Thursday, February 02, 2017

From Ian:

Hamas Apologist Beinart: Orthodox Jews Should Be Ashamed Of Jared Kushner
This is rather rich coming from the same fellow who routinely blames Israeli settlements for Palestinian Arab terrorism against Jews, who has shilled on behalf of Barack Obama’s Iran deal. Jewish history teaches many valuable lessons.
Beinart concludes:
Kushner’s moral failure challenges the Modern Orthodox community — a community for which I have enormous admiration — to ask why it is often more stringent about ritual lapses than it is about ethical ones. Why do many Modern Orthodox Jews shudder at the thought of eating nonkosher cheese, yet proudly support Trump?
Halakha is pretty clear on non-kosher cheese. But it isn't quite as clear on Trump. Perhaps many orthodox Jews support Trump because there’s nothing in halacha that says that voting for a more secure border is a violation of duty. Perhaps Beinart’s moral standards, which tut-tut Hamas while ripping Trump’s non-Muslim ban, aren’t the Torah’s. Perhaps the Torah's standard frowns more on hugging the Obama administration's pro-Iran dealmaking and anti-Israel UN policy than a policy suggesting better vetting for people from terror-rich countries.
If this piece had been written by an alt-right anti-Semite, it would have quickly been condemned by Beinart. But Beinart’s writing it from the left, so he’s free to insult orthodox Jews as religious bigots.

PMW: UN Sec-Gen "sinned" when he acknowledged Jewish Temple
On Jan. 29, 2017, new UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated that it is "clear" that "the Temple of Jerusalem that was destroyed by the Romans was a Jewish temple." In his interview on Israeli radio, Guterres also emphasized that "Jerusalem is today a holy city for three religions. These are the facts that nobody can deny." [Voice of Israel radio, Jan. 29, 2017]
These comments have led to sharp criticism and condemnations in the Palestinian Authority because they contradict the PA narrative, which denies any Jewish historical ties to Jerusalem and rejects the existence of the Jewish Temple, always referring to it as "the alleged Temple."
An op-ed in the PA daily accused Guterres of having "sinned against peace" by attesting to the Jewish tie to Jerusalem:
"Antonio Guterres clearly and explicitly sinned against peace and the Palestinian-Israeli political agreement when he claimed... that he 'believes in the connection between Jerusalem and the Jews.'"
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 30, 2017]
The writer reiterated the Palestinian stance that Jerusalem belongs only to Muslims (and Christians), and that Israel does not have a right to exist in any borders, lecturing Guterres that "Palestine" is "from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea":

Rashid Khalidi Worries that Jews Will ‘Infest’ the Trump Administration
The famous Columbia professor repeatedly used a Nazi-era metaphor to depict Jews as vermin.
Rashid Khalidi is unapologetic. The longtime Columbia University professor last month said repeatedly that supporters of Israel would “infest” the Trump administration — language that evokes the imagery and metaphors of the Nazis. But for all the on-campus sensitivity seminars and trigger warnings that dominate our age, don’t expect an apology in this case. Apparently, no language, even if it is dehumanizing and deeply rooted in historic anti-Semitism, is out of line in condemning Israel.
Professor Khalidi is well known as Columbia University’s professor of modern Arab studies. January 17, in a lengthy radio interview on WBEZ Chicago’s “Worldview,” Khalidi warned that this infestation would begin under the new president. Describing Israel supporters in terms that evoke vermin was not a momentary lapse or slip of the tongue. He used “infest” three times, saying “these people infest” the Trump transition team and will soon “infest” the government.
Who are “these people?” In his view, they’re a bit crazy but also scheming. Khalidi explains:
There are a group of people, a lot of them in Israel and some of them in the United States, who live in a world of their own. That is to say, they think that whatever they want, and whatever cockamamie schemes they can cook up, can be substituted for reality.
Free speech is a blessed thing, and hypersensitivity to offensive language is a curse on college campuses. I have no desire to stifle discussion, but it’s fair to ask: What’s become of “reasonable people can differ”? What’s become of civil discourse? What’s become of the golden rule? One has to suppose that Khalidi would take offense if someone analogized Palestinians, rather than Jews, to rats or cockroaches.
