Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians: Sex in Gaza City
A 27-year-old female journalist recounted that a Palestinian official working for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza invited her for a job interview. The official "tried to approach and touch her, but she walked away and left the office... The following day... he offered her the job in return for having sexual intercourse with him."Israel arrests Iran TV reporter for incitement, supporting terror
The victim noted that under Palestinian law, UNRWA officials enjoy immunity from being prosecuted.
Palestinian journalist Amjad Yaghi found that the Palestinian Basic Law does not tackle the issue of sexual harassment in Palestinian society. Meanwhile, the Hamas connections of these criminals will keep them out of jail and in positions of power.
Where are the women's rights organizations now? Where are the European and American overseers of the international human rights organizations in the Gaza Strip? Do they only awaken from their slumber when they smell fresh Israeli meat? How many women will be sexually assaulted while these watchdogs sleep?
A journalist for an Iranian news outlet was arrested in northern Israel on Wednesday for incitement and supporting terror groups, police said.Zionist activists visit 'hostile' UK Muslim neighborhood
Bassam al-Safadi, a 43-year-old resident of the Druze village of Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights, has been accused of “publishing statements in support of terror groups and incitement to violence or terror,” a police spokesperson said.
Safadi is a reporter for Iran’s al-Alam news network, which draws its funding from the state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting company.
On its website, the television channel claimed Safadi was arrested for “no reason,” saying it was likely linked to a report in which he alleged that Israel was “stealing” oil on the Golan Heights — a reference to Israeli exploratory drilling in the Israeli-controlled side of the plateau, which is captured from Syria during the 1967 Six Day War.
According to the Iranian outlet, Safadi’s laptop and camera were also confiscated during his arrest on Wednesday morning.
The three activists from the Israel Advocacy Movement (IAM)) - two Jews and one Muslim - who visited Bury Park recently said they did it because they believed Israel's case can be made effectively anywhere, but also to prove a point to pro-Israel activists: there is no reason to fear showing Israeli pride.
While all of those the group spoke to shared many misconceptions and outright falsehoods about the State of Israel, the vast majority were surprisingly willing to engage. Many even expressed appreciation to the group for dispelling the myths they held about the Jewish state.
Arutz Sheva spoke to Israel Advocacy Movement founder Joseph Cohen, who led the initiative, and asked him why his group picked such an unlikely venue for their stall.
"Every British neighborhood with a majority Muslim population is almost certainly hostile towards Israel," Cohen explained. "Nothing is done to challenge the constant disinformation and anti-Israel propaganda that’s propagated in these communities.
"The media tells us that these are no-go areas for Jews, so we avoid them and the anti-Israel sentiment is left to fester. Having watched videos of riots in Bury Park provoked by far right activists, we decided it was the perfect neighborhood to show that Zionists can promote Israel anywhere in the UK without the fear of violence.
"When we arrived there the levels of ignorance (not hatred) truly shocked us, there were so many people that had been spoon-fed lie after lie.
Isi Leibler: American Jewish leaders fail to confront the anti-Israel bandwagon
The confusion and uncertainty arising from the US presidential election campaign, together with the hostility generated by the changes in the Israeli coalition, has emboldened a number of prominent Jewish progressives to initiate a new crusade implicitly criticizing the security policies of the democratically elected Israeli government. Their actions threaten the prevailing bipartisan support for the Jewish state and are likely to encourage the Obama administration to endorse the pending United Nations and European diplomatic onslaught against Israel, imposing acceptance of a peace plan that would undermine its security.‘Jerusalem was ours and will remain ours,’ PM says
The suggestion that the inclusion of Avigdor Liberman in the government negates a two-state policy is cynical. Despite his fiery rhetoric and tough approach on security issues, Liberman, more so than former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon, has consistently supported a two-state solution together with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the vast majority of Israelis.
The obstacle is not Israeli intransigence but security concerns and the absence of a genuine peace partner. The offers made by prime ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert to Palestinian Authority presidents Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas, respectively, to return up to 97 percent of the territories previously occupied by Jordan, were rejected outright. Abbas refuses to negotiate because his ultimate goal has always been to bring an end to Jewish sovereignty rather than achieve statehood. Even if Abbas were to now favor an accommodation, he would find that the rabid incitement he nurtured has created such intense hatred that Palestinians would become enraged if he came to terms with Israel.
