Tuesday, March 20, 2018

From Ian:

MEMRI: Palestinian Authority Schoolbooks For 2017-18: Increased Indoctrination To Jihad And Martyrdom
Introduction

In July 2017, the Palestinian Authority (PA) schoolbooks for the 2017-18 school year were published. Some of the books are new, and some remained unchanged. An examination of the middle-school books for Islamic Education, some of which have been replaced, shows a significant increase in focus on the early Islamic tenets of shahada (martyrdom), fidaa (self-sacrifice) and tadhiya (sacrifice) as part of jihad for the sake of Allah, and their modern manifestations as part of the Palestinian struggle against Israel.

The books present the historic context of these tenets, portraying jihad, shahada, fidaa and tadhiya as acts that that brought the Muslims victory over their enemies in the early days of Islam.[1] The texts include descriptions of the rewards in the world to come, as promised by Allah to Muslims who carry them out. To this end, the books quote Quranic verses and traditions from collections of hadiths that set out these rewards. However, the study material does not present only historical context. The conclusions of the chapters discussing fidaa and tadhiya ask pupils to give examples of them both from the time of the Prophet Muhammad and from contemporary times by Palestinians in the fight against Israel.

In addition to glorifying the sacrifice of life, the books also note other types of sacrifice, such as of property, time, and effort. In a few places, the books also mention aspects of religious tolerance in Islamic tradition.

The books note that PA Education Minister Sabri Saidam is the head of the PA curricula planning committee, and that their content is approved by Religious Endowments Minister Yousuf Ida'is.

This report will review the values of jihad, shahada, fidaa and tadhiya, and the aspects of religious tolerance in Islam, as they appear in the new Palestinian schoolbooks for Islamic Education for the middle-school grades.[2]

Encouraging Jihad And Shahada By Showing The Rewards Promised To The Shahid (Martyr) In The World To Come In The Quran And Hadith

How Much Do the Palestinians Pay for Terror?
The Washington Post's Fact Checker column by Glenn Kessler casts doubt on the veracity of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's claim that PA leader Mahmoud Abbas and his government pay $350 million a year to terrorists, in addition to their dependents and survivors.

Kessler doesn't try to deny the plain facts about the Palestinian budget, which pours vast sums into payment to those jailed for terrorism and to their families, as well as to the survivors of those who died while attempting to commit terrorism. But he does split hairs about the totals allocated, claiming that the PA probably spends much less than Netanyahu says they do.

The problem with Kessler's math is that it is rooted in his acceptance of Palestinian arguments that profess that most of those imprisoned for security offenses aren't really terrorists or that much of the money doled out is for welfare, as opposed to a bounty paid for mayhem. Kessler tries to sell us on the notion that Palestinian security prisoners are not really terrorists; therefore, not all payments to them and their families should be counted towards the $350 million.

Many of those he says are "non-terrorists" or "merely children" were caught throwing rocks. That may sound harmless. But the actions of an American teen, for example, caught throwing rocks at passing vehicles in such a manner as to cause accidents that result in serious injuries or fatalities wouldn't be classified as harmless fun or an expression of a political opinion. It would be treated as a serious crime, and those responsible would likely be tried as adults. That's why the total number of terrorists Israel claims get salaries from the PA is genuine.

While Kessler is willing to accept that a mass murderer involved in slaughtering a family or blowing up a bus or a cafe shouldn't get a pension, the thousands of others who have sought to kill, maim and injure Israelis in less spectacular ways are just as guilty of terrorism.

The Taylor Force Act is an important piece of leverage that can help remind the Palestinians that the world is tired of their rejectionism and violence.
Taylor Force Act Hits Snag in Senate, as Pro-Israel Groups Urge Passage
Amid never-ending speculation over the release of President Donald Trump’s anticipated Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, a major piece of legislation making its way through Congress may have a profound impact on the already strained ties between the United States and the Palestinians.

