Sunday, October 25, 2020

From Ian:

The growing isolation of anti-Israel forces in the Middle East
The word "Sudan" means "black" in Arabic (bilad as-sudan means "Land of the Blacks"). Over hundreds of years, Sudan was infiltrated by Islam. Essentially, all of East Africa used to be called "Cush," which is traditionally considered the eponymous ancestor of the people of the "land of Cush," an ancient territory that is believed to have been located on either side or both sides of the Red Sea. As the centuries passed, three main population groups formed. Islam, in its flexibility, joined two of these groups together.

One group was the Arab Muslims in the fertile, wealthy northern part of Sudan, and the other was the Africans who were converted to Islam but to this day pass on the harsh memories of the days they were hunted by slave traders. Another group, in the southern part of Sudan, consists of black Christians who essentially formed the bridgehead for relations with Israel during the premiership of Golda Meir.

The relations that developed at that time formed complexities that are difficult to comprehend. On one hand, Israel sent Mossad agents led by David Ben Uziel ("Tarzan") to help the Christians in South Sudan defend themselves against genocidal campaigns. Jaafar Nimeiri, who recognized the autonomy of South Sudan in the early 1970s, permitted Ethiopian Jews to immigrate to Israel more than a decade later. He was also the only one in the Arab world who supported former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat when he made peace with Israel. Under Nimeiri's leadership of Sudan, however, an Islamist leader named Hassan al-Turabi rose to prominence. Al-Turabi pushed Sudan toward Islamism and an alliance with Iran immediately after the Khomenei-led Islamic Revolution in 1979.

"Turabi was among those who celebrated Sadat's murder, and his people later tried assassinating [former Egyptian President Hosni] Mubarak," Koren said, noting that a "process of Islamist radicalism had begun." This was the world of al-Bashir and al-Turabi up until 2011. They had a hand – beyond acts of genocide inside Sudan – in efforts to topple moderate Arab regimes. This period of time was disastrous for Sudan. "Bashir's successors, [Abdel Fattah] al-Burhan and [Abdalla] Hamdok, who seized power following the protests that ousted [al-Bashir], essentially followed a path he had set," according to Koren. "Bashir understood his situation was increasingly precarious, and the matter of establishing relations with Israel was part of the answer to this decline."

As early as three or four years ago, voices began emerging and articles began being written in favor of relations with Israel. The important point is that Arab nationalism, followed by the period of Islamism, didn't inculcate the Sudanese population with a hatred of Israel, contrary to countries in the Arab world. Egyptian society, to this day, is imbued with a deep, venomous anti-Semitism.

Swinging a gigantic, vast country (population of 42 million) such as Sudan, which sits on the Red Sea, is an extremely significant geopolitical move. The new Middle East is bustling with realignment in the face of Turkey's Ottoman ambitions and Iranian imperialism. For the first time, it appears the forces predicated on militaristic anti-Israel ideology are becoming isolated.
US amb. to Israel: Change of administration can damage Abraham Accords
Ambassador to Israel David Friedman has represented the United States through a period that belies the Middle East’s reputation for stagnation and intransigence. Not without controversy, the region emerged as what is arguably the Trump Administration’s strong suit as a series of “impossibilities” fell by the wayside. The Media Line’s Felice Friedson sat with the ambassador at his residence in Herzliya where they discussed the issues and events that define the Trump term to the Middle East.

TML: American polling raises the specter of a change in US administrations. There’s concern that these achievements we’ve discussed could be walked back. And in particular, pressure on Iran might be lifted. Can the achievements in the Middle East survive a change of a US administration?

Ambassador Friedman: Well, look, I think an administration with a different approach could do huge damage. No question about it. The most obvious area would be with regard to Iran. Iran is on the ropes. They are weakened. They’re far weaker now than they were before we let them off the hook with the JCPO, right? If you let them off the hook again, we will all have to answer to our children and grandchildren as to how we created a terrorist nuclear power, which is what we will do if we let Iran off the ropes right now. So, I don’t want to predict what will happen in the future with regards to a new administration. I frankly don’t think there’ll be a new administration, but look, it’s a big risk. I think it’s important because I think people do tend to politicize this too much, whatever we’ve done with regard to the Middle East has been done because we thought it was in the best interest of the United States.

