Saturday, December 09, 2017

From Ian:

David Collier: Islamic war cries heard, as antisemitism runs free on the streets of London
The anti-Trump bandwagon
Everyone is also up in arms because the POTUS, Trump, was the one who made the declaration. Which creates a problem for the media outlets who see Trump as the devil incarnate. These people, who are convinced that everything Trump does is wrong, and about to cause World War 3, cannot support Trump even when he is right or tells the truth. An anti-Trump reflex came into play. Israel didn’t just suffer from those people who always hate Israel, it suffered because the only thing more hated by many European media outlets than Israel, is Donald Trump.

In effect, it left little motive in the media to try to act responsibly, or diffuse any anger, because a ‘spontaneous’ violent outburst would help ‘prove’ that Trump is a danger to world peace. Rather than run articles explaining that in effect, Trump had only pointed out that because everyone already acts as if Jerusalem is the capital, and because Israel has the right to name its own capital, surely it is better to recognise the reality, they chose to focus on and amplify the angry voices. Even some staunch Zionist outlets, failed to support the move, because it originated with Donald Trump.

The London demonstration
Across the world, over the last two days we have witnessed the usual mob gathering in cities to attack the ‘blatant provocation’. Absurdly pushing the idea that pointing out reality can somehow damage a peace process, that the Palestinians have been blowing up for decades. Last night, 8th December, there was one in London. It was called by groups like the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Stop the War Coalition, and friends of Al Aqsa. It was also supported by organisations such as War on Want, Socialist Worker, and Jewish Voice for Labour.
Religious incitement and hate

The event itself was full of religious incitement and anti-Jewish hatred. The crowds were chanting anti-Jewish (not anti-Zionist) statements in Arabic. Calling for a war to free Al Aqsa, and reciting the phrase ”Khaybar Khaybar, ya yahud, Jaish Muhammad, sa yahud’ ( Khaybar, Khaybar, O Jews, The Army of Muhammad Will Return ) – in reference to the attack by Muslim soldiers on native Jews in Khaybar in 628ad. There were also cries of death to America and Israel. You can see a short clip of the footage here:

Melanie Phillips: The British and European perfidy
Twenty-four hours after President Trump’s watershed speech recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, there has been predictable Palestinian violence and equally predictable, almost unanimous condemnation from Western European leaders and the western left.

What needs to be understood is that the former is symbiotically connected to the latter. As I said in my blog post yesterday, the Palestinians use violence in order to get a reaction that advances their agenda.

Until now, the west has duly obliged. For a variety of reasons including fear, ideology and bigotry the west has bought into the lie that the “Palestinians” have a historic and religious right to the land. It therefore sees them (to a greater or lesser extent, depending on whether it thinks of itself as a “friend” to Israel) as a legitimate resistance movement being crushed by the Israelis. The more violence the Palestinians commit against Israel, the more they entrap it into responding with greater force. Then they can rely on the west putting pressure on Israel to make suicidal concessions to them.

This western response is crucial to their strategy. They know they alone can’t defeat Israel. So they need to get the west to do their dirty work for them: forcing Israel into concessions which will enable them to mount their final attempt to exterminate it from the IDF-vacated “West Bank” just down the road.

To get the west to do so, it’s vital that it believes and endorses the Palestinians’ mendacious claims about their own history and religion. Which the west has duly done for decades.
Jonah Goldberg: Trump Puts Fact Ahead of Fiction in Israel
The only reason recognizing Jerusalem as the Jewish State’s capital is controversial is that the world has been pretending it’s not for decades.

The most exhausting thing about the Middle East — except for the bloodshed, poverty, tyranny, etc. — is that it refuses to conform to how it’s described in the West.

It’s like journalists, diplomats, and politicians want to announce a football game, but the players keep insisting on playing rugby. The field looks similar. The scoring isn’t all that different. It’s just a different game. But don’t tell the gang in the booth. They get furious when you point out that the facts don’t line up with the commentary.

Consider President Trump’s momentous (though for now mostly symbolic) announcement that the United States will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Before you can debate whether this was a good move, you must acknowledge one glaring fact that the chatterers want to ignore or downplay: It’s true. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. The Knesset, Israel’s parliament, convenes there. Israelis call it their capital for the same reason they claim two plus two equals four. It’s just true.

What makes the decision controversial is that everyone had agreed to pretend it wasn’t the capital in order to protect “the peace process.”

That’s another term that doesn’t quite correspond with reality. There is no peace process. Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president finishing the twelfth year of his four-year term, has refused to meet with the Israelis to discuss anything since early in the Obama administration.

Alan M. Dershowitz: Violence Should Not Determine Policy
Violence should be responded to by police and military action, not by giving in to the unreasonable demands of those who use violence as a tactic.

