Monday, November 21, 2016

From Ian:

Netanyahu: Abbas Is Not Preparing Palestinians for Reconciliation with Israel
Yesterday was the 39th anniversary of President Anwar Sadat's historic visit to Jerusalem. A peace agreement was achieved between Israel and Egypt through direct negotiations; this agreement has stood for almost 40 years, currently under the courageous leadership of Egyptian President al-Sisi. I note this because here one can see the contrast with what is occurring vis-à-vis the Palestinians.
Abu Mazen refuses to come to direct negotiations without preconditions, is also continuing to incite his people regarding the idea of a right of return and erasing the State of Israel,
and, to my regret, is not taking the right steps to start calming things and preparing public opinion for reconciliation with the State of Israel, which we see among certain Arab countries, the buds of a start here, and I hope this will change.
Required Changes in PA text books, used in US funded UNRWA schools.
As President-elect Donald Trump launches his transition team, he will undoubtedly take a good look at US Middle East Policy. The new President will have to cope with the fact that the US government pays for one third of the 1.2 billion dollar budget for UNRWA, an agency which administers the refugee status of five million Palestinian Arabs…refugees for perpetuity.
Even worse, the US Funded UNRWA school system has adopted the Palestinian Authority war education curriculum, which indoctrinates their students to take up arms for the "right of return" to villages which their grandparents left in 1948.
Since the motto of UNRWA is: "PEACE STARTS HERE", the new Trump administration may now wish to finally introduce a peace curriculum into UNRWA schools. Here is how President Trump can accomplish that goal.
Stop De-legitimization of the State of Israel and of the Jewish Presence in the Country
  • Every map that shows today's political boundaries in the region should mark Israel's pre-1967 territory by the name "Israel". Such a territory must not be left un-named and certainly should not be named "Palestine", as that constitutes a distortion of the present situation on the ground.
  • Israel should be presented as an ordinary sovereign state in every text mentioning the region's states currently.
  • Every reference to a region, settlement or site within Israel's pre-1967 armistice lines must not describe such a region, settlement or site as exclusively Palestinian.
  • Every discussion within the books of the holy places in the country should refer to the Jewish holy places alongside the Muslim and Christian ones. Any reference to a place which happens to be sacred to Jews (such as the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem) should state that fact.

Infighting Clouds Palestinian Authority's Future
With the long-ruling Palestinian Fatah faction torn by rivalries, fierce shootouts between Palestinian security forces and Fatah-aligned gunmen have erupted in recent months, plunging the Balata camp into unrest and lawlessness.
The violence, much of it directed at a Fatah leadership seen as corrupt and out of touch, comes as the movement prepares to hold an overdue leadership conference at the end of the month and reflects a combustible power struggle between the faction's aging leader, President Mahmoud Abbas, and exiled rival Mohammed Dahlan, a former top aide who has the backing of some gunmen and disaffected Fatah activists.
"I no longer want to fight Israel. I'm not willing to die for these officials who are only taking care of their families and letting us suffer," said Abu Riziq, 30, who spent nearly seven years in an Israeli prison for assisting in a suicide bombing.
The violence has left about a dozen people dead this year. Observers warn it could spiral out of control the longer that Fatah remains divided.
Abbas, 82, is pushing for leadership elections in his Fatah movement and the Palestine Liberation Organization, an umbrella movement dominated by Fatah, before the end of the year, as part of what officials say is largely an elaborate attempt to cement his power and block Dahlan's return.
Abbas has no plans to step down or designate a successor, despite a recent health scare in which doctors ordered an unscheduled heart exam prompted by complaints of fatigue. Those elected to top Fatah and PLO posts could form a pool of potential successors, though none would likely challenge Abbas as long as he is in office.

Report: France to postpone Mideast peace summit in Paris
The international peace summit seeking to reignite the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process, scheduled to be held in Paris in December, will be postponed and possibly even cancelled due to the result of the U.S. presidential elections.
The reason, according to a Sunday report in the London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat, is that the elected administration opposes the summit, Israel's objections to it notwithstanding.
Al-Hayat quoted senior government officials in Paris, who said that France had received clear messages from the elected administration in Washington saying the planned summit was unacceptable at this time.
Senior officials in Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' office told Israel Hayom that they had not received any official notice about the postponement or cancellation of the summit.
Danon: No one will pressure us into making dangerous concessions
Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, addressed the Zionist Organization of America’s annual gala on Sunday, warning foreign diplomats looking to force through one-sided resolutions at the United Nations during the White House transition.
Danon, who was recognized at the event for “outstanding diplomacy”, told participants of the efforts by some to take advantage of President Obama’s lame-duck term and the disorder caused by the transition from the old administration to the new.
