Thursday, February 16, 2017

From Ian:

Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinian Assault on Freedoms
The Palestinians seem to be marching towards establishing a regime that is remarkably reminiscent of the despotic and corrupt Arab and Islamic governments.
By failing -- or, more accurately, refusing -- to hold the PA accountable for its crackdown on public freedoms, American and European taxpayers actively contribute to the emergence of another Arab dictatorship in the Middle East.
Palestinian professor Abdel Sattar Qassem, who teaches political science at An-Najah University in Nablus, is facing trial for "extending his tongue" against PA President Mahmoud Abbas and other senior PA officials.
Many Palestinians used to say that their dream is that one day they would have a free media and democracy like their neighbors in Israel. But thanks to the apathy of the international community, Palestinians have come to learn that if and when they ever have their own state, its role model will not be Israel or any Western democracy, but the regimes of repression that control the Arab and Muslim world.
Eugene Kontorovich: Jewish Settlements & International Law
Northwestern University Law Professor Eugene Kontorovich makes the case that Israeli settlements are not illegal under international law. A program of Zionist Organization of America.

PMW: Fatah official: Palestinians have "right" to use terror to "liberate our homeland"
A senior Fatah leader, Nabil Shaath, said three times in a short interview that the Palestinians have a right to use "armed struggle," the Palestinian euphemism for terror. In fact Shaath said that this right is "indisputable." [Fatah-run Awdah TV, The Story of a Photograph, Jan. 23, 2017]
According to Shaath, the goal of using violence is to "liberate our homeland," after which a "Palestinian Arab democratic state" will exist, and Jews, Muslims and Christians will live in "Palestine" together.
The fundamental condition under which the PLO and Fatah, the movement headed by Mahmoud Abbas, were taken off the list of terror organizations was that they had committed to giving up terror. This statement by a senior Fatah leader contradicts the PLO's commitment and is a reiteration that Fatah has never attempted to fulfill the terms for which it was removed from the list of terror organizations. As Shaath said, Fatah claims that violence against Israel, including the killing of Israeli civilians, is legitimate "resistance."
Fatah leader Nabil Shaath: The armed struggle is our right

JCPA: Does Hamas’ New Leader Portend War in Gaza?
Over the past few days, Hamas has been issuing calming messages that Yahya Sinwar’s election as leader of the Gaza Strip does not constitute a change in its policy and does not necessarily portend a new and imminent round of warfare with Israel.
These messages contradict the message that Sinwar himself conveyed when he tweeted on February 14, 2017: “I do not aspire to any position, but I will make Netanyahu cry in his position.”
Reactions by Israeli politicians to Sinwar’s election to the senior leadership position in Gaza, with claims that he is leading the region into war and is very dangerous to Israel, have stirred great concern in Hamas.
That pertains especially to the words of Member of Knesset Avi Dichter, former head of the Israel Security Agency and current head of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. Dichter called Sinwar “Sheikh of the Murderers” and expressed regret that Israel had not assassinated him in the past, asserting that “even today he is not immune.”
Hamas fears that Israel will look for the right opportunity to do away with Sinwar even at the beginning his tenure as leader.
In departure from longtime US Mideast policy, Trump backs away from 2-state solution
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Donald Trump discussed a range of issues, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Iran nuclear program, on Wednesday in the Oval Office in their first meeting since Trump took office in January. The meeting was followed by an amicable press conference by the two leaders.
During the press conference, Netanyahu declined to say whether he had given up on the possibility of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At the same time, Trump, departing from long-standing U.S. policy, did not push the two-state solution.
"I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like," Trump said.
"I'm very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one.
"I thought for a while the two-state looked like it may be the easier of the two. But honestly, if Bibi [Netanyahu] and if the Palestinians, if Israel and the Palestinians, are happy, I'm happy with the one they like the best."
