Tuesday, January 31, 2017

From Ian:

Yitzhak Rabin's Vision of Defensible Borders for Israel
Since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, almost everything has changed. Above all, new threats have emerged with a previously unknown military logic of their own.
The Oslo idea, in its quest to end Israeli control over Palestinian citizens, was largely realized by 1996, when Israel concluded the withdrawal of its forces from the populated territories of the West Bank. Some 90% of the total Palestinian population of the West Bank has been controlled since then by the Palestinian Authority (PA). Moreover, the Israeli presence in Gaza ended in 2005.
Eastern Jerusalem and Area C in the West Bank, held by Israel, are the minimum required for the conservation of a defensible territory. Without the buffer area of the Jordan Valley, it would be impossible to prevent the quick arming of Palestinian terrorists in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, in his last speech in the Knesset (October 1995), was resolute on Jerusalem and emphasized the crucial hold by Israel of the Jordan Valley and the lateral routes leading to it. Rabin envisaged a political entity short of a fully-fledged Palestinian state.
Rabin implemented the Oslo Accords to reshape the area delineated by Israeli security interests. As part of this effort, he led a drive to construct a network of bypass roads in Area C, without which the IDF would have had great difficulty advancing its forces during Operation Defensive Shield (2002).
Without a constant hold on Area C, Israel has no defensible borders. The way Rabin delineated the expanse of Area C demonstrates his farsighted understanding of the importance of those areas beyond the 1967 borders, which must be in Israel's full control.
Prof. Eugene Kontovorich PodCast: The UNSCR 2334 Against Israel: What Is President Trump To Do? - Podcast
(Kontovorich starts at 23:30, the first guy is terrible)
Since the Obama administration abstained from the United Nations Security Council vote on Resolution 2334 that condemns Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem, there has been much speculation as to the force, effect, and consequence of this Resolution. There are many concerns, including that this United Nations declaration may enable boycotts of Israel and that the Palestinian government might attempt to utilize the pronouncement to bring Israel before the International Criminal Court. President Trump’s has stated that he intends to alter or blunt the instrument. What will be the effect of this United Nations censure, and what are the options available to President Trump?
Prof. Bernard Avishai, Adjunct Professor of Business, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Visiting Professor of Government, Dartmouth College
Prof. Orde Kittrie, Senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Professor of Law, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Arizona State University
Prof. Eugene Kontovorich, Professor of Law, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
PMW: “God, grant us Martyrdom... a million grooms and brides... have written the marriage contract in blood” in Fatah TV music video
A music video broadcast twice on the Fatah-run TV station Awdah featured photos of suicide bombers while the lyrics promoted death as a Martyr for the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The music video opens with a recording of Yasser Arafat infamously saying: "They [the Israelis] want me captive, exiled or dead - but I tell them: [I will be] a Martyr! Martyr! Martyr!" Excerpts from the song promote Martyrdom as an ideal. The video includes photos of two female suicide bombers who in total murdered 3 Israelis and wounded over a hundred during the PA terror campaign in 2000-2005 (the Second Intifada).
"Al-Aqsa has called, and its call is precious
For its sake, life is insignificant, even if it's precious...
God, grant us Martyrdom there
God, promise us, we beg of you...
A million grooms and brides at the celebration
Have written the marriage contract in blood on the veil
(visual of suicide bomber Wafa Idris, killed 1 and wounded over 100, in Jerusalem attack)
A million grooms and brides at the celebration
Have written the marriage contract in blood on the veil
(visual of suicide bomber Ayyat Al-Akhras, killed 2 and wounded 28, in Jerusalem attack)
Filled with desire, they are going to the Paradise of immortals
To a wedding procession with angels that fill Palestine with light."
[Fatah-run Awdah TV, Jan. 23-24, 2017]
The clip also shows pictures of two Palestinian children who died during the PA terror campaign.

Iran Defies UN Resolution With Ballistic Missile Test
Iran has defied the United Nations (UN) with a ballistic missile test in Semnan, located 140 miles east of Tehran. But the test violated UN resolution 2231, which states that the country cannot conduct these missile tests.
But Iran said these ballistic missiles do not fall under those provisions since “they are not designed to carry a nuclear warhead.”
