Wednesday, April 27, 2016

From Ian:

PMW: The PA's Billion Dollar Fraud
The Palestinian Authority is deceiving Western donor countries, falsely claiming to have stopped paying salaries to terrorist prisoners, and reaping more than a billion dollars/year in return
This special report by Palestinian Media Watch reveals a major fraud by the Palestinian Authority, through which it is reaping more than a billion dollars in foreign aid yearly.
In 2014, the PA announced that in order to continue receiving more than a billion dollars in financial support annually, it was acceding to US and European donor countries' demands that the PA stop paying salaries to terrorist prisoners. The PA claimed the money for prisoners salaries would no longer be paid by the PA but instead by the PLO.
Even though PMW warned at the time that this was a "ploy," the US and EU countries accepted the PA's assurance, and continue to give the PA over a billion dollars in financial aid every year.
This PMW special report cites numerous official PA sources and statements by officials, showing that the PA is violating the trust of the US and EU donor countries. According to all these sources, the PA Ministry of Finance continues to make the decisions and remains the source of the money for paying salaries to terrorist prisoners.
Gaza kids put on play about stabbing, killing Israelis
Young Palestinian children participating in a festival in the Gaza Strip this week wore military fatigues, and brandished toy knives and machine guns as they performed a play simulating violence against Israelis.
The event was broadcast on a Hamas television channel dedicated to culture, available in Gaza and the West Bank, according to Channel 2 news.
One short clip of the play aired on Channel 2 on Tuesday shows a young girl armed with a knife attempting to free a Palestinian prisoner from Israeli jail by stabbing the guards. She is shot and falls to the ground amid cries and screams from the audience. Other little girls then approach and cry over her “body.”
“Do not be angry with her,” a voice on the loudspeaker says. “She is your blood, your flesh and your honor.”
Gaza kids put on play about stabbing, killing Israelis

Elliott Abrams: Obama, the EU, Brexit, and Syria
Now, what is it that has been threatening Europe and European unity in the last couple of years? Two things: what Obama correctly called “Russian aggression,” and the immense waves of Middle Eastern refugees. In that sense, his lectures to the British and then all Europeans (his speech in Hannover, Germany was grandiosely labelled by the White House an “Address to the People of Europe”) are remarkable, for the problems Europe faces are in no small part his own responsibility.
Russian aggression? The weak American response when (quoting Obama again) Russia “has flagrantly violated the sovereignty and territory of an independent European nation, Ukraine” may well have something to do with Russian intervention in Syria. Obama said that this aggression in Ukraine “unnerves our allies in Eastern Europe, threatening our vision of a Europe that is whole, free and at peace.” Well, what unnerves our allies is not just the aggression, but their doubts about the alliance, American willingness to meet commitments, and American willpower to stand up to Russia.
But what has really driven Europeans apart in the last year has been the refugee crisis, which has meant the end of open borders. That refugee crisis starts with Syria, where half the population has been driven from its homes and 4.5 million are refugees. Mr. Obama bears some direct responsibility here. Let me quote from the man who was Obama’s coordinator for Syria, Fred Hof (now at the Atlantic Council), writing yesterday:
These are tough and angry words, almost despairing words, about Mr. Obama and Syria. Consider again one line: “not one single Syrian protected from the merciless, unrelenting, and deliberate campaign of mass homicide and collective punishment inflicted by the Assad regime against millions of Syrians.” And that is precisely why there are 4.5 million refugees, and there will be more. Then Mr. Obama goes to Europe and says how vitally important is European unity, either unaware or certainly unwilling to admit that his handling of Syria helped create the refugee crisis driving Europe apart. Perhaps the British and the other “People of Europe” appreciate and esteem these lectures. Somehow I doubt it.
Clifford D. May: The Mr. Rogers Doctrine
President Obama's policy response to this complicated and fraught reality: He recently told a reporter that Saudis and Iranians need to "share the neighborhood." It's tempting to call that the "Mr. Rogers Doctrine" and imagine what was said about it within the palaces of Riyadh -- and those of Tehran. Also worth pondering: the message that phrase sends to the neighborhood's minorities -- the Christians now under genocidal assault, the Kurds, the Druze and, of course, the Israelis.
The Saudis have never been America's friends in the sense of having common values or mutual affection. But they have been America's allies in the sense of having common enemies and some common -- and vital -- interests. Now the Saudis face what they see as an existential threat from Iranian theocrats who proudly proclaim their abhorrence of America.
