Monday, May 30, 2016

From Ian:

The Palestine Hoax
150 years ago, Mark Twain visited Muslim-occupied Israel and wrote of “unpeopled deserts” and “mounds of barrenness”, of “forlorn” and “untenanted” cities.
Palestine is “desolate”, he concluded. “One may ride ten miles hereabouts and not see ten human beings.” The same is true of the Palestinian Museum which opened with much fanfare and one slight problem. While admission is free, there’s nothing inside for any of the visitors to see except the bare walls.
The Palestinian Museum had been in the works since 1998, but has no exhibits. The museum cost $24 million. All it has to show for it are a few low sloping sandy buildings indistinguishable from the dirt and a “garden” of scraggly bushes and shrubs. The Palestinian Museum is open, but there’s nothing inside.
It’s hard to think of a better metaphor for Palestine than a bunch of empty buildings designed by Irish and Chinese architects whose non-existent exhibits were the brainchild of its former Armenian-American director. It’s as Palestinian as bagels and cream cheese. Or skiing, hot cocoa and fjords.
Over the Palestinian Museum flies the proud flag of Palestine, which was originally the flag of the Iraqi-Jordanian Federation before the PLO “borrowed” it, and visitors might be greeted by the Palestinian anthem composed by Greek Communist Mikis Theodorakis. If it sounds anything like the soundtrack from Zorba the Greek, that’s because they both share the same composer.
Palestinian Arab aspirations in 1948 have not changed
As the British began to dismantle their Mandate [The British Mandate] and leave western Palestine, Israel's War of Independence began (November 30, 1947‑ May 14, 1948). During the war, Palestinian Arabs became belligerents in the conflict, and by its end, rather than accept a Jewish state after five-and-a-half months of warfare, Palestinian Arabs called upon their brethren from seven surrounding countries to invade and crush the nascent Jewish state. Six thousand Jews - 1 percent of Israel's Jewish population - lost their lives during the War of Independence.
The Arab League's April 10, 1948 decision to invade Israel and "save Palestine," marked a watershed event, for it changed the rules of the conflict. Accordingly, Israel bears no moral responsibility for deliberately banishing Palestinian Arabs in order to "consolidate defense arrangements" in strategic areas. With the pending invasion following Israel's declaration of independence, it is no exaggeration to say that the new Jewish state's very existence hung in the balance.
Palestinian Arabs represented one side in the conflict - the side responsible for starting the war.
The new Jewish state found it imperative to eliminate all potential pockets of Arab resistance in key areas if it was to survive. Dislodging all Arab inhabitants from sensitive areas in proximity to Jewish settlements, establishing territorial continuity between blocs under Jewish control, and ensuring control of key transportation arteries were military necessities. As May 14th approached, Israel could not afford to risk a Fifth Column at its rear to add to all other aspects of its militarily inferior situation.
The cost of defeat was hammered home by a stream of dire warnings from Arab capitals, with perhaps the most chilling for Israel coming from Jamal Al-Husayni as vice-chairman of the Arab Higher Committee [AHC], who publicly declared:
"The Arabs have taken into their own hands, the Final Solution of the Jewish problem. The problem will be solved only in blood and fire. The Jews will be driven out."
UNRWA head, 1953: Arab leaders care not if refugees live or die
Ex-Israeli ambassador in the U.S. Yoram Ettinger has compiled a list of sound bites that succinctly explain the background of the "Palestinian refugees."
One of the Palestinian Authority's perpetual demands whenever talk of negotiations with Israel comes up is that the "Palestinian refugees" from 1948 be allowed to return to their former homes inside Israel. Israel has never accepted this demand in any form, because of the obvious consequences of millions of Arabs flooding the country.
Yoram Ettinger, an expert on demographics and Israel-American relations, explains that the PA's demand is totally groundless, on a number of counts. Excerpts from the list are provided here – enough to give an accurate picture of why the "refugees" issue is actually a non-starter:
Since the end of World War II, there have been over 100 million refugees from various countries and conflicts in Europe, Asia and Africa. Nearly all of them have been integrated into their host countries. The main exception is the Palestinian Arab refugees: The Arab countries never accepted any plan, even for good money, to integrate their brother refugees into their countries.
