Friday, April 24, 2015

  • Friday, April 24, 2015
From Ian:

Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians Vote for Iran's New Ally: Hamas
Hamas has apparently now realigned with Iran, which is "rebuilding relations with the military wing of Hamas." Iran also, it seems, has sent Hamas millions of dollars over the past few months. Hamas shares "the same long-term objectives as the ayatollahs: the complete destruction of the state of Israel," and to that end, wants to undermine and destroy anyone who recognizes Israel.
To avoid this, the Palestinian Authority must first stop its ongoing campaign to delegitimize and isolate Israel. This campaign is being waged through the media, mosques and public rhetoric.
The Palestinian Authority must also maintain security coordination with Israel. The coordination is vital to the PA itself, not just Israel. Without Israel's help, the PA will not be able to prevent Hamas from taking over the West Bank.
Finally, to stop the Palestinians from rallying around Hamas, the Palestinian Authority in general — and Fatah in particular — need to embark on comprehensive reforms. Above all, they need to stop blocking the emergence of new leadership, and get rid of all the icons of corruption and bad government.
Unless the PA does these three things, Hamas's popularity among Palestinians will continue to rise, bringing the Islamist movement closer to taking over the West Bank.
The Palestinian Authority is shooting itself in the foot.
Caroline Glick: The new government’s greatest tasks
In testimony last week before the House committee in charge of State Department funding, US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power acknowledged that the Obama administration intends to abandon the US’s 50 year policy of supporting Israel at the United Nations.
After going through the tired motions of pledging support for Israel, “when it matters,” Power refused to rule out the possibility that the US would support anti-Israel resolutions in the UN Security Council to limit Israeli sovereignty and control to the lands within the 1949 armistice lines – lines that are indefensible.
Such a move will be taken, she indicated, in order to midwife the establishment of a terrorist-supporting Palestinian state whose supposedly moderate leadership does not recognize Israel’s right to exist, calls daily for its destruction, and uses the UN to delegitimize the Jewish state.
In other words, the Obama administration intends to pin Israel into indefensible borders while establishing a state committed to its destruction.
Mordechai Kedar: Obama, Ayatollahs and the History Books
President Obama has to decide whether to enter the history books as the leader in whose period of office, the road to Iran's turning into a nuclear power was paved, just as the history books will always accuse Jimmy Carter of helping Khomeini seize control over Iran. In contrast, Obama can choose to enter the history books as the president who prevented Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, in which case his place is like that of Jack Kennedy, who stood up to Cuba in 1962 and confiscated their Russian rockets.
Both presidents – Carter and Kennedy – were Democrats. An American president does not have to be a Republican in order to stand firm and present a resolute view of the dangers threatening the US and the world. All he has to do is use the power that, through great expenditure and effort, the US has amassed in order to prevent a war that will drag the world into a nuclear cataclysm brought on by Ayatollahs who believe that Allah's hand prevents them from making mistakes.
The angel of history must have been joking when he allowed the 2002 Nobel Prize for Peace to be awarded to Jimmy Carter, "for his efforts to find peaceful solutions to international disputes, promoting democracy and human rights, economic and social development."
It might be interesting to know what the prize committee thought of Carter's efforts to promote democracy and human rights in Iran, when he allowed Khoumeni to gain control of the country.
The angel's laugh will be even louder if President Obama – who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2009 – will turn out to be the president that allowed the Ayatollahs to obtain nuclear weapons.

Iran executed my grandfather. Now the regime is trying to hide the way it has treated other Jews.
Until Iran’s leaders decide to get their facts straight about Jews, they should stay quiet on the subject. No, I’m not talking about former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust-denying antics. These days, as Iran’s leaders try to soften their image to seal a deal to limit the country’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting sanctions, they’re peddling a revised and rosy version of Iran’s own 2,600-year Jewish history.
