Friday, September 02, 2016

From Ian:

Details, details, details: Telegraph misleads on Israeli settlement claim
The Telegraph’s claim is extremely misleading.
As reports in Reuters, International Business Times and BBC made clear, Israel did not approve the construction of 463 new homes.
The number 463 includes the following:
30 new houses in Beit Arye
20 new homes in Givat Zeev
1 new 234-unit nursing home in Elkana
179 building permits which were issued retroactively, legalizing under Israeli law already existing housing units that were erected in the settlement of Ofarim
So, the number 463 includes only 50 new homes, 234 units in one new nursing home building and the legalization of 179 already existing homes.
Oh, those pesky details.

Melanie Phillips: Accomplices in hate
People in the West are beginning to wake up to the fact that they are inadvertently helping fund Islamic terrorism.
There was widespread shock last month when Israel arrested the director of the Gaza branch of the giant aid agency World Vision.
He was accused of using humanitarian donations by Western governments such as Britain and the US to fund Hamas terrorism.
In Britain, newspaper articles have begun to ask why taxpayers are helping fund Palestinian terrorism and incitement through EU payments to the Palestinian Authority, which pays terrorists’ families and brainwashes Arab children to hate and murder Jews and Israelis.
This growing awareness, however, only scratches the surface of the free world’s complicity with evil. Western governments are effectively subsidizing epidemic, global Jew-hatred through that holy of progressive holies, the UN.
A report published this week by the UN watchdog Human Rights Voices and the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust exposes the extent to which the UN sponsors Jew-hatred and incitement to violence through accredited nongovernmental organizations.

Caroline Glick: Obama’s greatest achievement
For Israel, the question of what to do about Iran now is far more urgent than it is for Americans.
Today more and more commentators are voicing concern over the prospect that Obama will support an anti-Israel resolution at the UN Security Council as a parting shot at Israel.
But any such resolution will be small potatoes in comparison to the strategic devastation his nuclear deal, which is his main foreign policy legacy, has caused.
The rapidity of Iran’s advance makes clear that there is no justification for waiting to act until Obama has left office. If it doesn’t act soon, Israel is on the fast track to waking up one morning and discovering it has no means of thwarting the threat.
Indeed, with each passing month, its options for action become more and more limited.
After Israel’s security leadership undermined Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to attack Iran’s nuclear installations in 2010 and 2012, Netanyahu settled on a strategy of blocking Obama’s moves to appease Tehran.
That strategy of course failed last summer. Since then, Netanyahu has worked to build an anti-Iranian alliance with the Sunni Arab states. His efforts in this area have clearly met with some measure of success, as witnessed by public statements from prominent Saudis and others.
Whatever that success may be, and whatever the status of that burgeoning alliance of spurned US allies, the fact is that it’s time Israel and its new allies do something more than send signals. Time is a-wasting.
Last spring Brig.-Gen. Hossein Salami, the deputy commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, said, “Today the grounds for the annihilation and collapse of the Zionist regime are more present than ever before.”
Thanks to Obama, he may be right.
It is time for Israel to make him eat his words.

Barry Shaw: The consequences of a failed Palestinian Authority.
A month ago I wrote an article entitled ‘The Failed State of the Two-State Solution.’ In it, I wrote that “by the ballot or by the ballot Hamas will head any Palestinian state as they did when Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005.”
So what has happened in the short time since I released that article?
In Nablus, on August 27, an estimated 120,000 protesters demonstrated against the Palestinian Authority after an Arab was beaten to death by PA security men. Many called for an international investigation into the murder as the Palestinian Authority threatened to arrest some of the leaders of the protest march. The town of Nablus has been described as being in “total anarchy.”
Sporadic violence has broken out in recent days against the Palestinian Authority, often by individuals but also by tribal groups or clans at odds with the increasingly unpopular rule by perceived corrupt leaders.