In 1952, the United Nations proposed a three-year, $200 million plan to integrate Arab refugees into their host countries. Jordan was the only Arab country to accept it, the plan never got off the ground, and the words of the then-Secretary General never came true: "The refugees will lead an independent life in the countries which shelter them…. The refugees will no longer be maintained by an international organization….”
Gen. Alexander Galloway, director of UNRWA in Jordan, said this at a May 25, 1953 hearing of the Near East Senate Subcommittee: “The Arabs states do not want to solve the refugee problem. They want to keep it as a weapon against Israel. Arab leaders don’t give a damn whether the refugees live or die.”

UNRWA facing refugee protests, closings, and rumors
UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness made sure to release this announcement at the end of last week: "Several media outlets have reported that UNRWA intends to close its headquarters in Gaza. These reports are false. UNRWA HQ Gaza is not closing. The Agency affirms categorically that there are no plans to do so and staff are not being let go."
Puzzlingly, the panicky announcement seemed to have been circulated even more widely than the alleged reports of the UNRWA closure. In any event, Gunness took the opportunity to state that "UNRWA is fully committed to maintaining its presence in the Gaza Strip, which … is vital to serving and protecting the Palestine refugees, who make up two thirds of the population of Gaza."
He did not explain how it happened that this number is so high. After all, UNRWA was tasked upon its forming in 1949, inter alia, with helping the refugees "achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight." Nothing, however, has been done by UNRWA or by the Arab countries that brought about the refugee problem in 1948-9, to help them reach a "just and lasting solution."
In fact, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution in 1985 rejecting all efforts to require UNRWA to help Arab refugees engage in steps towards resettlement and rehabilitation.
In this connection, the late Joan Peters, author of "From Time Immemorial," said in 2014 (quoted by researcher David Bedein):
"UNRWA has been perpetrating fraud against the Jewish nation and against the world since they became the only 'refugee' organ solely dedicated to one group of the world's refugees. The Arab refugees who really ran or were displaced during Israel's War of Independence, were a small group when compared to the world's hundreds of millions displaced during wars and strife. The Arabs were also a much smaller actual number than the Jewish Arab-born refugees forced to flee from Arab countries. But the Arabs were counted over and over, going back and forth from the refugee camps. As American congressmen have attested, fraud was committed constantly, aided by the almost totally-Arab staff in the UNRWA employ."
Vic Rosenthal: Lessons from the schoolyard
My opponent was a bully and there would be other fights. The correct strategy would have been to teach him a lesson he would not forget. What was I afraid of? I was already fighting.
Israel’s situation is not exactly parallel, but it’s close. We aren’t afraid of our enemies, but we hold back because we don’t want to make our allies mad.
In the very early morning hours of October 6, 1973 when, after a disastrous string of intelligence failures, it became clear that war with Egypt and Syria was about to break out, Golda Meir finally authorized calling up the reserves. She considered a preemptive strike as well, but decided against it:
In recounting the events of the morning of October 6, Meir told the [Agranat] commission that her “heart was very much drawn to” a preemptive strike, “but I am scared.” In both the cabinet meeting on the morning of Yom Kippur and in previous meetings with Dayan and chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. David Elazar, she testified to having said: “1973 is not 1967, and this time we will not be forgiven, and we will not receive assistance when we have the need for it.”
Had Israel fired the first shot of the war, Meir testified, the US would have claimed “you started” and, based on her knowledge of the Pentagon, she continued, “I can say with 100 percent (certainty)” that the airlift of arms and supplies would not have been delivered.

Meir was deterred by Kissinger’s warnings not to preempt. But in any event, the US did not begin to airlift supplies to Israel until Israel’s Ambassador Simcha Dinitz hinted on October 9 that if things got any worse, Israel would be forced to use nuclear weapons.
