Monday, September 18, 2017

From Ian:

PMW: Fatah Spokesman: Fatah will never recognize Israel
Fatah and Hamas announced yesterday that they are moving ahead towards Palestinian reconciliation and possible national elections. While the international community is waiting to see the final terms of a Palestinian unity agreement, the fundamental messages of non-recognition of Israel and support for the use of terror against Israel are principles that Fatah and Hamas already agree upon.

Speaking last month on Fatah-run Awdah TV, Fatah spokesman Osama Al-Qawasmi forcefully told Hamas that it should not recognize Israel, since Fatah itself does not recognize and will never recognize Israel.

Fatah-run Awdah TV host: "Has the Fatah Movement recognized Israel in its political platform until now?
Fatah Spokesman Osama Al-Qawasmi: "Certainly not. This is not required, and we will not recognize Israel... I declare this clearly and in a satellite channel broadcast: ‘My friends, Hamas, you should not recognize Israel, you are not required to. The PLO, the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, sent a letter of mutual recognition of the State of Israel, on Sept. 12, 1993. You are not required to.'"
[Fatah-run Awdah TV, Aug. 23, 2017]

It should be noted, that Mahmoud Abbas the chairman of the Palestinian Authority is also the chairman of Fatah and the PLO. The Palestinian leadership employs double messages depending on who it is speaking to. Palestinian Media Watch has documented that Fatah regularly reminds Palestinians that it does not recognize Israel's existence or right to exist. Fatah and the PA regularly teach Palestinian children to see all Israeli cities such as Jaffa and Haifa as "occupied" Palestinian cities that will eventually be under Palestinian sovereignty. When speaking to the international community, however, Abbas focuses not on Fatah's non-recognition of Israel but on the PLO's one letter of recognition of Israel, written in 1993.


Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians Imprison Journalists for Exposing Corruption
Hajer Harb, a courageous Palestinian journalist, has been found guilty by Hamas of exposing corruption in the health system in the Gaza Strip. On September 13, a Hamas court sentenced her to six months in prison and a fine. It was the first sentence of its kind to be passed on a female journalist in the Gaza Strip.

Harb, however, is unlikely to serve her prison term in the near future; she recently left the Gaza Strip to Jordan, where she is receiving medical treatment after being diagnosed with cancer.

Her illness, however, did not stop Hamas from pursuing legal measures against her for her role in exposing corruption in the Palestinian health system. Instead of suspending the legal proceedings against her, the Hamas court chose to sentence her to prison in absentia.

If and when she recovers from her illness and returns to the Gaza Strip, Harb will be arrested and sent to prison for six months. She will also be required to pay the 1000 shekel ($250) fine that was imposed on her by the Hamas court.

Harb's ordeal began in June 2016, when she published an investigative report that disclosed how Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) were using medical care to blackmail Palestinian patients. Her report exposed how some physicians and Hamas and PA officials were demanding bribes in return for issuing permits to patients to leave the Gaza Strip for medical treatment in Israel, the West Bank and some Arab and Western countries. Those who cannot afford to pay the bribes are left to die in understaffed and under-equipped Palestinian hospitals, the report revealed.
Elliott Abrams: “Like-Minded” Dictatorships and the United Nations
The United Nations General Assembly is about to open, with the traditional lead-off speech by the president of Brazil followed by the president of the United States. The speeches and activities this year will, as usual, be a mix of the interesting and the dull, the consequential and the useless, the honest and the hypocritical.

Whatever the speeches say, why can’t the UN get more done to promote freedom? The Preamble to the UN Charter says the organization’s purpose is “to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights” but the organization has at best a very mixed record on doing so.

The answer is clear: so many member states are themselves dictatorships that engage in horrible human rights violations—and they stick together. The latter point is key: the worst countries are far more united in protecting human rights abuses than the democracies are in protecting human rights.