The Taylor Force Act — named for a 28-year-old former US serviceman murdered in March 2016 while visiting Israel — seeks to cut off US aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) over its payments to convicted terrorists and their families. However, after steady momentum late last year — including passage in the House of Representatives — the legislation has hit a snag in the Senate.

“A version of the Taylor Force Act passed the US House of Representatives unanimously,” Michael Makovsky, the president and CEO of JINSA, a pro-Israel think tank that has been lobbying for the bill, told JNS. “Apparently, Senate Democrats are more favorable to that legislation, but the Senate Republican bill has fewer exemptions.”

At the same time, while some may support the idea of holding the Palestinians accountable for paying terrorists or the families of terrorists killed in an attack, there is some hesitation that cutting off US funding would destabilize the PA, leading to its possible collapse and replacement in the West Bank with terror groups like Hamas.

Pastor John Hagee, founder and chairman of Christians United for Israel, one of the largest pro-Israel organizations in America — with four million members, told JNS that the Palestinian “‘pay to slay’ policy must end now.”



Fertile ground for Israel hatred
As a member of the French parliament who represents citizens of France living in Israel, today I am ashamed.

I am ashamed that our consulate employees exploited their diplomatic immunity to engage in terrorist activity.

I am ashamed because this affair was exposed on the exact day we marked the deadly terrorist attack at the Ozar Hatorah Jewish school in Toulouse, in which three children and their teacher were murdered in cold blood because of the killer's hatred for Israel.

While my country is mired in an all-out war against the jihadists, a war that has claimed the lives of 250 French citizens since 2015, gunrunning for a terrorist organization such as Hamas is an insult to France and its values. Innocent people could be killed as a result of these smuggling efforts.

I spoke at length with the consul general in Jerusalem, Pierre Cochard, who harshly condemned the actions and stressed there had been no prior indications.

With that – and entirely unrelated to the current consul general's future findings on the matter – this affair exposes the longstanding, rampant pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel atmosphere in the French Consulate in Jerusalem. This atmosphere created the fertile ground that bred the actions presently disgracing all of France.
BESA: Israel’s Intelligence Contribution to US Security: The Cold War Years
Israel and the United States have a long history of close intelligence cooperation. Apart from the regular provision of useful strategic and political intelligence, Israel’s wars against the Soviet-armed and trained Arab armies afforded invaluable insights into Soviet military doctrine and weapons systems. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Israel made a unique and particularly valuable contribution by shedding fresh light on Moscow’s nuclear-equipped intercontinental ballistic missiles threatening the US.

The intelligence cooperation between Washington and Jerusalem is one of the cornerstones of the strategic alliance between the two states. Given the extensive US military aid to Israel along with Washington’s and the American public’s backing of Israel in the international arena, it has been widely argued that the alliance unilaterally favors Israel. In reality, however, the partnership has been bidirectional. From the global standpoint, Israel has provided a bulwark that protects US and Western interests in the Middle East and has taken the brunt of Islam’s Manichean confrontation with Western civilization.

To be sure, Israeli-American intelligence cooperation has encountered some bumps along the road. Thus, for example, Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin did not inform the Reagan administration of Israel’s plans to destroy the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981, even though the two intelligence communities had signed a memorandum on this issue about a year earlier; Washington responded by chilling intelligence cooperation with Jerusalem for a short while. Conversely, the US, along with Britain, kept Israel in the dark about secret contacts with Muammar Qaddafi in 2003, which led to the dismantling of Libya’s mass-destruction weapons program. Likewise, in May 2017 Trump reportedly shared with Russian foreign minister Lavrov sensitive obtained by Israel about ISIS’ terrorist plans.

These mishaps notwithstanding, Washington and Jerusalem have maintained a strong intelligence relationship since the 1950s. The foundation for this relationship was laid in 1956, when the Mossad obtained the text of a secret speech by the then Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, at the Communist Party Congress, in which he lambasted the tyrannical practices of his predecessor, Joseph Stalin. After the speech was published in the New York Times, the shock over Stalin’s crimes helped delegitimize the Soviet regime among the Western public.
Fuming at US, Abbas calls ambassador a ‘son of a dog, settler’
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas launched an unprecedentedly scathing attack Monday on US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, calling him a “son of a dog” and a “settler.”