Yet, the American president is enriching those Iranian theocrats, strengthening them and making concession after concession without demanding reciprocity. It's reasonable to guess that the Saudis are feeling puzzled and perhaps betrayed. If so, they are not alone.
IDF arrests 2 Palestinians suspected of instigating violence
Israeli army forces operating in the West Bank arrested overnight two Palestinians suspected of instigating riots and carrying out violent acts against Israeli civilians and security forces, the IDF said Wednesday.
One of the men was arrested in the West Bank city of Qalqilya, while the other was apprehended northeast of Hebron. The two were transferred to a security facility for interrogation.
In a separate operation on Wednesday, IDF soldiers discovered hidden ammunition and weapon parts during a raid in the West Bank village of Si’ir, north of Hebron. The ammunition and weapon parts were taken to a security facility for further examination.
Also on Wednesday, a Palestinian woman and young man attacked border guards with a knife at the Qalandiya crossing in the West Bank, police said, and were gunned down by forces on the scene. No Israeli forces were injured in the incident, but the two assailants were killed in the attempted assault at the Qalandiya checkpoint, police said.
Palestinian woman throws knife at border guard, is killed along with suspected accomplice
The man and woman arrived at the crossing and began walking towards the Border Police officers stationed at the checkpoint, which lies just south of Ramallah, a police spokesperson said.
“The officers called them to stop a number of times,” according to a police statement.
Initially, the couple did stop and started walking away, but “suddenly” the two turned around, and the woman took a kitchen knife out of her purse. The Arab woman then “approached Border Police officers in guard posts with a knife in her hand,” police said.
When she got closer, the woman “threw [the knife] directly at an officer, who was unharmed,” police said.
“The officers and security guards worked quickly and shot at the terrorists, neutralizing them,” a spokesperson said.
Soldiers take wrong turn, come under attack in Palestinian village
Two IDF soldiers accidentally drove into a Palestinian village in the West Bank Tuesday evening, sparking a brief clash with local residents who pelted the vehicle with rocks, the army said.
The soldiers were unharmed in the incident and drove out of Beit Fajjar, south of Jerusalem, without the need for additional assistance, an army spokesperson said.
It was not immediately clear how the soldiers wound up in the West Bank village, but the IDF immediately launched an investigation to determine how the mistake was made.
Though the soldiers were uninjured, the army pickup truck had its windshield smashed in the riot that broke out when they entered the town, located a few miles south of Bethlehem, the army said.
Israeli Soldiers Aid Bloodied Palestinian Attacked by Rock-Throwing Arabs Who Mistook Him for Jew
Israel Defense Forces soldiers came to the aid of a Palestinian man who had been attacked because he was thought to be Jewish, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) revealed on Twitter on Tuesday.
A picture posted by the MFA shows an Israeli soldier tending to a wound on the victim’s forehead, while another image shows the soldier applying pressure to the back of his head. The Palestinian, who is seen in a later photo wearing a bandage wrapped around his chin, has blood stains on his face, arm and shirt.
The MFA linked to a Facebook post which provided more details about the incident. According to the post, the Palestinian man was injured by rocks thrown at him by fellow Palestinians, who had mistaken him for a Jew. The MFA also clarified that the facts about the incident were “contrary to what was published” by the Palestinian news outlet Quds News Network, which claimed in a Facebook post on Monday that the Arab Hebron resident was attacked by “Jewish settlers.”
UNSC rejects Israeli jurisdiction on Golan as 'null and void'
The UN Security Council rejected on Tuesday last week’s statement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the Golan Heights would always remain under Israeli sovereignty.
Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 Six Day War. In 1981 it extended Israeli law to the region, thereby de facto annexing it. The international community does not recognize the annexation.
On Tuesday, the Security Council in New York held a discussion on the matter and reiterated that position, which it adopted in Resolution 497, passed in 1981.
“The members recall Resolution 497 [which] decided that the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect,” the council said on Tuesday.
The meeting was held at the request of Venezuela, which currently is one of the 15 nations that comprise the Security Council. According to the Israeli delegation at the UN, Egypt was involved in the request as well.
A number of Security Council members had already criticized Netanyahu’s statement last week, which he made when the cabinet held its weekly meeting on the Golan Heights.
Israel scorns UN stance on Golan: Should we negotiate with Islamic State?
