Friday, June 09, 2017

From Ian:

Palestinians: Crocodile Tears and Terrorism
Adding to the hypocrisy, Abbas and his PA leadership often point an accusing finger at Israel for killing the terrorists who are carrying out attacks. Instead of condemning the perpetrators, Abbas and the Palestinians regularly accuse Israel of carrying out "extra-judicial killings" of the terrorists. In other words, Palestinian leaders save their condemnation for Israeli soldiers and policemen, for defending themselves and firing at those who come to stab them with knives and axes or try to run them over with their cars.
How would the British or French governments react if someone condemned them for killing the terrorists on the streets of Paris and London?
Has anyone in the West noticed Abbas's double standards in dealing with terrorism against civilians?
But Abbas not only stays silent when his own people mow down Israelis: he names streets and squares after such "heroes." Moreover, he rewards them and their families financially, with the help of American and European taxpayer money.
Perhaps it is time for Westerners to realize that there is no difference between a terrorist who sets out to kill Jews and a terrorist who kills British, French and German nationals. In fact, it has become clear that the terrorists in Europe have copied the tactics of the Palestinians in carrying out stabbings and vehicular and suicide-bombing attacks.
Abbas's crocodile tears are intended to disguise tears of joy that terrorism is alive and well -- certainly when it comes to the Israeli blood that his own people spill in the name of Allah.
Caroline Glick: Qatar, Trump and double games
US President Donald Trump has been attacked by his ubiquitous critics for his apparent about-face on the crisis surrounding Qatar.
In a Twitter post on Tuesday, Trump sided firmly with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and the other Sunni states that cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and instituted an air and land blockade of the sheikhdom on Monday.
On Wednesday, Trump said that he hopes to mediate the dispute, more or less parroting the lines adopted by the State Department and the Pentagon which his Twitter posts disputed the day before.
To understand the apparent turnaround and why it is both understandable and probably not an about-face, it is important to understand the forces at play and the stakes involved in the Sunni Arab world’s showdown with Doha.
Arguably, Qatar’s role in undermining the stability of the Islamic world has been second only to Iran’s.
Beginning in the 1995, after the Pars gas field was discovered and quickly rendered Qatar the wealthiest state in the world, the Qatari regime set about undermining the Sunni regimes of the Arab world by among other things, waging a propaganda war against them and against their US ally and by massively funding terrorism.
The Qatari regime established Al Jazeera in 1996.
Despite its frequent denials, the regime has kept tight control on Al Jazeera’s messaging. That messaging has been unchanging since the network’s founding. The pan-Arab satellite station which reaches hundreds of millions of households in the region and worldwide, opposes the US’s allies in the Sunni Arab world. It supports the Muslim Brotherhood and every terrorist group spawned by it. It supports Iran and Hezbollah.
Al Jazeera is viciously anti-Israel and anti-Jewish.
Melanie Phillips: The West’s most fundamental and lethal divide
The Jewish community is not exempt from this madness. The president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Jonathan Arkush, this week called on British Muslims to “stand up and be counted.” “Every British mosque should be holding its own protest against terrorism, proclaiming ‘Not in our Name,’” he wrote.
More than 80 people from synagogues and communal organizations as well as unaffiliated individuals promptly signed an open letter accusing Arkush of “fanning the flames of intercommunity hatred.” This despite the fact that he also said the terrorists were “not representative of British Muslims” and that the attacks were “a perversion of Islam.”
“We particularly reject the assertion,” wrote the signatories, “that members of a religious or ethnic group must quickly and publicly denounce any members of that group who act repugnantly. We hope you will remember that this has been used to persecute Jews in living memory. Just as we as Jews have no responsibility for the actions of Jewish terrorist groups, Muslims are not personally responsible for the actions of groups such as ISIS.”
Presumably, this was a reference to the Jewish terrorists of the Irgun and Lehi (the Stern Group) in pre-Israel Palestine. If so, the analogy was singularly inappropriate. The mainstream Zionist leadership at that time not only denounced these Jewish terrorists but actively helped the British hunt them down to kill or jail them.
By contrast, Islamist terrorists are at the extreme end of a continuum of attitudes that themselves pose a threat to Britain. In a 2015 poll of British Muslims, nearly a quarter said Islamic Shari’a law should replace British law in areas with large Muslim populations; 4% – equivalent to more than 100,000 British Muslims – sympathized with suicide bombers; and only one in three would contact the police if that person believed a close contact was involved with jihadists.
While most British Muslims are against violent extremism, their community therefore helps swell the sea in which terrorism swims.
More and more Muslims are now saying they have to tackle this. Yet the Jewish signatories wrote: “We stand with all our Muslim sisters and brothers, and all people of faith and no faith, in love and healing from these atrocities – together.”

