Thursday, March 30, 2017

From Ian:

Nikki Haley Slams BDS Movement at UN: It Is Rooted in ‘Ancient Hatred,’ Has No Connection to ‘Justice’
Haley, who was the first governor to sign legislation to combat the BDS movement, has been an outspoken supporter of Israel in her brief time as ambassador to the U.N. and was a crowd favorite Monday when she spoke at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's annual policy conference.
"The days of Israel bashing [at the U.N.] are over," Haley said at AIPAC to huge applause.
During her remarks Wednesday, Haley took on the BDS movement, which has gained traction on many Western college campuses, including in the United States.
"The effort to delegitimize the state of Israel being waged on college campuses and the anti-Israel obsession at the UN are one in the same," she said. "They both seek to deny Israel's right to exist."
"They are both efforts to intimidate her friends and embolden her enemies," Haley continued. "They are both extensions of an ancient hatred."
Haley called it "tragic" that the U.N. and many human rights activists devote much of their energy to targeting Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, when authoritarian states around the world are committing human rights abuses.
"And how tragic is it that of all countries in the world to condemn for human rights violations, these voices choose to single out Israel, " Haley said. "We should boycott North Korea. We should sanction Iran. We should divest from Syria. Not Israel."
"It makes absolutely no sense. And it has no connection to any reasonable definition of justice," she added.


Why Israelis believe BDS is antisemitic, explained in 60 seconds.
Eylon Levy is an anchor and correspondent for Israeli i24 News and someone with unique insight into the malevolence of the BDS movement. As we noted on these pages at the time, in 2013 at Oxford University, then MP George Galloway was about to participate in a debate with Eylon Aslan-Levy, who was then a student, on the motion: ‘Israel should withdraw immediately from the West Bank’. However, once Galloway discovered that Aslan-Levy was an Israeli citizen, he stormed off the stage and said: “I don’t recognize Israel and I don’t debate with Israelis”.
Galloway was, in effect, indicating that his support for BDS rendered six million Jews beyond the moral pale.
Here’s the Israeli journalist today with a short but extremely effective response to those who ask why Israelis believe BDS is antisemitic.


Israeli UN Ambassador Danny Danon at Anti-BDS Conference: Threat Lies in Movement’s Ability to Cower Us Into Silence
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon told participants at a conference against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement Wednesday that, despite the victories of the pro-Israel movement, “The real danger of BDS is not in [its] numbers…but in its ability to cower us into silence.”Thus, he said — during the second annual “Ambassadors Against BDS” conference at the UN’s General Assembly Hall in New York City — “The fight goes on…We cannot rest even for a moment.”
“We need you,” he appealed to the audience. “My friends, you must remember that silence is weakness. Silence is defeat.”
Danon described a “disturbing and troubling trend of increased antisemitic incidents throughout the world,” and sympathized with students who face BDS on campus, saying that as Israel’s UN envoy, “I know what it feels like to be alone.”
“But, when you stand for the truth you are never alone,” he added, noting that there have been victories for the anti-BDS movement as well, including university administrations rejecting calls from student groups to boycott the Jewish state.



Planned study by UN body behind ‘apartheid’ report to compare Israel to US slavery
The Lebanon-based United Nations agency that was recently forced to remove a report on its website accusing Israel of establishing an “apartheid regime” will soon release another appraisal of alleged Israeli malfeasance, The Times of Israel has learned.
The UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) is currently planning to publish a report that will evaluate “the cost of the Israeli occupation” over the Palestinian territories, while looking at examples from apartheid in South Africa and slavery in the United States.
While the exact publication date is yet to be determined, it is slated to coincide with the 50-year anniversary of the1967 Six Day War this June, marking a half-century since Israel captured the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Golan Heights.
ESCWA’s last report on Israel accused the Jewish state of a policy of apartheid against the Palestinians, the first time the term was used by the world body.
The publication was met with Israeli and American anger and it was quickly trashed by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, with ESCWA head Rima Khalaf resigning in protest.
How does Trump intend to square the Israeli-Palestinian circle?
On March 18, famed US-Jewish lawyer and pro-Israel advocate Alan Dershowitz randomly met US President Donald Trump in a restaurant at his Florida Mar-a-Lago club.
The two men discussed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and Dershowitz — a lifelong Democrat — later said he was surprised by US President Donald Trump’s knowledge of the thorny core issues: Jerusalem, refugees, security.
