Thursday, January 25, 2018

From Ian:

Trump: No more aid unless Palestinians accept that Jerusalem is ‘off the table’
In a freewheeling press availability on Thursday, US President Donald Trump said the US would no longer transfer monetary aid to the Palestinians unless they entered peace negotiations with Israel, and excoriated the Palestinian leadership’s reaction to his decision last month to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“That money is not going to them unless they sit down and negotiate peace, because I can tell you that Israel does want to make peace, and they’re going to have to want to make peace, too, or we’re going to have nothing to do with it any longer,” he said.

Sitting alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before their bilateral meeting at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Trump called Palestinian Authority officials’ unwillingness to meet with members of his administration — including US Vice President Mike Pence during his visit to the region last week — “disrespectful.”

PA President Mahmoud Abbas has also recently sought to have European powers replace the United States as the primary mediator in Middle East peace talks.

“If you look back at the various peace proposals, and they are endless, and I spoke to some of the people involved. And I said, ‘Did you ever talk about the vast amount of funds, money that we give to the Palestinians? You know, we give hundreds of millions of dollars.’ And they said, ‘We never talk about it,'” Trump said. “Well, we do talk about it. When they disrespected us a week ago by not allowing our great vice president to see them, and we give them hundreds of millions of dollars in aid and support, tremendous numbers, numbers that nobody understands, that money is on the table.” (h/t Elder of Lobby)
Full text: Netanyahu-Trump meeting in Davos

Washington said reexamining entirety of US aid to Palestinians
The US leadership is looking beyond its recent cuts to the the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, with the State Department reexamining the entirety of its aid budget to the Palestinian Authority, Hadashot news reported Wednesday.

According to the TV station, which indicated the report was based on US sources, the $100 million cut to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) earlier this month may well only be the start, as the crisis between Washington and Ramallah deepens.

A top proponent of further cuts is said to be US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, who reportedly wants the Palestinian leadership to pay for its attitude towards the US government and President Donald Trump. Other officials are said to oppose further cuts.

There was no confirmation of the TV report.


Amid funding cut fears, PA purchases $50 million private jet for Abbas — report
Even as the Palestinian Authority faces major funding cuts from the US, it has purchased a new luxurious $50 million private jet to be used by President Mahmoud Abbas, Hadashot news reported Wednesday.

The report, which did not provide sourcing, said the plane was set to be delivered to Amman within weeks, and will be stationed there for use by the PA chief.

Funding for the plane was said to have been provided both from the PA budget ($20 million) and from the Palestinian National Fund ($30 million).

The report comes amid deep cuts to US aid to the Palestinians, and reports that further cuts may be coming.

When US President Donald Trump originally threatened to cut aid earlier this month, top PLO official Saeb Erekat said it would lead to starvation among Palestinian refugee children.

“Now, he is threatening to starve Palestinian children in refugee camps and deny their natural rights to health and education, if we don’t endorse his terms and dictations,” Erekat said, referring to Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. (h/t Elder of Lobby)



Time for Jordan's King Abdullah to Stop Tolerating Genocide from Temple Mount
Not only is rhetoric like this from Jordan-approved Imams a clear-cut violation of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (which makes incitement to genocide a crime), Jordan's tolerance for anti-Jewish and anti-Western rhetoric at the site is a violation of the treaty signed between Israel and Jordan in 1994.

"Allah called them 'infidels' so why should I be ashamed to call them that?... There is only one kind of punishment for those people: to stop them, to wreak vengeance upon them, and to teach them a lesson. This is not achieved through tolerance, negotiations, or kindness." — Palestinian Imam Issam Amira, using the Al Aqsa Mosque, June 18, 2016.

In the United States, landlords who allow their tenants to use a property for criminal enterprises, such as the sale or manufacture of drugs are liable to having their property seized in a process called "asset forfeiture." Maybe a similar process needs to be applied to Jordan's custodianship of the Temple Mount, for clearly, the Hashemite Kingdom is not serious about preventing the site from being used for criminal incitement against Jews and Westerners.
PMW: Fatah official presents all of Israel as “Palestine”
In an interview, a Fatah official described “all of the Palestinian land” as covering the area “between the [Jordan] River and the [Mediterranean] Sea.” This leaves no room for the State of Israel, obliterating it in its entirety:

Deputy Secretary of Fatah Revolutionary Council, Majed Al-Fatiani: “It is not enough that only the residents of Jerusalem stand against [the occupation] in its streets, alleys, and neighborhoods... This act needs to spread over all of the Palestinian land between the [Jordan] River and the [Mediterranean] Sea. Our identity is between the river and the sea. Our national popular sovereignty is between the river and the sea.” [Official PA TV, Palestine This Morning, Jan. 1, 2018]

Palestinian Media Watch has documented many statements by PA and Fatah officials using this specific term - “from the river to the sea” - to indicate the size of “Palestine,” thereby erasing the State of Israel. In addition, Palestinian leaders use numerous other ways to pass on to Palestinians this ideology of not recognizing Israel in any borders.

One such way is by consistently using a visual map of “Palestine” that includes all of Israel.
PMW: Fatah: "Pence defiles the Al-Buraq Wall"
After US Vice President Mike Pence's private visit to the Western Wall this week, Abbas' Fatah Movement has accused Pence of "defiling the Al-Buraq Wall":

"Pence defiles the Al-Buraq [Wall] plaza, and the occupation forces reinforce their presence at the Al-Aqsa Mosque." [Facebook page of the Fatah Commission of Information, Culture, and Ideology,
Jan. 23, 2018]

"The Al-Buraq Wall" is the name used by Palestinians for the Western Wall of the Jewish Temple because the wall is said to be where Islam's Prophet Muhammad tied his miraculous flying steed named Al-Buraq during his Night Journey. Palestinian Media Watch has exposed numerous statements by Palestinian leaders denying the Jewish historical ties to Jerusalem and the existence of a Jewish Temple at the site.

Pence is not the only one the Palestinians have accused of "defiling" Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem. In a speech in 2014, which has been rebroadcast numerous times since December 2017 by official PA radio and TV, PA Chairman Abbas called on Palestinians to prevent Jews "in any way" from "defiling our holy places":

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas: "We have to prevent them, in any way whatsoever, from entering the Sanctuary. This is our Sanctuary, our Al-Aqsa and our Church [of the Holy Sepulchre]. They have no right to enter it. They have no right to defile it. We must prevent them. Let us stand before them with chests bared to protect our holy places."
[Official PA TV, Oct. 17 - Nov. 4, 2014; Official PA TV and PA radio station The Voice of Palestine,
from Dec. 6, 2017 to most recently Jan. 21, 2018]

At a protest vigil, Secretary of Fatah's Nablus branch Jihad Ramadan called the US "an enemy of the Palestinian people and its aspirations for freedom and independence." [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 23, 2018]
The Big Palestine Lie
The Big Lie of Palestine is that the Islamic colonists are the indigenous population of Israel and that the Jews are colonizing Palestine. But an indigenous people can never colonize their own country.

“Palestine” is a twisted colonial fiction. The name reflects Greek colonization of the region. And its use by the modern Islamic colonists shows their lack of any actual historical connection to Israel.

After all the agonized wailing about the deeply meaningful “Palestinian” connection to “Palestine”, they still haven’t come up with their own name for the place. One that they can properly pronounce. (There’s no proper “P” in Arabic.) But Abbas keeps coming up with new lies about which ancient people the “Palestinians” are descended from this week.

I can’t wait until he claims to be Cherokee.

The claim of the “Palestinian” colonists to Israel is a lie of Islamic imperialism. The Muslim powers of the region have funded the racist attacks by the PLO, Hamas and other Islamic terrorist groups on Jews.

The “Palestinians” are not the victims of colonialism. They are its perpetrators.

The fighting between Israel and Islamic terrorists is a struggle between imperialism and colonialism. The imperialists are not the oppressed Jewish minority that has been forced out of nearly everywhere else in the region. It’s the Arab Islamic majority that represses minorities across the region.

“Palestine” is a pathetic attempt to launder one imperial identity with another followed by shameless efforts to appropriate the identities of nearly every ancient people in the region. Including the Jews.

The only way to end the conflict is to end the lies.
Mahmoud Abbas, World’s Worst Historian
How can one explain why an international statesman with a Ph.D. in history would consistently resort to such gross distortions of the historical record?

A skeptic might point to the quality of his education. Abbas earned a law degree at the University of Damascus, which is controlled by a regime with precious little regard for laws or facts.