Melanie Phillips: Not all refugees are pure victims
In 2015, 200 people, including 20 rabbis, signed a strongly-worded open letter from the Jewish Council for Racial Equality condemning Britain’s refusal to admit more from the Calais migrant camp.
They compared the migrants’ plight to that of the Jewish refugees trying to flee Hitler. Other leading Jews similarly made comparisons with the Kindertransport — and even with Auschwitz.
Not only was it odious to instrumentalise the Holocaust in this way, but such critics made a grotesque and unforgivable category error. Jewish refugees posed no threat to anyone. They were purely victims of murderous prejudice. But a significant number of today’s migrants are either Islamic extremists or else their family culture leaves their children wide open to radicalisation.
This touches on another mistake made by too many in the Jewish community: the equation of antisemitism with Islamophobia. The crucial difference here is between truth and lies.
Prejudice is always based on irrationality and untruth. If something is rational or true, it can’t be a prejudice. The venom directed against the Jewish people is true bigotry since it invariably consists of foul and deranged lies.
By contrast, Islamophobia is not a prejudice. While many Muslims are good people there is justifiable reason for alarm about aspects of Islam and the community.
The label of Islamophobia is designed purely to silence such legitimate expressions of concern. Yet Jews are disturbingly quick to use such smears — as in the vicious and wholly unwarranted attack on Board of Deputies president Jonathan Arkush merely for calling on British Muslims to stand up and be counted against terrorism.
Leading French Intellectual Michel Onfray Joins Demands to Recognize Murder of Sarah Halimi as Antisemitic Hate Crime
One of France’s most prominent public intellectuals has denounced the April 4 murder of Sarah Halimi – an orthodox Jewish pensioner who lived in the Paris suburb of Belleville – as an antisemitic crime, calling on the French authorities to recognize that fact by prosecuting the murderer accordingly.
Michel Onfray, a philosopher, told French newspaper Le Point that he rejected the account of Halimi’s murder depicting it as “not an antisemitic crime, not a crime committed by a Muslim fundamentalist.”
Onfray is one of fifteen leading intellectuals who signed a petition demanding that Halimi’s murder be investigated as an antisemitic crime. The petitioners – who also included the Jewish philosopher Alain Finkielkraut and the feminist theorist Elisabeth Badinter – pointed out that the murder took place at the height of France’s presidential campaign. They argued that the reluctance of the authorities to classify it as a hate crime committed by a Muslim was based on fear that doing so would boost the electoral fortunes of Marine Le Pen, the candidate of the far right National Front.
At ToI event, Israeli attorney shows how ‘lawfare’ could smite terrorists’ warfare
In the war on terrorism, sometimes the lawsuit is mightier than the sword. That thinking has propelled Nitsana Darshan-Leitner “to do what lawyers do best, and go after the pocketbooks of the terror organizations.”
Founded in 2003, Darshan-Leitner’s Shurat HaDin: the Israel Law Center is a Tel Aviv-based non-governmental organization whose aim is to put terror organizations — and those who support or abet them — out of business.
Over the past 14 years, Darshan-Leitner and Shurat HaDin have helped secure over $200 million for the families of terror victims, and are responsible for the freezing of an additional $600 million in assets belonging to terror organizations or state sponsors of terrorism.
Last year alone, Darshan-Leitner won a $655 million case against the Palestinian Authority and PLO on behalf of 11 American families whose loved ones had been killed or injured in attacks in Israel. That verdict was overturned, but the battle is far from over.
In the latest installment of The Times of Israel presents series, Darshan-Leitner spoke to journalist Matthew Kalman in front of a lively English-speaking crowd at the Hirsch Theater in Jerusalem on Sunday. Despite the serious subject matter, Darshan-Leitner’s storytelling and comic delivery had the audience in stitches more times than a reporter was able to count.
Bruised but defiant, UK’s May gets mandate to form new government
British Prime Minister Theresa May said Friday she would form a new government with backing from the small Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) after losing her Conservative majority in a snap general election.
“I have just been to see Her Majesty the Queen and I will now form a government — a government that can provide certainty and lead Britain forward at this critical time for our country,” she said after returning from Buckingham Palace to her Downing Street office in London.
Spectacularly punished by voters who took away her majority in parliament, a politically wounded May sought to soldier on, resisting pressure to resign after the failure of her high-stakes election gamble made the massive challenge of untangling Britain from the European Union only more complex and uncertain.
Having called an early election in hopes of getting an increased majority that could have strengthened her hand in Britain’s exit talks with the EU, May instead saw her majority evaporate completely — leaving her fortunes hanging by a thread.