“He was anxious to convey the message that he really wanted to have a peace agreement,” Dershowitz told Army Radio in an interview aired Thursday.
The president was “clearly” talking about a two-state solution, Dershowitz stressed, adding that at no time did Trump give him the impression that a unitary state was even being considered.
And yet, as of this writing, the Trump administration has not publicly endorsed the goal of Palestinian statehood or even the notion of “two states for two peoples.” On the other hand, it has also never backed a one-state solution or given any indication that it would sanction Israeli annexation even of parts of the West Bank. And Trump has expressed concerns over Israeli settlement expansion — “Every time you take land for settlements, there is less land left… I am not somebody that believes that going forward with these settlements is a good thing for peace,” he said last month — which can only be explained by the desire to safeguard the feasibility of a future Palestinian state in the West Bank.
The new US administration really wants to broker Israeli-Palestinian peace. It believes a peace agreement is “not only possible, but would reverberate positively throughout the region and the world,” as Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s envoy for international negotiations, said Wednesday night, after having attended the Arab League summit in Jordan.
Think-tank offers Trump policy recommendations on Israel
Recommendations include: "The Administration should focus on managing rather than resolving the conflict, which is impossible for the immediate future. Trump should consult with Netanyahu about how to restore calm, undermine Hamas and other Islamist extremist groups, and create a more stable environment for future step-by-step negotiations." However, Phillips adds, "Refraining from establishing new settlements would be helpful in this context."
Regarding the embassy move, Heritage says, "President Trump’s commitment to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would correct a historic anomaly: The United States has never recognized any part of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. However, moving the embassy could ignite protests, riots, and anti-American backlashes among Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims."
Therefore, Heritage recommends to "Ensure that certain standards are met before moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. To mitigate the risks of the move, Trump should consult with Netanyahu on the timing; pick a site in West Jerusalem, which has been controlled by Israel since 1948; and explain that the move does not change other aspects of U.S. policy. The U.S. should make it clear that the borders and final status of Jerusalem should be determined through negotiations; that the embassy move would not preclude a Palestinian state; that the U.S. consulate-general in Jerusalem would continue to function as the U.S. representative to the Palestinian Authority; and that no changes would be made in the status of Muslim holy sites, which would continue to be administered by Jordan."
In conclusion, the Heritage report says that "Israel is America’s foremost ally in the Middle East. Both countries are democracies, value free-market economies, and uphold human rights at a time when many other countries in the Middle East reject those values." It says recent developments represent "a promising opportunity to reassert American leadership in the Middle East and strengthen U.S.–Israel strategic cooperation on foreign policy, defense, and counterterrorism issues."
'It's understood that two-state solution is dead'
Former Knesset Member Yoni Chetboun tells in an interview to Arutz Sheva about the purpose of his visit to the United States, where he is participating in the AIPAC conference.
Asked whether his presence at the conference hints at political intentions, he replied that the goals of his visit and his participation have to do with security, and less so politics. When the cameras shut down in the closed rooms, things are said differently. There one hears "both official representatives in US politics and Israeli representatives, and you see how everything moves to the right.
"You hear how the idea of ​​a Palestinian state in past AIPAC conferences was part of the consensus and the central discourse. At the current conference, they understand that the idea has died, this idea has collapsed, and now we're thinking how to move forward, and here is where you now find the nuances of right and left. The bottom line is to see how Israeli society is turning rightward, and the entire world, following terrorism, moves to the right in terms of the need to strike at terror and that the idea of ​​a Palestinian state can not be relied upon. It is time we raised this flag without any connection to security and say this is our land."
Arab leaders ready to work with Trump on Mideast peace deal
Arab leaders on Wednesday relaunched a peace plan that offers Israel full ties in exchange for Palestinian statehood, signaling to President Donald Trump that they are ready to engage if he tries to broker a broader Mideast peace.
Host Jordan said the one-day Arab summit held on the shores of the Dead Sea sent a “message of peace” — though one that could put new pressure on Israel to withdraw from lands it occupied in the 1967 Mideast war.
The gathering came ahead of White House meetings in coming weeks between Trump and three Arab leaders — Jordan’s King Abdullah II, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The trio met on the sidelines of the summit to consolidate positions ahead of the White House meetings, officials said.
Trump hasn’t yet formulated a policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but has said he is eager to broker a deal. His initial comments, including a campaign promise to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to contested Jerusalem and suggestions that there are alternatives to a two-state solution, caused alarm among some Arab leaders.