MEMRI: Saudi Cleric Awadh Al-Qarni: Hitler Wanted to Solve the "Jewish Question" by Gas Chambers, the West by Sending them to Palestine
Al-Majd TV (Saudi Arabia) - April 22,
In a recent TV interview, Saudi cleric Sheikh Awadh Al-Qarni said that while Hitler wanted to get rid of the Jews by means of the gas chambers, Britain and the Western elites wanted to get rid of them by sending them to Palestine. In the interview, which aired on the Saudi Al-Majd TV channel on April 22, Al-Qarni further said that despite warnings by George Washington, the Jews had taken economic control of the U.S., "thus subjugating the American people." Any peace agreement signed with the Jews would, said Al-Qarni, be "null and void," according to Islamic law.
Following are excerpts
Awadh Al-Qarni: They came driving tanks, greeting us with their mortar launchers, and hugging us with their bullets. They greet you with a "shalom," but their smile conveys death.
Peace [with the Jews] must never be a permanent one. As I've said in the past, if any Arab ruler signed a peace accord with Israel, this agreement would be worthless according to Islamic law, and the [Arab] peoples would not accept it. The Crusader wars serve as proof that the peoples would not accept this. All those who signed peace agreements with the Crusaders have disappeared, and their agreement disappeared along with them. We have a lot of proof of this. If you carry out a public opinion poll - and I have done several - you will see the results for yourself. Over 90%...

Palestinian-American activist accuses Israel and US of shared legacy of ethnic cleansing
A Palestinian-American activist asserted earlier this month that the United States and Israel share a common legacy of ethnic cleansing as the foundational basis of the two nations in a video posted to the online news outlet The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
In the clip Osama Abu Irshaid, the National Director of American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), claims that the "Zionists" have co-opted the "racist" narrative of the founding of America to mirror that of the establishment of the State of Israel in order to convince Americans that the two peoples have a similar history.
"We came to two undeveloped countries, and managed to establish two successful states," Irshaid quoted in his perception of the imagined dialogue between Zionists "infiltrating American consciousness" and the American public.
He discredits this narrative by emphasizing the analogous relationship between the American ethnic cleansing of the Native Americans and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by Israel.
Irshaid continued to attribute American sympathies with Israel to the purported Jewish control of American media and Hollywood.
Arabs Using Christians to Fight Israel
The Middle East has been inhabited by Jews and then Christians for nearly three thousand years; until the seventh century, Muslims did not even exist.
Many Christians in Arab countries and in Palestinian Authority (PA), without a state or anyone else to support them, are still behaving as dhimmis, paying lip service to Muslim Arab "lords" in exchange for protection in their original homelands.
The Palestinians plan activities, pay salaries and fund anti-Israeli Christian dhimmi organizations, in order to make Western Christians believe in the "Palestinian cause" -- by which they mean the establishment of another Arab-Islamic dictatorship state with no human rights in it.
Coexistence is not the issue for Christians here, but rather fear for their own existence -- based on the ruthless lack of freedom under the PA, as in all Arab states.
Is the new Jordanian PM Israel's new friend in the Middle East?
As security coordination between Jordan and Israel tightens, a rapprochement between the nations may now appear to be extending into the the political sphere.
On Sunday, Jordanian King Abdullah dissolved the parliament and appointed Hani al-Mulki, a veteran politician who played a major role in the Kingdom's peace negotiations with Israel, as the country's new prime minister in place of Abdullah Ensour, who resigned earlier this month.
Since the King announced the appointment, Jordanian media has referred to Mulki as "the head of normalization with Israel."
Mulki is a veteran Jordanian diplomat and headed the country's delegation to peace negotiations with Israel in 1994.
Subsequently, as Jordan's foreign minister, he met with a long list of senior Israeli politicians. In 2005, he held talks with then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his deputy at the time, Ehud Olmert.
