Friday, September 29, 2017

From Ian:

Reversal of fortune: How the IDF turned the Yom Kippur War around
Egypt was controlling the battlefield. The Israelis had not attempted to advance since Gen. Ariel Sharon’s unauthorized attacks on Tuesday while the Egyptians were making small-scale pushes eastward every day, with some success, as the Israelis sought to avoid escalation. SAM batteries were being sent across the bridges at night to extend the missile umbrella toward the passes.

With every day, Arab strength was increasing as the Soviet arms airlift hit its stride and the Arab world dispatched reinforcements to Syria and Egypt. Contingents, some of them sizeable, had arrived from Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the Palestine Liberation Organization, Jordan, and Iraq. Even Pakistan sent pilots, and North Korean pilots were patrolling the skies over Egypt’s hinterland.

Israel was receiving no military supplies from abroad except for what the small El Al fleet could carry (the American airlift would begin only the next day); the only reinforcements it was receiving were Israeli reservists returning for the war from studies or travel abroad. (Those in combat units were flown home free.) To Sadat, Israel’s acquiescence to a cease-fire was a clear signal of weakness.

Israel’s assessment of the situation was not far from Sadat’s. The day before, the Mossad station chief in Washington, Ephraim Halevy, met in the morning with Kissinger and found him agitated. A message from Prime Minister Meir—sent Friday afternoon, Israel time—had just arrived saying that Israel was prepared to accept a cease-fire in place. Kissinger had been stalling Moscow’s efforts to lock in Arab gains with a speedy cease-fire. Now Israel was expressing readiness to accept a cease-fire without even attempting to condition it on Egypt pulling back across the canal.

“Kissinger almost tore his hair out,” Halevy, a future head of the Mossad, would recall years later. “He said, ‘You’re declaring that you lost the war. Don’t you understand that?” The difference between requesting a cease-fire and not objecting to one was a subtlety that did not cloak Israel’s dire view of its situation. However, Dayan believed that with the crossing of their armored divisions, the Egyptians would soon be receiving a bloody nose that would take the onus off Israel’s readiness for a cease-fire.

Elazar himself had begun thinking anew. The looming setpiece tank battle held out for the first time since the war began the tangible prospect of a reversal of fortune, perhaps on a major scale. The battle might significantly erode Egyptian strength. If that happened, the Israeli crossing could turn out to be more than a desperate lunge aimed at persuading Sadat to stop the war. It could be the key to winning the war.

This possibility was not yet being articulated by Elazar but was beginning to work its way into his thinking, as imperceptibly but inexorably as a tide turning.
The 'victory' that changed the Middle East
From the very outset of the Oslo process, Arafat and other senior Palestinian leaders viewed the agreements as an implementation of this strategy, not as its abandonment.

Arafat said just that as early as September 13, 1993, when he addressed the Palestinians in a pre-recorded Arabic-language message broadcast by Jordanian television, even as he shook Yitzhak Rabin’s hand on the White House lawn. He informed the Palestinians that the Oslo Accords was merely the implementation of the PLO’s “phased plan.”

“Do not forget that our Palestine National Council accepted the decision in 1974,” Arafat said. “It called for the establishment of a national authority on any part of Palestinian land that is liberated or from which the Israelis withdrew.

This is the fruit of your struggle, your sacrifices, and your jihad.”

While the Israelis celebrated a long-hoped-for peace, many among the Palestinian leadership understood that the path that they chartered almost 20 years previously was coming to fruition.

Plenty of Palestinian leaders, including current President Mahmoud Abbas, have stated that any peace accord or agreement can only become a stepping zone, another phase to Israel’s ultimate defeat.

This is why Abbas could walk away from Ehud Olmert’s overly generous offer in 2008 when he ostensibly gave the Palestinians everything that they publicly demanded.

Abbas could not and would not sign the requisite end of claims and end of conflict clauses that were demanded by Israel and the international community.

By constantly offering more and more concessions to the Palestinians upfront, without their acknowledging the end of their maximalist and rejectionist ambitions, and recognizing Israel’s legitimacy as the national homeland of the Jewish people, and agreeing to a conclusion of claims and conflict, Israeli leaders have allowed Palestinian hopes to remain.

