Tuesday, December 17, 2019

From Ian:

Pompeo Blasts House Democrats For ‘Foolish’ Stance On Israeli ‘Settlements’
As The Daily Wire reported last month, 106 House Democrats sent a scathing letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that expressed “strong disagreement” with the Trump administration’s recently promulgated legal assertion that so-called Israeli “settlements” in the biblical Jewish homeland of Judea and Samaria do not per se violate international law.

The House Democrats’ hysterical letter accused Pompeo of “ignoring international law” and “undermin[ing] America’s moral standing.” The congressmen continued: “If the U.S. unilaterally abandons international and human rights law, we can only expect a more chaotic and brutal twenty-first century for Americans and our allies, including the Israeli people.”

Conservative Zionists quickly and assertively pushed back against the tendentious missive. The Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), which identifies as “the largest rabbinic public policy organization in America,” wrote its own powerful letter that deconstructed the House Democrats’ misleading claims. Frequent Daily Wire contributor and CJV Managing Director Rabbi Yaakov Menken told The Daily Wire at the time: “Word to the wise: If you claim to be pro-Israel, and sign a letter regarding Israel along with Reps. Omar, Tlaib, and Ocasio-Cortez, you’re fooling no one but yourself. It’s amazing to see congressmen telling the administration to ignore Acts of Congress. All the more so when those Acts prevent U.S. tax dollars from being spent to encourage terrorism.”

Now, as reported by The Jerusalem Post, Pompeo has powerfully responded himself to the House Democrats’ letter. Pompeo excoriated the Democrats’ letter as “foolish,” and he hit the anti-Israel presidency of Barack Obama in no uncertain terms: “The Obama-Kerry departure from America’s historic support of Israel has done nothing to make peace more attainable.”

“While I appreciate your interest in this important issue, I couldn’t disagree more with those two foolish positions,” Pompeo continued. “While you are free to fixate on settlements as a barrier to peace, you are simply wrong in referring to that view as being subject to bipartisan agreement.”

Pompeo then blasted “the erroneous positions of international law that have gained favor in the past decades”: (h/t MtTB)
Secretary of State Pompeo Responds to Congressional Critics on Legality of West Bank Settlements
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday responded to a Congressional letter that criticized the administration's position on the legality of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

"The State Department's determination did not reverse any policy with regard to Israeli settlements. Rather, the State Department reversed a legal determination by Secretary Kerry...allowing UNSCR 2334, whose foundation was the purported illegality of the settlements...to pass the Security Council on December 23, 2016."
"Secretary Kerry's determination did not enjoy bipartisan consensus. Rather, it received bipartisan condemnation, including from leading Democrats in both chambers of Congress. Indeed, an overwhelming number of Senators and House Members, on both sides of the aisle, supported resolutions objecting to the passage of UNSCR 2334."
"While you are free to fixate on settlements as a barrier to peace, you are simply wrong in referring to that view as being subject to bipartisan agreement. No less a Democratic spokesman than the Senate Minority Leader publicly stated at his AIPAC address on March 5, 2018, that 'it's sure not the settlements that are the blockage to peace.'"
"You assert that we have 'blatantly disregarded' the Fourth Geneva Convention....I commend to you the writings of Eugene Rostow, who left his position as Dean of the Yale Law School to become Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs in the Johnson Administration....Rostow stated in 1983 that 'Israel has an unassailable legal right to establish settlements in the West Bank.'"
"U.S. policy with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict largely has been consistent for decades and remains so: we support and seek to facilitate direct negotiations between the parties towards the goal of a just and lasting peace agreement."
"Regrettably, as many experts concur, UNSCR 2334 and the related self-justifying remarks by Secretary Kerry have saddled the Trump Administration with a significant handicap in advancing the cause of peace by erroneously injecting into the conflict an incorrect and largely irrelevant legal component. This in turn has led to the hardening of positions, especially on the Palestinian side."
NJ elected official wonders if anti-Semitic shooting was justified over treatment of black Americans
A Jersey City Board of Education Trustee suggested that the shooting at a Jewish market that left six dead last week, including the shooters, was justified as a result of how Jewish people treat African Americans.

Both suspected shooters, David Anderson, 47, and Francine Graham, 50, were found dead after a shootout with police. Both of them publicly expressed interest in the Black Hebrew Israelites, but neither had formal connections, and the shooting is being investigated as a hate crime.

