Wednesday, February 21, 2018


Squirrel Hill may not be all Jewish, and the majority of the residents of this Pittsburgh neighborhood may not be Jewish, but it’s where the Jews have, for the most part, settled in Pittsburgh, and it’s where I grew up. I’ve heard non-Jews refer to Squirrel Hill as “Kike’s Peak,” and whenever I’m asked where I’m from and I say, “Pittsburgh,” the response is, “Squirrel Hill?”

To which I always answer, “Of course!”

But on my last visit to my hometown, and even my last three visits, I witnessed a neighborhood in flux. Because Pittsburgh is also a college town, this conveniently situated neighborhood attracts many Asian exchange students. Restaurants have popped up to serve these students, replacing the kosher bakeries, butchers, and delicatessens of my youth. Synagogues are closing their doors, unable to sustain a membership substantial enough to stay afloat.

Asked to accompany a blind relative to Jewish Family and Community Services to an evaluation, I notice something else. The waiting room is filled with Arabs, my relative and I the only Jews in this packed space, where we wait to be seen by a social worker. From their accents and colloquialisms, I gather these immigrants are from my neck of the woods, meaning from Israel and the disputed territories. I note that the walls are decorated with posters detailing the rights of and services provided to Holocaust survivors, which gives me an eerie start, and a feeling of cognitive dissonance.

One day earlier, in fact, I’d walked to the kosher grocery store and was stopped along the way by an Arab couple with their child. They’d asked me which way they might reach the downtown area, this way or that way, which was not a question I could easily answer, since downtown was not within walking distance. Later, I realized they must have just left the nearby JFCS to which I escorted my relative the following day.

As I sat in that waiting room at JFCS, I imagined what those Arabs might be thinking: The Yahud exist only to wait on us and give us services.

They might wish to smile approvingly at the informational Holocaust survivor posters, as they waited patiently for (probably Jewish) social workers, remembering with joy the extinguishing of over 6 million Yahud.

I wondered why, in this still largely Jewish neighborhood, there were mostly Arabs in the waiting room of JFCS. The history section of the JFCS website was helpful in explicating the reason. In 1998, the JFCS received a grant from the Jewish Material Claims Conference Against Germany to help it “identify and assist elderly Holocaust survivors in need.” But times change, so much so, that in 2017, JFCS changed its name from Jewish Family and Children’s Services to Jewish Family and Community Services, rebranding its "service programs to better reflect clients served and services offered."

In other words, the JFCS is no longer doing so much for the Jews. Because the Jews are leaving Squirrel Hill. So JFCS is doing stuff for the “community.”

And that means immigrants. In many cases, Muslim immigrants, who may or may not take joy in a poster that reminds them of the genocide of Eastern European Jewry, and who may or may not take it for granted that the Yahud is there to serve them. They may or may not pass the candy when Jews are brutally murdered in a far off land called Israel.

The Jews meanwhile, God bless their liberal hearts, are treating these immigrants with respect and kindness, giving them all sorts of help and support. Instead of helping their own. Oblivious to the fact that Jews in a similar situation, for instance, seeking help at a Gazan social services center (were Jews allowed to enter Gaza, which they are not), would be raped, lynched, and dismembered.

I wanted to rip that poster off the wall. I didn’t want to remind these immigrants of a “victory” against my people—didn’t want to give them joy over the vanquishing of so many Yahud. I felt shame that we offered them services, serving as stooges, subordinate to Dar el Islam

This swirl of thoughts in my brain, stayed in my brain. To outside appearances, I sat, calm and collected, patient, awaiting my turn. No one there would have any inkling that I was braver than that. That I lived in my ancestral land of Judea with pride, though their cousins pick us off, on a regular basis, using rocks, bus bombings, hatchets, firebombs, car-rammings, and kidnappings.

One month on, I am home again. I visit a Jerusalem Terem, one of a chain of immediate care clinics founded by Dr. David Applebaum, may Hashem avenge his blood. Applebaum and his daughter Nava were murdered by terrorists. David and Nava were having a father and daughter chat over coffee at Hillel Café, in Jerusalem.

It was the night before Nava’s wedding.

I sit in the waiting room of Terem. All kinds of people are here, reflecting the tapestry of Israeli society: people of all colors and religions, women with wigs, women with hijabs. No Apartheid here, no siree bob.

Then I notice it: up high on the wall, a photo of Terem’s founder, just a hint of a smile on his face. A second framed item hung alongside the first, this one a document summarizing Applebaum’s vision for immediate care in Jerusalem, and his murder by terrorists. Dr. Applebaum’s visage looked down on all of us sitting there awaiting treatment: Jew and Arab, alike.

To the liberal heart, this fact would bring joy: in spite of Arab terror, we Jews remain democratic, offering an equal standard of care to all, regardless of religion or nationality. But I felt no joy, no pride. Instead I had an overwhelming desire to cover up Applebaum’s photo. Why should they get to murder him, then benefit from his vision? Why should they sit smug in the knowledge of taking his life, while begging to have their own lives saved?

To tell you the truth, it vexed me.

On the one hand, there is no question that David Applebaum deserves recognition and honor for his far-seeing vision and contribution. On the other hand, it’s a chutzpah to allow his memory to be exploited by those who might or might not have passed round the candy, on hearing the news of his murder (and that of his daughter). It’s awful to extend a hand to people who might not think twice about murdering Applebaum’s people, just because they are Jews—people like me—just because, to their mind, we are Jews who live on soil that became part of Dar el Islam during the Muslim Conquest.

Here is the truth: Dr. Applebaum, HY”D, saves lives from beyond the grave, even the lives of those people whose culture is a culture of death. Because Applebaum’s culture—Jewish culture—is the culture of L’chaim, of life.




And rather than fill me with pride, the inequity of this “equality” infuriates me.


As it should, you.



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gavelRosh HaAyin, February 21 - A crane operator whose negligence resulted in the death of an Israeli Jew filed a lawsuit against the Palestinian Authority today after discovering he was not eligible to receive a lifetime pension that the Authority pays to killers of Jews.
Poel Rashlan, 44, filed papers in Tel Aviv District Court this afternoon, naming Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and several other Palestinian officials as defendants, and accusing them of refusing to pay him thousands of shekels per month for the rest of his life simply because he is Jewish, whereas non-Jews who kill Jews receive such payments without even applying.

Rashlan was convicted of criminally negligent homicide following a 2017 incident in which, under the influence of drugs, he failed to adhere to basic safety procedures and caused the collapse of his construction crane. The falling segments of the ten-story device fell on a car, killing the driver. Rashlan expected to receive the same monthly stipends that the Palestinian Authority pays others who have killed Jews, but received nothing, his lawyer asserted.

"I am filing this lawsuit on behalf of Mr. Rashlan to call attention to the discriminatory practices of the Palestine National Authority with regard to to their pay-for-slay program," stated attorney Ron Scheister. "While non-Jewish killers of Israeli Jews, and of others, receive monthly payments, my client has received nothing. Even those whose actions fail to result in the actual death of Jews receive payments, albeit lower ones, whereas my client, whose actions led directly to the death of an Israeli Jew, remains suspiciously absent from the rolls of those whom the Palestinian Authority pays a generous lifetime pension."

Scheister noted that while both Israeli and American pending legislation might pressure the Palestinian Authority to cease such payments, his client cannot wait until the legislation goes into effect for justice. "It would be one thing if the Taylor Force Act were to go into effect tomorrow," he explained, referring to a bill under Senate review. "Then we could anticipate all such pay-for-slay payments to come to an end, and hold off on filing the suit. However, with the timetable of such legislation and its impact still undetermined, Mr. Rashlan decided to address the injustice that prevails in the interim."