UK Jewish leader: Election result a ‘loss’ for community, and Israel
Corbyn, who became the head of Labour in 2015, is a hard-left politician whom Arkush has previously said “most people in the Jewish community can’t trust” due to his past praise for Hezbollah and Hamas and perceived failures in addressing anti-Semitic rhetoric by some of his supporters.
In the year and a half since Corbyn became Labour leader, controversies about anti-Semitism in the party, and his continued criticism of Israel’s policies, have dogged media coverage. Many Jews who were lifelong Labour voters said they couldn’t bring themselves to put a cross next to the Labour candidate’s name on the general election ballot. Some have questioned Corbyn’s sincerity in his efforts to reach out to the Jewish community.
May’s Conservative Party on the other hand, is perceived as taking a much more pronounced pro-Israel stance, and has won wide-support among many in the Jewish community. In a 2016 Rosh Hashanah message, her first direct address to the Jewish community since she succeeded David Cameron, May praised the relationship between the UK and Israel and reaffirmed the British government’s long-held position of support for Israel’s right to self-defense.
“Overall, without question, the result will be disappointing for Israel and disappointing for the Jewish community,” Arkush said Friday, adding that “the smell of anti-Semitism still lingers around some sections of the [Labour] party.”
Potential Inclusion of Northern Ireland-Based Democratic Unionist Party in UK Governing Coalition Could Be ‘Good News for Israel,’ British Jewish Activist Says
A potential Conservative-led governing coalition in the UK that includes the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) could be “good news for Israel,” a British Jewish activist said on Friday, following the surprising parliamentary election results that saw Prime Minister Theresa May lose her majority in the House of Commons.
In remarks she made outside of 10 Downing Street after returning from a meeting at Buckingham Palace with Queen Elizabeth II on Friday, May vowed to form a government with the Northern Ireland-based right-wing nationalist DUP that would “provide certainty and lead Britain forward at this critical time for our country.”
Steven Jaffe — a consultant to the Board of Deputies of British Jews — wrote in the Jewish News on Friday that on Middle Eastern-related issues, the DUP — which won 10 parliamentary seats in Thursday’s election — would be a “friendly and positive influence for Israel.”
DUP’s MPs, according to Jaffe, are among the “staunchest supporters of Israel in the House of Commons.”
“There are fewer than 80 members of the Jewish community in Northern Ireland,” Jaffe explained. “So it seems hard to reconcile the DUP’s interest in Israel and matters of Jewish concern with electoral self-interest.”
“But Northern Ireland is the UK’s bible belt,” he continued. “Like the American south, Christian Zionism is a potent force amongst Ulster’s church-going Protestant community, the traditional heartland of DUP support.”
Furthermore, DUP members “draw parallels between Northern Ireland’s experience of terrorism and Israel’s and feel that both Ulster unionists and Israeli Jews get an unfair hearing in the world’s press,” Jaffe said. “In particular, their experience of peace making in Northern Ireland makes them wary of international interference which is one-sided or prescriptive.”
Special Report: From Ulster with love, Israel’s unlikely ally
Unbeknownst to most until last week’s parliamentary vote on Palestine, the Westminster MPs of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) are a staunchly pro-Israel lot.
While parliamentarians voted overwhelmingly in favour of the motion to recognise Palestine alongside Israel, 12 voted against the motion, and of this dozen, five were from the late Ian Paisley’s DUP.
To London’s Jews, Northern Ireland can seem off the political radar, but to those with an interest, the voting preferences of MPs Nigel Dodds, William McCrea, Ian Paisley (the late founder’s son), Jim Shannon and David Simpson should have come as no surprise.
Indeed, the founding of the DUP Friends of Israel group at Stormont in June was one of the veteran unionist’s last political acts before his death in September. In terms of his long-standing support for the Jewish state, however, it was merely the latest.
Earlier this summer, the DUP pressed police authorities on the legality of anti-Israel protests, while two years earlier, it launched fierce criticism at the Co-operative Group for banning Israeli products from the West Bank.
Why the support? Politically, culturally and geographically, Northern Ireland is some distance from Israel, so why such stringent views from Ulster’s Protestant community?
Racist yob chants 'Vote Labour, get the Jews out' at polling station in Borehamwood
Shocking footage shows a woman singing 'Vote Labour, let's get the Jews out' at a polling station in Borehamwood.
The footage - which we have decided not to publish - shows the woman chanting outside Manor Way at around midday.
Several people walk past having cast their votes in the General Election.
Leader of the Hertsmere Labour group Michelle Vince has made a complaint to the police about the racist slurs made.
She said: "We are horrified and shocked that anti-Semitic behaviour has occured outside a polling station in Hertsmere.
"This is not a vote that we want. We are asking to see images of the person and if they are a member of the party they will be expelled.