That’s always been the lens that we’ve looked at everything, what’s in the best interest of the United States? Not what’s on anyone’s political wish list. I would hope that because of that, all the things that we’ve done would be enduring, would stand the test of time. I’ve heard already that there’s no desire to move the embassy back from Jerusalem. Well, of course there shouldn’t be, that’s the national wellness, the Jerusalem Embassy Act. Why would anybody want to do that? Why would anybody want to talk about giving the Golan Heights to a butcher, like Bashar Assad and threaten Israel’s security? I mean, why would anybody want to undo that? By the same token, why would anybody want to take the most threatening malign sponsor of terrorism in the world and fund them? To me, these are easy things that should be perpetuated because they’re great for America, but I do worry.


If Anything Sustains the Arab-Israeli Conflict, It Will Be Progressives’ Antisemitism
While progressives are the ideological grandchildren (to the extent that they possess an ideology) of Marxists, they are members of a cult, the ideological fault lines of which pass not through class but through race and ethnicity. Progressivism borrows a bit from Marxism, but its main weapons are passion and faith, not logic and reason. At its core it is closer to the early Church than to Marx or Lenin.

The belief system of the progressives contains a number of “original sins,” one of which is the establishment of the State of Israel. The Palestinians are viewed as analagous to Jesus: innocents who were sacrificed by the Zionists (or the Jews, if the speaker is not careful enough) on the altar of global white imperialism. Thus every Jew must condemn Israel and Zionism to rid himself of the association.

Given that there will always be Jews who are unwilling to abandon the main tenet of Jewish national identity, the Progressive movement is guaranteed a perpetual enemy. As the movement “matures,” Israel/Zionists/Jews take on more and more diabolical roles unrelated to the Middle East. The Zionists are accused of running the world, its finances in particular, and are presented as the vanguard of white imperialism.

If there is anything the Progressives have thoroughly borrowed from the Soviets, it is intense antisemitism presenting itself as anti-Zionism. The Progressive platform on Jews and Zionism sounds familiar to anyone who read Pravda in the 1970s and 1980s. Intersectionality, the pillar of the Progressive worldview, mandates that enemies be found everywhere, in the most bizarre incarnations.

If the Arab-Israeli conflict is to continue to exist, it will be thanks to the antisemitism of the Progressive movement. Members of that cult will never let the conflict disappear, as to do so would undermine one of their articles of faith.


The delayed fruits of the Arab Spring
The removal of Sudan from the circle of Israel's enemies is a strategic achievement that goes far beyond its symbolic significance, because it will help Israel sign a fifth peace agreement with a country that is a member of the Arab League, and also strengthen its presence in Africa, a close and important continent on which a double war is being waged. The first, to check the spread of radical Islam in eastern and western Africa, and the second, to stop the BDS campaign being waged against Israel from southern Africa. After too many years of neglect, Israel has renewed its interest in Africa and expanded its ties there. Renewed relations with Chad and now the start of relations with Sudan are important components to creating a new status for Israel in Africa that is not based solely on alliances with Christian-majority nations.

Sudan, of course, is very different from the UAE. While the deal with the Emirates entails equal opportunities for both sides, Sudan has much more to gain from good relations with Israel. Its removal from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism, which will allow investment in its collapsing economy, is only one of the fruits of peace Sudan can expect to enjoy. The country is undergoing a process of political transformation. Since its was founded, Sudan has had a few short-lived periods of democracy, military coups, dictatorships, and civil wars that went as far as genocide. Sudan's unique situation will require Israel to take a very cautious approach in forming ties with all groups of its population.

And there is, of course, the issue of illegal Sudanese migrants in Israel. Is Israel starting to make serious preparations for the new era of peace? Is Israel ready to handle a mass influx of immigrants from states that are now signing peace and normalization agreements with it? Are there clear restrictions on entry to Israel and maximum stays that can be effectively enforced by Israel, or will we see the same problems Israel currently has with the Eritreans? And what about family reunification, marriage, and citizenship? These are issues Israel should consider now.
Mossad head: Saudi normalization ties close; post US election could see progress
A normalization announcement between Israel and Saudi Arabia is close and there could be major developments following the US presidential elections depending on who wins, Mossad director Yossi Cohen has said in closed conversations, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

In the pre-dawn hours of Sunday morning, N12 reported that Cohen had said privately to those around him that the Saudis were waiting until after the US election, but that they could potentially announce normalization as a “gift” to the winner.

The implication from the N12 report was that such an announcement could even come almost immediately after the election. However, the Post has learned that the N12 report either misunderstood or did not fully flesh out what Cohen had said.

What Cohen actually said to those around him was that if US President Donald Trump wins reelection, there could be an almost immediate announcement.

