Thursday, January 19, 2017

From Ian:

Trump UN envoy pick slams settlements resolution as 'the ultimate low'
President- elect Donald Trump’s choice for ambassador to the UN vowed Wednesday a sharp pivot in US policy at the international body, questioning its bias against Israel and its inability to address the world’s most pressing crises.
At her Senate confirmation hearing, Nikki Haley, who currently serves as South Carolina’s governor, slammed the Obama administration for allowing “mistreatment” of Israel in the halls of an organization with a long record of disproportionately targeting the Jewish state. She called a resolution that passed through the Security Council last month condemning Israel’s settlement enterprise – facilitated by a US abstention – “the ultimate low,” a “terrible mistake,” a “kick in the gut” and a message to the world that America’s commitments to its allies ring hollow.
The resolution, numbered 2334, suggested that “being an ally of the United States doesn’t mean anything,” Haley told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“I will not go to New York and abstain when the UN seeks to create an international environment that encourages boycotts of Israel,” Haley said. “I will never abstain when the United Nations takes any action that comes in direct conflict with the interests and values of the United States.”
UN Watch: What Nikki Haley Said About the U.N. at Her Senate Confirmation Hearing
On Need for U.S. Leadership:
I will bring a firm message to the UN that U.S. leadership is essential in the world. It is essential for the advancement of humanitarian goals, and for the advancement of America’s national interests. When America fails to lead, the world becomes a more dangerous place. And when the world becomes more dangerous, the American people become more vulnerable. At the UN, as elsewhere, the United States is the indispensable voice of freedom. It is time that we once again find that voice.
On Anti-Israel Bias:
[A]ny honest assessment also finds an institution that is often at odds with American national interests and American taxpayers. Nowhere has the UN’s failure been more consistent and more outrageous than in its bias against our close ally Israel. In the General Assembly session just completed, the UN adopted twenty resolutions against Israel and only six targeting the rest of the world’s countries combined. In the past ten years, the Human Rights Council has passed 62 resolutions condemning the reasonable actions Israel takes to defend its security. Meanwhile the world’s worst human rights abusers in Syria, Iran, and North Korea received far fewer condemnations. This cannot continue.
On UNSC Res. 2334—”I Will Never Abstain”:
It is in this context that the events of December 23 were so damaging. Last month’s passage of UN Resolution 2334 was a terrible mistake, making a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians harder to achieve. The mistake was compounded by the location in which it took place, in light of the UN’s long history of anti-Israel bias. I was the first governor in America to sign legislation combatting the anti-Israel Boycott, Divest, and Sanction, or “BDS” movement. I will not go to New York and abstain when the UN seeks to create an international environment that encourages boycotts of Israel. In fact, I pledge to you this: I will never abstain when the United Nations takes any action that comes in direct conflict with the interests and values of the United States.
After the passage of the infamous UN resolution equating Zionism with racism in 1975, U.S. Ambassador Daniel Patrick Moynihan came to the unsettling realization that, as he put it, “if there were no General Assembly, this could never have happened.” Today, over forty years later, more and more Americans are becoming convinced by actions like the passage of Resolution 2334 that the United Nations does more harm than good. The American people see the UN’s mistreatment of Israel, its failure to prevent the North Korean nuclear threat, its waste and corruption, and they are fed up.
Nikki Haley Senate Confirmation Hearing - Israel Highlights


Columbia prof. says Israel advocates will 'infest' Trump administration
A pro-Palestinian professor created controversy on Thursday after commenting that under the incoming Trump administration, advocates for Israel would come to "infest" the United States government.
During an interview with Chicago public radio station WBEZ, Columbia University Professor of Modern Arab Studies Rashid Khalidi surmised that supporters of Israel would have greater influence on incoming US President Donald Trump, which would impose a new "vision" of the Middle East disproportionately favoring the Israeli government.
"So they have a vision whereby the occupied territories aren’t occupied, they have a vision whereby there is no such thing as the Palestinians, they have a vision whereby international law doesn’t exist, they have a vision whereby the United States can unilaterally cancel a decision in the United Nations," Khalidi said.