Asked by NBC’s Ann Curry during recent talks in Switzerland whether Iranian leaders understand why Jews have been wary of their rhetoric, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said, “We have a history of tolerance and cooperation and living together in coexistence with our own Jewish people, and with — Jews everywhere in the world.”
That’s not quite right. Iran’s Jews did have something of a golden age relatively recently, but Zarif, in his role as representative of a regime that eschews pre-revolutionary Iran, can’t take credit for it. That era was a brief period when the conservative Shiite clergy were stripped of their power — after the Constitutional Revolution of 1906 gave Iranians of all religions and ethnicity equal rights, and before Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini came to power in 1979.
Dore Gold: Why does the West apologize to Iran?
It is impossible to explain the present policy of the Obama administration toward Iran without an understanding of how a large part of the American foreign policy establishment actually believes that America shares the blame for the deterioration of relations between the two countries since 1979, when Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran, was overthrown and the Islamic Republic was founded. The key historical event that adherents to this school of thought repeatedly stress is the alleged role of the CIA in the 1953 coup against Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh.
Resurrecting the story of what the U.S. supposedly did in Iran in 1953, levels the moral playing field for Tehran. When Americans charge Iran with supporting terrorism or intervening in the affairs of its neighbors, Tehran can respond by saying that the U.S. is no better considering what it did in Iran back in 1953. The problem begins when some U.S. policymakers behave as though the Iranians have a point.
Last summer, one of the U.S.'s foremost Iran scholars, Ray Takeyh, defied the conventional wisdom by asserting in the quarterly Foreign Affairs that the idea that it was the CIA that overthrew Mosaddegh was a complete myth promoted by certain circles within the U.S. Takeyh, who served in the Obama administration under Dennis Ross, was extremely brave to take such a position. He writes that this notion has become not only a widely held belief, but it has also entered popular American culture as evidenced by the movie "Argo," starring and directed by Ben Affleck, which won the Academy Award for the Best Picture in 2013. The movie suggested that the violence of the Islamic Revolution was a response to the what the U.S. did to Iran twenty-five years earlier.
WSJ Says Obama's Iran 'Obsession' Has Sunk the Democrats
US President Barack Obama has saddled the Democratic party with a political time bomb in his "obsession" for a nuclear deal with Iran, according to Pulitzer prize finalist Daniel Henninger, deputy editor of the Wall Street Journal's editorial page.
Writing in an op-ed for the paper entitled "The Democrats Own Iran," Henninger wrote this week that, "the Democrats now own Iran - lock, stock and smoking centrifuges."
Aside from being stuck with responsibility for the deal allowing Iran to continue enriching uranium, he added, "the Democrats own Iran’s entire penetration in the region - Yemen, the Gulf of Aden, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon - pretty much anywhere Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wants to take them."
"Senate Democrats, attempting a magical illusion on American voters, say the Iran nuclear threat and the Iran terror threat are separate realities," wrote Henninger, noting that voters are unlikely to be so easily duped by Iran's actions and its nuclear aspirations.
He pointed out that the last time the Democratic "party’s fortunes went missing in Iran was during what history generally describes as 'Jimmy Carter’s hostage crisis,'" referencing the hostage crisis in which 52 Americans were held in Tehran.
Tom Friedman Skeptical of Iran Deal
In the run-up to the Iraq War in 2003, New York Times columnist began to reconsider his support for the military option, as he became convinced that the Bush administration was going to mishandle the war and its aftermath. Fast-forward 12 years, and Friedman is making similar moves ahead of the final talks on a nuclear deal with Iran. In his Apr. 23 column, Friedman says that while a nuclear deal is desirable, the structure and context of the deal means “it will not be easy.”
The Iran deal has several major problems, Friedman says. First is that while the U.S. has made simple deals with enemies that it could trust to uphold the bargain, the Iran deal is complex and there is no reason to trust the regime’s compliance. Second, the deal relies on Iran resolving its political identity (revolution or reform?), which may never happen. Third, Iran is more powerful than its neighbors, and giving it billions of dollars in sanctions relief could destabilize the region further.