Similarly, he received his Ph.D. from the Soviet-controlled Oriental College in Moscow, an institution whose regard for history may be measured by the fact that it approved Abbas’ Holocaust-denying dissertation.

But that would be letting Abbas off too easy. It has been four decades since he completed his dissertation.

That’s more than enough time to read some genuine history books and become acquainted with basic historical facts.

A more plausible explanation for his chicanery is that Abbas is well acquainted with the facts — but cynically chooses to disregard all but the ones that he can wield as weapons in his fight against Israel.
Poll: Under 50% of Palestinians, Israeli Jews support two-state solution
Support for the principle of a two-state solution among Palestinians and Israeli Jews stands below half, according to a public opinion poll published on Thursday.

Forty-seven percent of Palestinians and 46% of Israeli Jews said they back a two-state solution, which would include the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Taking into account Arab-Israelis, however, the total number of Israelis in favor of two states stands at 53%.

The survey of 1,270 Palestinians from the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem and 900 Israelis was jointly conducted in late November and early December by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research and the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research.

In a similar poll conducted in June 2017, 52% of Palestinians and 47% of Israeli Jews said they back the two-state solution.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has said he supports the two-state solution, while his rival Hamas in Gaza has not backed such an arrangement.
Palestinian Arabs prefer terrorism to peace deal, poll finds
A plurality of Palestinian Arabs support terror attacks against Israelis Jews, while only about a quarter say they support negotiations to resolve the conflict, a new poll shows.

According to the results of a survey released Thursday by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, nearly 40% of Arab residents of Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip backed the use of violence against Israelis – called by the euphemism “armed struggle” for the purposes of the poll.

The survey polled 1,270 Arab respondents from December 7th to 10th, including 830 Arabs in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, and 440 residents of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

The poll also showed that were a peace plan presented to both sides following negotiations, a majority of both Israelis and Palestinian Authority residents would not accept it.

An even smaller number of Palestinian Arabs, the PCPSR survey suggests, support the renewal of negotiations, with just 26.2% saying they believe the PA should pursue a peace deal.

A plurality of respondents (38.4%) said they backed the use of violence – called “armed struggle in the poll, the PA’s term for anti-Israel terrorism – including 43% of Gaza Strip residents. Smaller minorities supported waging an “unarmed struggle” against Israel (11% of all respondents), and maintaining the status quo (19.7%).
Abdullah: US must get a major Israeli concession after Jerusalem recognition
Jordan’s King Abdullah II said Thursday that the US now faces the challenge of getting Israel to make a significant concession in exchange for its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in order to get the peace process back on track.

“The challenge that the Americans have with the Israelis is that if this [Jerusalem recognition] is to make any sense, it’s to give something pretty good to the Palestinians,” he told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria during an open interview session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Abdullah gave the response after upon being asked whether Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu truly believed in a two-state solution. He “had his skepticism,” he said, but would reserve judgment until after US President Donald Trump presented his peace plan.

Trump had hinted that the move would require something big in return from Israel, saying in a cryptic tweet that “Israel, for that, would have had to pay more.”
Fatah deputy chief: US has never given Palestinians anything substantial
The Palestinian leadership believes the United States has never given anything of “substance” to the Palestinians, Mahmoud al-Aloul, the deputy chief of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party, said.

“Recently we were forced to review all of our relations with the American administrations in recent years, and not just the Trump administration. We assessed that nothing good will come from them for the Palestinian people and the nation, and this is completely clear,” said Aloul in an interview with the London-based Pan-Arab daily Al Quds Al Arabi published Saturday.

When asked by his interviewer whether this was his personal assessment, Aloul responded, according to a translation of the interview Wednesday by the Israeli watchdog Palestinian Media Watch, that this is “the assessment of the entire Palestinian leadership.”

“If we review the relations with all of the American administrations, we see that they have not given the Palestinians anything of substance but rather worked in order to pull the rug out from under their feet by exerting pressures on them, and that with all their might they support [the Palestinians’] enemy that is occupying their lands,” he said.
Mahmoud Abbas (center) attends the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on September 1, 2015. (Flash90)

Following the US decision in December to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the Palestinian leadership declared that Washington could no longer fulfill the historic and central role in the peace process it has held for over two decades.
In Davos, PM demands more than 'cosmetic' Iran deal fix
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is in Switzerland attending the World Economic Forum conference in Davos, said Wednesday that the world powers that negotiated a landmark nuclear agreement with Iran in 2015 must introduce "real – not just cosmetic – changes" that will prevent the Islamic republic from becoming a nuclear power.