On Saturday, Lincoln High School Principal Chris Gadsden posted a column from InsiderNJ on Facebook. The column, titled "Faith and Hope to Fight Hate," focused on a recent event bringing together religious and civic leaders to address the shooting and the hate that precipitated it. While discussing the growing tension between the African American and Jewish communities, they also spoke about the encroachment of a new development making its way into the traditionally poorer neighborhoods.

Joan Terrell, who sits on the Jersey City Board of Education, commented on the post questioning, "Where was all this faith and hope when Black homeowners were threatened, intimidated, and harassed by I WANT TO BUY YOUR HOUSE brutes of the [J]ewish community? ... Who helped Black people living in rental properties owned by the [J]ewish people but were given 30 day eviction notices so that more [J]ewish people could move in?"

Her post continued to accuse Jewish residents of forcing African Americans out of their homes and referenced community programs that have been eliminated.

“Mr. Anderson and Ms. Graham went directly to the Kosher supermarket,” Terrell wrote. “I believe they knew they would come out in body bags. What is the message they were sending? Are we brave enough to explore the answer to their message? Are we brave enough to stop the assault on the black communities of America?”







New Jersey Officials Release Support Messages After Kosher Supermarket Shooting
New Jersey officials have released videos with messages of support for the Jewish community days after a deadly shooting at a kosher supermarket claimed the lives of four people.

In a video message released by the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce, Attorney-General Gurbir Grewal pledged to keep Jersey City’s faith communities safe.

“I’m here with the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce to deliver a simple message: that we are here for all of our communities in New Jersey, our faith communities, with the Orthodox Jewish community at this difficult time,” Grewal said in the video.

“The key is to communicate with us, to let us know what’s going on in our communities, so we can help keep all our communities safe in this difficult time,” Grewal added.

On Thursday, Grewal said the attack was motivated by hatred of Jews and law enforcement. He added that it was being investigated as an act of domestic terrorism.

“The evidence points toward acts of hate. I can confirm that we’re investigating this matter as potential acts of domestic terrorism fueled both by anti-Semitism and anti-law enforcement beliefs,” the attorney general said, pointing to the gunmen’s hatred of Jews and police.

In a separate video, Director of the New Jersey office of Homeland Security Jared Maples denounced anti-Semitism.

“There is no place for hate in New Jersey, and we’re dedicating all our resources possible to try and stop this violence, and to stop the trend of antisemitic behavior throughout the United States and certainly New Jersey,” Maples said.

Executive Director of the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce Duvi Honig, who appeared in both videos, thanked Maples for ensuring the local Jewish business districts’ “sense of security.”


Jersey City Kehillah Pays Respects to Grocery Worker Killed in Attack
The Jewish community paid their respects at the funeral procession of Miguel “Douglas” Rodriguez, the worker who was killed at the Jersey City Kosher Supermarket last week. The children of the cheder came out of the yeshiva building as it passed by as they bid farewell to the worker who served the community for some time. The procession passed through the streets of Jersey City on Monday on the way to JFK Airport. The body was flown to Ecuador for burial. (h/t Zvi)



Outside Officers Patrol Jersey City so Local Cops Can Attend Funeral
Officers from departments outside Jersey City have volunteered to patrol the city in order to allow local cops to attend the funeral of Detective Joseph Seals.

Seals was killed in the December 10, 2019, Jersey City attack.

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop tweeted about the other departments helping out:

The North Bergen Police Department confirmed their volunteer capacity for Jersey City, tweeting,

Beginning tomorrow at midnight and through the day Tuesday, every Hudson County police agency will be sending police officers to patrol the streets of Jersey City so that as many members of the JCPD as possible may attend the funeral for Det. Seals.

ABC News reports Detective Seals was “a plainclothes detective and married father of five.” David Anderson and Francine Graham allegedly shot and killed him in Jersey City’s Bay View Cemetery on December 10, at the very start of their attack.

Seals had been with the Jersey City Police Department since 2006.
Israeli woman and Jewish man attacked on New York City subway
Lihi Aharon, an Israeli woman, was verbally and physically attacked recently by an apparently Muslim woman in a New York City subway car. It is suspected that the attacker is Muslim because she repeats the Arabic phrase “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) and references the Koran.

After the attack, Aharon recorded a video of herself and has a noticeable scratch on her face that she says is from the incident.

Aharon got on the subway after her college’s induction ceremony and saw the attacker-to-be with bags on the seat next to her.

Aharon asked if the woman could move the bags, but she refused. By chance, Aharon then sat next to a Jewish man wearing a kippah. According to Aharon’s account, the attacker began “cursing and yelling” at the Jewish man.