For the conflict to finally end, only one side can claim victory. An Israeli victory means the abandonment of the Palestinian dream of destroying or dismantling the Jewish state. It must be unequivocal, clear and decisive. That is the lesson of the Yom Kippur War.
The mega-weapons ship capture that turned the tide on US-Palestinian ties
The evidence had three central prongs.

It showed that Akawi had been personally selected by Arafat to take charge of the ship and the operation due to its importance in providing major new arms to inflame the ongoing Second Intifada.

Further, it demonstrated that Fuad Shobaki, Arafat’s primary money man who did not act alone and directed financing for much of Arafat’s involvement in the Second Intifada, including the Karine A, was “neck deep” in planning and financing the operation.

It showed that Arafat had personally approved joint operations with Iran, starting from April 2000 with a series of meetings between his personal representatives and Iran in Moscow, Oman and the UAE. It also proved that Arafat had in principle approved the stationing of Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps personnel in PA territory.

All of this evidence would be heavily supplemented during Operation Defensive Shield in March 2002 when the IDF entered Arafat’s Muqata complex and collected a treasure trove of documents showing Arafat’s personal involvement in directing the Second Intifada.

When Sharon visited Bush in Washington DC in May 2002 and he raised the issue of the Karine A, Bush responded that he already understood “that Arafat is the problem. It has started to become clear that as long as he is there, the terror will continue.”

On June 24, 2002, Bush publicly called on the Palestinians to choose a new leader “who is not involved in terror.”

Using intelligence from the Karine A Affair, Mofaz and Israeli intelligence had convinced the US that Arafat was a liar and had chosen the side of Iran and terror even after September 11, 2001. For the US, Feith said that this meant, “Arafat was on the wrong side of the war on terror.”

Clifford D. May: The new Persian Empire
Eleven years ago, Henry Kissinger famously said that Iran's rulers must "decide whether they are representing a cause or a nation." If the latter, Iranian and American interests would be "compatible." As for the former: "If Tehran insists on combining the Persian imperial tradition with contemporary Islamic fervor, then a collision with America is unavoidable."

Since then, Iran's rulers have left no room for doubt. They've been aggressively spreading their Islamic Revolution and constructing what can only be called a new Persian Empire. That will surprise no one who has seriously studied the ideology of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic republic. What might: Their project has received significant support from the United States.

I'm not suggesting that was the intention of American policymakers. But it's certainly been the result. The toppling of Saddam Hussein by President George W. Bush in 2003 eliminated Iran's archenemy and rival. That might not have been a serious dilemma had Iraq subsequently been transformed into a reliable American ally.

But you know what came next: an insurgency, waged by al-Qaida in Iraq reinforced by Saddam loyalists. Iranian-backed Shia militias also went to war against American troops in Iraq. Eventually, Bush ordered the "surge." American troops under the leadership of Gen. David Petraeus fought alongside Sunni tribes brutalized by al-Qaida and fearful of Iran. In the end, this alliance decimated jihadi forces in Iraq – Sunni and Shia alike.

By 2011, Iraq was, as then-President Barack Obama declared, "sovereign" and "stable." He also called it "self-reliant," which was incorrect. The U.S. military, in coordination with U.S. diplomats, had been balancing powers and brokering interests among Iraq's Shia, Sunni and Kurdish communities. Once Obama withdrew American troops, the erosion of Iraq's stability and sovereignty was inevitable.
Why Can’t We Talk About Muslim Supremacism?
With Islamist terror attacks becoming commonplace in Europe and authorities across the continent doing very little to prevent them, it’s clear that the Trump administration’s tough approach to handling the threat of Islamist terror attacks is necessary.

It’s time Americans call these terror attacks what they really are — actions in support of an ideology that holds Islam and sharia above all else. In other words Muslim supremacy.

The mainstream media is currently on a mission to paint anyone on the right as a white supremacist. Most recently, popular comedian Chelsea Handler has even gone so far as to label Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, and actress Stacey Dash as “black white supremacists.”

The left and media are celebrating Handler’s disrespectful and downright bizarre label she cast on people of color who have nothing do with white supremacy at all, yet myself and other conservative writers and activists catch heat when we are critical of Islamist culture.

Why is it acceptable to throw the “white supremacist” label around but it is unacceptable to discuss issues related to Muslim supremacy and Islamist ideologies?
CAIR Chief Eulogizes Muslim Brotherhood Leader
A number of US-based Muslim leaders who vehemently reject evidence connecting them to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, have made a point of publicly mourning the group’s former spiritual guide, who died in prison on Friday.