‘Tough Love’—The First and Last Obama Lie
Which raises the key question: Why abstain? If “hard truths” define friendship, then by all means they should have made the truths as hard as possible. If Obama and Kerry truly believe the Jewish presence in East Jerusalem is illicit, then they should have voted for the resolution. Instead, they took the coward’s way out. They opened the vault to the criminals and placed the jewels in their hands while wearing white gloves so there would be no residual trace of their fingerprints. The abstention was in some weird sense the mark of their bad conscience. They wanted something to happen while maintaining some historical deniability about their involvement in it.
In the eight years of the Obama presidency, war broke out twice between the Palestinians and the Israelis and nearly broke out a third time. In each case, the issue was not the West Bank, or East Jerusalem, or anything near. The two wars and the third near-war took place in and around Gaza, from which Israel had withdrawn unilaterally in 2005—more than three years before Obama took office. The wars were the result of aggressions by the terrorist organization Hamas.
The idea that the settlements and the Jewish presence in East Jerusalem are the main barrier to peace between Israel and the Palestinians was proved to be a lie right before Obama’s eyes in 2009, and 2012, and 2014. And he didn’t care to see it, because he is blinded by an antipathy he wishes to ascribe to Israeli action when honesty would compel him to find it in his own misguided leftist ideology—or within his own soul.
Israel has survived the horrendous blessing of Barack Obama’s false friendship.
Martin Kramer: The Jewish ban (Arab version)
British passportAs I followed the fierce debate over President Trump’s executive order, denounced by its opponents as a “Muslim ban,” my thoughts turned the Jewish ban that changed the career of my mentor, Bernard Lewis.
Lewis, the great historian of the Middle East who last May turned 100, travelled extensively in Arab countries in the late 1930s and 1940s. Born in Britain to British-born parents, he traversed French-ruled Syria for his doctoral work, and then served in the British army in Arab lands during the Second World War. In 1949, at the age of 33, he was already a highly-regarded academic authority on medieval Islam and a full professor at the University of London. The university gave him a year of study leave to travel in the Middle East. But the Arab reaction to the creation of Israel derailed his research plans. Lewis explained what happened in an article published in 2006:
Virtually all the Arab governments announced that they would not give visas to Jews of any nationality. This was not furtive—it was public, proclaimed on the visa forms and in the tourist literature. They made it quite clear that people of the Jewish religion, no matter what their citizenship, would not be given visas or be permitted to enter any independent Arab country. Again, not a word of protest from anywhere. One can imagine the outrage if Israel had announced that it would not give visas to Muslims, still more if the United States were to do so. As directed against Jews, this ban was seen as perfectly natural and normal. In some countries it continues to this day, although in practice most Arab countries have given it up.
Neither the United Nations nor the public protested any of this in any way, so it is hardly surprising that Arab governments concluded that they had license for this sort of action and worse.
Donald Trump's 'Muslim ban' is no more deserving of protest than 16 countries' ban on Israeli citizens, says Tory MP
A travel ban on Israeli citizens by Muslim countries should be protested as well as Donald Trump’s decision to bar people from seven predominantly Islamic countries, a senior Conservative MP has said.
Former Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers made the suggestion at Prime Minister’s Questions.
She asked Theresa May whether she thought opponents of the new US President’s immigration policy were wrong to overlook similar measures in other countries.
“In the light of the fact that most of the countries covered by the Trump ban have a total exclusion on the admission of Israeli citizens, shouldn’t the protestors also be calling for that ban to be lifted,” she said.
Theresa May replied that it was “absolutely right that this House should be aware of the discrimination and the ban that exists around the world and, as she refers to, particularly for those who are Israeli citizens.”
She said: “We’re consistent with our approach, we don’t agree with that approach and it’s not an approach we will be taking.”
The Prime Minister also suggested that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn would be reluctant to condemn the ban on Israeli citizens.