Scheister also revealed that he considered making the case a class action suit on behalf of any Jew convicted of homicide since the Palestinian Authority began making payments to killers of Jews decades ago, but decided against the move for reasons of expediency. "It would take much longer for a class-action suit to proceed," he noted. "By then the Authority may bow to the financial pressure of the Taylor Force Act and other laws, rendering the lawsuit pointless. So we proceeded with just a regular lawsuit."



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From Ian:

PMW: Fatah honors terrorist who led murder: “Martyr who sat on shoulders of Heaven and smiled”
One of the latest new Palestinian "heroes" is "Martyr" Ahmed Nasr Jarrar - the terrorist who led the terror cell that murdered Rabbi Raziel Shevach, a father of six, in a drive-by shooting on Jan. 9, 2018, near Havat Gilad in the Nablus area.

Terrorist Jarrar was shot and killed during an exchange of gunfire with Israeli soldiers while resisting arrest near Jenin on Feb. 6, 2018. Palestinian Media Watch has documented that Abbas' Fatah Movement has honored him several times, and continues to do so as seen in additional Facebook posts below.

Palestinians have also named sports tournaments after the terrorist. A futsal championship was held in the Nablus area:

"The Martyr Ahmed Jarrar Futsal Championship"
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 12, 2018]

In Gaza too, terrorist Jarrar is a hero with two sports tournaments having already been named after him:

"The Martyr Ahmed Nasr Jarrar Table Tennis Cup" (to be held later this month)

"The Martyr Ahmed Jarrar Handball Cup" (date to be announced)
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 19, 2018]

The following are 10 Fatah posts on Facebook glorifying terrorist Jarrar:
IDF reveals it thwarted attempted Islamic State bombing of Australian flight
The Israeli army on Wednesday revealed that the Military Intelligence Unit 8200 foiled an Islamic State attempt to bomb a flight from Australia last August.

“The unit provided exclusive intelligence that led to the prevention of an air attack by the Islamic State in 2017 in Australia,” a senior IDF officer said.

“The foiling of the attack saved dozens of innocent lives and proved Unit 8200’s position as a major player in the intelligence fight against the Islamic State,” the officer said, on condition of anonymity.

Wednesday’s revelation was an unusual move for the Israeli army, which generally keeps mum on the operations of the secretive Unit 8200, which is similar to the American National Security Agency, collecting information from electronic communication, also referred to as signals intelligence.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Munich Security Conference that Israeli Military Intelligence “helped prevent dozens of terror attacks in dozens of countries by the Islamic State.”
Exclusive: Senior PA official embezzled EU aid money
A top Palestinian official spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in aid money provided by the European Union on personal expenses like overseas travel, electronics and landscaping, according to information obtained by i24NEWS.

Sources in Gaza, Ramallah and Europe said that Marwan Durzi, the ex-head of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in the West Bank and the current head of the Palestinian co-ordination office for Zone C (the part of the West Bank under full Israeli military control) took advantage of his position overseeing grants provided by the EU for humanitarian purposes.

The sources said that in 2017 Durzi was found to have taken 100,000 ($123,000) euros worth of business trips, many accompanied by his family.

He also purchased 60,000 euros ($74,000) of computers, phones and tablets for himself and associates after a 3G communications network was finally established in the West Bank, more than 80,000 ($98,500) euros worth of clothes and jewelry and 200,000 ($247,000) euros on gardening.

Sources said that the office he runs do not keep accurate records of the amount of funds received by the EU, and in some cases reported them to be 70% lower than they actually were. (h/t Yenta Press)

  • Wednesday, February 21, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon


The Fatah Facebook page proudly showed a photo of Yasir Arafat, Moammar Qaddafi and Mahmoud Abbas, laughing it up together in Libya.



In America, a politician being seen in public with Louis Farrakhan is considered dangerous to his career.

For the Palestinians, though, photos of their leader with the worst Arab despots are to be celebrated.

Think about that.







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  • Wednesday, February 21, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon


Abbas, once again, plans to keep saying "no.".

He wants to let the international community pressure Israel to give in to his demands, while he sits back and waits and refuses to make any decisions.

In 2009, his plan was strikingly similar - just he was trusting the Obama administration to do what he now expects the UN to do. From the Washington Post, May 29, 2009:

Mahmoud Abbas says there is nothing for him to do. 
True, the Palestinian president walked into his meeting with Barack Obama yesterday as the pivotal player in any Middle East peace process. If there is to be a deal, Abbas must (1) agree on all the details of a two-state settlement with the new Israeli government of Binyamin Netanyahu, which hasn't yet accepted Palestinian statehood, and (2) somehow overcome the huge split in Palestinian governance between his Fatah movement, which controls the West Bank, and Hamas, which rules Gaza and hasn't yet accepted Israel's right to exist.

Yet on Wednesday afternoon, as he prepared for the White House meeting in a suite at the Ritz-Carlton in Pentagon City, Abbas insisted that his only role was to wait. He will wait for Hamas to capitulate to his demand that any Palestinian unity government recognize Israel and swear off violence. And he will wait for the Obama administration to force a recalcitrant Netanyahu to freeze Israeli settlement construction and publicly accept the two-state formula.

Until Israel meets his demands, the Palestinian president says, he will refuse to begin negotiations.
Of course, during the Obama administration Netanyahu did agree to a two state solution and Israel did freeze settlement construction for nearly a year in order to induce Abbas to negotiate. Instead, he pocketed his gains and still refused to negotiate.

Hamas, on paper, agreed to unify with the PA, with Abbas now responsible for running the sector. Yet Abbas refuses to pay for basic services in Gaza even after the agreement.

Abbas is clearly a liar who will not follow through on his promises. (Ironically, this is exactly what Muslims accuse Jews of, since Mohammed's time.) Abbas thinks that his demands bear fruit, so why not keep adding more demands - and keep refusing to do anything on his own part?

The world is slowly waking up to his methods. The Arab world is already sick of Abbas and the entire Palestinian issue that they have spent so many years and political capital to support. The current US administration is not falling for the lies.

The only support Abbas has is from the EU and the UN. And even they are more going through the motions than really caring about the Palestinians.

The end of the Washington Post article remains as relevant as ever:
 "I will wait for Hamas to accept international commitments. I will wait for Israel to freeze settlements," he said. "Until then, in the West Bank we have a good reality . . . the people are living a normal life."
If the people in the West Bank are living a normal life, then the world doesn't need to care much about a meaningless piece of paper that Abbas would ignore anyway. And his active persecution of Gazans, today, show that the world cares more about Palestinians than their supposed leader does.

The world is waking up to the reality of a leader who refuses to do anything except to say no.




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  • Wednesday, February 21, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon


On Monday, Israel's Delek Drilling company announced that Egyptian private company Dolphinus is set to import gas from Israel worth $15 billion, pending regulatory approval from both countries.

As was the case with the similar deal with Jordan, this is causing some Egyptians to be upset.

From Al Ahram:
Egyptian leftist MP Abdel-Hamid Kamal, who represents the governorate of Suez, has submitted an urgent information request on Tuesday asking that Petroleum Minister Tarek El-Molla be summoned to parliament as soon as possible to explain to MPs reports that Israel has signed two agreements to sell gas to Egypt.

