Wednesday, February 22, 2017

From Ian:

A US embassy shift to Jerusalem would right a historic wrong
If Donald Trump fulfils his promise to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the decision would be a long-awaited recognition of Israel’s historic capital by its closest ally. And although the proposed relocation is accompanied by some risks, smart and co-operative diplomacy can mitigate the dangers.
David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s greatest and longest-serving prime minister, offers a guide for our current leaders. Responding to the 1949 resolution of the UN, which internationalised Jerusalem and thereby separated Israel from its capital, he conceded neither to the declaration nor to the gloomy predictions of the consequences of defying it. Instead, Ben-Gurion pronounced the city a vital element of the country’s history and immediately relocated the Knesset from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem: the move was defiant yet the repercussions were hardly catastrophic.
Opponents of the US president’s proposal note that it risks obstructing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, would cause the deterioration of Israel’s relations with its Arab neighbours and could incite Muslim terror groups worldwide.
All these warnings are overblown. Claims that the embassy move will derail a peace process comatose for nearly a decade ring hollow. The exact opposite might be true: the decision could prompt the Palestinians to re-evaluate their strategy of refusing direct negotiations, which has paralysed the peace process.

And now, Israeli fake news
We may be living in the age of instant communication but Haley's speech reached the Israeli audience three days after it was delivered – and that, too, appears to have happened only thanks to Hillel Neuer's UN Watch, which published it online in its entirety.
It was only after the video went viral and garnered over three million views that it broke through the iron curtain of ideological censorship and reached the Israelis. To the best of our knowledge, no news source in Israel published it before noon Tuesday, Israel time.
Moreover, Haley's heartwarming praise of Israel was actually spun as negative news. On Thursday, Israelis were told by their media that the UN Ambassador had thrown cold water on the President's remarks, a day earlier, in which he said that the US was open to other options beside the two-state solution.
Her remark about the two-state solution was presented as a backtracking and clarification of Trump's statement. In fact, she had simply repeated that statement, saying that "we support the two-state solution, but we support peace and stability even more".
The New York Times and the AP also spun her remarks in that fashion. It is only in the past 24 hours that media in the world have been waking up to what she really said, and some are even comparing it to former UN Ambassador's fiery rejection of the UN resolution equating Zionism and racism, in 1975.
In the end, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu uploaded a translated version of Haley's rousing words to his Facebook account. As of now, it has received close to 470,000 views. Fake news has been faked out.
David Singer: While in Australia, Netanyahu Needs To Expose PLO Hoax
Their signatures are a sad testament to their embrace of Security Council Resolution 2334 and to its claim that the Jewish Quarter, the Kotel and the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem and the Machpelah in Hebron are “Occupied Palestinian Territory”.
If they did not understand that is what they were endorsing then they should withdraw their signatures immediately.
Interestingly they also signed up to “supporting the application of international law to Israel and Palestine”
International law indisputably establishes:
1. The right of the Jewish people to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in Jerusalem, Hebron and Judea and Samaria (West Bank) pursuant to the provisions of the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine
2. The preservation of such vested legal rights under article 80 of the United Nations Charter.

The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) – Israel’s “partner for peace” has:
1. declared this established international law to be “deemed null and void” under its Charter
2. claimed in its 1964 Charter: "Article 24. This Organization does not exercise any regional sovereignty over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, on the Gaza Strip or the Himmah Area. Its activities will be on the national popular level in the liberational, organizational, political and financial fields."

This article remained unamended when UN Security Council Resolution 242 was passed after the Six Day War. Article 24 was removed from the Charter in 1968 but no claim to sovereignty replaced it.



‘Obama, not Netanyahu, blocked 2015 peace initiative’
It was the Obama administration, and not Israel, that poured cold water on the idea of a wider regional diplomatic process, following a meeting in Aqaba in early 2016 among Israeli, Egyptian, Jordanian and US leaders, a senior Israeli diplomatic official said Tuesday.
According to a report Sunday in Haaretz, a meeting among Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Egyptian President Fattah Abdel al-Sisi, Jordan’s King Abdullah and former US secretary of state John Kerry took place in late 2015, but did not bear any practical fruit because of Israeli opposition.
But, according to the senior official, it was US opposition that stymied the process, much as the insistence in incorporating Qatar and Turkey into a cease-fire framework to end Operation Protective Edge in 2014 ended that particular process. The cease-fire went into effect, the official said, only after the US was nudged to the side and an agreement was reached between Israel and Egypt.
