Tuesday, June 13, 2017

From Ian:

Dore Gold: Untying the Gordian Knot of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
There are 58 Palestinian refugee camps in the Middle East. With the implementation of the Oslo Accords in the 1990s, 26 of these camps fell under Palestinian control. Yet there was no any indication that a single Palestinian camp was about to be closed. It was clear that the Palestinian Authority wanted these camps to be retained despite the advent of Palestinian self-government. Even the new Palestinian city in the West Bank, Rawabi, was built not for refugees, but rather for upper middle class Palestinians who could afford it.
The only explanation for this behavior was that the Palestinian leadership wanted to keep their grievance with Israel alive. In other words, they wanted to perpetuate the conflict.
The problem of UNRWA is well known among experts on the Arab-Israel conflict.
Nevertheless, the effect of letting this issue fester for generations deserves greater consideration. More than any other issue, leaving the refugee problem intact for the future undermines any possibility of reaching reconciliation between the parties. You cannot resolve a conflict and perpetuate it at the same time.
Until now, international diplomats have overlooked the Palestinian refugee issue, preferring to deal first with other dimensions of the conflict. But the Palestinians’ preparedness to finally resolve this issue is probably the best litmus test of their intentions – of whether they are ready to end the conflict once and for all. If a new peace initiative is to start, it should include at the outset a program to dismantle the refugee camps and promote a massive international effort for the construction of new housing. This initiative should begin in the West Bank but also should include Jordan, which hosts the largest Palestinian refugee population in the world.
Dismantling UNRWA is critical in this effort. It is the international caretaker of the problematic definition of refugee status for the Palestinians, which has allowed this problem to expand continually.
No international convention contains so expansive a definition of refugees. It is astounding that the international community keeps demanding concessions from Israel yet to date has not done anything about the deleterious effects of allowing UNRWA’s definition of Palestinian refugees to persist.
Alan M. Dershowitz: Why Won't Abbas Accept "Two States for Two Peoples"?
Some of the blame rests on the shoulders of Barack Obama. By applying pressure only to the Israeli side, not to the Palestinians, Obama consistently disincentivized Abbas from embracing the two-states for two-peoples paradigm. This came to a head in December when Obama allowed the U.S. not to veto the inane U.N. Resolution, under which the Western Wall and other historically Jewish sites are not recognized as part of Israel. (Recall that U.N. Resolution 181 mandated a "special international regime for the city of Jerusalem," and Jordan captured it illegally. Israel liberated Jerusalem in 1967, and allowed everybody to go to the Western Wall.)
It is a tragedy that the international community – headed by the U.N. – encourages the Palestinian Authority's rejectionism, rather than pushing it to make the painful compromises that will be needed from both sides in reaching a negotiated two-state outcome. Indeed, just a few days ago the U.N. once again demonstrated that it is a barrier to the peace-process. In his address at the U.N. General Assembly marking the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War and Israel's "occupation" of the West Bank, U.N. Secretary General, Antonio Guterres said:
"In 1947, on the basis of United Nations General Assembly resolution 181, the world recognized the two-state solution and called for the emergence of 'independent Arab and Jewish states.' On 14 May 1948, the State of Israel was born. Almost seven decades later, the world still awaits the birth of an independent Palestinian state."
Guterres failed to acknowledge that "the reason the world still awaits the birth of an independent Palestinian state" is because the Arabs rejected the U.N. partition plan, which would have given them their own state, committing instead to seven decades of undermining Israel's legitimacy.
When the Palestinian leadership and people want their own state more than they want there not to be a state for the Jewish people, the goal of the 1947 U.N. Resolution – two states for two peoples – will be achieved. A good beginning would be for Abbas finally to agree with the U.N. Resolution and say the following words: "I accept the 1947 U.N. Resolution that calls for two states for two peoples." It's not too much to ask from a leader seeking to establish a Palestinian Muslim state.
IDF Blog: 4 Reasons Why Hamas Is A Terror Organization
Hamas formed in late 1987 at the beginning of the First Intifada. The group’s charter calls for establishing an Islamic Palestinian state in place of Israel and rejects all agreements made between the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel.
Hamas’s military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades has conducted terror attacks against Israel since the 1990’s. These attacks have included suicide bombings against Israeli civilians, small-arms attacks, improvised roadside explosives, and rocket attacks.
Even as Hamas carries out terror attacks against Israeli civilians, they attempt to brand themselves as a “legitimate resistance movement”. That just isn’t true.
The definition of terror is “the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.” This is why Hamas’s actions fits that description:
1. Hamas has repeatedly called for the destruction of the State of Israel
It’s right there. Out in the open. They aren’t even trying to hide it. Their founding document explicitly says that their goal is to establish a Palestinian state in the ENTIRE State of Israel.
In Hamas’s new charter, which is said to be more “moderate”, Hamas says “Hamas rejects any alternative to the full and complete liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea.”
Hamas’s leaders haven’t been shy about their goal either. Mahmoud al-Zahar, one of the co-founders of Hamas recently said “If Hamas liberated 99.9% of the land of Palestine, it will not give up on the rest. We cannot religiously, morally or nationally give up on one inch of the land of Palestine.”