One important mechanism for this protection of human rights abuses is the so-called “Like-Minded Group,” consisting usually of Algeria, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bhutan, China, Cuba, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe. As a superb new Human Rights Watch report on China’s own abuses of the UN system, entitled The Costs of International Advocacy, states:

These countries have demonstrated political solidarity in the [Security] Council and have worked together to weaken the universality of human rights standards and resist the Council’s ability to adopt country-specific approaches. They have shielded repressive governments from scrutiny by filling speakers’ lists with promoters of these countries’ human rights records during Universal Periodic Reviews, and giving uncritical statements from friendly governments and Government-Organized NGOs (GONGOs).



US intervening at UN in Israel's favor
The United States is stepping up moves within the United Nations to change the anti-Israel bias that characterizes many of the organization's member countries.

Arutz Sheva has learned that Vice President Mike Pence is expected to hold a special session on Tuesday, the day Prime Minister Netanyahu addresses the UN General Assembly, on what a senior American official defines as "the faulty behavior of the various organizational bodies."

The senior American official said that a main agenda item of the Vice President will be the UN Human Rights Council and its unfair treatment of Israel.

"The Vice President intends to call during the discussion to change the discourse toward Israel, and especially to warn that the US will have to take unpleasant steps if the intensive preoccupation with the State of Israel continues while human rights issues in other places are completely neglected."

At present, any Human Rights Council meeting must include a discussion on Israeli human rights violations. A precedent in this spirit was accepted in the past and implemented without question. Israeli diplomacy has been struggling with this for a long time, and now will gain a significant boost from the Vice President.
America’s envoy says UN ‘Israel bashing’ becoming more balanced
America’s ambassador to the United Nations said Sunday that US President Donald Trump has brought about change at the global body that is seeing Israel get a fairer treatment than in the past.

Reviewing what to expect from Trump’s upcoming speech at the UN General Assembly this coming week, Nikki Haley told CNN’s “State of the Union” that it is “a new day at the UN.”

In the past, she said, “I think we saw a United Nations where the United States was giving over 25 percent of the funding and being utterly disrespected, the United Nations was bashing Israel every chance they get.”

“A United Nations that talked a lot, didn’t have a lot of action. Now we can say it is a new day at the UN, what are you now seeing is the Israel bashing has become more balanced.”

She also raised the prospect of US military action against North Korea if the North continues its missile and nuclear tests.

North Korea will be “destroyed” if it continues with what she describes as “reckless” behavior, Haley said that the UN Security Council has basically exhausted its diplomatic options for dealing with North Korea.

If diplomacy fails, she said US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis “will take care of it.”


Humanitarian Exemption Will Not Weaken Thrust of US Legislation Targeting Palestinian Authority Terror Payments, Supporters Say
The provisions of legislation on Palestinian Authority funding of terrorism currently before the US Senate have not been watered down by a new amendment based on humanitarian concerns, supporters of the bill said on Sunday.

Following the passage of the Taylor Force Act by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in August, its sponsors accepted an amendment on September 8 which would enable continued funding for Palestinian humanitarian projects that are not connected to the PA. The amendment was demanded by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), who voted against the Act in the Foreign Relations Committee, but now supports the legislation. Booker had met with sustained criticism over his original stance.

A prominent supporter of the legislation told The Algemeiner on Sunday that the amendment does not change the goal of stopping the PA from using international aid to “incentivize violence against Israeli and American citizens.” The main target of the legislation is the PA’s of paying salaries and benefits to convicted terrorists and their families at a cost of more than $300 million annually.

The act is named in memory of Taylor Force — a former US Army officer and veteran of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars who was murdered in Tel Aviv in a Palestinian stabbing attack in March 2016. The 28-year-old Force, a Vanderbilt University graduate student, had been visiting Israel as part of a school-organized spring break trip.
Trump Condemns Those Who Spread Antisemitism, Expresses Hope for Mideast Peace in Call With Jewish Leaders
The debate has gone on for weeks among rabbis and Jewish leaders: If President Donald Trump does not formally renounce white supremacists, is it still worth engaging in a conversation with him?

