The Knives Just Came out for Netanyahu

As the Israel-Hamas war cranks into high gear, the only thing with more emphasis than the war is the search for a scapegoat. Egypt’s Intelligence Minister, General Abbas Kamel, jumped to the head of the line by pointing all his fingers at Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


On Monday, an Egyptian intelligence official reported that Abbas Kamel, Director of the General Intelligence Directorate of Egypt, called Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to alert him about “something fierce will happen from Gaza,” ten days ago. According to the Egyptian source, Netanyahu seemed unbothered, said the IDF is “swamped” in dealing with terror from the West Bank. 

Another Egyptian official added additional color.

Mounting questions over Israel’s massive intelligence failure to anticipate and prepare for a surprise Hamas assault were compounded Monday when an Egyptian intelligence official said that Jerusalem had ignored repeated warnings that the Gaza-based terror group was planning “something big” — which included an apparent direct notice from Cairo’s intelligence minister to the prime minister.

The Egyptian official said Egypt, which often serves as a mediator between Israel and Hamas, had spoken repeatedly with the Israelis about “something big,” without elaborating.

He said Israeli officials were focused on the West Bank and played down the threat from Gaza. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is made up of supporters of West Bank settlers who have demanded a security crackdown there in the face of a rising tide of violence over the last 18 months.


For his part, Netanyahu didn’t mince words.

However, Israel sternly dismissed the anonymous official’s claim as “totally fake news.”

“The report to the effect that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received a message in advance from Egypt is absolutely false,” the prime minister’s office tweeted.

“No message in advance has arrived from Egypt and the Prime Minister has neither spoken, nor met, with the head of Egyptian intelligence since the formation of the government, neither directly nor indirectly.”

If you recall the days just after 9/11, you’ll remember the chorus of Democrat attacks on President Bush alleging that there were warnings (my very first RedState post as a diarist was on that subject). Then, a juvenile Presidential Daily Brief titled “Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US” was waved about as proof that Bush had been told when 9/11 would happen and did nothing. In reality, the key elements of intelligence (when, where, and in what strength?) were totally absent. I’m sorry, Mr. Egyption Intelligence Minister, but “Hamas gonna do some sh**” isn’t really a warning in the context of an organization that, as recently as May, fired a barrage of over 400 rockets from Gaza into Israel. Unless the warning had a lot more detail than anyone from Egypt is letting on, then it is unlikely that it could have been acted on.


There are lots of moving parts.

Netanyahu is in a weak political position, leading a very fragile coalition. Even a hint of a missed warning would bring his government down. So it is natural that he’d deny receiving a warning. But because of that and because of Netanyahu’s experience, it is hard to believe that if something even vaguely more threatening than normal had been presented to him, he wouldn’t have put Mossad/Shin Bet under a lot of pressure to find out what was going on. His brand had always been protecting Israel at all costs. It is hard to see him not doing that now.

Egypt’s value-added proposition in the Middle East is its ability to tamp down terrorism emanating from Egyptian territory and to reach inside Hamas and the PLO to find out what is going on and to keep them from doing something nuts. If Israel failed to anticipate this attack, Egypt also failed as a security partner. In fact, the weasely, day-late-dollar-short leak that Israel received some nebulous warning gives the aura of Egypt realizing they may have been played and not wanting to be blamed.

As I’ve said before, intelligence is viewed through expectations. No one had a reason to suspect Hamas would do this, and because of that, warning signs that may be obvious in retrospect were ignored or misinterpreted. We also can’t ignore the possibility that this operation was planned under operational security conditions that Israel could not penetrate; see What Was the Role of the Iranian Spy Ring in the US Government in the ‘Intelligence Blunder’ With Hamas? Was There an Intelligence Failure in Israel? and CONFIRMED: Iran Planned and ‘Green-Lit’ Murderous Hamas Attacks on Israel.


The best that can be said for this claim is that it is unhelpful. It could be interpreted as a way of helping Hamas by fomenting a political crisis as the war goes on. There is zero reason to believe this story is true, particularly in light of Netanyahu’s past record.

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UN Secretary-General Blasts Israel Over War With Hamas

Against the backdrop of the war between Israel and terrorist group Hamas, UN Secretary Antonio Guterres chimed in on the conflict, which has become even more turbulent over the past 48 hours. The UN official highlighted the carnage and condemned both sides for the violence.


