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The World’s Betrayal

Anti-Israel students protest at Columbia University in New York City. Photo: Reuters/Jeenah Moon – The depraved and barbaric murder, rape and kidnapping of innocent children, women and men by Hamas on Oct. 7 will remain a blot on the history of humanity for eternity.

Unfortunately, since the massacre, the reaction of civilized society has also been such a blot. There have been a few bright spots, but the global response has been overwhelmingly troubling, disheartening and often simply dreadful.

The betrayal of the Jewish people by three elite university presidents last week was the final straw. The fact that Claudine Gay of Harvard, Sally Kornbluth of MIT and Elizabeth Magill of the University of Pennsylvania could not simply say “yes” to Rep. Elise Stefanik’s question as to whether “calling for the genocide of Jews” violates the schools’ codes of conduct or constitutes “bullying or harassment” was beyond the pale.

Magill has already resigned. The other two should do the same. They are a reflection of the moral nadir to which much of society has sunk. At a time when antisemitism in the US has risen by orders of magnitude, the three presidents’ equivocation on the softest of “softball” questions cannot but embolden antisemites around the world.

Elie Wiesel’s statement rings truer than ever: “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant.” The presidents of every university should learn this lesson.

Campuses and universities are not the only ones to totally abdicate their responsibilities. The Red Cross has also been an extraordinary failure. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has not been allowed to visit a single one of the hostages taken by Hamas on Oct. 7. This does not appear to bother them, as they have made no demands to do so. This dereliction of duty comes from the most powerful relief organization in the world, budgeted at $3 billion. The Geneva Convention and international law give the Red Cross enforcement powers, but they have thus far refused to use them. This recalls their failure to visit concentration camps during the Holocaust. Had they demanded to do so, countless lives could have been saved.

On another front, the authorities’ inability to crack down on roving antisemitic mobs, whether at Hillcrest High School, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or during various bridge closures in New York City, is encouraging further bad behavior. The French, to their credit, have prevented such actions from the beginning. America must do the same.

Amidst all this darkness, Israel has been a shining light. After suffering the worst single day in its 75-year history, it remains a beacon of hope. Also heartening is that Jews the world over have come together in ways I have never seen in my lifetime and the outpouring of support from many Christians has been incredible. This is a fight for civilization and the soul of humanity. I believe with perfect faith that good will defeat evil. There is no other choice.

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Russia Extends Invitation to Palestinian Factions for Talks in Moscow

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Photo: Reuters/Maxim Shemetov

i24 NewsRussia has extended invitations to various Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Fatah, for discussions on the Israel-Hamas conflict and broader issues in the Middle East.

Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov announced the initiative on Friday, highlighting Moscow’s desire to engage with all major players in the region amid heightened tensions.

The invitation included a dozen Palestinian groups and is slated for “inter-Palestinian” talks scheduled to commence on February 29.

Bogdanov, serving as President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy for the Middle East, emphasized the inclusivity of the invitation, stating, “We invited all Palestinian representatives — all political forces that have their positions in different countries, including Syria, Lebanon, and other countries in the region.”

Among the invitees are Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, alongside representatives of Fatah and the broader Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

The invitation comes at a critical juncture as the Israel-Hamas conflict continues to escalate, drawing international attention and concern. Russia’s proactive stance in convening discussions reflects its growing criticism of Israel and its Western allies, underscoring Moscow’s efforts to assert its influence in the region.

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Netanyahu: Those Who Want us to Desist from Rafah Op Are Telling Us to Lose

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a press conference with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, Oct. 28, 2023. Photo: ABIR SULTAN POOL/Pool via REUTERS

i24 NewsHamas drops its “delusional” demands, productive hostage talks could begin, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday, stressing Israel would not agree to the terror group’s current demands.

WATCH: PM Netanyahu delivers a statement after Hamas suspended negotiations

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) February 17, 2024

“I insist that Hamas should abandon its delusional demands – and when it does, we will be able to move forward,” Netanyahu said in a statement live on TV.

“Those who want us to desist from the Rafah operation,” the leader said in an apparent reference to the U.S. administration of President Joe Biden, “are telling us we should lose. We won’t be dictated to.”

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Iran Unveils New Air Defense Weaponry

Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Mohammad-Reza Ashtiani speaks at a press conference during the unveiling of a new surface-to-surface 4th generation Khorramshahr ballistic missile. Photo: Reuters/West Asia News Agency

i24 NewsIran demonstrated new weaponry on Saturday, including what it said was the locally made Arman anti-ballistic missile system and the Azarakhsh low-altitude air defense system, said the official IRNA news agency. Saturday’s unveiling ceremony of the two vehicle-mounted systems was held in the presence of Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani.

“With the entry of new systems into the country’s defense network, the air defense capability of the Islamic Republic of Iran will increase significantly,” said IRNA.

Video of the new Azarakhsh SHORAD engaging a target drone

It’s radar has a detection range of 50km, with 25km for it’s EO/IR suite

— Iran Defense|نیروهای مسلح جمهوری اسلامی ایران (@IranDefense) February 17, 2024

The Arman missile system is said to be able to “simultaneously confront six targets at a distance of 120 to 180 km,” while the Azarakhsh missile system “can identify and destroy targets up to a range of 50 km with four ready-to-fire missiles.”

The announcement comes amid tensions across the Middle East, with Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis attacking vessels linked to the United States, UK and Israel in the Red Sea in a show of solidarity with the Gaza Strip.

Iran unveils domestically-manufactured Arman anti-ballistic missile and Azarakhsh low-altitude air defense system

— Press TV (@PressTV) February 17, 2024

The U.S. and its allies in the Middle East are concerned with Iran’s growing role at the international global arms market, The Wall Street Journal said on Friday. The transformation of the industry, boosted by Russia’s “purchase of thousands of drones that altered the battlefield in Ukraine, has helped Tehran scale up its support of militia allies in Middle East conflicts,” read the report.

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