“I wait for the day when the Right Honourable gentleman opposite actually stands up and condemns it too,” she said.
Protests planned for Netanyahu’s London visit next week
A demonstration and counter-demonstration are being planned for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the UK on Monday.
In a rallying call, the Zionist Federation has called for a “communal counter-demo against those who would shut down dialogue between these democracies”.
The Palestinian Solidary Campaign is organising a protest outside Downing Street from 11.30 to 13.30, and the ZF has said it will be there in force.
Netanyahu cancelled an earlier arranged meeting between the pair, in protest against the UK voting for a UN Security Council Resolution condemning Jewish settlements in the West Bank as “a flagrant violation of international law”.
Douglas Murray: My pick for the pious political hypocrite of the week award
So were I Ms Siddiq, and genuinely concerned about global injustice, I would not spend much time condemning the UK PM for not sufficiently condemning the US President: this is a long and convoluted process, unlikely to yield results. Instead I would pick up the phone and call my aunt. For of course Bangladesh has for many decades run a genuinely bigoted and borderline racist border-control of its own which, among other things, refuses entry to Israeli passport holders. If you were a Jew living in your ancestral homeland and sought to go on holiday to Bangladesh – never mind if you decided to live there – you couldn’t. Now if I were such a believer as Ms Siddiq appears to be in the right of people to roam wherever they like such a blanket ban going back many years would bother me far more than a temporary ban which looks likely to be clarified in the coming weeks.
The other thing that is so interesting about this relationship is that it brings to mind a number of conversations I have had in recent years in the migrant camps of southern Europe. For on a fairly regular basis I have come across groups of Bangladeshi men in those camps who have come to Europe because they have had to flee their native land. As ever it is hard to verify the reasons they give, but most Bangladeshis I have spoken to in the Greek camps have explained that they had to leave their native Bangladesh because they were involved in the political opposition and that their lives were under threat from government forces. The plight of these people is genuinely terrible. Unable to return home, and unable to go beyond Greece to get into Europe.
So as I say, if Tulip Siddiq really wants to alleviate global social injustice, instead of using the alleged volatility of young British Muslims to try to sway US government policy she should just speed-dial her aunt. Direct lines don’t come much more direct than that.
Indy tries to tie Trump ‘Muslim ban’ to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians
We’re later informed by i100 that “his parents were successful in passing Bethlehem checkpoint” and will be able to make his graduation in Earlham College, Indiana (where he’s a Rhodes Scholar) after all. (Of course, we don’t know why his father was initially unable to pass the checkpoint in the first place.)
First, contrary to the suggestion by the i100 journalist, Israelis also require a visa when travelling abroad to most countries.
Moreover, the update by Hashem – an active member of the pro-terror, extremist group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) – is chock full of propaganda to evoke Trump ‘Muslim ban’ comparison that isn’t critically examined by i100. For starters, he makes the nearly unintelligible claim that an “Israeli ban against Palestinians of all faiths has been in place for decades”, a “ban”, he then surreally claims, has “escaped scrutiny from the international community”!
However, Trump’s ban on citizens of seven foreign countries from entering the US represents a completely different dynamic than what he’s trying to describe in the Palestinian territories. There’s no Israeli “ban” on Palestinians. There are checkpoints and other security measures erected to prevent terrorism on both sides of the green line, but tens of thousands of Palestinians pass into Israel each day to work, visit family and receive medical care. Further, Palestinian residents of Jerusalem are free to travel anywhere in Israel and in the territories.
But, of course, the elephant in the room ignored by i100 is the fact that it is Israelis who are strictly banned from entering 16 Muslim majority countries. (In fact, many of these countries ban non-Israelis who merely have an Israeli stamp in their passport.)
IsraellyCool: WATCH: Jewish Shabbat Becomes Subject Of Discussion on CNN
So this happened.
I love how they correctly pronounce “Shabbat”, rather than going for the more generic sounding “Sabbath.”
We truly live in interesting times.

