Tuesday, September 19, 2017

From Ian:

PMW: Ariel Sharon's birthday wish was that 10 Palestinian children be murdered, says PA TV preacher and Abbas' appointee
One hateful and dangerous Palestinian libel is that Israelis murder Palestinians in cold blood, and deliberately target Palestinian children.

This week, PA TV chose to rebroadcast a version of this lie that was first heard on PA TV as part of a religious lesson. PA TV's Islamic educator taught that former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon would celebrate his birthday by asking Israelis to murder 10 Palestinian children, before "the end of the day." Imad Hamato, the preacher who taught in his weekly PA TV lesson on religion that the dead children would bring "joy" to Sharon, is not an insignificant figure: Hamato was appointed last year by Mahmoud Abbas to be dean of the Al-Azhar institutes, a system of schools that prepare students for studies at the Al-Azhar University in Gaza.

Imad Hamato: "Read the memoirs of [Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon who died. When he wanted to celebrate his birthday, he used to say: 'On my birthday I want 10 candles to be blown out, 10 Palestinian children. I want to hear that at the end of the day, so that I can feel joy.'"
[Official PA TV, Sept. 15, 2017, Aug. 7, 2015]

Palestinian children are brought up to hate Israelis who they are told are seeking to murder them. During the Palestinian terror wave in 2015-2016 when young Palestinians attacked Israelis with knives, guns, and in car rammings, the host on PA TV's children's program The Best Home, claimed Israelis are "barbarians" and murderers, warning Palestinian children under 18 and 15 not to go out alone because Israelis were looking for children to kill:

"The occupation [Israel] targets children everywhere. In their schools, near their homes... We must be very careful now. We are confronting the occupiers who act in a very barbaric terrorist way. They are trying to kill people everywhere. These are barbarians, my young friends. They try to kill people for no reason, who are just walking on their land. They make various accusations against them. This is called barbarity, my friends. Be very careful all the time. All children under 18, and children under 15, when you go out, your mom or dad, should accompany you, I mean that an adult should accompany you."
[Official PA TV, Nov. 13, 2015]

Evelyn Gordon: Israel Courts Shield Hamas Officials from Consequences
If you can forfeit citizenship for serving in a foreign government, you can certainly forfeit permanent residency. After all, Hamas officials surely don’t deserve more rights than Israeli ones. Yet that’s exactly what the court gave them: Hamas officials can now retain dual nationality even though their other nationality is Israel’s bitter enemy, while Israeli officials cannot, even when their other nationality is Israel’s close ally.

Moreover, it’s eminently reasonable to expect people who choose to serve in a foreign government to move to that government’s jurisdiction, unless some unusual obstacle prevents them. In this case, no such obstacle existed, as evidenced by the fact that two of them did relocate to Ramallah after losing their Israeli residency (the other two were arrested by Israel on unrelated grounds).

Even the majority justices appeared to realize how irrelevant their argument actually was. In a truly stunning statement, Justice Uzi Vogelman, who wrote the main opinion, said, “Our interpretative decision didn’t focus on the petitioners’ case specifically, but on an interpretive question of general applicability to residents of East Jerusalem.” Quite how any court can decide a case without focusing on that case specifically is beyond me.

Ostensibly, the case at least has limited application. After all, how many East Jerusalem Palestinians are going to become Hamas legislators of cabinet members? But in reality, the implications are broad, because if even swearing allegiance to a foreign government on behalf of a terrorist organization committed to Israel’s destruction isn’t enough to make a Palestinian lose his Israeli residency and its attendant benefits, what on earth would be? Nothing I can think of. Thus, Hamas supporters in Jerusalem will now be emboldened to step up all kinds of activity on the organization’s behalf, secure in the knowledge that they need not fear expulsion from the country as a consequence.