The reason violence — whether rock-throwing or more lethal forms of terrorism — is used is because it works... as a way to extort concessions from the world. And it works because policy makers often make or refrain from making controversial decisions based on the fear of violent reactions.

Now just imagine what will happen if peace negotiations are commenced and both sides have to compromise. Israel's comprises will be met with law suits, political pushback and possibly resistance from some settlers who will have to be uprooted....

Palestinian compromises will be met with street violence, terrorism and assassinations. That has long been the modus operandi of Palestinian leaders and dissidents.

A clear message must be sent now to these leaders and dissenters: violence will not be rewarded or tolerated. It will be responded to not with policy changes but with police and military action.
Bret Stephens: Jerusalem Denial Complex
It belatedly aligns American words with deeds. It aligns word as well as deed with reality. And it aligns the United States with the country toward which we are constantly professing friendship even as we have spent seven decades stinting it of the most basic form of recognition.

Recognition also tells the Palestinians that they can no longer hold other parties hostage to their demands. East Jerusalem could have been the capital of a sovereign Palestinian state 17 years ago, if Arafat had simply accepted the terms at Camp David. He didn’t because he thought he could dictate terms to stronger powers. Nations pay a price for the foolhardiness of their leaders, as the Kurds recently found out.

Peace and a Palestinian state will come when Palestinians aspire to create a Middle Eastern Costa Rica — pacifist, progressive, neighborly and democratic — rather than another Yemen: by turns autocratic, anarchic, fanatical and tragic.

For the international community, that means helping Palestinians take steps to dismantle their current klepto-theocracy, rather than fueling a culture of perpetual grievance against Israel. Mahmoud Abbas is now approaching the 13th anniversary of his elected four-year term. Someone should point this out.

Hamas has run Gaza for a decade, during which it has spent more time building rockets and terror tunnels than hotels or hospitals. Someone should point this out, too. It is indicative of the disastrous political choices that help explain 70 years of Palestinian failure.

Meantime, Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. For those who have lived in denial, it must be some sort of shock. (h/t Elder of Lobby)
JPost Editorial: Jerusalem and Trump
The international community’s failure to recognize and appreciate the transformation of Jerusalem under Israeli control and to honor Israel’s choice of capital was a long-standing injustice finally righted by US President Donald Trump.

Trump’s many detractors say that the decision was a bad one because it will spark unrest and discord among radical Muslims who have provided ample proof of their propensity to use violence to register complaints and get what they want.

We sympathize with those who seek peace and wish to avoid unnecessary confrontations. But we also believe Americans should not compromise their own beliefs and values out of a desire to appease those who have a long history of using terrorism to further their interests.

Appeasing extremists never works for a number of reasons. First, because it only leads to more extremism by proving that bullying tactics work and providing an incentive for more violence. Also, it tends to distract attention from the real issue: that there are many Muslim extremists who refuse to reconcile themselves to the existence of a Jewish state in the Middle East within any borders no matter what its capital. Why else would Palestinians and other Muslims be opposed to international recognition of parts of Jerusalem that will remain part of Israel in any conceivable peace deal?

Though the Jewish people does not need international recognition for proof of its historic ties to the city of Jerusalem, we are nevertheless grateful to the US president for having the courage to stand up for what is right.
Second Temple coin at the UN Security Council
Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon addressed a special session of the Security Council convened to discuss US President Donald Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem.

Israel Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon thanked President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley by saying that "we are grateful to the United States for its courageous decision."

Addressing to the Council members, Danon held up a replica of a first-century coin.

"I have here a replica of an ancient coin found on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It is dated from the year 67 A.D. during the time of the second Jewish Temple. The words 'Jerusalem the Holy' are written on it," Danon said.

"Only three years later, in the year 70 A.D., would our holy temple be destroyed and the Jewish people sent into exile for 2,000 years."

Ambassador Danon concluded his remarks by reminding the Council of the Jewish prayer "next year in Jerusalem."

"Seventy years ago, the Jewish people came home to Jerusalem," he said, calling on "all the nations of the world to join us this year in Jerusalem, the capital of the State of Israel."
Einat Wilf: Finally, a President Who Looks at Jerusalem Logically
As the fiction of the “Corpus Separatum” faded from memory, Israel’s annexation of the areas east of the 1967 line became the new reason for not recognizing any part of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In this way, the U.S. has been punishing Israel twice: It has been denying any legitimate claims Israel had in Jerusalem east of the armistice line, including with respect to the Jewish holy sites in the Old City and the Jewish Quarter, and, until Trump’s announcement, would not acknowledge that at the very least, west of that line, Jerusalem is legitimately Israel’s capital.

