Monday, March 20, 2017

From Ian:

Khaled Abu Toameh: Abbas's Empty Promises
Abbas's pledge to prevent inflammatory rhetoric against Israel seems to have missed his editors and journalists.
Take, for example, the Palestinian Authority-controlled media's response to last week's Jerusalem marathon. In the PA media, the sports event is depicted as part of Israel's scheme to "Judaize" Jerusalem and change the "Arab and Islamic character" of the city.
In addition, Abbas's media continues to portray visits by Jews to the Temple Mount as "provocative invasions" of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Jewish visitors are described as "settler gangs" who carry out "suspicious tours" of Islamic religious sites. It is precisely this kind of terminology that is driving many Palestinians to carry out stabbings and car-rammings against Israelis.
Abbas can make all the promises in the world to the new US envoy. Fulfillment of any of them, however, is a different story altogether.
Abbas has had multiple opportunities to reach a "historic" deal with Israel, yet he has never delivered. Quite the contrary: he has repeatedly rejected offers for holding direct talks with Israel, insisting instead on pursuing his campaign to internationalize the conflict with the hope of imposing a solution on Israel.
Abbas knows anyhow that he would never be able to win the support of a majority of Palestinians for any peace agreement he signs with Israel. No Palestinian leader is authorized to offer any concessions to Israel in return for peace.
The "cordial" and "positive" meeting with the new US envoy will change nothing -- certainly not Abbas's stripes.
Abbas's modus operandi is to flee from his problems at home by presenting himself to the international community as a leader who seeks peace. With every lick of the flames that threaten to engulf his palace of deception, the 82-year-old Abbas runs to seek sympathy among world leaders and international public opinion. Abbas's promises of peace are as empty as the political sway he parades to his Western donors.
Hillel C. Neuer: Why Theresa May must expel former UN official Richard Falk for ‘anti-Semitism’
Human rights organisation UN Watch, which is accredited by the United Nations to monitor the world body’s adherence to the principles of its Charter, has sent the following letter to Prime Minister Theresa May, urging her to consider expelling disgraced ex-UN official Richard Falk, who is set to speak this week at events in London.

March 19, 2017
Dear Prime Minister May
In a recent speech, you said, “I made sure we kept extremism—including the sort that peddles anti-Semitic vitriol—out of our country,” and you cited your barring of antisemites like Dieudonné, and your expulsion of terror supporters like Abu Hamza and Abu Qatada.
In that regard, we wish to inform you that Mr. Richard Falk—a disgraced ex-UN official who was officially denounced by the United Kingdom on at least three separate occasions for antisemitism, and whose glorification of the Hamas terrorist group was so severe that the Palestinian Authority sought to expel him from the UN—is currently in your country, and is planning to speak this week at various events in London.
We urge your government to examine the following facts and legal precedents, and to consider whether to expel this exponent of antisemitism and glorifier of Jihadist terrorism from the UK.
More than Just Another Anti-Israel U.N. Farce
A new United Nations report libels Israel, promotes hatred, and makes peace even less likely.
The report comes at a particularly inopportune time for those hoping President Trump’s surprising interest in reviving peace talks might bear fruit. The Palestinians rejected President Obama’s efforts to tilt the diplomatic playing field in their direction. They torpedoed the negotiations sponsored by Secretary of State John Kerry, embracing efforts to get the U.N. to grant them statehood without first requiring them to make peace with Israel. Their unwillingness to make compromises will only be strengthened by a report that encourages them to regard Israel as having no rights whatsoever. They are likely to make Falk’s and Tilley’s findings the basis for renewed efforts to sue Israel in the International Criminal Court, as well as for renewed provocations in other U.N. bodies such as the Human Rights Council or even UNESCO, which in the past year has taken up measures that denied the historical Jewish ties to Jerusalem and some of Judaism’s holiest sites.
Just as unfortunate is the way the report will be used to buttress the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) movement against Israel, which is one of the primary engines of anti-Semitic incitement both in Europe and the United States. While BDS claims to be merely a protest against Israel, wherever its banner is raised, anti-Jewish hate speech and actions soon follow. Those who subscribe to the notion that the Jewish state has no rights that need be respected are not merely promoting bias on the international stage, but also are part of an effort that leads inexorably to anti-Semitic hate speech.