The strategy of Abbas has been to dismantle Israel in stages by diplomatic pressure. In this, he has been highly successful.
Israel will find itself in a very difficult situation if the Obama administration endorses the current French initiative. Public pronouncements by American Jewish leaders could have a significant impact on the policy platform to be adopted by the Democratic Party, which will influence the outgoing Obama administration.
Since the 2012 Democratic Party convention, when a fracas erupted over the issue of recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, it became clear that the more “liberal” elements were becoming increasingly hostile toward Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made clear Wednesday that he was opposed to a return to the pre-1967 division of Jerusalem in a future peace deal, and slammed a UNESCO resolution eliding Jewish ties to the Temple Mount.Netanyahu and the Peace Charade
“Our roots are deeper than any other nation’s, including to the Temple Mount. Jerusalem was ours and will remain ours,” he said, speaking in a special Knesset session marking Jerusalem Day.
Israel doesn’t need to “make excuses for [its] presence in Jerusalem,” he added, but he did not definitively rule out any territorial concessions in the city.
“We remember Jerusalem up until the  Six Day War,” he said, when the city was split, with Israelis excluded from the Old City and its eastern neighborhoods. “We certainly do not want to return to that situation.”
“I believe the Six Day War clarified to our enemies that we are here to stay,” he added.
If the U.S. or the French are serious about peace rather than merely bashing Israel, they’ll act on Netanyahu’s suggestion. But don’t hold your breath about that. The only kind of peace gesture the world seems to appreciate from Israel is a unilateral withdrawal such as the one Ariel Sharon conducted in Gaza in 2005. But after his effort to disentangle Israel from Palestinian life was rewarded by Gaza becoming a terrorist mini-state governed by Hamas, the same people who are today urging Israel to repeat that experiment in the West Bank said nothing. Nor are they prepared to acknowledge that the majority of Israelis who worry about the wisdom of creating an even larger and more dangerous terrorist state in the West Bank (i.e., the majority of Israeli voters who have handed Netanyahu three straight election triumphs) are simply behaving sensibly rather than demonstrating extremism.Any International Effort to Impose a Solution on Israel Will Lack Balance
As for the Arab Peace Initiative, even the Arab states understand that Israel isn’t going to agree to a “right of return” for the descendants of the 1948 Arab refugees. They would probably also be horrified if Israel were to hand the strategic Golan over to a Syria wracked by civil war. Nor, despite the lip service Arab states are forced by Muslim public opinion to give to Palestinian ambitions, are they all that enthusiastic about the creation of another unstable nation that could easily be dominated by Islamist terrorists that they view as a threat to their own nations as well as to Israel.
But like every other Israeli concession, including the Oslo Accords that empowered Yasir Arafat, the statehood offers from Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert, the retreat from Gaza, or even Netanyahu’s acceptance of two states, this latest gesture by the prime minister will be dismissed by the international community as insufficient. Nothing short of Israel’s unilateral abandonment of its rights and security is ever considered enough. And even then, it’s clear that won’t be enough for Palestinians who continue to hold onto their dream of a world without Israel.
Despite his reputation as a hardliner Netanyahu continues to try to meet the West halfway as befitting the fact that his stances place him in the center of the Israeli political spectrum rather than its right wing. But Israelis who tire of the peace charade should not be faulted for labeling these exchanges as pointless gestures that do nothing to convince the Palestinians to put down their stabbing knives and start thinking about ending the conflict.