When he was Minister of Water and Irrigation, Mulki was an ardent supporter of the Red Sea-Dead Sea Canal - a joint Israeli-Jordanian economic project - which strove to channel water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea to replenish its dwindling water supply. According to diplomatic sources, Mulki was responsible for reviving the project in 2005.
Republicans join Democrats in anger at AIPAC
Congressional Democrats are still nursing wounds from last year’s fight over the nuclear deal with Iran, which the American Israel Public Affairs Committee aggressively opposed. But in a shift, Republicans are now the ones expressing dissatisfaction with the lobby.
Top GOP lawmakers are questioning its will to wage small legislative battles for Israel after suffering such a consequential and public loss last summer.
Aides to Republican leadership on Capitol Hill tell The Jerusalem Post of widespread disappointment in the lobby over the last several months, which the politicos view as dragging its feet on anything unrelated to its new, central concern: renewal of the Iran Sanctions Act, a move that the Obama administration has yet to oppose or endorse.
The law has been in place throughout implementation of the nuclear accord. The White House has not said whether renewal of the law would be a technical or spiritual violation of the agreement, or conversely, whether it would bolster the administration’s ability to enforce it.
The nuclear deal does not allow the US to pass any new nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, but it remains unclear whether renewal of existing law – and the continuation of executive orders waving enforcement of parts of that law – amounts to passage of new sanctions, or simply to renewal of an existing infrastructure of sanctions mechanisms.
Housing minister: Government policy not to build in West Bank
Housing Minister Yoav Galant (Kulanu) reportedly told US Jewish leaders last week that the official Israeli government policy was not to build in the West Bank.
Galant’s comments represented a break with the right-wing government’s support for Israeli settlement in the West Bank, though he admitted that building was ongoing under the aegis of other government ministries.
“Basically – I am following the policy of the government and it is that we are not building in Judea and Samaria. But I am not the only one with the ability to build,” Galant said, according to Haaretz. “There are private people and other segments of the government that work according to different ministers.”
Speaking in a closed meeting of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Galant said the Israeli government was complying with its agreements reached with the Bush administration, under which Jerusalem may build within the settlement blocs. The Obama administration has denied any such agreements between Washington and Jerusalem exist.
Ayelet Shaked: Israel is the tip of the spear in war on terror
After six years of grueling negotiations, the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee on Monday passed a major new bill on terrorism in its second and third readings.
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked on Monday praised the committee’s vote saying Israel is "the tip of the spear in the war on terror" and that the vote was a “important step toward making participating in terror unprofitable.”
The bill, which the committee has been debating intensely since the fall, but dates back to 2010, now goes to the full Knesset where it is expected to pass, possibly even next week, along with support from the opposition.
The legislation, which creates a catalog of new offenses to match up with “the modern challenges of terrorism,” passed by a vote of 10-2 with members of the opposition supporting the bill after having opposed earlier versions of the bill.
Former justice minister and opposition MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) praised the bill, stating it would “give new and better tools to Israel to fight terror” and Committee Chairman Nissan Slomiansky said it struck the right balance between strengthening tools for fighting terror and human rights.
East Jerusalem teens nabbed in stabbing of elderly women
The Israel Police and Shin Bet security service arrested three underage East Jerusalem residents in connection with a stabbing attack earlier this month, in which two elderly Jewish women, one of them a Holocaust survivor, were moderately injured, officials said Monday.
On May 10, a group of five elderly Israelis were walking along the Armon Hanatziv promenade in the capital — in an area of the park known as the Peace Forest — when two Arab teenagers wearing masks pulled out knives and the “wooden handle of an ax” and attacked two of the women before fleeing the scene, police said.
The victims, aged 82 and 86, were hospitalized in moderate condition.
According to police, the attack was premeditated, and the suspects had discussed it “while they were at school through social media, specifically Facebook.”
The three suspects are all 16 to 17 years old and are residents of the Jabel Mukaber neighborhood of East Jerusalem, police said. Due to their young age, their identities will not be made public.