This was on much of the Jewish community’s mind since Aug. 23, when the leaders of three religious streams — Reconstructionist, Reform and Conservative — said they would not organize the annual pre-Rosh Hashanah call with the president, which the rabbinical groups had instituted at the start of the Obama administration. That call, principally for clergy, was aimed at helping to shape High Holidays.
US Jewish Leaders Slam UN Human Rights Chief Over Pursuit of Anti-Israel Economic ‘Blacklist’
The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations has expressed alarm over reports that United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, is writing to firms regarding the “blacklist” of companies doing business in or with Israeli companies in eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank.

“It is damaging enough that the High Commissioner felt he was required to ‘produce’ this database of enterprises doing business in the settlements,” said Stephen M. Greenberg, Chairman and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the Conference, in a statement released on Friday.

“There is no acceptable justification for the High Commissioner to go beyond what is called for in this biased measure,” they said. “Any further action exacerbates the damage already caused by the resolution.”

They said that Al Hussein, “by informing businesses that they are on the ‘blacklist’… will be complicit in furthering the unacceptable aims of the resolution and promoting the economic warfare waged against Israel by the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.” Hoenlein and Greenberg added that the “grossly discriminatory ‘blacklist’ was compiled through an undisclosed process overseen by the High Commissioner and his staff,” following the passage of “a blatantly anti-Israel resolution” by the Human Rights Council in March 2016.
Lobbying against Iran deal, PM to ‘connect dots’ to Syria, UN envoy says
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will lay out a comprehensive case against Iran in his speech Tuesday at the United Nations, “connecting the dots” between the nuclear deal and Tehran’s desire to establish itself militarily on Israel’s northern border, Israel’s ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said Sunday.

Netanyahu will make plain that in Jerusalem’s view the Iran nuclear pact must not be left intact, Danon said.

“The issue of North Korea is concerning, but we care about the Middle East. Iran will be major part of the prime minister’s speech, regarding the nuclear agreement but also what they are doing today in the region,” Danon told The Times of Israel.

Preventing Iran’s entrenchment on the Golan Heights, via its proxy Hezbollah, as part of an agreement to end the Syrian civil war “is the most important issue for Israel today,” Danon, a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party, said.
Peace talks take back seat on Trump’s UN agenda
The Trump administration’s push for peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians will not feature prominently this week at the UN General Assembly, where the president, on his first trip there, will prioritize more pressing national security concerns, officials told The Jerusalem Post.

In his first address to the international body – often the subject of his administration’s criticism – President Donald Trump is expected to focus more on his showdown with North Korea, Iran’s nuclear program and the broad threat of violent religious extremism.

But to his Middle East peace team, the negotiations process continues on its long trajectory, next to which the UN assembly is merely a fixed week on the calendar.

“Achieving peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians remains one of the president’s highest priorities, but the United Nations meetings will primarily focus on other issues and serve as check-in opportunities,” one White House official told the Post.

“Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt and Dina Powell just came off of a very productive trip to the region, and those peace conversations are continuing at a steady pace and will be mostly separate from the United Nations meetings.”

While the administration’s peace team is not expected to make tangible progress in New York, Trump himself will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas around his speech on Tuesday.

And Trump’s national security adviser, H. R. McMaster, says he will likely raise his hopes for peace with virtually every foreign leader he meets during the week.
Abbas to give 'important' speech at UN
Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the official spokesman of Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas, said on Sunday that Abbas will deliver an important speech to the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, "which will define the characteristics of the next stage."

He added that Abbas’s visit to New York is intended mainly to convey a diplomatic message to the international community and to meet U.S. President Donald Trump in order to examine the administration’s future actions in the Middle East.