Yet, if as the polls suggest, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden wins the election, though the Saudis would still want a normalization deal with Israel, there would not necessarily be a clear timeline.

Cohen had emphasized that the Saudis did not want to give a gift to Trump and then get nothing for it upon a Biden administration taking over the reins.


In the spirit of Abraham, Israel-UAE business ties must be built on a foundation of trust
I returned this week from the first-ever Business Summit of the Abraham Accords in Abu Dhabi. Together with other Israelis and Americans, we traveled to the UAE, where we were warmly welcomed by the Emiratis. I think I speak for everyone on the trip when I say that we found incredibly welcoming, intelligent, thoughtful, and genuinely interested counterparts in the Emirates. I listened and learned a lot and found much to discuss regarding potential areas of cooperation for the future. The visit was a very encouraging first step.

I spent all of Tuesday in Dubai meeting with investors and entrepreneurs. Here, too, I found enthusiasm, curiosity, and a group of leaders and investors trying to wrap their heads around the surfeit of Israeli opportunities that have suddenly come their way. But then I started getting worried.

I was dismayed to learn of many Israelis who were reaching out to our new potential partners over Linkedin, with one person in Dubai telling me that he was so overwhelmed that he had to shut down his account. A second person was trying to figure out whether the multiple Israelis pitching to him were even real people or not. This is a yellow flag.

One of the most important things I learned over lunch and dinner with Emirati colleagues is that the UAE is a trust-based economy. Business is built and conducted on a foundation of trust, which is actually how all business should be done. Contracts are a poor substitute for trust. Trust is built incrementally through predictable actions and follow-through. Trust is built by working together over time, getting to know each other, and not rushing into a transaction. Trust in business is built by ensuring that your partners make money. Trust is built by developing and reinforcing shared values and not just transactions. Shwaye Shwaye, as they say here.


An Israeli embassy in Khartoum? Not so fast. This peace deal may take some time
The Israel-Sudan normalization agreement announced Friday was a historic breakthrough, but the path to a formal peace treaty and the establishment of full diplomatic relations may yet be complicated and lengthy.

Only 33 days after US President Donald Trump released a joint statement announcing that the United Arab Emirates had agreed to establish ties with Israel, the UAE and Israel signed a “Treaty of Peace, Diplomatic Relations and Full Normalization.” It took Bahrain exactly as long to move from a vague “Declaration of Peace” to a “Joint Communique on the Establishment of Diplomatic, Peaceful and Friendly Relations.”

Both countries then moved speedily to ratify their respective agreements with Israel.

But Khartoum is a very different case. As opposed to the two Gulf monarchies, the Republic of Sudan, where animosity toward the Jewish state is still widespread, is currently in a fragile period of transitioning from a dictatorship to a democracy; this alone will make the establishment of full ties with Israel a formidable challenge.

Its foreign minister, Omar Gamareldin, has already stressed that a peace deal with Israel would first have to be ratified — by a body that doesn’t currently exist.

“Agreement on normalization with Israel will be decided after completion of the constitutional institutions through the formation of the legislative council,” he said. It is unclear when the civilian and military parts of Sudan’s transitional government will agree to convene this legislative council.

Even if normalization with Israel were to be brought to a formally acceptable vote in the coming weeks, it is by no means guaranteed that it would be rubberstamped by Sudanese officials as easily as the establishment of diplomatic relations was approved in the UAE and in Bahrain.

In Khartoum, a broad coalition has formed against the notion of peace with Israel — including the leader of Sudan’s largest party — and vowed to fight the deal.
Khartoum agrees to accept Sudanese migrants deported from Israel – report
Sudan’s government has agreed to negotiate the repatriation of large numbers of migrants who illegally entered Israel, following the announced normalization between the countries.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in Sunday’s cabinet meeting that “an Israeli delegation and its Sudanese counterparts will meet in Sudan soon, to discuss cooperation in many fields, including immigration, which we are discussing.”

The Sudanese Foreign Ministry said on Sunday that the countries will discuss agreements on trade and migration issues. Some Israeli cabinet ministers said Sudan already agreed to accept migrants.

"I understand that they have already agreed on a pilot program, in the very near future, for several hundred” Sudanese to be repatriated, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz told Ynet TV. "And I think that, after the hundreds…several thousand will leave."