It is also noteworthy that Secretary of State John Kerry did not announce his participation in the June 3 Paris parley until after the Netanyahu-Herzog effort collapsed. With the widespread perception that the new Israeli government is incapable of launching a credible initiative, the Obama administration is unlikely to block new efforts to reach an international solution. Whether Washington will allow the issue to make it to the UN remains unclear.Abbas: PA open to talks with Liberman, if he 'truly supports' 2-state solution
Whatever the case, the pressures within the international system seem poised intensify at precisely the same time that the new Israeli right-wing coalition -- in which Netanyahu is the most moderate member -- is most isolated. He understandably fears that Friday's meeting will set the predicate for a grand peace conference in Paris in the fall and possibly a UN Security Council resolution at year's end that imposes the parameters of a solution. There are several good reasons why such an approach is ill-advised:
- If the past is any indicator, the international effort will lack balance. Principles that Palestinians seek will be concrete, while those addressing Israeli concerns will be left vague -- borders and Jerusalem will be spelled out for the Palestinians, while the details behind security and refugees will be left for future negotiations.
- If the issue comes before the Security Council, the United States will not be able to dissuade Russia and others from backing the Palestinian demands, and Vladimir Putin will insist on putting his own imprint on any resolution.
- Such an outcome would cement the Palestinian conviction that resisting negotiations, internationalizing the conflict, and backing delegitimization efforts are paying off, so why switch course?
- The right-wing Israeli government would probably become more defiant in response to an imbalanced resolution and international pressure, likely spurring additional settlement activity in the West Bank and greatly increasing the challenge of preserving a two-state outcome.
All of this may have implications for the next U.S. administration, which could be stuck with a policy that cannot be implemented. Calls for getting Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in a room and waiting for white smoke sound good in theory, but the gaps between them are too wide and their mutual distrust is too deep, making any such talks a certain failure.
Israel must recognize a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders [sic] for any negotiations to move forward, the Palestinian Authority said on Wednesday.Saudi Arabia plays down Netanyahu's comments on peace talks
The PA issued its first remarks on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's affirmation late Monday that he is ready to hold peace talks based on a revised version of the 2002 Arab peace initiative.
"The Israeli statements regarding the two-state solution and the Arab Peace Initiative must be accompanied by actions on the ground and recognition in an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 lines whose capital is east Jerusalem," said Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
"The Arab Peace Initiative is a part of a UN Security Council resolution and the road map for peace and it cannot be rejected when it is backed by the consensus of all the Arab and Islamic countries," he added.
On Monday, shortly after new Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman took the oath, Netanyahu surprisingly declared that Israel is prepared to hold peace talks based on the Arab Peace Initiative.
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Adel al-Jubeir, on Tuesday played down Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s remarks about the Arab peace initiative.EU warns Israel continued Palestinians home demolitions will harm ties
In a joint statement on Monday, Netanyahu and newly sworn in Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said they were ready “to negotiate with the Arab countries on updating the Arab peace initiative, to reflect the dramatic changes since 2002, and to maintain the agreed goal of two states for two peoples.”
But Al-Jubeir said Tuesday, according to Reuters, “It's a little early for one to assess the seriousness of the Israeli side to begin talks based on the Arab peace initiative.”
"When the Israeli prime minister spoke about it, he spoke about some clauses that he considers positive, not about accepting the initiative as the basis of talks," al-Jubeir added, speaking at a press conference in Riyadh.
The U.S. State Department, which last week said Israel's new right-wing coalition raised "legitimate questions" about the direction of Israeli policy, reacted positively to the Israeli prime minister's comments, according to Reuters.
The European Union has warned Israel that its policy of demolishing illegal Palestinians homes — including construction it has funded — is harming ties between Israel and its 28-member states.Plans deferred for new Jewish building in Silwan after ‘political pressure’
It issued it’s warning at a closed door meeting last week between EU officials in Israel and representatives from the office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories. Among those present were EU Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg Andersen and COGAT head Maj. Gen Yoav Mordechai.
Earlier this month the EU issued a very public condemnation of such activity, particularly against Beduin in the E1 area of the Ma’aleh Adumim settlement, just outside of Jerusalem.
“The regrettable trend of confiscations and demolitions since the beginning of the year, including of EU-funded humanitarian assistance, was confirmed once again this week by demolitions of temporary shelters in Jabal al-Baba, a Bedouin community in the so-called E1 area,” the EU said.
“The EU is strongly opposed to Israel's settlement policy and actions taken in this context, including demolitions and confiscations, building the separation barrier beyond the 1967 line, evictions and forced transfers,” it said.