Trump is good for the Jews
If anyone had any doubt that U.S. President Donald Trump would be good for Israel, the press conference in the White House before his meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proved as much, despite the cries of "anti-Semitism in America" heard since Trump won the elections. A new era has begun in Washington, a much more refreshing one.
The press conference with Trump and Netanyahu was a U-turn from everything we have heard, known, understood and considered for decades.
For the most part, the ideas of the two-state solution for peace, road maps, multilateral negotiations, international initiatives, threats of sanctions against Israel, fingers of blame pointed at the settlements, have become irrelevant, or at best, secondary.
Not only have the eight years of the Obama administration become history, even Bill Clinton's era now sounds obsolete and detached from reality. Trump has left the 1993 Oslo Accords and peace initiatives to the archaeologists, and his administration works with a new formula. And while the Israeli Left will surely frown upon this formula, only time will tell of the Israeli Right will fully subscribe to it.
Thinking Beyond the Two-State Solution
For many, if not most, Jews living in the West Bank, the two-state solution seems like no solution at all. Yishai Fleisher argues that contrary to the wisdom of John Kerry and diplomats the world over, far better alternatives have been fleshed out by a variety of Israeli politicians, scholars, and journalists. These include: granting Palestinians extraterritorial Jordanian citizenship, the annexation of “Area C” (where most Jews in the West Bank live) while establishing Palestinian self-rule in the rest of the territory, and annexation of the entire territory while offering Palestinians Israeli citizenship. Fleisher explains:
[W]hen Hamas seized control [of Gaza] in 2007, [it] turned the territory into a forward base for jihad, starting three wars in seven years. As a result, most Israelis, however pragmatic, no longer believe in a policy of forfeiting land in hopes of getting peace in return. While a Hamas-controlled Gaza is now a reality, no Israeli wants an Islamic State of Palestine looking down at them from the strategic heights of Judea and Samaria.
Therefore, most settlers say without ambivalence that the two-state solution is dead, and the time has come for a discussion of new options by which Israel would hold on to the West Bank and eventually assert Israel sovereignty there, just as we did with the Golan Heights and east Jerusalem. Yes, Israel will have to grapple with questions of the Arab population’s rights, and the issues of the country’s security and Jewish character, but we believe those questions can be worked out through the democratic process. At least five credible plans are on the table already. . . .
IsraellyCool: My Key Takeaways From The Trump-Netanyahu Press Conference
I watched the Donald Trump-Binyamin Netanyahu press conference live yesterday (you can see it here) and intended to immediately post my thoughts on it. Alas, real life got in the way. At least I have had time to digest what I heard and reflect on my key takeaways.
This was a huge victory for Binyamin Netanyahu
In my mind, what I heard was a huge victory for the Israeli Prime Minister. The two-state solution is no longer something to be imposed on Israel. It is still a possible result, as far as President Trump is concerned, but not the mandatory result, as it was with Barack Obama.
So, I’m looking at two-state and one-state and I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one. I thought for a while the two-state looked like it may be the easier of the two but honestly, if Bibi and if the Palestinians — if Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I’m happy with the one they like the best.
Binyamin Netanyahu has adopted the new “language” of indigenous rights
I don’t think it is a coincidence that we heard this from Netanyahu:
Well, the Chinese are called Chinese because they come from China. The Japanese are called Japanese because they come from Japan. Well, Jews are called Jews because they come from Judea. This is our ancestral homeland. Jews are not foreign colonialists in Judea.
Joel B. Pollak: Restored: 5 Ways Trump, Netanyahu Improved U.S.-Israel Relations
President Donald Trump hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on Wednesday — the fourth visit by a foreign leader, less than four weeks into the new administration.
At their joint press conference, it was clear that U.S-Israel relations are once again on solid ground, after eight years of hostility from the Obama administration. Not only were relations restored to their customary warmth, but the two leaders also indicated five new directions for future policy.