Regional Cooperation Minister Ofir Akunis told Kan the repatriation plan “is a very important part of the normalization between the countries."
Emirati, Israeli, Jewish Media Outlets Correct Inflated Figures of Arab Support For Normalization
A United Arab Emirates delegation landed in Israel last week to cement the normalization deal between the two countries, signing documents to advance investments, cooperation in science and innovation, civil aviation and visa exemptions. The sharing of false media reports was of course not among the discussed common interests. Nevertheless, earlier this month, an Israeli news site, relying on an Arabic report from a media outlet which is partly Emirati-owned, published inflated figures about Arab approval of the normalization. The Hebrew misinformation then found its way into English-language media outlets. CAMERA, together with its Arabic department, prompted corrections on the topic in English, Hebrew and Arabic.

The Oct. 11 Sky News Arabia article carried an imprecise and optimistic headline: “Survey: Most Arab Citizens Support Peace with Israel.” Sky News Arabia is partly owned by the Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corporation (ADMIC), headed by the Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Prince Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the Abu Dhabi royal family. The prince currently owns half of Sky News Arabia, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, while Philadelphia-based Comcast owns other half (as part of the company’s control of the entire Sky network).

The Sky Arabia article was covering the surprising selected findings of the recently released Zogby Analytics poll entitled “The Annexation Debate: Attitudes in Israel and Key Arab States.” While the article correctly reported that most Emiratis (56 percent) and a minority among Palestinians (31 percent) consider normalization with Israel before the Palestinian conflict is solved “desirable,” Sky erred concerning public opinion in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt (translation by CAMERA Arabic): “Results show that 58 percent of Egyptians support peace. The rate reached 59 percent among both Saudis and Jordanians.”

The Zogby Analytics poll (page 20 and screenshot below) puts the figure for Egyptians who support normalization with Israel prior to the resolution of the Palestinian issue (per the “Abraham Accords”) at 42 percent — not 58 percent, as reported. In addition, the Zogby poll found 41 percent of Jordanians and Saudis in support of normalization, not 59 percent. The journalist conflated the figures for Jordanians, Saudis, and Egyptians who found normalization with Israel without solving the Palestinian issue “undesirable” with those who found it “desirable.”
Cabinet ratifies UAE treaty, sends Bahrain agreement to Knesset for approval
The government on Sunday officially ratified Israel’s normalization agreement with the United Arab Emirates, sealing a landmark treaty that is opening Israel to the Gulf and redrawing the contours of the Middle East.

The government also okayed a deal with Bahrain to establish ties and sent it to the Knesset for approval.

“What we’re doing is making peace out of strength, peace for peace, ecoomics for economics,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his ministers before the vote, calling the two agreements “historic.”

“Today we are expanding the circle of peace,” he added. “Additional countries will yet join only if we consistently adhere to this policy. It has brought us results that we could only dream about, and I dream about much more.”

The fact that Arab countries are normalizing relations with Israel is a direct result of a “clear policy that I have been leading in recent years, with great intensity, in many efforts both open and concealed, over the years,” Netanyahu said.

“I cannot discuss all of the meetings, efforts and paths that we have taken. However, it is completely clear that there is a change here in the concept that says the only way to reach normalization and peace agreements with the Arab world is to do things that would endanger the security of Israel, would pull us back to the indefensible 1967 lines, would uproot over 100,000 Jews and would divide Jerusalem.”


JCPA: Hamas Is Very Concerned about Israel’s Normalization with Sudan
When Did Sudan Start Working against Hamas?

In 2014, there was a turning point in Sudan when ruler Omar al-Bashir clashed with Iran, claiming that Iran was working to spread the Shiite religion in Sunni Sudan. Sudan expelled Iran’s cultural attachรฉ from its territory and closed Iranian cultural centers on its territory. The Sudanese decision was apparently made following pressure from Saudi Arabia, Tehran’s foe.

The crisis in relations between Sudan and Iran also had an impact on relations with Hamas. Sudan cooperated with Iran in smuggling weapons through its territory to Egypt and from there to the Gaza Strip. The weapons came in Iranian ships that regularly docked in Port Sudan.5

In March 2014, IDF naval commandos seized the KLOS-C ship in the Red Sea. The Panama-registered ship, bearing 100 containers of weapons and cement from Iran, was supposed to arrive at Port Sudan. The IDF captured long-range missiles with 200 km ranges that were destined for the Gaza Strip via Hamas’ tunnels.

The interdiction occurred 1,500 km (900 miles) from Israel and demonstrated once more Israel’s superior intelligence and operations capabilities in the war against Iranian-Hamas terrorism.