The Jerusalem municipality postponed Wednesday a decision to allow new homes for Jews to be built in the flashpoint East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, following reported intervention by government officials worried the project could spark angry reactions.He Said-They Said: Mahmoud Abbas October 14th speech, and the Mainstream Media
Following a heated debate between municipal councilors, the city’s Planning and Building Committee decided to delay by two weeks a ruling on a request for planning permission to construct a new three-story building in the heart of the overwhelmingly Palestinian neighborhood.
The plot, which the state sold to Jewish settlers in 2005 via the Justice Ministry’s custodian general, is located in the Batan Al Hawa area if Silwan opposite the seven-story Beit Yonatan. Beit Yonatan was built without permits in 2002, and 11 Jewish families moved in two years later.
Despite orders by the courts and by then-attorney general Yehuda Weinstein to evacuate and seal the building, 10 families still live there, according to the Haaretz newspaper. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has supported the Jewish residents’ right to inhabit the building.
But government officials have been trying to sink the plans and have made efforts in recent days to persuade municipal councilors to oppose planning permission, according to Army Radio.
Words of defence as words of aggression'UNESCO's Temple Mount vote shouldn't have happened'
The very considerable divergence between the international media’s presentation of the October 14th speech, and its interpretation in both Israel and the Arab world, related to basic descriptions of the content of the speech and how Abbas’ claims ought to be understood in view of the ongoing conflict.
Abbas’ speech did not subtly suggest a de-escalation of violence, or express a favouring for non-violent methods. His call to action was starkly framed by images of Israeli aggression and murder, supposedly designed to prevent the basic rights of Arab-Palestinian people to live in their homes, to worship freely, and to achieve political freedom. How could the media justify describing the speech as endorsing non-violent methods to gain statehood? Perhaps because Abbas’ speeches use language that conjures up superficial notions of humanism. To analyse the first of two sentences most indicative peaceful intent:
“We are asking for our rights, justice and peace, we do not commit aggression on anyone and we do not accept aggression against our people, our nation and our holy places”
This sentence uses the noble words “peace” and “justice” but Abbas does not voice any criticism (however feeble) of the then-recent spate of Arab-Palestinian terror attacks against Jewish civilians. Instead Abbas claims that the Arab-Palestinian collective does not “commit aggression,” but rather that Israeli authorities and Jewish people living in Judea and Samaria (AKA the West Bank) are aggressing against them in the renewed violence. By contrast, when a reprisal attack occurred, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “strongly condemned the harming of innocent Arabs” and warned those resorting to violence would be brought to justice. The Western ideal of justice, with the iconic image of the scales of balance representing fairness, has no real meaning in Abbas’ world.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has reiterated an apology to Israel for France's support of a UNESCO resolution acquiescing to the Palestinians' demand that the organization refer to the Temple Mount as "Al-Aqsa mosque."Clinton Quiet on Democratic Platform Fight Over Israel
Valls met on Monday with Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis, who is in Paris representing Israel at the OECD annual conference.
"We must admit to our mistakes, such as the vote in UNESCO that should not have happened. We should mention the obvious, that France will never put the sacred ties between Jerusalem and Jewish history to the test," Valls said.
Akunis said that "the only way to promote peace between us and the Palestinians is through direct negotiations between the two sides, something the Palestinians have long refused. Israel is a beacon of democracy, human rights, and freedom of expression."
Hillary Clinton is staying silent about whether she supports changing the Democratic Party’s platform on Israel amid reports that Bernie Sanders is fighting to incorporate criticism of Israeli policies.An American Hizb Ut-Tahrir Leader Exhorts Muslims Not to Vote, Says: Islam Here to Dominate
Sanders has signaled that he might start a battle over the Democratic National Committee’s Israel platform at the party’s July convention, the Los Angeles Times reported on Tuesday. He has named five representatives to the 15-member platform committee, including two outspoken critics of Israel, Cornell West and James Zogby.
While sources say the Clinton campaign has quietly been working to quash the platform fight behind the scenes, the former secretary of state has yet to take a public stance on the issue. A Clinton spokesperson did not respond to request for comment.