However, the bulk of Guterres’ criticism was directed at Israel, which is currently retaliating against a massive surprise attack launched by Hamas on Saturday that claimed over 900 lives, nine of whom were American citizens.

“I recognize the legitimate grievances of the Palestinian people, but nothing can justify these acts of terror and the killing, maiming, and abduction of civilians,” Guterres said. “I reiterate my call to immediately cease these attacks and release all hostages.”

The secretary-general then turned his attention to Israel, chiding the nation for its counterattack against Hamas.

In the face of these unprecedented attacks, Israeli airstrikes have pounded Gaza. I’m deeply alarmed by reports of over 500 Palestinians, including women and children, killed in Gaza, and over 3,000 injured. Unfortunately, these numbers are rising by the minute as Israeli operations continue. While I recognize Israel’s legitimate security concerns, I also remind Israel that military operations must be conducted in strict accordance with international humanitarian law. Civilians must be respected and protected at all times. Civilian infrastructure must never be a target.

On Monday, Israel announced that it has laid siege to the Gaza Strip, which is ruled by Hamas. The action was taken to allow Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to kill or capture Hamas operatives.


Israel’s military ordered a complete siege on the Gaza Strip on Monday, halting deliveries of food, fuel and supplies to its 2.3 million people as it pounded the Hamas-ruled territory with waves of airstrikes in retaliation for the militants’ bloody weekend incursion.

More than two days after Hamas launched its surprise attack, the Israeli military said it had largely gained control in its southern towns where it had been battling Hamas gunmen. Israel’s vaunted military and intelligence apparatus was caught completely off guard by Hamas, resulting in heavy battles in its streets for the first time in decades.

Guterres condemned the move, pointing out that it could lead to an even worse humanitarian crisis in the region.

The humanitarian situation in Gaza was extremely dire before these hostilities. Now, it will only deteriorate exponentially. Medical equipment, food, fuel, and other humanitarian supplies are desperately needed, along with access for humanitarian personnel. Relief and entry of essential supplies into Gaza must be facilitated, and the UN will continue efforts to provide aid to respond to these needs.

The secretary-general argued that it is “time to end this vicious circle of bloodshed, hatred, and polarization” and advocated for the two-state solution the UN has been promoting for years.

“Israel must see its legitimate needs for security materialized, and Palestinians must see a clear perspective for the establishment of their own state realized,” he said. “Only a negotiated peace that fulfills the legitimate national aspirations of Palestinians and Israelis, together with their security alike, the long-held vision of a two-state solution in line with United Nations resolutions, international law, and previous agreements can bring long-term stability to the people of this land and the wider Middle East region.”


Guterres’ remarks come as Hamas is becoming even more aggressive in its effort against Israel. The organization recently threatened to begin executing its hostages in response to Israeli retaliatory strikes.

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South Carolina nuclear plant gets yellow warning over another cracked emergency fuel pipe

JENKINSVILLE, S.C. — Federal officials have issued a warning about a substantial safety violation at a South Carolina nuclear plant after cracks were discovered again in a backup emergency fuel line.

Small cracks have been found a half-dozen times in the past 20 years in pipes that carry fuel to emergency generators that provide cooling water for a reactor if electricity fails at the V.C. Summer plant near Columbia, according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The agency issued what it calls a preliminary “yellow” warning to plant owner Dominion Energy last week.

It is the second most serious category and only seven similar warnings have been issued across the country since 2009, nuclear power expert David Lochbaum told The State newspaper after reviewing records from federal regulators.

The commission’s ruling is not final and Dominion will have a chance to explain what happened, utility spokesman Darryl Huger told the paper in an email.

Dominion has already started to put in place a plan to improve the reliability of the backup system, Huger said.

A crack first appeared on a diesel fuel pipe in 2003, and similar pipes have had other cracks since then.

During a 24-hour test of the system in November, a small diesel fuel leak grew larger, according to NRC records.

The agency issued the preliminary yellow warning because of the repeated problems.

Virginia-based Dominion hasn’t been the only owner of the plant. SCANA built and started the plant in 1984. The South Carolina company had plans to build two more reactors, but billions of dollars of cost overruns forced it to abandon the project in 2017 and sell to Dominion.

Dominion has recently requested to renew the license for the nuclear plant for an additional 40 years.

Longtime nuclear safety advocate Tom Clements told the newspaper the pipe problems should mean a lot more scrutiny by regulators.

“This incident serves as a wake-up call to fully analyze all such systems prior to a license-renewal determination,’’ Clements said in an email.