Liberal groups have labeled President Trump as the main source of encouragement for the uptick in anti-Jewish incidents in the United States. This is due in part to his inflammatory statements during the election campaign, the support he received from anti-Semites in the small but loud alt-right and far-right elements of his base, and his refusal to quickly disavow such hate once he became president. Partisans have overstated this argument while failing to take into account Trump’s close Jewish ties, his support for Israel, and the things most of those actively promoting anti-Semitism actually care about. The U.N. report is a reminder that in our time, the singling out of Jews for discriminatory treatment is primarily driven by anti-Israel propaganda, which serves as a thin veil for a new and insidious form of anti-Semitism. Those looking for the reason behind the rising tide of hate against Jews around the globe would do better to read Falk and Tilley than to read Trump’s tweets.

UNHRC to call for boycott of Israeli settlements
The United Nations Human Rights Council is set to debate a resolution on Monday demanding that the international community boycott Israeli settlements.
It’s one of four pro-Palestinian resolutions the council will likely adopt at the end of this week when it wraps up its 34th session.
A fifth resolution condemning Israel for human-rights violations on the Golan Heights is also expected to be approved.
Out of the 41 resolutions before the UNHRC, 12 deal with human-rights situations in individual countries. Five of those resolutions are focused on Israeli actions. The other seven resolutions deal with Syria, Iran, Libya, Sri Lanka, North Korea, Myanmar and South Sudan.
The resolutions condemning Israeli activity will be debated Monday, under Agenda Item 7, as it is mandated to do at every UNHRC session. Israel is the only country against which there is such a mandate.
The resolutions call on Israel to end settlement activity and demand that Israel fully withdraw to the pre-1967 borders. [sic.]
US boycotts UNHRC debate against Israel, slamming 'long-standing bias'
The UNHRC is mandated to dedicate Agenda Item 7 to a discussion on Israeli human rights abuses at every session. Israel is the only country against which there is such a mandate, as all other human rights abuses including by Syria and Iran are examined under Agenda Item 4.
“The United States will vote against every resolution put forth under this agenda item and is encouraging other countries to do the same,” the US said.
“Today’s actions in the Council are yet another reminder of that body’s long-standing bias against Israel. No other nation has an entire agenda item dedicated to it at the Council,” the US said.
“The continued existence of this agenda item is among the largest threats to the credibility of the Council,” it added.
“As an expression of our deeply-held conviction that this bias must be addressed in order for the Council to realize its legitimate purpose, the United States decided not to attend the Council’s Item Seven General Debate session,” the US said.
Palestinian Authority blasts UN over removal of report from affiliated website
The Palestinian Authority blasted the United Nations on Sunday after the international organization instructed the UN Economic and Social Commission in Western Asia to remove a report critical of Israeli policies from its website.
Removing the report from its website “encourages Israel to continue its policies of occupation, killing, persecution, settlements and racial division,” PA government spokesman Tariq Rishmawi said in a statement to Wafa, the official PA news agency.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres asked commission chairwoman Rima Khalaf to remove the report, which accused of Israel of carrying out an “apartheid regime,” from the website last week.
Khalaf resigned on Friday in protest.
Powerful UN member states, including the US, had demanded that the commission withdraw its report.
“The United States stands with our ally Israel and will continue to oppose biased and anti-Israel actions across the UN system and around the world,” US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said on Wednesday.
Palestinians honor UN official who quit over ‘apartheid Israel’ report
The Palestinian Authority president awarded his people’s highest honor to a former UN official who was resigned last week, after authoring a report that accused Israel of establishing an “apartheid regime” guilty of “racial domination” over the Palestinians.
The official Palestinian news agency Wafa said Sunday that President Mahmoud Abbas informed Rima Khalaf by phone that she would receive the Palestine Medal of the Highest Honor in recognition of her “courage and support” for the Palestinian people.
A statement said Abbas “stressed to Dr. Khalaf that our people appreciate her humanitarian and national position.”
Khalaf, a UN undersecretary-general, resigned Friday after refusing to withdraw her report for the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia.
Its authors concluded that “Israel has established an apartheid regime that systematically institutionalizes racial oppression and domination of the Palestinian people as a whole.”