However, an embassy move no longer appears imminent, and some Trump administration officials have since endorsed the two-state solution.
Arab leaders send a message to Trump: Palestine first
The unified Arab-Sunni front is not a trivial phenomenon, especially given the frictions of recent years. Ties between Egypt and Saudi Arabia have been on the rocks, but the Jordanian summit marked a reconciliation between King Salman of Saudi Arabia and Sissi. The two presented Iran as the joint enemy of the Sunni axis, and they were joined by Jordan’s King Abdullah II.
Having turned something of a blind eye to Tehran’s support of the Bashar Assad regime in Syria, Egypt ended its dispute with Riyadh in one sentence during Sissi’s speech, in which he called for a firm stance against Iranian efforts to dominate the region. In an almost symbolic sign of the changing times, the Lebanese President Michel Aoun, an ally of Lebanese terror group Hezbollah and, to an extent, its sponsor Iran, stumbled as he arrived at one of the discussions and fell flat on his face on the red carpet.
But apart from tackling Iran, Sissi’s goal in Washington next week is to advance negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority reportedly aim to push for an agreement based on the Arab initiative – a two-state solution with land adjustments. Yes, that familiar initiative from 2002, created by the Saudis and the-then air to the throne, Abdullah. It’s likely that changes and adaptations in the Arab plan will be presented to Trump, but the basis will remain.
If those reports are correct, this marks a significant victory for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who this week celebrated his 82nd birthday. Abbas was being cold-shouldered as recently as six months ago by Cairo, which was backing his internal political opponent Mohammad Dahlan. Now Egypt has reconciled with Abbas, and is showing a clear interest in being involved in future negotiations with Israel on the Palestinian issue.
MEMRI: Former Jordanian FM To Arab League Summit: Here Is The Closing Statement I Dream Of Reading
On March 29, 2017, the day the 28th annual Arab League summit was held in Amman, former Jordanian foreign minister Marwan Al-Mu'asher published an article in the Jordanian daily Al-Ghad titled "The Summit [Closing] Statement I Dream of Reading." In it, he presented the closing statement he would have liked the summit to issue instead of the slogans familiar from previous summits about Arab unity, a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and combatting ISIS. His alternative statement recognizes that the current crises in the Arab world result from built-in flaws in its political, economic and social governance, and presents a plan for mending these flaws that includes expanding citizen rights and freedom of speech, developing economic resources other than oil, and investment in improving education.
The following are excerpts from his alternative statement:
"We, the kings and presidents of the Arab countries who convened today at the Dead Sea, will not suffice with reiterating the principles of the Arab ummah, the importance of joint Arab action, [our] insistence on the integrity of Syria's territory, on the two-state solution, and on increasing efforts to defeat ISIS militarily. Our summit today dealt with a difference topic that has never been on the agenda of any previous summit. Our summit takes place against the backdrop of intense waves of popular [unrest] whose consequences, which are still apparent to all, include internecine wars, sectarian conflicts, an economic downturn and threats to the safety of [our] citizens. We thought it proper to address this [popular] frustration and perform an accurate analysis of the factors that triggered it, in order to approve a suitable policy that will prevent further crises and set our countries on the correct course towards stability and prosperity.
"It must be acknowledged that there is a flaw in the political, economic and social governance of our countries, and that this flaw has increased the crisis of confidence between our citizens and our governments. We also understand that if the response to [the popular] protests will be further political restrictions or persistence in economic methods [based solely on] profit, or disregard for the rule of law and for the principle of civil equality, this will only increase and aggravate the frustration of our citizens, both men and women. We [understand] that it is impossible to go back to the pre-2011 situation, since if we fail to address the factors that caused the Arab [Spring] revolutions, [these revolutions] will recur. We also understand that the absence of immediate magic solutions does not mean that we need not take serious action to restore the trust of the citizens in the state institutions and [need not] seriously reassess all the previous policies, which for the most part have not led to comprehensive and ongoing progress.
The Arab League remains in a full scale war with Israel
As the Arab League meets in Amman, Jordan, the media misses the most important story, which is that the Arab league remains is state of full scale war with Israel. When reporters focus on the status of Jerusalem, refugees, borders or water, the most important element is missing: The declaration of total war by the Arab league against Israel in 1948, which has never ever been rescinded.
The issue is not whether the Arab league will recognize Israel.