Abbas, addressing the opening of a Palestinian leadership meeting, made the comments hours after Friedman criticized the PA on Twitter for failing to condemn a pair of terror attacks over the weekend.

Mentioning US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and his plan to move the country’s embassy in Israel to the city, Abbas said Trump “views the settlements as legitimate.”
American Ambassador to Israel David Friedman attends a meeting of the lobby for Israel–United States relations at the Knesset, July 25, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“More than one official has said that,” he added. “The ambassador, David Friedman, said they’re building on their own land. You son of a dog, building on their own land?! You are a settler and your family are settlers!”

“Son of a dog” is a mild pejorative in Arabic, somewhat analogous to “jerk.”

Responding to the comment while at an anti-Semitism conference in Jerusalem, Friedman quoted the insult, using the term “son of a bitch,” and added “Anti-Semitism or political discourse? I leave this up to you.”
Netanyahu: 'The US stopped coddling the PA and it's driving Abbas crazy'
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu slammed Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ over his attack against United States Ambassador to Israel David Friedman on Monday, during which the PA chief called the ambassador a ‘son of a dog’ and a ‘settler’.

Speaking at a special government meeting in the southern Israeli town of Dimona on Tuesday, Prime Minister Netanyahu attributed the Palestinian Authority’s leader outburst to the increasing unwillingness of the United States to accept PA intransigence and tacit support for terrorism.

"We heard Palestinian Authority Chairman Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] make outrageous, anti-American remarks," said Netanyahu.

"Something is happening here that has not happened in decades, perhaps it never happened since the Palestinian Authority was established: The American administration has stopped spoiling the Palestinians. It is demanding from them basic things that should have been demanded a long time ago: Recognize the State of Israel's right to exist, with the State of Israel being the national state of the Jewish people, stop supporting terrorism, and stop financing and encouraging terrorism."

"The Palestinians are in shock and like a spoiled child who has been spoiled for years, they are suddenly being told: 'Enough, no more.' And they are in shock and being in shock they are losing their senses and their truth is coming to light: They are not interested in dialogue and they are refusing to make peace."
Khaled Abu Toameh: Burning all bridges, Abbas sets himself up for complete isolation
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is once again shooting in all directions. Earlier this year, he described Israel as a “colonial project” unrelated to Judaism. Now he has determined that the Palestinians have other enemies to deal with: everyone else, almost.

In a speech before Palestinian leaders in Ramallah on Monday night, Abbas set himself — and his people — on a collision course with both the US and Hamas.

In addition, the address contained implicit criticism of Egypt for its role in brokering the failing “reconciliation” agreement between his ruling Fatah faction and Hamas in October 2017.

Abbas’s decision to burn all bridges with these three parties reflects his increased sense of isolation and frustration.

The Palestinian leader, according to some of his aides, has been in a state of “deep desperation” in recent weeks.

Some say this could be connected to unconfirmed reports about his deteriorating health. Others argue that Abbas’s frustration and fury are a direct result of the US administration’s “hostile” policies toward the Palestinians.
Greenblatt: Abbas Must Choose between "Hateful Rhetoric" and Peace
The top Trump administration Middle East peace negotiator said Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas must choose between “hateful rhetoric” and peace after Abbas described the U.S. ambassador to Israel as the “son of a dog.”

“The time has come for President Abbas to choose between hateful rhetoric and concrete and practical efforts to improve the quality of life of his people and lead them to peace and prosperity,” Jason Greenblatt said in a statement emailed Monday afternoon to reporters.

“Notwithstanding his highly inappropriate insults against members of the Trump administration, the latest iteration being his insult of my good friend and colleague Ambassador Friedman, we are committed to the Palestinian people and to the changes that must be implemented for peaceful coexistence,” Greenblatt said. “We are finalizing our plan for peace and we will advance it when circumstances are right.”