1. The two-state solution is no longer the only option. President Trump said that while the two-state solution once seemed “easier,” he was also open to a one-state solution — presumably meaning Israeli annexation of the West Bank — and that he would accept whatever solution Israelis and Palestinians themselves chose. An Israeli journalist challenged Netanyahu as to whether he still accepted the two-state solution. He replied that his goal was not a “label,” but a peace in which Palestinians recognized the Jewish state, and where Israel had full security control of the area west of the Jordan River. The shift from “two states at any price” is a fundamental change in U.S. policy and places new (and overdue) pressure on the Palestinians.
2. The U.S. opposes new settlements, but accepts existing ones. Trump asked Netanyahu, publicly, to “hold back” on settlements (to which Netanyahu joked, “That’s the art of the deal”). The implication is that the U.S. now accepts existing Israeli settlements. That is a stark contrast to the attitude of the Obama administration, which argued that the entire Israeli presence across the 1949 armistice lines — including the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem — was illegal. The settlements will no longer be regarded by the U.S. as an excuse for Palestinians to avoid negotiations and concessions.
Trump: Palestinians Must Stop The Hate If They Want Peace
Palestinians must end their indoctrination of anti-Semitism and incitement of violence in order for peace with Israel to be possible, President Donald Trump said at a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on Wednesday.
“I think the Palestinians have to get rid of some of that hate that they’re taught from a very young age,” Trump said.
They’re taught tremendous hate. I’ve seen what they’re taught. And we can talk about flexibility there too, but it starts at a very young age and it starts in the school room. And they have to acknowledge Israel. They’re going to have to do that. There’s no way a deal can be made if they’re not ready to acknowledge a very, very great and important country.

Netanyahu Shut Down Suggestions That Trump Is An Anti-Semite
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emphatically denied any suggestion that President Donald Trump propagates anti-Semitism at a Wednesday press conference.
Netanyahu’s denial came after an Israeli reporter asked Trump to respond to allegations that anti-Semitism was on the rise after his election. Trump denied the allegations, along with highlighting his son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is an observant Jew.
“There is no greater support of the Jewish people and the Jewish state than president Donald Trump,” Netanyahu declared. “I think we should put that to rest.”
Netanyahu preceded his defense by saying he’d known Trump and his family for years. Netanyahu even stayed in Kushner’s childhood bedroom in the late 1990s, in a visit to Kushner’s parents’ house.
Netanyahu to Trump: Recognize Golan Heights as part of Israel
The United States should recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told US President Donald Trump when the two men met in Washington on Wednesday.
“His reaction was not earth shattering,” Netanyahu told reporters during a briefing at Blair House after the meeting. He did not elaborate any further about the mountainous area that Israel captured from Syria in the Six-Day war and then annexed in 1981.
The United States and the international community have never recognized Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights.
Israel has long argued that it must maintain that territory for security reasons.
The two men also talked about the civil war in Syria in general, with Netanyahu explaining that Israel had no interest in getting involved in the conflict.
“We want to avoid involvement as much as possible,” Netanyahu said.
Krauthammer’s Take: Trump Calling for No New Settlements Is ‘Doing Netanyahu a Favor’
Charles Krauthammer said that Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the White House was a major victory for him, and also opined that Netanyahu is fine with Trump calling for no new settlement expansion.

Arab states considering alliance with Israel, say Arab officials
The Trump administration is in discussions about the formation of a regional Arab security alliance with Israel as a counterbalance to Iran's influence in the Middle East, according to Arab officials.
The alliance would include Egypt and Jordan, both of whom recognise and have peace treaties with Israel, as well as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, neither of whom recognise Israel but are known to have covertly shared intelligence in the past.
"They've been asking diplomatic missions in Washington if we'd be willing to join this force that has an Israeli component," one Arab diplomat said, according to the Wall Street Journal.
"Israel's role would likely be intelligence sharing, not training or boots on the ground. They'd provide intelligence and targets. That's what the Israelis are good at."