PreOccupiedTerritory: Abbas Honors Pigeon That Crapped On Netanyahu’s Motorcade (satire)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas granted citizenship today to a rock dove that defecated on the procession of cars escorting Israeli prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu last week.
During a ceremony at the presidential compound in the Palestinian capital to pay respects to “martyrs” who died in attempting to kill Jews, Abbas also presented the pigeon with a small medal to wear around its neck as a token of the achievement, and declared that the bird would henceforth enjoy all the privileges of Palestinian citizenship.
“Pigeon, you have struck a blow for the Palestinian cause,” pronounced the president. “I hereby grant you, on behalf of the entire Palestinian people, this medal, and a diplomatic passport of the State of Palestine, to allow you passage wherever your wings take you.”
The defecation took place last Wednesday, as Netanyahu’s motorcade made its way through Jerusalem, from his official residence to the Knesset. As the procession of vehicles passed under a wire strung over Bezalel Street near Sacher Park, the two-year-old pigeon, a father of four, let loose a whitish, liquidy mass surrounding solid dark chunks. The glob of guano struck the front left fender of the lead car, and remained there for a full twenty minutes until the driver conducted his routine check of the vehicle and wiped off the offending mess.
AIPAC: Pence, Haley, Harper Among Top Speakers at Upcoming Annual Conference
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), whose annual policy conference draws more than 15,000 people and is arguably the world’s largest pro-Israel gathering, Thursday announced the highest-level dignitaries who will address the lobby’s 2017 conference later this month.
US political leaders Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), and Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley will all speak at the March 26-28 convention in Washington, DC.
In the realm of foreign leaders, Rwandan President Paul Kagame and former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will address the conference, AIPAC said.
President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were not included on AIPAC’s list of top-level speakers. Netanyahu, who typically appears at the conference, already visited Washington to meet with Trump last month.
Top American Jewish Official: Middle Eastern Leaders Relieved to See Obama Go, Want US to Take Tougher Line Against Iran
Middle Eastern leaders are looking for the Trump administration to re-engage with the region and take a tougher line against Iran, a top American Jewish official told The Algemeiner this week.
Malcolm Hoenlein — the executive vice chairman and CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations — recently returned to the US from a trip that included stops in Israel, Egypt, Morocco and Cyprus. “What we heard in all the countries was a sense of relief over the change of administrations and anticipation about what the new administration will be, who will be in it, what they will do and how they will govern,” he said. “There is a feeling that America is back in the game. But there is also some anxiety and uncertainty.”
Israeli officials, according to Hoenlein, are “hopeful” about President Donald Trump.
“They all recognize that it’s still early, but the relationship between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the president at their meeting [in February] was good,” Hoenlein said. “Ambassador Nikki Haley has been very strong at the UN responding to attacks on Israel. And the president also protected aid to Israel in the face of major budget cuts.”
Israel’s major worries at the moment, Hoenlein stated, are the ongoing conflict in Syria and instability in Jordan.
“If there is a ceasefire in Syria, will Iran have a permanent place there?” Hoenlein asked.
How New Zealand pushed a trophy resolution & scored an own goal
In fact, van Bohemen said there was ‘palpable elation’ and he was ‘proud of what New Zealand did’. Regarding the discomfort that the resolution wrought on Israel and her supporters, van Bohemen considered that ‘outside [his] job’. He said
That’s between the NZ government and the Israeli government. There’s a strong desire of NZ to get the relationship right. Nothing in that resolution was a surprise. We understood that they would be disappointed, but we do hope that we can move past this point.” Gerard van Bohemen
He elaborated on this in an interview with Radio NZ, saying:
On the question of restoring relationship with Israel, the ball is very much in their court because they are the ones who took the decision to withdraw their ambassador. But we can’t see it’s in either country’s interests to have a bad relationship.” Gerard van Bohemen
Many New Zealanders also hope that we can move past this point and restore a positive relationship. However, many would disagree with the view that the ball is in Israel’s court. The Israeli withdrawal of their ambassador was in response to New Zealand’s choice to sponsor an anti-Israel resolution that excoriates and delegitimises an ally and the only democracy in the Middle East. If it’s not in New Zealand’s interests to have a bad relationship with Israel, as van Bohemen says, this should have been considered before sponsoring the resolution. This action has likely harmed chances of Israeli political support for any NZ/Israel agreements, such as the innovation deal worth an estimated $2b between Australia and Israel.