“She didn’t know I was Jewish, of course,” Aharon says in the video, “but I’m not just Jewish. I’m also Israeli.” She then decided to record the woman on her phone.

In the video, the Muslim woman is seen sitting in the subway leaning towards the camera. She says “You can record everything you wanna sell, Allahu Akbar. But you know what they’re gonna do? It’s gonna be deleted.” The woman then sticks her lounge out at the camera.


What Did (and Didn't) Happen in Room 16 of the American Colony Hotel
In a last interview with an Egyptian newspaper before his death, Husseini surprised Israelis, and clouded his legacy, by reportedly asserting that Oslo was a “Trojan horse” intended to advance the “long-term goal, which is the liberation of Palestine from the river to the sea.” In fact he’d said similar things even to American audiences, but with the edges softened. Still, it was a statement rife with bitter irony—not only because Arafat’s Trojan horse had crushed Husseini, too, but also because Arafat reportedly once called Husseini himself a Trojan horse for a larger strategic plan to “cancel out” and “liquidate” the PLO.

In 2001, at the age of sixty, Husseini dropped dead of a heart attack while on a mission to repair the once-close relations with Kuwait that Arafat had wrecked through his close association with Saddam Hussein. Israel permitted a mass funeral with a huge cortege to pass from Ramallah to Jerusalem with Palestinian flags flying.

Faisal Husseini lies buried in the same grave as his “martyred” father, south of the Aqsa mosque and abutting the Western Wall. Today, except for the fact that the soccer stadium of the Palestinian national team carries his name, most young Palestinians probably have little idea who Faisal Husseini was. And aside from Ashrawi and from Husseini’s own son, who annually mark his death, no one does much to memorialize him. On the occasions when he is remembered, he is called the “Prince of Jerusalem,” and a small foundation is devoted to his legacy.

I didn’t sleep well in Room 16. At the patio restaurant, I’d indulged in a spicy dish and too much cabernet. No doubt my slumber was also disturbed by the building’s many ghosts, some of them lurking the corridors since Ottoman times.

But perhaps the most restless spirit of them all belongs to Faisal Husseini, the man who missed his moment. Twenty-seven years ago, his opportunity knocked on the door of Room 16. One can only wonder where the Palestinians and Israel would be today had he seized it.
Jerusalem to remain united city under Trump peace plan
Jerusalem will remain one united city under US President Donald Trump’s proposed peace plan, the Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Mayadeen in Lebanon reported on Monday.

According to that draft, the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and Israel will embark on a trilateral agreement establishing a “new” Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. Settlement blocs will remain part of Israel.

While Israel will control most of Jerusalem, there will be some shared responsibilities with the West Bank and Gaza, the unconfirmed reports claimed. As for the Arab residents, they will become citizens of the new Palestinian state.

The city will be under the jurisdiction of the Jerusalem Municipality, but the new Palestinian state would be expected to pay taxes to Israel on behalf of its residents in the city.

The US has yet to confirm the report, and like most news emerging about the highly-anticipated peace plan, any new leaks should be taken with a grain of salt.

Of course, the many religious landmarks holy to all three Abrahamic faiths in Jerusalem has made drafting such a plan a challenge. The Trump peace plan will address this thorny issue by designating Al-Aqsa mosque under Saudia Arabian authority and removing it from Jordanian control. There are no planned changes for other holy sites.

As for purchasing homes, Arabs will be required to buy homes and Arab neighborhoods and Jews will be expected to do the same in Jewish ones.
The US and Israel should agree on a mutual defense pact
It won’t surprise readers of this paper that major war between Israel and Iran is increasingly likely. This directly threatens enduring US interests, yet America’s abrupt drawback in Syria and general inaction against Tehran’s months of provocations only compound the risks of conflict. With Israel bearing more of the brunt to maintain regional stability than ever before, American policy-makers need bold new ideas to strengthen Israel and the bilateral security partnership.

Our policy project at the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA), chaired by former NATO supreme allied commander Adm. (ret.) Jim Stavridis, just issued several reports laying out concrete proposals to prevent or mitigate major war by bolstering Israel’s military capabilities and deterrence against Iran.

The United States and Israel should agree a mutual defense pact. While Israel has always been exceptionally capable and insistent in defending itself, Iran’s growing regional aggression and revived nuclear program create the potential for higher-level conflict threatening Israel’s strategic viability and even its existence.