The issue is whether the Arab League will suspend its war against Israel.
For a generation, people in Israel have forgotten the Arab League war on Israel, because of peace negotiations.
Indeed, when Prime Minister of Israel Menchem Begin signed the 1978 peace treaty with Egyptian President Answar Sadat, nothing stopped the Arab League from continuing its war against from Cairo, giving Sadat the best of all worlds, with a peace treaty that got him the Nobel Peace Prize, while allowing the Arab league, operating under Sadat’s nose in Cairo, to maintain its war to eradicate the Jewish state.
Arab states to UNESCO: Reject Israeli sovereignty over all of Jerusalem
Arab states plan to contest Israeli sovereignty over all of Jerusalem at the upcoming UNESCO Executive Board meeting in Paris, according to a draft text obtained by Israeli officials.
The resolution, due for a vote on May 1, states: “any action taken by Israel, the Occupying Power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction, and administration on the City of Jerusalem, are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validity whatsoever.”
Past resolutions approved by UNESCO boards and committees have refused to accept Israel’s annexation of east Jerusalem, including the Old City.
This text marks the first time that the Arab states have asked a UNESCO board to reject Israeli sovereignty over western Jerusalem.
It plunges the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural body even further into one of the most emotional and hotly-contested areas of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: the status of Jerusalem.
Israel cuts UN payment by $2 million over ‘anti-Israel’ bias
Israel announced Wednesday it is reducing its required payment to the United Nations by $2 million following recent “anti-Israel” votes.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said the decision to reduce the annual payment was taken following votes critical of Israel at the Geneva-based Human Rights Council, and condemned the “obsessional discrimination against Israel on the part of the United Nations and its agencies.”
The General Assembly requires all 193 UN member states to pay a percentage of the United Nations’ regular budget, based on their GDP. According to the UN Secretariat, Israel is expected to pay about $11 million this year, or 0.43 percent of the regular budget.
Under Article 19 of the UN Charter, any country in arrears of its dues payments in an amount that equals or exceeds the contributions due for two preceding years can lose its vote in the General Assembly. As of March 15, three countries were banned from voting because of arrears — Libya, Sudan and Venezuela.
Israel’s refusal to pay $2 million of its dues will put the country in arrears, but it won’t immediately lose its vote in the world body.
Time For Canada To End UN Funding
Canadian Taxpayers money should not go to a hypocritical organization that gives Saudi Arabia power over human rights.
The Canadian government spends $88.8 million in taxpayers money at the United Nations. That’s money that would otherwise go towards our own country, instead being funneled into an organization rife with corruption and rampant hypocrisy.
As an idea, the United Nations sounds nice. And in some instances, they may do a bit of good. But that is overshadowed by the simply unacceptable aspects of the UN.
United Nations Anti-Israel bias
Aside from the hypocrisy of elevating Saudi Arabia, the United Nations has been horrendously biased against Israel.
In 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted 20 anti-Israel resolutions, and only three resolutions on all other countries on Earth combined.
That is beyond absurdity.
Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, the only country in the region that truly protects freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the rights of LGBTQ people, and the equality of men and women. If anything, Israel should be singled out for praise, while Saudi Arabia should be condemned for their gender-Apartheid. Instead, the UN just keeps attacking Israel.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Abbas Promises To End Incitement If Allowed To Kill 6.5 Million Jews (satire)
Facing pressure from foreign governments and international bodies over the glorification of terrorism against Jews, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas offered today to put a stop to such rhetoric in official Palestinian media in exchange for the world endorsing a Palestinian genocide of Israel’s Jewish population.
US Congressional leaders and other critics of Palestinian incitement to kill have ratcheted up pressure on governmental and international bodies to make future aid conditional on the elimination of that incitement, arguing that it undermines efforts to broker an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, and thus contributes to continued instability in the region. Beyond that, they note, the incitement is a moral breach that must not be rewarded or ignored by those who control the international purse strings. Abbas moved to forestall the implementation of any aid cut by making his proposal in a speech today at his compound.
“The people of Palestine reject any attempt by outsiders to characterize our legitimate resistance to foreign occupation as ‘terrorism’ and our efforts to educate our people as ‘incitement,'” he declared. “Nevertheless, in the interest of promoting dialogue and an eventual settlement, we are willing to forgo some of the content of our rhetoric, provided that measure of restraint is reciprocated in the form of not raising a finger or an eyebrow as we massacre the Jews in our homeland.” He estimated the number of Jews to be killed in the effort at 6.5 million, approximately the Jewish population of Israel.