Two of them are accused of carrying out the assault, while the third is believed to have conspired with them and planned to “carry out the stabbing attack if the other two died,” the Shin Bet said in a statement.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Palestinians Mull Plans For When No Holocaust Survivors Left To Stab (satire)
Two teenage suspects in the stabbing attack on several Holocaust survivors two weeks ago were arrested today, reigniting the question in Palestinian society as to what offensive strategy to adopt once the survivors die out of old age and there are none left to stab.
The suspects allegedly attacked a group of elderly women at a promenade overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem, injuring two. Whether or not the suspects in question are indicted or brought to trial, the prospect of having no more Holocaust survivors to stab or otherwise attack has Palestinian strategists and thinkers debating what approach to take once the last survivor perishes. Bir Zeit University in Ramallah is scheduled to hold a conference next week on the subject.
In a rare show of unity, the conference is expected to bring together representatives of various Palestinian factions bitterly, often violently, opposed to each other, such as Hamas and Fatah. However, the dwindling number of Holocaust survivors to stab has prompted even those quarreling groups to set aside their differences, however temporarily, to address the developing crisis.
“We can expand our resistance operations beyond the region, targeting the enemy in other places, but that will prove a short-lived solution, so to speak,” explained Aiwil Killajous, who will represent Hamas at the conference. “Violent power struggles are one thing, and a natural part of Palestinian politics, but some things are more important. We really must develop a coherent approach to this problem, because it’s not going to go away. I mean, it will, and that’s the problem, but – you know what I mean.”
Prosecutors finally settle on nationalistic motivation, day after police say no evidence of it; court orders Palestinian suspect held until Thursday
Police twice changed a charge sheet for a Palestinian suspect in the rape of a disabled Israeli woman, finally settling on a racism motive, during a roller coaster court hearing in the politically fraught case Monday.
The confused court proceedings came a day after police said the gang rape of a disabled Jewish woman by three people — a Palestinian man and teenager and an Israeli man — was likely not a nationalistically motivated attack. The two Palestinians were arrested last week while the Israeli man remains at large.
A charge sheet presented to the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court initially included the racism clause and a request to keep Imad Aldin Draghmah detained for eight more days.
However, a police representative first asked for the racism charge to be removed, and then shortly afterwards, to be included again, citing the ongoing police search for the third suspect.
The court ordered that Draghmah remain in custody until Thursday.
Israeli Mother Injured in Palestinian Rock Attack Calls Survival of Babies in Car ‘Bloody Miracle;’ Says She Wouldn’t Have Fired Her Weapon (INTERVIEW)
A 31-year-old Israeli mother-of-four who was lightly injured in a terrorist attack on Sunday told The Algemeiner that her survival — and that of her year-and-a-half-old daughter, sister Miri, and newborn niece — was “a bloody miracle.”
Aviva Yisraeli, a resident of the Judean settlement of Tekoa in Gush Etzion, recounted the horror of riding in Miri’s car, with their babies in tow, and watching a huge rock smash into the windshield.
Yisraeli – whose family immigrated to Israel from Canada when she was a young girl — described returning from the branch of the Tipat Halav baby wellness clinic in nearby Efrat, when an 18-year-old male Palestinian suddenly emerged from behind one of the cement security barriers along the road and hurled what she called a “boulder” head-on at their car.
“Glass was everywhere. The rear-view mirror flew off and hit me in the shoulder,” she said. “Miri, who was driving, yelled, ‘What do I do, what do I do?’ And I told her to keep going, until we could reach a manned lookout post. That’s what she did – thank God she didn’t lose control of the car — and when we got there, we called the IDF.”
Yisraeli, 31, said that though she owns a gun, it was not with her at the time, because she had been at her sister’s house, before the two set out with the children, and she had left her weapon at home.
Video: Terror in a Supermarket, and an 8 Year Old Survivor: Real People Real Stories Part 3
Miri tells the story of a terror stabbing in a supermarket as witnessed by her 8 year old niece. When people say, “just a stabbing” or terror as “Palestinian resistance” this is what we’re really talking about. This is how it impacts the lives of innocent people.