President Donald Trump has threatened to eliminate or revamp the Iran nuclear deal. Back in January 2016, he told rally attendees that “the nuclear deal with Iran is so bad, he is close to wondering whether it was done poorly on purpose.” From The Hill:
“It’s almost like there has to be something else going on,” he said Saturday night at a rally in Biloxi, Miss. “I don’t think there is, I just don’t think they’re competent.”
Trump said he couldn’t believe the U.S. would agree to a deal with Iran that did not include the return of Americans held prisoner in Iran.
“Who would make that deal?” he asked, suggesting Tehran was celebrating as the agreement was being negotiated.

On Sunday, Trump talked with King Salman of Saudi Arabia. Both men “‘agreed on the importance of rigorously enforcing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran and of addressing Iran’s destabilizing regional activities,’ the White House said in a statement.”
Fox News reported that the US intelligence community picked up the “launch due to its robust satellite network.” These satellites can identify “the heat signature of missile launches and explosions from bombs being dropped around the world.”
Israel urges Trump, UN to act against Iran after ballistic missile test
Israel is urging the world to take action after a US official said Monday that Iran carried out a test launch of a medium-range ballistic missile over the weekend, seemingly in violation of UN Resolution 2231, which forbids the Islamic Republic from carrying out such tests for a period of eights years.
The United Nations Security Council was scheduled to hold an emergency meeting on the test at the request of the United States. The US request came after Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon called for the meeting, saying of the test, "This aggression is not only directed toward Israel, it is directed toward the entire Western world."
New US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley was expected to take part in the Security Council talks. The call for the meeting was the first such request that the US has made since Haley was confirmed for her post last week.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that in light of reports of the Iranian ballistic missile test, one of the issues he will raise with US President Donald Trump during their meeting on February 15 will be the re-imposition of sanctions on Iran. He said it is forbidden that Iranian “aggression” go without a response.
Intelligence Minister Israel Katz told Army Radio on Tuesday that "there is no doubt that further sanctions on Iran are needed," following the ballistic missile test.
After Iran tests ballistic missile, Netanyahu urges rethink of ‘failed’ nuke deal
In what is being seen as a challenge to US President Donald Trump, Iran tested a 4,000 kilometer range (2,500 miles) ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, US officials said Monday.
Terming the test a “flagrant breach” of UN Security Council resolutions, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promptly demanded the reimposition of sanctions against Iran and said he would discuss with Trump a reevaluation of the “entire failed nuclear accord” that the Obama Administration and other P5+1 countries agreed with Iran in 2015.
The missile test, which Fox News reported took place on Sunday, was unsuccessful; the Khorramshahr medium-range ballistic missile flew 600 miles and then exploded, it said, citing US officials. Israel’s Channel 10 television said the failed test actually took place about 10 days ago. It said the Iranians were plainly “testing Trump,” who last week, in a phone conversation with Netanyahu, said the two would consult closely to address “the threats posed by Iran.”
Fox said the missile was launched from Semnan, outside Tehran, and that the failure involved “a reentry vehicle.” It noted that Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier Gen. Hossein Dehqhan said four months ago that Iran would start producing the missile.
UN Security Council to hold urgent talks on Iran ballistic missile test
The UN Security Council will hold urgent talks Tuesday on Iran’s test-firing of a medium-range missile said capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, diplomats said.
The United States requested the emergency consultations after the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations called for council action.
“In light of Iran’s January 29 launch of a medium-range ballistic missile, the United States has requested urgent consultations of the Security Council,” the US mission said in a statement.
The talks on Iran will follow a meeting on Syria scheduled for 10:00 a.m.
Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon said the test of the 4,000 kilometer range (2,500 miles) ballistic missile violated UN resolutions that bar Iran from launching ballistic missiles that could have a nuclear capability.
“The international community must not bury its head in the sand in the face of this Iranian aggression,” said Danon.
Israel ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon addresses the UN Security Council on January 17, 2017 (Courtesy)
Israel ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon addresses the UN Security Council on January 17, 2017 (Courtesy)
“The Security Council members must act immediately in response to these Iranian actions which endanger not only Israel, but the entire Middle East.”
Israeli UN Envoy Calls on Security Council to Punish Iran for Latest Ballistic Missile Test
Israel’s UN envoy has called on the Security Council to punish the Tehran regime following the ballistic missile test carried out this past weekend by the Islamic Republic.