If truth be told, Arabs living under Palestinian control are angrier at their leaders than they are against Israel.
Universities are the crucibles that produce the next generation of opinion and influence makers. What has flown below the radar of the international community is that, at Birzeit University, the student body overwhelmingly elected students affiliated to Hamas with the Islamic List taking a majority 26 seats against Fatah’s 19. For the uninitiated, Birzeit is not a campus in the Gaza Strip. Birzeit University is located ten kilometers north of Ramallah, an easy march to Palestinian Authority headquarters.
Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, propped up by the international community and, by default, the Israeli government, has failed this community by his stubborn refusal to negotiate with Israel, a refusal based on his adamant rejection of living alongside a Jewish state.
He has clearly also failed his own people who elected him back in 2005 and have been barred from expressing their democratic voice ever since.
Who is Responsible under International Law for the New Gaza Wars?
Recurrent Hamas rocket attacks upon Israeli noncombatants are terrorism. Such terrorism -- all terrorism, irrespective of so-called "just cause" -- represents a distinct crime under international law.
When Palestinian terrorism reflects populations that enthusiastically support terror attacks, and where the terrorists can find hospitable refuge among local populations, the legal responsibility for all ensuing counterterrorist harms lies with the perpetrators.
Under international law, which also happens to be part of the law of the United States, all Palestinian terrorists are hostes humani generis: "Common enemies of humankind."
Hamas' lack of distinction between "Jews" and "Israelis" is intentional. For Hamas, the true enemy is identifiable by religion, not territory, and is therefore irremediable. For "the Jews," this means that the only way to avoid Arab terror is to disappear, or submit to Islamic control -- to become persecuted, second-class dhimmi citizens in their own country, just as the indigenous Christians are now in Egypt and much of the Middle East.
Elliott Abrams: Why Peace Is Not at Hand
One of the things that will certainly not happen during the waning days of the Obama administration or even in the next administration is conclusion of an Israeli–Palestinian peace agreement. A new poll, the “Palestinian-Israeli Pulse: A Joint Poll” undertaken recently by the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) in Jerusalem and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah, shows why.
Relentless optimists have long argued that Israel and the Palestinians are an inch apart and, as former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta put it in 2011, peace can be attained if they would “just get to the damn table.” Wrong.
Pollsters asked Palestinians and Israeli Jews if they support a two-state solution. The answer was a weak “yes:” Only 53 percent of Israeli Jews and 51 percent of Palestinians even support this in principle. But IDI then got down to brass tacks. A deal would require compromise, so pollsters asked each side about specifics.
Take Jerusalem, for example: Would people accept the division of Jerusalem, under which West Jerusalem would be Israel’s capital and East Jerusalem would be the capital of a new Palestinian state? Just 30 percent of Palestinians supported such an arrangement and 32 percent of Israeli Jews. Majorities were opposed. Majorities on both sides said sovereignty over the Temple Mount or Haram al-Sharif was critical to them: 55 percent of Israeli Jews said this was a deal-breaker, as did 57 percent of Palestinians (in other words, a compromise wherein the Jews get the Western Wall and the Palestinians get the Temple Mount is opposed by majorities on both sides.)
Or how about the refugee issue? Pollsters asked about a compromise where Palestinian refugees would go to Palestine, not Israel, except for 100,000 who could go to Israel under some sort of “family reunification” arrangement. Acceptable? Nope: acceptable to only 17 percent of Israeli Jews and to 49 percent of Palestinians — and to only 43 percent of Palestinians living in the West Bank.
What Israeli Settlements Don’t Do
Let’s also understand that the language used to describe these developments is part of the problem. Nobody would call a new apartment building in an existing neighborhood in the United States a new town but that’s essentially what is being done every time the construction of a house anywhere in Jerusalem or the West Bank (provided it is a house that Jews live in) is called a new settlement. Moreover, the “pirate outposts” that the Times speaks of being legalized are almost all extensions of existing settlements. The focus of the article is on a few houses that are separated from an existing settlement by a road. None are, as they are universally described as being, major land grabs.