“This would in no way deny the inherent right of the Palestinian people to tell the truth about the Jewish usurping rapist of our land,” he continued. “We continue to maintain that all measures are acceptable in defeating the ultimate evil of Zionism and the ape-pigs who practice it, and who deserve to die painful deaths as they watch us burn down everything they built.”
U.N. Human Rights Adviser: Trump Won’t Last Four Years
A left-wing Swiss sociologist who advises the U.N. Human Rights Council predicts that President Trump will not serve a full term, saying that his tenure will be cut short either by psychiatric problems or insurmountable pressure.
Jean Ziegler, who has a history of sympathizing with despotic regimes (Qaddafi) and criticizing the U.S. (9/11 Truther) and Israel, told the Austrian daily Kurier that both impeachment or premature resignation were conceivable.
“I do not believe that Trump will remain in office for four years,” he said in German. “Either there will be psychiatric problems or the pressure will become so great that he can no longer govern.’
Ziegler envisaged the emergence of a “moral insurrection,” with Americans declaring that Trump is not their president. The perception that “there are billionaires in the White House who only pursue their own profit maximization” will unify people of all regions and camps, he said.
JCPA: New Moves toward a Peace Agreement Must Consider Israeli Public Opinion
Against this backdrop, the new American administration is trying to examine ways to resolve the conflict or at least to deal with it. There are three options: promoting a comprehensive settlement through direct negotiations or through regional negotiations, acceptance of unilateral moves that will change the status quo without an agreement (whether in the form of a unilateral Israeli withdrawal as proposed by various elements in Israel; or in a format that the Palestinians are trying to promote, i.e., unilateral European recognition and international pressure on Israel to stop building and accept Palestinian positions without negotiations; or annexation that the Israeli right proposes), or to preserve the status quo, while encouraging specific changes, especially in the economic sphere, considering that any deviation from it is liable to create an even more dangerous reality or reward Palestinian intransigency.
The results of the survey should clarify for those who wish to promote an agreement that if they want to succeed, unlike their predecessors, to promote a comprehensive settlement, the first step needs to be to improve the Israeli public’s confidence in the chances for success of any agreement and thereby increase its willingness to make concessions. The only way to achieve this is to attempt to get the Palestinians to change their narrative, avoid unilateral action in international frameworks, and stop the payments of salaries to terrorists and their portrayal as heroes and role models in the framework of Palestinian incitement. Any international attempt to ignore the ugly reality of the Palestinian position will harm the chances of achieving this goal and will encourage the Palestinians to continue their violent approach.
In the meantime, it appears that the administration’s pressure is focused only on the settlement issue, but it has avoided explicitly endorsing the two-state solution, and its refusal to state that “it is impossible to maintain the status quo” may indicate a better understanding of the complex reality. The new administration has also refrained from making use of the worn-out and false warning, which was adopted by Obama, that the status quo would require Israel to decide between its Jewish identity and its democratic nature, as if there was a possibility of one-state solution in which Israel would simply annex Gaza and the Palestinian Authority territory in the West Bank. There is no such possibility!
The survey provides the American administration with a picture that accurately reflects the views of the Jewish public in Israel, which is the key factor in shaping policy for the future. I hope that Washington will draw the right conclusions from this survey.
Netanyahu: First new West Bank settlement in 25 years to be approved today
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he planned to create the first totally new West Bank settlement in 25 years on Thursday
“I had promised from the start that I would create a new settlement. It seems to me that I made that commitment in December and I will keep it today. There were will be more details about this in a few hours,” Netanyahu told reporters before meeting with the president of Slovakia.
He spoke in advance of a security cabinet meeting later in the day, that is scheduled to discuss settlement activity and the ongoing discussion with the Trump administration over Jewish building in the West Bank.
Netanyahu had promised the 40 Amona families that he would formally authorize a new settlement for them by March 31, through a cabinet or government vote.
JPost Editorial: AIPAC lessons
Among recent Pew Research Institute studies, one found that, while Israeli Jews are skeptical that they can peacefully coexist with an independent Palestinian state, most American Jews are optimistic that a two-state solution is possible. On settlement building, for example, while the prevailing view among Israeli Jews is that they enhance Israel’s security, American Jews are more likely to say the opposite.