The court’s judicial activism impedes the government’s ability to set policy in almost every walk of life, as I detailed in Mosaic last year, and several rulings over the past few months rightly outraged many members of Israel’s ruling parties. But last week’s ruling may have been a tipping point: In response, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and her Jewish Home party submitted legislation to curb the court’s excesses. Whether it will pass remains to be seen. But this outrageous ruling in defense of Hamas legislators amply shows why it should.
The Myth of the Disappearing Two-State Solution
A frequent refrain among those who claim the need for an immediate peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians is that soon it will “too late” for compromise. According to this argument, the ongoing increase in the number of Jews living on the West Bank will soon lead to Palestinian and Israeli populations that are hopelessly entangled, rendering any division of territory impossible. But, writes Jackson Diehl, the facts tell a different story:
The annual UN General Assembly is under way this week in New York, so we can expect to hear, again, its most hackneyed rhetorical theme—the Israeli-Palestinian “peace process.” Speaker after speaker will declaim the urgency of settling the conflict once and for all; many will assert that the time for doing so has all but expired. . . . It consequently seems worthwhile to offer a couple of reality checks: no, this is not the time to fashion a Mideast peace deal; and, no, the time for one has not run out.
Of the some 600,000 [Jewish] settlers who live outside Israel’s internationally recognized borders, just 94,000 are outside the border-like barrier that Israel built through the West Bank a decade ago. Just 20,000 of those moved in since 2009, when Benjamin Netanyahu returned to office; in a sea of 2.9 million Palestinians, they are hardly overwhelming. Last year, 43 percent of the settler population growth was in just two towns that sit astride the Israeli border—and that Mahmoud Abbas himself has proposed for Israeli annexation.
If the Palestinians were today to accept the deal they were offered nine years ago by then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, a state on 94.2 percent of the West Bank, only 20 percent of current settlers would find themselves on the wrong side of the border. . . . It follows that a wise U.S. policy would aim at preserving that option until Israeli and Palestinian leaders emerge who can act on it.

Shameful Moments in UNGA History: Arafat’s 1974 Address
With all eyes turned towards the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) and President Donald Trump’s first appearance and address, now seems like a good time to remind you of one of the most deplorable moments in UNGA history.

On November 13th, 1974, arch terrorist Yasser Arafat was granted the honor to address the UNGA. He did so while wearing a gun holster. And although some, like the BBC, like to describe his speech as “advocating peace”, he was really threatening more violence if the establishment of a palestinian state would not take place.

Almost exactly a year later, on November 10th, 1975, the UNGA adopted the infamous “Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination” resolution.

And they’ve continued to be a wretched hive of scum and villainy ever since.
Trump goes after 'rogue regimes' Iran, North Korea in first UN speech
In his first address to the UN General Assembly Tuesday, US President Donald Trump saved his most biting criticisms for Iran and North Korea, calling both "rogue states" posing threats to global stability. He suggested bold policy shifts toward both nations are forthcoming.

"The Iranian government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy," Trump said, characterizing the Islamic Republic as an "economically depleted" and "murderous" nation whose main exports are "violence, bloodshed and chaos."

The nuclear deal brokered by the Obama administration, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is "an embarrassment to the United States, and I don't think you've heard the last of it, believe me," Trump continued. "We cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program​."

"It is time for the entire world to insist the Iranian government end its pursuit of death and destruction," he added.

In recent days, the president has repeatedly suggested he is prepared to alter US engagement in the nuclear accord– possibly by decertifying Iran's compliance to the deal under US law next month, a move which would allow the US to stay within the JCPOA whilst kicking off an internal congressional debate over its merits.

Trump met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Monday to discuss a path forward with Iran. Speaking with reporters after their meeting, Netanyahu said the Americans are looking for ways to fix the agreement, and that his government offered them concrete proposals to consider.

But other parties to the agreement are not playing along. The governments of France, Britain, Germany, China and Russia all believe the JCPOA was a good deal, and plan on preserving it, despite some having concerns with its "sunset years"– the latter part of the accord which allows Iran to grow its nuclear infrastructure to industrial scale.
Trump: US Will Walk Away From Nuclear Deal If UN Is Not Tough Enough on Monitoring Iran
U.S. President Donald Trump warned Monday that Washington will walk away from a nuclear deal it agreed to with Iran and five other nations if it deems that the International Atomic Energy Agency is not tough enough in monitoring it.