According to the official, the Americans wanted to “dictate terms” that were unacceptable to Israel, apparently meaning that Kerry wanted the parameters he has since laid out as the way forward in the diplomatic process to form the core of this agreement.
Media and politicians overhype chances of Israeli-Arab regional deal, experts say
The chances of a formal peace agreement and normalization of relations between Israel and the wider Arab world in the near future are slim, contrary to media reports and the posturing of Israeli opposition politicians, experts say.
Citing unidentified former senior Obama administration officials, the Haaretz newspaper reported Sunday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had met with Egyptian and Jordanian heads of state in a secret meeting last year in Jordan, in order to promote a regional peace agreement. The talks led nowhere, and Haaretz’s report blamed Netanyahu for the negotiations’ failure because he backed out over opposition from within his governing coalition.
Israeli opposition leader Member of Knesset Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) jumped on the report Monday to blame Netanyahu for failing to reach a peace deal with the Arabs. Yet it is possible that the story is being overhyped by the Israeli political left, since the former Obama administration officials quoted in the report may have been seeking to do no more than present Netanyahu as obstructing peace. The article, meanwhile, did not mention that the gaps between Israel and the Arab world remain too large to bridge for an imminent peace deal.
Notably, word of the Jordan peace summit was kept under wraps until it was leaked to Haaretz this week, revealing the sensitivity of the issue for Jordan and Egypt, which both have peace treaties with neighboring Israel.
“This was a one-sided leak by Obama officials, suggesting there is no reason to believe there was any real prospect of negotiations on serious terms,” Eugene Kontorovich, a professor at Northwestern University School of Law and an expert on international law, told JNS.org.
It’s Time to Sack the ‘Two-State Solution’
The Palestinians divided themselves into an autocratic PA in the West Bank, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, and a theocratic terrorist state in Gaza. Without Israel’s support of the PA, Hamas would oust Abbas and take over the PA-controlled territories as well. To expect that these two murderous warring factions, one a corrupt kleptocracy and the other an Islamic terror enclave, could set aside their differences and live in peace with Israel is like believing that pigs can fly.
What’s more, longstanding Palestinian brainwashing of its population against Jews and Israel has resulted in vehement Palestinian opposition to a negotiated “two-state solution.”
A 2016 poll of Palestinian public opinion in the PA-controlled territories and Gaza reveals this stark and consequential reality:
  • 57 percent oppose mutual recognition of Palestine and Israel as the homelands of their respective peoples.
  • 62 percent oppose a Palestinian state in Gaza, Judea and Samaria unless Israel receives no territory east of the Armistice Line (Green Line).
  • More than two-thirds oppose West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
  • 67 percent oppose Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem’s Jewish quarter and the Western Wall.
  • 67 percent oppose recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people, even if it leads to peace.
The US, EU and UN have been unwilling to look at these current realities, but Israelis understand that there’s no rational reason to believe that a Palestinian state would be anything other than a dangerous, antisemitic, religiously intolerant, homophobic, misogynistic country that is home to Islamist terror groups, just a stone’s throw away from Tel Aviv and Haifa.
In his book The Art of the Deal, Donald Trump admonishes the reader not to “reward failure by promoting those responsible for it, because all you get is more failure.” Let’s hope President Trump realizes that offering the Palestinians a “two-state” deal yet again, and expecting a different result, is the height of foolishness. It’s time to move beyond the failed “two-state” construct.
Maajid Nawaz: For Israel, the new road to peace runs through Mecca
Israel has been the perennial “what about” excuse used by Arab despots seeking to silence their domestic opponents as “Zionist collaborators.”
A universal peace between Israel and these Arab regimes would finally do away with this.
A critical mass of Arabs, Muslims and leftists still struggle with Israel’s historic legitimacy, leading us all to constantly overplay our hand in peace negotiations.
Like a broken record, we are guilty of repetitive sloganeering, lazy thinking, emotional decision-making, and a dogmatic approach to what should be the art of politics.
We have allowed our political, religious, and ideological tribalism to shape our emotional response.
Our unwillingness to hear outside our own echo chambers has severely limited our ability to innovate solutions. It is post-truth.
When new thinking on any issue is instantly labeled treacherous, only inward looking violently inbred and dogmatic ideologies such as jihadism can thrive.