Israel’s Foreign Ministry hit back Tuesday night at a UN Security Council statement indicating Jerusalem should return the Golan Heights to Syria, saying it was unrealistic given the current situation in the war-torn country. Such a scenario, the ministry said, would entail the Jewish state having to choose between various brutal jihadist groups, including al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group, with which to hold negotiations.
“Who is Israel expected to negotiate with on the future of the Golan Heights?” the ministry asked, striking a sarcastic tone. “Islamic State? Al-Qaeda? Hezbollah? The Iranian and Syrian forces who massacred hundreds of thousands of people?”
The ministry said the UN was was “ignoring the reality” in Syria when it rejected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent assertion that the Golan Heights would “forever” remain under Israeli control.
“In the face of the war raging in Syria and the security and stability that Israel has built in the Golan in the past 50 years, the suggestion that Israel withdraw from the Golan is unreasonable,” said the ministry.
The new UN consensus on Syria: Israel must pay!
Yet once Bibi publicly reasserted Israel’s hold over the Golan (perhaps for domestic political reasons), international-law eggheads jumped to Assad’s aid: He who can barely control his capital, Damascus, somehow has indisputable sovereignty over the Golan. Israel must return an occupied territory, goes the cry from Malaysia to Morocco.
Return to whom? To al-Nusra or ISIS, which the entire world has declared unworthy of even participating in the Geneva peace talks? To Hezbollah, which tops the US terrorist list and now tries to establish a beachhead on the Golan? To Assad the butcher, who, according to President Obama, has lost legitimacy?
Whatever. The Security Council, including America, called Tuesday for returning the Golan and, indeed, negotiating “to establish a comprehensive just and lasting peace in the Middle East.”
Yes, in the past Netanyahu tried to negotiate a return of the strategic Golan to Syria. One of his successors may one day do so again, perhaps after Syria, a country that no longer really exists, is properly divided.
But now? Those who think so must be off their meds.
Israel fears IS affiliate on Syrian border holds chemical weapons
Defense officials are concerned that an Islamic State affiliate operating near the Syrian border with Israel has acquired chemicals weapons and may be planning to test them, Channel 10 news reported Tuesday.
The report said officials believed the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade, a terrorist group affiliated with the Islamic State and based on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, may have recently gotten its hands on chemical weapons which once belonged to the Assad regime.
Israel is closely monitoring the organization, and believes it may be planning tests of the weapons’ capabilities.
The Channel 10 report noted that the group was not currently concerned with Israel and was not directing offensive efforts against it, being preoccupied with fighting other groups in the Syrian civil war. Any chemical weaponry in their hands was thus not considered an immediate threat to Israelis. But officials fear this may well change in the future.
The Islamic State’s possession of chemical weapons has been a major point of concern among Western governments.
The "Two State Solution": Irony and Truth
"The establishment of such a [Palestinian] state means the inflow of combat-ready Palestinian forces into Judea and Samaria ... In time of war, the frontiers of the Palestinian state will constitute an excellent staging point for mobile forces to mount attacks on infrastructure installations vital for Israel's existence..." — Shimon Peres, Nobel Laureate and Former Prime Minister of Israel, in 1978.
The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was formed in 1964; three years before there were any "occupied territories." Exactly what, then was the PLO planning to "liberate"?
Both Fatah and Hamas have always considered, and still consider, Israel as simply part of "Palestine." On their current official maps, all of Israel is identified as "Occupied Palestine."
"You understand that we plan to eliminate the State of Israel, and establish a purely Palestinian state. ... I have no use for Jews; they are and remain, Jews." — PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, January 30, 1996 (2.5 years after signing the Oslo Peace Accords).
In view of these repeatedly intolerant Arab views on Israel's existence, international law should not expect Palestinian compliance with any agreements, including those concerning use of armed force -- even if these agreements were to include explicit U.S. security guarantees to Israel.
David Singer: France's flight of fancy on 'Palestine'
Maybe the newly-appointed Foreign Minister should look at the rapidly expanding Islamic settlement activity taking place in France and address that threat to France’s security before he seeks to interfere in Israel’s affairs.
US Secretary of State John Kerry, who brokered a previous round of Israel-Palestinian peace talks that collapsed in April 2014 gave the French proposal a guarded welcome when he visited Paris in March:
“Not any one country or one person can resolve this. This is going to require the global community, it will require international support,”
Kerry is right but at the same time he is wrong.