After clashing with Iran, Sudan closed down Hamas offices in its territory and began arresting movement’s operative who had established a terrorist infrastructure in the country.

Following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s meeting in Entebbe, Uganda, on February 3, 2020, with Sudan’s Sovereign Council Chairman, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, it was reported that Hamas attempted to establish a branch for intelligence missions in Africa in Sudan.

The Intel Times website reported in July 2020 that the Sudanese authorities arrested in Khartoum Muhammad Ramadan’ Abd al-Gafur, head of the Africa branch of the Intelligence Division of Hamas’ military wing. This is the branch of Hamas that deals with building the organization’s military force through Hamas affiliates in Malaysia, Turkey, and Lebanon.


Arab Israelis rally against Macron over his defense of Mohammed cartoons
About 200 people protested outside the residence of France’s ambassador to Israel Saturday against President Emmanuel Macron, after he vowed his country would not “give up cartoons” depicting the Prophet Mohammed.

Protesters, some of them wearing surgical face masks in keeping with coronavirus regulations, carried banners in Arabic in support of the prophet, AFP journalists at the scene said.

The demonstration was held in the largely-Arab district of Jaffa in Tel Aviv, after Muslim evening prayers.

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One of the demonstrators, Amin Bukhari, accused Macron of playing the game of “the extreme right.”

“The Prophet Mohammed is the most sacred thing in Islam and whoever attacks his honor, attacks an entire people,” he told the crowd.

Macron on Wednesday said a French teacher beheaded outside his school outside Paris earlier this month “was killed because Islamists want our future.” (h/t Zvi)


IDF launches 'Lethal Arrow' drill simulating war with Hezbollah
The IDF launched a large-scale multi-front exercise on Sunday morning, simulating war with Hezbollah.

Dubbed “Lethal Arrow,” the multi-day general staff drill will see the participation of thousands of troops from various branches of the military including the Air Force, Navy and the Ground Forces, as well as from the Intelligence, Technological, Logistics and Cyber Defense directorates.

The drill will see activity by IDF fighter jets, attack helicopters and other aircraft and naval vessels, as well as physical maneuvers by ground forces.

“The aim of the exercise is to improve the IDF’s offensive capabilities at all echelons while implementing the Victory concept and generating new procedures between key headquarters,” the military said in a statement.

With more explosive fronts and Hezbollah having significantly increased its arsenals since the last war with Israel, the IDF’s Momentum multi-year plan aims to make the military more lethal in scope and accuracy, and to win any future war as quickly as possible.

Despite the fact that Israel’s enemies are not interested in war, the IDF has “increased its pace of preparations” for confrontation, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi told journalists when the plan was released last year. “On both the northern and southern fronts, the situation is tense and fragile and can deteriorate into a confrontation,” he said.
IDF denies killing Palestinian teen after claims he was beaten in chase
The IDF has denied killing a Palestinian teenager, after Palestinian media claimed that he was beaten to death by Israeli forces after a car chase on Saturday night.

The IDF responded to reports about stones being thrown at Israeli vehicles near Turmus Ayya north of Ramallah on Saturday. Forces who arrived there found two suspects who began running from the scene.

"It seems that during the escape attempt, one of the suspects lost consciousness, fainted and injured his head," said the IDF Spokesperson's Unit in response to the incident. "He was not hit by IDF soldiers. The forces at the scene as well as military medical forces provided first aid to the wounded. After prolonged resuscitation operations, the suspect's death was declared."

The IDF's Arabic-language spokesperson tweeted a photo from the scene showing Israeli forces treating the teenage along with the IDF's report of the incident, adding "Do not believe the lies of the Palestinian media!"

Palestinian media claimed that a Palestinian teenager from the village of Yatma near Nablus was killed by Israeli security forces on Sunday morning in the West Bank north of Ramallah after a car chase, with some reports including images of an empty vehicle with Palestinian license plates.

While the Palestinian WAFA news agency reported that he was beaten by Israeli security forces, other sources reported that he had been shot. The Palestinian Ministry of Health announced on Sunday morning that the teenager had signs of violence and beating on the back of his neck.
Israeli, Italian firms partner with Health Ministry on COVID treatment
An Israeli and an Italian biopharmaceutical company have signed a memorandum of understanding with Israel's Health Ministry to supply an experimental plasma-derived treatment for the COVID-19 virus.

Kediron Biopharma of Italy has partnered with Israel's Kamada Ltd. to develop the new treatment, which is derived from plasma taken from patients who have recovered from COVID-19.