A high-profile fight over Israel would put Clinton in a tricky political position because the Democratic Party is starkly divided about Israel. While the party’s liberal base is more likely to side with the Palestinian side of the conflict, Democratic moderates and non-affiliated independents are more supportive of Israel, according to a Pew Research Center poll released earlier this month.
West and Zogby are staunch critics of Israel’s policies toward the Palestinian territories. West has accused Israel of carrying out “war crimes” while taking military action in response to rocket attacks by Hamas.
There are signs Clinton’s allies are trying to limit the damage. One of Clinton’s appointees on the platform committee, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) has indicated that he is open to possible changes regarding the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Haitham Ibn Thbait, of the American chapter of Hizb Ut-Tahrir, recently exhorted American Muslims to avoid falling into the "electoral trap" and called upon them not to vote in the U.S. elections, saying that getting Muslims to vote was part of an effort to assimilate them and that they had been "tricked" into voting for Clinton, Bush, and Obama in the past. Speaking at the Khilafah 2016 conference, held in Chicago on May 15, Ibn Thbait further called Obama a "terrorist" and said that "Islam is here to dominate." The address was posted on YouTube by Hizb Ut-Tahrir on May 20.
Bangladesh: All about Israel-Hating
Israel, the Mossad and Jews, seen as one, are now a political issue in Bangladesh politics. Accusations and denials about "Israel and Mossad connections" are going on among the rival political parties and leaders. Both the government and largest opposition party, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), have been trying to cash in on the existing antagonistic sentiment against Israel among the country's 90%-Muslim population.PreOccupiedTerritory: Israeli Communists Oddly Silent About Venezuela Collapse (satire)
Bangladesh has no diplomatic relations with Israel. It is a country where Jews and Israeli people are being cursed in every Friday sermon, from more than 250,000 mosques. Imams across the country shout before the Friday prayer's sermon audience that Jewish people are infidels.
The latest dirty game of Israel-hating began in early May. A Bangladeshi politician, Aslam Chowdhury, who is a Joint General Secretary of the BNP, visited the Indian capital of Delhi and the historic city of Agra, where he met Mendi N. Safadi, reportedly a member of Israel's Likud party. Everyone shook hands and greeted each other courteously, but Aslam Chowdhury came under fire in Bangladesh after the photographs of the two men together were published on Safadi's Facebook page, and then picked up by Bangladeshi media.
On May 15, police detectives arrested Chowdhury for alleged "involvement in a plot to oust the Bangladesh government with the support of Israeli intelligence Mossad." Bangladesh's Prime Minister, Sheikha Hasina, accused two political parties, BNP and Jamaat-e Islami Bangladesh of being "so desperate that they are now conspiring with Israel to oust me... They have joined hands with those who are frequently killing children and women in Palestine."
Members of Maki, Israel’s Communist Party, have offered little to no comment on the current crisis in Communist Venezuela, where disastrous economic fallout has resulted from decades of ideology-driven government control of the economy that ignored or denied economic realities, Knesset sources are reporting.Jerusalem City Hall Orders Halt to Illegal Waqf Construction on Temple Mount
Officials in Hadash, the party in the Knesset in which Maki forms a part and holds ideological sway, have remained silent on what might account for the Venezuelan crisis that has erupted in widespread rioting across the South American country, despite frequent news reports and social media content detailing the manifold ways in which Communist rule has driven the economic sector into the ground. Few, if any, Maki or Hadash representatives have weighed in on the situation, and have not initiated or participated in public discussion of how their sociopolitical ideology might spell similar catastrophe for Israel if the country were to adopt the group’s platform, despite the tremendous public interest in their positions.
“I would love to hear these leaders elaborate on their intentions, because they play such an important role in this country’s politics,” said political commentator Dan Margalit of Hadash, which has never been part of a governing coalition, and whose relationship with other Opposition parties has been tense at best. “It’s crucial for the public to learn from these leaders – who are obviously experts on history and economics whose wisdom dwarfs the rest of us – why the Venezuelan paradigm does not bode ill for the country should their political philosophy take hold.”