Netanyahu met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the sidelines of conference, telling reporters after the meeting that Merkel had "said that she understands our concerns regarding the nuclear agreement, even though she does not necessarily agree with the way in which we want to confront them."

The German government confirmed for the first time Wednesday that top-level consultations were being held in London on the matter and that German, French and British experts were discussing the matter with their American and Iranian counterparts.

"I said that, in my opinion, the only option at the moment is to put in real – not just cosmetic – changes that will prevent Iran from going nuclear, which would otherwise be assured by the agreement as it stands," Netanyahu said, noting the meeting, the first in six months, was "very important."

The German chancellor "understands that this touches on our concerns, the things that could threaten our very existence," he noted, adding that Merkel has "proven this commitment in the past at various opportunities. I am satisfied that our positions have been well understood."
Netanyahu to make whirlwind trip to Moscow to discuss Iran, Syria with Putin
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is headed to Moscow next week for a whirlwind trip, during which he is set to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin and visit an exhibition on the Holocaust.

On the agenda of his meeting with Putin will be Iran’s attempts to entrench itself militarily in Syria, since Moscow is one of the key allies of both Damascus and Tehran. Other issues likely to come up in their talks will be the future of the Iranian nuclear deal, of which Russia is one of the signatories, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

On Monday morning, Netanyahu will fly on a small plane to the Russian capital, and return to Israel several hours later.

Netanyahu’s trip to Moscow comes on the heels of a weeklong trip to India earlier this month and a three-day stay in Switzerland to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos this week. In February, he is scheduled to participate in the Munich Security Conference, and the following month in the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, DC.
Mike Pence sought help from Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on his Knesset speech
Former British chief rabbi Jonathan Sacks met with US Vice President Mike Pence to help him frame religious and historical elements of his speech before Israel’s Knesset.

Sacks and Pence met in New York for 90 minutes prior to Pence’s departure for a two-day visit to Israel, part of trip that also included Egypt and Jordan, the Guardian reported.

Sacks’a spokesman Dan Sacker confirmed to the newspaper the meeting, which he called “positive and productive.”

Pence sought Sacks’s guidance on the sections of the speech which dealt with the historical connection between the Jews and Israel. He was not paid for the consultation.

The meeting “centered around how best to frame elements of the speech – in particular the biblical and historical connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel, and the American and Jewish stories,” Sacker said in a statement.
Trump envoy meets families of Gaza captives, slams ‘despicable’ acts by Hamas
US President Donald Trump’s top peace envoy, Jason Greenblatt, met Thursday with families of Israelis held captive in the Gaza Strip, expressing complete support for their plight and slamming the Palestinian terror group Hamas for confining them.

In a series of tweets, Greenblatt said he had met with families of Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, Israeli civilians who are believed to have crossed into Gaza of their own accord. He also met with the families of IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, whose remains were seized after they were killed in battle during the 2014 war with Hamas.

Greenblatt, who previously met all the families in 2017, wrote that he had “again met with the Goldin & Shaul families,” adding that they are “suffering unbearable pain as a result the shameful, despicable acts of Hamas. All Israelis must be returned.”

The peace envoy then met the Mengistu and al-Sayed families. “How reprehensible of Hamas to cause such horrible suffering,” he said, echoing his previous remarks on the matter.
US Consulate may have purchased site near future embassy
The US Embassy in Israel may already be preparing its expected move to Jerusalem, having purchased additional real estate in the Israeli capital for its consulate, Hadashot news reported Wednesday.

Consulate staff were seen moving equipment and boxes into the former boutique Eden Hotel, in the city’s Arnona neighborhood.

The US Consulate in Jerusalem currently operates two facilities: the main branch on Agron Street (where it has owned a building since 1912) and the Consular Section on Flusser Street in Arnona. In 2014, the US purchased a building adjacent to the facility on Flusser Street known as the Diplomat Hotel, which is currently home to elderly new immigrants.

US officials cited by The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal last week said Washington, seeking to expedite the relocation, will not build a new structure, but will instead convert the Arnona buildings into the new US mission.