All the more reason why creative thinking on this issue among Arabs, Muslims, and the left generally is so important. Peace is more important than our pride.
JPost Editorial: Israel, Sisi and a regional peace initiative
Improved relations between Israel and Egypt are also reflected in the Sisi regime’s attitude to the peace treaty with Israel. Sisi, like Mubarak before him, sees peace with Israel as a strategic asset. But, unlike Mubarak, he also seems to have a positive attitude to normalization and sees benefits not only in military ties, but also political and economic ties.
Sisi reinstated the Egyptian ambassador to Israel in early 2016 and in July, Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry made a much-publicized visit to Israel, the first of its kind in nine years, to push for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Upon returning to Egypt, Shoukry visited a top-ranked Cairo high school and reportedly told students there that he refuses to define Israel’s military actions against Palestinians as terrorism, though his office later issued a clarification.
Egypt has a vested interest in promoting normalization between Israel and other Arab nations so as not to remain the only Arab state cooperating so closely with the Jewish state.
Sisi participated in a secret summit together with Jordan’s King Abdullah, then-US secretary of state John Kerry and Netanyahu during which ideas were presented on how the Gulf States, Jordan and Egypt could help promote a regional peace initiative.
Netanyahu raised the idea of a regional initiative during his press conference last week in Washington with President Donald Trump. Egypt’s participation in such an initiative is crucial to its success.
Sisi’s attempts to emphasize the positive aspects of relations with Israel have been met with skepticism inside Egypt. Large swathes of Egypt’s population from Nasserites and left-wing activists to trade union members and Islamists are hostile to the Jewish state. However, improved relations with the Palestinians achieved via a regional initiative together with Sisi’s positive leadership could bring about a sea change in Egyptian public opinion over time.
The Sisi regime presents a unique opportunity. Israel should welcome the Sisi era.
Egypt, Jordan say two-state solution is non-negotiable
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and King Abdullah II of Jordan agreed Tuesday there could be no concessions on establishing a Palestinian state, the presidency said after talks in Cairo.
The meeting between the leaders of the two Arab countries that have signed peace treaties with Israel came after US President Donald Trump’s administration suggested it would not insist on a Palestinian state for a Middle East peace agreement.
“The two sides discussed ways to push the stagnant Middle East peace process, especially in light of US President Donald Trump’s administration coming to power,” a Cairo presidential statement said.
A two-state solution “with a Palestinian state… with East Jerusalem as its capital is a nationalist principle that cannot be conceded.”
Netanyahu Down Under - 'Australia Courageously Willing to Puncture UN Hypocrisy' on Anti-Israel Resolutions
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday praised Australia for being “courageously willing to puncture U.N. hypocrisy” on anti-Israel resolutions.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull marked the first visit to Australia by a serving Israeli leader by writing an opinion piece in Wednesday’s The Australian newspaper that backed Netanyahu’s criticism in 2015 that the United Nations General Assembly had adopted 20 resolutions critical of Israel in the preceding year and only one in response to the Syrian war.
“My government will not support one-sided resolutions criticizing Israel of the kind recently adopted by the U.N. Security Council and we deplore the boycott campaigns designed to delegitimize the Jewish state,” Turnbull wrote, referring to the Dec. 23 resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem as a “flagrant violation” of international law.
The United States abstained from that vote and Australia, while not a member of the security council, was one of the few countries to publicly support Israel’s position.
Netanyahu said he was delighted to read the article at the start of his four-day Australian visit.


PM Netanyahu and Australian PM Turnbull Meet Jewish Community in Sydney


New York Times Hypes Australia Opposition to Netanyahu Visit
Before Prime Minister Netanyahu even begins his visit to Australia, the New York Times is out with an article amplifying the voices of his critics in that country while minimizing his supporters.
I can understand the impulse to preview the trip, though it’s hard to think of a world leader other than President Trump or Pope Francis whose international travels are subject to such extensive scrutiny by the Times.
What’s strange is the way the Times goes out of its way to more or less declare the trip a failure before it even happens. What was “intended to be a warm meeting,” the Times claims, “is generating a bit of pushback. Sixty notable Australians, including political, religious, cultural and business figures, have signed a letter opposing Mr. Netanyahu’s visit because of his government’s policies toward the Palestinians. And small groups of protesters have demonstrated in Melbourne and Canberra against the visit.”