Mohamed Akef, the Brotherhood leader, was praised as the “Sheikh of the Mujahidin” and received prayers that Allah place him “in the higher paradise with the prophets, the pious, and the martyrs.”

“What kind of tyrannical regime would imprison a sick 90 years old man?” Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) co-founder and Executive Director Nihad Awad wrote after Akef’s death. “Who resisted the colonizer, and raised generations on righteousness and the love of their country? #Mahdi_Akef, consider not Allah to be oblivious.” His Twitter post was in Arabic, so many of Awad’s US followers may not have appreciated its significance.

Esam Omeish, a past Muslim American Society president — who serves on the board of Northern Virginia’s Dar Al-Hijrah mosque — is among the religious leaders and political activists who publicly eulogized the Brotherhood’s leader.

In addition to running an organization that ultimately seeks a global Islamic government, Akef left a long history of extreme rhetoric that his mourners didn’t mention.
JPost Editorial: Sabotaging peace
In the schoolbooks, which are based on curricula provided by the PA, Jews are depicted as having no rights whatsoever in the region, only greedy ambitions; the Jews have no holy places in “Palestine” (the word Israel does not appear in the textbooks); the Western Wall, the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem are presented as Muslim sites with no Jewish connection but claimed by Jews; a Molotov-cocktail attack on an Israeli civilian bus is described as a “barbecue party”; a Palestinian female terrorist is glorified for the killing of more than 30 civilians in an attack on another Israeli bus; Israeli cities such as Tel Aviv often do not appear on maps in the textbooks.

The research, authored by Arab textbooks expert Dr. Aaron Groiss, examined some 150 textbooks of various school subjects, taught in grades one through 12. Seventy- five of the books checked were published in the years 2016 and 2017, as part of a project initiated by the PA, which provides its curriculum to UNRWA schools.

In one textbook published in 2016, a future Palestinian liberation is envisioned and the fate of the six million Jews living in “Palestine” is described as “expulsion from the land, the extermination of its defeated and scattered remnants.”

While it is true that UNRWA, a UN institution that is supposed to promote peace and coexistence, is betraying its mandate by not intervening to stop the incitement of young schoolchildren, the real culprit is the PA. It is unclear what is motivating Palestinians leaders – President Mahmoud Abbas first and foremost – to sabotage chances for a peaceful resolution to the conflict. Is Palestinian identity built exclusively on the rejection and deconstruction of Jewish identity? Can there be no positive Palestinian national vision that is devoid of incessant and rabid attacks on Jews, Zionism and Israel? The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians need not be a zero-sum game. A compromise is conceivable, but not as long as Palestinian children are taught from the earliest age that the murder of Jewish civilians is laudable, that the Jewish people has no roots in the Land of Israel and that the State of Israel will soon cease to exist.

The Palestinian campaign for international recognition, while understandable within the context of internal Palestinian politics, will do little to advance the Palestinian cause for statehood. Incitement in schools, however, is more insidious because it undermines any hope of a peaceful and negotiated resolution to the conflict.
Palestinian membership in Interpol could mark latest arrest for the peace process
In the absence of peace negotiations, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has sought unilateral recognition of statehood from different entities in recent years. Marking the latest diplomatic setback for Israel on that front, the police agency Interpol—the world’s second-largest international organization after the United Nations—this week voted to accept Palestinian membership.

Israel had campaigned against the move, arguing the PA’s support for terrorism would undermine Interpol’s efforts. The U.S. also opposed Palestinian membership in Interpol and assisted Israel with challenging Ramallah’s bid.

PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki hailed the vote as a “victory” for Palestinians.

“The State of Palestine considers this membership and the responsibilities that it entails as an integral part of its responsibility towards the Palestinian people and a moral commitment to the citizens of the world,” he said.

Israel has expressed concern that the Palestinians might abuse their membership and use Interpol as a platform for undermining the Jewish state, including demanding the extradition of Israeli officials or pursuing other legal action against them, based on the Palestinian claim that Israel’s settlement enterprise is a “crime.”

Prof. Eugene Kontorovich, head of the international law department at the Kohelet Policy Forum in Jerusalem, said Palestinian acceptance into Interpol will weaken prospects for future peace negotiations with Israel.