Israeli flag stirs up controversy in Arab beach soccer tournament in Egypt
Inter-Arab conflicts continue to involve Israel, particularly amid the growing trend of Arab countries seeking to keep Israel out of sports competitions.
Last week, Israel indirectly stirred up controversy during the opening ceremony of a beach soccer tournament in Egypt after the Israeli flag was featured in a documentary film presenting the upcoming tournament.
Eight Arab national teams have been participating in the tournament taking place in the city of Sharm El Sheikh since Friday.
Several Arab delegations strongly denounced the appearance of Israel's flag in the short documentary, stating that "the flag is not relevant to the tournament or to the activities related to it."
In protest of the incident, the Omani delegation left the event's press conference, alleging that "there is no reason to mention the name of the Zionist state during in Arab competition."
Hezbollah deputy: No war this summer 'unless Israel chooses'
"There are no signs that Israel is preparing for a new assault on Lebanon, but if she chooses to do so, she will find that Hezbollah is at maximum readiness", said the Lebanese terror organization's deputy leader Sheikh Naim Qassem, at a ceremony in the south of the country on Sunday.
In his speech, Qassem said that while over the summer the conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen are set to continue, he does not expect to see a war on Lebanese soil. He credited Hezbollah's role in Israel's withdrawal from Southern Lebanon in 2000, saying that the group's "victory" will ultimately bring about Israel's downfall.
"Divine victory in May 2000 ended the era of Israeli expansion," said Qassem. "Israel is not able to behave as it could before, since she has learned a lesson and began an era of decline. So, we have the right to look to the future and say that Israel will disappear."
Qassem added: "We did not defeat Israel because of the rifle, but because we have educated our children against the international takfiris (apostates). God gives us victory because of their faith, and today we are honored with the land, thanks to this belief."
Israel intercepts communication equipment en route to Gaza terror groups
Dozens of packages containing drone parts and other communications equipment en route to terror cells operating inside the Gaza Strip were intercepted by Israeli security forces in recent weeks, the Defense Ministry said Monday.
The packages, which were shipped through the Israeli postal service, contained disassembled drones, rifle scopes, radio receivers, cellphone signal boosters and video transmitters, a statement from the ministry said.
Some of the equipment, including the 5.8 GHz video transmitters confiscated at the border crossing earlier on Monday morning — are banned for private use both in Israel and Palestinian Authority-controlled areas of the West Bank.
According to the statement, a joint operation by border authorities, police, the Shin Bet security agency, and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories intercepted the packages at the Erez border crossing at the Gaza-Israel border over the past several weeks.
Dr. Mordechai Kedar: Iran is an artificial country
Iran is an artificial country which includes a large number of ethnic groups: Persians, Azars, Kurds, Turkmen, Baloch, Arabs and more. The largest group, the Persians, is also the most dominant and makes up 60% of the population. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is Azari.
Southwestern Iran, the Khuzistan region, is home to the Arab minority group, but that is where most of the oil and gas resources are to be found underground, right under the feet of that Arab minority. They are Shiites, exactly like the majority Persians, but are treated with disdain by the government. In the past, the region was called Arabistan to allude to the ethnic group living there, but after the 1925 Persian Conquest, the Persians changed its name to Khuzistan in an attempt to hide its Arab character. Today it is called Ahwaz, the name of its capital city.
The area's size is over 60,000 sq. kilometers, three times the size of the State of Israel, but its population, numbering 4.5 million, is half that of Israel. Although most of Iran's gas and oil reserves are in the region, most of the Arab population gets nothing out of it, and probably even suffers from it.
Iran’s Holocaust denial is part of a malevolent strategy
The Islamic Republic of Iran held another Holocaust cartoon festival this month, inviting the usual despicable cast of characters. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif assured the New Yorker that although the event would proceed, Iran would ensure that the “people who have preached racial hatred and violence will not be invited.” Evidently, Zarif believes there are Holocaust deniers who do not harbor “racial hatred.”