Iran, however, said the greatest threat to the nuclear agreement is U.S. hostility.

The warning from Trump came in a message to the U.N. agency’s annual meeting, being held in Vienna, that was read by U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

The United States asserts that Iran is obligated to open its military sites to IAEA inspection on demand if the agency suspects unreported nuclear activities at any of them. That’s something Tehran stridently rejects, and Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi urged the agency and its head, Yukiya Amano, to “resist such unacceptable demands.”

Asserting that Iran is fully complying with terms of the accord, Salehi said the greatest threat to its survival is “the American administration’s hostile attitude.”

But Trump, as quoted by Perry, suggested the deal could stand or fail on IAEA access to Iranian military sites, declaring “we will not accept a weakly enforced or inadequately monitored deal.”

Amano also has said the IAEA’s policing authority extends to Iranian military sites, if necessary. But he said Monday that Iran “is fulfilling the commitments it entered into” under the deal, which took effect early last year and offers sanctions relief in exchange for limits on Iranian nuclear programs that could be turned toward making weapons.

The U.S. administration has faced two 90-day certification deadlines to state whether Iran was meeting the conditions needed to continue enjoying sanctions relief under the deal and has both times backed away from a showdown. But Trump more recently has said he does not expect to certify Iran’s compliance with an October deadline looming.
J Street: Trump, Netanyahu's opposition to Iran deal is reckless
The leftist advocacy group J Street slammed Netanyahu and Trump's intention to redo the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with Trump Monday and discussed what Netanyahu called "the terrible nuclear deal with Iran".

In a statement, the group said that they are "deeply worried by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s stated intention to use his meeting today with President Trump to argue that the US should act to undermine or withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement with Iran."

J Street accused both leaders of "valuing aggressive sound bites over real security," and said that Trump and Obama "refuse to accept basic facts about its provisions, goals and successful implementation".

The leftist group has been a prominent supporter of the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, spending $500,000 on the effort, which included taking out full-page ads in major newspapers and running television advertisements urging legislators to support its passage in Congress. J Street's website proudly states that "we aimed to demonstrate to Members of Congress that strong support for the agreement existed among the majority of pro-Israel, pro-peace American Jews along with American and Israeli security experts. "
EXCLUSIVE - Former IAEA Deputy Director: Agency Has ‘Credibility’ Issue on Iran Nuclear Inspections
A former deputy director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) raised questions about the credibility of that agency’s inspection and verification system for Iran’s nuclear program as required under the U.S.-brokered international nuclear accord with Tehran.

Speaking in a radio interview with this reporter, Dr. Olli Heinonen, former deputy director general of the IAEA and head of its Department of Safeguards, questioned how the IAEA can credibly inspect Iran’s nuclear program without gaining access to Iranian military bases.

Heinonen made the comments last night on his talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio,” broadcast on New York’s AM 970 The Answer and NewsTalk 990 AM in Philadelphia.

The IAEA, headquartered in Vienna, is an international body that reports to the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council. It is the agency charged with ensuring Iran is complying with the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Heinonen said he was “concerned” about the lack of IAEA access to Iran’s military bases.
United Nations' Budget 'A Tax On The United States,' Says Former UN Ambassador
Former Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton called the U.N. budget “like a tax on the United States,” and said reforms are needed to level the playing field on Fox Business Monday.

“Right now we pay 22 percent of most U.N. agency budgets. 25 percent for peacekeeping. Automatic. Whatever the budget is, we pay 22 percent. It’s like a tax on the United States,” he told host Neil Cavuto.

Bolton claims the only way to fix the problem is to change the “funding mechanism” to take the burden off the United States.

“I think the only reform that will make any difference at the United Nations, and I speak from 25 years experience and failure at trying to fix it, the only reform that works is changing the funding mechanism,” he said. “That has to change. Instead of assessed or mandatory contributions we should contribute whatever we want, if we think the money is being well spent. Sometimes we may contribute zero percent.”