Friedman’s skittishness about the signature foreign policy initiative of a president he has done everything to defend is a sign of just how bad the deal is, and how nervous it is making even Obama’s allies–that is, those allies that take foreign policy seriously in its own right.
Former State Department Official: Iran Playing 3-D Chess While US Plays Checkers
The U.S. commitment to the nuclear deal with Iran as a means to curtailing Tehran’s influence has allowed Iran to “outfox” the U.S. in myriad ways, former State Department official Aaron David Miller wrote in a CNN piece on Thursday.
“We’re playing checkers on the Middle East game board and Tehran’s playing three-dimensional chess,” wrote Miller
“As the Arab world melts down and lacks a traditional epicenter of strength and power, (Egypt, Iraq, Syria), Iran is rising,” he added.
Washington, meanwhile, “is tripping all over itself trying to figure out how to combat ISIS in Syria and yet not empower al-Assad (no answer), how to combat ISIS in Iraq without favoring the Shia-dominated government and alienating Iraqi Sunnis (no answer) and how to backstop the Saudis in Yemen without enabling them to make matters worse through their airstrikes (no answer).”
Miller — who is also Vice President for New Initiatives at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars – indicated that focusing squarely on the nuclear negotiations with Iran has enabled the country’s regional ascension, evinced by the country’s growing influence in Iraq, Syria and now Yemen. The U.S. has ignored its traditional allies, such as Saudi Arabia and Israel, which has given Iran more impetus to expand.
62 Senators Back Congressional Review on Iran Deal
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) opened debate up to the full Senate Thursday on the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 that passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously.
The legislation now has 62 co-sponsors, which has increased bipartisan support and pressured President Obama to back off his earlier threat to veto the bill.
The bill gives Congress time to review the deal after President Obama finalizes negotiations with Iran prior to any sanctions on Iran being lifted and gives Congress the power to reject or approve the final nuclear negotiation.
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) said prior to the committee vote, “In my view the way to send a message to Tehran about our expectations is for Congress to put politics aside” and pass this legislation.
Experts and Lawmakers Blast Weak Enforcement, Generous Sanctions Relief of Emerging Nuke Deal
At the hearing, lawmakers and nuclear proliferation experts discussed the drawbacks and deficiencies of the emerging deal with Iran. During the question and answer segment, Royce expressed frustration that the United States has conceded to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s red lines, including maintaining enrichment levels, not dismantling any of its nuclear facilities, continuing centrifuge research and development, and acquiring an industrial-sized program. Former Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation Stephen Rademaker concurred, stating that the “final agreement is pretty much consistent with the Iranian red lines, and bears little relationship to the red lines that were declared on our side going in.”
In his prepared testimony, Rademaker asserted that the major drawback of the deal was that it “will represent acceptance by the international community of Iran as a nuclear weapons threshold state” and that in 10-13 years, Iran will be allowed to have an industrial-sized nuclear capacity with, as President Barack Obama himself acknowledged, a breakout time close to zero.
Albright also drew attention to the fact that Iran has engaged in illicit procurement for its nuclear, missile, and military programs, and that President Hassan Rouhani has even bragged about it. Therefore, he urged any final agreement to include “a ban Iranian illicit trade in items for its nuclear programs while creating additional mechanisms to verify this ban.”
Air force chief can ‘get job done’ if order comes to hit Iran
The use of Israeli military force against Iran’s nuclear facilities would be an act of “last resort,” Israel’s air force commander said Thursday, but part of his role is to ensure that the air force has “the genuine capacity to get the job done” if ordered to do so.
Major-General Amir Eshel, in his first television interview in the three years since he took command of the Israeli Air Force, told Israel’s Channel 10 news Thursday that an Iran with a nuclear capability “would have grave significance for the whole Middle East, not just for Israel.”
Asked why the air force had not been ordered to strike at Iran in the way that it destroyed Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor at Osiraq in 1981 and, according to foreign reports, a Syrian reactor in 2007, Eshel said that Israel “has a range of tools” for grappling with threats. “The solution is through the use of a combination of these tools.”