"We are asking for this to be investigated and we will always challenge this behaviour as racism of any form cannot be tolerated."
How Israel Spots Lone-Wolf Attackers
Since the outbreak of the "stabbing intifada" in late 2015, there have been hundreds of knife and car-ramming attacks against Israelis. If the violence has ebbed, it may be in part because the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have become better at forestalling attacks. Israeli spooks reckon they have lessons to offer Western countries struggling to stop lone wolves.
One is that conventional intelligence organizations, even Israel's well-honed system, are designed to penetrate organized terrorist groups, so they struggle to spot imminent attacks by self-radicalized individuals or small groups. After reviewing the profiles of scores of attackers, IDF intelligence officers found they often acted on the spur of the moment. They were rarely linked to militant factions, and were not especially religious or poor. Many had a grievance: a son who felt unjustly treated, a brother who was disinherited, a bride who was beaten by her husband, and so on.
These days IDF algorithms monitor the social-media accounts of young Palestinians to look for early-warning signs. These include "tripwire" terms such as the "sword of Allah" or "day of the sword", associated with the writings of past attackers. The IDF also monitors the activity of relatives, friends, classmates and co-workers of recent "martyrs."
The parents of those deemed suspicious might receive a telephone call or a visit from the Shin Bet security service, and their names could be passed on to the Palestinian Authority.
Martyrs to “Tolerance”
The London Bridge Massacre, the Manchester Massacre, the Bataclan Massacre, the Boston Marathon Massacre: how long does the list have to be before Western authorities understand that only the most vigorous methods can stop the virulent metastasis of Islamist murder through Western cities? Governments exist to keep citizens safe in their streets and cities from foreign or domestic violence. Of late, they have emphatically not earned their wages. Here’s what they need to do right now to regain their legitimacy.
Start by naming the enemy, as Donald Trump and Theresa May finally have done, after eight years of Barack Obama’s dereliction of duty for refusing to utter the simple words, “Islamist terrorism.” As numerous pundits—notably Andrew C. McCarthy, successful prosecutor of the 1993 Islamist World Trade Center bombers—have explained, Islamism, a large subcategory of Islam, is not only a religion but also a political ideology that aims at world domination, so that treating it as if, like Christianity or Judaism, it preaches only individual salvation or virtue is mistaken at best, willfully blind at worst.
Islamists believe that sharia—Islamic law—overrides and cancels all earthly law. While some Islamists want to establish Allah’s reign by violent jihad, as in the recent atrocities, others want to expand its empire nonviolently but inexorably, by subsuming more and more matters under the jurisdiction of Islamic courts wherever Muslims dominate, as has happened in some localities in Britain. But of course Islam’s religio-juridical code is a far cry from our own nation’s belief about the Creator’s relation to government: that He has endowed us with inalienable rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of our individual happiness, however we choose to define it. Sharia courts dispense a medieval justice that makes women subservient to men, that kills homosexuals, and that doesn’t shrink from cutting off hands and heads. Britain’s sharia courts reportedly send abused wives back to their violent husbands, and sanction not only a man’s rape of his estranged wife but even “honor” killings in a variety of circumstances. Even the nonviolent version of Islamism is incompatible with our idea of the rule of law or of individual rights—which it scorns. As for the violent variety, in 2011, 8 percent of all American Muslims surveyed told Pew Research that suicide bombings are justified (compared with 26 percent of young American Muslims in 2006, 35 percent in Britain, and 42 percent in France).
Ayaan Hirsi Ali: We must no longer turn a blind eye to Islamic extremism but instead root out radicals who hate the West
THERE has been an unrelenting pattern of low-tech terror waged by Islamists.
But beyond candle-lit vigils, hashtags and vows of unity, few have solutions.
To date most leaders have called for beefing up security agencies to better pre-empt attacks. But that is as effective as sticking a plaster on a broken leg.
To get to the root cause Western governments must intervene far sooner.
Although many Brits have heard of jihad, few have heard of dawa.
In theory, dawa is a simple call to Islam. As Islamists practise the concept, however, it is a subversive, indoctrinating precursor to jihad. A process of methodical brainwashing that rejects assimilation and places Muslims in opposition to Western civic ideals.
It is facilitated by funding from the Middle East, local charities and is carried out in mosques, Islamic centres, Muslim schools and even in people’s living rooms.
Its goal is to erode and ultimately destroy the political institutions of a free society and replace them with Sharia law.
We must no longer turn a blind eye.
Rod Liddle: Is enough enough? Then let’s start deporting Muslim extremists
In the buffeting and turmoil of campaign maelstroms, politicians often become detached from what the public is thinking. In response to the London Bridge murders, May made a superficially strong speech which was lamentably thin on detail. It is all very well saying ‘Enough is enough’ in a very determined manner, but nothing she said could dissuade the public from suspecting that another attack was just around the bend and that, actually, enough wasn’t quite enough, so far as the jihadis were concerned.