Trump’s declaration finally puts an end to this nonsensical policy. By dismissing the fiction of the “Corpus Separatum” at last, the U.S. can stop denying Israel, alone among the nations, a basic national sovereign right to establish its capital in undisputed territory.

Trump used only the ambiguous term “Jerusalem” in his speech, saying, “We are not taking a position on any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem or the resolution of contested borders. Those questions are up to the parties involved.” It would have been better if Trump had specified that the U.S. is only recognizing Israel’s capital in Jerusalem west of 1967 line—in other words, that the U.S. is simply ending the illogical policy that holds the undisputed status of Jerusalem west of the armistice line hostage to the ongoing dispute over Jerusalem east of that line.

Nevertheless, if the U.S. continues to declare that Jerusalem’s final borders should be negotiated (meaning that it leaves open the possibility of a Palestinian capital in the eastern part of Jerusalem), and if the U.S. refrains from describing Israel’s capital as “united” or “undivided” Jerusalem, and if the U.S. continues to refrain from taking any steps that recognize Israel’s annexation of the territories east of the 1967 line, and assuming that the new embassy will be located in Jerusalem west of that line—then Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim leaders who are not itching for violence should be able to legitimately say that Trump’s declaration effectively changes nothing.
Michael J. Totten: Jerusalem is Israel’s Capital and Always Will Be
Enough with the pearl-clutching already. Donald Trump’s statement on Wednesday that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel is more bipartisan than anything he has ever said and likely ever will say as president.

In 1995, the United States Congress, with an overwhelming bipartisan majority, passed a law declaring that “Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel; and the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999.” This law, passed by a whopping 93-5 when Bill Clinton was president, had no effect whatsoever on the Camp David Peace Process which would have given East Jerusalem to the Palestinians as the capital of their sovereign state had Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat said yes instead of no and chose peace rather than war.

That law was reaffirmed in the United States Senate just six months ago by a unanimous vote. Chuck Schumer, the Democratic Senate minority leader, co-sponsored the bill. And just two months ago, Schumer slammed Donald Trump for not keeping his campaign promise to recognize reality. “This year,” Schumer said, “is the fiftieth anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, yet with 2018 fast approaching, the U.S. still hasn't moved the embassy or made clear its commitment to Israel's capital…President Trump's recent comments suggest his indecisiveness on the embassy's relocation. As someone who strongly believes that Jerusalem is the undivided capital of Israel, I am calling for the U.S. Embassy in Israel to be relocated to Jerusalem. Moving the embassy as soon as possible would appropriately commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Jerusalem's reunification and show the world that the U.S. definitively acknowledges Jerusalem as Israel's capital.”
Five reasons why Trump recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel won't destroy peace in the Middle East
It may force Palestinians to engage in serious peace talks

A lot of Palestinian discourse denies not only Jews’ rights and history in the land of Israel, but erases the 3,000-year Jewish connection to Jerusalem.

Yasser Arafat, during peace talks in 2000, even reportedly denied that there was ever a Jewish temple in the city. Such deeply offensive and ahistorical claims sow serious doubts for Israelis that the Palestinians are genuinely committed to a peace that can only really be achieved through recognition of Jews’ inextricable connection to the land.

US affirmation of Jewish claims to their holiest city may help convince Palestinians that a campaign to rhetorically wipe Jerusalem off the Israeli map will not succeed, and that only by acknowledging Jews’ legitimate claims will they receive reciprocal Israeli recognition of their claims.

It may give Israelis more confidence about the peace process
Israelis have long viewed the denial of the right granted to every other nation to name their capital as not only a historic injustice, but an illustration of the international community’s systemic bias against the Jewish state.

Israelis soured on the peace process (though not on peace itself) in large part because of the Second Intifada, as well as the disastrous impact of territorial withdrawals, but also due to concerns that they’re always held to higher standards than the Palestinians.
Protests erupt after Trump recognises Jerusalem as Israel's capital

Whereas every new home built across the green line prompts outrage by the US, EU and UN, Israelis believe that Palestinians are granted a kind of moral impunity which allows them to escape rebuke for even the most egregiously irresponsible actions and rhetoric.

Contrary to oft-repeated media narratives, Israelis have not “moved right”; they have merely grown sceptical that peace can be achieved without a commitment by the West to impute moral agency to the Palestinians and demand that their leaders cease inculcating their people with propaganda denying Jewish history and Israel’s unreserved rights to the land.