It’s also vital to understand that the only ones being retroactively granted legal status are the ones built on state land, not private property on which Palestinians purport to have claims. Any housing that is proved to be on land to which Palestinians have clear title are not approved.
Of course, to Israel’s critics and foes, the semantics of settlements and even legal questions about land aren’t significant. They believe the presence of any Jews in any part of the territory that Israel seized from Jordan (which illegally occupied what it dubbed the “West Bank” to differentiate it from its land east of the Jordan River, from 1949 to 1967) is illegal. But that sentiment, shared by the Palestinians, is not based in law. Israel has a strong legal case for its right to the land based on the League of Nations’ Mandate for Palestine that set aside the country as a national home for the Jews. The Palestinians who live there have their own case for wanting it to be part of their putative state. That is a dispute that can be resolved by compromise, something that the Israelis have consistently proven willing to do and which the Palestinians have consistently opposed.
But the bottom line here is that if the Palestinian Authority were ever to summon the will to return to peace talks with Israel and to declare their willingness to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state, no matter where its borders were drawn, it wouldn’t matter how many new houses had been built or how many settlements existed. The overwhelming majority of Israelis have always been willing to accept two states provided they were sure that this meant no more war or terrorism. And that is something a Palestinian people whose national identity is still inextricably linked to the century-old war on Zionism has not yet shown itself capable of doing. So long as they consider Tel Aviv “stolen land” as much as the “pirate outposts,” peace is impossible.
Focusing on the settlements is the tactic the Palestinians have invented since the Oslo Accords to excuse their strategy of avoiding peace. It’s a shame the U.S. government; the UN and liberal publications like the Times echo their talking points. But in doing so they are merely helping the PA avoid talks and making the already dim chances for peace even more unlikely.
Obama Let Iran Cheat on the Deal
But what’s more, the details of these “get out of jail free” cards granted to Iran are in themselves appalling.
As Reuters reports, the exemptions included a provision that allowed Iran to exceed the agreed-upon amount of low-enriched uranium at its nuclear plants. That’s important because such material can easily be converted to the highly enriched uranium that is used in nuclear weapons. Another exemption, regarding the removal of low-enriched uranium, calls into question whether either the commission supervising compliance or the International Atomic Energy Agency has any idea how much fuel Iran has kept or can convert. Yet another exemption involved letting Iran operate 19 so-called “hot cell” radiation containment chambers—which the deal had prohibited. According to the institute, these chambers can be used for processing illegal plutonium fuel for nuclear weapons.
This report, along with Germany’s revelations about Iran’s illegally seeking to buy nuclear material, makes it clear that the degree of fraud in the supposedly airtight agreement to halt Iran’s quest for a weapon is far greater than even many critics of the administration feared.
There’s no way to undo the damage already done by the administration’s policy of appeasing Iran. So much was sacrificed—including Obama’s 2012 campaign pledge to ensure the end of Iran’s nuclear program—in order to achieve the president’s chief foreign-policy legacy. Iran was allowed a free hand in Syria and the deal was crafted to expire in 10 to 15 years. But now we know that even the provisions that were supposed to postpone Iran’s getting a nuclear weapon were flouted with the full knowledge of the Western governments that signed the deal. The truth about the negotiations is being revealed and it’s clear the president signed off on Iran’s cheating. Congress, therefore, needs to fully investigate what else we don’t know about an agreement that could wind up blowing up in the faces of the American people and our anxious allies.
Dani Dayan: The idea settlements are main obstacle to peace is ‘nonsense’
The idea that Israeli construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem is the main obstacle to achieving peace with the Palestinians is “nonsense,” Israel’s new Consul-General in New York Dani Dayan told The Jerusalem Post in an interview this week.