On Monday, at the opening of a Palestinian leadership meeting, P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas called Friedman a “son of a dog” and a “settler” after noting that the ambassador views settlements as legitimate and supported them as a private citizen.
State Department approved anti-Trump articles by pro-Iran deal official
The U.S. State Department under former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson vetted and approved the publication of fiercely anti-Trump news articles written by a current State Department official, Conservative Review has learned.

On October 13 in the White House, President Trump announced that he had ordered a complete strategic review concerning the United States’ Iran policy.

“Today, I am announcing our strategy, along with several major steps we are taking to confront the Iranian regime’s hostile actions and to ensure that Iran never, and I mean never, acquires a nuclear weapon,” the president announced, setting a major course change from the Obama administration’s appeasement-minded policies.

That didn’t sit well with State Department official Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, who has invested much of her career defending the Obama administration’s Iran deal. She co-authored an article targeting her new boss’s Iran policy in an article for Foreign Affairs titled, “Trump’s Dangerous Shift on Iran.”

A State Department spokesperson told Conservative Review that the article was “reviewed by the State Department,” pointing to legal restrictions that highlight the three circumstances in which a State Department employee is denied permission to publish:

1. If it contains classified information;
2. If it contains information not releasable under FOIA (e.g., protected employee information, law enforcement information, etc.);
3. If it is highly likely to result in serious adverse consequences to the efficiency or mission of the Department.

The State Department signed off on an article that directly challenged the president’s policy objectives, yet did not find that a piece targeting his foreign policy could result in “adverse consequences” to the mission of the State Department.

The anti-Trump article was one of several written by Nowrouzzadeh, an Obama holdover who played an integral role in advancing the Iran nuclear deal between the Obama administration and the terrorist regime in Tehran.
Call to UN Secretary-General: Suspend Human Rights Commissioner
Citizens from more than 30 countries around the world appealed to the UN Secretary-General to suspend UN Human Rights Commissioner Zaid Ra'ad al-Hussein after calling Judea and Samaria communities a "war crime", following the latest report he issued regarding the pace of construction for Jews in Judea and Samaria.

"While tens of thousands of people are being slaughtered in Syria, and while women's rights are being disregarded in Iran, the Human Rights Commissioner is issuing a report on the settlement movement in Israel, which details construction information, calling it a war crime", mentioned the letter.

"The Commissioner' s obsession with Israel is unacceptable. We hear his decisions come from anti-Semitic motives, and we call for the immediate dismissal of Zaid Ra'ad Al-Hussein from the position of UN Human Rights Commissioner."

The letter was signed by dozens of supporters of Israel and Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria from around the world, including activists of the Lev HaOlam organization. These countries include Switzerland, Austria, the United States, Finland, Germany, Italy, Singapore, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Canada, as well as African countries such as Rwanda, Uganda, South Africa, and Tanzania. Some of the signers serve as leaders in their countries.
UN Official Gives Speech to U.S. Group That Advocates Destruction of Israel
A top United Nations official is facing criticism following a recent speech before a well known anti-Israel organization that supports boycotts of the Jewish state, denies Israel's right to exist, and has promoted anti-Semitic materials.

Elizabeth Campbell, director of the UN Relief Works Agency's office in Washington, D.C., recently spoke before the Jerusalem Fund, a Washington-based pro-Palestinian activist group that promotes boycotts of Israel as part of the Boycott, Sanctions, and Divestment movement, or BDS.

Campbell has appealed to the Trump administration not to cut funding to UNRWA, the Palestinian aid organization that has long been criticized for employing members of Hamas, participating in anti-Israel political activism, and allowing its facilities to be used by terrorists groups. Campbell discussed the issue in a speech earlier this month before the Jerusalem Fund.

The United States has been withholding more than $65 million in taxpayer funding to UNRWA as the Trump administration considers demanding reforms to the organization or permanently reducing funding.