Whatever one’s views of the intentions of the 45th president, the message sent yesterday from the White House represented hope for Israelis, much needed tough love for the Palestinians and a clean break from the conventional “wisdom” which has governed, and arguably doomed, the peace process for decades.
How The GOP Became A ‘Pro-Israel’ Party
Propelled by evangelicals, the GOP has in many cases become more hawkish than most U.S. Jews. While the Republican Party has notably turned away from traditional U.S. support for a two-state solution, which would establish a Palestinian nation alongside Israel (only 23 percent of evangelicals polled in 2017 agreed that Israel should agree to the creation of a Palestinian state), the majority of U.S. Jews believe that Israel and an independent Palestine can coexist peacefully. Although members of the Trump administration — most notably, perhaps, Mideast negotiator and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner — support Israeli construction in the disputed West Bank, only 17 percent of U.S. Jews believe that Jewish settlements in the area help Israel’s security. An election-night poll of Jewish voters in 2016 by the dovish J Street suggested that Israel isn’t even really the primary voting issue for many Jews: Only 9 percent listed it as one of their top two voting priorities.

In fact, it is the pro-Israel evangelical community — and particularly Pastor John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel — that has mobilized alongside hawkish pro-Israel Jews to push for a change of U.S. policy on Jerusalem. Hagee, whose organization boasts over three million members, has been pushing Trump to move the embassy since the 2016 campaign season, to prove the president’s commitment to evangelical values.

The evangelical community is unusual in their support for moving the embassy to Jerusalem. A November poll indicated that 63 percent of Americans oppose the move, but 53 percent of evangelical voters support it.

Whatever GOP constituency pressed for the move the most, what matters in the end is that they succeeded. Though Democratic and Republican presidential candidates alike have long promised to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the U.S. Embassy there, none who won the office ever did so — until Trump.

But the president is not widely embraced by Jews as a whole (while some 50 percent of Orthodox Jews voted for Trump, the two larger streams of U.S. Judaism — Reform and Conservative — opposed Trump), so it remains to be seen whether his recognition of Jerusalem increases Jewish affinity for the Republican Party. That outcome will surely be influenced by what happens next. (h/t Zvi)
Israel: Frustrated, disappointed by Reform rejection of Trump's statement
Israel’s consul in New York, Dani Dayan, called “deeply frustrating and disappointing” the Union for Reform Judaism’s negative reaction to President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Dayan said this on Wednesday, according to the Makor Rishon daily, following a statement by Rabbi Rick Jacobs, who head the Reform Union, on behalf of the organizations of the movement.

Jacobs wrote that Trump’s declaration Wednesday “affirms what the Reform Jewish movement has long held: that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people and the State of Israel. Yet while we share the President’s belief that the US Embassy should, at the right time, be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, we cannot support his decision to begin preparing that move now, absent a comprehensive plan for a peace process.”

Dayan said the statement was “deeply frustrating and disappointing because Jerusalem is the uniting force of the Jewish People.”

Jacobs also said that the White House should not undermine efforts toward making peace between Israel and the Palestinians by “making unilateral decisions that are all but certain to exacerbate the conflict.”
US Arab Groups, Far Left Attack US on Jerusalem Decision
Anti-Zionist groups were quick to pounce on President Trump’s proclamation acknowledgment of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

In a statement, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), a virulently anti-Israel organization, “unequivocally condemn[ed] President Trump’s announcement that he will begin the process of moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem as part of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a move that would make the U.S. the only country in the world to do so.”

For those who reject Israel’s very existence, Wednesday was a difficult day.

“#Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel no matter how many times Trump says it,” wrote political activist Linda Sarsour, who has argued that Zionists can’t be feminists and that “nothing is creepier than Zionism. “He doesn’t speak for me.”

Good thing she cleared that up.

Trump’s proclamation “effectively hands Israel a blank political check for its illegal annexation of Jerusalem and legitimizes Israel’s ongoing displacement and disenfranchisement of the city’s Palestinian residents,” said that the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR), an organization that is leading the push for an economic boycott of Israel.

This statement, along with Sarsour’s, ignores the reality that Jerusalem has been Israel’s capital since 1949. It is home to Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, as well as the prime minister’s residence. These statements also deliberately ignore Trump’s specific caveat that the United States is “not taking a position of any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, or the resolution of contested borders. Those questions are up to the parties involved.”

The relocation of the American embassy affects peace talks only if the Palestinians choose to make that so.
Trump’s Jerusalem move reflects ‘best path for peace,’ says ambassador
US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel reflects the “best path for peace,” and those demonstrating against it failed to listen properly to his speech, the US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, said Thursday.

The president had not sought to prejudge any final-status issues in his address on Wednesday, which provoked widespread anger among Arabs and violent Palestinian protests, Friedman told Fox News.

Trump’s aim had been to “foreclose the fantasy that somehow Jerusalem could be disconnected from the State of Israel,” he said. “The president didn’t want the Israelis to show up at the bargaining table and be forced to negotiate for something that they already had.