Another difference dividing the two communities is how each perceives the biggest problem facing Israel – a perception that defies the common wisdom. Pew found that roughly equal ratios of Israeli Jews cite economic issues (39%) and security (38%) as the biggest long-term challenges to the country. However, only 1% of US Jews cite the economy, while 66% of American Jews think it’s security.
A more distressing finding is that, while similar numbers of Republicans and Democrats have sympathized more with Israel than with the Palestinians ever since the late 1970s, today 74% of Republicans sympathize more with Israel, compared to only 33% of Democrats.
Even worse: For the first time Democrats are now almost equally split between sympathizing more with Israel (33%) and with the Palestinians (31%).
Pew ominously also reported that “While conservative Republicans favored Israel by a 44-point margin in 2001, the margin is now 70 points. And while liberal Democrats favored Israel by 30 points at the turn of the century, they now favor the Palestinians by 12 points.
American partisan politics are traditionally supposed to “stop at the water’s edge” with regard to Israel.
This year’s AIPAC conference indeed brought out bipartisan support, featuring cheerleading speeches by House Speaker Paul Ryan, Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer. But it is now Israel’s time to decide, while we still have bipartisan support in the US, on a policy that shows the world where we want to go as a government and a state.
Is AIPAC Blocking an Anti-UNRWA Presentation?
Despite its reputation, AIPAC is largely a consensus organization. It avoids anything controversial. Its goal is to be as middle of the road as possible. And a commitment to the UNRWA, despite its cover for terrorists, is unfortunately mainstream in some circles.
So this story from David Bedein doesn't surprise me.
One of the foci of the Center for Near East Policy Research, CFNEPR, which I have directed since the retirement of Dr. Arnold Soloway in 2005, remains the issue of UNRWA, which we film and publish investigations for the media and for elected officials.
Our 29 year inquiry into UNRWA policy has directly led to the US government GAO full scale investigation into UNRWA ties with organizations designated by the US as terrorist organizations.
Since the US allocated $400 million to UNRWA – one third of the UNRWA budget – this is an American issue that would concern every member of AIPAC.
We held successive meetings with AIPAC staff in Jerusalem, yet never received an answer as to why the Center for Near East Policy Research would not be allowed to provide a briefing for AIPAC conference members at its conference.
David Singer: Israel Offers Trump Opportunity for Republican-Democrat Reconciliation
Israel, however, represents a real opportunity for Trump to unite Congress and repair the fractured Republican-Democrat relationship if Trump respects these following three bipartisan decisions:
1. Congress’s overwhelming vote by 502 votes to 12:
Endorsing the written commitments made by President Bush to Israel’s Prime Minister Sharon on 14 April 2004 to encourage Israel’s unilateral disengagement from Gaza and part of the West Bank and give the Bush-Quartet Roadmap (“Roadmap”) every chance of ending a conflict that had raged unresolved for 85 years.
2. Congress’s resolution on 5 January 2017 by a vote of 342-80:
“that the passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 undermined the long-standing position of the United States to oppose and veto United Nations Security Council resolutions that seek to impose solutions to final status issues, or are one-sided and anti- Israel, reversing decades of bipartisan agreement.”
3. The Senate’s vote 96-4 on 24 January 2017:
Confirming South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley as ambassador to the United Nations.
During her confirmation hearing Haley told the Senate:
“Nowhere has the UN's failure been more consistent and more outrageous than it is -- than its bias against our close ally Israel. And the General Assembly session just completed, the UN adopted 20 resolutions against Israel. And only six targeting the rest of the world's countries combined. In the past ten years, the human rights council has passed 62 resolutions condemning the reasonable actions Israel takes to defend its security. Meanwhile, the world's worst human rights abusers in Syria, Iran, and North Korea, received far fewer condemnations. This cannot continue.”
Australian Christian Aid to Hamas Remains Suspended After Investigation
The Australian government said Thursday it had found no evidence that any of its donations to the Christian charity World Vision had been siphoned to Islamic militant group Hamas.
But Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said its World Vision funding in Gaza would remain suspended while Israeli charges against the global aid agency’s Gaza manager Mohammed el-Halabi remain unresolved.
“DFAT has reviewed the management of its funding to World Vision in the Palestinian Territories. The review uncovered nothing to suggest any diversion of government funds.” the department said in a statement.
“Australia’s funding to World Vision in the Palestinian Territories remains suspended until we have considered the outcomes of the court case against Mr. el-Halabi and reviews being undertaken by World Vision Australia and World Vision International into this issue,” it added.