“Iran has once again defied Security Council resolutions and revealed its true intentions,” Ambassador Danny Danon said in a statement. “The international community must not bury its head in the sand in the face of this Iranian aggression. The Security Council members must act immediately in response to these Iranian actions which endanger not only Israel, but the entire Middle East.”
At a press briefing on Monday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked about the test.
“We’re looking into that,” he said. “We’re aware that Iran fired that missile. We’re looking into the exact nature of it, and I’ll try to have more for you later.”
Shortly before Spicer’s press briefing, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu tweeted, “Iran has again launched a ballistic missile. This is a flagrant violation of a UN Security Council resolution.”
Republican Senator: We'll hold Iran accountable
Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Monday vowed to hold Iran accountable after reports emerged that the Islamic Republic conducted a ballistic missile test in violation of a UN Security Council resolution.
In a statement, Corker noted that UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorses provisions of the Iran nuclear agreement (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), “calls upon Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology”.
“No longer will Iran be given a pass for its repeated ballistic missile violations, continued support of terrorism, human rights abuses and other hostile activities that threaten international peace and security,” he said.
“I look forward to working with my colleagues and the administration to hold Iran accountable for this and other violations while ensuring radical enforcement of existing restrictions on its nuclear program,” added Corker.
Former Pentagon Analyst: Mixed Conciliatory-Threatening Messages From Tehran Indicate Regime Running Scared in Face of Trump Administration
All indications are that the powers-that-be in Tehran are running scared in the face of the new administration in Washington, an expert on Islamic culture and former Pentagon analyst, who was a student in Iran when the revolution began, told The Algemeiner on Monday.
Harold Rhode, a distinguished senior fellow at the New York-based think tank the Gatestone Institute, was responding to what he called “mixed messages emanating daily from the mullah-led regime – some threatening and others more conciliatory – since the lead-up to Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration earlier this month and in its aftermath.”
On one hand, Rhode said, Iranian officials continue to boast about their ballistic-missile capabilities and warn about the “consequences” of an American breach of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — the nuclear deal it reached with world powers in July 2015. On the other, he noted, “regime-affiliated clerics used a more muted tone in relation to the US in last Friday’s sermons.”
This, he assessed, “appears to show that there is an internal struggle going on among the top echelons, all of whom are unsure about how best to deal with this new reality.”
Israel Should Abandon the Clinton Parameters without Giving up on a Two-State Solution
In 2000, then-President Bill Clinton presented Ehud Barak and Yasir Arafat with a plan for the creation of a Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank, based on a near-complete Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines with land-swaps allowing Israel to retain the major settlement blocs. Since then, these guidelines have been treated by politicians and diplomats in Israel and elsewhere as the natural solution to the conflict. Gershon Hacohen argues that, since much has changed since the turn of the century, it’s time for a new approach:
The [basic purpose of] the Oslo Accords, [an] end to Israeli control over Palestinian citizens, [has] largely been realized. It was already so in January 1996, when Israel concluded the withdrawal of its forces from the populated territories of the West Bank. The Palestinian population living in [what the agreement designated as] Areas A and B, or approximately 90 percent of the total Palestinian population of the West Bank, has been controlled since then by the Palestinian Authority (PA). . . .
[Now] the Israeli government must re-clarify the complex of security interests inherent in Israel’s control over Area C. In this reexamination, Israel must depart from the idea of two states as [generally understood]. . . . An Israeli reassessment has the potential to introduce a change in Jerusalem’s position by renewing its demand for the preservation of a defensible area, which depends on consistent Israeli hold over Area C. . . .
Netanyahu to meet Trump at White House on February 15
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to travel to Washington, DC, for his first meeting with US President Donald Trump on February 15, the White House announced Monday.
“Our relationship with the only democracy in the Middle East is crucial to the security of both our nations and the president looks forward to discussing continuous strategic, technological, military and intelligence cooperation with the prime minister,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, announcing the meeting.
In a statement later Monday night, Netanyahu said he “greatly appreciates President Trump’s kind invitation to Washington and his warm words about Israel.”
“I look forward to discussing with him the areas of cooperation between us that are so vital to the security and well-being of our two countries,” Netanyahu said.
The two leaders, who spoke on the phone last week, are expected to discuss several issues, chiefly among them the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Iranian nuclear agreement and ongoing aggression from Tehran.