Hadashot news speculated that the embassy is seeking to bring consular services nearer to the site, as it prepares to relocate — thus the move into the Eden Hotel.
Macron says he won’t recognize Palestine in response to Trump’s Jerusalem move
French President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday that he would not recognize Palestine as an independent state as a reaction to US President Donald Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“I will not take any decision in reaction to any decision,” Macron told reporters in response to a Times of Israel question on the potential recognition of a Palestinian state.

The comments came during a photo op with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, ahead of their closed-door meeting at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The meeting lasted nearly an hour.

Several European nations, including Belgium, Luxembourg, Ireland, and Slovenia, are reportedly mulling recognizing an independent Palestine in response to Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem. The Slovenian foreign minister has already confirmed his country’s intention.

Macron began his statement by saying bluntly, “What we have to do is we have to work fairly on a peace process in the short run.”

Macron said he wanted to “accompany and facilitate” the two sides in a peace process, but added that France’s positions on the end result of such talks had not changed.

“Our philosophy is very clear from the very beginning, with recognition of two states. Jerusalem will be the capital of two sides and common frontiers recognized according to international rule,” he said in English.
MEMRI: Owner Of Egyptian Daily: The Arabs Should Respond To The Trump Declaration With A 'Comprehensive Peace Offensive'
Salah Diab, an Egyptian businessman and the owner of the daily Al-Masri Al-Yawm, who goes by the pen name Newton, published a series of four articles in which he expressed his longing for a visionary leadership that would extricate the Arabs from the sorry state in which they have been mired for decades due to intellectual rigidity, and claimed that former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, who initiated the 1973 October War against Israel and later signed a peace treaty with it, furnished an example of such leadership. He claimed that any person could be a visionary, as shown by the example of the Norwegian researcher who initiated the Oslo Accords.

Newton urged the Arabs to think in a Sadat-like manner by exploiting the international outrage over Trump's Jerusalem declaration and responding to it with a "comprehensive peace offensive" that would rapidly achieve results, instead of submitting to the radical ideology that views normalization with Israel as a crime. Such a peace, once obtained, would remove Iran's pretext for intervening in the Arab countries and allow the Arabs to end their justified state of alert in response to this intervention, he wrote. He concluded that, after the Palestinian problem finds a just solution, the region will be able to engage in development and advance itself in the modern technological world.
The Final Year Reveals the Obama Administration’s Naïvety and Arrogance
Actual events don’t align with the Rhodes-Obama rhetoric. Vladimir Putin, frustratingly, keeps failing to be bent by the Arc of History (™) and doing whatever he wants, seizing Crimea and abetting Bashar al-Assad. Perhaps he notices the nonstop signaling from the White House that there’s a new sheriff in town, and said sheriff thinks crime-fighters have been way too tough on outlaws. “The error that we may have made is Putin doesn’t seem to pursue Russia’s national interests. He pursues Putin’s interests,” Rhodes says. In other words, surprise! — Putin doesn’t share a liberal American Democrat’s vision about what’s best for Russia. Only liberal American Democrats would need seven and a half years to figure this out. Power, riding in the back of a car, marvels at Russia’s naughtiness: “If they’re allowed to bully they just bully more.” Funny how that works. Kerry, after Russia breaks the ceasefire in Aleppo in 2016: “It’s just so frustrating because we really had an agreement that could have worked. And unfortunately we have some people who didn’t want to cooperate.”

So The Final Year is about the Obama Doctrine, also known as hashtag diplomacy, also known as leading from behind, also known as voting “present” — also known as hands-off. That a lot of people can get killed while you’re wringing them is the movie’s unintended lesson. Summing up, I give you none other than Samantha “Soft” Power herself, who near the end of the doc says in a moment of sudden clarity: “My world is a world where you have 65 million displaced. Yemen and Syria and Iraq, Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad, Central African Republic, Burundi, South Sudan, Darfur, you know, the list, Afghanistan, of course, Venezuela imploding . . . There are concerns about terrorism and there is a fear of the other and . . . all the trendlines — on democracy, right now, at least — are going in the wrong direction.”

If only she or her friends had held positions of authority, maybe they could have done something about some of that.
Beyond the Money: A Modest Proposal to Remake UNRWA
Proposal

Given UNRWA’s background and the dysfunctional role it currently plays, reducing or even eliminating it would be a salutary objective. What follows is a proposal to leverage the UNRWA budget cuts into a constructive framework.