“It can be proven almost mathematically,” he added. “The Arabs did not recognize Israel before even one so-called settlement existed, that is a fact; Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip, removing even the graves of our dead from there, and all we got is a launching pad for new aggression against Israelis is also a well-known fact that cannot be disputed.”
The issue surrounding settlements has been central to discussions about the Middle East peace process. As late as last Monday, it was brought up again during a briefing of the Security Council by UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nikolay Mladenov, who slammed Israel for continuing to build settlements and going against the Quartet’s recommendations published in a July report.
But Dayan, whose background as the former leader of the settlers’ movement has been largely discussed in the media after he was officially appointed to the New York position, said he fully identifies with Prime Minister Netanyahu on the issue.
“Look, settlements can be an obstacle to anything only if you believe that if a Palestinian state is established, it should be ethnically cleansed of Jewish presence,” he told the Post. “Imagine for a moment Nelson Mandela saying that he wants majority rule, but not only majority rule, also the expulsion of all white persons from South Africa. Would he be the Nelson Mandela we admire? No. But for some reason, when Mahmoud Abbas says that, no one calls him to order.”
Netanyahu mulls allowing ICC reps into Israel, West Bank
Multiple senior government sources confirmed to The Jerusalem Post on Friday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering a request by the International Criminal Court Prosecutor to send representatives to meet with Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the coming weeks.
The trip would be limited to public relations and for educating the Israeli public about the ICC and not to gather evidence regarding war crimes connected to the 2014 Gaza war or the settlement enterprise.
In some ways, the visit would be nearly unprecedented since Israel has not cooperated with numerous UN and other international investigations of alleged war crimes in the past, refusing UN officials entry.
Neither officials from the UNHRC’s Goldstone Report on the 2008-9 Gaza war or from its McGowan-Davis Report on the 2014 Gaza war were permitted to enter the country.
The ICC Prosecutor’s office had not commented by press time.
Palestinians ‘speed up’ bid for UNSC resolution against Israelis settlements
The Palestinian Authority intends to accelerate its attempt to pass a United Nations Security Council resolution against Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank, according to WAFA, the Palestinian News and Information Agency.
“The Palestinian leadership and in cooperation with the Arab League and the Arab ministerial group will hold contacts at the international level to speed up convening a Security Council session that should pass a resolution to stop settlements, which pose unprecedented and serious threat and creates a situation that would result in grave consequences,” said Nabil Abu Rude, who is a spokesman for PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
Abu Rude spoke just one day after Israel’s Higher Planing Council for Judea and Samaria debated plans with regard to 463 settler housing units. Out of those units, approval were given for 50 new homes, 179 units were retroactively legalized and plans were advanced for a senior housing project with 234-units.
Although the projects were all close to the pre-1967 lines, the international community was fairly harsh in its condemnation of the High Planning Council’s activities.
The US, the EU and France took issue not just with the building, but also with the retroactive legalization of 179 homes. The international community, has been particularly sensitive on the issue of illegal settler homes, even has it has persistently called on Israel to authorization illegal Palestinian structures in Area C of the West Bank.
PA official calls on US to compel Israel to freeze settlements
Palestinian Authority Spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeinah called on the United States to compel Israel to freeze settlement construction, in a press release to Wafa, the official PA news site.
“It is not enough for the US to issue warnings about settlement expansion in the Palestinian territories,” Abu Rudeinah said on Thursday. “What is needed is a practical step that forces the Israeli government to freeze its settlement activities that threaten to destroy regional and international efforts to resume the peace process.”
On Wednesday the Civil Administration, Israel's governing body in the West Bank, promoted plans for 463 settler homes. This included approvals for 50 new homes, the retroactive legalization of 179 units and the advancement of plans for a 234-unit senior housing project.
Following the announcement, a US official warned that settlement expansion “fundamentally undermines the prospects for a two-state solution, and risks entrenching a one-state reality of perpetual occupation and conflict.