Kamal's request, submitted to parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Aal, said, "Importing natural gas from Israel would be in violation of Article 139 of the constitution, which states that the main job of the president of the republic is to preserve the people's interests and maintain the independence of the state and the integrity and safety of its land."

"Any gas deal with Israel goes against this article, as Israel is still an enemy of Egypt in practical and de facto terms," argued Kamal, who is affiliated with the leftist Tagammu Party.

Kamal told Ahram Online that "gas deals with Israel pose a big threat to Egypt's internal security and national economy… It gives Israel, an enemy to Egypt, a hand to manipulate Egypt's economy, as dependence on gas imports from the Jewish state for a long period of time will surely be very risky," said Kamal.

“The deal also raises questions about the private Egyptian company Dolphinus: who are [the company’s] owners? Does it have foreign partners, and how were they able to sign a 10-year deal that will do a lot of harm to the Egyptian economy and delay the liquification of Egyptian gas?”

The deal triggered wide-scale reactions in Egypt's economic and political circles yesterday, and was a hot issue on most private TV talk shows on Monday night.
In response, the Petroleum Ministry tried to downplay the news:
 Egypt’s petroleum ministry responded on Monday to news of a massive gas deal between Egyptian private company Dolphinus and Israeli gas firms, saying it makes "no comment on negotiations or deals involving private sector companies over importing or selling natural gas."
In press statements on Monday evening, Egypt’s petroleum ministry spokesman Hamdy Abdel Aziz said the ministry would deal with any permit or license requests by the private sector in accordance with applicable regulations, in light of Egypt’s strategy of becoming a regional hub for energy.
He added that the government has been taking measures to liberalize the natural gas market, putting in place a regulatory framework that allows private companies to use the national gas grid to trade within approvals and requirements laid down by the Gas Market Regulatory Authority.
In an Arabic interview, the minister struck a slightly different tone:
The minister stressed that in the case of implementation of this order, Egypt has three conditions before it is accepted, the first is the approval of the government, the second to achieve value added to the Egyptian economy, and the last to find solutions to international arbitration issues outstanding with the other party.
Interestingly, Egypt has recently announced that it will start pumping a large gas field itself:
 In December, petroleum minister Tarek El Molla said that Egypt will achieve self-sufficiency in natural gas before the end of 2018.
Mammoth gas gield Zohr and the North Alexandria and Nooros fields are expected to increase Egypt's natural gas output by 50 percent in 2018 and 100 percent in 2020, the Ministry of Petroleum said in October.
One must wonder why the Egyptian firm struck a ten year deal when Egypt claims it will be self-sufficient in natural gas in only two years.

Perhaps the Zohr field isn't quite as ready as they claimed.




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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

From Ian:

Phyllis Chesler: When Anti-Zionism Reigned at the IRS
Now we have further documentation of Obama's official anti-Semitism/anti-Zionism and its reign at the IRS between 2010 and 2017.

The mainstream or leftstream and liberal media barely covered this lawsuit. The Wall Street Journal and FOX did.

One 2010 article in Politico found the right kind of Jew, former IRS Commissioner, Sheldon Cohen who said, "he was skeptical of Z Street's motives in its high-profile lawsuit, rather than pursuing its concerns in tax court. 'They were hardly into the process when they screamed rape – nobody lifted the dress yet," he said, noting that 501(c)3 groups can't advocate for political positions.

Seven years is a long time to be unable to raise funding for educational purposes; it is also a long time in which to launch and maintain a self-defensive lawsuit, one which was immediately punished by the IRS which then froze the Z STREET application. Seven years is a long time to experience the absence of Jewish-American organizational support; the turned backs of Jewish philanthropists is another kind of sorrow and challenge.
Britain and Zionism: Did Margaret Thatcher betray Balfour?
British policy toward Zionism and Israel has been a 100-year roller-coaster, from the triumphant Balfour Declaration to the depths of the 1939 White Paper, and back again to Margaret Thatcher — the first British prime minister to visit the Jewish state, and famously pro-Israel.

Or was she?

Tel Aviv University lecturer Azriel Bermant’s new book “Margaret Thatcher and the Middle East” (Cambridge) draws on recently released British and Israeli government papers to reveal the truth about Margaret Thatcher’s Middle East policy and reassess her famous battles with the Arabists of Britain’s Foreign Office.

Author Elliot Jager’s book “The Balfour Declaration: Sixty-Seven Words – 100 Years of Conflict” (Gefen), explores the myriad of influences and personalities who came together at a pivotal point in history to issue the famous founding charter of the Jewish national home.

The two authors will reflect on the past century of Anglo-Zionist relations at a public discussion, in English, produced with the Sir Naim Dangoor Center for UK/Israel Relations at Mishkenot Sha’ananim on Tuesday, February 27. Tickets are available HERE.

Although Thatcher’s personal sympathies were pro-Israel, when it came to concrete policy “there was very little difference between the way she saw things and the way the Foreign Office saw things,” says Bermant.

Even as UK policy seemed to diverge from Israel’s – opposing Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982, denouncing settlements, supporting arms and AWACs deals with Saudi Arabia, softening the UK’s rejection of the PLO – Thatcher was still lauded as a great friend.
MEMRI: Lebanese Journalist: 100 Years After Balfour Declaration, The Arabs Have Failed Where Israel Has Excelled
In a November 25, 2017 article marking the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, published in the London-based daily Al-Hayat, Lebanese journalist Karam Al-Hilu compared the meager accomplishments of the Arab world in the past century with those of the rest of the countries of the world, particularly Israel. He noted that Israel's supremacy in the areas of science, economy, society, and politics is the source of its strength as well as the source of the Arabs' failure in confronting it.

The following are excerpts from his article:
"A century after the Balfour Declaration... the Arabs have not managed to build a [a single] state that possesses knowledge, justice, and the economic, social, and human capability for confronting Zionism. One hundred years have been squandered, in all aspects; during them, the Arabs have been confronting Israel while their cultural infrastructure was in crisis – in the areas of knowledge, politics, economy, society, and thought. According to the 2014 [UN] report on knowledge in the Arab world [the Arab Knowledge Report], despite the 500 Arab universities, with an enrollment of nine million students and faculties of 220,000 lecturers, higher education in the Arab world is very meager in scientific research, in its failure to adapt to digital culture, and in its incompatibility with [universal] scientific and human culture. Outlay on scientific research is extremely negligible. Even in Egypt, the Arab country where the [cultural] awakening is the most deeply rooted, [only] 0.43% of the [gross] national product [is allocated to scientific research], versus 4.04% in South Korea and 3.39% in Japan. Therefore, scientists and research output are a rarity in the Arab world, and the research that is published [there] constitutes only 0.8% of the global average. The number of patents registered to the Arabs in the past 50 years does not exceed [the number of those] registered by Malaysia alone.

"Not a single Arab university ranks among the 500 best in the world, while Israel supersedes the Arabs at an astronomical rate, in inventions and in hi-tech export. Israel has completely wiped out illiteracy [among its citizens], while among the Arabs, 23% remain illiterate.


  • Tuesday, February 20, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon


Here's the text  of Danny Danon's response to Mahmoud Abbas' speech in the UNSC today. I thought it was a strong speech and it made all the major points that get ignored in the media and by diplomats.

I expected Mr. Abbas to stay for a dialogue, but once again he has run away instead of listening to what we have to say.

Look what just happened. Mr. Abbas came here put his demands on the table.

Now he expects you to deliver.