“[J]ust recently,” said Danon, “senior diplomats from various countries told me that they plan on taking advantage of the transition period to advance a one-sided resolution against Israel.”
The Ambassador declared that Israel would not be forced into taking steps that would be harm its national security.
“One thing is clear: Such a resolution will be dangerous for Israel. We will not be pressured to make concessions that will endanger our people.”
Bolton warns Obama on Israel action at UN
Former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton warned Sunday that President Obama should not take any actions before leaving office that could hurt Israel at the U.N.
Bolton said during an interview with radio host John Catsimatidis that there is "a lot of speculation over in Turtle Bay at U.N. headquarters about resolutions that recognize a Palestinian state or that try and set a boundary for Israel based on the 1967 ceasefire lines."
"I think that’d be very inadvisable for the president to do that," he said.
Obama said during his final speech as president at the U.N. General Assembly that Israel would be in a better position if it did not “permanently occupy and settle Palestinian land" and Palestinians would be better off if they were to “reject incitement," according to the Jerusalem Post.
Bolton said Sunday that Trump's transition team is "doing an excellent job," noting that Trump has spoken with various world leaders who have congratulated him on winning the election.
“They’re obviously very, very interested in finding out more about him, more about what his administration’s priorities are going to be,” Bolton said.
Trump’s top Pentagon pick said settlements were creating ‘apartheid’
One of President-elect Donald Trump’s leading candidates for secretary of defense has said Israel’s settlement project could turn the country into an apartheid state and that the United States pays a price for its support of Israel.
Retired Marine Corps general James Mattis met with the incoming president Saturday at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, to reportedly discuss a cabinet post.
According to CNN, Trump was extremely impressed by Mattis, who is now his top choice to run the Defense Department, a position whose power over the US military is second only to that of the president.
Mattis’s resume includes over two years heading the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) under President Barack Obama from August 2010 to March 2013, a post that has command authority for all US forces in the Middle East.
More Balfour Declaration resources
The following lecture was given by the British historian Sir Martin Gilbert – Winston Churchill’s official biographer – at the Foreign Office in London in October 2007.
On 4 August 1914, Britain declared war on Germany. In the early months of the war, as the fighting at sea intensified, Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, faced a growing shortage of acetone, the solvent used in making cordite: the essential naval explosive. Through the head of the powder department at the Admiralty, Sir Frederic Nathan, a Jewish chemical engineer, Churchill approached Chaim Weizmann, who for the past decade had been working at Manchester University (he and Churchill had shared a platform in 1905 to protest against the most recent Russian pogroms).
Weizmann later recalled their meeting at the Admiralty: ‘Almost his first words were: “Well, Dr. Weizmann, we need thirty thousand tons of acetone. Can you make it?” I was so terrified by this lordly request that I almost turned tail.”’ But Weizmann did answer, telling Churchill: ‘So far I have succeeded in making a few hundred cubic centimetres of acetone at a time by the fermentation process. … if I were somehow able to produce a ton of acetone, I would be able to multiply that by any factor you chose … I was given carte blanche by Mr Churchill and the department, and I took upon myself a task which was to tax all my energies for the next two years, and which was to have consequences which I did not foresee’.
Those consequences were the support shown by Churchill’s successor at the Admiralty, Arthur Balfour, whom Weizmann won over to the prospect of British support for a Jewish National Home in Palestine once Turkey had been defeated.
IDF to release new 'moral guidelines' for soldiers in West Bank
The Israeli army is in the final stages of developing a new document which will instruct soldiers in how to better prepare themselves for any ethical dilemmas they may face while serving in the West Bank.
Set to be released in the upcoming weeks, the document is said to be a result of studying the interrogations of Palestinians who had carried out attacks against Israelis and had claimed they had been motivated by revenge against IDF troops who they accused of treating them, their friends or family in an unfair manner at checkpoints.
Written by Efraim Brigade Commander, Col. Roi Sheetrit under the order of West Bank Division Commander Brig. Gen. Lior Carmeli, it outlines to soldiers how to properly conduct arrests, including how to best enter and search the homes of Palestinians suspects and their families, as well as how to properly treat Palestinians detainees.
Israel has carried out near-nightly raids in the West Bank, arresting Palestinians, shutting down weapons factories and confiscating arms, greatly reducing the number of illegal arms that could end up in the hands of potential attackers.
According to a senior IDF officer, “these are the things that soldiers don’t learn during their training. Even outstanding soldiers can sometimes get out of line during events that are morally problematic. It’s not always bullying, it’s simply that sometimes they are unable to properly assess a situation.”