She could have done this. There are hundreds of people identified by the security services as being ‘of special interest’ because of their patent and frequently expressed wish to kill us all. Deport all of them who were not born in Britain — kick them out. The lot. Those who are British citizens should be kept under the equivalent of house arrest and jailed if they transgress the terms of that house arrest.
Of the other 20,000 who are ‘of interest’ to the security services, deport all those who are not British-born. Do not let people who have been fighting for Isis in Syria and Iraq back into the UK. Close down Islamic schools. If Muslims want to send their kids to Islamic schools, let them do so in Bangladesh or Qatar, not here. We are not yet an Islamic country.
And start investigating the mosques with a bit more rigour. How about that?
London Police Arrest Dozens for 'Hate Crimes,' but Can't Track Jihadists
The Metropolitan Police have arrested 25 people since Saturday's terror attacks, using hate crime legislation to crack down on words and actions deemed either offensive, or which target people "because of their race, religion, sexual orientation" or disability.
Speaking on Thursday, Chief Superintendent Dave Stringer, the head of "Community Engagement" for the Metropolitan Police, said:
Since Saturday evening's attacks, we have increased the number of officers on the streets and in communities to reassure local people that they are able to go about their daily lives in peace and without fear of harassment or intimidation. Dedicated ward officers have also made contact with their local places of worship to encourage them to report hate crimes and to reassure those who congregate there that the police will take these crimes seriously. The Metropolitan Police has made 25 arrests for hate crime offences since Saturday.
The news comes as London Mayor Sadiq Khan told Piers Morgan in an interview that London's police did not have enough resources to monitor the jihadists returning to the United Kingdom from Syria and Iraq. He said in an interview Wednesday morning:

What makes US-Israel defense ties so 'rock solid'?
Three years into his tenure as chief of staff of the Israeli military, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot has a “rock solid” relationship with his American counterpart, General Joseph Dunford, sources around the general say.
The two men have maintained a consistent and professional relationship throughout a period of diplomatic turbulence under the Obama administration and at the outset of a delicate, uncertain start to the Trump presidency.
Israel was Dunford's first stop when he took over from Gen. Martin Dempsey in October 2015 as chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff– an intentional message to the Israeli public, and to Eisenkot, on the importance of the defense relationship.
Eisenkot, who was appointed Chief of Staff of the IDF in November 2014, rose through the ranks of the Golani Brigade and appointed as commander of the brigade in 1997. He became the military secretary of then-prime minister Ehud Barack in 1999 and became head of the Operations Branch of the IDF’s General Staff in 2005, serving in that position during the Second Lebanon War.
Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan told The Jerusalem Post that “Eisenkot knows what he is doing and where he is taking the IDF.”
Nikki Haley at Yad Vashem 'We must always choose a side'
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley visited Yad Vashem on Friday, during the third and final day of her Israel visit.
Haley toured the vast Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, accompanied by Dr Robert Rozett, Director of Yad Vashem Libraries, and participated in a memorial ceremony in the museum's Hall of Remembrance. Haley laid a wreath in memory of those killed during the Holocaust.
Signing the Yad Vashem guest book, Haley wrote that "we must always honor and remember the lives lost during one of the most horrible times in history. There is a lesson here. Leadership is not about power. Leadership is the acknowledgment and value of human dignity. We must always choose a side."
On Thursday, Haley crossed the country by helicopter from north to south, accompanied by IDF brass and her Israeli colleague Danny Danon, who briefed her on the state’s vast security challenges.
List of Americans murdered by Palestinians reminds US of shared struggle
Israel Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman issued a somber reminder of America and Israel's shared struggled against terrorism when he shared a list of Americans murdered by Palestinian terrorism with American envoy to the UN Nikki Haley during their Friday morning meeting in Jerusalem.
The document, which was obtained by The Jerusalem Post, also details the payments the Palestinian Authority gives to the families of slain or imprisoned terrorists. The full document is listed below in its original and unedited form.
The PA pays monthly stipends according to four categories:
1. Prisoners while in prison; 2. Released prisoners; 3. Prisoners’ families; 4. Prisoners’ legal needs.
All prisoners, irrespective of their crime or their political/terror group affiliation, receive the same monthly base salaries from the PA. The salary goes directly to the terrorist or the terrorist's family. Married prisoners receive additional pay, as well as those with children. Arabs from Jerusalem and Israeli Arabs who are imprisoned for terror offenses, get an additional supplement of 300 New Israeli Shekels (NIS) and 500 NIS respectively.