Speaking during a Wednesday joint news conference with the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump said the plan would potentially have an enormous impact on the balance of power in the Middle East, which is currently seeing a regional rivalry and proxy wars between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
"It is something that is very different, hasn't been discussed before," said Trump.
"And it's actually a much bigger deal - much more important deal in a sense. It would take in many, many countries and would cover a very large territory."
Netanyahu, who has previously boasted of the cooperation between Israel and the Gulf states, also praised the idea.
"I believe that the great opportunity for peace comes from a regional approach from involving our newfound Arab partners," he said.
Trump considering Arab peace summit in Washington – report
United States President Donald Trump is considering hosting an Arab leadership summit in Washington to discuss peace and stability in the region, the pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat reported on Thursday.
The Al-Hayat report, based on a “reliable source,” did not provide any details other than the claim that Washington was examining the idea of hosting such a summit.
During a press conference Wednesday at the White House between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Trump, the two leaders voiced support for a regional approach to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Netanyahu, who did not explicitly renounce his own commitment to a two-state solution but avoid mentioning the idea of Palestinian statehood, called for a “regional” approach that included Arab states. He noted that he would be discussing such an initiative with Trump.
PLO official: Alternative to two-state solution is 'painful bloodshed'
As the Arab world and the Palestinian Authority have derided US President Donald Trump's lack of adoption of the two-state solution as the sole prospect for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A representative of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) said on Thursday that "the alternative to a two-state solution is painful bloodshed."
"This will not lead to the disappearance of a Palestinian state, and will not lead to the crushing of the prospect of a Palestinian state," PLO spokesman Nasser al-Kidwa said at a press conferences in Ramallah.
The PLO official equated rejection of the two-state solution with the outright rejection of the peace process in general.
Meanwhile, Hamas accused the US policy shift as representing the new White House administration's disregard for the Palestinians, and called for the Palestinians to unite in the "struggle" against the "challenges facing them."
A Palestinian State Is Not in America’s Interest
In 1948, the conventional “wisdom” at the US State Department was that the reestablishment of a Jewish state would damage US interests because the Jewish state would be aligned with the USSR, undermine US-Arab relations, intensify regional instability and be militarily devastated by its Arab neighbors, thus causing a second Holocaust.
That “wisdom,” of course, was wrong.
The State Department’s views were also wrong when: the US appeased Egyptian President Nasser (1950s); facilitated the toppling of the Shah of Iran (1977-78); embraced Saddam Hussein, and inadvertently encouraged his August 1989 invasion of Kuwait; proclaimed Yasser Arafat to be a messenger of peace (1993); welcomed the Arab Spring (2011); supported the anti-US Muslim Brotherhood against Egyptian President Mubarak, and turned a cold shoulder to pro-US President al-Sisi (2011-2017); and toppled the Qaddafi regime, thus transforming Libya into a major platform of Islamic terrorism (2011).
In 2017, the conventional “wisdom” maintains that the Palestinian issue is at the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and that the US can reset the Middle East by forcing peace on the Israelis. According to this view, the proposed Palestinian state is an integral part of the Israeli-Arab peace process, and would ultimately benefit US security interests.
But this view flies in the face of 14 centuries of Middle Eastern history, the Jordan-Palestinian conflict and the track record of the Palestinians since the 1920s.
Australia hints at openness to two-state solution alternatives
Australia’s foreign minister expressed tentative support for US President Donald Trump’s rollback of Washington’s commitment to the two-state solution, even as her country and the international community vowed to keep pushing for the Palestinian statehood formula.
Julie Bishop said that while her country still supports the two-state idea, she would be open to a one-state agreement as well if that is what the sides desired, echoing Trump’s Wednesday statement of amenability to whatever Israelis and Palestinians decided on.
“The two sides need to sit down and negotiate a resolution – it can’t be imposed from outside,” Bishop told Sky News Australia on Thursday.