This is not the way to achieve peace. You cannot avoid direct negotiations.

Thank you, Mr. President.

It is unfortunate that we are meeting here today;
For the past seven and a half years the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas,
has refused to meet even once with Prime Minister Netanyahu.

He has refused to negotiate peace.

Yet, during that same time, Mr. Abbas has made seven trips here to the United Nations.

Today, once again. rather than driving just twelve minutes from Ramallah to Jerusalem, he has chosen to fly twelve hours to New York to avoid the possibility for peace.

Mr. Abbas.

You have made it clear with your words and with your actions, that you are no longer part of the solution. You are the problem.

What have you done to better the life of a single person in Ramallah or Gaza?

The Palestinians need leadership that will invest in education, not glorify violence.
They need leadership that will build hospitals, not pay terrorists.
They need leadership that will negotiate with Israel and not run away from dialogue.

You just addressed the members of the Security Council and spoke of your commitments to peace. This is what you often do when speaking to international forums.

But when you address your people in Arabic, you convey a very different message.

A few weeks ago, when you spoke to the PLO Central Committee you called the national movement of the Jewish people and I quote “colonialist project that has no connection to Judaism.”

In the same shameful speech, you had the audacity to accuse Jews of supporting antisemitism in order to promote Zionism.

This was not the first time you used such hateful language.

In September 2015, as part of your attempts to delegitimize the connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel you said that Jews had no rights to the Temple Mount and other holy sites. And that the Jews, and I quote…“desecrate them with their filthy feet.”

You then went on to incite your people to violence saying, and I quote, “we welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem.”

Mr. Abbas,
You inspire a culture of hate within Palestinian society.
You name schools and public squares in honor of terrorists.
You encourage your children to hate by teaching them in school that Jews are descendants of apes.

Just this month, your Fatah faction praised the terrorists who killed Rabbi Raziel Shevach.

And you remained silent and refused to condemn the terrorists who killed a father of six as he was driving home to see his children.

Mr. Abbas, your incitement does not end with rhetoric. You have made it official Palestinian policy to sponsor terrorism.

In 2017, you spent $345 million dollars paying terrorists for killing innocent Israelis.

That is fifty percent of total foreign aid donated to the PA.
This is money you could have spent building forty hospitals.
This is money, you could have used to build 172 schools.
Every year.

Your travel around the world seeking international intervention is an attempt to avoid the hard choices necessary for peace.

You look to every possible forum because you don’t want to actually negotiate with Israel.

Mr. President,

It is unfortunate, but this reckless behavior by Chairman Abbas is nothing new.

It is a pattern he has continued in the spirit of over seventy years of missed opportunities by Palestinian leadership.

We recently celebrated seventy years since the adoption of General Assembly Resolution 181.

For the Jewish people, it represented international recognition of our historic rights to our homeland. We accepted the resolution immediately.

It was not perfect. It did not provide us with all that we deserved.

But it gave us hope for a better future.

Yet, this past November, as Israel celebrated this milestone the Palestinians marked this anniversary with grief and mourning just as they did seventy years ago when they chose to reject it.

Since that moment in 1947 Israelis fought valiantly in too many wars against our enemies intent to destroy our country.

Over time, brave leaders emerged in Egypt and Jordan. Leaders who were willing to negotiate, compromise, and ultimately sign peace agreements with Israel.

But the Palestinian leadership continued to choose conflict over coexistence.

At the Camp David summit, in 2000, Prime Minister Ehud Barak presented the Palestinians with an unprecedented offer.

What was Mahmoud Abbas’s reaction? To side with Yasser Arafat, claim it was a trap, and reject the proposal.

In 2005, Mahmoud Abbas was elected to chair the Palestinian Authority.

The world hoped he would follow in the courageous footsteps of President Sadat and King Hussein, seek peace with Israel, and forge a better future for Palestinians.

But he let his people down.

Since the day he took office, peace plan after peace plan has been accepted by Israel and rejected by Mr. Abbas.

Israeli leaders have sat with Mr. Abbas time and again. Three different Israeli prime ministers, three different American presidents. But every time there is an inch toward progress…

Mr. Abbas runs away.

In 2007, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered the most generous deal since Resolution 181. An almost complete withdrawal from Judea and Samaria and a direct link to the Gaza Strip.

The offer even included a plan to place the Old City of Jerusalem, the gateway to our holiest sites, under international control.

Mr. Abbas’s response was simple: An unequivocal no.

Two years later, Prime Minister Netanyahu did something unprecedented. In an attempt to restart negotiations, he initiated a ten -month freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria.

This was a precondition that no Israeli Prime Minister, not even Yitzhak Rabin or Shimon Peres had ever agreed to. But soon enough, the ten months passed and Mahmoud Abbas was nowhere to be found. He never came to the table. (P)

In 2013, Secretary of State John Kerry opened another attempt at negotiations. Once again Prime Minister Netanyahu was ready to talk. Once again, he was ready to negotiate, despite the years of Palestinian rejections of peace.

Chairman Abbas responded by breaking his commitment to Secretary Kerry. He chose unilateral action joining international conventions. Then he sought peace with Hamas, the internationally recognized terrorist organization, without even demanding that it renounce violence.

Today, as we speak, the current US administration is once again working hard to make progress toward peace. Mr. Abbas, however, is once again looking hard for an excuse.

This time, he claims it was the American announcement about Jerusalem that drove him to reject negotiations. By recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, President Trump simply stated what should be clear to everyone.

Mr. Abbas,
Let me be clear.

For thousands of years Jerusalem has been the heart and soul of our people.

Jerusalem has been our capital since the days of King David.

And Jerusalem will remain the undivided capital of the State of Israel forever.

We will always insist on Israeli sovereignty over a united Jerusalem. But, even fair-minded observers would agree that under any possible agreement Jerusalem will be recognized internationally as our capital.

After all these years of Abbas’s rejectionism, one thing is clear: when we extend a hand,
Abbas extends a fist.

Only when the terrorists of Hamas extend a hand, does Abbas embrace them with open arms and without preconditions.

Mr. Abbas has no even insisted on the basic human gesture of demanding the return of the Israeli civilians and the remains of IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul that Hamas is savagely holding.

Mr. President…

Israelis are an optimistic people.

We weathered four bloody wars with Egypt while waiting for a leader like Anwar Sadat to courageously visit Jerusalem.

It took decades of talks with Jordan until the time was right for King Hussein to enter into what he rightly called a “peace of the brave.”

Three times a day Jews in Israel and all over the world turn to Jerusalem, and pray for peace.

We ask the following from God:

שִׂים שָ לוֹם טוֹבָה וּבְרָכָה
חֵן וָחֶֽסֶד וְרַחֲמִים עָלֵֽינוּ וְעַל כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל עַמֶּֽךָ

“Grant peace everywhere goodness and blessing, Grace, loving kindness and mercy to us and unto all Israel and all of the world.”

We have no doubt that the day will come when the Palestinian people will also be blessed with leadership that shares these noble aspirations.

This will be a leadership that condemns violence and ends the shameful practice of paying salaries to terrorists. It will be a leadership that educates its people to tolerance instead of peddling in antisemitism. It will be a leadership that recognizes that Israel is and always will be
the national homeland of the Jewish people.