“What he did yesterday was to simply speak the truth, and to develop for the first time a foreign policy based upon reality rather than fantasy.”
9 out of 11 former US envoys to Israel oppose Trump’s Jerusalem declaration
Several ambassadors were in favor of recognizing West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but said it should come as part of a peace process or as a way of getting concessions from Israel within that process.

“Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, and it’s appropriate that we recognize it as such,” said Daniel Shapiro who was ambassador under President Barack Obama between 2011 and 2017. “In that sense, the president’s recognition of reality is fine,” he told The New York Times.

“The missed opportunity here, though, is the failure to frame this decision in the context of achieving our broader strategic objective, which is a two-state solution. That would have required better prior consultation with Arab states, and that would have required more clarity for what the Palestinians could expect as part of their aspirations for Jerusalem,” he said.

Other ambassadors who were opposed to the decision were Martin Indyk, who served under President Bill Clinton, William Andreas Brown, who was the ambassador from 1988 to 1992, William Caldwell Harrop, who was the ambassador from 1992 to 1993, Edward Djerejian, who was the ambassador from 1993 to 1994, Thomas Pickering, who was ambassador to Israel during the Reagan administration, and James Cunningham, who was ambassador under Bush and Obama.

Two of the former ambassadors supported Trump’s declaration. Edward Walker Jr., who was ambassador from 1997 to 1999, under President Bill Clinton and Ogden R. Reid, who was the ambassador from 1959 to 1961, at the end of the Eisenhower administration.

“I think it’s about time,” said Walker. “We’ve been remiss in not recognizing realities as they are. We all know Israel has a capital, it’s called Jerusalem, and over my 35 years of service in the Middle East no one ever questioned that.”
Sen. Warren critical of Trump decision on Jerusalem
US Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Friday she worries that President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital will make it more difficult to achieve peace in the Middle East.

The Massachusetts Democrat spoke to several thousand attendees Friday at The Union For Reform Judaism convention in Boston.

Warren said she believes a two-state solution is the best hope for peace and that diplomacy between Israel and the Palestinians should determine the final status of Jerusalem.

She called on Trump to deliver a “comprehensive strategy” for negotiations.

The Union For Reform Judaism said this week that while Trump was affirming “an age-old dream of the Jewish people,” it also had serious concerns about the timing of the announcement and that it could undercut peace efforts.
Canadian, Australian Leaders Say No to Relocating Embassies to Jerusalem
The leaders of two of Israel’s closest allies, Canada and Australia, shot down the possibility that they would follow the US and move their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“We will not be moving Canada’s embassy from Tel Aviv,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during a visit to China, AFP reported.

Following President Donald Trump’s announcement on Wednesday that he would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and initiate plans to eventually relocate the US embassy there from Tel Aviv, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland reaffirmed Canada’s position that “the status of Jerusalem can be resolved only as part of a general settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli dispute.”

“We are strongly committed to the goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, including the creation of a Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace and security with Israel,” she said.

Similarly, despite burgeoning ties between Australia and Israel during the past year, including reciprocal visits by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Canberra’s Foreign Minister Julia Bishop rejected the notion of an embassy move.
Abbas will not meet with VP Pence, senior PA official confirms
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will not meet with US Vice President Mike Pence later this month, a senior adviser to the PA leader confirmed on Saturday, less than three days after President Donald Trump announced major changes to American policy on Jerusalem.

As a part of a Middle East tour, Pence was slated to meet with Abbas in Bethlehem in the latter half of December.

“There will not be a meeting with Pence. The matter is bigger than a mere meeting because the United States, in its decisions on Jerusalem, crossed red lines,” Majdi al-Khalidi, Abbas’s diplomatic affairs adviser, told official PA radio.

Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki echoed al-Khalidi's comments on Saturday in Cairo.

"We will seek a new mediator from our Arab brothers and the international community, a mediator who can help with reaching a two-state solution," al-Maliki told reporters.
Erdogan and Macron to urge US to reverse Jerusalem decision
Turkey's Tayyip Erdogan and France's Emmanuel Macron will work together to try to persuade the United States to reconsider its decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a Turkish presidential source said on Saturday.

The two leaders agreed during a phone call that the move is worrisome for the region, the source said, adding that Turkey and France would make a joint effort to try to reverse the US decision.

Erdogan also spoke on the phone to the presidents of Kazakhstan, Lebanon and Azerbaijan on Saturday regarding the issue, the source said. On Wednesday, he called an urgent meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Turkey next week.
While Abbas seeks strategy to channel Jerusalem protests, Hamas aims to step in
In the wake of US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the Palestinians will on Saturday start a process of charting a new course for their national movement.