Hamas leaders, Imams, and Gazan citizens celebrate terror attacks against Israel. They teach violence in their schools. Parents praise violence in their homes. The result is clear: 75% of the Palestinians in Gaza support attacks against Israelis.
That isn’t what a neighbor looking for a life of peaceful coexistence sounds like.
2. Hamas specifically targets Israeli civilians
Hamas came to the scene during the First Intifada in the mid 1990’s. Targeting civilians has been Hamas’s MO ever since.
Between February and March 1996, Hamas carried out several suicide bus bombings, killing nearly 60 Israelis. From 2000 to 2004, Hamas was responsible for killing almost 400 Israelis and wounding more than 2,000 in 425 attacks. Read that again. 400 Israelis killed. 2,000 wounded. 425 attacks. And that’s all in just four years.
Since 2002, Hamas has spent massive amounts of time, effort, and money building and launching rockets at Israel. In 2016, Hamas spent 120 million dollars on building terror tunnels. In total, Hamas has launched over 11,000 rockets at Israeli population centers. A report written by Amnesty International found that Hamas rocket attacks showed “a flagrant disregard” for civilian lives.
This is the literal definition of terror. If you attempt to target civilians for political goals, you are engaging in terrorism. It’s that simple.



How to Send the Wrong Message to Palestinians
Does anyone seriously believe that the leaders of the Arab and Islamic countries really care whether the embassy is located in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv? Don't these leaders have enough to worry about, such as the Iranian threat to undermine the stability of their regimes and the threat of Islamic terrorism?
Does anyone seriously believe that the Arab and Muslim masses, who have to deal with massive unemployment, dictatorships and terrorism, really care whether the US embassy moves from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem?
The Palestinians were hoping that the Arab and Muslim masses would erupt over the Jewish visits to the Temple Mount, but most Arabs and Muslims remain indifferent. In fact, the Arabs and Muslims do not really care about the Palestinians; they have long turned their backs on their Palestinian brothers, who are today almost entirely dependent on American and European funding.
Moving the US embassy to Jerusalem will not lead to more anarchy. Christians in Egypt and Iraq are not being killed because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Syrians are not being systematically slaughtered because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Islamic State terror group is not butchering innocent civilians in the Arab world and some Western countries because it is upset with Jewish visits to the Temple Mount or settlement construction.
Palestinians and Arabs heaved a sigh of relief upon learning of Trump's decision to delay the transfer of the embassy to Jerusalem. They are now rubbing their hands in satisfaction and saying to themselves that threats of violence work because even someone like Trump will succumb.
In the eyes of many Arabs and Muslims, Trump is no longer the strong leader they feared a few months ago. Rather, he has proven to them that he too is susceptible to blackmail and intimidation. And when Trump caves, US credibility suffers. Had Trump gone ahead and fulfilled his promise to move the embassy, he would have earned the respect of many Arabs and Muslims, who would have looked to him as a proper leader.
Consider what happened when Trump recently ordered a missile attack on Syria, in response to the regime's continued killing of innocent civilians, including the use of poison gas. Many Arabs and Muslims took to social media to heap praise on Trump for displaying courage. If and when Trump honors his promises, he will earn even more respect in the Arab and Islamic countries.
The Six Day War, 50 years later: Still little chance for harmony in a region of perpetual conflict
As much as the Palestinians sought to draw the Arab world into a war fought on their behalf, the Arab dictators each used the Palestinian issue to satisfy their own domestic and regional interests, all the while ensuring that the refugee camps remained and the Palestinians never integrated into their respective lands. They would goad one another into war, score points against regional rivals by deriding each other’s failure to quash Zionism once and for all, and of course, use bellicose words and acts towards Israel to cement their own rule by igniting and satisfying that tempestuous creature, the “Arab street”.
While on the face of it, little has changed – the Arab world is as divided now as it was then - some crucial differences can be detected. A hatred of the Jewish state is no longer sufficient to temporarily unify the Arab nations, nor is a sense of responsibility to the Palestinians enough to draw them into wars against their own interests. Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, national security advisor to President Trump, observed “a reassessment of regional relationships, most notably between Israel and a number of Arab partners.” Egypt and Israel have been at peace since 1979. Israel and Jordan since 1994. Iran has surpassed Israel as the greatest threat to regional peace in the eyes of the Arab world. Qatar’s patronage of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups that seek the overthrow of sitting governments is of far greater concern to Egypt and Saudi Arabia than the actions of Israel.
And yet, the Palestinian question remains as vexed now as fifty years ago. Israel is justifiably wary of relinquishing captured territories to the Palestinians and again putting every Israeli civilian within thirty miles of an Arab soldier, or worse, a jihadist. After all, the 1949 armistice lines failed to hold as permanent lines of separation in 1967, and unilateral withdrawals by Israel from Gaza and south Lebanon have neither ended grievances nor violence. Meanwhile the Palestinians, now seemingly incapable of drawing their Arab patrons into full-blown war, instead seek to perpetuate the conflict through political means, advancing the narrative of their misfortune in the halls of the United Nations, the Church synod, the trade union assembly and the university campus. All in all, the prospect of a harmonious Middle East appears as fanciful now as it was in that week in June 1967.