"And unfortunately, these people infest the Trump transition team, these people are going to infest our government as of January 20. And they are hand in glove with a similar group of people in the Israeli government and Israeli political life who think that whatever they think can be imposed on reality," he added.
For some in the Jewish community, "infest" possesses an antisemitic connotation that hearkens back to the Nazi era, when Jews were described as "rats" or "vermin."



Trump: ‘I did not forget’ Jerusalem embassy move pledge
US President-elect Donald Trump told the Israel Hayom Hebrew-language daily that he intends to go through with his pledge to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, saying that “clearly I did not forget” the promise made on the campaign trail.
Asked by the paper Tuesday night at the Chairman’s Global Dinner in Washington, DC — an exclusive black tie event for diplomats and members of the incoming administration — if “you have not forgotten your promise concerning the embassy in Jerusalem,” Trump responded that “of course I remember what I said about Jerusalem.”
“You know that I am not a person who breaks promises,” the president-elect added in comments published in Hebrew by the paper on Thursday morning.
On Wednesday, at his farewell press conference, President Barack Obama warned that unilateral actions can be “explosive,” in apparent reference to Trump’s talk of moving the embassy.
Throughout the presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly vowed he would relocate the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He declared at the AIPAC conference in March he would “move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem.”
Jerusalem mayor vaunts Trump, campaigns for embassy move
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has launched a campaign in support of incoming US president Donald Trump to “welcome him as a friend” and encourage the billionaire businessman to fulfill his campaign pledge to move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
In a video released Tuesday, Barkat urges Israelis to sign a letter of support for Trump in an effort to “make the US-Israeli relationship great again.”
“This week Donald Trump will enter the White House as president,” Barkat tells the camera from his office in Jerusalem’s City Hall. “Let’s together welcome him as a friend and thank him for his intention to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.”
Barkat, who has served as Jerusalem mayor since 2008, says the move will “send a clear message to the world that Jerusalem is the united capital of the State of Israel.”
Palestinians protest Trump statements on embassy move to Jerusalem
Hundreds of Palestinians participated in demonstrations in three Palestinian cities on Thursday to call on President-elect Donald Trump not to relocate the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Fatah, the dominant political party in the West Bank, other PLO factions, and local political committees organized the demonstrations, which took place in Nablus, Ramallah, and Hebron.
At the demonstration in Nablus’s Martyrs’ Square, hundreds of Palestinians turned out, waving Palestinian flags and holding signs that read “No to relocating the US Embassy” and “Relocating the US Embassy is the new Balfour Declaration for the Palestinian people” and “the world is making progress while Trump administration is going backwards.”
The demonstrators also yelled chants against the relocation of the embassy.
“We will not give up on our capital,” they called out as the sun beat over their heads. “Oh Trump, listen, listen, you have to rescind your decision.”
Trump cast his long shadow over a tepid Paris conference
What a difference a few months can make. In June, France convened a first peace summit in an attempt to advance a new peace process, with the help and attendance of Arab states. The Israelis and Palestinians did not participate in the first conference, but organizers hoped they would be present for the second, which took place Sunday. They didn’t show, and the organizing countries concluded the event with a tame statement about the need for a two-state solution, which Britain refused to sign and barred the EU from endorsing.
A lot happened in world diplomacy in the six months between the Paris meets, but the two events that had the greatest impact on the second peace summit were Donald Trump’s victory in the the US presidential elections, and the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which excoriated Israel for its settlement policies.
On December 23, breaking an eight-year streak of vetoing, the US abstained from the Security Council vote, allowing the anti-settlement resolution to pass.
As for Trump — although the president-elect’s name wasn’t mentioned at the conference, his presence was felt, notably in the statements delivered by France’s top diplomat, and in Britain’s breaking ranks over the concluding declaration.
Pope Francis Strengthens Palestinian Refusal to End Hostilities with Israel
By opening the Palestinian embassy during this critical time of intensified anti-Israel animosity, was the Pope justifying the Palestinian-Arab attempt to isolate the Jewish State and to impose on it unacceptable conditions of surrender through international pressure?