Trump Says He ‘Always Liked Concept’ of Moving Embassy to Jerusalem; ‘Very Big Decision’ Coming Soon
There is “certainly a chance” the US Embassy in Israel will be relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, President Donald Trump said in a Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) interview that aired on Sunday.
Asked by CBN’s David Brody about the potential move — which was a Trump campaign promise — the new president replied, “I’m looking at it…We are studying it very, very long and hard. You know it’s a very big decision, because every president for the last number of presidents…they’ve come in and they were going to do it and then all of a sudden they decide they don’t want to get involved. It’s a big, big decision, but we’re studying the issue right now.”
Trump went on to say, “I’ve always liked the concept of doing it, I will tell you that. I will have a decision in the not-too-distant future…We are doing very detailed studies on that, and we’ll come out very soon. I hate to do that because that’s not usually me — studies — usually I do what’s right. But this has two sides to it; it’s not easy, and I will make a decision over the not-too-distant future.”
Last week, as reported by The Algmeiner, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was non-committal about a timeline for the decision-making process on the embassy matter.
“It’s very early in this process,” Spicer said. “[A]nd his [Trump’s] team is going to continue to consult with stakeholders as we get there.”
Moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem
The Trump administration is best advised to present the Embassy relocation for what it is: the long overdue correction of an anomaly in the US-Israeli relationship. To alleviate fears that are stoked by demagogues, but also nurtured by the vicissitudes of history, Washington may consider issuing a separate statement about its appreciation of Palestinian aspirations and its intent, as expressed on numerous occasions by then-candidate Donald Trump, to re-engage negotiations towards a fair resolution.
It is, however, the responsibility of Arab culture to cast the moment in a positive light, debunking the utilitarian portrayal of the event as insult and injury to the Arab and Islamic worlds, and inviting reflection on deeply entrenched, and rarely questioned corrosive memes. Undoubtedly, historically, culturally, existentially, “Jerusalem is ours.” But, it is also theirs. Herein lays the fundamental question that Arab and Israeli culture has not proven able to address self-critically: “Jerusalem is Jewish”. It is a statement that elicits discomfort at the very least, often well beyond, when uttered in an Arab setting. Yet it is not only a statement of fact, but also one of history, consciousness, and deep reality. For centuries past, the longing for a forbidden Jerusalem was at the core of Jewishness. Yet, this emotional, devotional, spiritual, bond is virtually never acknowledged in the Arab narrative. Nor is the more concrete fact that, in Ottoman times, prior to British Mandate, European colonialism, and American Imperialism, Jerusalem had most often a Jewish plurality, and at times a straight Jewish majority. The serious question that Arab culture ought to address when formulating a response to the putative US Embassy move to Jerusalem is whether the opposition stems from political considerations or from the hard resistance to accepting that Jerusalem is Jewish.
This annuls none of the Palestinian and Arab attachment to the place. From being the first Qiblah, and the third of the Two Holiest Shrines, to embodying the locus of the precarious but still alive desire to forge a Muslim-Christian Arab identity, Yes, Jerusalem is Arab, without any prejudice to its Jewish character. The Holy City may claim to be more: Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopian, Greek, Latin. It is the task of a future generation to negotiate the many identities of the place.
Jerusalem may emerge as the first instance in modern history where one city is the capital of two nations. Today, it is the capital of Israel. To dispute this fact with credibility, one has to deconstruct Jerusalem itself. The Israeli sovereignty over the Western part of the city cannot be denied in any sincere pursuit of a just solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As long as the US Embassy relocation is within the confines of this condition, it ought to be recognized as a normal diplomatic action.
Trump courts Jordan’s king amid embassy, refugee concerns
King Abdullah II of Jordan’s visit to Washington this week is testing President Donald Trump’s ability to maintain key Arab alliances while cracking down on immigration from some Muslim countries and possibly moving the American Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. The next few days could provide an indication if Trump is willing to compromise.
Abdullah, a close US ally, held meetings Monday with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Vice President Mike Pence. Trump and the king were to come face-to-face on Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast, the White House said. The king also planned to meet with US lawmakers this week.
Abdullah’s trip comes as the Trump administration is embroiled in its first major Mideast controversy, sparked by Trump’s executive order temporarily halting all refugee admissions and suspending entry to the US for citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries. Although Jordan isn’t among the seven, even US friends in the region fear Trump’s move could embolden Mideast extremists and contribute to a perception that Washington is at war with Islam — which Trump’s administration insists is not the case.