The leaders of Fatah, the party that controls the Palestinian Authority, will meet, and then the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Central Council will convene to discuss where it’s all heading.

It was this PLO body that gave first Yasser Arafat, and then his successor Mahmoud Abbas, the formal authority to negotiate a settlement with Israel. It gave legitimacy to the Oslo peace process.

Now, according to senior Fatah official and former Palestinian negotiator Mohammed Shtayyeh, this body will review whether to remain within the political framework set by Oslo.
Protesters rally in Paris over Jerusalem, a day ahead of Netanyahu visit
Hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters gathered in Paris on Saturday to protest the decision by US President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel last week, reversing years of US government policy. The protest came a day ahead of a visit to the French capital by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is set to meet French President Emmanuel Macron.

There were also demonstrations in Istanbul and Rome.

The demonstrators, holding Palestinian flags and placards urging a boycott of Israel, gathered at the Place de la République in central Paris, where they were met with a smaller group of pro-Israel protesters.

The demonstrators and counter-demonstrators shouted slogans at each other but were kept far apart.
A gendarme looks on as a man waves an Israeli flag and another waves a US flag as they look at unseen demonstrators taking part in a pro-Palestinian protest in Paris on December 9, 2017, against US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. (AFP/ Zakaria Abdelkafi)

Amid the posters at the pro-Palestinian protest was a sign that said Trump and Netanyahu marked “the return of the Nazis,” and another calling them “war mongers.” The protest was organized by the groups EuroPalestine and France Palestine Solidarité. Several hundred protesters also gathered in Lyon, AFP reported.
Iraqi cleric al-Sadr vows to be 'the first soldier' to defend Jerusalem
Iraqis are invited to volunteer to a new brigade that will attempt to defend Jerusalem after the recent US decision to recognize the city as the Israeli capital sparked rage across the Arab and Muslim world, reported the Kurdish media network Rudaw.

The spokesperson for Saraya al-Salam, Safa Tamimi, claimed that “we will arm, train, and categorize the volunteers according to their specialty" during an interview on Rudaw TV.

Saraya al-Salam is the armed wing of the Sadrist Movement, a political party led by the Shiite cleric al-Sadar that was created in 2003 and enjoys wide support across Iraqi society.

While the future brigade will not be a part of the Saraya al-Salam, Sadar warned in a speech delivered on Thursday that: “We can reach Israel through Syria,” and said he was ready to be the first soldier in such an attack.

The Iranian-backed Iraqi militia Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba said the recent US decision justifies targeting US forces, of which there are thousands in Iraq.
Not exactly a model protester: Bella Hadid spends just THREE MINUTES at Trump Israel demonstration in chilly London before being whisked away in her chauffeur-driven car after glamorous party
Supermodel Bella Hadid joined a London protest against Donald Trump's controversial decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel - for three minutes before being whisked away in her chauffeur-driven car.

The 21-year-old, who is of Palestinian descent, had been partying five minutes away on Oxford Street at an event staged by luxury watchmaker Tag Heuer.

As she was driven away at around 7.30pm today, Hadid's car got stuck behind the protesters who had gathered outside the US Embassy near to Hyde Park.

After videoing the demonstration on her phone, Hadid - still dressed in a glamorous red dress and white coat - got out and joined the march for a few minutes before jumping back into her car and driving off.

She appeared to be enjoying her brief stint as a protester and was pictured smiling and raising her fist into the air as she put her arm around a young fan.

The demonstrations are a part of a Day of Rage which has seen trouble flare around the world in the wake of President Trump's controversial move.
Erin Burnett’s Hostility on Display
In her first question to Dermer, Burnett begins:
Look I know this is a day you have wanted for a very long time and I know it matters a lot to you. That is important. But, of course, the situation that we’re seeing now is crucial, the State Department warning of violence because of the move, leaders of countries throughout the region, across Europe, warning of violence, Palestinians calling for three days of rage. A crucial question for you tonight, Ambassador: are you willing to accept violence and the possible death of Israelis in exchange for getting what you have so long desired?

Burnett announces that Palestinians have called for “three days of rage” as though national leaders calling for violence is the most natural thing in the world. She doesn’t seem bothered by it, nor does she ask whether they should call for peaceful protests instead of “rage.” Instead, both her language and the accusatory tone directed at Ambassador Dermer imply that any violence that occurs is the fault of the government that the Ambassador represents. Similarly, her facial expressions during his response betrays her skepticism of anything he said.

After Dermer responds, Burnett continues with her second question:
Two senior US White House officials are telling CNN that this decision has temporarily derailed the peace process. And as you know, Ambassador, the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas saying Trump’s announcement means the United States has completely withdrawn – completely withdrawn – its role in mediating the Middle East peace process.