President Trump should announce that the U.S. will not make any further donations or offer support of any kind to UNRWA, but will consider giving the balance of the money to UNHCR, under the following conditions:

1) That UNRWA hand over all of its responsibilities to UNHCR and close up shop, completely and permanently.
2) That UNHCR bring in its own personnel at least at the managerial level, and commit to ending all cooperation with terrorists. (e.g. by employing Hamas personnel and allowing Hamas to store weapons and tunnel entrances in its facilities.)
3) That UNHCR identify who/how many of the people registered as eligible for UNRWA services actually meet UNHCR’s definition of refugees. Only the latter would be eligible for services/aid from UNHCR.
4) That UNHCR review all educational materials and revise/remove anti-Israel and anti-Semitic propaganda from them.
5) That UNHCR prepare a written plan to integrate Palestinian refugees into their host countries and/or resettle them in another country outside of the conflict zone.

UNHCR must assume responsibility from UNRWA and take serious steps showing it has at least begun to fulfill each of the other conditions before any funding is restored (or, rather, given to UNHCR in the first instance.)
Is Israel treated differently by the foreign press? The question of group think & ‘Fake News’
Former director-general of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dore Gold said Tuesday, "There are a lot of people who have observed that UNRWA is not working. How many refugees were there at the end of World War II in Europe? Tens of millions. How many refugees are there today? Zero."
"Take Palestinian refugees just a few years later. How many were there? Six hundred thousand? Today how many are there, according to UNRWA? Five million. This has to do with the fact that UNRWA has different "accounting" rules than any other refugee organization in the world. The United States has a right to raise questions like that."
"In previous Israeli operations in Gaza - which came about because there were rocket attacks on us - what did we find in various UNRWA facilities? We found Hamas weapons. That's unacceptable. There are standards for how organizations like UNRWA should be run. Meet the standards and get the money."


Should UNRWA schools be padlocked?
Shocking revelations from the UNRWA school system. Op-ed.

The US government decision to suspend funds to UNRWA schools until reforms take place in UNRWA has raised some eyebrows.

Why did the US suspend funds to UNRWA in the first place?

Since 1999, Hamas has been chosen in successive internal UNRWA elections in Gaza to lead the workers union and teachers union of UNRWA, as mentors who influence generations of Palestinian refugee descendants to launch a violent Jihad for the 'right of return' to Arab villages lost during the 1948 war.

In that context, the first comprehensive study of UNRWA school books, completed in July 2017, reflects the terrorist domination of UNRWA schools. This study found UNRWA texts to be characterized by de-legitimization of Israel, rejection of the Jews’ very presence in the country, demonization of Israel and the Jewish people, while promoting the violent liberation of all of Palestine – including Israel’s pre-1967 territories – instead of adhering to UN values of peace and co-existence.

Moreover, UNRWA schools encourage children to engage in acts of war by way of presenting war against Israel as an inevitable necessity, including the violent return of the descendants of Arab refugees to a liberated pre-67 Palestine, through veneration of Jihad, martyrdom and Palestinian individuals who participate in the armed rebellion (called Fidais – those who sacrifice themselves, or martyrs and prisoners-of-war when killed or imprisoned). A decisive element in the UNRWA indoctrination is the inclusion of the official anthems of both the Palestinian Authority and its dominant body – the Fatah organization – which are taught to students of the lower grades:
Leaders of global aid groups urge US to reverse fund cuts to UNRWA
Top executives of 21 prominent aid groups have written a letter to senior officials in US President Donald Trump’s administration, urging them to restore funds for the United Nations agency aiding Palestinians, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

The US State Department last week put on hold two planned payments of more than $100 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which supports more than five million Palestinian refugees and their descendants across the Middle East.

The State Department denied that the aid cut to UNRWA was to punish the Palestinian Authority, which has cut ties with Trump’s administration following his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. A spokeswoman said it was linked to necessary “reform” of the agency.

The non-governmental organizations whose leaders signed the letter included Save the Children, Oxfam America, CARE USA, Refugees International and the International Rescue Committee.