The use of military force “is the last resort,” he said. “That decision has not yet been made.”
Biden affirms US support of Israel with pledge of F-35 delivery by 2016
The US will deliver to Israel fifth generation stealth aircrafts in 2016, US Vice President Joe Biden said in Washington on Thursday as he pledged his country’s firm commitment to defend the Jewish state from its regional enemies.
“Next year we will deliver to Israel the F-35 joint strike fighter, our finest, making Israel the only country in the Middle East with a fifth generation aircraft,” Biden said at an Israeli Embassy event to celebrate Israel’s 67th Independence Day.
Israel bought 19 F-35s in 2010 for $2.75 billion and signed a contract in February to buy an additional 14 of the Lockheed Martin Corp fighter jets for about $3 billion.
Biden’s appearance at the event comes after months of heightened tensions between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama over Israel’s fierce opposition to US support for a deal which curbs, but does not eliminate Iran's nuclear weapons program.
Former Treasury Dept. Official: Sanctions Relief Allows Iran to Boost Support for Terrorism
In testimony before a House of Representatives hearing Wednesday, former Treasury Department official Jonathan Schanzer warned that the sanctions relief being offered to Iran as part of ongoing nuclear negotiations threatens to make “much more terror finance” available to terror groups, The Hill reported yesterday.
A former Treasury Department official raised concerns on Wednesday about terrorists obtaining some of the international community’s financing to Iran.
The U.S. is ceding $11.9 billion in cash transfers to Iran between November 2013 and June 31 as the Obama administration looks to finalize a nuclear deal with Tehran.
“I am concerned that some of these funds have already found their way to terrorist groups,
and that much more terror finance could be on the way,” Jonathan Schanzer, a former Treasury counterterrorism analyst, told lawmakers at a hearing.

Schanzer, currently the vice-president of research for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, made his comments at a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee’s terrorist financing task force.
In Tennessee, a mock Iranian nuke facility tests breakout time
In the forests approximately 25 miles from Knoxville, Tennessee lies an unlikely tool in the US’s efforts for world peace — an Iranian nuclear facility.
Well, a replica of an Iranian nuclear facility.
Scientists in the Oak Ridge nuclear reservation built the classified replica to provide the president and other diplomats with real technical information, not just estimations, on Iran’s nuclear capabilities, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.
Using plans believed to have been recovered by a joint US-Israeli cyber attack on Iranian enrichment plants, and centrifuges surrendered by Libya over a decade ago, the team at the Tennessee center set up a replica of an Iranian nuclear processing facility to offer concrete information on Iran’s breakout time to those involved in the ongoing nuclear talks. This information is critical for negotiators to make better recommendations and demands, officials said.
Iranian cargo ships said to reverse course from Yemen
A convoy of Iranian cargo ships that had been headed toward war-torn Yemen, possibly with advanced weaponry for Houthi rebels, has reversed its direction, at least temporarily, a US defense official said Thursday.
The official said it remains unclear where the nine-ship convoy may be headed now, but as of Thursday it was no longer moving in the direction of the Yemeni port of Aden.
The official was not authorized to discuss ship movements publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Wednesday that the Iranian ships might be carrying weapons to the Houthis, but he would not say whether the US would forcibly stop and board one of the Iranian ships if it entered Yemeni waters.
Yemen, strategically located near key shipping routes and bordering oil-rich Saudi Arabia, is sinking deeper into a multi-sided civil conflict.
When Israel Helped Yemen’s Shiites
Yemen’s Houthi rebels accuse Israel of standing behind the Saudi-led military campaign launched against them in February. The charge is not unusual—blaming Israel for the Mideast’s sundry ills is a time-honored regional pastime. For once, though, the allegation has some historical basis: During Yemen’s 1962-1970 civil war, the Jewish state airlifted a steady supply of money and arms to the ruling monarchy. On one point, however, the Houthis’ accusation falls flat: That monarchy actually represented the same Shiite tribes from whom today’s rebels spring.