McMaster Urges Contemporary Lessons from Israel's "Seized Initiative" in 1967 Six-Day War
In an address to Jewish activists in Washington on the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Six-Day War, U.S. national security adviser H.R. McMaster praised the way Israel “seized the initiative” by exploiting opportunities that enabled it to route seven Egyptian divisions and wrest control of the Suez Canal, all within four days of that short and decisive war.
“In June 1967, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) saw that Egyptian divisions, so formidable on paper, were built up along the major roads through the Sinai. Israel saw the spaces between them as gaps to be exploited. They seized and retained the initiative,” McMaster told a conference of the American Jewish Committee.
While today’s security landscape may seem dire, McMaster asserted that opportunities must be found and exploited, much like Israel did in 1967. “In this department, Israel has adapted and performed amazingly well. It acted on opportunities, when others might only see difficulties,” he said.
“We, as human beings and especially Americans, tend to see our own situations as unprecedented and typically, as… bad or dire,” he said. “By understanding the past, we can ensure that we ask the right questions, make fundamentally sound approaches to day’s problems and opportunities.”
As an example of potential opportunities, McMaster cited the convergence of interests among Israel and Gulf Cooperation Council states, which he said is leading to a “reassessment of regional relationships.”
“Today their interests are converging. This is an opportunity,” he said.
The UK balance of power –weighted toward Israel
When Paisley launched the Northern Ireland Friends of Israel in March 2009, he certainly drew a parallel between Israel’s and Northern Ireland’s struggles against terrorism. He also prayed for peace in Jerusalem, demonstrating another strand in the genetic makeup of the DUP – a Bible-believing Protestant background. Many members and supporters of the DUP sincerely accept the biblical basis of the Jewish people’s connection to the land.
The DUP’s support for Israel has been all the stronger, perhaps, because it is matched by fierce support for the Palestinians by their political enemies, Irish Republicans. Sinn Féin, the political wing of the republican movement, has long associated itself with the Palestinian cause. Co-operation and trading, including training and arms procurement, between the PLO and the IRA dates back to the 1970s. The connection continues. When a Sinn Féin delegation traveled to Turkey last November, a meeting with Hamas officials featured on their agenda. The visit was roundly condemned by DUP spokespeople in the Northern Ireland Assembly.
In October 2014 the UK Parliament in its wisdom decided to vote on recognizing the (non-existent) state of Palestine “alongside” the State of Israel.
The motion was passed by 274 votes to 12 – in other words only 286 MPs voted out of a total of 650 members. But the 12 stalwart No voters included all eight DUP MPs at the time.
Recent Conservative administrations have been supportive of Israel. David Cameron, the previous prime minister, counted himself a friend. Theresa May sprang to Israel’s defense after ex-US secretary of state John Kerry launched his verbal attack on Israel in the dying days of the Obama administration. It is comforting to consider that this aspect of Conservative thinking will be sustained at the highest decision-making level in the new UK administration by the dependable voice of the DUP.
Support the Anti-Qatar Coalition
That may be right, but the problem is less the president blowing up on Twitter than U.S. authorities falling too easily into the diplomatic niceties of professing eternal friendship. The simple fact is that Qatar supports destabilizing, radical movements across the region. Egyptians complain about Qatari money propping up the most radical Islamist factions in Libya, let alone the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt itself. In Syria, Qatar again acts as banker to the Islamic State alongside Turkey which acts as the group’s logistician. Qatar also props up Hamas, giving it both diplomatic protection and a line of credit which the Muslim Brotherhood offshoot uses to great effect. To negotiate with Qatar implies legitimacy to Qatar’s actions when, in reality, Qatar only has two choices: Fund Islamism or stop its nonsense.
Sure, Qatar is taking a huge financial hit. Qatar Airlines has gone, in a week, from one of the most popular international airlines to possibly facing bankruptcy. The 2022 FIFA World Cup is in doubt. Many Qatar stocks are in decline. That’s good. Terror support should carry a risk.
As for the United States, many officials worry about the future of the U.S. presence at the Al-Udeid Air Base. Here, the Pentagon shouldn’t confuse the trees for the forest. For a decade or more, Qatar has interpreted the U.S. presence as an insurance policy to enable it to avoid accountability for the worst excesses of its leadership. While U.S. authorities would like to maintain a presence there, the Al Udeid outpost should not override the broader goal of defeating extremism.
The fact of the matter is that countries like Egypt, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates are only doing what successive U.S. administrations have demanded: cracking down on extremism. The Qatar move does not come in isolation. Many of the same states have also designated Hezbollah to be a terror organization, a move demanded by U.S. diplomats under both Republican and Democratic administrations. For decades, U.S. authorities have rightly dismissed Arab diplomacy as ineffective and more comfortable with talk than action. That trend is ending. Moderate Arab states may long have turned a blind eye to terror, but they recognize that the region has paid a heavy price in terms of radicalization and blowback. It’s an epiphany long overdue. Rather than undercut its momentum, we should support the anti-Qatar action, celebrate those behind it, and undercut countries like Turkey, Pakistan, and Iran that are running to Qatar’s defense.