Once again, Burnett’s accusatory tone suggests that the Palestinian reaction to the US President complying with US law is the fault of Ambassador Dermer and the government he represents.

Edgar Davidson: It's started again
After the Palestinians of Gaza fired rockets into Israel today (one hitting the town of Sderot and one intercepted by the Iron Dome) this was the headline in the Independent:

CAMERA Op-Ed: 'Days of Rage' and Bad Reporting
On Dec. 6, 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that he would be implementing the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 and recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The announcement that the President would be enacting a law passed by an “overwhelming bipartisan majority” two decades ago and “reaffirmed by a unanimous vote of the Senate only six months ago,” met with predictable outrage by the leadership of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Hamas and others. It also met with predictably poor reporting by many major U.S. news outlets.

As The Times of Israel noted in an editorial published shortly after the President's remarks, Trump highlighted the absurdity of the U.S. previously declining to “acknowledge any capital at all” and pointed to the Jewish people's historical and religious connection to Jerusalem.

Importantly, The Times also pointed out that the speech “included a call to maintain the status quo at Jerusalem's holy sites.” Further, the President explicitly stated that his announcement did not commit the US to a position “on any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, or the resolution of the contested borders.”

Yet, these facts failed to mollify Palestinian leadership. And many major U.S. news outlets, including The Washington Post, USA Today, The Hill, and others, omitted these details in their reporting.

Hamas, the U.S.-designated terror group that rules the Gaza Strip, called for three “days of rage.” Fatah, the movement that dominates the PA, claimed that by complying with U.S. law and “recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” the U.S. was “pushing the region…into the furnace of violence, chaos, extremism, and bloodshed.” Fatah's official Facebook page warned: “Millions of Martyrs are marching to Jerusalem.”
IDF warns further Gaza rockets will be met with ‘severe response’
A top Israel Defense Forces general warned Saturday that further rocket fire from the Gaza Strip towards Israel would be met with a “severe and painful response,” a day after a number of rockets were launched at southern Israel from the enclave amid tensions over US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Maj. Gen Yoav Mordechai, the military liaison to the Palestinians, wrote on his Facebook page on Saturday in Arabic that “irresponsible” terror groups are seeking an “escalation” with Israel, and warned Gazans that they will be the ones who end up paying the price.

“The continuation of the instances of [rocket] fire will lead to a severe and painful response by the IDF. Don’t try to test our strength,” wrote Mordechai.

He reiterated that Israel holds Hamas, the terror group that runs Gaza, responsible for any attacks coming out of the enclave.

Mordechai’s comments came after a number of rockets were fired at Israel on Friday from Gaza for a second consecutive day. At least one was intercepted by the Iron Dome system, but one landed in a residential area of the town of Sderot, without causing injuries.
Israeli planes hit Hamas targets in Gaza in response to rockets
The Israeli Air Force attacked four Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip overnight Friday-Saturday, including two weapons production sites, a weapons depot, and another training compound, in retaliation for rocket fire at Israel from the Hamas-controlled enclave.

On Saturday, the Hamas-run health ministry said two people were killed in one of the strikes, on a Hamas facility in Nusseirat in the central Gaza Strip.

The attack was carried out in response to rocket fire from the Gaza Strip on Friday. One of the rockets exploded in the Israeli town of Sderot Friday night, causing damage to several parked cars.

There were no casualties, though two people were treated for anxiety.

“The IDF views the shooting at Israeli communities severely,” the IDF said in a statement. “Hamas is solely responsible for what happens in the Gaza Strip.”

“There was a huge explosion. I heard glass shatter and car alarms. The house’s walls shook,” a resident told the Ynet news website.

The rocket was the third launch of the evening, and came shortly after Israel struck Hamas targets in Gaza in response to the previous projectile-fire.
After urging intifada, Hamas blames Israel for any escalation as 2 killed
Hamas on Thursday had called for a new intifada against Israel, and on Friday urged Palestinians to confront soldiers and settlers. Its leader Ismail Haniyeh on Friday praised the “blessed intifada,” urged the liberation of Jerusalem, and made plain the group was seeking to intensify violence against Israel.

Israel launched a series of air strikes after terror groups in Gaza fired several rockets into Israel on Thursday and Friday. At least one was intercepted by the Iron Dome system, but one landed in a residential area of the town of Sderot, without causing injuries.