Kamada will be in charge of the manufacturing. The Health Ministry has ordered enough to treat some 500 hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

"We are pleased to work in collaboration with Kamada on the development and global distribution of this important therapy, which we hope will help patients in Israel and around the world," said Kediron ChairmanPaolo Marcucci.

Kedrion and Kamada began collaborating on the potential plasma-based treatment in April of this year.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians: What Needs to Be Done
The question is: Will Iran step in to influence the Palestinian Authority? Will Iran manage to convince the Palestinian Authority to become part of an axis that includes Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis, and all the Iranian-backed militias in Iraq? Where is Mahmoud Abbas taking the Palestinian Authority? No one knows. Most people I speak to they say he doesn't really have a strategy to deal with the with the Middle East conflict. His only strategy, they say, is just to remain in power forever.

The Palestinians.... are further isolating themselves by alienating the entire Arab world by going against countries such as Egypt, Jordan and all these Gulf states that once used to give them a lot of money.... Those who were inciting against Israel all those years are now inciting against the Arab world. Those who were demonizing Israel are now trying to demonize their own Arab and Muslim brothers.... The gap between the Palestinians and the Arab world is growing.

One of the reasons why mainstream media does not want to report about many stories over here, is that these stories do not have an anti-Israel angle.

This whole conflict, whether we like it or not, is not about a settlement, a checkpoint, a wall, and a fence or a settlement. This conflict is really about Israel's very existence....

They [Palestinian leaders] do not want Arabs and Muslims to be exposed to the wonderful things that are happening in Israel. They do not want them to see that Israel has been a story of success. They do not want these wonderful things to be seen in the Arab and Muslim world because then the Arabs and Muslims might go to their leaders and say, "Excuse me. We want something like what these Jews have. Why can't we have democracy? Why can't we have a functioning parliament?"

The question we need to ask ourselves is not who is going to succeed Mahmoud Abbas. The question is will anyone who succeeds Mahmoud Abbas, will he be different? Will he be able to bring about any changes? I'm sorry to tell you that the answer is no.... We are talking about the same ideology, the same mentality, and the same people running the show.

Do not expect many changes in the post-Abbas era. What needs to change is the mindset. What needs to stop is the incitement, the daily delegitimization of Israel. It is very bad, and it is very widespread. If you do not change that, then you will not see any changes. In addition, the Palestinians need to change their education system. They need to start preparing their people for peace with Israel.
PMW: Saeb Erekat in his own words
Introduction
For almost three decades, PLO Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat touted himself as a man of peace. In his role as Mr. Peace, Erekat travelled the world to sweet talk the willfully blind with the illusion of the Palestinian moderation, flexibility, and thirst for peace. But at home, in Arabic, Erekat, in his dominant role as Dr. Terror, made his true feelings clearly heard. Support for terrorists, whitewashing terror organizations and terror, threats of violence, rewriting history, and perpetuating libels against Israel, are all just some of the views and actions espoused and carried out by Erekat.

While Palestinian Media Watch has often exposed the statements made by Erekat, the following is a special compilation focusing on a number of different themes exposing the true face Saeb Erekat.

Support for terror and terrorists The bedrock of Erekat’s terror support is his belief that Palestinian terror organizations and Palestinian terrorists, including mass murderers, are in fact not terrorists at all but rather “fighters for freedom.” For Erekat, internationally designated Palestinian terror organizations who are responsible for the murder of hundreds of Israelis and other innocent people - such as Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and others - are not terror organizations, and it is “forbidden” to describe their homicidal actions as terror.

When the EU dared to condition its financial support to Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations on the beneficiaries signing a commitment that no EU funds would be funneled to EU designated terror organizations, Erekat made his fundamental objection clear:

“The Palestinian people's struggle is meant to achieve freedom, independence, and the end of the occupation, settlement, collective punishments, and war crimes, and it is forbidden for anyone and any party that relies on international law and the international bodies to describe this struggle as terror.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 9, 2020]
Top PA/Fatah official: Terrorist murderers -including Hamas founder Yassin- are “giants and legends”

Seth Frantzman: Why is Iran suddenly interested in Palestinian Islamic Jihad again?
For almost a year, Palestinian Islamic Jihad was largely absent from Iran’s media and political push. Now Iran is back, talking about Islamic Jihad in the media, a day after Ankara’s press also highlighted the group. The articles do not appear to be a coincidence, because the group claimed it was “mobilizing” in Gaza over the weekend.