Unfortunately, Pope Francis's papacy has been marked by a long list of anti-Israel gestures which did not advance the cause of peace the Pope claims to champion.
The Pope also met with Palestinian "refugees," as if the 1948 war were the source of conflict between the two peoples, instead of centuries of Muslims having displaced Christians and other non-Muslims from Persia, the Christian Byzantine Empire, North Africa, Southern Spain, and most of Eastern Europe.
The Pope called Abbas an "angel of peace". Really? An angel of peace? According to Shmuely Boteach, "Abbas spent his life murdering Jews," by financing the Munich terror attack in 1972, by inciting against Jews and by glorifying Palestinian terrorists. The Pope, in short is praising a corrupt supporter of terrorists, a torturer who has abolished any democratic process in the West Bank.
Congress, Trump Working to Repair Broken U.S.-Israel Relationship
The lawmakers lay out five key priorities to help strengthen U.S.-Israel ties under the Trump administration, according to the letter.
They include:
  • “Signaling the Palestinian Authority to give up their goal of destroying Israel and accept Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State”
  • “Ending incitement and violence against Israel and Jews promoted by the Palestinian Authority”
  • “Reversing, to whatever extent possible, one-sided United Nations resolutions harmful to Israel and to Judaism”
  • “Moving our embassy, currently located in Tel Aviv, to Jerusalem as soon as practicable, consistent with ‘The Jerusalem Embassy and Relocation Act’ of 1995”
  • “Opposing efforts to de-legitimize Israel through boycott, divestment, and sanction”
Johnson told the Free Beacon that the renewed push to repair ties with Israel is critical given the Obama administration’s efforts to seek U.N. action against the Jewish state.
“Recent action (or lack thereof through abstention) taken by the Obama administration at the United Nations abandoned our staunch democratic ally in the Middle East, Israel, at their time of need,” Johnson said. “These actions do not represent the will of Congress or reflect our support for Israel.”
“As President Trump takes office, it is important that he knows he has allies in Congress ready to work with him and take bold action to bring clarity to an issue of vital national security, and emphasize our unwavering support for Israel,” Johnson said.
Yishai Fleisher: Goodbye, President Obama: Parting Words From an Israeli Settler
Dear President Obama,
I wanted to say goodbye and show you the respect due to a tenacious adversary. Many US Jews, and even a few here in Israel, thought you were a friend. But for us settlers, there was no question that you were a challenger, a formidable foe.
It was easy to determine.
You and your team condemned our homes and lives in the West Bank as “illegitimate,” and branded us “occupiers.” Now, it is one thing to theorize that Israel should rip up settlements and part with our ancestral lands for the sake of a compromise to end the conflict. But it is quite another to say that our presence in these areas is “illegitimate” or that Israel is an “occupation.”
For us “settlers,” the West Bank of the Jordan River — Judea and Samaria — is the Jewish historic heartland, where most of our people’s foundational stories took place. From our perspective, living here is key to giving the modern state of Israel its rooting in Jewish history and connecting it to the two previous Jewish commonwealths that existed on this very soil. If we weren’t here, the historic foundations of our connection to this land would be undermined. If we have no rights to ancient Hebron, we certainly won’t have them to modern Tel Aviv.
Furthermore, it is a core settler belief that evacuation from Judea and Samaria — Israel’s mountainous highlands — would undermine Israel’s security. The 2005 Gaza evacuation and immediate takeover by Hamas proved us right. Today, three wars and more than 1,000 of our casualties later, more than half of our country agrees that, as jihad becomes prevalent in the region, the last thing Israel needs is Palestine looking down on us from the mountaintops.
The Two-State Solution: A Greater Threat to Palestinians than to Israel
Most observers, when debating the pros and cons of a two-state solution, focus exclusively on its potential impact on Israel and its Jewish citizens. Much less attention is paid to the solution’s potential impact on the Palestinians. Leftists, right-wingers, conservatives and liberals all tend to assume that two states would naturally be in the Palestinians’ interest. Think again.