In their letter, the aid groups’ leaders voiced concern that if maintained, the freeze would “disrupt Palestinian access to food, health care, education ‘and other critical support to vulnerable populations,'” the paper reported.
Delusional American retiree suffering from “Jerusalem Syndrome” rushed to hospital (satire)
Jerusalem, the German Colony: Israel’s capital (Yeah, we said it.) experienced quite a scare today as a clearly agitated man was taken into custody for his own safety. At approximately 10 AM this morning, an older gentleman wearing a disheveled suit wandered into traffic and attempted to enter a private vehicle that he described as “my town car“. At this point the driver’s owner got into an altercation with the gentleman, who insisted that he had “an important message for Abu Mazen” [Momentary Real World Buzzkill: Yes he DID actually say this today]. After the vehicle’s irate driver pushed him away, the pensioner walked over to a local convenience store, where he patiently discussed with a confused Dati woman the best places to park your yacht on Martha’s Vineyard during the winter months. After several minutes, the gentleman exited the shop and jumped onto the Jerusalem light rail, describing the movement of the train as being “not unlike windsurfing” before exiting at the Machane Yehuda Market. As the retiree wandered the Shuk’s confusing alleys, he told a man selling cactus fruit that “this place is more confusing than Dizengoff Center“. The man then stopped at a pastry shop, where he dropped his voice to a conspiratorial whisper and told customers that within a year there was a good chance that Trump would not be in the White House and that he was “seriously considering running for president in 2020.” [Real World Alert: Yes he really said this]. It was at this point that concerned bystanders feared that the man was suffering from the delusions of grandeur symptomatic of “Jerusalem Syndrome” and stepped in to help. As one man distracted the pensioner by entering into a drawn out negotiation over a carpet, a woman slipped away to call for medical help. Magen David Adom personnel quickly arrived on the scene and gently escorted the confused man into a waiting ambulance that they described as his “personal limousine” that would bring him to meet “the important people“.
South Africa levels apartheid charge at Israel, drawing seething response
South Africa accused Israel of being the world’s only apartheid state, triggering an angry Israeli reaction.

At a standard review of Israel’s human rights record at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva Tuesday, a South African official said the term formerly used to describe black disenfranchisement in South Africa could now be applied to Israel because of its policies toward the Palestinians and other non-Jews.

“Israel is the only state in the world that can be called an apartheid state,” diplomat Clinton Swemmer said. “We remain deeply concerned at the denial of the right of self-determination to the Palestinian people, in the absence of which no other human right can be exercised or enjoyed.”

South Africa itself was an apartheid regime between 1948 and 1991. The word, from the Afrikaans, was generally only used to specifically denote South Africa’s racial separation under white minority rule, but it has seeped into criticism of the Jewish state with increasingly regularity in recent years.

Israel has long bristled at use of the term to describe Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians, and officials regularly point out differences between South Africa’s policies and Israel’s, dismissing use of the word as calumny meant to defame the Jewish state.
Rabbi: Comparing deportation of migrants to Holocaust 'outrageous'
The founder of the Tzohar association of moderate Orthodox rabbis in Israel spoke out this week against Holocaust survivors who compared the deportation of illegal migrants to their experiences during WWII.

In a letter to Holocaust survivors seeking to preserve the residency status of migrants in Israel, Rabbi David Stav wrote, "I think we need to treat Holocaust survivors with a lot of respect for their determination and heroism, but nevertheless, it is inconceivable to compare the murder of children, women and men in crematoria and in gas chambers and a political, moral and social issue. This comparison is particularly outrageous."

The letter comes after a nationwide campaign tried to pressure the Israeli government into reversing its policy of deporting African migrants from Israel to third party countries in Africa.

Stav said that with all due respect to the survivors, the state of Israel needs to act on its national interests and not its emotions. He argued that the policy ensured that migrants would not be deported to countries where their lives would be in danger. If that were the case, "then certainly they could not be transferred to such a country," he emphasized.

Stav cautioned that "if we start to compare the actions of the Nazis and the handling of the refugees, then others will begin to compare the [Israel's] control over Judea and Samaria to the Vichy regime [that collaborated with Nazi Germany in World War II]." He said that within the national discourse, it must be clear "that the Holocaust was something unique and beyond compare."
Florida synagogue leader killed in Kabul hotel attack
The president of a Florida-based public relations company and president of his Tampa synagogue was one of four Americans killed in an attack on a hotel in Kabul.

Glenn Selig was one of 22 people killed in a 13-hour siege by the Taliban on Saturday on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, the State Department announced in Wednesday. The Afghan Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack and said their target was foreign forces, including U.S. troops.