White House: Middle East Crisis Sparked By Trump’s Demand to End Support for Extremists Groups
A percolating crisis in the Middle East over a top U.S. military ally's support for extremist terror groups was ignited by President Donald Trump's demand that U.S. allies in the Arab world end their support for Islamic extremism, according to senior U.S. officials familiar with the situation.
Trump is seeking a more active role in mediating a growing dispute between leading Arab nations and Qatar, a U.S. counterterrorism ally that has long provided financial support to the very terror groups it has vowed to fight.
Trump's recent trip to the Middle East—where he publicly and privately urged top Arab allies such as Saudi Arabia to crackdown on Islamic extremism—is said to have sparked a regional dispute with Qatar, thrusting the country's issues with terrorism financing into the spotlight, sources told the Washington Free Beacon.
U.S. officials, both inside and outside the White House, have long avoided the thorny issue of Qatar's support for terrorism in an effort to preserve military relations with the country, which hosts a major U.S. air base that is a central front in the war against terror.
Trump's focus on Qatar is said to be part of a larger regional strategy that focuses on strangling financial support for terror organizations that long benefited from Arab governments turning a blind eye to the issue.
Trump’s push to crackdown on this type of behavior—not just in Qatar—is said to have fueled the diplomatic break with Qatar earlier this month, which saw several leading Arab nations led by Saudi Arabia ceasing all diplomatic ties with the energy-rich nation.
Education minister heckled, booed at Haaretz peace conference
Habayit Hayehudi leader and Education Minister Naftali Bennett was heckled and booed while speaking at the Israel Conference for Peace hosted by Haaretz newspaper in Tel Aviv on Monday. The focus of this year's conference was the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War.
Bennett told the audience members they were "disconnected" from the rest of the country, which he said agrees with him that "a united Jerusalem is preferable to a diplomatic accord" with the Palestinians.
The remark drew boos from the audience, and one participant raised her arm in a Nazi salute.
Bennett then asked the audience to "let me speak, as you would have let [archterrorist and former Fatah official Marwan] Barghouti talk."
Bennett said that "over 85% of the audience here doesn't agree with what I said -- as opposed to over 85% of the Israeli public" that he said does share his views, according to recent polls.
The old guard that attended the Haaretz conference is still trying to sacrifice itself on the altar of a collapsed peace paradigm.
At Monday's big conference of dinosaurs, otherwise known as the Israel Peace Conference (sponsored by the Haaretz newspaper), the speech by New Israel Fund President Talia Sasson stood out.
Sasson isn't good at rhetoric; she spills her heart out. So it's easy to pick out of her speech the avowed stance for which she was chosen to lead the fund. In the speeches I've heard her make, she quickly identifies the enemy: "the settlers."
But the Israeli majority sees the settlements as a solution both to security issues at the heart of the country and a discourse about the rights of the Jewish people to their land. It's hard to find any discourse about Jewish rights among Sasson or her organization.
In her speech, Sasson said, "In the lack of any opposition that puts up a battle to defend Israeli democracy and Palestinian human rights, human rights groups are glowing in their isolation." This one sentence distills the New Israel Fund's raison d'etre: a combative political opposition that will take the place of the official Knesset opposition, which isn't "doing its job." At the end of her speech, she expressly suggested founding a political party in the spirit of what she was saying ("not under the auspices of the New Israel Fund" -- sure, sure).
PreOccupiedTerritory: Latest Haaretz Conference Manages To Weed Out Presenters Shoving Objects Up Rectum (satire)
A “Peace Conference” convened by one of Israel’s most venerable dailies succeeded in avoiding a phenomenon that had plagued previous events organized by the same publication, that of speakers at the conference inserting things in their anuses.
While today’s Haaretz Peace Conference was marred by a woman in the audience greeting Minister of Education Naftali Bennett with a Nazi salute, attendees noted the absence of anyone on stage shoving an Israeli flag up his butt, and remarked on the progress that has been made since the last Haaretz conference in that regard.
“Baby steps, you know?” offered Ayn Nali, a journalist who attended both events. “The Nazi salute was unfortunate, but you know what happens when a person assumes the moral high ground as a birthright. Maybe next time Haaretz will even be able to generate attention without some provocation. But maybe not.”
“They could try some actual journalism,” suggested Walter Duranty of The New York Times. “It’s important to carry the opinions even of controversial voices such as Gideon Levy and Amira Haas, but let’s not forget the raison d’être of a newspaper is news. Factual, sober reporting of real news. Not the crap they try to pass off as truthful reporting. But what would I know, you know? I’ve never shoved an Israeli flag in my backside to make a political point. Maybe it accomplishes something of which I’m unaware. They are, after all, ‘the newspaper for thinking people.'”
The world must finally awaken to the UN refugee agency's failures in the Palestinian territories
At its root, UNRWA effectively argues that — regardless of the reality — all Palestinians are refugees and victims of an Israeli "occupation." The organization has financial and political interests in maintaining this fiction: As long as the Palestinians are refugees, UNRWA is in business. Success is measured by the contributions it receives and prerogatives it assumes.