MEMRI: Prominent Saudi Journalist: West Jerusalem Is Part Of Israel; Moving The U.S. Embassy There As Part Of Overall Peace Agreement Could Herald The End Of The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
In a January 25, 2017 article in the London-based daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, prominent Saudi journalist 'Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed, the daily's former editor and the former director of Al-Arabiya TV, discussed the issue of the U.S. moving its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He stated that the Israeli sovereignty over West Jerusalem is a settled matter, and that moving the U.S. embassy there, or any other embassy, would not lend legitimacy to the occupation. Rather, if U.S. President Donald Trump moved the embassy to Jerusalem as part of an overall peace agreement, this measure could actually mark the end of the occupation and the conflict.
Al-Rashed also noted that, in the 2000 Camp David talks, Yasser Arafat sadly missed an opportunity to restore East Jerusalem to the Palestinians as part of then-U.S. president Bill Clinton's unprecedented proposal for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He added that today, due to the crises plaguing the Middle East, "the Palestinian cause is no longer central," although extremists exploit the Palestinian tragedy to further their own interests.
It should be noted that one day before Al-Rashed's article was published, Saudi columnist Muhammad Aal Al-Sheikh published an article in the official Saudi daily Al-Jazirah titled "The Palestinians Have No [Choice] But Peace." Like Al-Rashed, he argued that the Arab world, currently preoccupied with civil wars and with fighting home-grown terrorism, no longer regards the Palestinian cause as its foremost concern, and called on the Palestinians to forgo armed resistance and embrace the two-state solution – for that is the only solution that is feasible and supported by the international community. (h/t Elder of Lobby)
JCPA: Can the Palestinians Mobilize the Arab World on the U.S. Embassy Issue?
The intention of U.S. President Donald Trump to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem evoked angry reactions in the Palestinian Authority which is preparing to block the initiative.
Arab reaction to the embassy move depends on both Palestinian pressure and whether or not the Trump administration intends to follow through with his election promise to move the embassy.
Jerusalem is very important to the Palestinian Authority and the Muslim Brotherhood and is less important to other Arab countries and Saudi Arabia in particular.
Husam Zomlut, strategic affairs advisor to PA President Abbas and Palestinian ambassador-designate to Washington, admitted to Hamas TV that the aim of Palestinian diplomacy is to side-line the United States from its role in leading the peace process in favor of Europe and the UN.
Knesset speaker pushes US counterpart Ryan on embassy move
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein met with his US counterpart House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) in Washington on Wednesday in hopes of drumming up support for moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a pledge US President Donald Trump made on the campaign trail.
The White House has signaled it may be reconsidering the embassy move, but Israeli officials have continued to push for the relocation, seeing it as long-sought recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital from its most important ally.
During his meeting with the House speaker, Edelstein told Ryan he strongly supports moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem and that he hopes the move will be approved with strong bipartisan support in Congress.
“The meaning of widespread support in Congress will likely lead to worldwide and regional support” for moving the US embassy, Edelstein told Ryan, according to a press statement from the Knesset speaker.
“If the American Embassy will move — I am sure that additional countries will move their embassies to the capital city” of Israel, Edelstein added.
Pence, Jordan's Abdullah discuss Islamic State, Syria, U.S. embassy in Israel: White House
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Jordan's King Abdullah on Monday discussed a range of issues from speeding up the fight against Islamic State, the crisis in Syria, and efforts to reach an agreement between Israelis and Palestinians, the White House said.
Abdullah, the first Arab leader to hold talks with the new administration, also raised the issue of potential changes to the U.S. embassy in Israel, the White House said in a statement.
President Donald Trump is expected to greet Abdullah at a prayer event in Washington on Thursday, White House spokesman Sean Spicer separately told reporters in a daily briefing.
Israel, Ukraine healing rift from Security Council vote
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Wednesday in a sign that Jerusalem’s anger with Kiev over its support in December for UN Security Council Resolution 2334 was subsiding.
The Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement saying that Poroshenko phoned Netanyahu, and “the two leaders agreed to resume their efforts to further strengthen the friendship between Israel and the Ukraine. Among other things, they discussed rescheduling the visit of Prime Minister [Volodymyr] Groysman to Israel.”