“Palestinian membership will only solidify their goal of seeking the trappings of statehood without negotiations and concessions,” he told “It will strengthen their conviction that they can violate agreements like [the] Oslo [Accords] with impunity.”
Five Ways Trump’s Israel Ambassador David Friedman Trolled the Palestinian Authority with the Truth In His Latest Interview
U.S. Envoy to Israel David Friedman has once again stoked Palestinian Authority anger by shining the light of accuracy on key Israeli-Palestinian issues, ignoring Palestinian misinformation and declaring that so-called Israeli settlements are “a part of Israel.”

Friedman further dared to say out loud what everybody living in reality in the region quietly recognizes – that the so-called two-state solution “is not a helpful term” and “has largely lost its meaning.”

Here are some key points made by Friedman in his interview with Israel’s Walla news website, together with facts assembled by this reporter documenting Friedman’s charges.

1 – So-called settlements are “part of Israel.”
“I think the settlements are part of Israel,” Friedman explained. “I think that was always the expectation.”

Friedman said that he sees “important security… nationalistic, historical and religious significance to those settlements; and I think the settlers view themselves as Israelis, and Israel views the settlers as Israelis.”

Settlements refer to Israeli communities in the West Bank and eastern sections of Jerusalem. The West Bank houses ancient Jewish cities like Hebron — home to the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, Judaism’s second holiest site — Beit El, Shiloh, and other areas. Eastern Jerusalem includes the Jewish Quarter in the Old City as well as the Western Wall and Temple Mount, the holiest sites in Judaism.

To deny that “settlements” are a part of Israel is to refuse Israeli sovereignty over the Western Wall, Temple Mount, and important Jewish cities and holy sites.

2 – The international community intended for Israel to retain some settlements.
“When Resolution 242 was adopted in 1967, it was, and remains today, the only substantive resolution that was agreed to by everybody…, the idea was that Israel would be entitled to secure borders… The 1967 borders were viewed by everybody as not secure,” Friedman explained.

“So Israel would retain a meaningful portion of the West Bank, and it would return that which it didn’t need for peace and security,” Friedman said. “There was always supposed to be some notion of expansion into the West Bank, but not necessarily expansion into the entire West Bank; and I think that’s exactly what Israel has done.”

3 – Friedman claimed that Israel is “only occupying 2% of the West Bank.”
Here, Friedman should not have used the term “occupying.” Israel considers the West Bank to be “disputed” and not “occupied” territory, with the status of the territories to be determined in future negotiations with the PA.

Regardless, news media outlets are calling Friedman out, claiming that Israel is “occupying” more than two percent.

4 – Friedman would not say whether some settlements should be dismantled.
“Wait and see,” was Friedman’s response when asked if some settlements should be required to “go down” under a final status agreement with the Palestinians.

Friedman’s sentiments are in keeping with a Bush administration commitment to allow some existing Jewish settlements to remain under a future Israeli-Palestinian deal.

In 2004, just prior to the Gaza evacuation, President Bush issued a declarative letter stating that it is unrealistic to expect that Israel will not retain some Jewish settlements in a final-status deal with the Palestinians.

5 – The so-called two-state solution is losing relevance.
Friedman told the Israeli news outlet that the concept “has largely lost its meaning, or at least has a different meaning to different people.”

The two-state solution refers to the creation of a Palestinian state, purportedly to live in peace alongside the Jewish state.

Such a state would be governed by the PA, which routinely incites violence against Israel and uses its official educational and media arms to deny the existence of the Jewish state. The PA is currently engaged in advanced, Egypt-brokered reconciliation talks with Hamas with the aim of creating a unity government with Gaza’s terrorist rulers.
Settlers hail US ambassador for saying settlements part of Israel
His use of “two percent” particularly angered Palestinians, who released statements blasting Friedman’s comments just hours later.

“It is not the first time that Mr. David Friedman has exploited his position as US ambassador to advocate and validate the Israeli government’s policies of occupation and annexation,” said senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, who is currently in the US awaiting a lung transplant.

“His latest statement about Israel ‘occupying only 2% of the West Bank’… is not only false and misleading but contradict[s] international law, United Nations resolutions and also the historical US position,” Erekat said, adding that “Israel is internationally recognized as the occupying power over 100% of Palestine.”