He called on America’s European allies who’ve praised the U.N. to pick up the slack and increase their share of the funding.
UN chief: Two-state solution remains the ‘only way forward’
UN Secretary General António Guterres on Tuesday opened his first General Assembly speech with a call to renew steps toward a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“We must not let today’s stagnation in the peace process lead to tomorrow’s escalation,” he told the United Nations chamber in New York, in an address that kicked off several days of speeches from world leaders.

“The two-state solution remains the only way forward and must be pursued,” he added.

Guterres’ call for the renewal of the efforts toward a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict echoed remarks made by a number of world leaders ahead of the start of the General Assembly, including US President Donald Trump and Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi during meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday.

While Trump has repeatedly emphasized his desire for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he has yet to express explicit backing for the two-state solution, which is endorsed by a large majority of world leaders.
White House: Trump, Netanyahu discussed countering Iran’s ‘malign influence’
US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday discussed efforts to counter “Iran’s malign influence” in the Middle East, as well as “optimism in the region” about Israeli-Palestinian peace, according to a White House readout of their New York meeting.

The two leaders talked about their “continuing efforts to achieve an enduring Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, the optimism in the region about peace, and expanding economic opportunities to improve conditions for peace,” the statement said.

The White House statement pledged to safeguard US and Israeli security interests with regard to Iran and Syria. Israel has repeatedly expressed concern that Iran, an ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, was bolstering its military presence on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.

“The two sides discussed their continued cooperation across a range of issues and stressed their goals of countering Iran’s malign influence in the region and resolving the Syria crisis in a manner consistent with American and Israeli security interests.”
Netanyahu says Trump willing to ‘fix’ Iran nuclear deal
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented US President Donald Trump with a detailed plan on how to “fix” the nuclear agreement with Iran during a meeting Monday, he said.

“There is an American willingness to fix the deal, and I presented possible ways to do it,” he told reporters after his hour-long meeting with the president. “I presented a certain course of action how to do it,” he added, declining to provide more details.

The worst aspect of the 2015 nuclear pact that six world powers struck with Iran is the so-called sunset clause, which will allow Tehran to enrich unlimited amounts of uranium once the deal elapses in about a decade, he said. “But there are also other parts that need to be changed.”

In a photo op before their meeting, Netanyahu, speaking after Trump, attacked the Iran deal, which the president had said earlier in the day the US may back out of next month.

“I look forward to discussing with you how we can address together what you rightly call a terrible nuclear deal with Iran, and how to roll back Iran’s growing aggression in the region, especially in Syria,” Netanyahu said.
Watch: Netanyahu mobbed on Manhattan streets
Surrounded by a phalanx of bodyguards, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara walked the streets of Manhattan Monday, shaking hands with passersby and greeting police officers.

Passerbys greeted Netanyahu and his wife with 'Shalom', and chanted 'Israel'. One woman can be seen hugging Sara Netanyahu, who also made a point of shaking a policewoman's hand.

Not all were happy to see Netanyahu -one could be heard telling his friend "I'm not shaking hands with him, I'm Muslim".

A pair of police officers warmly shook hands with the premier, and Netanyahu asked a Pakistani man where exactly he was from. "Where are you originally from?" he asked. "Karachi?"

Netanyahu also asked a SWAT officer if he was carrying an M4 assault rifle. "It's a good gun," Netanyahu told him.

Netanyahu is in New York for the United Nations General Assembly. The Prime Minister met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and US President Trump Monday, and will address the United Nations on Tuesday.
Israeli Consulate in NY receives second suspicious envelope
The Israeli Consulate in New York received another suspicious envelope containing white powder Monday. The consulate building was closed as employees waited for police to examine the contents of the envelope.

The consulate had previously received an envelope containing white powder last Friday, when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu arrived in New York to address the UN General Assembly. The envelope also contained a threat to the prime minister.