Israel eagerly awaits the day, when this Palestinian leadership will emerge and will bring the hope of a better future for its people and our region.
Thank you.
 And here's Nikki Haley's response:




Thank you, Mr. Secretary-General, for being with us today, as well as to Mr. Mladenov for his briefing.
We are meeting today in a forum that is very familiar to all of us. This session on the Middle East has been taking place each month for many, many years. Its focus has been almost entirely on issues facing Israelis and Palestinians. And we have heard many of the same arguments and ideas over and over again. We have already heard them again this morning.
It is as if saying the same things repeatedly, without actually doing the hard work and making the necessary compromises, will achieve anything.
Beginning last year, we have tried to broaden the discussion, and we have had some success in doing so. I thank my colleagues who have participated in those broader discussions.
One reason we did that is our well-founded belief that the United Nations spends an altogether disproportionate amount of time on Israeli-Palestinian issues. It’s not that those issues are unimportant. They are certainly very important. The problem is that the UN has proven itself time and again to be a grossly biased organization when it comes to Israel.
As such, the UN’s disproportionate focus has actually made the problem more difficult to solve, by elevating the tensions and the grievances between the two parties.
Another reason we have attempted to shift the discussion is that the vast scope of the challenges facing the region dwarf the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
As we meet here today, the Middle East is plagued by many truly horrendous problems.
In Yemen, there is one of the worst humanitarian disasters on earth, with millions of people facing starvation. Meanwhile, militia groups fire Iranian rockets from Yemen into neighboring countries. In Syria, the Assad regime is using chemical weapons to gas its own people. This war has taken the lives of over half a million Syrians.
Millions more have been pushed into neighboring Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon as refugees, causing major hardships in those countries.
In Lebanon, Hezbollah terrorists exert ever-more control, illegally building up a stockpile of offensive weapons, inviting a dangerous escalation that could devastate regional security.
ISIS is engaged in an inhumane level of cruelty in much of the region. They’ve been dealt severe setbacks in Iraq and Syria, but they are not completely yet destroyed, and they still pose serious threats.
Egypt faces repeated terrorist attacks.
And of course, there is the terrorist-sponsoring regime in Iran that initiates and encourages most of the troubles I just outlined.
These immense security and humanitarian challenges throughout the region should occupy more of our attention, rather than having us sit here month after month and use the most democratic country in the Middle East as a scapegoat for the region’s problems.
But here we go again.
I do not mean to suggest that there is no suffering in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Both sides have suffered greatly. So many innocent Israelis have been killed or injured by suicide bombings, stabbings, and other sickening terrorist attacks. Israel has been forced to live under constant security threats like virtually no other country in the world. It should not have to live that way.
And yet, Israel has overcome those burdens. It is a thriving country, with a vibrant economy that contributes much to the world in the name of technology, science, and the arts.
It is the Palestinian people who are suffering more. The Palestinians in Gaza live under Hamas terrorist oppression. I can’t even call it a governing authority, as Hamas provides so little in the way of what one would normally think as government services.
The people of Gaza live in truly awful conditions, while their Hamas rulers put their resources into building terror tunnels and rockets. The Palestinians in the West Bank also suffer greatly. Too many have died, and too much potential has been lost in this conflict.
We are joined here today by Palestinian Authority President Abbas. I’m sorry he declined to stay in the chamber to hear the remarks of others. Even though he has left the room, I will address the balance of my remarks to him.
President Abbas, when the new American administration came into the office last January, we did so against the fresh backdrop of the passage of Security Council Resolution 2334.
In the waning days of the previous American administration, the United States made a serious error in allowing that resolution to pass. Resolution 2334 was wrong on many levels. I am not going to get into the substance now.
But beyond the substance, perhaps its biggest flaw was that it encouraged the false notion that Israel can be pushed into a deal that undermines its vital interests, damaging the prospects for peace by increasing mistrust between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
In the last year, the United States has worked to repair that damage. At the UN, I have opposed the bias against Israel, as any ally should do.
But that does not mean I or our administration is against the Palestinian people. Just the opposite is true. We recognize the suffering of the Palestinian people, as I have recognized here today.
I sit here today offering the outstretched hand of the United States to the Palestinian people in the cause of peace. We are fully prepared to look to a future of prosperity and co-existence. We welcome you as the leader of the Palestinian people here today.
But I will decline the advice I was recently given by your top negotiator, Saeb Erekat. I will not shut up. Rather, I will respectfully speak some hard truths.
The Palestinian leadership has a choice to make between two different paths. There is the path of absolutist demands, hateful rhetoric, and incitement to violence. That path has led, and will continue to lead, to nothing but hardship for the Palestinian people.
Or, there is the path of negotiation and compromise. History has shown that path to be successful for Egypt and Jordan, including the transfer of territory. That path remains open to the Palestinian leadership, if only it is courageous enough to take it.
The United States knows the Palestinian leadership was very unhappy with the decision to move our embassy to Jerusalem. You don’t have to like that decision. You don’t have to praise it. You don’t even have to accept it. But know this: that decision will not change.
So once again, you must choose between two paths. You can choose to denounce the United States, reject the U.S. role in peace talks, and pursue punitive measures against Israel in international forums like the UN. I assure you that path will get the Palestinian people exactly nowhere toward the achievement of their aspirations.
Or, you can choose to put aside your anger about the location of our embassy, and move forward with us toward a negotiated compromise that holds great potential for improving the lives of the Palestinian people.
Putting forward old talking points and entrenched and undeveloped concepts achieves nothing. That approach has been tried many times, and has always failed. After so many decades, we welcome new thinking.
As I mentioned in this meeting last month, the United States stands ready to work with the Palestinian leadership.
Our negotiators are sitting right behind me, ready to talk. But we will not chase after you. The choice, Mr. President, is yours.
Thank you.
(h/t Daled Amos)




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  • Tuesday, February 20, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon
I don't have time to fully annotate this yet, but there are plenty of absurdities and lies. I highlight a few of them.

--------------------------

Excellency Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, President of the Security Council,

Excellency Mr. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations,

Excellencies Members of the Security Council,

Seventy years have passed since Palestine’s Nakba, from which 6 million Palestine refugees continue to suffer from the cruelty of exile and loss of human security. They continue to wander the world after the loss of their peaceful and stable lives in their homeland. They are part of the 13 million Palestinians, whose country has not yet been recognized as full Member State of the United Nations, despite the numerous resolutions reaffirming their right to self-determination and statehood on their national land.

We are the descendants of the Canaanites that lived in the land of Palestine 5,000 years ago and continuously remained there to this day. Our great people remain rooted in their land. The Palestinian people built their own cities and homeland and made contributions to humanity and civilization witnessed by the world. They established institutions, schools, hospitals, cultural organizations, theaters, libraries, newspapers, publishing houses, economic organizations, businesses and banks, with wide regional and international influence.

(If they are Arabs, they aren't Canaanites. And they are Arabs. Except for some Christians, every major Palestinian family traces their ancestry to Arabia.) 

(I want a list of the Arab-established theaters, libraries, publishing houses and banks in Palestine before 1917.)

All of this existed before and after the Balfour Declaration issued by the British Government in 1917, a declaration by which those who did not own, giving to those who had no right. The British Government bears responsibility for the catastrophic consequences inflicted on the Palestinian people as a result.

Since then, and although our people remain under occupation, they continued their journey in building and developing their country with the establishment of their National Authority in 1994. Our national institutions are recognized by international organizations for their merit and work, which is based on the rule of law, accountability and transparency, and empowerment of women and youth in an environment of tolerance, coexistence of civilizations and nondiscrimination.