As a case in point, UNRWA released a statement marking the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War stating, "The occupation remains a key obstacle to the realization of a just and lasting solution for the seven-decade-long plight of Palestine refugees, and it continues to be one of the most salient aspects of a historical injustice that has cast a shadow over their lives since 1948."

Israel's historic position and ongoing U.S. funding have created a situation that has promoted Palestinian rejectionism, and which does not advance the cause of peace, or U.S. interests in the Middle East. UNRWA learned long ago to wave the bloody shirt, proclaim its formal neutrality and act as unofficial Palestinian spokesman.
But with hundreds of thousands of real refugees flooding over the Middle East and Europe, UNRWA's claims, along with those of Palestinian refugees kept in camps by Arab states, ring more and more hollow.
If the State of Israel has finally begun to see UNRWA as part of the problem rather than a permanent band-aid, there may be a real chance to remove one problem that has long ensured that conflict will never end.
The only solution to the ‘right of return’
The Arab refugees from the War of Independence are a unique phenomenon. The Arab states they arrived in (apart from Jordan) refused to take them in, held them in refugee camps, which still exist, and convinced the United Nations to create a special agency for those refugees (UNRWA). That led to the creation of a system in which the “refugee” status is passed on from one generation to the next, producing “refugees” who are the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of the original refugees, and there are millions of them now. They were all raised on hatred to Israel and on their “right” to return to their homes (most of which no longer exist). That is also how the Palestinian refugee diaspora became an inexhaustible source for recruiting fighters to terror organizations.
The invention of eternal “refugeeism,” which is passed on from one generation to another, was aimed of course at provoking Israel and serving as one of the tools for its destruction. These millions of “refugees,” who have learned from their early days that they are “entitled” to return to Israel and are expecting that to happen, have naturally become an obstacle to peace.
As far as Israel is concerned, this is an existential problem. If these “refugees” return into its boundaries, it will lead to Israel’s destruction as a Jewish state. As far as the Palestinians are concerned, this is a basic demand they are unwilling to give up. This creates, however, an internal contradiction: The Palestinian leadership says it wants peace (which means recognizing Israel’s right to exist), yet it keeps supporting the right of return (which will lead to Israel’s destruction). In short, peace with Israel and the right of return cannot live under the same roof.
The “refugee” issue remained unresolved in the Oslo Agreements. The Israeli side must have deluded itself that the Palestinians would give up the right of return. That didn’t happen. We have often wondered how Yasser Arafat turned down Ehud Barak’s peace proposal and why Ehud Olmert’s proposal was met with a similar refusal from Mahmoud Abbas. In my opinion, the refugee issue was their main consideration. They were unwilling to sign a peace agreement, as generous as it may be, which would require them to waive the right of return.
People are now talking about a regional peace agreement, which will include the Sunni states. This kind of peace must involve a solution to the refugee problem and a concession of the “right of return.” In this gradual process, we will have to insist on an initial settlement of the “refugees” in Arab countries, where they will receive all the rights granted to the rest of the residents. This will require economic incentives both for the “refugees” themselves and for the countries that take them in. Trust-building steps in this direction, in addition to trust-building steps on the Israeli side, will create real progress towards peace.
UN chief stands by UNRWA
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday dismissed calls by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to shut down UNRWA, the UN agency for “Palestinian refugees”.
Netanyahu’s call came after terror tunnels were discovered underneath one of UNRWA’s schools in Gaza.
Guterres "is concerned about recent public criticism of UNRWA and the integrity of its operations," spokesman Farhan Haq said, according to AFP.
"He wishes to express his support for UNRWA and his admiration for the role it plays in delivering essential services and protecting the rights of millions of Palestine refugees across the Middle East."
Guterres also "calls on all member states to continue their support to the agency in order for UNRWA to be in a position to fulfill impartially and efficiently its essential role," Haq added.
UNRWA: If You Don't Give the Palestinians Money, They'll All Join ISIS
I don't know about you, but this makes me more eager to give them money. Why settle for just giving Hamas members money, when you can give potential ISIS members money?
After Netanyahu called for rolling UNRWA, a UN agency that exists just to cater to local Muslim settlers, into UNHCR, the regular UN agency, the UNRWA spokesman did his best Iraqi Minister of Information routine.
Adnan Abu Hasna, a Gaza-based spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), said Netanyahu was pursuing a "fantasy".
Abu Hasna, speaking in Hebrew on Israel Radio, cautioned that if "UNRWA is gone" in the Gaza Strip, where its food, educational and health services are crucial, "two million people will turn into IS (Islamic State) supporters.

Well now that you put it that way...
Knowing that, according to the UNRWA, everyone in Gaza will switch from Hamas (which currently dominates the UNRWA) to ISIS just makes me much more sympathetic to them.
UN corrects job posting listing location following JPost report
After The Jerusalem Post discovered a job offer listing its location as “Jerusalem, Palestine (State of)” on the website for the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), the listing was corrected to only read “Jerusalem”.
A UNOPS spokesperson apologized for the original terminology, calling it a “logistical oversight”.