The phrase “sixty notable Australians” made me chuckle. Beyond, say, Rupert Murdoch and Elle Macpherson, neither of whom now live in Australia full time, are there even 60 notable Australians? The Times doesn’t name any of the signatories to the letter, but a click through makes clear that they are mostly a motley assortment of junior professors and longtime Palestinian activists.
Even the Times itself seems to concede, in a kind of backhanded way, that the backlash isn’t particularly newsworthy. “A bit” of pushback, the Times says. “Small” groups of protesters. Why is this even worth a story in the Times?
Andrew Bolt: Labor turns on Israel to win Muslim votes
There is a simple and sinister reason Labor is now attacking Israel. It’s after Muslim votes.
Every federal seat with big Muslim minorities except Reid is now held by Labor, most in western Sydney.
And it shows. Labor’s NSW branch in particular is now leading a push to overturn Labor policy and formally recognise Palestine as a state, despite the refusal of Palestinian leaders to make peace with Israel.
That push is backed by Labor “elders” Bob Hawke, Gareth Evans, Bob Carr and Kevin Rudd, who also needs the support of Arab nations for a good United Nations job.
For Labor to push so hard to reward the Palestinians makes no moral sense — and is dangerous.
What exactly is the nature of this country it wants to recognise?
The Palestinian Authority’s president is Mahmoud Abbas, who 12 years ago was voted into the job for four years. That’s right: there hasn’t been an election since.
That’s in part because a key part of this “nation” — the populous Gaza Strip — is actually run by the Islamist Hamas party. These guys not only hate Abbas but Jews as well. In fact, their official charter calls for jihad to destroy Israel.
Netanyahu praises Trump for ‘strong stand’ on anti-Semitism
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised US President Donald Trump for condemning a recent spate of anti-Semitic incidents in the US, saying that “it is very important that President Trump took a strong stand against anti-Semitism.”
Trump’s condemnation of denunciation of anti-Semitism as “horrible,” “painful” and a “sad reminder” of evil on Tuesday came after the US president faced mounting criticism from US Jewish groups for failing to explicitly denounce anti-Semitism.
The US president’s comments came a day after bomb threats were issued against Jewish community centers across the United States for the fourth time in just over a month, and after gravestones were toppled at a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis.
Speaking at an event for the Jewish community Wednesday at the Great Synagogue in Sydney, where he is on a state visit, Netanyahu described anti-Semitism as a growing trend that needs to be combated.
“We have a battle against those who seek to demonize our people and against the resurgent anti-Semitism we see in many parts of the world,” he said, adding that “it is something that we need to fight together.”
Israeli Military Expert on Newly Appointed US National Security Adviser McMaster: ‘The Right Man in the Right Place’ for America, Jewish State
General Herbert Raymond (H.R.) McMaster is “the right man in the right place” for both America and the Jewish state, an Israeli military expert told the Hebrew news site nrg on Tuesday about the US president’s appointment of his new national security adviser, who will replace the recently resigned Michael Flynn.
Dr. Eitan Shamir — a senior research associate at the Begin Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University — said that nobody could be “better suited for the job.”
Shamir recounted being contacted some 10 years ago by McMaster, who had read and liked his book, Transforming Command: The Pursuit of Mission Command in the US, UK and Israeli Armies.
“He is a very warm person,” Shamir said. “The first time we met in person, he embraced me. Since then, we have remained in touch, visiting one another in Israel and the US, and exchanging emails.”
This warmth, Shamir added, extends to McMaster’s feelings about the Jewish state. “He was in the country many times; he has many Israeli friends, and I remember an event at which he called Israel an ally which fights with the US, just as Canada, Britain and Australia do,” Shamir said. However, he added he was not sure what the new US national security adviser’s positions were on specific internal Israeli issues.
Meet Jewish filmmaker behind Trump's 'fake news' on Sweden
Pressed to explain his false claim that something terrible had happened in Sweden last week, President Donald Trump traced the canard back to the reporting of Ami Horowitz, a gonzo Jewish-American filmmaker who spoke about Sweden’s problem with Muslim immigrants on Fox News.
On Saturday, during a campaign-style speech in Florida on border security and immigrants, Trump urged listeners to “look at what’s happening last night in Sweden,” leading to widespread puzzlement and mockery from Swedes who said no terrorist attack had taken place there the previous day or even recently.