After conflict with Israel in 2019, PIJ suffered setbacks and was also concerned about threats to its leadership. Baha Abu Al-Ata had been killed in November by an Israeli airstrike and Syrian reports said that the home of its deputy leader Akram al-Ajouri had also been targeted. Iran follows the group closely; PIJ is believed to be an Iranian proxy, armed, advised and provided cash and technical assistance over the years by Tehran. It is Iran’s footprint in Gaza, and perhaps its eyes and ears as well.

The terrorist group also provides Iran leverage and options, including plausible deniability should Iran want to test Israel. That appears clear from how the group has offices in Gaza and Damascus, two key fronts for Tehran against Jerusalem.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif is frequently in contact with Islamic Jihad. Last year he called PIJ leader Ziyad al-Nakhalah to support its attacks on Israel. He spoke to the group or put out statements linked to it in February and July of this year. Today Iran is angry about the Israel-Sudan agreement and highlights Hamas opposition to the agreement.

In the past Iran has sought to move weapons via Sudan. Hamas members once enjoyed more support from Sudan and its Muslim Brotherhood contact there. Ismail Haniyeh went to Sudan in 2012, according to reports. Today he is very angry that Khartoum is talking to Israel. Iran is angry as well.
PIJ calls-up forces as Palestinian's hunger strike passes 90 days - report
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist movement announced a general call-up of its forces on Saturday night, citing the deterioration in the condition of Maher al-Akhras, a PIJ operative hunger striking in Israel as the reason.

Akhras has been engaged in a hunger strike for about 90 days. The Palestinian detainee is being treated at Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot. Both the PIJ and Hamas have threatened confrontation with Israel if his situation becomes dire or he dies.

The PIJ statement on the call-up was originally published on the website of the movement's military wing, the Al-Quds Brigades, but was subsequently erased and then republished a few hours later as a "statement from a senior official source in the Al-Quds Brigades to Al-Quds Al-Youm TV."

The terrorist group did not clarify why the original message was deleted and then replaced by a citation of a TV report. Michael Link, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, called on Israel Saturday to release Akhras.

“Recent visits by doctors to his hospital bed in Israel indicate that he is on the verge of suffering major organ failure, and some damage might be permanent,” said Link, according to the Palestinian WAFA news agency.


US Offers $10 Million Reward for Tips on Hezbollah’s Fiscal Networks
The United States announced on Friday that it will offer a $10 million reward for “information leading to the disruption of the financial mechanisms” of the US-designated terrorist group Hezbollah.

The US State Department’s Rewards for Justice program is seeking “information on the activities, networks and associates of Hezbollah that form a part of its financial support, which includes financiers and facilitators like Muhammad Qasir, Muhammad Qasim al-Bazzal and Ali Qasir.”

Muhammad Qasir “is a critical link between Hezbollah and its primary funder, Iran” and has been a significant conduit for financial disbursements from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force (IRGC-QF) to Hezbollah, according to the State Department.

In April 2019, the United States designated the IRGC as a terrorist entity.

He also “directs the Hezbollah unit that assists in the transfer of weapons, technology and other support from Syria to Lebanon,” according to the State Department.

Qasim al-Bazzal is a “key financier for Hezbollah and the IRGC-QF,” and a “co-founder of the Syria-based Talaqi Group and oversees other terrorist financing enterprises, such as Hokoul S.A.L. Offshore and Nagham Al Hayat,” according to the department. “Since late 2018, al-Bazzal has used the Talaqi Group and his other companies to finance, coordinate and obscure various illicit IRGC-QF-linked oil shipments.”


Albania to Host First Ever Balkans Forum Against Antisemitism
The Albania parliament announced it would host the first ever Balkans Forum Against Antisemitism, bringing officials and lawmakers from the region and beyond together to make a unified front to fight antisemitism.

Taking place online on October 28 at 4:00 p.m. CET (11:00 a.m. EST), the event will include a wide range of notable figures from across the world.

Speaker include:
Miguel รngel Moratinos, high representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations
Elan Carr, United States special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism
Lord John Mann, United Kingdom's adviser on antisemitism
Natan Sharansky, human rights icon and former government minister


Speaking ahead of the landmark event, Combat Antisemitism Movement director Sacha Roytman-Dratwa said that: “There is simply no place for antisemitism, racism or hatred in modern, open and decent societies. The Balkans Forum Against Antisemitism is designed to establish clear steps which will help make this a reality across the region.” The announcement comes days after Albania officially adopted the IHRA definition of antisemitism, becoming the first Muslim-majority nation to do so.
In Arab first, Bahraini institution joins with US to combat anti-Zionism
A Bahraini institute has signed an agreement with the US State Department to combat anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and delegitimization of Israel.