Abu Rudeineh added that Abbas would present the Palestinian Arab position which calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state within the pre-1967 borders, and would also discusses the PA’s greatest political achievement in 2012, when the UN General Assembly recognized "Palestine" as a non-member observer state.

He reiterated the PA’s opposition to a temporary state, a separate state in Gaza, a state with no borders and expanded autonomy.

Abbas has traditionally used his speeches at the UN General Assembly to lash out against Israel and make false accusations against the Jewish state.
5 options for Trump as the nuclear clock ticks on Iran deadline
Trump’s options vary from merely enforcing the deal’s provisions to ending the deal immediately to everything in-between.

OPTION 1: Enforce the deal’s provisions
Obama administration alumni and a group of disarmament experts who supported the deal emphasize that the deal is working. They say that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has consistently said Iran is complying with its obligations. Accordingly, they say no changes are needed, just continued careful enforcement of the deal’s provisions including the IAEA’s monitoring of Iran.

OPTION 2: End the deal immediately
The deal’s harshest critics, including many Republicans and many disarmament experts who opposed the deal, want the deal ended with no asterisks and the sooner the better. They believe the deal merely gave Iran sanctions relief and a free hand to promote more terror in the Middle East.

OPTION 3: Keep the deal and certify Iran as compliant for now, but try to renegotiate the deal’s terms
This is an in-between option closer to keeping the deal, but starts from a point of greater skepticism.

Experts backing this approach are usually critical of the deal, but feel that Iran has already received its main benefit from the deal with the removal of sanctions. They say that simply cancelling the deal, as opposed to improving it, would just give Iran a green-light to take its gains and go nuclear.

OPTION 4: Sort of end the deal but with a question mark to negotiate for change
This approach is closer to ending the deal, but more moderate. The idea would be for Trump in mid-October to initially decline to certify Iran’s compliance with the deal, but express an openness to continue the deal if Congress authorizes it within 60 days and as part of a renegotiated and improved deal.

OPTION 5: Extend the deal
A number of experts promoting the other options also support extending limits on Iran’s nuclear program beyond the deal’s eight to ten year deadlines. The difference is that experts supporting this as the primary issue say that all efforts at renegotiation are useless if Iran can comply with the deal and obtain a nuclear weapon in 10 years.
Iranian army chief: We will turn Tel Aviv and Haifa into dust
Seyyed Abdolrahim Mousavi, an Iranian military officer currently acting as the Commander-in-Chief of the Islamic Republic of Iran Army, issued a menacing statement against the Jewish state hours before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to bring up the ever-imminent threat posed on Israel by Tehran in his encounter with US President Donald Trump.

The two are slated to meet at the UN for the General Assembly's 72nd session held at the NY headquarters.

"We will destroy the Zionist entity at lightning speed, and thus shorten the 25 years it still has left," Iranian media quoted Mousavi as saying in reference to a recurring threat by Iran and its Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to take down the State of Israel in the next quarter century.

"I warn the [Zionist] entity not to make any stupid move against the Islamic Republic of Iran," he threatened. "Every [such] stupid act will [make us] turn Tel Aviv and Haifa into dust."

Mousavi also said that "the world will not forget the crimes [committed] by this arrogant Zionist offical." According to Iranian news agency Tasnim, Mousavi was talking about an Israeli official who had allegedly made "irresponsible declarations" concerning Iran's presence in the conflict-addled Syria.
Hezbollah fighters filmed near Israeli border raring for battle
Hezbollah fighters stationed near the Israeli border with Lebanon told an American TV crew last week they were watching Israel and waiting for a signal to attack, newly bolstered by fighting experience gained from battles in Syria.

The armed men spoke to NBC from a position near the border, in a possible contravention of a 2006 UN Security Council resolution that was supposed to create a demilitarized buffer zone between Israel and Lebanon.