What Kerry and President Obama continue to fail to acknowledge are the firm written commitments made to Israel by former President George Bush on 14 April 2004 – overwhelmingly endorsed by the Congress.
Were Obama and Kerry prepared to rally the global community to get behind the Bush-Congress commitments and take Abbas dragging and screaming to the negotiating table – maybe some movement towards a resolution of the conflict could eventuate.
Pushing the 2002 Arab Initiative whilst ignoring the 2004 Bush-Congress Initiative is destined to become an exercise in futility and certain failure.
Abbas sacks Nablus governor, reportedly over public criticism
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas unexpectedly dismissed Nablus governor Akram Rajoub, local media and Rajoub said, a move that was attributed by some Palestinian outlets as a response to public criticism of the PA.
“Without warning, the president ordered the sword to my neck, and now I must leave Nablus, which I have served faithfully,” Rajoub wrote on Facebook on Tuesday.
The governor expressed surprise at his dismissal, claiming in his post that he has never stolen from the Palestinian people nor taken advantage of his position of power.
But “informed” sources told the Palestinian news website Donia Al-Watan that one of the reasons for the dismissal was Rajoub’s criticism on social media of the PA leadership’s policies.
The governor also hinted that he was being punished for taking a political stance.
“My positions and my principles cannot be bargained over, and I will not retract any national or political positions I have taken,” he wrote on Facebook.
Palestinians unveil 20-foot Mandela statue in Ramallah
Palestinians on Tuesday inaugurated a giant statue of Nelson Mandela donated by the South African city of Johannesburg to their political capital in the West Bank.
The six-meter (20-foot) two-ton bronze statue was a gift from Johannesburg with which Ramallah is twinned.
“I think that Nelson Mandela himself would have been extremely proud of what has been done today,” Parks Tau, the mayor of the South African city, told AFP.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas also attended the ceremony at the renamed Nelson Mandela Square in the Al-Tireh district.
IDF Confirms Hamas ‘Partnering’ With ISIS in Sinai
IDF data show that Gaza's ruling Hamas terror group is "partnering " with the 'Sinai Province' Da'esh (ISIS) terrorist organization.
IDF officials warned this week that between 600 to 1,000 Da’esh (ISIS) operatives in the Sinai Peninsula are now “partnering” with Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization.
In a graphic posted to the military service English-language blog online, the IDF confirmed Hamas support for Da’esh is wide-ranging.
Hamas transfers money for the terrorist organization, trains and teaches its fighters, assists with communications and also provides medical care when necessary.
Those services are provided via the cross-border smuggler tunnels that snake below the surface under the Gaza-Egyptian border.
Hamas was created by the outlawed Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood terrorist organization, which is bent on overthrowing the Cairo regime of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
IDF Deputy Chief of Staff: Next War with Hezbollah Will Be “Devastating”
The deputy chief of staff of the Israeli military warned that Hezbollah poses an “unprecedented” threat to Israel, and that any future war with the Iran-backed terrorist group will be “devastating,” the Associated Press reported last week.
“In any future crisis, they are not going to see a small war in Lebanon,” Maj. Gen. Yair Golan said of Hezbollah, which according to Israeli estimates has stockpiled over 100,000 missiles. “It’s going to be decisive. It’s going to be full-scale war.” He observed that Hezbollah’s tactic of embedding its military assets in civilian areas means that a future conflict “could create devastating damage to Lebanon.”
“There is no other way to take out this threat without … creating large damage to the Lebanese infrastructure, to Lebanese houses and other civilian facilities,” Golan added.
Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said in February that the terror group’s missiles were capable of causing damage in Israel equivalent to a nuclear bomb detonation, killing tens of thousands, by targeting ammonia storage tanks located in Haifa.
During a meeting with Nasrallah in August, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif boasted that the nuclear deal presented “a historic opportunity” to confront Israel. Before the deal was completed, former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, an ally of current president Hassan Rouhani, said that Israel feared the agreement because it would strengthen Iran. He added that one day Israel would be “wiped off the map.”
Islamic State blows up Empress Eugenie's Clock Church in Mosul
Islamic State jihadists have blown up one of Mosul's best known remaining churches, known as the Clock Church after its tower, according to Iraqi news reports.
The clock tower was paid for by Empress Eugenie of France, wife of the last Emperor Napoleon III, as a gift to the Dominican Fathers who were building the church in the 1870s.