Karl Bildt, a former prime minister of Sweden, wondered on Twitter what Trump “is smoking," and the Aftonbladet paper ran a daily roundup from Friday featuring nothing more sinister than a small northern avalanche.
Later Saturday afternoon, Trump indicated that he meant for people to look at what the media broadcast and that the only thing that happened Friday is that he caught Horowitz talking about Sweden on Fox News.
'Why does US consulate in Jerusalem refuse to hire Jews?'
Dear Senators Graham, Corker, Cotton, Paul, and Rubio,
I am a US citizen living in Israel. Over the past decades I have had numerous occasions to utilize the services of the US Consulate in Jerusalem. In all those years, I have observed that I have never seen a Jewish Israeli at any of the various service points where consular staff interact with the public.
All such staff are either from the US or local Arab staffers. Not only is this consistently the case at all consular services inside the consulate, but also it can be seen, shockingly, that even the security staff are often Arabs. I can assure you that there is no shortage of qualified Jewish Israelis who could fill such consular positions - and so the question is begged: is the US State Department systematically choosing, over the course of decades, to not hire Jewish Israelis, while singularly preferring all local staffers to be selected from the Arab population?
The second matter is different but definitely potentially connected to my first query. A perusal of consular activities as reflected on the official website shows that all programming efforts are geared towards and in concert with local Arab populations in eastern Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and Gaza.
PreOccupiedTerritory: The Rules Say We Palestinians Get To Reject 3 More Peace Agreements Before We Lose by Saeb Erekat (satire)
One of the talking points one hears many times in the realm of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is that the Palestinians have rejected peace offer after peace offer. Putting aside the accuracy of the claim, it ignores one of the fundamental rules of the game: we’re allowed to reject up to ten final-status peace initiatives before being disqualified.
It’s all right there in the rulebook. We didn’t lose the right to reject a further nine proposals when the Peel Commission came to its conclusion in the 1930’s. We were perfectly safe, in terms of the number of violations allowed, when we and our allies – really just ambitious neighbors who wanted a piece of this land for themselves – said No to the 1947 UN Partition Plan. We were still in the game. Those are the rules. Are you trying to cheat?
Just because Arafat rejected Barak’s peace proposal, and Abbas rejected Olmert’s, and he continues to avoid negotiations toward a final-status agreement – none of that means we’ve run out of rejections. We’ve got a few more available. It’s not like baseball, where it’s three strikes and you’re out, or basketball, where a player is ejected if he commits too many fouls. We’re still in this game. We have more peace initiatives to reject before anyone can tell us to sit down.
For some reason no one ever talks about the number of times Israel has rejected initiatives. How many do they have left? Are you going to disqualify them from this competition? I don’t hear you saying that because Israel refused to cooperate with the 1948 effort to append Palestine to Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, the country lost its right to engage in further efforts to resolve the conflict.
Hezbollah, Hamas have no fight in them, IDF chief says
IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot downplayed the chances for a fresh war with either the Hezbollah or Hamas terror groups in the near future, saying they were both uninterested in a new conflict and, in the Lebanese group’s case, demoralized as well.
Speaking at a closed-door meeting of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Eisenkot said that despite having gained battlefield experience as a result of its military invention in Syria on behalf of the regime of Bashar Assad, Lebanese terror group Hezbollah had been left significantly weakened the fighting in Syria.
“Hezbollah’s [military] operations in Syria have brought about a morale and financial crisis within its ranks,” the Hebrew-language Ynet news site quoted him as saying.
Eisenkot’s comments regarding Hezbollah’s intentions were made following a number of hawkish statements from the Shiite organization’s leader Hassan Nasrallah in the past week, including a threat Monday that the group will not abide by any “red lines” in a future war with Israel.
Israeli jets strike outside Damascus – Syrian media
Syrian media reported that Israeli aircraft targeted Syrian Army positions, including a convoy bearing weapons for the Hezbollah terrorist group, early Wednesday morning.
The strike was said to have occurred at approximately 3:30 a.m., in the Qalamoun Mountains, northeast of Damascus, close to the Lebanese border.
According to Arab media, outposts of the Syrian Army’s 3rd Division were targeted in the strikes.
The Syrian Shaam news service quoted a spokesperson for the nearby city of Yarboud who said the Israeli jets fired six missiles at the various targets.