White House-allied policy advisers with knowledge of the talk told the Washington Free Beacon that it is just another example of UNRWA's biased attitude towards Israel and its efforts to legitimize groups that take a hardline stance against the Jewish state.
UN mission on Lebanon-Israel border marks 40th anniversary
The head of UN peacekeepers in Lebanon praised their contribution to peace efforts on Monday, as the force marked 40 years since its establishment on the frontier with neighboring Israel.

Maj. Gen. Michael Beary, commander of the force known as UNIFIL, said that the mission “works tirelessly to preempt a return to conflict, a return to turmoil and loss of life, a return to some of the dark days of the past” between the two countries.

His comments came amid new threats between Lebanon and Israel over several issues, including a wall the Jewish state is building along the border that Beirut says may jut into Lebanese territories, as well as plans for oil and gas exploration in the Mediterranean.

The oil and gas dispute dates back years, but recently resurfaced when Lebanon invited companies to bid for exploratory offshore drilling next year along the countries’ maritime border. Israel says some of the drilling would be taking place in its territorial waters.

The peacekeeping force was founded in 1978 after Israel invaded parts of southern Lebanon, following a terror attack inside Israel, to expel the Palestinian Liberation Organization that had established a quasi-state there. Violence has broken out on several occasions since then, including major wars in 1982 and 2006.

UNIFIL now has about 10,500 soldiers from 41 countries, who are mostly deployed south of Lebanon’s Litani river and along the border with Israel.
Republican Touts Support From Fringe Anti-Israel, Pro-Iran Groups to End U.S. Intervention In Yemen
A leading Republican senator has been touting support from a host of fringe anti-war groups as part of his effort to end U.S. intervention in Yemen, a bid that has drawn concerns the United States could cede the country to Iranian militias, according to multiple sources familiar with the situation.

The office of Sen. Mike Lee (R., Utah), a prominent GOP anti-war voice in Congress, recently sent congressional colleagues a letter urging support for a bid with Sens. Bernie Sanders (R., Vt.) and Chris Murphy (D., Conn.) to end U.S. military intervention in Yemen, which has been locked in a sectarian battle with Iranian-backed militant groups.

A staffer in Lee's office on Monday sent an email to congressional offices touting support for the senator's effort by a host of groups known for their anti-American pro-Iran activism, including the radical anti-war group Code Pink and prominent liberal outlets such as Daily Kos, according to a copy of that email obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

The senator's effort to tout support from these groups has drawn scrutiny on Capitol Hill, where multiple sources told the Free Beacon that Lee's bid to end U.S. action in Yemen would benefit Iran and erode relations with U.S. ally Saudi Arabia.

Lee has teamed up with Sanders and other anti-war activists to push a congressional resolution invoking the War Powers Resolution on 1973. This would allow Congress to hold a simple majority vote on ending American efforts to combat Iran in Yemen. That vote could come as early as Tuesday, according to sources familiar with the effort.
Dershowitz Slams Cynthia Nixon as ‘Anti-Israel’ Candidate in New York Governor’s Race
Attorney and commentator Alan Dershowitz tore into actress and liberal activist Cynthia Nixon on Twitter as an anti-Israel bigot, before and after she officially launched her bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in New York.

Before Nixon made her long-rumored announcement, Dershowitz wrote, "Cynthia Nixon may run for Gov of NY. She has collaborated with Israel haters Jewish Voice for Peace and Vanessa Redgrave in boycotting Israel. Do not support her bigotry."

Nixon made her official announcement to run on Monday, in a video proclaiming her love of New York and desire to work on issues like health care, the subway system and mass incarceration. Dershowitz said the responses to his initial tweet proved his point, writing, "If you're anti-Israel, Nixon's your candidate."