Report: First-of-Its-Kind Drill Held to Mentally Prepare Elite IDF Soldiers for Horrors of War
A first-of-its-kind drill was held last week at an IDF base in southern Israel to mentally prepare a group of elite special forces soldiers for the horrors of war — including disturbing sights, smells and sounds — they might face in future battlefield scenarios, the Hebrew news site nrg reported.
As the soldiers fought their way through the training facility, they encountered life-like fake body parts, bloodied and burned, strewn about on the ground — products of the Xtreme Simulations startup company.
“This is the closest thing to the real situations fighters will experience in the field,” Yonatan Bahat — the chief operating officer of Xtreme Simulations and a lieutenant colonel in the reserves — was quoted by nrg as saying. “After an exercise like this, the readiness of fighters to deal with such circumstances, which we all hope they never come across, will be better.”
Technologically-advanced dummies made by Xtreme Simulations enable medical personnel to practice how to treat battle wounds in combat conditions, the report said.
IDF carries out overnight raid in West Bank, arrests 9 wanted Palestinians
Nine wanted Palestinians have been arrested and a large illegal weapons cache confiscated after a joint overnight operation of the IDF, Border Police and local police in the West Bank early on Monday morning, the Israeli army said in a statement.
According to the IDF, two members of Hamas and three members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad were arrested during the raids. The additional four suspects were not reported to be members of any specific group.
Four of the suspects arrested in the raids were wanted for targeting Israeli civilians and security forces in past terror attacks and riots.
A separate joint raid by the IDF, Border Police, Israel Police and Shin Bet security agency, a makeshift office for funding and inciting of terror attacks was shut down. During the raid, security officials confiscated thousands of shekels as well as a computer and other written documents.
Jerusalem light rail stabber sentenced to 18 years
Subhi Abu Khalifa, 19, was sentenced Monday to 18 years behind bars for stabbing and wounding two people at a light rail station in October 2015, at the height of a wave of Palestinian attacks.
One of the victims, a 25-year-old yeshiva student, was seriously injured and taken to a hospital with a knife still buried in his neck.
A second Israeli, apparently a light rail security guard, was very lightly hurt after wrestling with the attacker in an attempt to prevent him from fleeing the scene.
Abu Khalifa, from the capital’s Shuafat neighborhood, was convicted in May of attempted murder, causing serious injury, and carrying a knife. Defense and prosecution attorneys agreed to ask for an 18-year prison term.
The terror attack took place just after noon in October 2015 at the light rail stop near the Israel Police’s national headquarters close to Ammunition Hill in northern Jerusalem.
French police foil terror attack, arrest 7
Police have broken up a terror ring plotting an attack in France after arresting seven suspects in Strasbourg and Marseille, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Monday.
The arrests of seven people — of French, Moroccan and Afghan origin — “enabled us to prevent a long-planned terror attack on our soil,” Cazeneuve told a televised news conference.
He said the investigation would show whether “the foiled attack was a coordinated attack aiming to target several sites simultaneously on our soil.”
The raids were carried out overnight Saturday to Sunday in the eastern city of Strasbourg and Marseille in the south following an eight-month investigation by security services.
“Credible information made these arrests necessary,” one security source told AFP earlier, asking not to be named because they were not authorized to speak on the case.
Nearly 300 detained in Egypt over Sissi assassination plot, Sinai attacks
Egypt will try 292 jihadist suspects linked to the Islamic State over plots to assassinate President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and the Saudi crown prince and attacks in the Sinai Peninsula, a prosecution official said Sunday.
The suspects, including 151 currently in custody, were referred to a military court for alleged membership of the “Sinai Province,” the local affiliate of the Islamic State group, which is leading an insurrection in the Sinai.
Sinai Province has carried out scores of attacks in recent years, mainly targeting security forces. The insurgents stepped up their attacks in 2013 when Sissi, who was then the army chief, led the overthrow of Egypt’s first freely elected president, the Islamist Mohammed Morsi.
The Egyptian official said the suspects were questioned about the accusations against them and 66 confessed during an investigation that lasted more than a year.
All of the suspects were involved in 17 operations, including two plots to kill Sissi, one while he was on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia and one in Cairo, the official said.
Why are Hezbollah militias involved in Peru’s violence?
A Peruvian citizen’s death during a union protest in La Pampa district is raising questions regarding Hezbollah-linked militia presence in the Latin American country.
As protesters were confronting security officers a few weeks ago, one of the demonstrators was reportedly shot in the head by sniper fire.