According to a Government Resolution of the Palestinian Authority issued in April 2011, the minimum salary for a prisoner, from the beginning of his detention and for up to 3 years is 1400 NIS.
Prisoners who have been imprisoned:
between 3 and 5 years are paid 2,000 shekels.
between 5 and 10 years are paid 4,000 shekels.
between 10 and 15 years are paid 6,000 shekels.
between 15 and 20 years are paid 7,000 shekels.
between 20 and 25 years are paid 8,000 shekels.
between 25 and 30 years are paid 10,000 shekels.
30 years or more are paid 12,000 shekels.
Liberman: We are ‘closer than ever’ to deal with Palestinians
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Thursday that Israel was “closer than ever” to an agreement with the Palestinians and that the opportunity for full relations with Arab states would sway the Netanyahu government to accept a deal.
“We are far closer to an agreement than ever before,” Liberman told Channel 2 on Thursday. “I hope we will be able to realize this option.”
Liberman did not offer any details about the agreement on the table, referring to it only as an “arrangement,” but indicated US President Donald Trump’s administration had played a role in cobbling the pact together and that it would include other regional players.
When asked how the deal would come together, Liberman responded: “Because Trump has arrived on the scene and because, as I keep saying, the Arab countries have internalized that their problem is not Israel. Israel can be a solution to the problem.”
Palestinian Issue No Longer Central Focus of Arab World, Says Former Arafat Adviser
A former adviser to the late PLO leader Yasser Arafat said in a recent television interview that the Palestinian question is no longer the most important challenge facing the Middle East.
Marwan Kanafani — who served as the PLO’s spokesman from 1989-96 and participated in peace negotiations with Israel — told his interviewer, in remarks translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), that the “Palestine cause is not the most serious issue in the Arab world today.”
“There are more Syrian refugees today than Palestinian ones,” Kanafani, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, remarked. “More people were killed in Libya than in Palestine or other countries where we lived.”
Kanafani heavily criticized the current Palestinian leadership for the stasis in negotiations with Israel, as well as the continuing split between the Fatah-ruled West Bank and Hamas-ruled Gaza.
“The political parties and the factions are responsible for that split,” he said. “Over the past decade, we Palestinians have not made any progress whatsoever in our cause, and, as much as I don’t like to say it, we have regressed. Of course, we cannot blame the Palestinian people for this.”
Afraid to tangle with Trump
In a recent interview with an American news outlet, one of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' senior advisors said that Abbas was willing to relaunch peace talks with Israel without preconditions and temporarily forgo his demand that Israel freeze all construction beyond the Green Line before negotiations begin.
The Abbas advisor also said that the PA intended to dial back its international campaign against Israel and temporarily refrain from boycotting Israeli products from the settlements or demanding that Israeli military officials and politicians be brought to trial. But unsurprisingly, after the interview was published, officials in Ramallah rushed to issue a categorical denial.
The thing is, the message in the interview wasn't intended for either Palestinians or Israelis. The news from Ramallah was aimed at the White House, and sought to please the Trump administration, and possibly even woo it through a demonstration of moderation and willingness to compromise.
Unlike former President Barack Obama, President Donald Trump does not care about the U.N. or Europe, and neither does his State Department. Trump feels under no obligation, and doesn't identify with or have any particular empathy for Palestinian issues. He is also unwilling to accept double talk: condemnations of terrorism alongside incitement to hatred and armed struggle against Israel, and providing terrorists and their families with stipends. Trump wants to strike a deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians as part of a broader regional deal. And as we learned from the Qatar case, anyone who gets in his way could pay a heavy price.
'UN's budget will suffer unless it stops attacking Israel'
Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon recently marked his second year in the world body. This week he was in Jerusalem to accompany U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley on her three-day visit to Israel.
Asked what he thinks is the most profound change the U.N. has undergone since U.S. President Donald Trump took office in January, Danon said the U.N. has become a different place since the new American administration came to power.
"I remember Dec. 23, 2016, when Resolution 2334 [condemning the Judea and Samaria settlement enterprise as an obstacle to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process] was up for a Security Council vote," he recalled. "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had spoken with [then-]Secretary of State John Kerry and he couldn't get an answer to a simple question: Will the United States vote for or against the resolution. I called [then-]U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power dozens of times -- there was no answer. Ambassadors from countries sympathetic to Israel told me, 'Danny, we want to abstain in the vote, but the U.S. won't let us. At the last minute we got word that the U.S. plans to abstain and that it won't veto the resolution.
"Today, on the other hand, it's a different world. There's an open channel of dialogue [with the U.S. mission], we meet and we discuss everything. We don't agree on things 100%, which is natural because our interests don't always completely align, but there is a genuine dialogue.