According to The Times of Israel, she signed a letter in 2010 supporting Israeli artists who pledged not to perform in the Israeli West Bank settlement of Ariel.
Illinois Democratic primary pits J Street against AIPAC
A Democratic primary for a House seat in Illinois is pitting a J Street candidate against a longtime incumbent who’s been an ally of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, also known as AIPAC.

The progressive upstart Marie Newman is challenging Rep. Dan Lipinski in Illinois’s 3rd District. Lipinski, who’s held that seat for more than a decade, is known as a blue-dog Democrat who opposes abortion rights and who, in 2015, was one of the few members of his party to vote against the Iran nuclear deal.

The liberal Mideast advocacy J Street group has pounced on the opportunity to unseat Lipinksi, who represents a generally liberal enclave including parts of Chicago and its nearby southwestern suburbs.

It’s also the same district where a noted Holocaust denier and former head of the American Nazi Party, Arthur Jones, is poised to become the GOP nominee for the seat, with no one else in his party challenging him.

Whoever wins the Democratic nomination on March 20 is therefore all but guaranteed to clinch the general election.
Argentina co-sponsors memorial for attack on Israeli embassy
For the first time, the ceremony to commemorate the terrorist attack on Israel’s embassy in Buenos Aires was co-sponsored by the Argentine government, JTA reported Sunday.

The ceremony which took place on Friday to mark the 26th year since the attack also was held for the first time in the country’s human rights center instead of at the site where the attack occurred.

“Today we have decided to remember here, as a symbol that this is a top priority issue in the government’s human rights agenda “said Argentina’s Vice President Gabriela Michetti, the main speaker of the event.

The terrorist attack that destroyed the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires on March 17, 1992, killed 29 and injured 242, in the first international terrorist attack on Argentina’s soil.

The site of the ceremony was Argentina’s National Archive of Memory, where the office of the Secretary of Human Rights is located.

The building served as the Mechanics School of the Navy, or ESMA, and was used by the last Argentine military dictatorship (1976-1983) as one of the main secret detention centers for torture and extermination of political activists who struggled against the regime.

The iconic place remains open as a museum commemorating those crimes and others crimes against human rights.

“There is a paradigm shift in the Argentine State. The attack happened to us, Jews and not Jews, Israelis and non-Israelis, that’s why we are here in this place, because what happened to us happened to all of us, “said speaker Claudio Avruj, Argentina’s secretary of human rights.
Former French Leader Sarkozy Held Over Libyan Funding Inquiry
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was held in custody on Tuesday and questioned by magistrates investigating whether late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi helped finance his 2007 election campaign, an official in the French judiciary said.

It is the second major judicial investigation to fall on the 63-year-old, who served as president from 2007-2012. He already faces trial on separate charges of illicit spending overruns during his failed re-election campaign in 2012.

A lawyer for Sarkozy could not immediately be reached for comment. The former president has dismissed the Libya allegations as “grotesque” and a “crude manipulation.”

France opened an inquiry into the Libya case in 2013, after reports by French website Mediapart based on claims by a Franco-Lebanese businessman, Ziad Takieddine, who said he had transferred 5 million euros ($6 million) from Gaddafi’s former intelligence chief Abdullah Senussi to Sarkozy’s campaign director.

Months after he took office in 2007, the French leader came in for criticism for hosting a state visit by Gaddafi during which the Libyan leader pitched his trademark Bedouin-style tent next to the Elysee Palace.

Gaddafi’s first visit to a Western leader in decades, which was accompanied by the signing of several business deals, came after Sarkozy helped get five Bulgarian nurses accused of infecting children with HIV released from jail in Libya.
Police detain 8 Palestinians for not intervening in Old City stabbing
Police on Tuesday arrested eight Palestinian residents of Jerusalem’s Old City on suspicion that they witnessed Sunday’s fatal stabbing of an Israeli by a Palestinian terrorist and did nothing to intervene.

“As part of the ongoing investigation into the stabbing attack at the beginning of the week, it was clear at the scene that the attacker had clear intentions to carry out the terror attack,” police said in a statement.