Trump’s embassy decision looms even larger for Jordan.
Obama, Trump, Holocaust remembrance and Israel
That universalization of the Holocaust is as jarring to the ear as was Obama’s comment in Cairo that Israel’s legitimacy flowed from the Holocaust. But just as Obama’s words did not make him an antisemite, as some at the time – and afterward – have unfairly claimed, nor does Trump’s omission of the Jews in a statement on the Holocaust make him one, or a Holocaust denier, as some are now charging.
Indeed, we have traveled down this exact same route with a new leader very recently. Last year, on the same International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Justin Trudeau, who just two months earlier took the world by storm and won Canada’s prime ministerial election, issued a statement to mark the day that also oddly forgot the Jews.
“The Holocaust is a stark reminder of the dangers and risks of allowing hate, prejudice, and discrimination to spread unchallenged. It also reminds us that silence must never be an option when humanity is threatened,” that statement read. It too was highly criticized for its strange omission.
This year’s statement by Trudeau, by contrast, made mention of the Jews. “Today, on the 72nd anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, we remember the more than six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust and the countless other victims of Nazi brutality,” it stated.
Trudeau learned. Trump might do so as well.
Holocaust memory without Jews
The annual commemoration day has undoubtedly enhanced the world’s knowledge of the Nazi crimes, but has also led, paradoxically, to a new form of Holocaust denial of which President Trump’s statement is but the latest example. By casting such a singular focus on the universal lessons of the Holocaust, the fact that Nazi ideology specifically targeted the Jewish people, and that they were the primary victims, gets lost.
Thus Baroness Catherine Ashton, then High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, issued an official statement on Holocaust Memorial Day 2014 that did not once mention Jews or anti-Semitism. It spoke of “victims” and “those brutally murdered,” called the events a “tragedy,” urged on the fight against “prejudice and racism in our own time,” and proclaimed that the EU stands for “human rights and diversity.”
The same thing happened again two years later, in 2016, when newly elected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Holocaust Day statement memorialized “the millions of victims murdered during the Holocaust” and drew the lesson of how risky it is to let “hate, prejudice, and discrimination to spread unchallenged.” Once again, universal principles to which no civilized person would object, but devoid of any specific historical reference to anti-Semitism and the annihilation of Jews, without which there would have been no Holocaust. A subsequent tweet from Trudeau’s office vowing to fight “intolerance and anti-Semitism” was taken as an implicit apology by Canadian Jews, and this year Trudeau was explicit in mentioning Jews.
This year’s statement from the White House, then, honoring “the victims, survivors, heroes of the Holocaust” carried out by the Nazis against unnamed “innocent people” – subsequently described even more obliquely as “the perished” – is just the latest iteration of Holocaust “memory” that “forgets” the identity of the actual victims.
Holocaust Exploitation
Why the sudden rush to Shoah analogies from people who just handed over the keys to the Middle East to the Iranians? And why did Trump leave the Jews out of remembrance of the genocide?
With Jews seeing their history exploited or distorted by both sides of the political spectrum, one might expect them to circle the wagons. Not Peter Beinart (Rhodes Scholar, Marshall “declined”), whose compulsion to cast himself as the lone hero willing to question the pieties of “the Jewish establishment” regularly overrules his critical faculties. Responding to the White House statement, Beinart found a way to blame his fellow Jews, castigating them for not condemning Trump’s executive order (which he falsely labeled a “Muslim ban”) in the language of Holocaust remembrance. Leading Jewish organizations did, of course, denounce the refugee ban; the Anti-Defamation League called it “cruel and contrary to the values of our country.” Nonetheless, this imaginary oversight by Jewish groups, Beinart said, adding emphatic insult to fact-less injury, was “much worse” than the Trump administration’s refusal to acknowledge the Jewish specificity of the Holocaust:
Even after this disgusting act of Holocaust obfuscation and erasure of Jewish history on the part of the Trump White House, there will be right-wing Jews who continue to defend the administration because Trump says he wants to move the American embassy to Jerusalem, or because he allegedly opposes Obama’s Iran deal, or because Ivanka has Jewish children and that mensch Jared Kushner has the president’s ear. Neither side would ever admit it, but in their partisan blindness these Trump-defending Jews are no different than their co-religionists on the other side of the aisle, who endlessly excused their party’s president no matter how many times he and his administration isolated Israel or insisted that an Islamist slaughter at a kosher supermarket in Paris was a “random” crime whose victims were targeted “not because of who they were but because of where they randomly happened to be.” If the Obamians, having empowered Tehran’s murderously anti-Semitic regime, are engaging in purposeful, gaslighting malevolence by analogizing a humanitarian catastrophe over which they presided to the Holocaust and blaming their domestic political adversaries for its atrocities, the Trumpkins are merely perpetrating malevolent revanchist incompetence. (h/t Elder of Lobby)
EU Foreign Minister issues prison threat to President Trump
European Union’s Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini has issued a threat directed at U.S. President Donald Trump.