“Any Israeli movement, we will see it,” one fighter said according to the report, published Saturday. “This area is all Hezbollah members preparing only for [them] … Whether it’s Israelis or Daesh, we fear no one,” he said, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group.

Israeli officials have raised alarms and complained to the UN about members of the terrorist organization apparently taking up positions near the border, despite peacekeepers and the Lebanese army tasked with keeping the area clear of armed Hezbollah fighters.
France defends ‘essential’ Iran nuke deal amid Israeli, US criticism
France warned on Monday that sticking to the Iran nuclear deal was “essential” to prevent other countries from seeking nuclear weapons, as the US and Israel pushed for it to be changed or scrapped.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told reporters ahead of the opening of the UN General Assembly in New York that applying pressure on North Korea with sanctions was the only path to address the crisis over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile tests.

France was being “vigilant” in ensuring Iran’s compliance with the terms of the accord and that “all signs are that it’s respecting its commitments,” he said, according to Bloomberg.

He said his country was “trying to convince [US] President [Donald] Trump of the pertinence of this view.”
Report: 88% of Israelis were satisfied with their lives in the past year
A vast majority of Israelis are satisfied with the lives they lead in the Jewish state, according to data revealed in the Central Bureau of Statistics annual report released Monday ahead of Rosh Hashana.

The report looked at population trends in Israel over the course of the year and includes information on education, social welfare, public attitude and employment trends. According to the report, Israel’s population is on a consistent incline. Israel’s population grew by 156,000. Similar to previous years, the population growth rate for 5777 was 1.8%

In terms of public attitude, 88% of Israeli citizens aged 20-years-and-older said they were "very satisfied" or "satisfied" with their lives. 21% or some 1.1 million people feel stressed on a constant basis. 6% of the population of 340,000 admit to feeling lonely on a regular basis and 34% say they find it difficult to cover their monthly expenses.

Today, Israel’s population is estimated at approximately 8.743 million. The Jewish population makes up approximately 6.523 million or 74.6% of the total population. The Arab population is about 1.824 million, 20.9% of the population and the rest make up about 396,000 or 4.5%. Each of these sectors experienced consistent growth since the previous report.

Adding to the population, immigration has remained consistent with 25,977 new immigrants: 57% from the former Soviet Union, 17% from France, and 11% from the United States.
Over 166,000 babies born in Israel this year
As Rosh Hashana approaches, the Population and Immigration Authority issued its annual report on Sunday, revealing that over the past year, 166,450 babies were born in Israel.

The outgoing year also saw 23,770 new immigrants arrive in Israel, and 62,821 couples in Israel got married.

The most common name for baby boys born in Israel this year was Muhammad and Tamar for girls. Among Jews, Uri and Ariel were the most popular names for boys, and Tamar and Abigail were the most popular names for girls.

Interior Ministry figures show that the most frequently bestowed names for boys this past year were, in descending order: Muhammad, Yosef, Uri, Omer, Daniel, David and Ariel. For girls, Tamar was followed by Miriam, Sarah, Abigail, Yael, Adelle and Noa.
Liberman: West Bank settlements are necessary for Israel’s defense
West Bank settlements ensure Israel’s security even in the era when Israel is under threat from missile and cyber attacks, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said on Sunday evening.

“From my perspective it's clear that the settlements in Judea and Samaria and those here in the area of Jericho and the Dead Sea are the State of Israel’s true defensive wall,” Liberman said.

This is true “even in the cyber age and the missile era,” Liberman said.

He spoke during a Jewish New Year toast with settler leaders in the Vered Yeriho settlement, which overlooks the Palestinian city of Jericho.

“At the end of the day, what is determinative is who is in the field. The settlements have always been the pioneers of the pioneers of [Israel’s] security,” Liberman said.

“In this way, nothing has changed since the time of the ‘tower and the stockade,'” Liberman said.
18 years for terrorists who stabbed elderly women
The Jerusalem Juvenile Court on Monday sentenced two of the three terrorists who carried out a stabbing attack on the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood in Jerusalem in May, 2016.