Ukraine was one of 14 countries that voted for the resolutions, which slammed the settlements as a major obstacle to peace and as lacking “legal validity,” and soon after the vote, Israel canceled a visit Groysman had planned for a few days later.
Israel also recalled its ambassadors to Senegal and New Zealand, which were among the countries that sponsored the resolution. In addition, Jerusalem ended aid projects to Angola, another country which voted for the measure, and curtailed aid to Senegal.
According to diplomatic officials, Israel’s ties with those countries are also slowly starting to return to normal, although there has not yet been any official announcement of a return of the ambassadors.
Trump's Plan to Reduce UN Spending Is a Step in the Right Direction
Last week, the New York Times reported that the Trump administration was considering two executive orders to “drastically reduce the United States’ role in the United Nations and other international organizations.” A draft titled “Auditing and Reducing U.S. Funding of International Organizations” was widely circulated among reporters.
The Left’s reaction was, predictably, outrage. As they told it, the executive order and the president “pose an existential threat to the United Nations.”
Such reactions seem overwrought. Certainly they are premature. The posted document was, after all, clearly a draft that contained tracked changes. The final version may be quite different. Indeed, Reuters quoted a senior U.S. administration official, who said that the administration would not issue a review of U.S. funding to the United Nations and other international bodies “at this time.”
Might President Trump issue such an executive order in the future? I hope so—especially if it retains the main features of the posted draft.
Putting a price tag on the United Nations
There’s also this: Under U.N. rules, the 129 member states that contribute less than 1.3 percent can pass budgets over the objections of the United States and other nations that contribute much more. Mr. Schaefer writes: “This explains why so many member states are blas about increases in the U.N. budget: The financial impact on them is minuscule and undermines incentives for them to fulfill their oversight role.”
It strikes me as telling that not one of the articles I’ve read in the major media lamenting the possibility of cuts by the United States to the U.N. bothers to mention how much the U.N. spends or how much the U.S. pays.
A piece in The New York Times does note that the U.S. provides the lion’s share of the funding for U.N. peacekeeping operations, adding: “At least one of these, the operation in southern Lebanon, directly serves Israeli interests by protecting the country’s northern border, though the draft order characterizes the funding cuts as serving Israeli interests.”
A not quite serious question: Has the Times laid off its fact-checkers? It’s no secret that the Blue Helmets in southern Lebanon have become protectors of Hezbollah, the Iranian-funded terrorist group that rules the area. Following the 2006 war they were given a mission: to ensure that Hezbollah did not rearm. Hold onto your hats again because I’m going to tell you how that’s worked out: Under the very noses of those peacekeepers, Hezbollah has installed more than 100,000 missiles in homes, schools, hospitals and mosques — all pointing at Israel.
It’s time Canada ended its double standard that considers Israeli settlements ‘illegal’
Canada’s current position on Israeli “settlements” is that they are illegal because they violate Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, specifically Paragraph 6 which states: “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” The time has come for Canada to change our position to align with Canadian basic values and, equally important, with international law.
Our own Charter of Rights and Freedoms begins with “Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize… the rule of law.” A key element of the rule is equality before and under the law. To comply, it follows that Canada must apply Article 49 equally to all states. But historically we have not. For example, we accepted the massive Soviet settlement of Russian citizens into the Baltic territories after the Second World War and even discouraged those states from removing the settlers when they renewed their independence in the 1990s. As other examples, Canada has accepted Turkey’s settlement of Turkish farmers into Turkish-occupied Northern Cyprus, and we’ve been conspicuously silent on the vast Chinese settlement of occupied Tibet.
The UN Charter, Article 1, states that a key UN purpose shall be “To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights … of peoples….” In other words, Article 49 must be applied uniformly. Recently, the eminent legal scholar Prof. Eugene Kontorovich elaborated in detail how blatantly inconsistent was the application of Article 49 by numerous states. He also concluded that state practice allows populations to move into occupied areas.
For Canada to be faithful to the principle of the rule of law, we must revisit our long-standing position on the Israeli “settlements.”