Mogherini warned President Trump that he would “end up being in a prison” for his executive orders, one which temporarily halted the entry of Syrian refugees and another which seeks to begin the construction of a southern border wall, UK newspaper Express reports.
Mogherini also lectured President Trump on European history and tradition, and on how Europeans celebrate “when walls are brought down and bridges are built.”
Italian politician Mogherini played a key role in negotiating the Iran Deal or the “worst deal ever negotiated” as President Trump pointed out. She began her political career with the youth wing of the Italian communist party and made it to the post of E.U.’s High Representative on Foreign Affairs and Security Policy as a member of the ‘Party of European Socialists’.
The E.U. Foreign Minister was not the only European politician to question the legality of President Trump’s executive order putting travel restrictions on Syrian refugees and visitors from seven terrorism affected countries for 90 days. German Chancellor Angela Merkel slammed President Trump’s decision saying, “This act runs contrary to the basic principles of international refugee help and international cooperation.”
Prof. Phyllis Chesler: Trump's Executive Order is quite in order
Feminists, Hollywood celebrities, and Democratic legislators have denounced President Trumps Executive Order titled “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.” Demonstrators have surged at airports, class-action lawsuits have been filed, judicial restraining orders have been issued.
I do not view this Act as a “Muslim Ban” since 49 other Muslim-majority countries are not specifically excluded here. Only seven failed Muslim states, well known for training Jihadists, as well as Iran, are named. But I want to focus on something else that no one has mentioned.
As a feminist, scholar, and activist, I think this Order is long overdue.
As the author of four studies about honor killing at Middle East Quarterly, I especially welcome this Section:
“The United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes towards it and its founding principles….or those who would place violent ideologies over American law. In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including “honor” killings, or other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own), or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.”
The President Is Right to Give Priority to Those Fleeing Religious Persecution
The recent executive order suspending the U.S. refugee-admission program allows exceptions for members of religious minorities facing persecution in their home countries. It also instructs the Departments of State and Homeland Security, when the program resumes, “to prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality.” Although he finds the overall order flawed “on policy and moral grounds,” Samuel Tadros argues that it was correct in this regard:
[W]hile all communities in the path of Islamic State may be forced to flee, the refuge opportunities available differ significantly based on one’s ethnic and religious background. A Sunni fleeing Bashar al-Assad’s butchery may find a home in a neighboring Sunni country, or in other Sunni territory in Syria, but where can a Yazidi go? Surely not to Baghdad, where he would be persecuted. Is Turkey, which persecutes its own Christian population, supposed to be the choice destiny for Syria or Iraq’s Christians? Do we expect Assyrian Christians to be comfortable going to Kurdish areas? Moreover, even when/if Islamic State is defeated, the likelihood of return diminishes for these religious minorities. Does one seriously expect Christians to be able to return to Mosul, where their homes have likely been occupied by others, and where many of their neighbors stood silently watching as Islamic State targeted them? The Jewish experience in Poland following the Holocaust is a reminder of what awaits these communities.
Some may point to Jordan as a welcoming place for these minorities, and even more so to Lebanon. But in Jordan, which should be lauded for its welcoming of Syrian refugees, as in any other Arabic speaking country, they will be permanent refugees, forever housed in the camps with no future. A quick visit to a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon would enlighten anyone to what that life entails, as Arabic-speaking countries insisted on keeping Palestinians there to use as a bargaining chip with Israel. . . .
Yemenite Jew among detainees at JFK due to Trump ban
Manny Dahari, a student who worked to rescue his family from war-torn country, freed after three hours
A Yemenite Jew was detained in JFK airport for over three hours this week as US President Donald Trump issued a travel ban from seven Muslim countries, including Yemen.