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC.

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Three teen boys charged with creating 'hit list' that targeted Florida high schoolers

Three teenage boys in Northern Florida are accused of creating a pair of hit lists that authorities said threatened to harm and kill the high school students who were named.

The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office said the three boys — Nikita Calantropo, 15; Ron Quinones, 14, and Kiryl Nerad, 14 — were arrested Friday and charged with felonies for penning what police called a “hit list” and “lethal hit list” that targeted students at Creekside High School.

The sheriff’s office said deputies discovered group text messages between the teenage suspects where the faces of specific students were circled and the accused boys talked about using guns. 

Sheriff Robert Hardwick also said that some of the targeted students had their addresses listed in the text messages.

“Nothing is more important to me than the safety of our children and this is another example of the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office commitment to protect the more than 50,000 students who attend classes on a daily basis,” Sheriff Hardwick said. “I am proud of the youth services deputies assigned to this investigation, who acted quickly on the information that was provided and prevented a potential tragedy.” 

None of the boys are currently behind bars, according to statewide jail records.

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Mexico to send diplomatic note protesting 'irresponsible' Texas border truck inspections

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s president said Monday he is going to send a diplomatic note to the United States to protest Texas truck inspections that have caused major delays at border crossings.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador claimed Monday that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to enforce additional truck inspections was “very irresponsible” and politically motivated.

Mexico’s national freight transport chamber said Sunday that 19,000 trucks were delayed at the border. The freight association claimed the delayed trucks were carrying about $1.9 billion in goods.

It said in a statement that the delays were “severely affecting” cross-border trade.

The Texas Department of Public Safety said it had started “enhanced commercial vehicle safety inspections” on Sept. 19 in crossing around El Paso and Del Rio, Texas, “to deter the placement of migrants and other smuggling activity” and detect unsafe vehicles.

López Obrador claimed it was about politics.

“We are going to send a diplomatic note today to protest the Texas governor’s attitude of putting up obstacles to free transit on our borders without any reason, but rather with political motivations,” López Obrador said. “He is using the immigration issue to play politics.”

Bridge closures and train delays because of the influx of migrants crossing the border have also affected freight traffic in recent weeks.

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC.

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Study: Less than half of clinically depressed adolescents got treatment amid COVID lockdowns

Less than half of all adolescents with clinical depression during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic received mental health treatment as lockdowns kept them home, a study has found.

Four researchers based in Massachusetts published the study Monday in JAMA Pediatrics. They examined the data of 10,743 12- to 17-year-olds who responded to a national health survey Jan. 14-Dec. 20, 2021.

About 1 in 5 adolescents were clinically depressed during the first full calendar year of the pandemic, the study found. It reported that 33.3% of Asian adolescents, 39.5% of Blacks, 29.2% of Latinos, 45.0% of White adolescents and 22.1% of mixed-race adolescents received treatment such as psychiatric medication or talk therapy.

“The high levels of [major depressive disorder] and the low levels of mental health treatment access may in part be attributed to COVID-19 restrictions,” the researchers wrote.

The study noted that 42 states and territories issued stay-at-home orders that impacted 73% of counties nationwide from March 1 to May 31, 2020.

Symptoms of major depressive disorder, also known as clinical depression, include at least two weeks of persistent bad moods, low self-esteem and a loss of interest in favorite activities. People with it often experience sleeplessness, social withdrawal, lack of appetite and suicidal thoughts.

According to the researchers, unmet care needs surged amid “increased feelings of emptiness, hopelessness, and loneliness among adolescents due to social isolation, virtual school, and lack of peer interaction” during the pandemic.

They pointed to earlier data showing that national rates of major depression among adolescents doubled between 2009 and 2019, setting the stage for disaster as lockdowns deprived young people of healthy social outlets.

In the study published Monday, racial and ethnic minorities experienced the lowest treatment rates. Researchers noted that these adolescents were also more likely than White children to live in poverty, have public health insurance, reside in large urban areas and report poor or fair health.

The study found that Asian and Latino adolescents had lower rates than White adolescents of virtual mental health treatment. Additionally, Blacks and Latinos had lower rates than White adolescents of mental health care appointments transitioning to telehealth.

“These findings suggest that US federal policy should target adolescents as a whole, and racial and ethnic minority populations in particular, to ensure timely and equitable access to high-quality mental health treatment,” the researchers concluded.

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