Resolution 2334 would, however, have garnered favour with the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and Non-aligned countries. It is no secret that New Zealand has been busily pursuing trade opportunities with Saudi Arabia, Iran, and other OIC members. Or it might just have been a naive attempt to secure a personal legacy on the part of McCully.
Either way, the single focus on a trophy resolution that lacks historical accuracy, balance and fairness, hardly befits a body with the responsibility of the Security Council. Rather than promoting dialogue between the parties, McCully’s legacy has simply made the chances of peace more remote. In effect, his easy goal may prove to be an own goal.
PMW: Fatah: US embassy reinstated Fatah Facebook page
Fatah's Facebook continues to promote terror and glorify terrorists
One of Fatah's reinstated posts honors murderer of American Taylor Force
Fatah uploads posts glorifying terrorist murderers and removes them shortly afterwards:
Last month, Facebook closed Fatah's official page, only to reinstate it a day later. Now the head of information at the Fatah Commission of Mobilization and Organization Munir Radi Al-Jaghoub, who is responsible for the page, claims that it was the American embassy that intervened, making Facebook reopen the page:
"I contacted the international media, and then I received a call from the American embassy, which got involved and resolved the problem with the Facebook administration, and the page returned to action on Monday evening, Feb. 27, and they apologized and explained that what happened was a mistake."
[Website of the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms MADA, March 5, 2017]
Palestinian Media Watch reported on the closure of the page, and has documented hundreds of posts by Fatah glorifying violence and terror, and praising murderers.
Israel will continue to defend its citizens, says UN envoy in response to Syria threats
Israeli ambassador to the UN Danny Danon hit back at the Syrian envoy to the world body on Monday, calling him hypocritical for describing Israel’s airstrike Friday on a Hezbollah weapons convoy in Syrian territory as a “terrorist operation” while boasting of Syria’s retaliatory missile attacks as a game-changer.
“It is the peak of hypocrisy for the ambassador of a regime that massacres its own people to level such accusations at us,” said Danon in a statement early Monday.
“Israel will continue to defend its citizens and will act against any attempt to harm them,” he vowed.
In an early Friday morning operation, Israeli jets hit an arms transfer meant for Hezbollah near Palmyra, with Syrian air defenses firing missiles at the planes. One missile was intercepted by Israel’s Arrow missile defense battery, military officials said, in the first reported use of the advanced system. It was the most serious incident between the two countries since the Syrian civil war began six years ago.
Israel said to strike Syria for second time in 24 hours, amid threats from Damascus
Israel is said to have struck Syria overnight Sunday-Monday, the second strike in 24 hours and third in three days as tensions escalated between the two countries over the weekend.
Syria media reported early Monday that Israeli jets took out a number of targets near the Lebanon-Syria border including a Hezbollah weapons convoy and Syrian military sites.
The reports have not been confirmed.
Earlier Sunday, an Israeli drone strike reportedly killed a member of a Syrian pro-regime militia, an attack that came two days after Israeli jets, in an early Friday morning operation, hit an arms transfer meant for Hezbollah near Palmyra, with Syrian air defenses firing missiles at the planes.
One missile was intercepted by Israel’s Arrow missile defense battery, military officials said, in the first reported use of the advanced system. It was the most serious incident between the two countries since the Syrian civil war began six years ago.
On Sunday evening, Syria’s ambassador to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari said Syria’s response to Friday’s strike was a “game-changer.”
Syrian militia leader killed in alleged Israeli drone strike
At approximately 4 p.m. on Sunday, a militia commander loyal to the Bashar Assad regime was killed in an alleged Israeli drone strike in Syria.
According to various reports in Lebanon and Syria, the drone fired a missile at a private vehicle traveling on the highway from Quneitra, in the Syrian Golan Heights, to Damascus. The driver was later identified by the Arab press as Yasser al-Sayed.
The U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the alleged Israeli strike was carried out near the town of Khan Arnaba on the Syrian Golan Heights, shortly after the vehicle exited the town via the Damascus highway.
Syrian media said al-Sayed was affiliated with President Bashar Assad's regime and commanded armed militias operating on the Syrian Golan Heights.