“Our teams took immediate action to correct it.” they told the Post. “The location mentioned in this job posting was an oversight and is in no way a political statement by UNOPS.”
“We remain committed to constructive cooperation with the Government of Israel,” the spokesperson added.
The vacancy for the job, which is for a Local Access Associate, was also cancelled online, making it impossible to apply for it.
The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), headquartered in Copenhagen, is the operational arm of the United Nations. Its role is to implement projects for the United Nations, international financial institutions, governments and others dealing with international aid. It conducts some 1,000 projects yearly and employs about 7,000 personnel spread across 80 countries.
After being made aware of the posting by The Jerusalem Post earlier on Monday, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon had called on Under-Secretary-General and UNOPS Executive Director Grete Faremo, to remove the job posting from the site and institute immediate reforms.
Egyptian U.N. Chair Refuses to Thank UN Watch Director for Speech
The chair of today’s UN Human Rights Council debate, council vice-president Amr Ahmed Ramadan of Egypt, broke with parliamentary protocol and refused to thank the representative of UN Watch after he challenged a new report that blames Israel for when Palestinian men commit violence against women, and asked why Islamic preachers of wife-beating were ignored.
The U.N. expert — who slammed Israeli counter-terrorism measures for their “gendered impact” on Palestinian women yet failed to cite Palestinian stabbings or rocket attacks for their “gendered impact” on Israeli women — failed to answer UN Watch director Hillel Neuer’s question about the source of her data for blaming Israel for Palestinian violence against women. See below.
UN Watch: UN: "When Palestinian men beat their wives, it's Israel's fault." UNW: "Where is the data?"


Jpost Editorial: Kurdish referendum
Iraqi Kurds’ have finally set a date for a long-discussed referendum on independence. The time of the move, announced last week by Kurdistan Regional Government President Masoud Barzani, gives Israel a unique opportunity to openly support democratic self-determination for the Kurds.
The Jerusalem Post has supported full Kurdish political sovereignty for both moral and geopolitical reasons. In 2014 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave his support, as have Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman. But the timing of the referendum, slated to take place in September in provinces controlled by the Kurds in northern Iraq, is particularly auspicious.
The conflict between Qatar and a coalition of Sunni nations that includes Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, has opened the way for broader Sunni support for Kurdish self-determination. Israel would not be alone in calling for the Kurds to be given the right to decide if they want independence. The US – which under the Obama administration refrained from supporting Kurdish independence in deference to Turkey – might now change course under US President Donald Trump due to the new geopolitical situation.
Shortly after Barzani announced the referendum, Saudi Arabia came out in support. Other Sunni states in the Saudi-led coalition will likely follow. The reason for Saudi support is not a new-found affinity with the Kurds but the conflict with Qatar. Turkey has sided with Qatar in its clash with the Saudi-led coalition. And one way the Saudis can punish Turkey is by coming out in favor of Barzani’s referendum initiative.
Why Israel should recognize an independent Kurdistan
The Kurds passionately believe that their culture, language and historic destiny can be best realized by granting them the same rights that other nations possess.
“Only Kurdish strength, a Kurdish military force and a Kurdish state can guarantee that the Kurdish people will be able to live a normal life, the kind of life a nation that has its own state can lead,” Israeli scholar Dr. Mordechai Kedar proclaimed. “This is first and foremost an ethical position. They are not immigrants, they are not invaders and they will not go anywhere else. The West and particularly Israel must take a moral stance – which also happens to be a realistic stance – and support, both in word and deed, the legitimate rights of the Kurds to full independence and to a state like all the other peoples of the world. That is the only way to free them from decades of suffering brought on by long-extinct colonial interests.
“All those nations so eager to recognize a Palestinian people, a fictitious people whose existence was unknown before the 1970s, a people without its own language, culture, ethnicity or territory – let’s hear them for the Kurds. The Kurds are a real nation, much more deserving of recognition and rights than the virtual Palestinian people.”
Within the Arab world, it is critical to note that many perceive the Kurds in the same manner that they view the State of Israel.
For example, according to an article written by Ofra Bengio in The Middle East Quarterly, in 1966, then Iraqi defense minister Abd al-Aziz al-Uqayli blamed the Kurds of Iraq for seeking to establish “a second Israel” in the Middle East. He also claimed that “the West and the East are supporting the rebels to create [khalq] a new Israeli state in the north of the homeland as they had done in 1948 when they created Israel. It is as if history is repeating itself.”
According to Bengio, these conceptions speak volumes about both how the Kurds and the State of Israel are perceived in the Middle East. She argued that these obstacles that both nations face in the Arab world alongside the similarities between both peoples create a common affinity between the Jews and the Kurds. For all the above reasons, Israelis should support the Kurds in realizing their national aspirations.
Netanyahu: Israel not seeking escalation over Gaza electricity crisis
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday distanced Israel from responsibility for the worsening electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip, saying the matter was an internal Palestinian dispute between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.
Israel has “no interest in an escalation with Hamas,” the prime minister added.