Local media in Peru then accused one militia group linked directly with Hezbollah cooperating with the Sandero Luminoso Party, a communist group with an extremist history.
These accusations were based on evidence that a Hezbollah-backed charity La Pampa district is supported financially and ideologically by Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah.
Hezbollah operates in Peru in cooperation with political groups such as the Sandero Luminoso – also known as the Shining Path Party.
The party and its affiliates follow the Peruvian communist party and the military and political Maoist communists in Peru.
Overshadowed by U.S. Elections, Syrian Government Seeks to Regain Media Attention by Bombing Everything (satire)
Syrian government officials have acknowledged that recent events in the US have left them playing catch up in the news cycle. But they have refused to be disheartened and have vowed to get back in the game the best way they know how: just bomb everything.
Hospitals? Bomb them. Blood banks? Bomb them some more. Ambulances? Wait till they stop and load up casualties, and then bomb them.
However, a spokesman has admitted that the quest for more targets has forced them into greater creativity. “East Aleppo is looking pretty sparse when it comes to vital infrastructure. But we refuse to be discouraged. We understand that a kindergarten has just opened up in the basement of a former school we blew apart last month. Guess what the letter of the day for those kids is going to be? Yep, B.”
Erdogan: ‘Impossible’ IDF soldiers acted in self-defense on Marmara
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has insisted that Israeli commandos were guilty in the fatal 2010 raid on a flotilla attempting to enter Gaza, dismissing video evidence and investigations that show the soldiers were attacked before opening fire.
In an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 to be broadcast Monday, Erdogan, who recently restored ties with Israel after years at odds, said “it is impossible to believe” that the Israeli soldiers who boarded the Mavi Marmara tried to avert bloodshed.
The Mavi Marmara was a Turkish ship leading a protest flotilla to the Gaza Strip in 2010, where Israel maintains a security blockade to prevent ruling terror group Hamas from importing weapons. Israeli naval commandos boarded the ship, were attacked by activists who were waiting for them, and responded with gunfire, killing ten. Ten Israelis were wounded. The incident soured relations between Jerusalem and Ankara for years.
“We have all of the documents and evidence,” Erdogan said, and “it’s impossible” that the soldiers were acting in self-defense.
“Regrettably, 10 of our brothers were martyred there,” he added.
Turkish double standard on terror?
Speaking at the closing session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Istanbul, Erdogan said Turkey was on the frontline of a war on terrorism that could easily submerge Europe.
"Turkey is really like a barrier between terror groups and the rest of the world, notably Europe,” he said. “If we are unsuccessful in this fight, that is if this barrier is destroyed, the terrorists will spread fire and blood across the whole world just like a flood. Let's strengthen this barrier instead of weakening it."
The Turkish President also chastised European Union states for permitting members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to operate across the continent, and even allowing them to appear in the EU Parliament.
"As a country that suffers from terrorism, we cannot tolerate the fact that PKK members freely travel in the European countries and walk through the corridors of the European Parliament carrying posters of PKK leader (Abdullah Ocalan). Therefore, our friends need to take the necessary measures to prevent this. If they don't take these necessary measures, one day this (terror) will hit them like a boomerang. Let me say that."
While Turkey has long protested what it calls the soft handling of the PKK, a group it has designated as a terrorist organization, Turkey has given refuge to the Hamas terror group and served as the Gaza terror regime’s strongest patron.
Despite a reconciliation deal signed by Israel and Turkey to formally reestablish ties between the two regional powers, Turkey has maintained its links with the Hamas regime and remains a sanctuary for terrorists in exile.
Erdogan: My people believe U.S. was behind coup attempt
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hinted on Sunday that "his people" believe the U.S. to be behind the failed military coup that took place in Turkey this past summer.
Speaking to “60 Minutes” and quoted by The Hill, Erdogan said he won't blame the U.S. for the failed coup attempt, but questioned why the U.S. has not yet extradited exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, Erdogan’s rival who is being accused of organizing the coup.
"I'm not going to blame the United States. But that's what my people will think. Why are you still keeping that man? So as long you harbor him there, I'm sorry, don't get offended. But this is the -- perception of the Turkish nation and the Turkish people," said the Turkish president.
Erdogan dodged a question about whether he is doing anything to discourage the Turkish people from believing the U.S. was behind the coup.
"I cannot deceive my people. I cannot deceive my people here. Because I’m suffering right now. The United States is not suffering," he said.
"But I’m suffering because of the 241 martyrs that we have buried."
PreOccupiedTerritory: Journalist Not Arrested By Erdogan Wonders If Gov’t Thinks He’s Already Dead (satire)
One of the few remaining reporters or commentators in Turkey who has not been silenced or imprisoned by the authorities in the last several months has begun to believe that the only reason he has been left alone is that the government thinks he died already.