The official added, "These policies have effectively given the government’s green light for the pervasive advancement of settlement activity in a new and potentially unlimited way.”
Russia a ‘more balanced’ peacemaker than US, says PLO official
A senior official in the Palestine Liberation Organization praised Russia this week as a more “credible” and “balanced” third-party facilitator for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks than the US.
“Russia can fulfill a positive, credible and more balanced role,” Ahmad Majdalani told the el-Raad television station, “since the US is not at all interested in pressuring Israel, which is carrying out its policy in the region.”
The comments, reported by Israel Radio Friday morning, come the week before Moscow’s Deputy Foreign Minister and Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East and Africa Mikhail Bogdanov is set to arrive in Israel for talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials.
Bogdanov is expected to raise Russian President Vladimir Putin’s proposal to host peace talks in Moscow between the sides.
“We expect to hear from the Israeli side what commitments it is willing to make before the date of the meeting will be set,” Majdalani said.
EU: ‘Serious concern’ over new settlement construction
The European Union issued a statement late Thursday condemning Israel’s decision the previous day to approve the construction of over 460 new Israeli homes over the Green Line, calling it “a serious concern.”
The EU statement follows similar comments from the White House on Wednesday.
“The Israeli decision yesterday to endorse an additional 463 housing units in the occupied West Bank and to retroactively approve 179 existing units is a serious concern,” the EU statement read.
“Since January 2016, Israeli authorities have promoted or retroactively legalized 2,706 units in West Bank settlements,” it added.
German lawmaker investigates aid for Palestinian terrorism
The head of the German–Israel Parliamentary Group in the Bundestag, Volker Beck, launched an inquiry into the misuse of German aid for Palestinian terrorism.
The inquiry appears to be the first legislative investigation in Germany into the possible misappropriation of Palestinian humanitarian aid.
According to letters obtained by The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday, Beck, a Green Party deputy, wrote in July to German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier that “the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) in Washington, DC, recently presented to Congress and subsequently published the interesting report ‘Palestinian Authority Support For Imprisoned, Released, And Wounded Terrorists And Families Of Martyrs.’”
Beck asked, “What information is available to the Federal government about payments by the PA, possibly through intermediaries, to Palestinian prisoners involved in terrorist activities against Israel or its citizens?”
He continued, “What information is available to the Federal government about payments by the PA, possibly through intermediaries, to the families of dead Palestinian terrorists (so-called martyrs) who were involved in terrorist activities against Israel or its citizens?”
He then asked, “How does the Federal government intend to rule out that the PA is directly or indirectly financing terrorists or the relatives of terrorists with money from the Federal Republic of Germany or the EU?”
Kaepernick Vows Not to Leave His Bed Until ‘There’s Peace in the Middle East’ (satire)
Saying he had just learned of the ongoing war in Syria as well as other tragedies across the Middle East, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has vowed not to leave his bed until there’s “change” in the region and an end to all violence and suffering.
“First, when I heard about all the violence and racism in America and stuff, I was like, wow America sucks, I’m not standing for the national anthem,” Kaepernick told The Mideast Beast. “But then I found out it’s not just America. There’s this country called the Middle East and it’s pretty much f#&ked. I heard there’s a war in Syria or something, Jews and Muslims are suddenly arguing, and there are starving children in Antarctica and polar bears dying in Africa. I just can’t stay silent anymore about the Mideast.”
Kaepernick, who had already been battling for a roster spot, acknowledged that his refusal to leave his bed could hurt his football career.
“Some things are just bigger than football, like stopping ISIS, or just fixing the entire Middle East and the melting icecaps over there,” Kaepernick added. “Hopefully when those bad guys over there hear about my courageous stand, they’ll end their wars before someone gets hurt.”
Kaepernick said he doesn’t expect to miss his team’s September 12 opener, noting that two weeks should be more than enough time to get these issues sorted out.