Australian is the biggest single donor to World Vision’s humanitarian work in Gaza, providing more than $2 million in the past three years.
Palestinian jailed for lynching soldiers freed, families fume
Some 17 years after the brutal lynching of IDF reservists Yosef Avrahami and Vadim Nurzhits in Ramallah, a gruesome incident that escalated tensions during the Second Intifada, one of the Palestinian policemen who participated in the act has been freed from Israeli prison and sent to the Gaza Strip.
Hatam Magari was arrested in 2000. In 2004, he was convicted of murdering Avrahami along with other crimes associated with the lynching, and was sentenced to life in prison.
The incident occurred after the reservists mistakenly entered Ramallah. They were taken to the local police station as angry crowds followed. A police officer opened the door to the station and a mob entered, killing the soldiers and mutilating their bodies. In a particularly infamous photo from the incident, attacker Abd al-Aziz Salaha is shown displaying his blood-covered hands out the police station window as a crowd cheers below.
An appeal of Magari's conviction and a petition to the High Court of Justice were both rejected. However, he was recently granted a retrial due to new evidence that cast doubt on whether he was as an active participant in Avrahami's murder in a manner admissible in criminal court.
In the retrial, Magari was instead granted a plea bargain, wherein he was convicted of attacking a soldier and failing to prevent a crime. His conviction of other security charges remains unchanged. The military court sentenced him to 11 and a half years in prison. Magari agreed not to seek damages over the court’s handling of the case and, having been imprisoned since 2000, was released immediately.
Son of soldier killed in Ramallah lynching says no one told him of attacker’s release
The family of one of two IDF soldiers murdered in a lynching in Ramallah 17 years ago said that it was not informed by either the military or the government that one of the culprits was released after reaching a plea deal in a retrial.
Roi Avrahami, whose father Yosef Avrahami was beaten to death along with another soldier, Vadim Norzhich, in a brutal attack that was caught on film by an Italian TV crew, told Channel 10 on Thursday that he did not learn that Hatam Faiz Khalil Magari was released until being contacted by the media.
“I found out from the news. At 8 p.m. [on Wednesday] I was called by a representative from Army Radio and she wanted to hear my initial reaction,” he said.
“I said to her, ‘What are you talking about? We don’t know anything. It seems to me there is a mistake.'”
“Ten minutes later I looked over the details more deeply on a Facebook post from Channel 10 and this is in fact how I found out about” the release of Magari.
Why Israeli Strikes against Hizballah in Syria Are Legal
In April 2016, Benjamin Netanyahu admitted publicly, for the first time, that Israel had routinely attacked arms shipments in Syria in order to prevent Hizballah from obtaining advanced weapons—a policy that continues to be in force. While these attacks on foreign soil in the midst of a complex civil war might at first seem to fall into a legal gray area, there is a straightforward case for their legality, as Louis René Beres writes:
Legally, there is nothing complicated about the issues surrounding Israel’s counter-terrorist raids within Syria. By willfully allowing its territory to be used as a source for weapons that Hizballah terrorists can use against Israel, and as an expanding base for anti-Israel terrorist operations in general, Bashar al-Assad has placed Syria in unambiguous violation of both the UN Charter and the wider body of international rules identified in Article 38 of the UN’s Statute of the International Court of Justice.
There is more. Because Syria, entirely at its own insistence, maintains a formal condition of belligerency with Israel (that is, a legal “state of war”), [the] charges levied by Damascus or Tehran of “Israeli aggression” make no jurisprudential sense. . . . [Furthermore], express prohibitions against pro-terrorist behavior by any state can be found in Articles 3(f) and 3(g) of the 1974 UN General Assembly Definition of Aggression. These prohibitions are part of customary international law, identified in Article 38 of the International Court of Justice statute as “the general principles of law recognized by civilized nations.” . . .
Hamas-linked video threatens to kill Israeli security leaders
A video published Wednesday by a Hamas-affiliated news site threatens to kill senior Israeli defense officials in revenge for the killing of a senior Hamas terrorist last week.
One after the other, the video shows the Israelis through the crosshairs of a sniper’s scope, followed by a short message across a black screen in both Hebrew and Arabic, reading “we will act in kind.”
Those threatened include Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, IDF Chief-of-Staff Gadi Eisenkot, Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman, Mossad chief Yossi Cohen, IDF deputy chief-of-staff Aviv Kochavi, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, and the commander of the new Oz commando brigade Col. David Zini.