Moreover, we continue to strive to unite our people and land and to ensure one authority, one law, and one gun, and are determined to convene parliamentary and presidential elections.

(Yes, since 1994 we have still not managed to do any of this. But we promise we will!)

Mr. President, Excellencies,

Our conviction is deep and our position is clear regarding the use of arms of any kind. We not only call for the dismantlement of nuclear weapons, but are also opposed to conventional weapons, which have caused such vast destruction of States in our region and around the world.

(The Fatah logo has a hand grenade and submachine gun.)


We have thus been committed to fostering a culture of peace, rejection of violence, pursuit of sustainable development and the building of schools, hospitals, industrial zones, agricultural farms and technological production, as opposed to establishing weapons factories and purchasing tanks and fighter jets, for we wish for our people to live in freedom and dignity, far from wars and destruction and far from terrorism and extremism, which are being relentlessly combated in all areas of the globe. Accordingly, we have become party to 83 security agreements with States around the world, including the United States, Russian Federation, European countries and others.

(I just posted about how Abbas' party, today, glorifies terror on their official social media accounts.)

Why are we here today?

After a long journey and efforts to create a political path based on negotiations and leading to a comprehensive and just peace, as you are aware, we participated in the Madrid Conference in 1991 and signed the Oslo Accords in 1993, which affirmed the imperative of reaching a solution of all the permanent status issues before 1999. Unfortunately, this has not become reality.

Nevertheless, we persisted in our efforts to attain peace. We engaged in dialogue at Wye River and Camp David. We participated in the Annapolis Conference; we engaged in dialogue with the former Israeli Prime Minister Olmert, and met with Prime Minister Netanyahu in the presence of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and George Mitchell; and we accepted President Putin’s invitation to meet with Mr. Netanyahu in Moscow, but he has regrettably evaded participating in such a meeting. We engaged with all seriousness with former Secretary of State John Kerry. But the Israeli Government’s intransigence caused the failure of all of these efforts.

After all of this, how can it be said that it is we who reject negotiations?

(See Danny Danon's response, being posted here soon, with a pretty good list of what Abbas has walked out of.) 

Confronted with this deadlock, we have neither given up, nor have we lost hope. We have come to the United Nations, believing in the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, which affirms, inter alia, the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force and affirms the right of peoples to self-determination, which are among the issues this august Council will address tomorrow. We continue to engage with all of its agencies and bodies in our search for an end this occupation of our land and people. Yet, in spite of all of this, the international community has failed to implement the relevant UN resolutions, even to this day.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Is it logical that, despite the adoption of 705 General Assembly resolutions and 86 Security Council resolutions in our favor, none of them have been implemented? Is it logical that Israel violates its obligation to implement resolutions 181 (II) and 194 (III), the implementation of which Israel’s admission to the UN was conditioned upon, as pledged in writing by its Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett at that time?

(Lie.)

Israel is acting as a State above the law. It has transformed the occupation from a temporary situation as per international law into a situation of permanent settlement colonization and has imposed a one-State reality of Apartheid. It has closed all doors to realizing the two-State solution on the basis of the 1967 borders.

Here, we must reaffirm, as we have done in the past, our problem is not with the followers of Judaism. Judaism is a monotheistic religion as are Christianity and Islam. Our problem is only with the occupiers of our land and those denying our independence and freedom.

Mr. President, Excellencies Members of the Council,

We met with the President of the United States, Donald Trump, four times in 2017, and we have expressed our absolute readiness to reach a historic peace agreement. We repeatedly reaffirmed our position in accordance with international law, the relevant UN resolutions and the two-State solution on the basis of the 1967 borders. Yet this administration has not clarified its position. Is it for the two-State solution, or for one-State? And, then, in a dangerous, unprecedented manner, this administration undertook an unlawful decision, which was rejected by the international community, to remove the issue of Jerusalem “off the table” and to recognize the City as Israel’s capital and to transfer its embassy to the City. It did so ignoring that East Jerusalem is part of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967 and is our capital, which we wish to be a City open to all faithful of the three monotheistic religions, Islam, Christianity and Judaism.

It is also strange that the United States still lists the Palestine Liberation Organization on its terror list and imposes restrictions on the work of our mission in Washington under the pretext of Congressional decisions since 1987. And, most recently, it has decided to punish the Palestine refugees by way of reduction of its contribution to UNRWA, in spite of the fact that it supported the Agency’s establishment and has endorsed the Arab Peace Initiative, which calls for a just and agreed solution for the plight of the refugees in accordance with resolution 194 (III).

(Endorsed is way too strong a word.)

The United States has contradicted itself and contradicted its own commitments and has violated international law and the relevant resolutions with its decision regarding Jerusalem. So, it has become impossible today for one country or State alone to solve a regional or international conflict without the participation of other international partners. Therefore, to solve the Palestine question, it is essential to establish a multi-lateral international mechanism emanating from an international conference and in line with international law and the relevant resolutions.

Mr. President, Excellencies,

Faced with Israel’s policies and practices in violation of international law and Israel’s noncompliance with and non-implementation of agreements signed, our Central Council, the highest Palestinian parliamentary body, decided several weeks ago to review the relationship with Israel, considering that we have become an Authority without authority and the occupation has become one without cost and that Israel must uphold its obligations as an occupying Power.

In spite of this, I confirm to you our commitment to maintain our institutions and achievements, which we have realized on the ground in Palestine as well as in the international arena. We are determined to remain committed to the political, diplomatic, legal path, far from violence, and through political negotiations and dialogue, which we have never rejected.

We will continue to extend our hands to make peace and will continue to exert efforts to bring an end to the Israeli occupation based on the two-State solution on the 1967 borders and international legitimacy as per the relevant resolutions in order to achieve our national aspirations.

At the same time, we will continue to oppose any attempts, regardless by whom, to impose solutions that contradict this legitimacy.

We have been granted the status of non-member Observer State by the General Assembly and, on that basis, we have become a State party to 105 international treaties and organizations. We have been recognized by 138 States. All of this has further strengthened the status of the State of Palestine, which continues to strive for recognition by the rest of the States in the world, among them Member States of the Council that have not yet recognized the State of Palestine, even while knowing that recognition of the State of Palestine is not a substitute for negotiations, but rather would enhance the prospects for success of negotiations.

In the coming period, we will intensify our efforts to achieve admission to full membership in the United Nations and to guarantee international protection for our people. We hope for your support for these efforts aimed at ensuring the rights of 13 million Palestinians, who yearn for an independent homeland just like all other peoples of the world and yearn for their State to take its rightful place in the international community.

Mr. President, Excellencies,

We come here before your august Council in the midst of the deadlock of the peace process due to the US decision regarding Jerusalem, Israel’s ongoing illegal settlement activities, its violation of the resolutions of this Council, and its disrespect of the signed agreements. We are here because of the Palestinian side’s desire to continue working positively and courageously in the building a culture of peace, rejecting violence, saving the principle of two-States, and attaining security and stability for all, to restore hope to our people and the peoples of the region, and to find a way out of the stalemate and crisis we are in.