Despite Israeli concerns, US set to OK fighter jet sales to Qatar, Kuwait
The United States is poised to sell $7 billion worth of Boeing Co fighter jets to Qatar and Kuwait after years of delays, and it may start notifying US lawmakers as early as next week, four US- and Gulf-based sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The sales had stalled amid concerns raised by Israel, Washington's closest Middle East ally, that equipment sent to equipment sent to Gulf Arab states would be used against it.
US officials have criticized Qatar for alleged ties to armed Islamist groups.
Boeing said it was encouraged by continued progress and hoped to see movement on the two big arms sales soon. The State Department said it could not comment on any ongoing government-to-government arms sales requests.
A senior US administration official said it was US policy not to comment on proposed US defense sales until they had been formally notified to Congress, but Washington remained committed to the security and stability of the Gulf region.
Father of fallen soldier dies with son’s body still held by Hamas
The father of an IDF soldier whose body has been held by Hamas since he fell in Gaza in 2014 died Friday after a battle with cancer.
Herzl Shaul discovered 10 months ago that he was suffering from the disease, and never realized his wish to see the return of his son’s remains.
Oron Shaul’s armored personnel carrier was attacked on July 20, 2014. He was initially declared missing, but after an investigation the IDF declared that the 20-year-old staff sergeant was killed in action.
IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot paid tribute to Shaul on Friday, saying he had pledged to him that he would keep fighting to bring his son’s body home for burial, along with the body of 23-year-old Lt. Hadar Goldin, who also perished in the fighting.
“Herzl was the head of an exemplary family,” Eisenkot said in a statement. “I send a strong embrace to [his wife] Zahava and the family at this difficult time. I met Herzl for the last time a week ago, and I promised him that we will continue to do everything we can to bring Oron and Hadar home, to be laid to rest in Israel.”
IDF lieutenant: Soldiers now avoid opening fire for fear of prosecution
Due to fears they will be prosecuted, soldiers are refraining from opening fire even when they feel in danger, an officer from Sgt. Elor Azaria’s company, told the Jaffa Military Court at the Hebron shooter’s trial on Thursday.
The lieutenant from the Shimshon Battalion of the Kfir Brigade, whose name is banned for publication, explained that following the manslaughter charge against Azaria, he heard soldiers in the battalion say that if they felt in partial danger, but not absolute danger, they would not open fire to defend themselves for fear of prosecution.
The officer said that in the past, the soldiers would have opened fire in some borderline situations, feeling that doing so was within their discretion.
Azaria shot terrorist Abdel Fatah al-Sharif as he lay wounded in Hebron’s Tel Rumeida neighborhood on March 24, after he and another Palestinian had earlier attacked and stabbed a soldier.
Palestinian woman stopped at checkpoint, says she planned attack
A Palestinian woman was detained by security personnel at a West Bank crossing on Thursday night on suspicion that she planned to carry out a stabbing attack, police said.
According to a police statement, the woman “raised the suspicions” of security guards at the Qalandiya checkpoint, who stopped the 21-year-old for questioning and a further search.
During the check, the woman “admitted that she planned to carry out an attack and had thrown [away] the knife,” police said.
A search of the area found the discarded knife nearby, and the woman was taken away for further questioning.
There have been other attempted stabbing attacks at the Qalandiya checkpoint a major crossing point between Jerusalem and the Qalandiya refugee camp north of the capital.