U.N. defends election of Saudi Arabia to Human Rights Council
U.N. expert Philip Alston responds to challenge by UN Watch: "I was asked by an NGO whether Saudi Arabia should be a member of this council. That’s not a question for me to answer, but I have to say that I think such questions are a distraction and a gross oversimplification and most unhelpful. I think what we need is to ensure engagement with countries like Saudi Arabia. The situation of women, the situation of other groups remains well behind the standards that we can expect, but they will only be improved through engagement and not through attempts to stigmatize." June 8, 2017.

Israel: Top Hamas Official, Expelled From Qatar, Now Living in Lebanon and Plotting Attacks Against Israel
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman warned Friday that a senior official in the Palestinian Hamas terror group, Saleh al-Arouri, recently expelled from Qatar, has resettled in Lebanon, where he has been planning, along with two other activists, terror attacks against Israel.
During a meeting with visiting American UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, Liberman alleged that Arouri has also been attempting “to boost the relationship between Hamas and Hezbollah,” the Shiite Lebanese militia, “under an Iranian umbrella, and with the assistance of the Revolutionary Guards and [its leader] Qassem Soleimani,” according to a Hebrew-language statement from the Defense Ministry.
Arouri, he said, is a “dangerous terrorist” responsible for deadly terror attacks against Israel, and he cannot be allowed to continue with his activities. Lebanon is a “sovereign country” that maintains high-level bilateral ties with the United States, Liberman continued, urging Washington to pressure Lebanon into expelling the three Hamas activists.
Israeli intelligence officials believe Arouri was behind the abduction and killing of three Jewish teenagers in the West Bank in the summer of 2014. That attack was among the main catalysts of the war in Gaza about a month later.
Israel said set to start work on barrier against Gaza tunnels
Israel is reportedly set to start work on a barrier designed to prevent the terror group Hamas from digging cross-border attack tunnels into Israel from Gaza.
Hundreds of diggers and other heavy machinery are being moved to the border with the Gaza Strip, where they will begin work in about three weeks’ time, Channel 2 News reported Thursday.
The Israel Defense Forces expects Hamas will try to prevent the barrier from being built by employing a variety of tactics to disrupt the construction, which is expected to take a year, the report said.
Some have criticized the barrier, which will cost some NIS three billion ($850,000), as unnecessary.
The IDF is also employing other techniques to deal with the threat of tunnels, which were used by Hamas to attack Israeli positions on several occasions during the 2014 Gaza war. Israel destroyed over a dozen such underground systems over the course of the operation.
Several units have been training specifically to fight against combatants in tunnels.
WATCH: PM Netanyahu Wishes Muslims “Ramadan Kareem” in Honor of Holy Month
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday wished Israel’s Muslim citizens and Muslims around the world a “Ramadan kareem,” or “generous Ramadan,” in honor of the Islamic holy month.
The prime minister expressed his pride that an increasing number of his country’s more than one million Muslim citizens “are integrating into Israeli society.” He noted that Muslims play critical roles in Israel, serving as “judges, lawmakers, professors, prominent doctors, business people, much more.”
Netanyahu also took the opportunity to showcase the Knesset’s Muslim prayer room, which is used by lawmakers and employees.
While Israel is a Jewish state, it is also “home to Muslims, Christians, Bahais — and so many others,” he said. And because it is a free country, “all citizens enjoys full individual rights, regardless of race, creed or gender.” Netanyahu observed that living together in a mixed society allows individuals from all sectors to “learn from one another … with mutual respect and with mutual understanding.”
Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Iran’s ‘Preferred Proxy,’ Arming in Gaza
Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the second largest terrorist army in Gaza, recently issued a video threat stating its willingness to end the three-year truce currently in place with Israel.
“If the Israeli enemy continues its normal game and plays with the lives of the Palestinian people, we will break the ceasefire,” PIJ leader Ramadan Shallah says in the video, according to an Algemeiner report.
The footage is laced with images of gunmen in camouflage, rising out of the ground, moving through tunnels, and watching areas of southern Israel near the Gaza border. It is also interspersed with scenes from a rocket factory, and a close up shot of a senior Israel Defense Forces (IDF) officer, who is placed in crosshairs, before a bullet is loaded into a rifle.
“Don’t try to test the resistance,” is the video’s last message.
PIJ remains Iran’s favored proxy in the Gaza Strip, as relations between Tehran and Hamas continue to fluctuate.
The Gaza-based Al-Ansar charity, a Palestinian branch of the Iranian Martyrs Foundation, announced on May 21 that it would provide financial grants to “families of martyrs” whose relatives were killed between 2002 and 2014. A parallel Iranian funding channel is currently place for families of “martyrs” killed in the 2014 conflict with Israel.
Two Members Of Hezbollah Arrested By DOJ. They Were Surveilling Airports, Military Facilities, And The Panama Canal.