According to the reports, al-Sayed commanded militias comprised of Druze and Palestinian residents of the Syrian Golan Heights, and that recently he had been in contact with senior members of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which are helping Assad's forces fight rebel groups in the Quneitra area. Al-Sayed was assassinated after apparently planning and trying to carry out terrorist attacks against Israel, with the support of his Iranian colleagues and his militia fighters.
Israel has responded to the finger-pointing following al-Sayed's assassination with deafening silence.
Air defense expert: I hoped Israel would never need to use Arrow system
The former head of the Arrow missile project said the air force was correct to use the system to intercept Syrian surface-to-air missiles fired against Israeli jets early on Friday morning.
“While I hoped that the state would never need to use the system I am sure that the air force made the right choice in using the system,” Uzi Rubin told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.
The Syrians claimed that one Israeli jet had been shot down and another damaged by SA-5 missiles, which was denied by the IDF, but the army did confirm the first use of Israel’s defense system to intercept a missile in the Jordan Valley.
The air force is investigating whether or not the use of Arrow was necessary given that the system was designed to intercept much larger and significant missiles, but was still used to successfully shoot down the Syrian projectile.
Former prime minister and defense minister Ehud Barak also questioned the use of the system on Saturday at a lecture in Beersheba saying “it could be that with more thorough thought, it wasn’t worth firing.”
But according to Rubin, the Arrow “was designed exactly” for what it was used for on Friday.
Jerusalem denies report of Russia's second summoning of Israel envoy
The Foreign Ministry denied Hebrew media reports on Monday that Israel's ambassador to Russia was summoned to speak with Moscow government officials for a second time in less than a week.
Ministry spokesperson, Emmanuel Nashon, told The Jerusalem Post that the reports "were not true."
Russian news agency Interfax, however, quoted a ministry official as saying on Monday that Moscow had summoned Israel's ambassador for clarification on an Israeli military strike near the Syrian city of Palmyra.
Hours earlier, Syrian media reported that Israeli forces had struck Hezbollah targets on the Syrian-Lebanese border, allegedly the second such action in one week.
The reported assault came just a day after an Israeli drone reportedly struck a vehicle in the Quneitra countryside, killing the driver, Yasser al-Sayed, who was a commander in Syria’s air defense unit, according to Channel 2 on Sunday.
Syrian UNHRC envoy: Israel aiding al-Qaida-linked terrorists
Israel is helping terrorist groups in Syria including al-Qaida splinter group al-Nusra, Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council Hussam Edin Aala charged in Geneva on Monday as he condemned the Israeli Air Force strike last Friday against military targets in his country.
“The military aggression by Israel inside Syrian land on the 17th of March is a proof of the support Israel provides to terrorist groups,” Aala said.
“This aggression for us is a violation of the charter of the United Nation, international law and UN Security Council resolutions. It is a great threat of international peace and security,” he said.
Israel has said the airstrike was necessary to stop the flow of weapons to Hezbollah. It is concerned by the actions of both Hezbollah and Iran in Syria, particularly near Israel’s borders in the Golan Heights.
Mossad chief contradicts report from state comptroller on Gaza war
The security cabinet was informed of all major threats and issues during the 2014 Gaza war, Mossad Director and former National Security Council chief Yossi Cohen told the Knesset State Control Committee on Sunday, contradicting the state comptroller’s recent report.
The report had slammed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a range of officials and Cohen, who was NSC chief at the time, for failing to fully explain to the cabinet the scope of the tunnels threat, the disastrous Gaza humanitarian situation and alternative options to Operation Protective Edge.
Cohen told the committee that every member of the cabinet had the ability to ask at any moment for information and there was no subject that was not known to the ministers.
“There is an Israeli strategy for the Gaza Strip,” he said. “There is an obsession regarding the issue of alternative options. After we decide to go in a certain direction, the question of alternative options is already finished and sometimes there are no alternative options, unless there is a major strategic change in the overall situation.”
Here, Cohen was responding to and zeroing in on a major comptroller’s criticism that the war may have been avoidable if the government had acted to improve the economic situation in Gaza sufficiently to lower the domestic pressure on Hamas.
Terrorist who killed American Ezra Schwartz gets 4 life sentences
The terrorist responsible for the death of Ezra Schwartz and two others in a drive-by shooting in November 2015 was sentenced to four life prison terms by the Judea Military Court on Sunday.