Manny Dahari, a student at Yeshiva University, has lived in the United States since the age of 13 and holds a green card.
For two years, Dahari worked with the US State Department and Jewish Agency to get his family out of Yemen in a lobbying effort that ultimately saw his parents airlifted from the war-torn country to Israel last year, along with 15 other Yemenite Jews in a covert operation.
He was scheduled to fly back to New York from Israel over the weekend, but his plans were complicated by the travel ban, which initially covered US green card holders born in one of seven Muslim-majority countries, including Yemen.
Jared Kushner’s grandmother on being a refugee: ‘The doors of the world were closed to us’
Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s Jewish son-in-law and senior adviser, stayed silent as protests broke out across the country against Trump’s controversial refugee ban — which prohibits for 120 days all refugees and for 90 days citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the country.
But Kushner’s family history was thrust into the spotlight as The Nation reported on testimony of his late grandmother, Rae Kushner, in which she spoke of her struggles as a Nazi-era refugee with nowhere to go.
Rae Kushner was born in 1923 in Novogrudok, a city in Poland occupied by the Soviet Union and then Nazi Germany, to a middle-class Jewish family of six. Only three family members survived the war: Rae Kushner, her father and one of her sisters. And though her father had eight siblings and her mother had three, Rae Kushner was left with only two cousins. During the war, the Nazis turned Novogrudok into a ghetto. Conditions were bad and Nazis would come in at will and kill people.
Rae Kushner escaped the ghetto through an escape tunnel dug by Jews and lived in the woods for nine months with her sister and father. They later smuggled themselves into several countries — the former Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary — ending up in a displaced persons camp in Italy.
Amona residents given 48 hours to leave outpost
Residents of the West Bank outpost of Amona have been given 48 hours to leave the hilltop community ahead of its court-ordered demolition, according to a military eviction order posted at the site on Tuesday.
The order, which was placed throughout the outpost, said the area would be completely sealed off in two days’ time. The eviction notice was signed on Monday and posted a day later, when the 48-hour deadline went into effect.
Responding to confusion over when the 48 hours was up, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement that the clock began ticking on Tuesday, and not Monday, setting the evacuation, and a possible showdown with settlers, for Thursday morning.
“The IDF is ready to evacuate the Amona outpost “in accordance with instructions from the government,” a statement from the military said.
Abbas’ advisor invents history: Palestinians have existed in this land “more than 5,000 years”
Mahmoud Abbas’ advisor on Religious and Islamic Affairs, Mahmoud Al-Habbash, at a Friday sermon in presence of PA Chairman Abbas: ”They (i.e., the Israelis) have denied our existence and our lives. They have denied that we are a people that has existed on this land from before Abraham came to it, more than 5,000 years ago. We have been on this land in a continuous existence.”
[Official PA TV, Dec. 30, 2016]

Palestinian asylum-seekers rush toward Canada’s open arms
In the spring of 2015, the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada in Toronto granted asylum to a 60-year-old widow from the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian woman stated before the judge that she was afraid to return to Gaza because her family, which had supported Fatah, was being harassed by the rival Hamas movement.
“The appellant’s extended family has been supportive of Fatah, which resulted in a number of her family members being killed in the hostilities over the years,” say court documents that can be accessed online through CanLII, a nonprofit that posts some court documents online. “The appellant’s sons were forced to leave Gaza in order to earn a living because Hamas had blacklisted the family.”
The name of the woman — who is described as having had her home in Gaza destroyed by bombing — is replaced with an “X” in the documents because refugee claims are private under Canadian law.
Mufti on PA TV explains how to discipline a wife: “Rebuke her... beat her, [use] a small brush”
TV host: “Not with a stick or a pipe.”
Mufti: “No, no. Not in the face. Even when we hit with a handkerchief or small brush, Prophet [Muhammad] said: ‘Do not hit the face, and do not make her ugly.’ If you want to hit, hit [her] back or leg, hit in places that are not seen, and do not cause a permanent mark... Prophet [Muhammad] did not hit a single man, woman, or child, other than during Jihad for Allah. If your role model is the Prophet, it would be better if you did not hit at all. Aside from that, this [man was] beating for revenge. The beating, according to Islam, is only to convey a message to the wife: ‘I am angry with you.’ That’s all.”
[Official PA TV, Life, Nov. 24, 2016]

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