As Iranian President Hassan Rouhani once remarked to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, the Holocaust — the question of whether it happened and the dimensions of the slaughter — is really “a matter for historians and researchers to illuminate.” Crimes against humanity are bad, Rouhani averred, as he quickly glided over the Nazis’ anti-Jewish malevolence to similar crimes committed today, leaving no doubt for a Middle Eastern audience that he was talking about Israel. Among Iran’s ruling elite, Holocaust denial and the accompanying conspiracies about Jewish power are omnipresent and diverse, but they all have strategic intent. Anti-Semitism is not only central to the regime’s identity; it’s also inextricably tied to its soft-power propaganda aimed at the larger Muslim world, especially Arabs.
Anti-Semitism was part of Iran’s inception. The revolution’s father, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, spent much of his life indulging it. In Khomeini’s rendition, the Jews, always untrustworthy in Islamic history, are surrogates of Western imperialism who have displaced Palestinian Muslims and even distorted Islam’s scriptural texts. Khomeini’s hatred toward Israel exceeded even his disdain for America. The United States was a pernicious, seductive imperial power. But it was America’s conduct, not its existence, that the mullahs contested. Israel, on the other hand, was for Khomeini an unlawful entity, irrespective of its actual policies and behavior. No peace compact or negotiated settlement with the aggrieved Palestinians could ameliorate this essential illegitimacy. Israel must be wiped off the map.
As citizens set to miss hajj, Iran says Saudi Arabia ‘blocking path to Allah’
Iran said Sunday its pilgrims will miss the pilgrimage this year because Saudi Arabia, custodian of Islam’s holiest sites, was raising obstacles and “blocking the path to Allah” for its faithful.
The Iranian Hajj Organization said: “Saudi Arabia is opposing the absolute right of Iranians to go on the hajj and is blocking the path leading to Allah.”
The Saudi side had failed to respond to Iranian demands over “the security and respect” of its pilgrims to Mecca, of whom 60,000 took part in last year’s hajj, the organization said.
In the latest dispute between regional rivals Tehran and Riyadh, “after two series of negotiations without any results because of obstacles raised by the Saudis, Iranian pilgrims will unfortunately not be able to take part in the hajj” in September, Iran’s Culture Minister Ali Jannati said.
Saudi officials have said an Iranian delegation wrapped up a visit to the kingdom on Friday without reaching a final agreement on arrangements for pilgrims from the Islamic republic.
Iran demands social media sites deliver data on its citizens
Iran has set a one-year deadline for foreign social media to hand over data on their Iranian users, state news agency IRNA said Sunday.
It said the decision was taken on Saturday at a meeting of an Iranian committee on the use of cyberspace headed by President Hassan Rouhani that serves as an IT regulator.
“Foreign social media active in the country must transfer to Iran all the data they hold on Iranian citizens” within a year, IRNA said.
The measure will affect, in particular, Telegram, an instant messaging app with more than 20 million users in the Islamic Republic, a country of 80 million people.
IRNA said the committee had also decided to work to develop homegrown social media to compete with foreign networks.
Authorities in Iran, where Facebook and Twitter are officially banned although users can gain access with easily available software, have for years tried to impose curbs on Iranians using social media.
The Sham of Iranian Elections: The Supreme Leader Still Reigns Supreme
With the election of Ahmad Jannati as chairman of the Iranian Assembly of Experts and Ali Larijani as parliament speaker, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei once again proved that it is he who reigns supreme. Jannati and Larijani are both members of his camp, and regarded as part of his inner circle.
The hardline Jannati, 90, secured 51 of the 86 votes cast, and has been a regular member of the Assembly of Experts for the past couple of decades. Furthermore, since 1992, he has chaired the overwhelmingly powerful Guardian Council, the non-elective body whose members are installed by the Supreme Leader in a complex process, and whose task is to vet candidates in all sorts of “elections,” as well as oversee the passage of laws in the Majlis (the parliament) so that they don’t violate the wishes of the Supreme Leader.