#ASSO21C: How Kerry Knows Settlements an Obstacle to Peace
I’m a bit late on this one, but it’s such a good example of, and going into the list of Astoundingly Stupid Statements of the 21st Century, that I have to fisk it. Last year, before the Obama Administration’s final flurry of attacks on the Israeli settlements, at the Saban Forum, John Kerry denounced the settlements as a “barrier” to any peace settlement:
I’m not here to tell you that the settlements are the reason for the conflict. No, they’re not.
Unless, as the Palestinian leadership does, you define any Israeli presence a settlement, like Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Ashkelon. So Kerry agrees that the settlements – by which he means Israelis living on the “West Bank” (including East Jerusalem?), are not the cause of the conflict – obviously, since the conflict precedes the “occupation.”
…and you knew this was coming…
I also cannot accept the notion that they don’t affect the peace process, that they aren’t a barrier to the capacity to have peace.
And I’ll tell you why I know that: Because the left in Israel is telling everybody they are a barrier to peace, and the right that supports it [them?] openly supports it because they don’t want peace.
Former top FM official blasts media, government for exaggerating ICC danger
Former Foreign Ministry top legal adviser Alan Baker is not happy with how the media and many Israeli government lawyers are framing the threat of the International Criminal Court regarding Israel.
In his narrative, which he recently explained in an interview with The Jerusalem Post, the media – including the Post – and many government lawyers are exaggerating the threat posed to Israel by the ICC, a threat he thinks is very unlikely to turn into anything concrete.
Essentially, Baker says that even though ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda recognized a “State of Palestine” in January 2015 – which allowed her office to start reviewing Israeli-Palestinian war crimes allegations – he predicts that eventually she will reverse herself or the ICC itself will reverse her on the issue. If there is no State of Palestine, there is no ICC war crimes investigation.
Even in the event that they continue to accept Palestine as a state, he believes there is no chance the ICC will go after the settlement enterprise as war crimes because they do not meet the “gravity” requirement – meaning that the ICC was founded to go after genocide, not housing.
Hamas inmates attack Israeli guards in prison protests
Two Palestinian security prisoners belonging to the Hamas terror group lightly wounded two guards by attacking them with screwdrivers in separate incidents at Israeli jails Wednesday.
On Wednesday morning, Khaled A-Silawi from the Gazan city of Beit Lahia, attacked a guard in the Hamas block of the Nafha Prison outside the southern town of Mitzpe Ramon, Channel 10 reported. He was overpowered and transferred to solitary confinement.
Later in the day, during a prisoner count in the Hamas block of Ketziot Prison, southwest of Beersheba, Ahmad Omar Natzar from the West Bank town of Madama also attacked a guard. He too was overpowered and sent to an isolation cell.
During the evening, Hamas held a protest in support of A-Silawi and urged other prisoners to follow his example.
Amona evacuation comes to violent end as protesters pulled out of synagogue
In a few chaotic minutes of violence, during which at least 17 police officers and several protesters were lightly injured, Israeli security forces evacuated dozens of protesters from the synagogue at the West Bank outpost of Amona on Thursday afternoon, drawing to a close the evacuation of the illegal West Bank outpost.
The protesters had made the synagogue their last stand after over a day of evictions from the outpost starting Wednesday afternoon, with heavy clashes marring what police and others had hailed as a mostly orderly operation.
Police said they were attacked with tear gas or similar chemical materials, pepper spray, iron bars, rocks and other materials that the protesters had stockpiled ahead of time.
According to Magen David Adom, 42 of those injured in the two-day evacuation were police and border guards, and 15 were protesters, with injuries ranging from hypothermia to light bruises to a scorpion sting.
PM compensates Amona settlers with first new West Bank settlement in 25 years
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday announced plans for the establishment of a new West Bank settlement to replace the illegal outpost of Amona, that is currently being evacuated and demolished as per a court order.
The settlement would be the first new one to be built in some 25 years.