Selig was in Kabul to explore a potential counter-extremism project for his public relations agency, Selig Multimedia, the Tampa Bay Times reported. He reportedly was staying at the Intercontinental Hotel.

“Glenn was in Kabul on a potential success story involving Afghanistan and its steps to battle extremism. The focus was highlighting the country’s new president and constructing a democracy forum event for Afghani women,” his company said in a statement, according to CNN.

Prior to working in public relations, Selig was a reporter and anchor in Florida markets, including Fox 13 in Tampa and WNEM-TV, a CBS affiliate in Michigan. In recent months he served as spokesman for Trump campaign adviser Rick Gates, who faces criminal charges in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. Gates has pleaded not guilty to the charges.


Sanctions Experts: U.S. Should Target Khamenei’s Multi-Billion Dollar Empire
In the wake of the anti-government protests in Iran, the United States government could show its support for the protesters by targeting the vast financial empire controlled by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Mark Dubowitz and Saeed Ghasseminejad argued in an op-ed published Tuesday in The Wall Street Journal.

Dubowitz, the CEO of Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), and Ghasseminejad, a researcher there, wrote that President Donald Trump could target Khamenei and the foundations he controls under provisions of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, which allows the president to target individuals involved in corruption and human rights abuses.

Khamenei controls an empire that is worth an estimated $200 billion and has “an interest in nearly every Iranian industry.” The three main organizations in the Supreme Leader’s empire are Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order, or EIKO ; the Mostazafan Foundation; and the Astan Quds Razavi. All three have built up their value by through the “systematic confiscation of private property.”

According to a 2013 investigation by Reuters, EIKO, is worth about $95 billion. EIKO consists mostly of real-estate holdings and has “dozens of subsidiaries and front companies” so it is difficult to assess the full extent of its impact on Iran’s economy.
Social Media Campaign Launched to Locate Woman Feared Arrested by Iran for Protesting Hijab
A social media campaign has taken off to identify and locate an Iranian woman who was filmed waving a hijab from a pillar box in Tehran—a punishable offense in the Islamic Republic—who has gone missing, The BBC reported on Tuesday.

The news outlet said that renowned human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh confirmed to them on Monday earlier reports of her arrest on December 27. According to her, the woman is 31 years old and mother of a 20-month-old child.

A video of the woman, whose identity remains unknown, was widely shared on social media during anti-government protests in recent weeks. She protested against Iran’s strict modesty dress code, in place since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, which dictates that women need to cover their hair in public.

The woman is thought to have staged the protest on 27 December, a day before violent demonstrations broke out across the country, but has not been seen since, sparking fears that she may have been arrested.

“Our investigations confirm that the young woman, whose name we still do not know, was arrested on that very same day,” Sotoudeh wrote on Facebook on Sunday, along with a picture from the same location where the woman was first arrested. She added: “She was released shortly afterwards but was arrested once again.”
PreOccupiedTerritory: Gullible Egyptians Still Think Israelite Exodus Visible From Space (satire)
Credulous inhabitants of Pharaoh’s kingdom continue to maintain that the dramatic departure of the Israelite slave population from the country could be observed from outer space, local sources report.

Social observers and skeptics bemoaned the disturbing phenomenon in Egyptian media in a series of articles this month, giving voice to their dismay that such an advanced society still harbors primitive, uncritical thinking, and too readily accepts urban legends as fact.

“We have progressed so far since the Mesopotamians introduced astrology,” wrote veteran hieroglyph skeptic James Randi. “Our civilization can only be held back by the silliness our people betray each time some amazing new ‘discovery’ occurs. They must have had their brains addled by the so-called ‘plagues’ they experienced. No human phenomenon is visible from space, at least not at this point in world history. Anyone who claims otherwise is a charlatan.”

Other advocates of critical thinking seconded Randi’s concerns. “Ever since that Moses character came along, with his staff-serpent shenanigans and his turning water into blood, we’ve had or hands full with people reporting or believing ‘supernatural’ events,” remarked Phil Plait, who runs the Bad Astronomer series of monoliths. “So of course the culture is now primed to believe almost anything – certainly the seemingly plausible idea that a mass of millions of people could be visible from miles up in the sky. The problem is we’ve no way to test those ideas, and people just kind of accept them because they sound right and resonate, but not because there’s anything empirical to back them up.”



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