It gave its name to the neighbourhood around it, al-Saa - and overlooked it to the extent that the Dominican monks had to promise residents they would not climb the tower and peep down on residents sleeping on their roofs in the boiling summer months.
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant made no statement about the destruction, and it was not clear why it should happen now.
Iran summons Swiss envoy over compensation for terror victims
Iran Tuesday summoned Switzerland’s ambassador, who represents Washington’s interests in Tehran, to protest a court ruling that $2 billion of frozen Iranian assets be used to compensate American victims of terror.
The US Supreme Court ruled last week that Iran must hand the sum to survivors and relatives of those killed in attacks blamed on the Islamic republic.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif threatened Monday to take legal action in the International Court of Justice against the United States if the amount in frozen funds is “diverted.”
“We hold the US administration responsible for preservation of Iranian funds and if they are plundered, we will lodge a complaint with the ICJ for reparation,” Zarif said.
Last week, Tehran said the ruling amounted to theft.
Zarif: Nuke deal could falter, Holocaust deniers are like KKK
Foreign minister claims Iran is not responsible for Holocaust cartoon festivals
The New Yorker pressed Zarif on a periodic Holocaust cartoon festival launched by former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He replied that it’s run by an NGO unaffiliated with the government.
Asked why Iran permits it in any case, he replied, “Why does the United States have the Ku Klux Klan? Is the government of the United States responsible for the fact that there are racially hateful organizations in the United States?”
Reminded that he has wished Jews worldwide a Happy New Year at Rosh Hashanah, he said: “So we will not be going to that festival’s opening.”
Mideast Analyst Scoffs at Claim Iranian Government Has No Say in Tehran Holocaust Cartoon Contest
“This doesn’t pass the laugh test,” a Washington, DC-based Middle East analyst told The Algemeiner on Tuesday.
Omri Ceren, managing director at The Israel Project (TIP), was responding to comments made by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif about the upcoming Holocaust-themed 11th Tehran International Cartoon Biennial.
In an interview Monday in the New Yorker – focused mainly on the behavior of the United States in the aftermath of last July’s nuclear deal between Iran and world powers – Zarif, who served as chief negotiator of the agreement, dismissed a question put to him by interviewer Robin Wright about the cartoon contest.
“It’s not Iran,” Zarif said. “It’s an NGO that is not controlled by the Iranian government. Nor is it endorsed by the Iranian government.”
U.S. Agrees to Buy Heavy Water from Iran, Ignoring Concerns of Nuclear Experts, Congress
The United States signed an agreement on Friday in Vienna to buy 32 tons of Iran’s heavy water for $8.6 million in order to prevent Tehran from violating the nuclear deal.
For the first few years after signing the deal, which was reached in July, Iran is not allowed to stockpile over 130 tons of heavy water, which can be used to produce weaponizable nuclear material. But Iran overproduced its heavy water and risked exceeding the allowed amount. The U.S. decision to buy Iran’s heavy water appears to be motivated by the desire to protect the nuclear accord, as well as to legitimize Iran’s nuclear program and encourage other countries to rely on Iran for nuclear material. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz told the Wall Street Journal that the new U.S. purchase “will be a statement to the world: ‘You want to buy heavy water from Iran, you can buy heavy water from Iran. It’s been done. Even the United States did it.’”
Some nuclear experts believe that “the U.S. move comes close to subsidizing Iran’s nuclear program in a bid to keep the agreement alive,” the Journal wrote. “We shouldn’t be paying them [Iranians] for something they shouldn’t be producing in the first place,” argued David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, a nonpartisan anti-proliferation think tank. Several nuclear experts said that because heavy water can be used to produce weapons-grade plutonium, Iran’s production of the material is still a proliferation concern, particularly since restrictions imposed on Iran’s nuclear program will be lifted after 10-15 years.
Khamenei: US foments 'Iranophobia' to scare countries from trading with Tehran
The United States has only lifted Iranian sanctions on paper and in practice is scaring businesses away from the country, its Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday.
"On paper the United States allows foreign banks to deal with Iran, but in practice they create Iranophobia so no one does business with Iran," Khamenei was quoted as saying by his official website, addressing hundreds of workers in Tehran.
"The US official says the sanctions regime is still in place to scare away the foreign investment from Iran."