While Israel stopped establishing settlements in the early 1990s, outposts set up since then have been retroactively given approval, and existing settlements have expanded their footprints, sometimes being neighborhoods of existing settlements in name only.
In a statement, the Prime Minister’s Office said Netanyahu had instructed a team to look into possible locations for the new settlement. The team consists of his chief of staff, representatives of the settlement movement and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s adviser for settlement affairs.
Palestinians rejoice as Amona outpost evacuated
Palestinians rejoiced Wednesday over Israel’s evacuation of the West Bank settlement outpost of Amona, saying they had waited 20 years for their land.
“Our feeling is indescribable,” Abdel-Rahman Saleh, the mayor of the nearby Palestinian town of Silwad, told The Associated Press. “We struggled for 20 years to get our land back.”
Amona is one of about 100 outposts across the West Bank that Israel considers illegal but tolerates and often allows to flourish. It was established in 1996, when a small group of settlers erected caravans on the windswept hilltop.
The outpost became a symbol of settler defiance when Israel demolished nine of its structures in 2006, sparking violent clashes between settlers and Israeli security forces.
Palestinians demand UN action over Israeli approval of settlement homes
The Palestinian UN ambassador accused Israel of an “extreme barrage of illegal behavior” over the last 10 days and demanded that the UN Security Council take action.
Riyad Mansour said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s approval to build 6,000 new homes for settlers over recent weeks is “unprecedented,” saying it exceeds the number for all of 2016.
Mansour said Netanyahu is “destroying the two-state solution by the continuation of this illegal behavior.”
Mansour and the head of the Arab Group at the UN spoke to reporters Wednesday after meeting with Ukraine’s UN ambassador, Volodymyr Yelchenko, the current council president, to protest the action on new settler homes and call for the council to implement the resolution it adopted in December condemning Israeli settlements and demanding a halt to new construction.
JCPA: The Palestinian Authority Continues to Crumble
The Palestinian Authority decided on January 31, 2017, to extend the date of the municipal elections to mid-May 2017. This is yet another sign that the leadership in Ramallah is losing touch with reality, and the January 31 decision is another example of the Palestinian Authority crumbling.
First, why were municipal elections canceled six months ago? There were both diplomatic and political reasons. The diplomatic reason to cancel was the assumption that Hillary Clinton would be elected president. That would have presented the opportunity for the Palestinians, Europeans, and White House to open a broad diplomatic blitz. The Palestinians needed to show they could function as a state. The municipal elections were supposed to provide the evidence of their governmental capabilities.
The political reason for the delay was the rift between Fatah and Hamas. Hamas wanted to use the elections to gain a foothold in the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority wanted to do the same in Gaza. Each side sought to use the elections to gain a foothold in the other’s territory.
JCPA: Mahmoud Abbas Refrained from Appointing a Deputy
Despite repeated assurances in recent months to the members of the Central Committee of the Fatah movement that he would appoint his deputy from within Fatah soon, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has delayed doing so.
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. All is not okay.
Fatah’s expectation was that the appointment would happen immediately after the Seventh Fatah Conference at the beginning of December 2016, but this has not happened.
Mahmoud Abbas convened several meetings with the Fatah Central Committee to discuss the issue, but ultimately failed to reach a decision.
According to sources in Fatah, Abbas manipulated the committee members, all of whom were Abbas loyalists, to avoid choosing any of the candidates placed before the committee.
Trump puts Iran ‘on notice,’ denounces ‘terrible’ nuclear deal
US President Donald Trump on Thursday said Iran was now formally “on notice” after a recent missile test, while also claiming the Islamic Republic was on the brink of collapse when it signed an international nuclear deal.
“Iran has been formally PUT ON NOTICE for firing a ballistic missile.Should have been thankful for the terrible deal the US made with them!” Trump tweeted, echoing similar comments by National Security Advisor Michael Flynn the day before.
But there has been scant detail from the White House as to what the warning actually means in practical terms. It remains to be seen if the White House will push for sanctions this time around.
Flynn insisted that Sunday’s missile test was “in defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 2231,” which calls on Iran not to test missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapon.

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