Aybi Mastul, 55, worked for a local publication that was shut down following the unsuccessful coup d’état in July this year, but was the only one of the reporting staff not to be detained in the ensuing months. Former coworkers have steadily joined the ranks of those now under lock and key for alleged opposition to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but Mastul appears to be the sole exception. The political reporter, who wrote several scathing articles this year alone on corruption of several Erdogan cronies, remains frightened and confused, but also confessed occasional relief at the possibility that the police and secret service evidently think he died in June.
“I think it’s because of someone else’s obituary,” he surmised. “There was a minor celebrity in Istanbul who kicked the bucket early this summer, and his name was very similar to mine. So my guess is some mid-level functionary in charge of putting together the lists of people to arrest for maintaining an independent press saw my name and thought, ‘Oh, didn’t he just die? I’m pretty sure he just died,’ and that was the end of it. At least I hope that was the end of it.”
Iran Deal Was Vulnerable All Along
Trump’s overall approach to Iran betrays a characteristic combination of eclecticism and bombast. He has warned of dire consequences to Obama’s outreach to the country, saying “they are going to have nuclear weapons. They are going to take over parts of the world that you wouldn’t believe. And I think it’s going to lead to nuclear holocaust.” But he has also complained that American companies are shut out of post-deal economic opportunities in Iran, and suggested that Washington will need to cooperate with Iran as well as Russia in dealing with the Syrian civil war.
Trump’s surprise victory has generated speculation around the Iran deal that ranges from alarmism to denial. Richard Nephew, a nonresident senior fellow with Brookings’ Arms Control and Nonproliferation Initiative, described Trump’s election as “the end game for the deal,” noting the centrality of the executive branch in implementing American obligations—specifically, waivers that provide for U.S. sanctions relief that is required by the JCPOA. As a sanctions lawyer underscored, the entire edifice for American compliance with the deal “could be overturned with the stroke of a pen.”
On the other side of the spectrum are those—including the Iranians themselves —who highlight that the deal was negotiated by seven states and the European Union (not to mention endorsed by the U.N. Security Council); they insist it cannot be scuttled or renegotiated as a result of the unilateral preferences of one party.
What Will Happen to the So-Called Nuclear Deal Under the Trump Administration?
I believe one of the most important reasons the public didn’t want more of the same was because of Obama’s foreign policy, and particularly as it related to the Iran nuclear deal. Americans rightly saw that this “deal” benefited Iran at the expense of the United States’ regional allies — Israel and Saudi Arabia — and that it undermined and weakened America’s security interests.
So what will happen to the deal now? The agreement was never presented to Congress to be ratified, which means that it does not have any legal standing whatsoever. As such, it is highly likely that the Trump’s administration will want to do away with or make it more stringent where Iran is concerned.
Trump campaigned on his opposition to deal, and I hope he follows through on his promises. Indeed, his own suggestion that John Bolton, a long-time tenacious adversary of the mullahs, might be the next secretary of state could be a clear indication of the incoming administration’s resolve to impose tougher restrictions on Tehran. At any rate, I believe the so-called “agreement” in its present form will soon become obsolete. Good riddance.
ISIS in Egypt Executes 100-Year-Old Sufi Cleric for ‘Practicing Witchcraft’
This week, an ISIS-affiliate operating out of Egypt released gruesome images purporting to show the execution of a popular 100-year-old Sufi cleric.
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, recently rebranded as ISIS-Sinai, has stepped up its barbarity since pledging allegiance to the Islamic State. The splinter terror group kidnapped Sheikh Sulaiman Abu Haraz only to execute the elderly man with a sword in a medieval-style killing.
"Abu Haraz, considered one of the symbolic Sufi clerics and elders of the Sinai Peninsula, was taken by the group from in front of his house in Arish city under gun point,” reports Al Arabiya. The fanatic religious militants accused the cleric of “practicing witchcraft,” an anachronistic charge notoriously leveled against pluralistic preachers and single women in Early Modern Europe.
This comes nearly a week after an Islamist suicide bomber attacked a Sufi shrine in the Balochistan province of southwestern Pakistan, slaughtering at least 52 people and injuring 100 others. The attack occurred inside the hallowed shrine of Sufi saint Shah Bilal Noorani as unsuspecting worshippers were engaged in a ritualistic dance called “dhamal.” ISIS released a statement to local news media claiming responsibility for the religiously-motivated attack, but Pakistani authorities suspect that other Sunni-extremist groups may have been involved based on the circumstantial evidence.

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