In one of the IAF strikes late Friday on a Hamas base in Nusseirat, located in the central Gaza Strip, two Palestinians were killed. The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza named the men as Mahmud al-Atal, 28 and Mohammed al-Safdi, 30.
Palestinians look at the damage at a Hamas military facility early on December 9, 2017, in the aftermath of an Israeli air strike in Beit Lahia, in the northern Gaza Strip. (AFP PHOTO / MAHMUD HAMS)

It said that their bodies were only recovered several hours after the pre-dawn strike. The terror group later confirmed the dead men were members of it’s military wing.

The strike followed three rocket attacks Friday night from Gaza into southern Israel.

“Today… in response to the rockets fired at southern Israeli communities throughout yesterday, Israel air force aircraft targeted four facilities belonging to the Hamas terror organisation in the Gaza Strip,” an English-language army statement said on Saturday.

It said the targets were “two weapons manufacturing sites, a weapons warehouse, and a military compound.”

“In each target, several components were hit,” it added.

Israeli strikes on Hamas facilities on Friday night wounded 14 people, among them women and children, the Hamas medical services said.
MYSTERY SOLVED: Here’s what former Dem Rep. Cynthia McKinney has been up to
Cynthia McKinney (D-Crazy Town) may no longer be in Congress …

But she’s still got plenty to say to the American people:

It’s pretty clear what she means: The Jooz are going to use your DNA to exterminate you.

Thank goodness Cynthia McKinney brought this to our attention.
Global tour of Auschwitz relics begins seven-year, 14-city journey
An unprecedented world tour of artifacts from Auschwitz-Birkenau premiered in Madrid on December 1, the first stop in a “roving exhibition” about the Nazi death camp where one million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust.

With the tagline, “Not long ago. Not far away,” the tour will appear in 14 cities during the next seven years, primarily in Europe and North America. It is organized by Poland’s Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum and Spain’s Musealia group, which calls itself “an artistic and documentary research project.” The exhibition includes more than 600 artifacts on loan from the museum, as well as from Israel’s Yad Vashem, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, and private collections.

From a segment of the camp’s electrified fence, to a German children’s board game called “Jews Out,” organizers seek to portray the “dual nature” of Auschwitz as both a site of genocide and enduring symbol of evil.

“Today, the world is moving in uncertain directions. That is why we need to rely more and more on the strong foundations of our memory,” said Piotr M. A. Cywiński, director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum. “Nothing can replace a visit to the authentic site of the biggest crime of the 20th century, but this exhibition, which people in many countries will have the opportunity to see, can become a great warning cry for us all,” said Cywiński.
Titled ‘Not long ago. Not far away,’ an exhibition of artifacts from Auschwitz-Birkenau opened in Madrid, Spain, December 2017 (Musealia)

At 2,500-square meters, the collection space is vast, comparable to the world tour of objects salvaged from the Titanic wreck, also put on by Musealia. Visitors are advised to allot 90 minutes to pass through the maze of relics, many of them juxtaposed with historical photographs for context. There are half a dozen large, detailed models to view, including of the gas chamber-crematorium complexes where, in addition to Jews, thousands of Poles, Roma, and other victims were murdered.

Although the tour just opened in Spain, there are already signs of a welcome reception, according to Musealia.
Israel Government Steers Drive to Bring in Bollywood Shoots
Bollywood actors Jacqueline Fernandez and Sushant Singh Rajput touched down in Tel Aviv last month, accompanied by an 80-strong crew, to shoot scenes for “Drive,” the first Hindi film to be set in Israel. The film, an Indian-style spin on “Fast and the Furious,” was partly funded by a number of Israeli government arms, including the Tourism Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office. When “Drive” premieres on the subcontinent in 2018, Israel’s leaders hope it will provide a priceless advertising opportunity for tens of millions of potential Israeli tourists from India.

“We’ve done research and we know there is film tourism around the world. I taught for a year at Georgetown and everyone wanted to see where ‘The Exorcist’ was filmed,” says Michael Oren, former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. “There’s a diplomatic benefit to just having their film stars here.”

“We had a terrific experience shooting in Israel,” says Apoorva Mehta, CEO of Dharma Productions, the producers of “Drive.” “We had tremendous support from the tourism office there, especially from Hassan Madah, India director at the Israel Ministry of Tourism. He was very helpful in ensuring that everything we required was accessible very easily. The line production company we dealt with, Tifferet Films, was very apt because they have done some big films.”

The India-Israel film collaboration is not a one-off project. Its model is almost identical to a similar multi-pronged outreach model that Israel honed with China following the 2014 Gaza War, which had temporarily laid waste to tourism. The war also struck a devastating blow to Israel’s efforts to lure American television productions: FX’s “Tyrant” and USA’s “Dig” both had to frantically relocate in the midst of that crisis, which was both humiliating and expensive for Israeli showrunners. (h/t Zvi)

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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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