By treating a major attack on one as an attack on both, an alliance would provide greater deterrence than either ally alone. This could prevent Iran or others from initiating or escalating to large-scale action against Israel or US vital interests in the Middle East – and others from joining in – or curb the scope of enemy action. Indeed, no war has broken out threatening a treaty ally’s existence since the United States first formed such partnerships in the late 1940s, which now number 50 allies on five continents.






Fatah officials contradict the BBC’s ‘two-state’ narrative
In recent years the BBC has promoted the notion of Palestinian support for a two-state solution, telling its audiences that:

“It is unclear whether the [US administration] plan will be based on the so-called “two-state solution” – a long-standing formula for resolving the conflict by creating a Palestinian state alongside Israel, with Jerusalem a shared capital.

The Palestinians and most of the international community support this approach in principle, while the Israeli leadership is cooler towards it.”


We have in the past observed here that such a portrayal avoids the obviously inconvenient fact that the Palestinians have repeatedly rejected offers based on the two-state solution that the BBC claims they “support” and that the BBC’s implication that there is one unified Palestinian voice which aspires to a two-state solution is clearly inaccurate and misleading. Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad obviously do not share that aspiration and in October this year the head of the Palestinian mission to the UK described it as “a Palestinian concession” while rejecting the idea of a “shared capital in Jerusalem”.

Palestinian Media Watch provides some insights into views on that topic recently expressed by members of the dominant PA’s Fatah faction.
Brothers jailed in Australia for meat grinder plane bomb plot foiled by Israel
Two brothers were handed lengthy prison terms in Australia on Tuesday for plotting to bring down a Sydney to Abu Dhabi flight with a bomb carried in a meat grinder by their unwitting brother — a plan that Israel’s military said it helped thwart.

Australian-Lebanese brothers Khaled and Mahmoud Khayat were convicted of terrorism offenses for trying to bomb an Etihad Airways passenger jet in July 2017 under instructions from the Islamic State terror group.

Khaled was sentenced to 40 years with a minimum of 30 years without parole, while Mahmoud received 36 years’ prison time of which he must serve at least 27.

The improvised device was to be smuggled inside the luggage of the third, unwitting brother.

A fourth brother, who is said to have fought with the Islamic State in Syria, was accused of directing the plot from overseas.

The plotters disapproved of the third brother “because he drank, went clubbing, gambled and was gay, which they regarded as bringing shame on the family,” judge Christine Adamson noted.
Israel Must Be Wary of Two-Faced Jordan
Last month, the Kingdom of Jordan cancelled a component of its 1994 peace treaty with Israel. It evicted Israeli famers from two tracts of contested land in the Jordan River Valley. The minor stretches of land — Naharaim in the north and Tzofar in the south — include what is now ironically called “The Isle of Peace.”

This action by Jordan emphasizes the need for Israel to assert its necessary security rights in the Jordan Valley. Just as the Golan Heights are clearly vital to the security of northern Israel in any foreseeable future, so too is the Jordan Valley for its eastern frontier.

Israel annexed the Golan in 1981 — a move recently recognized by the United States. It is time — especially in the context of an utter absence of a “peace process” and Jordan’s less than trustworthy conduct — for Israel to annex the strategically vital parts of the Jordan Valley, or to formalize its perpetual control of this vital territory without the ambiguity of some future “final-status” resolution.

Jordan’s action doesn’t mean the end of peace between Israel and Jordan, and the minor farming tracts in question have little more than symbolic value. But that value has until now been to underscore the ability of the two nations to live amicably in a spirit of mutual trust.

Jordan has been playing a paradoxical role in the Middle East for decades, but has become increasingly hostile to Israel in recent years. Underlying it all is the supreme irony that the Jordanian monarchy is almost totally dependent on Israel for its continuance in power. Israel provides enormous water resources to Jordan, without which it would shrivel and die. Further, Israel is Jordan’s primary supplier of energy, and Israel’s new Leviathan gas fields — coming online next year — will power the bulk of Jordan’s industry and housing.
Jordanian MP: I Carried out an Attack on an El Al/Mossad Compound in Athens in 1969
Jordanian MP Mansour Saif Al-Din Mourad recounted in a December 9, 2019 interview on A One TV (Jordan) that he had carried out a high-profile terrorist attack that claimed the lives of several Mossad agents in Athens, Greece on December 27, 1969. He said that the Mossad compound he attacked had been disguised as a newspaper booth adjacent to an El Al office, adding that the Israeli agents “dropped like leaves in the middle of fall.” Explaining that the attack was carried out in broad daylight because that was when it was least expected, Mourad said that he had adhered to international law by issuing a warning to the Greek government that the compound would be targeted. He also explained that he had been inspired by Gamal Abdel Nasser’s mantra that what is taken by force can be regained only by force and that he had made the decision to avenge the blood of Muslims and Arabs that had been shed by the "occupying and invading murderers." It is unclear what terrorist attack Mourad was referring to. There was an attack on El Al flight 253 in Athens a year earlier, on December 26, 1968, but Mourad's name is not listed among the perpetrators.