At the time, Yemen was divided—as it was for most of its history—between the absolute monarchy of the Mutawakelite dynasty in the north, and a British protectorate in the south centered on the strategic port of Aden. The Mutawakelites were Zaydis—a sub-minority within the Islamic minority of Shiism who consider Muhammad’s great-great grandson Zayd the rightful heir to the prophet’s mantle. (Zaydis are commonly known as Fivers, because they deem Zayd the fifth and final leader of the faithful, as opposed to the majority of Shiites who recognize a chain of 12.)
In 1962, nationalist army officers led by Gen. Abdullah al-Sallal—and inspired by Gamal Abdel Nasser’s anti-monarchist coup in Egypt a decade prior—staged a coup against Imam (King) Muhammad al-Badr. Britain, fearing unrest in its neighboring colony, backed the royalists, as did the fellow monarchies of Saudi Arabia and Jordan, and a 16-year-old state of Israel.
Israel 'Threatened Al Qaeda Rebels to Protect Syrian Druze'
Since the start of the Syrian Civil War, Israel has tried to maintain a neutral policy - Israel’s engagement with Hezbollah and Iran gets a lot more coverage than its engagement with Sunni Islamist groups like Al Qaeda's Nusra Front.
But Israel has been involved in skirmishes with jihadist rebels. In 2014, Israel laid cover fire in the form of an artillery barrage against Islamist rebels who had pinned down a number of Irish UN peacekeepers in the combat zone. Israeli artillery covered the Irish troops’ escape to the Israeli side of the border.
There have been hints of Israeli links to Syrian rebel groups, likely for the sake of limiting or eliminating Hezbollah’s presence along the Israeli border.
Last October, Ehud Yaari of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy said that "in particular, the southern governorates of Quneitra and Deraa could become either the latest territories captured by radical forces — namely the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra (JN) — or a safe haven for non-Islamist rebel groups, some of which maintain contacts with Israel."
Iranian parliament seeks ban on Israeli-born visitors
The Iranian parliament is seeking to bar all Israeli-born visitors from the country.
The move for the legislation follows a visit to Iran a few weeks ago by a US-based Israeli journalist, who apparently entered the country using her American passport.
Would-be visitors using Israeli passports are banned from Iran, which calls relentlessly for the demise of Israel. Supreme leader Ali Khamenei last year tweeted a nine-point plan for destroying Israel. Earlier this month, an Iranian militia chief called Israel’s destruction “nonnegotiable.” On Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu equated the Iranian regime’s bid for nuclear weapons to the Nazis’ efforts to wipe out the Jews.
A special Iranian parliamentary investigation was launched into how Orly Azoulay entered Iran. It found that the reporter was “not a spy,” but that her visit should have been prevented, according to a report Friday.
Yedioth Ahronoth’s Israeli-born Azoulay entered Iran ahead of the landmark framework deal between world powers and Iran earlier this month, stayed for two weeks, and reported on reactions to the nuclear agreement for the Israeli paper.
IDF strikes Gaza following Independence Day rocket fire
Gaza Strip-based terrorists fired a rocket at Israel on Thursday evening, as the country celebrated its 67th Independence Day. The Israel Defense Forces retaliated by shelling Hamas infrastructure in the northeast Gaza town of Beit Hanoun.
The Color Red alert sounded across southern communities within a 40 kilometer (25 miles) range from the Gaza Strip at around 9 p.m., as Independence Day celebrations were winding down. Moments afterward, residents in the border-adjacent communities reported hearing a loud explosion.
The projectile exploded in an open area in the Shaar Hanegev Regional Council, causing no harm. The Israeli military said it was the first rocket fired at Israel from Gaza this year.
Shortly after the incident, Hamas officials in Gaza said Israeli forces fired two shells at one of the group's training facilities. Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra said no injuries were reported.