The Jerusalem Municipality on Tuesday ordered a halt to illegal construction taking place outside of the fence surrounding Jerusalem’s flashpoint Temple Mount holy site.Police, organizers agree to alter Jerusalem Day march in Old City due to Ramadan
The administrative order was issued after authorities determined the construction of additional restrooms at the complex has begun without the proper permits, a municipality statement said.
According to reports, the project was initiated by the Muslim Waqf — the Jordanian trust that administers the site — to accommodate the tens of thousands of Muslim worshipers expected to visit the compound during the upcoming Ramadan holiday.
Army Radio said the municipality has pledged to install portable toilets in the Temple Mount area for the month-long holiday. The bathrooms will be erected in coordination with Jordanian authorities, according to the report.
Last week, a Channel 10 report said the Israel Antiquities Authority had filed a lawsuit against the Waqf for building the bathrooms in an archaeological site within the Temple Mount complex.
Police and organizers have reached an agreement to alter the schedule of the “flag parade” for Jerusalem Day, in order to avoid tension with Arab East Jerusalemites planning to celebrate Ramadan.Attacker sentenced to 25 years in prison
According to the agreement, entrance to Damascus Gate will be allowed for marchers only from 5:30pm up until 6:30 pm, after which anyone who arrives at the gate will be diverted to Jaffa Gate. Representatives sent by the parade organizers will be the ones responsible for enforcing the restriction.
Police said the motive behind the decision was that the earlier the marchers enter the Muslim Quarter, the more likely that they will make their way to the Western Wall before Muslim worshipers began to walk to the Temple Mount.
According to Ch. Supt. Asi Aharoni, the spokesperson for the Jerusalem Police District, some of the confusion about the event had to do with uncertainty about when exactly Ramadan will begin. If it begins Sunday night there is a possibility for an overlap with Jewish marchers, bringing with it a potential for violence.
He said that the decision was made “not to alter the date of the parade or its route, but to change the time it begins in order to lessen the chance that Jewish marchers and Muslim worshipers will clash with one another.”
Alaa Ziad, who carried out a ramming and stabbing attack on route 65 near Kibbutz Gan Shmuel in October, was sentenced to 25 years in prison Wednesday morning. Ziad will also have to compensate his victims between NIS 40,000-150,000.Security forces arrest Gazan who crossed into Israel with knife
Ziad ran over Orel Azuri and another soldier at a bus stop near the Gan Shmuel Interchange in his attack. A civilian who was in the area observed the incident and proceeded to subdue the terrorist with his bare hands. During his hearing, Ziad claimed that he did not carry out a terror attack but rather lost control of his car: “I did nothing. They want to turn me into a terrorist. I don’t know what they want from me. I am not a terrorist.”
Azuri, from Ramla, was severely wounded and underwent a number of surgeries. She has been recuperating for the past couple of months. She was serving in one of the Air Force’s Iron Dome units and at the time of the attack, and was returning to base from a training exercise.
"I was unconscious for 13 days, sedated and on a ventilator - teetering on the brink between life and death," Azuri told Yedioth Ahronoth, Ynet’s sister publication, last November. "A miracle happened to me."
Speaking about the attack, she said, "I felt the hit and was thrown several yards forward. The terrorist went over me several times with the car, and the next thing I remember is all the people around me in the hospital's in intensive care unit. I was in shock. I woke up to a totally different reality," she says.
A Palestinian man from the southern Gaza Strip who managed to cross into Israel was arrested by IDF soldiers overnight Tuesday-Wednesday. A knife was found in his possession, the military said.Outcry after Egyptian official calls Africans 'dogs and slaves'
He was transferred for interrogation, Army Radio reported.
It was not immediately clear what his intentions were.
Israel has been battling a wave of Palestinian terror attacks that has included stabbings, shootings, car-rammings and a suicide bombing over the past eight months. The attacks seem to have abated in recent weeks, a far cry from the situation just a few months ago where Palestinian assailants were carrying out attacks against Israeli civilians and security personnel up to several times a day.
Egypt has agreed to investigate allegations that one of its diplomats referred to Black Africans as "slaves and dogs" during a UN conference last week - while at the same time denying the incident ever took place.Banking Sanctions Won't Put Hizbullah Out of Business
According to Kenyan diplomat Yvonne Khamati, who heads the Africa Diplomatic Corps technical committee, the racist remarks targeting Sub-Saharan Africans came at the end of the United Nations Environment Assembly in Kenya last week.