Netanyahu’s comments came a day after the Israeli security cabinet decided Sunday night it would cut the amount of power it supplies to Gaza, at the request of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas who is seeking to ramp up pressure on Hamas, the ruling party in the Strip and his Fatah party’s bitter rival.
Hamas responded to the decision by saying Monday it would have “disastrous and dangerous” results that could lead to an outbreak of violence.
Speaking at ceremony to launch a major housing construction drive in the central Israeli town of Be’er Yaakov, Netanyahu said Israel was not seeking a confrontation with the Hamas terror group.
Settler rabbi who praised attacks on Arabs indicted for incitement
A settler rabbi who praised and encouraged attacks against Palestinians in two articles was indicted Tuesday on charges of incitement to violence.
The charge sheet against Yitzhar settlement rabbi Yosef Elitzur cited two inflammatory articles written by the controversial teacher and columnist in 2013. Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit approved the indictment against Elitzur, filed Tuesday at the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court.
Elitzur is the co-author of the controversial “Torat Hamelech” book, which suggested that Jewish law permits killing non-Jews in certain circumstances, though he has faced no charges of incitement to violence for that text.
In the first article, published online a day after the murder of Evyatar Borovsky, an Israeli father of five, in a West Bank terror attack in July 2013, Elitzur praised Jews who carried out hate crimes against Palestinians as “buds of a growing public that take responsibility for the security of the Jews.” He wrote that such assailants represented a vision for a government that truly represents the Jewish people.
Amid boycott of Qatar, Israel mulls expelling al-Jazeera
Israel is reportedly considering closing down the al-Jazeera news bureau in Jerusalem alongside a broader Sunni Arab campaign to pressure the Gulf nation of Qatar over its close ties to Iran and backing for terror groups.
The satellite news network is based in Qatar and is seen by much of the region as loyal to the monarchy. On Monday, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman called the Qatari network a propaganda organ “of the sort [that was found in] Nazi Germany.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened on Monday the first meeting between relevant agencies, including the Foreign Ministry, Shin Bet security service, Government Press Office and Defense Ministry, to explore the possibility of shutting the bureau, the Yedioth Ahronoth daily reported on Tuesday. Preliminary staff work for the move has begun in all four agencies.
Saudi Arabia and Jordan have already closed the al-Jazeera bureaus in their territories, but the move might be more difficult for Israel. Most of al-Jazeera’s 34 employees in Israel are Israeli citizens, according to the report, so their right to work in the country in any business that isn’t illegal is protected under the Basic Law: Freedom of Vocation. In addition, al-Jazeera would likely appeal to the High Court of Justice against any state move to shut it down, claiming freedom of the press.
Even if the courts approve the closure in the end, the process could delay the proceedings until after the current diplomatic crisis between Qatar and Sunni Arab states blows over.
Netanyahu considering closing down Al Jazeera offices in Israel
There have been numerous calls to close Al Jazeera's offices in the country over the last few years because of the network's negative coverage of Israel.
However, concerns such a move would be a PR disaster for Israel along with the fact most of Al Jazeera's 34 employees are Israeli Arabs have so far stayed the government's hand on the matter.
"Israel, along with the Arab states, sees Al Jazeera as a danger, a media body similar to those in Nazi Germany," Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Monday.
Walid al-Omari, Al Jazeera's bureau chief in Jerusalem, defended the network, telling Ynet on Tuesday, "We don't incite against Israel or anyone else."
"We convey the news. It's not our fault if the news is ugly," al-Omari added. "We convey everything that happens to our viewers and to our target audience. In Israel, we put on air people from the government and the opposition, the right and the left, and even settlers... Even the prime minister himself was on our channel when he was the head of the opposition in 2009."
He said the fact Israel is considering closing down the network's offices in the country is a form of incitement. "I don't know why Israel needs to be dragged after everything that happens in the Arab world... Al Jazeera is a media body that operates lawfully and legally in Israel and in other country in the world," al-Omari claimed.
Al Jazeera is expected to petition the Supreme Court against such a move. "We've been in this type of situation many times, be it in Israel, in Arab countries, or in other places," he said.
"The Israeli government can't force itself on the world... and behave like a dark dictatorship. This is unacceptable," al-Omari added.
Advisor to Abbas - The Western wall "is our property"
The Western Wall is historically one of Judaism's holiest sites, but according to Mahmoud Alhabash, religious affairs adviser of PA Chairman Abbas, "It is our mosque and our wall, it is our property."
To reject the Jewish connection to the Western Wall is to deny Israel's right to exist. Peace between Israelis and Palestinians can only be achieved once Palestinians recognize both.


Hamas detains man who criticized calls to protest Israel at border
Gaza’s Hamas rulers have detained a young man who criticized the Islamic militant group’s call for protests at the border that have set off deadly clashes with Israeli troops.
Mohammed al-Taluli’s family said Monday the 25-year-old was detained by Hamas after posting a video on YouTube in which he accused the group of “pushing the youths to death” to stay in power.
For weeks, Palestinians have rallied at the Gaza fence against living conditions in the impoverished coastal territory.
Hamas, considered a terror group by Israel and many others, has encouraged the protests.