Some were directed toward military positions, while others targeted weapons caches near Ba’albak, in the eastern Qalamoun range, and set alight a Hezbollah convoy, according to the spokesperson, Abu al-Jude al-Qalamouni.
Anonymous security sources confirmed to the Lebanese al-Mayadeen outlet, which is supportive of Hezbollah, that missiles had been fired into Syria, but said that no damage or injuries were caused.
Hezbollah claims IDF entered Lebanese territory
The IDF has concealed spyware and surveillance equipment near the Lebanese village of Mis El-Jabl, in the area adjacent to the Blue Line defined by the UN as the border demarcation between Israel and Lebanon, according to claims by the Hezbollah terrorist organization.
The organization claims that IDF soldiers crossed the border in the region of the Blue Line at 1:20 A.M. and buried the spyware equipment.
"The Israeli enemy penetrated through the technological barrier surrounding the village of Meiss Ej Jabal, in the Qurum a-Shiqui region near the Blue Line, and planted spy gear in the area," Hezbollah posted on one of its Twitter accounts.
Arab media outlets reported that Israeli Air Force fighters struck Syrian army positions just outside of Damascus early Wednesday morning. Some reports have claimed that the strikes also targeted a bus carrying Hezbollah terrorists.
Minister flies with basketball team after Turkey balks at Israeli security
Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev traveled with the Ironi Nahariya basketball team to its game in southern Turkey Wednesday, ending a showdown between Israeli and Turkish security authorities on Wednesday.
Regev joined the team’s flight on Wednesday afternoon to Gaziantep after Turkish officials refused to allow Ironi Nahariya to be accompanied by armed security forces without the presence of a minister, according to government sources.
Earlier this week, the Shin Bet lifted its opposition to the squad flying to the restive city near the Syrian border after the team agreed to charter a special flight and bring its own security.
Nahariya is set to face off against Gaziantep for the second leg of a Europe Cup match Wednesday night. The Israeli team took the first leg 96-75.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Hamas Accuses Israel Of Stockpiling Civilians (satire)
The Islamist Hamas movement unleashed a new round of criticism at Israel today, accusing the Jewish state of amassing over eight million civilians.
Israel and several Islamist militant groups, chief among them Hamas, have been trading fire for years, even after Israel withdrew its settlements from the Gaza Strip in 2005. Hamas routed its more moderate rival Fatah in 2007, gaining control over the coastal area. Israel has since maintained a naval blockade of the area for fear that any materials allowed in would permit Hamas to construct weapons. The movement has fought three wars with Israel since then.
The new charges come amid heightened tensions, with southern Israel the target of rocket and mortar attacks, and the IDF responding with air strikes, tank and artillery fire. Several Palestinians have been killed, including a number of civilians, and civilian life in southern Israel has been disrupted as people are instructed never to remain more than fifteen seconds from a location shielded from rockets.
“The Zionist enemy’s military power comes from its civilians,” said outgoing Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh, using the organization’s term for Israel, whose legitimacy it does not recognize. “The enemy has been amassing them for decades, while the international community does nothing to stop it. But the Islamic Resistance will continue to strike at this vital Zionist resource,” he told reporters.
EU parliamentarians demand to enter Gaza
Five European parliamentarians said Wednesday that Israeli authorities had prevented them from entering the Gaza Strip.
"The refusal of access to Gaza by the Israeli authorities to the European Parliament on arbitrary grounds is unacceptable," Cypriot MEP Neoklis Sylikiotis said in a statement.
Similar delegations of European lawmakers have been barred from entering the Palestinian coastal enclave since 2011, the statement added, though a team led by the head of the European Parliament's budget committee was allowed to visit once.
"What is there to hide from us?" it said, condemning what it called "systematic" entry bans.
Israel explained parliamentarians were not among those allowed to enter the territory.
"Israeli policy allows professional and humanitarian officials to cross between Israel and the Gaza Strip for the development of the Gaza Strip in the field of economy and infrastructure, in addition to foreign diplomats serving in the Palestinian Authority or Israel," the Defense Ministry body responsible for approving entry told AFP.
What EU shift in financial support policy means for Gaza
It is no secret that the Palestinian Authority's (PA) financial crisis is mounting with declining foreign support. This has prompted Mohammad Shtayyeh, a member of Fatah's Central Committee and former minister of public works and housing, to confirm Feb. 13 that donors' funding is decreasing and the PA's financial crisis is ongoing.