The rapid deterioration of Haaretz
Uzi Baram, a respected former minister and MK representing the Labor party, wrote a column stating that even left-wing readers do not ‎want to read a newspaper "that is ashamed of its Zionism and which believes that without ‎boycott from abroad, Israel has no chance of changing its position."‎
The harshest blow came from liberal American journalist icon Jeffrey Goldberg, who is ‎regarded as the principal media source used by U.S. President Barack Obama in relation to ‎Israel and Jewish affairs. Goldberg erupted after two American Jewish historians published an ‎article in Haaretz accusing the U.N. of establishing a Jewish racist state that is today an ‎extension of Western colonialism. They proudly announced that they would never set foot in ‎any synagogue that supported Israel.‎
Goldberg also responded to a recent Levy op-ed titled "Yes, Israel is an evil state" -- which ‎described Israel as an entity based on "pure evil. Sadistic evil. Evil for its own sake." He ‎announced that he was canceling his subscription, tweeting that "when neo-Nazis are emailing ‎me links to Haaretz op-eds declaring Israel to be evil, I'm going to take a break." He also noted ‎that "I can read anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli things like this on other websites. There really no ‎need for an Israeli website like this."‎
Sadly, Schocken's delusional response was predictable. He expressed regret that the critics ‎failed to recognize that, far from being a post-Zionist, he would not be deterred from ensuring ‎that Haaretz maintained a Zionist outlook. Having had a lengthy personal discussion with ‎Schocken on this issue, I can state with confidence that he is genuinely convinced that he is ‎on the side of the angels and does not appreciate the immense harm that Haaretz's anti-Israel ‎demonization, delegitimization and political agenda have inflicted upon us abroad. Nor does ‎he recognize the extent to which Haaretz has divorced itself from any semblance of political ‎reality in terms of the nation. ‎
Palestinian journalist, a Hamas critic, arrested in Gaza
The wife of a prominent Palestinian journalist and critic of the Islamist terror group that rules the Gaza Strip said Hamas has arrested her husband.
Mohammed Othman’s wife, Huda, said Hamas officers arrested him at his home on Thursday after showing up with a warrant for his arrest.
She said the officers didn’t give a reason for Othman’s arrest. Hamas officials were unavailable for comment.
Othman works for the Washington-based Al-Monitor news site. Last month, Hamas’s health ministry in Gaza barred Othman from entering hospitals as a journalist after he published a report that exposed medical errors he said were taking place there.
Iran and the future of the Middle East
By 2013, such measures, “were crippling Iran’s economy.” Had the pressure been intensified — or even just maintained — who knows what concessions Iran’s rulers might have made to avoid economic crisis and collapse? But Mr. Obama eased up on Iran in exchange for an interim agreement. After that, few if any Iranian concessions were forthcoming. Ayatollah Khamenei insisted that his red lines be observed while those laid down by Mr. Obama were transgressed — one after another.
In the end, Iran would not even have to acknowledge that it ever had a nuclear weapons program, much less reveal how far that program had progressed. Nevertheless, the Obama administration would agree that Iran “be allowed to build an industrial-scale nuclear program, with hundreds of thousands of machines, after a ten-year period of restraint.”
“I have no doubt we avoided a war,” Mr. Kerry told the author in an interview early this year. He could be right. Alternatively, what he sees as avoidance could turn out to be only postponement.
Based on faith rather than evidence, Mr. Kerry and Mr. Obama believe that the Islamic Republic will moderate; that it will give up its ambition of establishing a vast new Islamic empire; that it will no longer dream of bringing “death” to America, Israel, Saudi Arabia and other “infidel” nations; and that it will not evolve into a more formidable and lethal adversary.
“Obama has wagered that Khamenei and his revolutionary allies won’t outlast the terms of the nuclear agreement,” Mr. Solomon concludes. “If they do, the United States risks unleashing an even larger nuclear cascade on the Middle East.” Yes, that’s the wager. Seems like a long-shot to me.
Are there lies left to tell on Iran deal?
The history of the negotiations themselves and the cascade of American concessions -- allowing the Iranian nuclear program to keep spinning with several thousand centrifuges in operation; giving Iran a pass on revealing prior military dimensions of their nuclear program; allowing the Fordo plant to remain in operation (now protected by Russian missiles); allowing Iran to continue arming other nations and their terror group proxies; and, so far, giving Iran a pass on violating remaining international sanctions prohibiting their testing missiles and rockets -- reveals the dynamic at work in the U.S.-Iranian relationship and in negotiations from the start of the Obama years. When the U.S. is pushed, it falls back and concedes.