Kenya's Capital News identified the Egyptian official in question as Egypt's Minister for Environment Khaled Fahmy, who is also President of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment.
The comments were made in Arabic, but were understood by many Sub-Saharan African delegates, who were shocked and infuriated.
Khamati has lodged a complaint, demanding an official apology from Cairo.
According to her memo, the Arab official lashed out after a resolution about Gaza tabled by Arab states failed to pass, as too many delegates had already left the conference.
Naim Qassem, a top Hezbollah official, recently announced that his organization was not seeking conflict with Israel this summer. But this is little consolation to Israeli war planners who warn that whenever the next conflict erupts between these two players, the fighting will be brutal. Indeed, Hezbollah’s arsenal is now too vast and too lethal to expect limited skirmishes as seen in the past.Note to Obama: Iran Isn’t Changing
And it’s not only Israel sounding the alarm. Outgoing United Nations Under Secretary-General Terje Rod-Larsen recently warned in the Arabic media that Hezbollah’s involvement in the Syrian war, not to mention other parts of the Middle East, risks a spillover of sectarian tensions into Lebanon and beyond. He called on the international community to disarm Hezbollah pursuant to U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559, which was passed in 2004 but was never enforced.
In other words, a robust strategy to hit Hezbollah in the purse strings by itself is insufficient. In fact, financial isolation without a credible means to weaken the group militarily might inadvertently push Hezbollah onto the battlefield. Indeed, when the Gaza-based terrorist group Hamas (also an Iran proxy) waged a war against Israel in 2014, it did so to negotiate a way out of its financial isolation. The end result was a 50-day war.
Treasury’s Hezbollah sanctions are undeniably making an impact. But it’s too soon to take a victory lap. Without a broader strategy to tackle Hezbollah’s foreboding forces, even the most valiant efforts to squeeze its finances will fall short.
The State Department has the right to raise questions about anything it likes, but it is remarkable that the administration feels free to bash a democratically elected government while remaining circumspect about an oligarchic radical theocracy that it has also correctly labeled as the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world.WSJ: New Leader of Iran’s Assembly of Experts Will Reinforce Regime’s Anti-West Ideology
How do we explain this difference?
One might argue that the U.S. is more invested in the affairs of an allied government as opposed to that of a foe like Iran. But the distinction goes further than that. The Obama administration has, in fact, been doing its best to maintain good relations with Iran and to avoid any behavior that might be interpreted as undermining its radical theocrats. On the other hand, it has been actively plotting to change Israel’s government. If it is particularly upset about Lieberman, it is not because they think he will interfere with peace negotiations that Palestinians don’t want or that he will start a war. It’s because Secretary of State Kerry was actively involved in the maneuvering by which it was hoped that the opposition Zionist Union Party would join Netanyahu’s government. The idea, like past efforts to topple or hamstring Netanyahu, was to use U.S. influence to tilt Israel to the left as opposed to the intentions of its voters that gave a majority to the current center-right coalition. The collapse of that gambit was yet another humiliation for Kerry and a triumph for Netanyahu, though whether it will work out well for him in the long run is a matter of opinion.
But what these two stories show us is that despite Obama’s occasional claim to the contrary, U.S. policy in the Middle East is now oriented toward appeasing Iran and isolating Israel. This is no way to treat an enemy or ally. Whoever succeeds Obama needs to realize that Iran isn’t moderating but unless the U.S. is really willing to write off the strategic Middle East, It’s U.S. policy that has to change.
The election last week of 89-year-old Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati to head Iran’s Assembly of Experts, which will choose the country’s next Supreme Leader to replace Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, shows that “whoever follows the increasingly frail Mr. Khamenei as Supreme Leader is unlikely to alter the regime’s core anti-Western philosophy,” The Wall Street Journal editorial board wrote Monday.Congress to Compel Obama Disclosure of $1.7 Billion ‘Ransom Payment’ to Iran
Jannati has proclaimed his commitment to preserve Iran’s “revolutionary” governing philosophy, and also frequently serves as Khamenei’s replacement for leading Friday prayers. His history shows this commitment to the anti-Western founding principles of the Islamic Republic, the Journal wrote, rather than being a force for moderation, which many Western supporters of the nuclear deal had hoped would occur among Iran’s leadership after the agreement was signed last year.