As was apparent at the recent Paris conference, the world refuses to acknowledge that the two-state solution has already failed the Palestinians. The Palestinian Authority (PA), established in 1994, came to rule over all of Gaza in the summer of 2005 after the complete Israeli withdrawal and destruction of Israeli settlements. The PA also had exclusive control over the major cities in Judea and Samaria/the West Bank and their environs, comprising some 95 percent of these territories’ population.
However, that unified Palestinian entity, which was supposed to be the Palestinian side of the two-state equation, proved extremely short-lived. Within two years of Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, Hamas took over Gaza completely. In the summer of 2007, after several rounds of fighting that began soon after Hamas’s electoral victory in 2006, the Islamist group established its own exclusive government in Gaza.
Thus, the Palestinians partitioned themselves into two bodies: an autocratic entity headed by Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank, and a Hamas theocracy in Gaza. Almost unnoticed, the two-state solution had given way to a three-state solution.
Knesset remembers Argentine prosecutor amid hopes for breakthrough in case
The Knesset’s Immigration, Absorption, and Diaspora Affairs Committee on Wednesday marked the two-year anniversary of the mysterious death of Argentine federal prosecutor Alberto Nisman.
The gathering came amid hopes a recent court decision to reopen Nisman’s probe of the deadly 1994 AMIA bombing would complete his life’s work, and a separate investigation into his death would shed light on his suspected murder.
Two years ago, Nisman accused former Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and ex-foreign minister Hector Timerman of reaching a secret deal with the Iranian government to cover up the role of several Iranian officials in the bombing at the Jewish center, which killed 85 people. The federal prosecutor was found dead on his bathroom floor, a bullet in his head, in January 2015 — hours before he was set to present his case to the Argentine Congress.
Since his death, which sparked protests across Argentina, several lower courts in Argentina rejected calls to reopen Nisman’s investigation into the Argentine leadership. But on December 30, an Argentine appeals court ordered a new investigation into Kirchner, reviving hopes that both the masterminds behind the bombing at the Jewish community center and those believed responsible for Nisman’s death would be brought to justice.
(Fake) Advice for President-elect Trump from a Veteran Mideast Envoy (satire)
Although WikiLeaks has yet to release any hacked documents from President-elect Trump’s campaign or transition team, once the Donald becomes president you can bet Julian Assange will empty his vaults. When he does, don’t be surprised to find something on American Middle East policy along the lines of the following:
President-elect Trump,
Martin Indyk here, writing to offer you my services as Middle East peace envoy.
In case you don’t recognize the name, I’m kind of a big deal. During the Clinton administration, I served as senior director for Near East and South Asian affairs at the National Security Council (1993-1995), twice as ambassador to Israel (1995-1997, 2000-2001), and as assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs in the U.S. Department of State (1997-2000). In 2013-2014, I served as the Obama administration’s special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
I’m an expert on peace initiatives the way Joan Collins was an expert on marriages — I’ve been involved in five of them. So listen up.
USA abstains on UN Resolution condemning Moses’s crimes against Egypt (satire)
Israel’s not-so-great position at the United Nations sunk to new depths this week after the UN Security Council passed, with the United States abstaining, a resolution demanding the investigation into alleged crimes committed by Moses. You know, the guy from the Bible. Dead for 3200 years, Moshe Rabenu, a homeless shepherd, was condemned for kidnap, economic sabotage of the Egyptian people and as an accomplice to mass murder. With the US failure to veto this resolution, the BDS movement is expected to boycott “everything that’s kinda Jewy“, to include Facebook, Chinese Food, and Woody Allen movies.
The Resolution, first reported by that bastion of free press in the Middle East Al Jazeera, states that Moses forcibly removed 600,000 relatively content Jews from kibbutzim in Egypt, force-fed them crackers that taste like cardboard until they were sick, and then sped towards Eilat in a second-hand Hyundai. Furthermore, as the Canaanite Police Department gave chase, Moses the Terrible and his Zionist entities vandalized the streets of Cairo with a bunch of dead locusts and frogs. Police also believe he is responsible for splitting a sea, in contravention to international environmental laws.