Adiel Kolman, 32, a father of four, died of his wounds several hours after he was knifed in the Old City’s Muslim Quarter by 28-year-old Abd al-Rahman Bani Fadel from Aqraba, near the West Bank city of Nablus. Fadel was shot dead at the scene by police.

Police detained the eight bystanders, aged 15 to 67, on suspicion that they “saw what was going on and did not act to prevent or minimize the injury to the murdered civilian.” Failing to prevent a crime is itself a misdemeanor, according to Israeli law.
Adiel Kolman, who was killed in a stabbing attack in Jerusalem’s Old city on March 19 2018 (Courtesy)

Two of the detainees were released after their interrogation and six others were to be brought to court for hearings on the extension of their remand.
JCPA: Gaza “March of Return” – The Complete Picture
The avowed tactical objectives of the Gaza “March of Return” on March 30, 2018, are opposition to the policies of the U.S. administration and the “deal of the century,” the U.S. initiative to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The march’s emphasis has been placed on media exposure and influencing world public opinion.

All of the Palestinian organizations are planning to turn Land Day on March 30, 2018, into a show of strength that will express the Palestinian demand for the realization of their “right of return.” The practical implication of the return is the removal of the Jewish population of the State of Israel from their homes in order to absorb millions of Palestinians defined as “refugees from 1948” and their generations of descendants.

The “March of Return” is planned as just the first stage in a series of “return” protest activities that will take place over the next few months, including demonstrations and attempts to break the naval embargo on the Gaza Strip. These activities will reach their peak in the middle of May 2018 (Nakba Day) and will also continue in June (al-Quds day).

Besides Gaza, Judea and Samaria, Jerusalem, and at the sites of protest activities in the Israeli-Arab sector, tensions are also expected to flare up along the borders with Lebanon and Jordan. The “return” protest may cause shockwaves throughout the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, where most of its residents are Palestinian.
Abbas accuses Hamas of being behind Hamdallah assassination attempt
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas accused Hamas of carrying out the roadside bombing that struck PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and PA General Intelligence Services Majid Faraj’s motorcade in the northern Gaza Strip last week.

“We are fully aware that Hamas is the one who stands behind that incident and carried it out,” Abbas said.

On Tuesday morning, a roadside bomb exploded adjacent to Hamdallah and Faraj’s motorcade in Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza, injuring seven members of their staffs and damaging several cars.

On the same day, Abbas’s office said Hamas bears responsibility for the bombing, but stopped short of formally accusing Hamas of carrying it out.

Meanwhile, some Hamas officials suggested on Tuesday that Israel carried out the bombing, while other Hamas leaders insinuated the PA did.

Responding to Abbas’s accusation against it, Hamas said on its official Twitter account that it condemns the PA president’s “irresponsible statements,” asserting that they constitute “a violation of reconciliation agreements.”
Hamas slams Abbas for threatening sanctions on Gaza
Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups on Monday strongly condemned Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for threatening to impose new sanctions on the Gaza Strip.

In a statement issued shortly after Abbas warned of the move in a speech before Palestinian leaders in Ramallah, Hamas said that his “irresponsible statements” were aimed at “bringing our people in the Gaza Strip to their knees at this difficult and dangerous phase.”

In his address, Abbas announced that he had decided to take “legal, national and financial measures” against Hamas to “protect the Palestinian national project.” He did not provide further details.

Last year, Abbas imposed a series of measures against the Gaza Strip that included suspending Palestinian Authority payments to Israel for electricity supplies to the coastal enclave. Abbas also cut off salaries to thousands of Gaza’s civil servants and forced many others into early retirement.


Trump’s Nowruz Greeting Slams Iranian Theocracy
President Donald Trump offered a Nowruz greeting to people around the world welcoming the start of spring while also blasting Iranian theocracy, terror sponsorship and corruption in a statement Monday.

Nowruz is the name for the Persian New Year.