3 Jewish Israelis indicted for praying on Temple Mount
Three Jewish Israeli men have been indicted for praying at Jerusalem’s flashpoint Temple Mount compound last year, drawing right-wing accusations that the government is stifling freedom of worship at Judaism’s holiest site.

The three defendants — two of whom are Israel Defense Forces soldiers — are charged with disrupting public order and disturbing police officers in the fulfillment of their duties.

The Temple Mount — the holiest site in Judaism and the third-holiest for Muslims, who refer to it as Al-Aqsa or the Noble Sanctuary — is the most volatile site in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Palestinian leadership — as well as Jordan, which has a special role at the site under to its peace agreement with Israel — reject the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount and regard all entry to it by religious Jews as a “provocation.”

Located in the Old City, which Israel says is part of its undivided capital and which the Palestinians claim as part of East Jerusalem, the capital of their future state, it is one of the main flashpoints of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Jews can enter the compound on weekdays during limited hours and on a predetermined route under heavy supervision by police and Jordan’s Islamic Waqf, and face significant restrictions such as a ban on praying, appearing to pray, displaying religious or national symbols, and drinking from the water fountains.
Israeli biopic about lawyer who represents Palestinians shortlisted for Oscars
A biopic about an Israeli attorney who has defended Palestinian terror suspects is on the shortlist for the Academy Award in the documentary feature category, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Monday.

“Advocate” follows the story of Lea Tsemel, an attorney who represents Palestinian clients including civil rights activists as well as suspected terrorists — most recently Arafat Irfaiya, who is on trial for the brutal rape and murder of 19-year-old Ori Ansbacher in a Jerusalem forest in February.

The controversial movie — directed by Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaiche — is one of the 15 films shortlisted for the prize.

"Incitement,” an Israeli documentary about Yigal Amir, who murdered prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, didn’t make the cut.

The Academy is expected to announce the five final contenders next month.
PA Arab Used Jewish Gravestones to Build Public Staircase
Yuval Segev, Army Radio’s reporter covering the police and Jerusalem, on Monday night tweeted that a PA resident was arrested on suspicion of breaking into the Jewish cemetery on Mount Olives and using old tombstones to build a public staircase in his village.

The investigation was launched following a complaint from City Councilman Arieh King. The suspect denies the charges.

One Segev follower, Shai Lourie, tweeted that if such a thing had happened in Europe it would have opened all the news editions, but on Mount Olives it barely generates a yawn.

During the Jordanian rule (1948-1967), the Mount Olives Jewish cemetery suffered systematic damage to gravestones and tombs. As early as the end of 1949, Israeli observers stationed on Mount Zion reported that Arab residents began uprooting tombstones.

In 1954, the Israeli government filed a formal complaint with the UN General Assembly regarding the further destruction of graves and plowing in the area. In the late 1950s, the Jordanian army used tombstones to build military camps.

Israel Must Set Conditions for Hamas in Palestinian Elections
Fatah and Hamas finally agreed on Dec. 10 to hold new elections - first for the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), and then, three months later, for the presidency of the Palestinian Authority. With all due respect to internal Palestinian agreements, Israel must insist that no Palestinian individual or group that expects to achieve its goals through undemocratic means is allowed to participate in these elections, as stated in the Oslo interim agreement of September 1995. The fact that Hamas already participated in previous Palestinian elections cannot be used to justify repeating that terrible mistake.

The 1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement (Annex 2, Article 3.2: Nominations) states, "The nomination of any candidates, parties or coalitions will be refused, and such nomination or registration will be canceled, if such candidates, parties or coalitions: (1) commit or advocate racism, or (2) pursue the implementation of their aims by unlawful or non-democratic means."

When I asked Prime Minister Sharon about this at the time, Sharon told me that he saw no difference between Hamas and Fatah. As far as he was concerned, they both want to destroy Israel. According to him, the only difference between the other parties and Hamas is that Hamas says what it plans to do, while the other parties engage in wordplay.
Gaza exports first ever shipment of strawberries to England
In the last month, the strawberry-growing season has officially begun in the Gaza Strip – and for the first time, the Coordination and Liaison Administration (CLA) for Gaza has coordinated an effort to export cases of goods from the Gaza Strip to England.