“These crimes caused such economic hardship in Egypt that it ultimately led to revolutions and the arrival of ISIS.” said the UN’s outgoing Secretary General, Bank Ki Wank I Moon.
The investigation has been one of the longest in Egyptian history. Police did not open the file for more than 2,000 years, after only packets of Kosher-for-Passover Bamba and stubbed out spliffs were found in the wilderness around the Sinai town of Dahab.
UN Resolution Unleashes Wave of Anti-Israel Bias in New Zealand Media
The debate over UN Security Council Resolution 2334 has been raging in New Zealand since December 24, when the resolution was passed thanks to the significant support of New Zealand in promoting it. Over the past three weeks, the New Zealand Herald – New Zealand’s largest newspaper – published 46 articles, opinions, or letters on the topic alone. Of those, 23 were for the resolution and 14 were against (with 9 being neutral).
Mainstream New Zealand media published some opinion pieces which drew attention to the imbalance and faults of UNSC Resolution 2334 and gave some historical context for the Arab Palestinian/Israel conflict. The unusual alliance with the undemocratic nations of Malaysia, Senegal, and Venezuela to sponsor Resolution 2334 led to serious questions within New Zealand and abroad.
A diplomatic crisis with Israel ensued. New Zealand’s foreign minister has recently published his justification for his actions but there are still outstanding questions.
Out of the Woodwork
The debate has brought out of the woodwork many self-appointed (and openly self-educated) Middle East ‘experts’ with a tenuous grasp of the facts. Some commentators have crossed the line from legitimate criticism of Israel into anti-Semitism or straight-out lies. Below are a selection of the worst offenders, in chronological order. This is by no means an exhaustive list of the ignorant and hateful writing we have seen.
Rabin Saw the Jordan River as Israel's Eastern Border
Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah
Jacques Neriah, who served as political advisor to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, is the author of Between Rabin and Arafat: Political Diary 1993-1994 (Hebrew, 2016). In an interview on Jan. 14, 2017, with Tali Lipkin-Shahak on Israel Army Radio, Neriah said:
The Oslo Accord was devised as a two-phase process: After creating the Palestinian Authority - should the two nations "become used to one another" and their ability to coexist would be established - then they would move on to the second phase: resolving the final status issues. The debate surrounding the core issues such as borders, Jerusalem and refugees was postponed to the second phase because, if they would have been discussed during the first phase, there would be no agreement and no accord.
According to Rabin, Israel's eastern border has to be the Jordan River. No one but Israel can secure this region. This negates the contemporary popular belief that the Oslo accord was supposed to end with an independent Palestinian state with recognized borders and a Palestinian military. (Israel Army Radio-Hebrew)
Netanyahu still plans to visit Australia, Singapore next month
Despite ongoing police investigations, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned visit to Singapore and Australia is “very much still on,” an Australian official said on Wednesday.
Planning for the late February visit is proceeding apace, according to the official.
Netanyahu will be the first sitting Israeli prime minister to visit Australia – which has given the Jewish state strong diplomatic support for years – as well as to Singapore, with whom Israel has a very robust military relationship.
However, the planned third leg of the trip – a visit to Fiji and participation in a summit of leaders of Pacific island states there – has been canceled, with diplomatic officials saying that adding the Fiji leg would be “too long and too complicated” from a security point of view.
It is well understood in Jerusalem that a cancellation of Netanyahu’s visit to Australia would not be looked upon kindly in Canberra given that three high level visits to the country have been canceled over the last three years.
Ex-IDF Officer: Time to Stop PA Terror and Martyr Payments
Israel should raise with the new Trump administration is the need to stop Palestinian Authority payments to terrorists and their families, Yossi Kuperwasser of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, said on Tuesday.
“One of the things that we should ask of the Americans is to lead an effort among donors to the Palestinian Authority – and set an example itself – not to pay money to terrorists,” he told The Post. “This should be obvious, but it is not.”
Kuperwasser recently wrote a monograph put out by the JCPA titled “Incentivizing Terrorism, Palestinian Authority Allocations to Terrorists and their Families,” in which he follows the money from the PA to the bank accounts of terrorists in prisons, and to the families of “martyrs” – Palestinians killed carrying out terrorist attacks.