Asked her view on the one-state versus two-state ideas, Bishop said if there was “another solution that they were prepared to live with, that ensured the Israelis and Palestinians could live side by side, together, between internationally recognized boundaries, then of course the world should support that.”
When challenged that the one-state scheme is rejected by the Palestinians, Bishop responded that “what we need is for the Palestinians to recognize that the State of Israel exists and will continue to exist.”
Yarden Frankl: Trump’s ‘Shocking’ Announcement Not So Surprising
Think about it. Prime Minister Netanyahu and PA President Abbas reach a peace agreement and put their names on a deal to end the conflict once and for all. Is it reasonable to believe that any US President would say, “Wait a minute. No good. You need to have two states.”
For decades, the US’ goal has been a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. While the US has believed that the way to reach that goal was through two sovereign states, it was always thought that an agreement could only come through direct negotiations, not an outside party imposing a solution.
The real departure from decades of US policy was the Obama administration’s seeming attempt to force a solution on Israel by pushing for a settlement freeze. Or perhaps another was President George W. Bush’s letter saying that the major settlement blocks would be incorporated into Israel.
Now, US policy has returned to letting the two parties work out an agreement by themselves.
So why the almost uniform reporting of the “shocking” Trump statement? The media has painted a picture of the president as someone both extreme and uninformed. But the facts should always lead the analysis.
The media must report every event independently and not be led astray by preconceived notions.
Shiloh Musings: US - Israel Relations in The Eyes of an Israeli
Even though I'm second generation born in the USA, I look at everything happening in America as an Israeli. I voted with my feet when I boarded that boat, the Annamarie, Greek Lines, August, 1970. My chief priority is the security and viability of the State of Israel. Also, as a strictly Torah Observant Jew, aka Orthodox Jew, I see the survival and thriving of the State of Israel as beneficial to the stability and peace of the entire world.
I've spent almost a half a century and the vast majority of my life here in Israel. My husband and I made aliyah, moved to Israel just two months after our wedding. We never actually lived as "adults" in the United States. So please take that as your filter, to understand where I'm coming from, when reading this.
Yesterday evening, when when my husband and I were both home from work watching the Israeli news on television, we were lucky to catch the clip of the warm greetings between the two first couples, the Trumps and the Netanyahus.
This was such a welcome change after the eight frigid and hostile years of Barack Hussein Obama and the eight previous cold, petulant and contentious Bush years. I know that many American Jews were hoping that Hillary Clinton would win the elections and that there'd be a Democratic majority in both houses, but here in Israel things always look different.
Most Israelis who follow the news will never forget the outrageous and immoral interference in Israeli Elections by the American Government, led by Democrats most notably Obama and the Clintons. They funded the V15 aka "anybody but Bibi" to try to assist the Israeli Left to block Netanyahu's Likud from being able to form a government coalition during the 2015 Knesset Elections.
Nikki Haley’s U.N. mission: Sticking up for Israel
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Trump made waves in their first meeting Wednesday, shifting decades of U.S. policy as Mr. Trump opined that either a one-state or two-state solution would be just fine, saying he could “live with either one.”
But the next steps will more difficult: how to map out Middle East peace, what to do about Israeli settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, and whether the U.S. Embassy will be moved. All on the table.
Both Mr. Trump and Netanyahu conceded their differences on some matters. Still, it was one of the friendliest of exchanges the two countries have seen in years.
What hasn’t changed much, both leaders agree, is the reset needed at the United Nations.
In charge of that shift is the president’s U.N. envoy, Ambassador Nikki Haley, who made clear in her testimony at her Senate confirmation hearing that she won’t be going to the U.N. to “abstain when the U.N. seeks to create an international environment that encourages boycotts of Israel.”