Netanyahu met with US President Donald Trump at the Plaza Hotel in New York Monday and will deliver a speech to the UN General Assembly tomorrow.
Israeli PM Netanyahu and Egyptian President Sisi Meet for First Time in Public
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have met for the first time in public in what Egypt said was part of an effort to revive the Middle East peace process.

Egyptian authorities said in a statement the two had met on Monday ahead of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Sisi separately met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at his residency, where they agreed to continue working toward a two-state solution.

The meeting came just days after Egypt helped broker an agreement with the Palestinian Hamas group to dissolve the administration that runs Gaza and hold talks with Abbas’ Fatah movement, its Palestinian rivals .

For much of the last decade, Egypt has joined Israel in enforcing a land, sea and air blockade of the Gaza Strip, a move to punish Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since a brief Palestinian civil war in 2007.
From applause to denial, Middle East media react to Sisi-Netanyahu meeting
From “shameful” to a sign of “peace and tranquility,” the meeting of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has been greeted with applause, suspicion and some outrage in the Middle East. It was widely reported in Arabic media and commented upon online. However not all the region’s media has highlighted it and commentators see it very differently depending on where they stand in the region’s complex political makeup.

The meeting was no where to be found on Al-Jazeera as of 10am Jerusalem time, eight hours after it happened and six hours after photos from the sit-down were released. The general trend among pro-Qatar or pro-Iranian media was to bypass the issue. PressTV in Iran ignored the meeting but did highlight a new US military base in Israel.

Saudi Arabia’s Al-Arabiya English and Arabic didn’t mention the meeting directly on its home page but did have a piece devoted to Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s visit to New York and his condemnation of supporters of terrorism and criticism of Qatar. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE have been in a crises with Qatar since June. The general article on Sisi’s New York visit noted that Sisi met Netanyahu to discuss Middle East peace and met with Jewish organizations. In Arabic the site published a short article on the meeting, claiming it “revived” the peace process and that Sisi stressed the need for a “final and just settlement” of the conflict.

Al Arabiya's online coverage of the meeting between Israeli PM Netanyahu and Egyptian President al-Sisi (SCREENSHOT)Al Arabiya's online coverage of the meeting between Israeli PM Netanyahu and Egyptian President al-Sisi (SCREENSHOT)

Most Egyptian media highlighted aspects of Sisi’s trip and some focused on the Netanyahu handshake. Although Al-Ahram in Egypt did not mention the meeting on its homepage an article did highlight Egypt’s role in trying to aid Palestinian reconciliation. On the Arabic site, it noted that the Secretary General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit, “commended Egypt’s efforts which paved the way for this important achievement.”
'Saudis should lead delegation to Israel,' former US Mideast envoy says
Saudi Arabia should lead a delegation to Israel as part of a triangular initiative that would help jump-start the frozen peace process, former US envoy to the Middle East Dennis Ross told The Jerusalem Post.

“Israel is not going to make any concessions to the Palestinians unless they get something from the Saudis or the Arab states,” Ross said on Thursday.

The veteran diplomat was in Israel on Wednesday and Thursday to attend the second annual Track II environmental conference at the Arava Institute at Kibbutz Ketura, near Eilat, which brought together Israelis, Palestinians and Jordanians.

Both to the Post and to the conference, Ross spoke of how the Trump administration could leverage behind-thescenes cooperation between Israel and the Sunni Arab states with regard to the Iranian threat.

“The Saudis could lead a delegation to Israel... to discuss common security threats in the region,” Ross said.

Israel does not have formal diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia.
Why the US chose to oppose the Kurdish independence referendum
A key ally of the US against Saddam Hussein in the 1990s and against the Iraqi insurgency and Islamic State, Kurds have been trying since June to convince Washington to apply this view to their region.

Hopes were dashed when the White House released a statement on Friday saying the US “does not support the Kurdistan Regional Government’s intention to hold a referendum.”

US Special Presidential Envoy to Counter ISIS Brett McGurk went further in a press conference in Erbil, asserting: “There is no international support for the referendum, really, from anybody.” He described the referendum as “ill-timed and ill-advised” and “risky.”