An IDF Spokesperson's Unit statement said the military's shelling "was conducted in response to projectile fire from Gaza at Israel. The IDF will not tolerate any attempt to undermine Israel's security or harm Israeli citizens."
Israel says it won’t tolerate ‘a dribble of rockets’
Israeli security officials warned Thursday night that the nation would not tolerate a “dribble” of rocket attacks against Israel, saying Hamas was responsible for keeping the peace in the Gaza Strip.
Following Thursday evening’s rocket attack from Gaza, the Erez Crossing was closed on Friday and officials said Gazan worshipers would not be allowed into Israel to pray at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque. The visits, instituted several months ago for some Gazans, had been seen as a sign of trust-building after last year’s bloody summer war.
Hamas has reportedly conveyed a message to Israel that the rocket — the first fired into Israel this year — was fired by an “errant” group and that it was searching for the shooters.
Though officials said Hamas was not believed to be behind the rocket fire, a senior security official told Ynet news that “we view Hamas as responsible… and expect it to enforce order in its territory. Hamas is the ruler on the ground and needs to ensure that there is quiet, otherwise it bears responsibility.
“We will not accept a situation of a dribble (of rockets) by some party or other,” the unnamed official added.
Ongoing tensions over Temple Mount stoked by Jordanian-funded carpet
Tensions over limited Israeli archeological preservation and oversight on the Temple Mount flared once again this week, when the Muslim Wakf religious trust replaced the worn carpeting inside the Dome of the Rock without first alerting the Antiquities Authority.
The renovation, financed by Jordan's King Abdullah II, renewed concerns among archeologists and religious groups of Muslim indifference and destruction of Jewish antiquities at the contested holy site.
The conflict came to a head in 1999, when Muslim authorities removed 8,000 tons of earth from the Temple Mount to construct an underground prayer area, and then dumped the remains – including countless invaluable relics – into Tzurim Valley National Park, on Mount Scopus.
Outraged by the move, archeologists Zachi Dvira and Gabriel Barkay formed the Temple Mount Sifting Project in 2004, under the auspices of Bar Ilan University, with archeological research funding from the Israel Archeology Foundation.
Morocco: Shimon Peres Branded a 'Child Killer'
Former President Shimon Peres's reputation for "spreading peace" in the Middle East apparently has not made an impression on pro-Palestinian political circles in Morocco, where opposition to an upcoming visit has sparked calls for his arrest.
Peres is due to visit Rabat from May 5-7, as a guest of the Clinton Global Initiative conference to be convened in the city of Marrakech; the conference marks a gathering of politicians, leaders, and think tanks trying to solve the world's major political, social, and economic crises.
Local Facebook groups have branded Peres a "war criminal," and have called on authorities in Rabat to prevent him from entering the country.
The Moroccan pro-Palestinian organization "National Action Group for Palestine" announced that it is employing lawyers to submit a former request to the General Prosecutor to prevent Peres from stepping foot on Moroccan soil.
Assad Regime Blames "Zionism" for ISIS and Boko Haram
The Assad regime - responsible for the deaths of over a hundred thousand Syrian citizens, including through the use of chemical weapons - has found a culprit: Zionism.
At a General Assembly thematic debate on "Promoting Tolerance and Reconciliation: Fostering Peaceful, Inclusive Societies and Countering Violent Extremism" held on April 21, 2015, the Representative from the Syrian Arab Republic claimed that the self-determination of the Jewish people is responsible for the rise of Muslim terrorist groups. He told the General Assembly:
"Mr. President, those that think that groups such as Daesh, Jabhat al-Nusra, Boko Haram, Jemaah Islamiya occurred spontaneously or by accident are deluding themselves or they are just choosing to look away. There are real networks that explain how these groups developed. The most visible are Zionism, the fatwas that have been issued and the extremist educational programs, and the authorization by certain governments of terrorism and extremism as a tool for implementing political agendas that are very doubtful in Syria or elsewhere."