The U.N.’s anti-Israel bias came into the spotlight just before President Obama left office, when the U.S. changed decades of policy by allowing a U.N. Security Council resolution to pass that called for an immediate halt to settlement building in occupied Palestinian territory, and said those settlements have no legal validity. On this question, Haley was clear: She committed to reject any measures that were unfair to Israel. And so far, she has kept that promise.
CIA Chief Met with Abbas Before Trump-Netanyahu Meeting
Newly-appointed CIA director Mike Pompeo met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah the night before Wednesday’s summit between President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington, The Jerusalem Post reported.
Pompeo and Abbas reportedly discussed “political and security issues in addition to the the future of the peace process,” a Palestinian security source told the Post.
Other Palestinian officials were also at the meeting, including PA General Intelligence Chief Majed Faraj, who met with American officials in Washington last week.
Pompeo also visited Saudi Arabia on his trip, his first visit abroad since his confirmation late last month. The meeting was also the first between Abbas and a Trump administration official since Trump was inaugurated on January 20.
Two-state solution still the most popular option among Israelis and Palestinians
While the US may have slackened its commitment to Palestinian statehood, about half of Israelis and Palestinians still back a two-state solution to the conflict, although support is dipping, a survey published Thursday found.
Pollsters said that 55 percent of Israelis and 44% of Palestinians still favor the principle of a two-state solution, down from 59% of Israelis and 51% of Palestinians asked the same question in June 2016. A majority of Israeli Arabs, however, oppose a two-state solution, instead favoring a single state or a confederation.
When respondents were given details of what such a deal would entail, based on draft two-state solutions presented during real past negotiations, support for it dropped to 42% among Palestinians and 48% among Israelis (41% among Jews, and 88% among Arab citizens of Israel).
The theoretical proposal included a demilitarized Palestinian state, Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines, land swaps, the return of 100,000 Palestinian refugees to Israeli territory, the recognition of West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and East Jerusalem as the Palestinian one (with the Old City being split between the two) and a declaration that the conflict had come to an end.
US papers slam Trump’s ‘absurd,’ ‘nonsensical’ retreat from two-state plan
Leading US newspapers took US President Donald Trump to task on Thursday over his comments a day earlier in which he declared that the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may not be the only way forward and that he was prepared to consider other options — including a one-state formula — if it was accepted by the two sides.
In a barrage of editorials, the New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times described Trump’s statements as “nonsensical” and the idea of a one state solution as “absurd,” and said that by withdrawing from decades-old US policy the president was instead increasing the chances of violent conflict.
The editorials, coming as much of the US media was focused on reported ties between Trump officials and the Kremlin and the resignation of national security adviser Michael Flynn, suggested that Trump’s pullback from the two-state solution had managed to hoist the issue near the top of a list of concerns for many in the US.
Standing alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a press conference in the White House before the two men met privately on Wednesday, Trump had bucked America’s longstanding commitment to a two-state solution.
Donald Trump says he would 'love' to see US embassy in Jerusalem
Donald Trump has said he would "love" to see the US embassy move from its current home in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move that critics say would destroy any hopes of a peace process in the region.
The comments came as Mr Trump hosted the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House.
He told reporters during a joint news conference: “I'd love to see that happen, we're looking at that very, very strongly, we're looking at that with great care, and we'll see what happens.”
Relocating the US embassy to Jerusalem would represent a major break with US policy.
Mr Trump has said repeatedly he supported the relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem, despite warnings the move would violate international law.
Earlier in January, US officials and Israeli Foreign Ministry sources said the incoming US ambassador to Israel could be based in Jerusalem, while the official embassy building remains in Tel Aviv.
Arab League chief: Moving US embassy to Jerusalem would be explosive
Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said on Thursday that moving the US embassy to Jerusalem would be explosive for the situation in the Middle East, Egypt's state news MENA reported.
Aboul Gheit also said that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict required a two-state solution, a day after the United States backed away from its commitment to Palestinian statehood.