Two elderly women were wounded in the terrorist attack.

The terrorists were also sentenced to pay NIS 200,000 ($57,000) in compensation to the victims of the attack.

The third terrorist who participated in the attack will receive 25 months in prison.

The three terrorists, all residents of Jabel Mukaber, were convicted of stabbing, assisting the enemy during wartime, attempted murder, and carrying a knife.

The indictment revealed that the three had planned to carry out a terrorist stabbing attack for months prior to the attack, using Facebook to plan their attack. Even after the attack the three Arab minors planned to conduct another stabbing attack, although police got to them first.

During the month of February 2016, two of the terrorists reached the decision to launch a stabbing attack against Jewish civilians or security forces, with a goal of murdering them and becoming "martyrs."
Man critically wounded in stabbing attack recounts horror
Only six weeks have gone by since the day Niv Gil Nehemia, deputy manager of a Shufersal supermarket branch in Yavne, fought for his life against terrorist Ismail Abu Arab, who attacked and stabbed him.

Nehemia sustained 14 stab wounds to his head, chest, neck and hands, and his condition was classified as critical. He has lost over 14 pounds since the attack. His forehead bears a burn mark left by terrorist's pepper spray. His hair is still missing where the knife struck his head, and a tiny piece of the knife is still lodged deep in his brain. Doctors preferred to leave it there to avoid causing further damage by trying to remove it. His beard covers more scars.

Sitting on a large lounge chair in his home, Nehemia recounts the attack for the first time: "Half an hour before the terrorist pounced, he came up to me and asked where the bathroom was. I saw he was an Arab, but I didn't think anything of it. There are a lot of Arab customers at our branch. I pointed to the bathroom and went on about my business. When I saw him in the aisle in the toiletries section, he was already familiar to me.

"With the first stab, I realized it was a terrorist attack and that I needed to fight for my life. I tried to scream for help, but couldn't make a sound. The knife had cut my left vocal cord. I understood that this was a moment to live or die. The only thing I had in my mind was my kids and my wife. That moment, I knew I was fighting for them."
Southern barrier proves 100% effective in preventing infiltration
Not a single infiltration from the Sinai Peninsula into Israel was recorded over the past 12 months, the Population and Immigration Authority said on Sunday.

Officials credit this surprising statistic to the fence Israel built along its border with Egypt several years ago.

In 2016, only 18 people managed to cross into Israel from Egypt illegally while in 2015 the number of such infiltrators stood at 220.

Meanwhile, authorities said that over the past 12 months, Israel deported 2,431 people who crossed into its territory illegally, including 2,245 Eritreans and 186 of Sudanese individuals.

According to Population and Immigration Authority data, some 38,000 African migrants live in Israel illegally.
Hamas claims: We captured an Israeli agent
The Al-Majd website, which is affiliated with Hamas's intelligence apparatus, reported on Sunday about the arrest of an Israeli agent following an investigation into an Israeli airstrike against military positions in Gaza on August 9.

According to the report, an analysis of the target and timing of the attack motivated the intelligence apparatus to perform a thorough mapping of the scene of the operation, during which an agent who worked for Israel and who was involved in the attack was located.

During his interrogation, the website claimed, the suspect said that he began working for Israeli intelligence in 2014 and since then has provided a great deal of information about the “Palestinian resistance organizations”, their activities, their members and their homes.

He also allegedly transmitted sensitive information about the target that was attacked in August, and photographed the target before and after the attack at the request of an Israeli intelligence officer. According to him, the Israeli officer updated him about the date of the attack and asked him to view the site and collect information.