Why has the US taken this stand, when it could have remained silent on the issue, as it has done with the controversial referendum in Catalonia?

Kurds had high hopes for the administration of Donald Trump. One man even named his fish store after the president. In May, Kurdistan Region Security Council Chancellor Masrour Barzani met with Jared Kushner and H.R. McMaster.

KRG President Masoud Barzani authored a piece in The Washington Post in June arguing that Baghdad had not adhered to the post-2003 constitution.

An independent Kurdistan would be a great neighbor to Iraq, “cooperating against terrorism and sharing resources,” he wrote. “We ask that the United States and the international community respect the democratic decision of Kurdistan’s people.”

A person familiar with the administration’s view explained that Trump’s team had already set priorities for national security crises, and those involved Iran, North Korea and Russia. They preferred that Kurdish issues be put off until after the upcoming Iraqi elections. They feared that moves by Kurdistan could distract from efforts to roll back Iranian influence in Iraq and unite Sunni and Shi’a Arabs against Kurds. They didn’t reject the referendum but suggested postponing it.
France warns against Kurdish independence vote
France’s top diplomat on Monday urged Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region to cancel next week’s planned independence vote, warning that now is not the time to go it alone.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves le Drian, speaking on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, echoed widespread international concern about the referendum.

The Kurdish region has been de facto self-governing since before the fall of Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi dictatorship, and has strained ties with the Baghdad government.
Iraqi Kurds fly Kurdish flags during an event to urge people to vote in the upcoming independence referendum in Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, on September 16, 2017. (AFP PHOTO/SAFIN HAMED)

Western capitals have been grateful for the Kurds’ support in the battle against jihadist extremism, and foreign investors are eyeing their oil and gas fields.

But diplomats fear a vote to break away from Iraq proper would undermine Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s central government and the fight against the Islamic State group.
Israel Can Teach South Korea Lessons About Missile Defense
CNBC reports: While officials in Seoul try to figure out how to deal with their erratic, missile-launching neighbor to the north, the key to the puzzle may be 5,000 miles away — in Jerusalem.

Officials in South Korea’s defense ministry are now debating how they’ll spend their budget, on the assumption that the country’s parliament will increase it by almost seven percent. But military officials around the world say that even if South Korea’s defense forces get the money, it won’t be enough to deal with the massive destructive force awaiting them just across the border in North Korea.

“The South Koreans have already established the requirement for low- and medium-tier interceptors,” said Tom Karako, director of the Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. He added, however, that “They have yet to move forward.”
Argentinian Prosecutor to Review Mounting Forensic Evidence that Proves Nisman was Murdered
An Argentinian prosecutor will assess the findings of a group of forensic analysts who discovered more evidence indicating that Argentinian prosecutor Alberto Nisman was murdered, The Times of Israel reported.

The investigative team, composed of twenty-eight experts ranging from psychology to ballistics concluded that Nisman was drugged and that at least one person forcefully held him down. The new report also found bruises in Nisman’s left leg, head, nose, and abdomen the Argentine news site Infobae reported (Spanish link) on Thursday.

The report also highlighted that only two footprints belonging to Nisman were found in his Puerto Madero apartment. This finding is inconsistent with Nisman’s activities on previous days, suggesting that the suspect or suspects carefully cleaned Nisman’s apartment before they left to cover any tracks.

Lastly, experts explained that the position and angle of the gunshot are not compatible with that of a self-inflicted wound, making it physically impossible for Nisman to have committed suicide that way.

The report will be sent to the attorney leading the case, Eduardo Taino, this week who will assess how to present the new findings to the Justice Department.

A toxicology report released in late August found ketamine and clonazepam in Nisman’s blood at the time of his death. The report released on Thursday indicated that neither drug was found in the apartment.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Abbas Acting As Statesman At UNGA Not Eligible For This Year’s Emmys (satire)
Mahmoud Abbas, currently in the twelfth year of his first four-year terms as president of the Palestinian Authority, is scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly this Wednesday, playing the part of a leader with clear moral principles, diplomatic skill, and long-term vision, an acting role he performs each time he addresses assemblages of international figures. However, at least one of the three institutions administering the Emmy awards, which recognize excellence in televised performances, has now stated that acting prowess aside, Mr. Abbas in not eligible for inclusion in this year’s batch of nominees. His performance will have to wait until the 2018 voting for consideration.