Jannati traveled throughout the Muslim world in 1989 to build support for Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s fatwa against the life of novelist Salman Rushdie. In 2003, he urged Iraqis to “engage in martyrdom operations” against American troops in Iraq, and six years later said that he hoped that someone would “waste a bullet” on then-Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. He has said that the Americans are “the masters of terrorism world-wide and the teachers of terrorists,” while Zionists “have the appearance of humans, but they aren’t humans and have the bearing of pigs and predators.” He also claimed that “the fall of Israel and its fellow travelers is coming.”
New legislation could force the Obama administration to disclose if it paid Iran $1.7 billion in taxpayer funds as part of a “ransom payment” earlier this year to secure the release of 10 U.S. sailors who were abducted at gunpoint by the Iranian military, according to a copy of the legislation and conversations with lawmakers.Key Info Missing From UN Report On Iran's Nuclear Program, Says Think Tank
The bill, jointly filed by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.) and Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas), comes on the heels of a Washington Free Beacon report disclosing that the Obama administration has been suppressing potentially “shocking” details related to the January abduction of the sailors, who were held at gunpoint by Iranian soldiers and forced to apologize on camera.
The legislation, dubbed the No Impunity for Iranian Aggression at Sea Act, would compel the Obama administration to issue a report to Congress detailing whether it paid Iran a $1.7 billion settlement as part of the hostage release. It also would level sanctions against Iran for possible breach of Geneva Convention rules governing legal military detainment.
Lawmakers and others have suspected for months that taxpayer money was partly used to secure the release of the sailors and other imprisoned Americans, though the administration has been adamant the issues are not linked.
The new legislation would require the White House to certify whether any federal funds, including January’s $1.7 billion payment, were doled out to Iran as part of a “ransom” to secure the release of these sailors and citizens imprisoned in Iran.
A recent compliance report on Iran’s nuclear program is missing several important pieces of information that could determine whether or not the Islamic Republic is abiding by the terms of last July’s nuclear agreement.Iran announces new ‘Zionist caliphate’ cartoon contest
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations’s nuclear watch dog, furnished its second report on Iran’s nuclear program Friday. The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), not to be confused with Islamic State, claimed in a report Tuesday there are at least eight key pieces of information missing from the report.
“Although Iran appears to be living up to most of its general commitments, the IAEA report continues to lack technical details about critical implementation issues,” said David Albright, Serena Kelleher-Vergantini and Andrew Stricker in the report. “Without this information, an independent determination of whether Iran is complying with the JCPOA is not possible.”
First, the authors say the amount of Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) in Iran’s possession is missing from the report, as well as how much has been sent out of Iran, diluted and produced. LEU can be further enriched to make weapons-grade uranium or enriched to 3 percent and used as fuel for certain nuclear reactors. Because of LEU’s potential to be converted to a weapon, it is crucial the international community knows how much of it Iran has. Per regulations of last year’s Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the technical term for the Iran nuclear deal, Iran may only possess 300 kilograms of LEU.
An Iranian museum on Tuesday kicked off a “Zionist caliphate” cartoon contest, with “Zionism, terrorism and racism” and “ISIL terrorism and genocide in the name of religion and to the benefit of the Zionists” the designated themes.
The contest by Iranian Cultural-Art Masaf Institute will offer one $5,000 award for best cartoon, $1,000 for best caricature and four $500 awards to the other top entries, according to the semi-official Fars News Agency.
In its portrait session, participants are asked to focus on Theodor Herzl and Queen Elizabeth. The competition is dedicated to the “Nakba,” or displacement of Palestinians in 1948 with the establishment of the State of Israel, according to the report.
The “Zionist caliphate” contest was announced a day after Iran’s annual Holocaust cartoon contest — which has been condemned by Israel, Germany, the US, and UNESCO — concluded.
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