This is not the first time that Hamas has claimed to have arrested an Israeli intelligence agent. In recent years, the group been conducting a wide-ranging campaign to attempt to expose alleged Israeli intelligence agents and dissuade Palestinians from cooperating with Israel.
Hamas unity bid aims to make Abbas look bad, official says
The timing of Hamas' announcement Sunday that it is ready to reconcile with rival Palestinian faction Fatah was not coincidental, a senior official in the Palestinian Authority's delegation to the United Nations General Assembly told Israel Hayom.

The Gaza Strip-based terrorist group Hamas issued a statement on Sunday saying that it had accepted key demands issued by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction that would clear the way for a Palestinian unity government, ending a 10-year political rift.

"Hamas is trying to pressure Abbas and make him look like he is not interested in internal Palestinian reconciliation," the official said. "The rais [chief] will not present his position on the matter and will not give any statement as long as he is in New York at the U.N. General Assembly. He will do so only when he returns," the official said.

Abbas is scheduled to address the General Assembly on Wednesday. His spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, described Abbas' planned speech as "extremely important."

According to the Fatah official, while Hamas agreed to disband its shadow government, it has stated that its security and police forces would continue to operate in Gaza even in the event of a Palestinian reconciliation – a sticking point in previous negotiations that has scuttled previous unity efforts.
A false reconciliation
The truth is that the conditions for a genuine reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, between Ramallah and Gaza, have yet to mature. Hamas believes Abbas is an illegitimate leader, who has failed to vie for re-election, and as pursuing an illegitimate policy of security collaboration with Israel. Fatah, for its part, understands that Hamas has no intention of ceding control over the Gaza Strip to Abbas. If anything, it wants to overrun the West Bank and replace Abbas with its own leader, Ismail Haniyeh.

This is why previous reconciliation efforts between Fatah and Hamas over the past decade have failed and why Abbas' immediate task is to find a way to reject Hamas' proposal without appearing as a rejectionist.

Israel's position regarding the Palestinian reconciliation attempts is conflicted. On the one hand, the disconnect between Ramallah and Gaza is convenient for Jerusalem and it supports the claim that Abbas does not represent the Palestinian people as a whole. On the other hand, how can Israel oppose a scenario where, as part of "Palestinian unity," Abbas' security forces take over Gaza and push Hamas into a corner?

As at this time this scenario seems less than realistic, there is no need to rush into a decision. Unfortunately, only the residents of Gaza, who believe the rumored reconciliation can benefit their dire situation, may soon be disappointed again.
Abbas and his Pyrrhic victory over Hamas
It’s worth noting the key to all this: that at the same time as the reconciliation negotiations were ongoing, and with an eye firmly to the North where they saw the benefits brought to Hezbollah in cold hard cash, the Hamas leadership has been moving, under the radar to most except thankfully the Shin Bet (Israeli Security Agency), on a significant rapprochement with Iran. Temporarily burying the hatchet with the PA gives them the space, not to say means, to carry on doing so.

Again, a bit of a recap: let’s go back to February and the election of Hamas’ new political bureau – the leadership body – when it received new leaders and new blood.

The meteoric rise of the militant Yahya Sinwar to the position of Hamas leader in Gaza, and the election of some of the members of the pro-Iranian axis, like Saleh al-Arouri, signaled the beginning of a thaw in Hamas’ relations with Iran. Sinwar is also one of the closest people to the Muhammad Deif, the head of Hamas’ military wing, whose stated interest lies in securing Iranian aid and aping Hezbollah in a perverse “grace and favor” relationship with Tehran.

How all of this plays out would simply be conjecture, but we can say that the Palestinian political and militant dynamic is most certainly in a state of evolving and potentially even more dangerous flux.

So, while the PA leadership may be collectively patting itself on the back, they should beware of hubris. Hamas are not only adept at playing the long game, unlike the PA they also appear to have a long-term strategy.

At the back of it all is Iran. The Tehran regime appears to be extending one of its many fetid tentacles and upping its ante in a dangerous, febrile Middle- East arena: the tinder box that is the Gaza Strip.