Shadi Othman, the communication and information officer at the European Commission in Jerusalem, said Feb. 3 that a new financial support policy for 2017 was adopted by the European Union, and that the EU contribution of 30 million euros ($32 million) that had gone to pay the salaries of PA civil servants in the Gaza Strip will be used to support families in need, provide job opportunities and fund development and infrastructure projects.
On Feb. 7, the PA government replied in a statement that the new EU approach will further increase the budget deficit. It said that last year, Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah launched efforts to prevent the EU decision, but to no avail. According to the statement, this means that the PA’s financial burden will grow and the $39 million monthly budget deficit will increase.
A European diplomat in the Palestinian territories, who spoke to Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, said, “The new EU approach came to implement the recommendations of the European Monitoring Committee’s report of 2013, which rejected that civil servants who do not punch the clock be paid their paychecks by the EU, in the absence of any valid justification for the European taxpayers explaining why their money is channeled to these civil servants. Thus, the EU did not cut the funding, but rechanneled these funds to another sector, namely the families in need, instead.”
PreOccupiedTerritory: Ismail Haniyeh’s Gay Ex-Lover To Release Tell-All Book (satire)
The leader of the militant Islamist movement that runs Gaza faces embarrassment as a former same-sex romantic partner is preparing to publish a memoir of the intimate relationship, sources in Gaza City reported today.
Ismail Haniyeh, who will soon assume political control of Hamas’s international relations, has been trying to prevail upon Fellat Asbang, currently residing in Britain, to reverse his decision to release On My Knees: In The Bedroom With Ismail Haniyeh. Asbang, 50, has engaged bodyguards to prevent intimidation or attempts on his life by agents or supporters of Hamas.
In a telephone interview from a concealed location, the entrepreneur insisted he will go ahead with the April release as planned. “It’s crucial that the world know these things about a public figure,” he argued. “I’ve seen what happens to publishers that run afoul of Islamist intimidation, so I’m self-publishing the book. The people under Hamas rule in Gaza aren’t permitted to criticize Haniyeh or Hamas, so it’s up to Palestinians elsewhere to raise the alarm.”
Asbang declined to elaborate on the duration or extent of his romantic relationship with the Hamas leader, only disclosing that it soured three years ago. “It was beautiful for a long time, but then it wasn’t. Suffice it to say I got tired of him prioritizing politics over our closeness.”
Arab Social Media Blasts Egypt’s Sisi for Meeting American Jewish Leaders
Egyptian President Abdel Fatah Sisi met with Jewish-American leaders in Cairo on Sunday to discuss the Middle East and the political and economic challenges his country faces.
Alaa Youssef, the president’s spokesperson, said he met with Jewish leaders in an attempt to strengthen cooperation, adding that Egyptian-American relations are extensive and of strategic importance. The delegation was from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, an umbrella organization that represents over 50 major U.S. Jewish groups.
“The coming challenges require that we strengthen that relationship,” he said.
At the meeting, Sisi discussed the war on terror, Egypt’s financial challenges, the campaign against corruption and perks for investors. Youssef said that Sisi’s American counterparts expressed their appreciation of the president’s efforts on a number of fronts, namely the war on terror and Egypt’s leadership role in the region.
Sisi was on the receiving end of criticism on Arab social media for the meeting with American Jewish leaders.
“Sisi is the biggest Zionist in the Middle East,” Saleh Almansoori tweeted.
'Israel's success is an embarrassment to us'
Egyptian journalists writing for the al-Mizri, al-Yom, and al-Aharam newspapers criticized Israel's presence and successes in invention and science as an embarrassment to the entire Arab world, reported MEMRI.
Al-Mizri journalist Matulei Salam wrote in his article, "Countries which appreciate knowledge see inventions as a god and as the epitome of investment. The Egyptian government and populace are not interested in inventions. This is an embarrassment, since Israel is rated second-highest in the world in the area of inventions. Scientific research in Israel is also very advanced and continues to advance, and is considered to be among the best in the world. But we ourselves have a backwards mentality, and our interest in science ends with our philosophical discussions in cafes and clubs.
"Unfortunately, we are a nation which has fallen. Once we were one of the best nations, and now we are one of the worst. In the meantime, Israel is making a place for itself in the sciences we ignore. Those of us who have master's degrees and doctorate degrees are few, and they have to search for work so that they can live while wasting their academic knowledge."




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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

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