On Tuesday, around five tonnes of strawberries were shipped to England via Ben-Gurion Airport. Last week a similar amount was sent to the UAE and Qatar via the Allenby Crossing.

Since the beginning of the season, more than 450 tonnes of strawberries from the Gaza Strip were exported abroad and to Judea and Samaria.
The widespread export of strawberries over the past few weeks to the Judea and Samaria region and to various countries around the world reflects the centrality of the agricultural sector in Gaza and its significant contribution to the Palestinian economy in the Gaza Strip.
Russia to modernize Syria port, build railway across Syria to Persian Gulf
Russia is considering a slew of major commercial projects in Syria, a senior Russian official said Tuesday. Some of them could potentially increase Iran’s influence in the country.

Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov said after meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus that Russia will spend $500 million to modernize Syria’s commercial port of Tartus.

Borisov said in remarks carried by Russian news agencies that the four-year modernization program envisages an overhaul of the old port in Tartus and the construction of a new one.

He added that there is also a plan to build a railway across Syria and Iraq that will link Syria’s Mediterranean coast with the Persian Gulf.

Israel is deeply concerned about the possibility of Iran sending advanced weaponry to its Lebanese proxy, terror group Hezbollah, which has a significant presence in Syria. The Jewish state has carried out scores of airstrikes in Syria in recent years, many of them believed to have been aimed at Iranian weapons shipments bound for Hezbollah. The Israel Defense Forces has also intercepted several ships carrying weapons from Iran to Tartus.


Reconciliation between Qatar and Its Gulf Neighbors Is Possible, but Would It Be Good for Israel?
In 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and seven other Muslim countries imposed an embargo on Qatar, angered by its support for the Muslim Brotherhood and its unwillingness to close ranks in opposing Iranian expansionism. Yet last month the Saudi king hosted the Qatari prime minister in Riyadh. Joshua Krasna notes this as but one of many signals that both sides are interested in easing tensions, and discusses what such a thaw might imply for the Jewish state:

From Israel’s point of view, a possible rapprochement is a mixed bag. Israel has reasonable relations with almost all of the Gulf Cooperation Council states (with the notable exception of anti-Israel Kuwait), and an easing of the blockade of Qatar will probably facilitate Israeli business and covert diplomatic activity in the region. It may also lead over time to an attenuation of the alliance between Doha and Turkey, which, while it is not Israel’s main rival in the region, is certainly a secondary one so long as Erdogan is at the helm. [Reconciliation] may perhaps curtail Ankara’s efforts to extend its regional reach, to entrench itself in the Gulf, and to embroil itself in every regional conflict.

A return by Qatar to the Arab fold may well be predicated, even if not formally, on a lessening of its support for radical elements in the region, including Hamas (as part of the Muslim Brotherhood), a development that has both positive and negative repercussions for Israel.

The divided Gulf has . . . pushed Qatar, and ostensible neutrals Oman and Kuwait, closer to Iran. [Yet] a divided Arab world has also afforded Israel more opportunities for shared interests with various players, and for leveraging ties with one side to improve ties with another. . . . To the extent that the rapprochement among the Gulf states indicates a possible inclination towards relaxing tensions with Iran, . . . it may threaten Israel’s anti-Iranian regional alignment.
Iran leader makes case for ‘brave and tireless’ French Holocaust denier
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Monday derided France for prosecuting a prominent Holocaust denier in the 1990s.

“In his book, #RogerGaraudy, the French philosopher, expressed doubts about the number of #Holocaust victims. The French govt not only banned his book, but also brought Garaudy to trial. These are the claimants of advocating #FreedomOfSpeech,” tweeted the supreme leader, on the 21st anniversary of Garaudy’s conviction.

The “bravery and tirelessness of Roger #Garaudy in the work he initiated is praiseworthy. The fight he engaged in against the Zionists is a #DivineDuty for all those who respect the #Truth,” added Khamenei.

Revisionist historian and philosopher Garaudy was handed a fine and a suspended sentence in 1998 over his book “The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics” which claimed the Nazi killings of six million Jews was a “myth” that did not constitute a genocide and questioned whether the gas chambers were used for the systematic slaughter of Europe’s Jews.

The former French Resistance fighter and communist, who converted to Islam in the 1980s, died in 2012.

Khamenei has expressed doubts about the historicity of the Holocaust in the past, while claiming to eschew anti-Semitism.




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