The US and other donor states to the PA have a responsibility over what is being done with the money they provide the PA, Kuperwasser said, adding they need to “prevent a situation where American money is being used for terrorism against Israel, and also against Americans who have been killed in attacks.”
According to Kuperwasser’s report, “The PA pays directly and, as of 2014, partly through the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), about 1.1 billion shekels (around $300 million) every year as salaries to Palestinian terrorists in Israeli jails, continuing after they are released, and to the families of dead terrorists and other Palestinians who died fighting against Zionism.”
This amounts to 7% of the Palestinian budget, and more than 20% of the annual foreign aid to the PA.
Israeli Missile-Defense Chief: IAF Entering ‘New Age’ With Receipt of Arrow 3 Interceptor
The head of Israel’s missile defense program said the country has “entered a new age.”
Moshe Patel said, “Today, we delivered to the air force the first Arrow 3 interceptor, with interception capabilities that are much greater and can be done from much farther away than anything that we have now.”
The Arrow 3 system, which is a joint Israeli-American venture, is designed to serve as the upper-most tier of Israel’s multilayered missile defense program, which also includes the Iron Dome and David’s Sling. Arrow 3 has the capability to shoot down intercontinental ballistic missiles outside of the earth’s atmosphere.
“I am sure that this system, along with the others that we have and that will join our arsenal in the future…will give us more effective and meaningful capabilities,” said Brig.-Gen. Tzvika Haimovich, who heads the Israeli military’s Aerial Defense Command.
Originally designed by Israel’s Missile Defense Organization and the US Missile Defense Agency, Arrow 3 was developed by Israel Aerospace Industries in partnership with Boeing, the US defense manufacturer, and was partially financed by the American government.
Likud MK Ayoub Kara to become Israel’s first Druze minister
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will reportedly promote Deputy Minister of Regional Cooperation Ayoub Kara to minister without portfolio, as part of a cabinet reshuffle ahead of a High Court of Justice decision on the legality of the prime minister’s holding of multiple ministerial posts.
The nomination of Kara, a Druze-Israeli and longtime member of Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party, is expected to be approved by the cabinet on Sunday, the Haaretz daily reported on Wednesday.
If appointed, Kara would become the first lawmaker from Israel’s Druze community to serve as minister.
Netanyahu confidant Tzachi Hanegbi was appointed Minister of Regional Cooperation last month.
Kara has been lobbying for a ministerial post since the formation of the coalition in 2015 and especially since Hanegbi took over the regional cooperation post as minister. Kara said in an interview earlier this month in The Marker that he “doesn’t understand why he doesn’t appoint me as minister. It’s in his interest before it’s in mine. I don’t understand and can’t explain.”
Arab MKs complain of ‘cruel Israeli policies’ to EU delegation
In the wake of the deadly violence in Umm al-Hiran, Israeli Arab lawmakers on Wednesday held a meeting with European Union officials to complain of Israel’s “cruel policies” towards its Arab and Bedouin communities.
MKs from the Joint (Arab) List, EU Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen and the European Commission envoy to the Middle East, Michael Kohler, met to discuss the issue of government-ordered home demolitions in Israel on Wednesday.
“[They] explained the complexities of building and planning regulations as well as the cruel policies of the current government that [has ordered] demolitions in Umm al-Hiran and Qalansawe,” a statement from the party said.
“The MKs also spoke about the anti-democratic laws that have been legislated by the coalition in the past two years,” the Joint List said.
Liberman tells Gazans to ‘kick Hamas out’
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman called on the citizens of Gaza to overthrow the Hamas regime and promised that Israeli support and assistance for the Palestinian population in the territory will be forthcoming if such an uprising takes place.
Liberman made his comments in a wide-ranging speech at the Netanya Academic College Wednesday night, during which he also lamented the retreat by the US from regional events in the Middle East, and said that without a broad, inclusive agreement with moderate Arab states, the Palestinians would never themselves agree to end the conflict with Israel.