The memorandum of understanding, signed Thursday in Washington, DC, marks the first time an Arab country has embraced a key Trump administration agenda item, to get countries to include anti-Zionism and some forms of harsh criticism of Israel in their definitions of anti-Semitism. It comes as the Trump administration has in recent weeks brokered a series of normalization agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan.

It was signed at a ceremony in a downtown Washington hotel by Elan Carr, the State Department’s anti-Semitism monitor, and Shaikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, a member of Bahrain’s extended royal family who is the chairman of the King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence.

“We all know that hatred is the enemy of peace,” al Khalifa said at the signing ceremony.

The memorandum of understanding says the sides “intend to work together to share and promote best practices for combating all forms of anti-Semitism, including anti-Zionism and delegitimization of the State of Israel.”

It also accepts the definition of anti-Semitism of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which includes double standards in criticizing Israel, denying Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, and comparing Israeli actions to the Nazis. Some civil liberties groups in the United States and abroad say the definition is too broad and, when adopted as part of enforceable law, inhibits speech freedoms.
Holocaust survivor and Nazi sympathizer's son forge friendship
More than seven decades ago, their families were divided by war and hatred – Koenraad Tinel, the son of a Nazi sympathizer, and Simon Gronowski, a Holocaust survivor who lost his mother and sister to Auschwitz.

Now the two men, both in their 80s, have forged a close friendship that has become a symbol of reconciliation in their native Belgium.

"Koen and I were two children crushed by a war we did not understand," Gronowski, a lawyer and jazz pianist, told Reuters.

"Each of us was on his side of the fence – me on the side of the victims, and he on the side of the executioners."

Gronowski, 89, and Tinel, 86, met after they both published memoirs of their wartime experiences. They were introduced to each other by the Union des Progressistes Juifs de Belgique in 2012.

"They ask me: 'Would you agree to meet the son of a Nazi?' Yes I agree. Weird, but I agree," Gronowski said. "Little by little, we met and got to know each other better."

Last month, the twin Free Universities of Brussels - the Dutch-speaking VUB and the French-speaking ULB – gave both men honorary doctorates to recognize the significance of their bond.

"Their unique friendship is a power symbol of hope, happiness and peace," the universities said a statement.
Gov't approves plan for 30% of Israel's energy to be renewable by 2030
Israel's government on Sunday approved a proposal by Energy Minister Dr. Yuval Steinitz which aims to produce 30% of the country's electricity from renewable sources by the year 2030, with an emphasis on solar energy.

During the discussion, it was decided that the Energy Ministry will evaluate and update the targets for 2030 by the end of 2024. An intermediate target has been set, aiming to first generate 20% of electricity from renewable sources by the end of 2025.

Steinitz said in a statement that "setting a new target for 30% renewable energy is a real revolution. This means that, in the next decade, we will have to triple the construction of new solar facilities. In addition, I decided that priority would be given toward the construction of infrastructure-linked power plants and the expansion of existing stations."

Describing his view of the future, Steinitz said that "toward the end of the process, in about seven years, Israel may reach first place in the world in the amount of electricity produced from solar energy. This is a continuation of the policy I have been leading for several years of the transition from coal, oil and polluting fuels to natural gas and renewable energies."

"Thus, the air pollution emitted from about 20 power plants throughout Israel will decrease in a few years by more than 90% – and we, and our children, will breathe cleaner, healthier air," the energy minister added.
Tram in Cologne, Germany gets giant Star of David and ‘shalom’ stickers to celebrate 1,700 years of German Jewish life
Cologne, Germany’s public transportation company put Star of David stickers and the Hebrew-language salutation “shalom” on a vehicle serving one of its busiest tram lines on Wednesday, as part of the buildup to the country’s celebration next year of 1,700 years of Jewish life in Germany.

The move is an initiative of Association 321, which references the fact that Jewish presence was first documented in Germany in the year 321.

The new tram look “is a sign against anti-Semitism and against racism,” the association wrote on Twitter.

The sticker’s full text reads “schalomschen Koeln!” — a diminutive form of the Yiddish-language greeting that is sometimes used in the local dialect of the western German city.





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