The video was publicized by the Gaza-based Shehab News Agency and is believed to be in response to the assassination of senior Hamas terrorist Mazen Faqha last week. It was apparently made by Hamas members.
While Israel has not acknowledged any involvement in the killing, the terrorist group insists that the murder has the Jewish state’s fingerprints on it.


JCC bomb threat suspect ordered kept behind bars, as tumor blamed
An Israeli-American teen suspected of calling in hundreds of fake bomb threats against Jewish community centers and other institutions in the US was ordered to remain behind bars for an additional week on Thursday, as his lawyer said a brain tumor may have caused his behavior.
The 18-year-old from Ashkelon is facing charges of extortion, making threats, publishing false information and is accused of sowing widespread fear and panic.
The suspect’s father, who was detained by police along with his son over suspicions he turned a blind eye to his son’s illegal activities, was released by the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court to house arrest.
The name of the suspect is under gag order and details about him or his possible motive remain unclear.
Suspect in threats against Jewish groups in US appears in court
A former journalist charged with making a wave of bomb threats to U.S. Jewish organizations by telephone while posing as his ex-girlfriend appeared in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday afternoon.
Juan Thompson, 31, was arrested in St. Louis earlier this month and arrived in New York on Wednesday morning. He appeared wearing beige prison garb and flanked by two public defenders at a brief hearing before Magistrate Judge James Francis.
The public defender assigned by Francis to represent Thompson, Mark Gombiner, did not seek bail at the hearing and declined to say afterward when he might. Thompson will remain in custody for now.
Thompson is scheduled to appear again before U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel on April 6.
'Illegal Arab road endangers lives'
An illegal road has been paved in recent weeks by Arabs in West Binyamin, near the Rantis Junction and the town of Beit Aryeh.
These works are carried out within Area C, which is under full Israeli civil and security control, by Arabs from the village of Luban, and includes land preparation for construction and preparations for paving a road to a nearby village.
Two weeks ago, members of the "Regavim" lands preservation movement sent an urgent appeal to the Civil Administration that the work being carried out without a permit is also a very serious safety hazard, since it is located adjacent to the Trans-Binyamin Highway, the main road in the area.
As a result of the trucks moving to the illegal construction site, the main road was filled with stones and mud, causing a safety hazard for passengers on the road.
Despite the letter of warning, the work at the site continues uninterrupted. On both Monday and Tuesday, heavy equipment continued working there.
UNHCR: Number of Syrian refugees tops 5 million mark
The number of Syrians who have fled their country after six years of war has surpassed the 5 million mark, the UN refugee agency said Thursday.
UNHCR announced the milestone a year after participating countries at a Geneva conference pledged to “resettle and facilitate pathways for 500,000 refugees” from Syria — but that only half of those places have been allocated so far.
“We still have a long road to travel in expanding resettlement and the number and range of complementary pathways available for refugees,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. “To meet this challenge, we not only need additional places, but also need to accelerate the implementation of existing pledges.”
Agency spokesman Babar Baloch said that no specific incident prompted the crossing of the symbolic milestone, and that one year ago, the figure was 4.8 million. The agency estimates another 6.3 million people have been internally displaced.
INSS: Lessons on Iran from North Korea's Nuclear Threat
After years of failed negotiations, followed by eight years of an Obama administration policy of "strategic patience," North Korea is today a nuclear state, on the verge of being able to threaten the U.S. with a nuclear-tipped ICBM.
When restrictions on Iran's nuclear infrastructure expire under the JCPOA nuclear deal, Iran will be stronger than it was before the negotiations began and will have a much more advanced nuclear infrastructure. Iran, virtually unhindered, is also rapidly developing its own ballistic missile program.
There is no short-term benefit from the JCPOA if these initial years are not used effectively to confront Iran for the sake of the long term.
Putting pressure on Iran is a proven path to altering its behavior in the nuclear realm - it is the toughness of the biting sanctions from 2012 that brought Iran to the table in 2013.
Replacing the pressure tactic with hopes of change in Iran - especially when pinned on the strengthening of President Rouhani - is misguided: the Iranian president has not demonstrated significant moderation either internally or with regard to Iran's regional behavior.
If the P5+1 continue to celebrate the JCPOA-induced delay while relaxing their vigilance and pressure, they will ultimately face a nuclear threat as intractable as that of North Korea.




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