The defense minister and Yisrael Beytenu chairman began by rejecting the premise of UN Security Council Resolution 2334 and the Paris Peace Conference that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is central to the broader problems of the Middle East.
Liberman ascribed the severe instability and violence across the region to high unemployment, low economic development and opportunity, and high population growth.
Gazans are fed up with Hamas
When thousands of members of “The Young” movement marched last Thursday on the streets of Jabalia in the Gaza Strip, chanting the battle cry of the Tahrir Square, “Al sha'ab yureed iskat al-nizam” (the people want the fall of the regime), they attracted the attention of quite a few people in the Israeli defense establishment. There was a feeling that we are witnessing a rerun of the Arab Spring, threatening the Hamas regime this time.
This demonstration was the highlight of about 10 popular protests held in the strip in the past month, since the heavy cold wave began. It was the biggest popular protest since Hamas rose to power about 10 years ago, and it was held on the backdrop of the deteriorating living conditions. Palestinian journalists have been referring to this protest as ‘The Electricity Intifada,’ and it has already generated symbols: A Palestinian who set himself on fire in Jabalia outside the offices of a charity organization, and three babies who died of hypothermia.
Hamas panicked. While its leaders are used to periods of unrest among the public during the heavy cold of January and the heavy heat of August due to the lack of electricity, this year the protest took on dimensions which could have been interpreted as a revolt. Alarm bells began ringing in the region’s countries: For the first time, the potential of toppling the Hamas government from the inside was exposed.
PMW: Young girl celebrates death at Fatah rally
(Jan. 19, 2017)

At a recent Fatah rally celebrating the Fatah Movement's anniversary, part of the ceremony featured a young Palestinian girl who recited a poem. The girl's chant encouraged death for "Palestine," for which "blood is spilled":
"I belong to Fatah, so I have no fear
I love Jerusalem, the Al-Aqsa [Mosque], Gaza, Haifa, and the Negev
I walk in the path of heroes who wrote the book of Fatah
I love the dear homeland - death is insignificant, O Arabs
I love Palestine - the blood is spilled for it
This is what Yasser [Arafat] called for...

He announced: For the sake of Jerusalem my path is burning"

[Fatah rally in Asira Al-Shamaliya, north of Nablus,
Official Fatah Facebook page, Jan. 8, 2017]
This is a classic example of how Palestinian children are taught that death for "Palestine" is good. Palestinian Media Watch has documented numerous examples of this message coming from PA and Fatah leaders, be it as direct encouragement of children to seek Martyrdom or as glorification of terrorists - "Martyrs" - who died while attacking and murdering Israelis.
A video from the rally that included the girl’s chant was posted by Fatah on Facebook and also showed that two murderers were glorified during the ceremony, as “plaques of glory and honor” were given to their relatives. Editing the video, Fatah added a soundtrack including songs that promote violence against Israel and glorify death:
Hezbollah: IDF breached Lebanon border to install spy equipment
Hezbollah has accused Israel of recently breaching the border demarcation and installing espionage devices and tracking equipment in Lebanese territory.
The Shi'ite Lebanese terror group claimed that IDF forces, at an unspecified time, had crossed the so-called Blue Line between the two countries under the watch of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), where they excavated dirt embankments constructed by the Lebanese army, according to Channel 2.
The report added that Hezbollah charged that the alleged Israeli activities took place in areas where Lebanese military forces are stationed.
The Channel 2 report also stated that residents in northern Israel reported seeing large contingencies of IDF forces near the border, however any connection between the purported activities was not clear.
The IDF Spokesperson's Unit has refused to comment on the claims in line with the military's position against responding to foreign reports.
Hizballah Goes on Trial in Peru
In October 2014, Peruvian police in Lima arrested a Lebanese Hizballah operative named Mohammed Hamdar; their subsequent investigation led them to believe he was there to plan a major terrorist attack. Hamdar’s trial is still under way, but Ilan Berman argues that it could be a turning point in the battle against Islamist terrorist organizations in Latin America:
Latin America has long been notorious as a permissive operating environment for an array of local radical groups. But the region’s empty political spaces have, likewise, afforded foreign terrorists fertile soil in which to take root. In some cases, this intrusion has been made possible by widespread corruption and a lack of effective governance. In others, however, [certain] regimes—including Venezuela and several other “Bolivarian” nations—have ignored or even abetted the activities of extremist elements from the Middle East [for ideological reasons].