Youths have thrown rocks at Israeli soldiers, and two Palestinians have been killed in the clashes.
Egypt said to offer Hamas electricity in exchange for 17 wanted men
Egypt offered Hamas more freedom at its border and much-needed electricity amid a severe power shortage, in exchange for the terror group agreeing to a list of security demands, Arab media reported Tuesday.
The list of includes a demand that Hamas hand over 17 men wanted by Cairo on terrorism charges, more protection by Hamas at the border, the cessation of weapons smuggling into the Sinai, and information on the movement of militants into Gaza via underground tunnels, the London-based Arabic daily Asharq al-Awsat reported.
The list was given to Hamas’s Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar by Egyptian security officials during his nine-day trip to Cairo that ended on Monday.
UAE Red Crescent Society: Hamas Sabotaged Humanitarian Aid Distribution in Gaza
The secretary-general of the Red Crescent Society of the United Arab Emirates accused Hamas on Monday of attempting to prevent the distribution of humanitarian aid in the Gaza Strip.
According to Secretary-General Mohamed Ateeq Al-Falahi, the Red Crescent's staff was stationed at a UAE field hospital in the strip during the 2014 Operation Protective Edge when Hamas fighters began provoking Israeli forces by firing rockets from that hospital.
This led Israel to attack the hospital as the launch point for the rockets, thus sabotaging the distribution of the humanitarian aid.
"This shows (Hamas's) wicked intentions and how they scarified us," said Al-Falahi. "They always claim the enemy targets humanitarian envoys, but the betrayal came from them."
When the Red Crescent team was leaving Gaza, Hamas "accused us of being spies, undercover foreign intelligences who were escaping."
When they left the strip through Sinai, Al-Falahi said Hamas had apparently informed "extremist militias in Sinai... that there was a group making their way there, so prepare for jihad against them... as we stopped at a grocery store to buy something to eat, they started shooting at us."
In addition, he said, the Red Crescent team learned those extremist militias had also planted landmines a few kilometers down the road.
Egypt parliament committee passes Saudi islands deal
A controversial agreement for Cairo to hand over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia passed an Egyptian parliamentary committee Tuesday, setting the stage for a vote in the house.
The Egyptian parliament’s legislative committee approved the treaty after heated debate, with opponents even interrupting one session with chanting. The agreement passed with 35 lawmakers for and eight against, member of parliament Mostafa Bakry told AFP.
The parliament’s defense committee will also examine the accord before it goes to a general vote.
Courts had struck down the agreement, signed in April 2016, but a year later another court upheld it.
The accord had sparked rare protests in Egypt, with President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi accused of having bartered the islands of Tiran and Sanafir for Saudi largesse.
Hezbollah Official’s Family Accuses Iran’s Terror Proxy of Corruption, Drug Trafficking
Some family members of the Hezbollah-linked minister of industry in Lebanon have accused the Shiite jihadist group, considered Iran’s terrorist proxy, of drug trafficking and embezzling money.
The accusations came after Lebanese authorities arrested two drug traffickers on June 8, including the nephew of Minister Hussein al-Hajj Hassan. “Following the arrest, two contradictory statements were issued by the minister’s family,” reports the Saudi-friendly Al Arabiya. “One attacked Hezbollah and accused it of drug trafficking and embezzling money while the other defended it.”
For years, the U.S. government has been warning against Iran and Hezbollah’s criminal activities in the Western Hemisphere, particularly drug trafficking and money laundering in Latin America.
While authorities have long accused the terrorist group of laundering money of drug smugglers and other narco-terrorists, it appears the terror proxy is struggling to keep some of its members from stealing the organization’s money.
In May 2016, the U.S. Department of Treasury declared that the Shiite terrorist group finds itself in dire financial straits.
Nevertheless, one of the statements from al-Hajj Hassan’s family accused the several Hezbollah members of corruption, including millions of dollars worth of fraud and embezzlement.
The 'Israeli spy' affair Lebanon is obsessed with
Lebanon has been engaged in recent days with "the uncovering of a Mossad spy network" in the country. As the reports mount, more and more new details regarding the alleged espionage network are emerging in local media.
The affair allegedly began with the arrest a month and a half ago of "an Israeli security service agent holding an Iraqi citizenship."
According to a report by Lebanese media, an investigation of the man masterminding the spy ring revealed that the network was operating for a military security body called TASA ELITE and run by Israeli officers based in Kurdistan.
The reports in Lebanese media explained that TASA ELITE's purpose was to gather information throughout the Arab world, specifically in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, reportedly under the guise of "fighting terrorism" or "nations that support terror."
The Iraqi citizen, who was arrested after being closely tracked in Lebanon for a certain period, has been named as Marbin Ben Y, and hails from Dahoc, a region in northern Iraq. He lives in a-Sabtia in Eastern Beirut.
According to the reports, the investigation revealed that the suspect in question has been active since 2011, the year the Arab Spring had erupted across the Middle East. It was further claimed that the suspect had joined Kurdish Peshmerga forces in their fighting. He was also accused of "managing security and military cooperation with Israel and... even publicly hosting Israeli security advisers, claiming that they are fighting together against ISIS."




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