Food for thought for any EU foreign policy big-wigs who may be rushing to laud this latest move.
PA premier plans Gaza visit after Hamas accepts reconciliation terms
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah is poised to visit Gaza for talks, a senior official said Monday, after the Hamas terror group agreed to steps toward resolving a decade-long split with its West Bank-based rival Fatah.

Hamas announced Sunday it had agreed to demands by PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party to dissolve what is seen as a rival administration in Gaza, while saying it was ready for elections and negotiations toward forming a unity government.

Hamdallah plans to travel to Gaza City to meet Hamas leaders and assert the PA government’s control over ministries, Nabil Shaath, a senior adviser to Abbas, told journalists in the West Bank city of Ramallah, as a first step toward implementing a larger agreement.

“We await the first steps on the ground. We want to see Mr. Hamdallah received by Hamas, the door to all the ministries open,” he said. “That really could happen in the next 24 hours.”
Security Report: Things Are Suspiciously Quiet between Israelis and Palestinians (satire)
Security forces, as well as World News enthusiasts in general, have wondered why things are perhaps a bit too quiet on the Israeli-Palestinian front. “We’re used to seeing something about Israel and Palestine on the news,” said one CNN junkie. “But now it’s just bombs in Europe, racism in the US, and Anthony Weiner. Hell, not even Syria is on the news now. I’ve got to go to The Mideast Beast to get that sort of coverage.”

“I admit, the lack of activity between the two sides lately is eerie,” said one Israeli security analyst. “Perhaps it’s because the Jewish New Year is about to begin or Palestinians are still a bit tired after Ramadan. I honestly don’t know; but what I do know is that I’m bored as hell sitting at my desk with nothing to do. Thank god for PornHub!”

One Palestinian did note, “It is possible, and I’m just speculating here, that the lack of news is because not everything revolves around the f#cking Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
Iraq supreme court freezes Kurdistan referendum
Iraq’s supreme court on Monday ordered the suspension of a September 25 referendum on the independence of Iraqi Kurdistan, to examine whether such a poll would be constitutional.

“The supreme court has issued the order to suspend organizing the referendum set for September 25… until it examines the complaints it has received over this plebiscite being unconstitutional,” it said in a statement.

The court made the decision after it “reviewed requests to stop the referendum,” the statement said.

Court spokesman Ayas al-Samouk told AFP: “We have received several complaints and this is why we decided to suspend the referendum.”
Pro-Erdogan Media in Turkey Inciting Antisemitism Over Kurdish Independence Referendum
As the impending referendum on independence for the Kurdish region of Iraq draws closer, pro-government media outlets in Turkey – which remains bitterly opposed to Kurdish self-determination – are energetically promoting conspiracy theories centered on the alleged relations between Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani and the Israeli authorities.

The latest antisemitic salvo in the Turkish press claims that Barzani and the Israelis have agreed on the resettlement of 200,000 Jews in territory controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq following the referendum – currently scheduled for September 25. While Kurdish leaders are reported to be considering “alternatives” to the referendum given the international unease with the prospect of Kurdish independence, Barzani told a pro-independence rally on Saturday, “To this date, we still have not received the alternative that could take the place of the referendum, and therefore cast your votes on September 25, and take your decision.”

The Israel-related conspiracy theory appeared in a number of pro-government titles over the last week, including the magazine Yeni Safak – renowned for its fierce, unconditional support of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. All the articles cited the magazine Israel-Kurd, a journal published in the Kurdish city of Erbil that highlights the historically good relationship between the Kurdish and Jewish minorities in the Middle East. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, thousands of Iraqi Jews escaped persecution in Iraq by traveling through the mountainous Kurdish region accompanied by local guides affiliated with the Kurdish resistance in the country.

While new issues of Israel-Kurd do not appear to have been published since 2011, Yeni Safak described the magazine as “financed by the Mossad” after it was “opened by the Barzani family.”




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