Schwartz, an 18-year-old American from Sharon, Massachusetts, was on a gap year in an Israeli yeshiva. He was one of three victims killed in a terrorist attack at the Gush Etzion junction in the West Bank in November 2015. Seven others were lightly wounded in the attack.
Palestinian Shadi Arafeh, 24, of Hebron, was also pronounced dead at the scene, and Yaakov Don, 49, a teacher and father of four who lived in the nearby Alon Shvut settlement, was evacuated to Hadassah- University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem in serious condition, but was pronounced dead upon arriving at the hospital.
The terrorist, Muhammad Haruv, was sentenced to four life prison terms for the three deaths and numerous attempted murders in the drive-by shooting, during which he fired dozens of bullets.
Lions’ Gate stabber was part of radical WhatsApp group — police
Police arrested 18 members of a WhatsApp group allegedly used to plan last week’s stabbing attack against police officers in Jerusalem.
Police spokeswoman Luba Sumri said on Sunday that, as part of police investigations into the attack last Monday at Lions’ Gate, it was discovered that the stabber, Ibrahim Mahmoud Mattar, a 25-year-old resident of East Jerusalem’s Jabel Mukaber neighborhood, was a member of a WhatsApp group called “The path to heaven.”
According to police, the group was set up to spread extremist religious views and its members, including Mattar, were recently radicalized.
A day after the attack, police arrested 18 members of the group, residents of East Jerusalem and the West Bank, who are suspected of conspiracy to commit a crime. Eight of the detainees were conditionally released and the remand of 10 suspects was extended until Monday.
Two Border Police officers were moderately wounded in the attack which occurred on in the early hours of the Purim festival.
Shin Bet chief warns of Hamas attack attempts ahead of Passover
The head of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) Nadav Argaman warned on Monday morning that despite the current relative calm, Hamas and other terrorists entities may attempt to carry out attacks ahead of the upcoming Passover holiday.
"The relative calm that we are experiencing at this time is quite deceiving, it's misleading and deluding because Hamas and global jihadi infrastructure are working every day in attempt to conduct terror attacks in Israeli territory," he stated at a meeting of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
Argaman added, however, that "our goal is to ensure that the holidays are as quite as possible."
"We are engaged day and night in thwarting attacks," he said. "We have stopped more than 400 potential hazards before they materialized into terrorist attacks."
Israel already preparing for end of UN ban on Iran missile activity
Throughout international talks with Iran over its nuclear program, Israeli leadership offered a common refrain: Ten years may be a long time in the life of a politician, but it is nothing in the life of a nation.
In that spirit, Israel’s government is already planning for the expiration of several critical provisions in the deal that resulted from those talks, including two restrictions on Iran that sunset within the next few years on arms sales and its ballistic missile program.
Last month in Washington, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told The Jerusalem Post that he was working with the Trump administration on ways to mitigate the effects of some of the deal’s most challenging sunset clauses. For Israel, Iran is more dangerous if it abides by the deal than if it breaches it, he said.
Top Arab MK hails ‘inspiring’ boycott activist Linda Sarsour
The top Arab Israeli lawmaker heaped praise Monday on a pro-Palestinian advocate of a boycott on Israel who recently appeared to suggest that Zionism and feminism were incompatible.
Ayman Odeh, the leader of the Joint (Arab) List faction, tweeted support for Linda Sarsour, calling her a “freedom fighter.”
“Linda Sarsour, the freedom fighter who fights for the rights of all people! You inspire us all in our struggles,” he wrote on his official account.
In an interview with The Nation last week, Sarsour — an organizer of the Women’s March in DC — indicated those who identify as Zionist cannot be feminist because they are ignoring the rights of Palestinian women.
“It just doesn’t make any sense for someone to say, ‘Is there room for people who support the state of Israel and do not criticize it in the movement?’ There can’t be in feminism. You either stand up for the rights of all women, including Palestinians, or none. There’s just no way around it,” Sarsour said.
She also said that Palestinian-American women in social justice movements cannot be as visible as other women because they are the target of unspecified attacks from “right-wing Zionists.”
Abbas, Sissi hold ‘reconciliation’ meeting in Egypt
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi held what Egyptian media called a “reconciliation” meeting in Cairo on Monday.
Relations between Egypt and Abbas’s administration have been tense over a range of issues, including Cairo’s contacts with the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip.