In addition to Jannati, Mohammad Ali Movahedi Kermani, another hardliner, became Assembly of Experts first deputy; and Mohammad Hashemi Shahroudi, yet another hardliner, became second deputy. The Assembly of Experts is the political body whose supposed task is to “oversee” the acts of the incumbent Supreme Leader and to “elect” the next one.
On the other hand, Ibrahim Amini, whom the centrist/reformist/moderate bloc had supported for the chairmanship, managed to secure only 21 votes. Amini was not even elected to the board of directors of the Assembly.
Iran nuke deal drove Trump to run for president, son says
The controversial nuclear agreement reached between Iran and major world powers last year compelled real estate mogul and presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump to run in the 2016 presidential elections, his son said Sunday.
“I think, honestly, the Iran nuclear deal was one of the things that made him jump into the race,” Eric Trump said in an interview with the New York AM 970 radio station. “I think that was a game changer for him.”
“That is when he finally said, ‘Kids, I am going to it. I am going to give this a real shot,’” he added.
After years of negotiations, Iran and world powers, led by the United States, reached an agreement last year to freeze and inspect Iran’s rogue nuclear program in return for sanctions relief.
Since launching his campaign last July, Trump has repeatedly criticized US President Barack Obama’s handling of the diplomatic talks that led to the multilateral agreement — it involved five other world powers in addition to the US and Iran — which eased crippling international economic sanctions levied against Iran in exchange for a curtailing of its nuclear program.
Trump 'won't pressure Israel' to act against its interests
Attorney David M. Friedman, one of Donald trump's two advisors on Israel, told Arutz Sheva in an exclusive interview that Donald Trump has assured him he will not pressure Israel into "peace processes" and concessions that it does not want.
“I’ve known Donald Trump for about 15 years," he said, in a conversation with Dr. Joseph Frager. "I met him in the context of being his lawyer, and we’ve become friends over the years. He know how much I love Israel, and hopefully people who read Arutz Sheva know how much I love Israel because I write a column for Arutz Sheva as often as I can.
Trump "wanted an advisor who he knew loved Israel," Friedman explained. "So I hope people can take comfort in the fact that he’s taking advice from me. Because there’s obviously hundreds of people in New York who have thoughts about Israel – to the right, to the left, and the middle – and he chose someone who he knows has a deep love for Israel. For all of Israel, for the entire Land of Israel. So that alone says something about his feelings. He has a very strong view as to who’s wrong and who’s right in the Israeli Palestinian conflict. He remembers very well who was dancing on the roofs at 9/11 and who was mourning, who was crying. He has an innate sense of the issues and the problems, but most importantly he knows who’s right and who’s wrong.
"I have his assurances that he’s not going to pressure Israel to do things that are not in Israel’s best interest. If Israel wants to pursue a peace process he’s happy to help. But he’s not going to pressure Israel into things that it doesn’t want to do," Friedman stressed.
Jewish wedding tweeted from Turkey draws anti-Semitism clamor
The small Jewish community in Edirne, in northwest Turkey, has waited patiently since 1976 for a wedding in its local synagogue – and when it finally occurred yesterday, the response it drew from other Turks was less than celebratory.
The wedding was set to be such a significant and joyous event that it was decided to broadcast it via Periscope and Twitter – a particularly popular social medium in Turkey. However, it drew the attention of anti-Semites in the country, and the bride, groom and Jewish community in general were told, "Too bad Hitler didn't finish the job" and the like.
Edirne has a Jewish history of some 1,500 years, but just 50 years ago, only 100 Jews lived in Edirne. Finally, the local Jewish cemetery there was confiscated by the authorities, and then destroyed to make way for a residential neighborhood.
Then began the upswing. In 2013, the synagogue was renovated, and last year it was opened to the public. Its first wedding, yesterday, drew many members of the budding Jewish community, and the joy was great. Community leader Yitzchak Ibrahimzadeh even decided that it should be shared with the public at large, via Twitter. The happiness turned to consternation, however, as the responses began tweeting in: "Kill the Jews!" "Get out of occupied Palestine!" etc.

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