"It requires a comprehensive and just settlement based on a two-state solution and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on ... 1967 borders with its capital in Jerusalem," Egypt's state news agency quoted him as saying after meeting the UN chief Antonio Guterres in Cairo.
Also on Thursday, an Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman told state news agency MENA that Cairo is also committed to a two-state solution.
Watch: Anti-Israel radicals disrupt confirmation hearing
Anti-Israel radicals attempt to shut down Senate confirmation hearing of David Friedman as Ambassador to Israel.

Anti-Israel protesters repeatedly disrupted the Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday for President Trump’s Ambassador-Designate to Israel, David Friedman.
Roughly midway through the hearing, a man bearing a Palestinian Liberation Organization flag interrupted Mr. Friedman, attacking his support for Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.
"David Friedman is supporting the theft of Palestinian land! David Friedman is currently building a five-story building in a settlement in the West Bank. David Friedman will far more likely promote conflict in Israel and the occupied territories. Mr. Friedman supports expansionist policy and the annexation of the West Bank. Support Palestinian lives!"
The man, one of six protesters present in the hearing, was quickly removed by security.
Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer and long-time Trump confidant, has been noted for his staunch support of the State of Israel and the Jewish population in Judea and Samaria.
The nomination of Friedman as US Ambassador to Israel has drawn the criticism of the far-left, including the J Street organization, which lobbies on behalf of Palestinian statehood.
Islamophobic Saudi Arabia Deports 40,000 Muslim Pakistanis, Citing Terrorism Concerns
Saudi Arabia has deported a staggering 40,000 Pakistani migrant workers in the span of just four months, citing terrorism concerns.
The Saudi Gazette reported last week that “a number of Pakistanis were held in the crimes of drug trafficking, thefts, forgery and physical assault.” Authorities feared that some of the migrant workers were linked with ISIS, or as the Saudis call the terror group, Daesh. Other migrants were deported due to expired residency and work permits.
“Against this backdrop, Abdullah Al-Sadoun, chairman of the security committee of the Shoura Council, called for thoroughly scrutinizing the Pakistanis before they are recruited for work in the Kingdom,” added the Gazette. “He asked for more closer coordination with the concerned authorities in Pakistan to thoroughly check those coming to work in the Kingdom due to the involvement of a number of Pakistanis in security issues.”
While the Kingdom has long exported the jihadist ideological cancer of Wahhabism to mosques and Islamic centers across the West, it has prided itself in its effort to rid the homeland of terrorists threatening to undermine the stability and sovereignty of the monarchy.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Authority Banning Land Sales To Jews Accuses Israel Of Ethnic Cleansing (satire)
A spokesman for the Palestinian Authority government that imposes the death penalty or life imprisonment for selling land to Jews, and has made the dismantling of Jewish communities in the territory it claims a prerequisite for ending the conflict, charged today that Israel is displacing and killing Palestinians.
Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator in talks with Israel the Palestinians have refused to attend in three years, leveled the accusation at a meeting with journalists at the Muqat’a, the presidential compound. He insisted that no Israeli Jews could remain in the State of Palestine, in fulfillment of the exhortation invoked among Palestinians since the 1940’s that the Jews must be pushed into the sea, then accused Israel of forcing Palestinians off their land to make room for Jews.
“The blatant discrimination – the ethnic cleansing – that Israel perpetrates against the Palestinian people must be stopped,” insisted Erekat. “And when the Palestinian State is established, we will be sure to prevent Jews from living where they live now. They will have to move. This land is Palestinian. They cannot stay. Did I mention that Israel is conducting ethnic cleansing?”
Nasrallah warns Hezbollah's missiles can hit Israel's nuclear reactor
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah called on Israel to dismantle its nuclear reactor in Dimona on Thursday, warning that it poses a threat to Israel's existence should it be hit by one of Hezbollah's missiles.
