid into Gaza the day after the world condemned them for being so brutal? The answer is: No, you didn’t.

That is the way of the world.

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Why More Palestinians Have Not Shown Up
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday May 15, 2018

I've Been Thinking:

Some insight into the riots and attacks in Gaza:

During the most recent riots, Hamas organizers did everything they could to pack in the numbers and get as many people out as possible. They were hoping to be at least 100,000 strong.

In addition to busing rioters to the riot points, Hamas cancelled classes in all schools and all universities. They also announced a total shutdown of businesses.

There was no excuse not to have over a million people on the border between Gaza and Israel - but only 40,000 Palestinians showed up.

The reasons are simple:

Kids prefer to play computer games at home than to go out and riot.

Despite the inverted logic of Palestinian leadership, Palestinian parents and children are electing not to attend the organized riots and not to give up their lives for the cause.

Bottom line: The numbers don't lie!

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Hamas Wins on Campus
By Micah Halpern

Monday May 14, 2018

I've Been Thinking:

Student Council elections at Palestinian Bir Zeit University had a not surprising result. Hamas won.

Hamas garnered 24 out of the 51 seats on the Student Council. The favorite party was the Martyr Party of Yassir Arafat which received 23 seats.

Hamas has claimed a tremendous victory - and they are correct to do so.

University elections are so important because they are a tool for predicting the future.

Winning at the university level empowers Hamas, it allows them to feel that they may very well be the future of the region.

It allows them to believe that they have unseated the establishment. This is not a good sign for the rest of us.

What is even more important than the results of the election at Bir Zeit University is that 75% of all students voted in this election.

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Israel Claims Syrian Strike
By Micah Halpern

Friday May 11, 2018

I've Been Thinking:

In a rare move, Israel accepted responsibility for air bombing Syria earlier this week.

The bombing was a response to the Iranian Al Quds Force launching of 20 missiles toward Israel. In the end, Israel struck and destroyed 50 sites, maybe even a few more.

Not all the targets were pre-arranged. According to Israeli Air Force sources, however, every site that launched a rocket was identified and destroyed. The targets included mobile operations like the S-200 rocket systems, command and control HQ's, radar and stocks of weapons.

As in the past, the explosions registered on the Richter Scale. This time they registered 2.6 in magnitude.

It is important to know that the elite Iranian force is embedded in Syrian camps.

Syrian fighters were trained in old Soviet-style strategy. In looking at the targets a specific Soviet-style pattern emerges. There are three lines and the first two lines have three clusters. Classic Russian defense pattern.

Of the 25 soldiers killed in the attack, most were Iranian. Israel has said that they were targeting equipment and not people - that makes sense.

This is now a game of cat and mouse. The game may still escalate.

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