On Thursday, two members of the terrorist organization Hezbollah were arrested in the United States; one in the Bronx and one in Michigan. One was gathering information regarding operations and security at airports in the U.S. and surveilling U.S. military and law enforcement facilities in Manhattan and Brooklyn. The other was identifying areas of weakness and construction at the Panama Canal.
Ali Kourani, 32, of the Bronx, New York, was charged with providing, attempting, and conspiring to provide material support to Hezbollah; receiving and conspiring to receive military-type training from Hezbollah; a related weapons offense that is alleged to have involved, among other weapons, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher and machine guns; violating and conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA); and naturalization fraud to facilitate an act of international terrorism.
Samer el Debek, 37, of Dearborn, Michigan, aka “Samer Eldebek,” was charged with providing, attempting and conspiring to provide material support to Hezbollah; receiving and conspiring to receive military-type training from Hezbollah; use of weapons in connection with a crime of violence that is alleged to have involved, among other weapons, explosives, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, and machine guns; and violating and conspiring to violate IEEPA.
Former Official: Obama Admin ‘Systematically Disbanded’ Units Investigating Iran’s Terrorism Financing Networks
The Obama administration "systematically disbanded" law enforcement investigative units across the federal government focused on disrupting Iranian, Syrian, and Venezuelan terrorism financing networks out of concern the work could cause friction with Iranian officials and scuttle the nuclear deal with Iran, according to a former U.S. official who spent decades dismantling terrorist financial networks.
David Asher, who previously served as an adviser to Gen. John Allen at the Defense and State Departments, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee Thursday that top officials across several key law enforcement and intelligence agencies in the Obama administration "systematically disbanded" law enforcement activities targeting the terrorism financing operations of Iran, Hezbollah, and Venezuela in the lead-up to and during the nuclear negotiations with Tehran.
"Senior leadership, presiding, directing, and overseeing various sections [of these agencies] and portions of the U.S. intelligence community systematically disbanded any internal or external stakeholder action that threatened to derail the administration's policy agenda focused on Iran," he testified.
Asher now serves on the board of directors of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies' Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance and is an adjunct fellow at the Center for New American Security, two national security think tanks.
He attributed the motivation for decisions to dismantle the investigative units to "concerns about interfering with the Iran deal," a reference to the nuclear deal forged between the U.S., five other world powers, and Iran during the final years of the Obama administration.
Al-Qaeda’s Pact with Iran, and How Islamic State Broke It
On Wednesday, a group of terrorists attacked the Iranian parliament building and the tomb of Ayatollah Khomeini, killing at least twelve; Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility. Thomas Joscelyn explains the importance of this attack:
Osama bin Laden’s organization and its spin-off, IS, have fought against Iran’s proxies in Iraq and Syria for years. Killing Shiites is a blood sport for IS’s Sunni jihadists. And Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s so-called caliphate reportedly has attempted to strike inside the mullahs’ country before. The group routinely agitates against the Iranians in its videos and propaganda statements. Yet it wasn’t until now that IS successfully attacked the heart of Tehran.
Al-Qaeda’s leadership long sought to rein in the anti-Shiite violence in Iraq. . . . [U]ntil 2014, [al-Qaeda in Iraq, which later became Islamic State], abided by an order from al-Qaeda’s leaders to avoid terrorist operations inside Iranian territory and against Shiites outside of Iraq. The two sides formally split in early 2014. At that point, IS [began] waging a campaign against Shiites throughout the region—and accusing al-Qaeda of being soft on them. . . .
To this day, however, al-Qaeda avoids attacks inside Iran—at least those that can be directly attributed to the organization. (It is possible that al-Qaeda supports other regional groups that occasionally target Iranian security forces on their home turf.) Files recovered during the May 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan explain this reticence. . . .
Iranians rail against US, Saudi, Israel in mass funeral for terror victims
Iranian leaders on Friday accused the United States and Saudi Arabia of supporting the Islamic State-claimed dual attacks that killed 17 people in Tehran this week, as thousands of Iranians attended a funeral ceremony for the victims.
“Death to America,” “Death to the Saud” ruling family, and “We are not afraid,” shouted the crowd gathered behind a lorry bearing the coffins of 15 of the 17 people killed in Wednesday’s attacks.
Burials were held in the provinces for the two others killed when gunmen and suicide bombers stormed Tehran’s parliament complex and the shrine of revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Fifty people were wounded.
An Israeli flag appeared alongside the US and Saudi flags in a poster during the ceremony displaying all three dripping with read ink, ostensibly meant to symbolize blood.
The country’s Supreme Leader said the attacks will add to the hatred that Iranians harbor toward the US and Saudi Arabia.

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