“I am sure, as are all the other Academy members, that Mr. Abbas will give as convincing a performance of a respectable person as ever once he ascends the podium in the assembly chamber,” pronounced Ariel Doosie, the spokeswoman. “However, the nominations and voting for this year’s awards have already closed. If previous UNGA performances provide any indication, Mr. Abbas will give other candidates a run for their money.”

In his upcoming address, the Palestinian president, who also serves as Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, an umbrella organization of Palestinian terrorist groups, is expected to lay out a vision for resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including a restatement of long-held Palestinian red lines that must be respected in any final agreement. To date, Abbas has offered a compelling performance in the role of peacemaker, all the more challenging because he has done so without bring peace any closer – and all while convincing most of the international community that it is Israel, which has made or accepted numerous peace offers since the 1940’s that the Palestinian leadership rejected, that has shown intransigence.

“The role requires a difficult transformation,” acknowledged Alec Baldwin, himself a gifted and respected TV actor. “To go from someone who financed the 1972 Munich massacre of Israeli athletes, who continues to glorify Palestinian terrorism and incite violence, who offers lip service to Israeli legitimacy but in practice claims all of Israel, to someone whom everyone regards as moderate, pragmatic, and peace-seeking, is an acting challenge I’m not sure I could pull off. He certainly deserves at least a nomination. Let’s wait till next ear and see.”

“Unless he gets assassinated before then,” added Baldwin. “Then we’d get to see him transform from corrupt dictator to martyr in a heartbeat, which requires no small acting skill.”
IDF Patriot intercepts apparent Hezbollah drone from Syria
The Israeli Air Force shot down an Iranian-built drone launched by the Hezbollah terrorist organization with a Patriot missile after it attempted to cross into Israeli airspace on Tuesday, the army said.

The military also scrambled fighter jets to the area, but ultimately did not need to use them as the interceptor missile was able to destroy the target.

After the drone breached the “Bravo line” that marks the Syrian border and entered the demilitarized zone — but not Israeli airspace — the IDF “decided to intercept it,” army spokesperson Lt. Col. Yonatan Conricus said.

In a statement, the IDF said it “will not allow any infiltration or approach toward the Golan Heights area by terrorist figures from Iranian forces, Hezbollah, Shiite militias or Islamic Jihad.”

Speaking to reporters, Conricus added that Israel “will respond swiftly and forcefully against any such attempts.”

However, he said the IDF was “not looking to escalate” the situation by retaliating “at this time.”
Hezbollah: Without Us, the Lebanese Army is Nothing
“Without the Resistance, the [Lebanese] army is nothing, and it’s the same with the Resistance,” a member of the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah, using a euphemism for the group, told NBC News on Saturday.

This would be the latest indication of the total political and military control Hezbollah exerts over Israel’s northern neighbor.

Since Hezbollah and the Lebanese Armed Forces [LAF] carried out joint operations against ISIS in northeastern Lebanon this past summer, “the LAF’s cooperation with Hezbollah was no secret,” NBC reported.

In addition to its threat to Israel, “at the behest of Iran, Hezbollah has been quietly training thousands of Shiite militiamen in Iraq and even Yemen, spreading its military might across the region and leading to concern that Iran might be trying to remake the Middle East, with Hezbollah as Iran’s enforcer,” the report observed.

A Hezbollah commander confirmed this assessment by saying, as he pointed to a makeshift map of the Middle East, “This is Iraq, and next to it is Syria. Before, Saddam was in Iraq, and then the Americans came, so that path was closed. Now we’re with the Hashd al-Shaabi [Shiite militias in Iraq], and we practically control Syria. The Shia Crescent they were so afraid of — we stepped on their noses and created it. There is now an open road from Tehran to Dahieh.” Dahieh is a southern suburb of Beirut that is controlled by Hezbollah.
IDF, US Army celebrate inauguration of first American base in Israel
For the first time, the US Army has opened a permanent base on Israeli soil, flying the Stars and Stripes inside an IDF base.