The Iran nuclear deal is regarded as a mistake by a large majority of those surveyed (far more than those opposed to Obama's signature domestic "accomplishment," the Affordable Care Act), and very few Americans think favorably of Iran at this point. The sentiments at the Iranian government level remain as rejectionist as ever, as the Iranians publicly excoriate the United States for its treachery. So far, the deal appears to have solidified the hard-liners in Tehran, released tens of billions of dollars in cash to them, reinvigorated Iranian meddling in Syria, Yemen and Lebanon, and produced no change in the exterminationist policy toward Israel.
For our side, we have extended by a few months the time required for Iran to break out from the nuclear deal and arm themselves. This breakout could occur any time during the 10 years when Iran has limitations on centrifuge activity. The deal is one of the most one-sided in recent international history, but you would never know it from the repeated crowing by the president and his secretary of state of their achievement. They are brazen enough to claim that Israel now supports the deal. By the White House measuring stick, we finished second in the head-to-head negotiations, while Iran was next to last.
State Dept Dodges, Confuses Press on Multiple Issues Involving Iran Deal
State Department spokesman John Kirby confused the press and dodged multiple issues involving the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, during Thursday’s press briefing.
The briefing came after a report was published saying the United States and other signatories to the nuclear accord granted Iran secret exemptions to ensure Tehran could meet its obligations by the Jan. 16 deadline to receive sanctions relief.
“I don’t want to play semantics with you, but I am concerned that I ask you a question of whether or not the Joint Commission has enacted any exemptions for Iran, or anything that a reasonable observer would conclude to be an exemption, and by way of answering, you talk about the loosening of commitments, and so I just wonder if you could address my question on its own terms?” Fox News correspondent James Rosen asked.
“I’m not going to talk about the work of the Joint Commission, James,” Kirby said. “I’m not going to do that, and I can’t do that because by the agreement itself, it’s confidential.”
“What I can assure you and everyone else is that there has been no loosening of Iran’s commitments, and there have been no exceptions given that would allow them to exceed the [deal’s] limits,” Kirby added.

Turkey dismissed more than 40,000 civil servants
The Turkish government’s Official Gazette has announced that nearly 43,000 people have been expelled from their jobs in public institutions for alleged ties to terror organizations endangering national security.
Lists of names and positions published Thursday show the widescale purge Turkey has undertaken since the failed coup of July 15. The government blames the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen for the plot that killed at least 270 people, and labels the network a terror organization.
The dismissals are allowed through the state of emergency declared following the coup attempt. The highest number of dismissals is from the Ministry of National Education with 28,163 people.
Some 35,000 people have been detained for questioning and more than 17,000 of those have been formally arrested to face trial, including soldiers, police, judges and journalists.
Turkish Prosecutor Coup Indictment: Gulen, Like Mormons, Is a CIA Project
In an official indictment against individuals allegedly tied to Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish prosecutor has argued that Gulen’s Hismet organization is a CIA project and compared it to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) and the Church of Scientology.
All three, prosecutor Zafer Dur reportedly claims, were founded by the U.S. government to “make change to society,” according to a translation of his indictment by the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet. The report does not specify what kind of changes those might be, though given its negative disposition towards Gulen, it can be inferred that such changes are undesirable.
“Investigative journalists have been reporting that [Gülenists] worked as contractors for foreign intelligence services such as the CIA, MI6 and BND and infiltrated into the intelligence services of other countries acting in the name of the services they worked for,” the indictment allegedly claims. “Without international backing, Gülen could not have opened schools in 160 countries.”
Gulen, who resides in Pennsylvania, is considered the leader of a terrorist cult by the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. His Hismet Islamic charter schools are active throughout the United States and have been raided by the FBI for alleged fiscal improprieties, though the United States has not accused him of having any ties to terrorism.

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