Driven by our conviction in a just, lasting and comprehensive peace, which is our strategic choice for the sake of the coming generations in our region, including the Palestinians and Israelis, I present to this august Council a peace plan that addresses the core problems that have undermined peace efforts across the decades. Our plan includes the following:

First: We call for the convening of an international peace conference by mid-2018, based on international law and the relevant UN resolutions, with broad international participation and including the two concerned parties and the regional and international stakeholders, foremost among them the Permanent Members of the Security Council and the international Quartet, as was the framework for the Paris Peace Conference and as envisaged for the conference to be convened in Moscow as per resolution 1850 (2008). The outcomes of this conference should be as follows:

a. Acceptance of the State of Palestine as a full member of the United Nations and a call on the Security Council to achieve that, taking into account General Assembly resolution 67/19 of 29 November 2012, and guaranteeing international protection for our people.

b. Mutual recognition between the State of Palestine and the State of Israel on the basis of the 1967 borders.

c. Formation of an international multilateral mechanism that will assist the two parties in the negotiations to resolve the permanent status issues defined in the Oslo Accords (Jerusalem, borders, security, settlements, refugees, water and prisoners), conduct those negotiations on the basis of international law and the relevant UN resolutions, and implement what is to be agreed upon within a set timeframe and with guarantees for this implementation.

Second: During the period of negotiations, all parties must refrain from unilateral actions, particularly those that would prejudge the outcome of a final solution, as set forth in Article 31 of the Oslo Accords of 1993. Foremost must be the cessation of settlement activities in the territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, and suspension of the decision regarding Jerusalem and halting transfer of the US embassy to Jerusalem, in compliance with the relevant Security Council resolutions, including in particular resolutions 476 (1980), 478 (1980), 2334 (2016), and General Assembly resolution ES-10/19. At the same time, the State of Palestine would refrain from further joining organizations, as we have previously committed ourselves to. (Namely 22 international organizations out of 500 organizations and treaties.)

Third: Implementation of the Arab Peace Initiative, as adopted and endorsed, and the conclusion of a regional agreement upon achievement of a peace agreement between the Palestinians and Israelis. In this regard, we must reaffirm the terms of reference for any upcoming negotiations and they are as follows:

1. Respect for international law and the relevant resolutions, including Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) through to resolution 2334 (2016), and the Arab Peace Initiative, and the signed agreements.

2. Preservation of the principle of the two-States, i.e. the State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, living side by side with the State of Israel in peace and security on the basis of the 4 June 1967 borders, and rejection of partial solutions and a State of provisional borders.

3. Acceptance of minimal land swaps, in equal value and ratio, with the agreement between the two parties.

4. East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine and an open city for the faithful of the three monotheistic religions.

5. Ensuring the security of the two States without undermining the independence and sovereignty of either of them through the existence of an international third party.

6. A just and agreed solution for the Palestine refugees on the basis of resolution 194 (III) and in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative and, pending a just solution, continuation of the international commitment and support to UNRWA.

(That #6 is the plan to destroy Israel. 194 is not international law by any definition.)

Mr. President, Excellencies,

We are ready to undertake the longest journeys to the farthest places in the world in order to realize our rights. But we are not ready to move one inch if anyone wants us to forsake these rights.

We will present any agreement reached with Israel to a general referendum among our people, respecting democracy and reinforcing legitimacy.

We have knocked on your door today, you who comprise the highest international body entrusted with the maintenance of international peace and security. We have presented our vision for peace. Hopefully it will be received with wisdom and justice. We are ready to begin negotiations immediately in order to achieve the freedom and independence of our people, just like all other nations, and to achieve peace and security for all in our region and the world, so that future generations can enjoy the benefits of this peace, following the enormous sacrifices by our people of that dearest to them, among them our martyrs, wounded and prisoners.

This Security Council is the highest entity to which the peoples of the world seek sanctuary and protection; after this Council, we rest our issue to the Almighty. For, if justice for our people cannot be attained here, then to where should we go?

I thank you, Mr. President.



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  • Tuesday, February 20, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon


Palestine Today reports:
Palestinian factions announced on Tuesday a comprehensive trade strike with a one-quarter-hour stoppage  to express the real catastrophe in the Gaza Strip as a result of the deteriorating economic situation.

The factions said during a press conference that Gaza was a barrel of gunpowder that was about to explode if it did not break the silence, calling on the Palestinian Authority to take responsibility, especially after the government took over its duties in the Gaza Strip in accordance with the recent Cairo agreement.

The factions called on the international community to act and provide urgent aid to the besieged Gaza Strip, appealing to Egypt to open the Rafah crossing, allowing it to enter the Gaza Strip.

It renewed its call on the League of Arab States and the Islamic Cooperation Organization to move to save the sector.
Hamas wants the PA to pay what it owes. The PA says that Hamas isn't handing over tax revenues it collects.

And so it goes.

Police in Gaza stopped all traffic in major intersections for 15 minutes today at noon to protest the situation.

There are some occasional articles in Western media about the real crisis in Gaza - the crisis that is entirely Arab-created - but for the most part this is all being ignored, because the meme of "Israeli siege" is too strong for lazy journalists to bother contradicting.

And, in the end, no journalist or NGO wants to criticize Mahmoud Abbas.




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From Ian:

Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians: Hamas and Fatah - United against Trump
The two rival parties, Fatah and Hamas, are prepared to lay aside their differences and work together to foil US President Donald Trump's plan for peace in the Middle East, the details of which remain unknown. Thwarting Trump's peace plan has become a top priority.

Although the details of the Trump plan still have not been made public, Palestinians across the political spectrum say they will never accept any peace initiative presented by the Trump administration.

The Palestinians know that no US peace plan would comply with their demands. Abbas's Fatah is demanding 100% of the territories Israel secured in 1967, namely the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Hamas, for its part, is demanding 100% of everything, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. As Hamas leaders repeatedly affirm, the goal is to "liberate all of Palestine," meaning all of Israel.
INSS: The Palestinian Refugees: Facts, Figures, and Significance
The decision by US President Donald Trump to freeze a third of the United States' contribution to UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, has brought renewed attention to an organization whose very existence and activity arouses harsh criticism in Israel. UNRWA was established in 1949 after the War of Independence to deal solely with Palestinian refugees. As with the question of Jerusalem, the Palestinian refugee issue has been seen for some seventy years as a principal obstacle to a resolution of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. For the Palestinians who have been raised on the Nakba heritage, any compromise on this issue is an attack on Palestinian national identity.

The number of individuals forced to leave their homes during the War of Independence is estimated at 720,000. Most of them settled in refugee camps in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. According to UNRWA, all the descendants of Palestinian refugees are considered refugees, and therefore today they number over five and a half million. Citizenship of another country, for example, Jordan, does not cancel their refugee status. In other words, only the return of the refugees and their descendants to their homes can cancel this status.

For Israeli governments, the Palestinian demand for the "right of return" of refugees was and remains a red line. This position is supported by an absolute majority of Israeli citizens from all parts of the political spectrum, because the return of such large numbers of Palestinian refugees to the State of Israel would have far reaching consequences for the character of the state. However, all the attempts by the State of Israel over the years to change UNRWA’s definition of refugees have failed. Israel’s efforts to change UNRWA’s status as an independent entity and subject it to the UNHCR, which handles all other refugees worldwide, has failed as well. This is largely because the Arab countries believe that such a change would make it impossible to pass on refugee status to the descendants of Palestinian refugees and thus weaken the Palestinian position in negotiations.

The social and political shockwaves in the Middle East since 2011 make it imperative to reexamine the refugee issue. First, the expanding numbers of refugees from the Middle East and Africa challenge the uniqueness of the Palestinian situation. Today there are some 60 million displaced people, including 17 million refugees, half of them under the age of 18. These refugees are the responsibility of the UNHCR (High Commissioner for Refugees), and some make their way to Europe. Their movement has enormous economic, security, political, and national consequences for most of the countries of the continent.