Iran Jails Four Journalists Charged With Subverting National Security
Iran has sentenced four journalists to jail on charges of subverting national security, their lawyers told reporters on Tuesday.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps announced last November that they had arrested “several members of an infiltration network linked to hostile Western governments.” The suspects “were working in the country’s media and social networks,” authorities said.
At the time, Ahmed Shaheed, the United Nation’s special rapporteur for the human rights situation in Iran, warned that the “Increasing intimidation of journalists is hindering their ability to operate freely in [Iran].”
“The government of Iran should not silence critical or dissenting voices under the guise of vague and unsubstantiated national security concerns,” he added.
The journalists, three men and one woman, were given sentences ranging from five to 10 years, Iranian state broadcaster IRIB reported. Two of the men are said to be affiliated with reformist publications.
Iran deploys plainclothes morality police on Tehran streets
Local resident Sousan Heidari has stopped letting her headscarf slip casually down over her neck and shoulders while driving in the Iranian capital. These days, the 22-year-old with a taste for bold makeup makes sure to pull it tightly over her dark hair, fearful of running afoul of a newly established undercover division of the morality police.
“Every single man or woman could be a member of the unit,” she cautioned. “I don’t know. Maybe some plainclothes have already reported me because of heavy makeup.”
Tehran police chief Gen. Hossein Sajedinia recently announced his department had deployed 7,000 male and female officers for a new plainclothes division — the largest such undercover assignment in memory. Authorities say the division, which started work last week, will patrol major Tehran streets and intersections, policing transgressions including harassment against women and excessive car honking and engine noise.
Critics fear the unit’s main focus, however, will be enforcing the government-mandated Islamic dress code, which requires women to be modestly covered from head to toe. They see it as the latest flashpoint in the struggle between relative moderates such as President Hassan Rouhani and establishment hard-liners who fear looser social norms will weaken the Islamic Republic’s values and principles.
Saudi Arabia aims to become major weapons producer
But Saudi’s pivot away from oil was more than a matter of fiscal security. With Saudi Arabia’s nemesis Iran on the rise across the Middle East, with growing influence in countries like Syria and Yemen, the Saudi royal family feels increasingly threatened. And with US President Barack Obama’s support for the Iran nuclear deal, the Saudis are concerned that their primary arms-supplier cannot be relied on in the future.
Speaking on Monday, Defense Minister and Prince Muhammad Bin Salman discussed the kingdom’s plans to develop its own arms industry, allowing the Saudi military to become fully independent from America weapons sales.
“We’re about to establish a holding company in the weapons industry that will be owned 100% by the government, and will eventually be registered on the stock market.”
Bin Salman noted that Saudi Arabia is the world’s third largest weapons importer and had the third largest military budget in the world, and dedicated more of its GDP to military spending than any other nation on earth.
“Is it logical that despite this we have no military industry? We spend more than Britain and France and we have no [arms] industry. We have a huge demand that we need to fill inside of Saudi Arabia.”
Saudi general: 'If Netanyahu accepts the Arab Peace Initiative, we’ll open an embassy in Israel'
The Prime Minister’s Office had no response.
The 2002 Arab Peace Initiative called for a two-state solution based on an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 armistice lines and making east Jerusalem the Palestinian capital in return for “normal relations in the context of a comprehensive peace with Israel.”
The initiative also called for the “achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194.”
In the Arab world, that resolution is viewed as enshrining a Palestinian refugee “right of return” to places in Israel they or their ancestors fled from or were driven from during the 1947-1949 War of Independence.
Netanyahu articulated his position on this plan in a 2014 interview with The Jerusalem Post, saying that the initiative was drawn up at a significantly different time in the Middle East, and is no longer relevant.
He has not voiced any different position on this plan since then.
Watch: Saudi Men Face Jail For 'Promiscuously' Riding Motorcycles
A group of young Saudi men are facing up to five years’ imprisonment and a three million riyal (US$750,000) fine for riding motorcycles half-naked on the seafront in the city of Damam, the Saudi media reported on Monday.
The young men have been indicted for dangerous driving, disturbing the peace, and “exploiting cyberspace to offend the public” after they filmed themselves in the act and the video went viral.
One of the charges will be “deviation” from public and religious norms, a prosecutor told the SABQ website.
Nearly all the comments on the video’s YouTube page were disapproving, ranging from demanding that the teens be rehabilitated to saying they should be severely punished. Some, however, dismissed them as youthfully whimsical.
“They just came out of the sea and didn’t want to wet the seats of their motorbikes,” wrote Heidar.

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