Former Commander: Next War With Hamas By End of 2015
Hamas is definitively preparing for another war against Israel, Brig. Gen. (res.) Zvika Fogel said Friday morning - hours after a rocket fired from Gaza struck the Sha'ar HaNegev region late Thursday night.
"Rocket production continues," Fogel, a former head of the IDF's Southern Command, told Army Radio. He predicted another war by "the end of 2015 or early 2016."
Part of the problem, he indicated, is that Hamas is purposely neglecting its Palestinian Arab population, goading them into painting Israel as an even bigger scapegoat for their poverty and poor governance.
"The population in the Gaza Strip since the operation [Op. Protective Edge - ed.] has been neglected, and pressure on Hamas is growing," he noted.
How Much Does the PA Pay Terrorists?
While the Palestinian Authority (PA) has often been touted as a peaceful alternate to Hamas by some, a Hamas MP in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) has revealed just how involved the PA is in funding terrorism.
The MP, Yahi Musa, stated that the PA government in Samaria's Ramallah has paid a total sum of $5 billion in wages over the course of the last eight years.
According to Musa, the number of workers in the public sector that are registered with the employment office stands at 175,000, but the total number of people who receive wages and stipends from the government is no less than 200,000.
He noted the extra 25,000 people on the paylist include "martyrs" - meaning the families of Arab terrorists killed while engaged in attacks, as well as those who were wounded while taking part in conflict, security prisoners - namely jailed terrorists, as well as released security prisoners.
Musa added that according to statistics from the PLC's finance ministry, every month $160-170 million is paid in salaries, with the average monthly wage standing at $750, a figure not too far from Israel's minimum wage.
Where is PA Olympic Chief's 'Fraternity and Fellowship'?
A letter of protest has been sent to Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee. It was written by Dr. Hillel Appelbaum, on behalf of the terrorism-stricken Applebaum family, with assistance from Mattot Arim, an Israeli NGO that has long been working towards "peace for peace."
Dr. Hillel's cousin Dr. David Applebaum, together with his daughter Nava who was to have been married the next day, were brutally murdered in a Palestinian terror attack in Jerusalem, together with five others, in September 2003.
Rajoub is a former para-military security chief within Fatah who spent nearly 16 years in Israeli prison for terrorist activities. Israel bombed his headquarters in Bitunia, north of Jerusalem, in 2002, where many wanted terrorists were taking shelter and firing at IDF troops who demanded their surrender.
The letter of protest to Mr. Thoma Bach, President of the Lausanne-based International Olympics Committee, calls his attention to a video produced by Palestinian Media Watch, in which Rajoub is seen telling a TV interviewer this past August as follows: “Fatah has decided that our relations with the Israelis are relations between enemies. There is no kind of coordination between the Israelis and us… OK, brother, here is the occupation: Am I stopping you from slaughtering a settlement? No one is stopping anyone... Our political decision is resistance in the occupied territories in order to bring an end to the occupation [using] all forms of resistance.”
PreOccupied Territory: Muslims Demand Everest Be Made Shorter Than Al-Aqsa (satire)
Islamic authorities expressed outrage today that any structure would be made higher than one of Islam’s holiest sites, and demanded that the government of Nepal immediately lower or shorten Mount Everest so that its summit no longer looks more ascendant that the mosque at Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem.
The Supreme Muslim Council, which represents Sunni Islam, sent a sharply worded letter to the Kathmandu government of President Ram Baran Yadav, in whose territory Everest’s pinnacle rises to 8,848 meters above sea level. By contrast, Al Aqsa sits atop a mountain merely 740 meters above sea level, with the building’s minaret adding only 37 more meters. Given Islamic rules that no structure may rise above that of a mosque, the Council wrote to Yadav protesting such a flagrant expression of disrespect for Islam.
“On behalf of all Muslims, we are incensed that your country maintains a formation, known to Westerners as ‘Everest’ and to locals as Sagarmāthā, that arrogantly towers over our holy site. The construction or maintenance of any such object, of either a religious or mundane nature, constitutes a brazen violation of Islamic law,” the letter read, in part. “A country such as yours, which purports to tolerate diversity in religious beliefs and practices, cannot thus continue to shamelessly and blatantly show such contempt for Islam.”