Arguably, the most prominent of these is the terrorist powerhouse Hizballah, which has maintained an active presence in South America. It has done so since the 1980s, when, with Iran’s assistance, it established a beachhead in the Tri-Border Region where Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay intersect. Since then, Hizballah has succeeded in building an extensive network of operations in the Americas—encompassing a wide range of illicit activities and criminal enterprises, from drug trafficking to recruitment to fundraising to militant training. Over time, Hizballah has been joined by other terrorist organizations, such as al-Qaeda and even Islamic State (IS). . . .
Outgoing US envoy: UN needs to 'push' Iran on arms embargo
The United Nations Security Council needs to push Iran to abide by an arms embargo, outgoing U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said on Wednesday amid U.N. concerns that Tehran has supplied weapons and missiles to the Lebanon-based terrorist group Hezbollah.
Most U.N. sanctions were lifted a year ago under a deal Iran made with Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia, the United States and the European Union to curb its nuclear program. But Iran is still subject to an arms embargo and other restrictions, which are not technically part of the nuclear agreement.
In her last appearance at a public Security Council meeting before U.S. President Barack Obama's administration ends Friday, Power said that recognizing "progress on Iran's nuclear issues should not distract this council from Iran's other actions that continue to destabilize the Middle East."
Under a Security Council resolution enshrining the 2015 deal, the U.N. secretary-general is required to report every six months on any violations of sanctions still in place.
U.N. political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman briefed the 15-member council on the second U.N. report and said there had been no reports of nuclear-related or ballistic missile-related violations of the council resolution.
Report: Houthi Commander Admits Iran, Hezbollah Training Fighters in Yemen
A commander of Houthi rebels in Yemen admitted that Iran and its proxy group Hezbollah are deeply involved in training his militia, Al Arabiya reported Sunday.
Abu Mohammed, who oversaw rocket attacks in Yemen’s al-Nihm district, confessed to Iran’s involvement after surrendering, according to Al Arabiya. It wasn’t clear if he was captured or surrendered voluntarily. He added that Iran and Lebanon were running secret training facilities in Saada.
Iran boasted of its support for Houthi rebels as early as October 2014, after the Houthis captured Yemen’s capital Sana’a. The following month, an Iranian lawmaker with ties to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei boasted that Iran controlled four Arab capitals. (The other capitals that the official was referring are Beirut in Lebanon, Damascus in Syria, and Baghdad in Iraq.) Days later, a Saudi Arabian newspaper reported that members of Hezbollah were fighting alongside the Houthis.
A senior Iranian diplomat told Reuters this past October that there has been a “sharp surge in Iran’s help to the Houthis in Yemen” since May, referring to weapons, funds, and training, according to the news agency. “The nuclear deal gave Iran an upper hand in its rivalry with Saudi Arabia, but it needs to be preserved,” the diplomat elaborated.
Israeli chefs cook up Syrian dishes to help refugees
When Tel Aviv restaurateur and bar owner Yair Yosefi wanted to do something about the dire situation of Syrian refugees, he turned to food.
Yosefi, the owner of Nahalat Binyamin restaurant Brut and bar Extra Brut, went to his friend the food journalist Ronit Vered, and the two cooked up Kitchen Without Borders, an effort to draw attention to, and raise money for, Syrian refugees.
“It’s very simple,” said Yosefi. “You see what’s going on there. We care — it’s not complicated.”
The two foodies contacted restaurants around the country, with a heavy emphasis on Tel Aviv, and asked them to create a special dish inspired by the Syrian kitchen to be served from January 15 to 31. All proceeds from the sale of that dish go to the Karam Foundation, a US-based organization that helps Syrian refugee youth.
The foundation was confused at first, said Yosefi, wondering why Israeli restaurants were getting involved, “but now they love the idea,” he said.




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