“Due to the close cooperation between us and the American forces in the field of air defense, as well as the extensive experience accumulated by the Aerial Defense Division, it was decided that the first permanent base of the American army would be established at the School of Air Defense,” Brig.-Gen. Zvika Haimovich, head of the Aerial Defense Division, said on Monday.

“This is the first time that we have an American flag flying in an IDF base,” Haimovich said, following the “historic and exciting” inauguration of the base attended by the US defense attaché other senior military officials.

The base, Haimovich said, “represents the long-standing partnership, the strategic commitment between the armies and the militaries of our countries,” and “adds another layer to the security of the State of Israel in defending [against] the threats of rocket or missile fire.”

Several dozen American soldiers will be stationed at the base in Israel’s south, which America and Israel have been working on for two years, and will have all the facilities necessary for a permanent presence, Haimovich said. The American soldiers, Haimovich stressed, will operate US systems, not Israeli ones.

While he would not go into detail regarding whether or not the Americans would take part in any combat operations, Haimovich said “it’s much more significant than that. There’s an American presence here, a military force, not civilians.”
Prominent Muslim cleric issues decree against Israeli curriculum
Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, the former grand mufti of Jerusalem, lambasted the Israeli education system during his sermon at Al-Aqsa mosque last Friday, even issuing a religious decree forbidding the study of Israeli curriculum in all east Jerusalem schools.

"Anyone who teaches, supports and holds lessons according to the [Israeli] curriculum and anyone who sends his or her son or daughter to these schools sins," he said. "I declare that we will never allow the illegal Israeli curriculum to be learned."

The cleric's sermon comes after Israel Hayom published a survey showing that 48% of Arab parents in east Jerusalem prefer that their children study in the framework of the Israeli curriculum over that of the academic program offered by the Palestinian Authority.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said in response that "the parents' demand is stronger than any preacher who does not have the best interests of the students at heart, but rather narrow personal and political interests."
Hamas to Abbas: Lift punitive measures against the people of Gaza
Hamas has called on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to cancel punitive measures the PA enacted against it over the past five months. The measures include budgets cuts for essential services in Gaza.

“Abu Mazen must undertake urgent action to abrogate all the punitive decisions and measures against the people of the Strip,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said on Monday in a statement on the Islamist group’s official website, using Abbas’s longtime nom de guerre.

The call came a day after Hamas announced the dissolution of its governing body in the Gaza Strip, also known as the administrative committee, and invited the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority to take its place.

Over the past five months, Abbas has ordered a series of cuts to budgets allocated to Gaza for electricity, medical services, government employees’ salaries and other purposes to pressure Hamas to dissolve its administrative committee and permit the PA to operate in its place.

In a statement on Sunday, the PA president appeared to be in no hurry to cancel the measures. While Abbas told official PA media that he was satisfied with Hamas’s announcement that it was doing away with its administrative committee, he did not mention if he planned to rescind the measures.
'Hamas wastes Gazan money on absurd goals'
Head of The Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), General Yoav Mordechai, referred on COGAT’s Facebook page in Arabic to the death this morning, Tuesday, of a 24-year-old Gazan electrocuted while working on a terror tunnel.

“Between the electricity stolen from their Gazan brothers and the tunnels that are killing those they contain - the youth of Gaza are dying,” Mordechai wrote.

“24-year-old Hani Faraj Shaluf died for nothing, electrocuted in one of the underground terror tunnels in Rafiah,” he added.

“While Gazans need electricity and concrete to rebuild their lives and the strip, the Hamas terror organization disparagingly wastes their money on absurd goals that don’t help anything.

“We emphasize another time that anyone who enters the terror tunnels will find nothing but death,” he concluded.

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