Nepal’s population is overwhelmingly Buddhist and Hindu, with the two belief systems melding into one for many. Other faiths include Islam, Christianity, Kiratism, and animism, with adherents of Islam representing just over four percent of Nepalese. In its letter, the Council accused Nepal of oppressing those Muslims by forcing their holy site to remain shorter than Everest, and of engaging in hate crimes by making the mountain’s height – it is the tallest in the world – such a prominent part of the country’s image in the international arena.
Jordanian Columnist: Arab Countries Have Abandoned Jordan, Causing It To Seek Refuge With Israel
In his April 12, 2015 column in the Jordanian daily Al-Dustour, columnist Maher Abu Tair accused Arab countries of turning their backs on Jordan and abandoning it. According to Abu Tair, this has pushed Jordan into Israel's lap to the point that it has become completely reliant on it, economically and politically. He also spoke of the inconsistent Jordanian foreign policy, which he said stemmed from its unstable relations with its neighbors, and called to seek an alternative to relying on Israel.
"It is very saddening that Jordan has grown so weak that it has completely thrown itself into the lap of Israel, contrary to public sentiment and [at the expense of] its honor... This is the unfortunate reality, and those who follow events can see Jordan's headlong rush towards Israel and the overlap of [their] political and economic interests. It is as if Jordan is saying one of two things: that all Arab doors are closed to it, or that Israel is its safest ally and the only refuge in the region. Alternatively, perhaps the former is pushing Jordan towards the latter.
"Jordan has grown weak to the point of total reliance on Israel, as part of which Israel will sell us the Palestinian natural gas [it has] stolen as an alternative to the Egyptian natural gas that is denied [to us] by the mujahideen of the [Sinai] desert. [Also as part of this reliance, Jordan and Israel have agreed on] the massive Two Seas Canal project and [the issue of] the Aqaba Airport [referring to the issue of the Ramon Airport that Israel is building near Eilat]. In the past Jordan threatened to oppose [the building of the Israeli airport] but now it has withdrawn its objection on the condition that takeoffs and landings be coordinated [with the Aqaba Airport]...
Al-Qaida suspects may have been targeting Vatican, Italian prosecutor says
People being investigated in a counter-terrorism investigation in Italy may have been planning an attack against the Vatican, one of the prosecutors leading the probe said on Friday.
Cagliari Chief Prosecutor Mauro Mura told reporters that as well as planning to launch attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan, as earlier reported, the suspects may also have been aiming to target the Vatican.
Police conducted raids across Italy on Friday, targeting 18 people suspected of links with al-Qaida. Some were arrested, including the group's suspected spiritual leader, but others were believed to have left the country.
"We don't have proof, we have strong suspicion," said Mario Carta, head of the police unit leading the investigation said when asked for more details on a possible attack against the seat of the Catholic Church.
Mideast arms sales surging to record $18b in 2015, with Saudis in lead
The Middle East is facing a burgeoning arms race which in 2015 is expected to include weapons purchases totaling an unprecedented $18 billion, the Guardian reported Thursday.
According to the report, based on data gathered and published by IHS Jane’s and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Western nations are selling an increasing amount of weaponry to the region’s top military buyers, which include Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, United Arab Emirates and Algeria.
The arms sold include various aircraft, missiles and armored vehicles.
While the West says it seeks to foster peace and stability in the region, the report notes, it is increasingly providing the Middle East’s major players with more and more tools with which to make war.
Nations such as the US, France, Canada and the UK are pursuing such arms exports due to a combination of foreign interests — supporting Saudi Arabia’s campaign in Yemen, supporting the coalition against Islamic State — and internal economic interests. But analysts warn that the flood of weapons could have unforeseen consequences.

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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 14 years and 30,000 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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