Salon: Netanyahu the ‘Most Dangerous Man in the Middle East’
Yes you read that correctly: according to Salon, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu is “the most dangerous man in the Middle East.”

But lest you think that this headline is simply click-bait, the author of the piece, Patrick Lawrence actually believes it.

With the Israeli police report recommending criminal charges against the prime minister, issued last Tuesday, the most dangerous man in the Middle East, as I have long called Bibi, may finally be forced from office.

Let’s get some perspective. There are plenty of dangerous men in the Middle East but labeling the leader of the region’s only functioning democracy is simply laughable particularly when one considers some alternative candidates.

For example, Bashar al-Assad, responsible for gassing and bombing his own people, costing the lives of hundreds of thousands in the Syrian conflict.

What about the Iranians? Take your pick from Ayatollah Khamenei at the top, oppressing ordinary Iranians protesting for freedom, to Major General Qasem Soleimani, the senior member of the Revolutionary Guards responsible for coordinating Iranian proxies, both on the ground in Syria and further afield with the promotion of terrorism across the Middle East and beyond.

And don’t forget Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah, the terrorist organization armed to the teeth and in possession of thousands of rockets aimed at Israeli civilian targets.


According to Mahmoud Abbas, Jerusalem is the “eternal capital of the State of Palestine.” Then again, Abbas is the Palestinian Arab dictator whose term in office ended in 2009. Not only do Abbas and the Palestinian Arabs know that Jerusalem is the capital of "Palestine" -- they also think they have a pretty good idea of just what "Palestine" looks like.

Here is the logo of the Fateh Youth Movement. The boundaries of what they call "Palestine" are basically the borders of Israel, except that they also include Gaza and the West Bank.


Not surprisingly, that map bears little resemblance to reality -- not because they are trying to co-opt the State of Israel, but because there was no country called Palestine that corresponds to that map.

For example, in his article "Palestine: On The History and Geography of a Name," Bernard Lewis writes about the borders of the area that bears that name. And those borders were forever changing:
During the later Roman and Byzantine periods a number of changes were made, in the course of which Roman Palestine was extended by the annexation to it of neighbouring territories and then subdivided. Under Diocletian, the province of Arabia, founded by the Emperor Trajan in the year 105, was attached to Palestine, but in 358 this area, consisting of the Negev and southern Transjordan, was constituted a separate province and named Palestina Salutaris. In about 400 ad, Palestine proper was split into two provinces known respectively as Palestina Prima and Palestina Secunda, while Palestina Salutaris was renamed Palestina Tertia
How convenient: three Palestines!

map
Source: Wikipedia. Uploaded by Haldrik

In this setup you had:
Palestina Prima - included Judaea and Samaria, including Edom and extending east into Transjordan. Its capital was was Caesarea.
o  Palestina Secunda - included the valley of Esdraelon, Galilee, northern Transjordan, and the Golan area, Its capital was in Scythopolis (Beth Shean)
o  Palestina Tertia - included the Negev, southern Transjordan, and part of Sinai. Its capital was at Petra
Three Palestines - but no capital in Jerusalem.

After the Muslim invasion and conquest of the area, there were some changes made.

Lewis explains:
After the Arab conquest in the seventh century, the new masters of the country seem substantially to have retained the existing administrative subdivisions; Palestina Prima and Palestina Secunda remained but with new names and new capitals. The first became Filastin, an obvious Arabic adaptation of the Roman name, and was administered first from Lydda and later from Ramla. Palestina Secunda was called Urdunn, that is, Jordan, after the river, and had its capital at Tiberias. Jerusalem, which in the earliest Arabic texts is referred to by its Roman name of Aelia, was not a provincial or even a district seat of government [emphasis added].
Bottom line, during this period of Muslim rule, there was still no capital in Jerusalem, and no independent country called Palestine either:
In early medieval Arabic usage, Filastin and Urdunn were subdistricts forming part of the greater geographical entity known as Syria or, to use the Arabic term, the land of Sham.


This subservient status of Palestine existed not only under the Romans but also under the Byzantine Empire and Muslim rule as well - until the Crusaders conquered the land. Then that changed:
During the period of the Crusades, the name Palestine or Filastin fell into disuse. The Muslims no longer administered it, and the Crusaders preferred to call the country which they had conquered the Holy Land and the state which they had established the Kingdom of Jerusalem.
Finally, Jerusalem got some recognition -- but it was not by the Muslims.

Later, after the Muslims recaptured the land back from the Crusaders, there were still more re-divisions of the land.
After the Muslim reconquest, the names Filastin and Urdunn disappear from administrative usage. Under the successors of Saladin and still more under the Mamluks who ruled from the mid-thirteenth to the early sixteenth centuries, the country was redistributed in new territorial units, usually known by the names of towns which were district administrative centres. [emphasis added]
That last point is important: From this point going forward, there was no Filastin or Palestine.
The name Filastin or Palestine...had never been used by Jews, for whom the normal name of the country, from the time of the Exodus to the present day, was Eretz Israel. It was no longer used by Muslims, for whom it had never meant more than an administrative sub-district and it had been forgotten even in that limited sense.
So who did use the word 'Palestine'?

The word became widely adopted in the Christian world. During The Renaissance, there was a revival of interest in classical antiquity and as a result, the Roman name Palestine became the common word used to describe the country in most European languages. And under the British, the word was again used to refer to that area bordering on both sides of the Jordan River - for the first time since the early Middle Ages.

Under Arab rule, the area kept being divided and re-divided. Just to give you an idea of the state of flux in the area:
At one point the areas on the two banks of the Jordan were divided into six districts with their capitals in Gaza, Lydda, Qaqun, Jerusalem, Hebron, and Nablus, all six districts forming part of the province of Sham, with its capital in Damascus. (Jerusalem was finally a capital - a district capital - with the actual capital in Damascus.)
o  At certain times Gaza and Lydda became separate provinces.
o  During the late Mamluk period, most of Palestine seems to have been divided into the Niyabas (lieutenancies) of Gaza and Safed. The Niyaba of Safed included much of what today is south Lebanon, with the districts of Tyre and Tibnin. All these were still under the rule of Damascus.
o  After the Ottoman conquest in 1516-17, the country was divided into the Ottoman administrative districts (Sanjak) of Gaza, Jerusalem, Nablus, and Safed west of the Jordan and Ajlun in Transjordan. An additional district, Lajjun on the west bank, was later added. All these again were subject to the authority of Damascus.
o  These districts were from time to time subdivided and rearranged during the four centuries of Ottoman rule.
o  In the last phase, before the British took over, the center and north of the country were part of the vilayet of Beirut, while the Transjordan was made part of the vilayet of Damascus and the rest of "Palestine" became the indepedent district of Jerusalem -- independent in this case meaning it was directly dependent on the capital in Damascas, but not subject to any of the Pashas of the surrounding provinces.
By 1887-1888, the map of the area looked like this:


map
Source: Wikipedia. Map by Tallicfan20 based off of Efraim Karsh's Palestine Betrayed

There was never a sovereign country called "Palestine" matching the maps that Abbas and Fatah like to parade around. In the end, there was a district called Jerusalem, taking up a portion of what the Palestinian Arabs claim as their state.

As far as capitals go, there were so many -- usually subject to the authority in Damascus -- that if anything, instead of being the eternal capital of "Palestine," Jerusalem was the ephemeral capital of a very truncated district in an area in part of Palestine.





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