"The history of Nowruz is rooted in Iran, where for millennia a proud nation has overcome great challenges by the strength of its culture and the resilience of its people," Trump said. "Today, the Iranian people face another challenge: rulers who serve themselves instead of serving the people."

"Twenty-five centuries ago, Darius the Great asked God to protect Iran from three dangers: hostile armies, drought, and falsehood. Today, the Iranian regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) represents all three."

Trump has referred to the IRGC as "the Iranian supreme leader’s corrupt personal terror force."
Germany presses Iran to recognize Israel's right to exist
Europe is stepping up the pressure on Iran in an effort to mollify the United States and keep it from backing out of the 2015 nuclear deal.

U.S. President Donald Trump delivered an ultimatum to the European signatories to the deal on Jan. 12, saying they must agree to "fix the terrible flaws of the Iran nuclear deal" or he would refuse to extend U.S. sanctions relief to Iran.

U.S. sanctions will resume unless Trump issues fresh "waivers" to suspend them on May 12.

A German government spokesman on Monday demanded that Iran renounce its policy toward Israel and recognize its existence and halt its anti-Semitic and anti-Israel activities. The demand was made just one hour after EU foreign ministers gathered in Brussels to discuss the imposition of new sanctions on Iran as a result of its activities in the various conflicts across the Middle East and the continuing development of its missile program.

While former German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel had called on Iran recognize Israel's right to exist following the signing of the 2015 accord, there was never any explicit demand from Iran to do so.

Three of the European signatories to the Iran nuclear deal – Germany, France and Britain – called for new sanctions on Iran last week in an effort to postpone the imposition of U.S. sanctions on Iran and prevent the accord from being jeopardized.
Iran denies Saudi allegations of harboring bin Laden's son
Tehran denied on Tuesday allegations made by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that Iran was harboring Osama bin Laden's son and supporting him as the new leader of al Qaeda.

Decades-old animosity between Sunni Muslim kingdom of Saudi Arabia and revolutionary Shi'ite Iran has deepened in recent years as the two sides wage proxy wars in the Middle East and beyond, including in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

Iran's murky and fluid relationship with al Qaeda has contributed to tensions with Riyadh, which previously accused Tehran of backing al Qaeda and sheltering its members.

Prince Mohammed told CBS in an interview that Iran was protecting al Qaeda operatives, including some of bin Laden's relatives.

"This includes the son of Osama bin Laden, the new leader of al Qaeda. He lives in Iran and works out of Iran. He is supported by Iran," he said. Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi called crown prince's comments a "big lie."
Russia Blocks U.N. Security Council Meeting on Human Rights in Syria
Russia on Monday blocked a meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the human rights situation in Syria.

"We do not see any justification for this meeting since human rights is not a subject on the agenda of the security council," said Gennady Kuzmin, deputy permanent representative of Russia to the United Nations.

Russia is the largest international backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

France and six other members had called for the meeting, which was expected to include a briefing from Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.

"Our council needs to have all necessary information to understand the crisis that it is examining, including those pertaining to human rights. And this is particularly the case in Syria," said French U.N. ambassador Francois Delattre.

Kuzmin asked for a procedural vote and only eight delegations voted in favor of having the meeting, one short of the number required.

China, Bolivia and Kazakhstan voted with Russia to prevent the meeting, while Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea and Ethiopia were abstentions.
Middle Eastern Observers Certify Russian Elections (satire)
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s landslide re-election complied with international standards, according to election monitors from across the Middle East.

“In polling stations throughout the country, Russian voters were free to cast their ballots without fear of intimidation or retribution,” Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in a statement. “Votes were counted thoroughly and accurately by disinterested parties, and the results reflect the will of the people.”

Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi echoed Assad’s statement, adding that the leadup to the election also allowed for a perfectly competitive election environment.

“When it comes to freedom of the press and rights of the opposition,” Sisi noted, “the Russian system is worthy of emulation.”

Following the certification, US President Donald Trump has invited observers from the region to monitor the 2018 Congressional midterms.



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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

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