Nasrallah made a similar threat against Haifa's ammonia tank last year, saying that a missile hitting the facility could have the affect of a nuclear bomb. Last week, a Haifa court ordered the tank closed, citing the security threat.
Speaking in a televised speech commemorating Hezbollah's slain leaders, Nasrallah said that Hezbollah sees Israel's emptying of the ammonia tank as a sign that it fears the Lebanese Sh'ite group.
"I call on Israel not only to empty the ammonia tank in Haifa, but also to dismantle the nuclear reactor in Dimona. Our military capabilities will strike Israel and its settlements," he warned.
Nasrallah also suggested that Israel has been emboldened by the election of Donald Trump as US president.
IDF shuts down suspected gunsmithing workshop, seizes cars
As part of its ongoing crackdown on illegal guns in the West Bank, the IDF shuttered a workshop suspected of being used to craft weapons in the central West Bank early Thursday morning, the army said.
Soldiers also confiscated the tools inside the workshop, located in Bayt Liqya, a village outside Ramallah, the military said.
For the past year, the Israel Defense Forces, working alongside the Israel Police and Shin Bet security service, has been moving up the supply chain and cracking down more heavily on the sources of terror — arresting more gun makers and sellers, rather than gun owners, for instance — in an attempt to prevent attacks.
Despite this crackdown, Palestinian shooting attacks using improvised submachine guns have persisted. Last week, a Palestinian man opened fire at a bus outside a market in the central Israeli town of Petah Tikva, in an attack that left five people injured.
Defense Minister Liberman calls on Hamas to disarm, vows airport in return
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Thursday turned to the Palestinian leadership to urge Hamas to lay down its arms in order to set the stage to facilitate direct negotiations and compromises between the sides.
Speaking Arabic as part of an interview published on the official website of COGAT (Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories), Liberman was quoted as saying: "Let's talk," in what some perceived as a genuinely diplomatic gesture.
He clarified that "once Hamas gives up the terror tunnels and the rockets, we will be the first to invest and build them a naval port, an airport and an industrial area."
According to the defense minister, Israel is capable of "immediately creating some 40,000 jobs for the residents of Gaza, assuming that Hamas will give up the clause of 'exterminating Israel,' will give up its terror tunnels, and of course, first and foremost- if [they] return the bodies of our soldiers and civilians who are being held captive by them."
Pointing to what he deemed the main cause for the rift between the Israeli leadership and its de facto Palestinian counterparts in Ramallah, Liberman also said that "the main problem between us is an utter lack of trust."
PreOccupiedTerritory: Meretz Proposes Making Doublespeak An Official Language (satire)
Legislators from the far-left Meretz Party seek to establish Doublespeak as an official language of Israel alongside Hebrew and Arabic, a statement by the party announced today.
Officials from Meretz distributed the statement this morning and referred to a draft proposal they intend to submit to the Knesset this legislative session, aimed at enshrining euphemism and deceptive language into government administration and publications. If it passes the law would obligate the government to issue all of its documents in Doublespeak, much as all government publications, signs, and documents currently must by law be made available in both Hebrew and Arabic.
The Meretz Euphemism-Required-Doublespeak Enactment (1984)(2017), or MERDE, as it is currently known, would obligate the government to issue, in every formal language it uses, terms that mask the true nature of the entity or act it addresses. The bill itself contains an appendix with 175 terms to be used in all government communication, including speeches made by government officials acting in the capacity of their office. A special committee would meet monthly to discuss revisions and additions to the list as circumstances develop.
Chief among the terms is “incitement,” which MERDE defines as “anything said by a right-wing politician.” Thus, the minutes of Knesset plenum addresses and committee or faction meetings would be required to precede every line of speech by Likud, Jewish Home, or Yisrael Beiteinu MKs – or MKs in other parties who lean to the right – with the MK’s name and the phrase, “incited as follows:” The committee would similarly have authority over which parties and MKs are defined as “right-wing” and therefore automatically subject to the terms of MERDE.

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