According to the PA official news outlet Wafa, during the meeting at the Heliopolis Palace in Cairo, the two leaders “coordinated their stances” on Palestinian issues, including the realization of a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
The meeting came as preparations were being made for the Arab League summit in Jordan on March 29, as well as trips to Washington for the two leaders, both scheduled for April.
Lebanese TV reporter urges Israel to take out Hezbollah leader Nasrallah
Lebanese television reporter Maria Maalouf took to Twitter on Saturday night to urge Israel to make good on past threats and take out Hezbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah.
In two different tweets Maalouf published on her official Twitter handle late Saturday night, the reporter turned to the State of Israel and said that if the latter really wanted to see peace in the region, it ought to arrive at some sort of agreement with the Shi'ite terror organization.
"If Israel really wants peace, then it should prove it and sign on agreements with Hezbollah. Because, to this day we have not gotten rid of Hassan Nasrallah, who is deluding us in his fight against Israel," Maalouf wrote in her first tweet.
Shortly after, Maalouf tweeted again, this time taunting Israel and claiming that it could not really deter its enemies if it didn't take more extreme measures. "If Israel sees Hassan Nasrallah as its enemy, why doesn't it carry out an air strike that would rid us of him, thus gaining our faith and protecting itself?"
This second quote gained a lot of traction, triggering a heated debate among the reporter's 222,000 Twitter followers. Many lashed at Maalouf, who is known for her avid stand against the Syrian regime, while others reacted by saying that her suggestions couldn't possibly happen because "Israel and Hezbollah are on the same side," alluding to radical conspiracy theories claiming that Israel and Hezbollah are actually in contact and seeking collaboration behind the scenes.
Hezbollah ratchets up murder machinery on global scale
The Saudi newspaper Ouchaz reported Thursday that South American security forces foiled a massive Hezbollah attack.
According to the report, forces raided a munitions storage facility in the suburb of La Paz, one of Bolivia's two capitals. The foiled plans included intended attacks on Bolivia, Peru, and Chile. The raid revealed mechanisms and material demonstrating the ability to produce a 2.5 ton bomb. A four-wheel-drive vehicle being prepared for deployment as a car bomb was also seized.
The report comes soon after the Kuwaiti daily Al Jarida cited the report of an Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander's aide, according to which responsibility for Iranian weapons and missile plants has been transferred to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
According to the report translated and distributed by MEMRI researchers, the factories Iran recently established in Lebanon are at a depth of over 50 meters and are protected from bombings. The missiles are manufactured in different wings of the factories and are finally assembled into one unit.
Al Jarida further brings an anonymous report that a few years ago, after Israel destroyed an Iranian weapons factory in Sudan which supplied weapons to Hezbollah, and bombed the arms supply that was intended for Hezbolla via Syria, the Revolutionary Guards began a project to build weapons factories in Lebanon.
It is further reported that international experts were brought to Tehran University for the planning and development of factories that are located at a depth of hundreds of feet below ground. "These plants were built at a depth of over 50 meters and above them are various layers of several types of barricades so that Israeli aircraft are unable to harm them. Also, the missiles are not manufactured at one facility, but in parts at various plants and then finally they are assembled into a single unit."
Turkish ambassador Iran's regional ambitions must be contained
Turkey shares Jerusalem’s concern about Iran’s regional ambitions and nuclear potential but differ when it comes to strategy, the country’s new ambassador to Israel, Kemal Okem, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.
Iran’s “nuclear file is a concern for everyone,” said Okem, speaking briefly to the Post after delivering a wide ranging policy speech at Tel Aviv University that was followed by a question and answer session.
Ankara, he said, believes the best way forward is through containment not isolation.
“We have had a common border [with Iran] for hundreds of years which remains unchanged. They see us as a strategic competitor... We saw the need for engaging and containing their ambitions,” he said.
With regard to Iran in Syria, he said he sees a “little bit” of progress in that Iran had assumed some kind of responsibility, while on the topic of Russia in Syria, he said to the Israelis in the room: “Good luck, you have a new neighbor.”
The ambassador said the threat from terrorism and Islamic State can be found in Berlin and Istanbul and that Turkey is part of the international battle against extremism and ISIS. Both Muslims and Jews should be fighting this battle, he said.

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