But Revivi, who is vying to be the next chairman of the Yesha Council, reinforced Friedman’s comments. “All of the Israeli towns and cities plus all infrastructure, including roads, adds up to less than two percent of what is described as the West Bank,” he said.

“For decades the international community has been eating up Palestinian propaganda without checking the reality on the ground,” Revivi continued.
Washington rebuffs own envoy for saying ‘settlements are part of Israel’
For the second time since David Friedman assumed his post as US ambassador to Israel, the US State Department has publicly rejected remarks he made pertaining to Israel’s presence in the West Bank as not reflecting the administration’s stance.

On Thursday afternoon, spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters that Friedman’s comments in an interview with the Israeli Walla news website that he considers West Bank “settlements are part of Israel” should “not be read as a shift in US policy.”

“I just want to be clear that our policy has not changed​,” she added, with emphasis. ​”I want to be crystal clear​.”​

Far from considering settlements to be part of Israel, American foreign policy has traditionally held that Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is an obstacle to peace. Israel, which annexed East Jerusalem after the 1967 Six Day War and does not regard construction there as part of the settlement enterprise, has never claimed sovereignty in the West Bank.

In the Walla interview, Friedman cited UN Security Council Resolution 242, which passed in November 1967, that said a Middle East peace deal should include a withdrawal of “Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.”
Erekat: Israel occupies 100% of Palestine
Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) secretary general Saeb Erekat on Friday blasted David Friedman, the U.S. ambassador in Israel, for saying in an interview that he believes Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria are part of Israel.

"Israel is internationally recognized as the occupying power over 100 percent of Palestine, including in and around occupied east Jerusalem," Erekat said, according to AFP.

He said that Friedman's comment was "not only false and misleading but contradicts international law, United Nations resolutions and also the historical U.S. position".

"It is not the first time that Mr. David Friedman has exploited his position as U.S. ambassador to advocate and validate the Israeli government's policies of occupation and annexation," Erekat charged.
Quiet on settlement activity, Mideast Quartet calls for PA control of Gaza
The Middle East Quartet, a working group on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict comprised of Russia, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations, issued a statement on Thursday addressing the growing humanitarian crisis plaguing Gaza following conversations between envoys from the four players.

Notably, the statement omitted any reference to Israeli settlement activity – a rarity for the Quartet, which in its last report on the conflict offered detailed and scathing criticism of the government's construction efforts.

An official familiar with its drafting told The Jerusalem Post that Thursday's statement naturally focused on Gaza following recent meetings in New York between Egypt's President Fattah el-Sisi and Israeli and Palestinian leaders. Those meetings centralized on Palestinian Authority efforts to reclaim control of the coastal strip from Hamas.

The Quartet encouraged efforts from Egypt and other regional powers "to create the conditions for the Palestinian Authority to assume its responsibilities in Gaza," it said in a joint statement. "They urge the parties to take concrete steps to reunite Gaza and the West Bank under the legitimate Palestinian Authority."

Reunification of the Palestinian territories under PA control "will facilitate lifting the closures of the crossings, while addressing Israel’s legitimate security concerns, and unlock international support for Gaza’s growth, stability, and prosperity, which is critical for efforts to reach lasting peace," they continue, calling on "the international community to act accordingly" in response to the "grave" humanitarian challenge facing Gazans.

The statement echoes a speech delivered by the US special representative for international negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, to a UN committee earlier this month, in which he squarely blamed Hamas for the crisis.
U.S. Legislators, AIPAC Push anti-BDS Bill After UN Letter Blackmails Companies Operating in Settlements
"Legislators in the U.S. Congress and pro-Israeli organizations said on Thursday that the letter sent by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to companies doing business in Israeli settlements in the West Bank, underscores the importance of passing the 'Israel Anti-Boycott Act,' a proposed piece of legislation that would make it illegal for U.S. Companies to participate in boycotts against Israel organized by international bodies, such as the United Nations.

The letter, first reported by Haaretz on Wednesday, was sent by the UN's Human Rights Commissioner two weeks ago to 150 companies in Israel and around the world, warning them that they are about to be added to a database of companies doing business in Israeli settlements in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, senior Israeli officials and Western diplomats involved in the matter said...

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, told Haaretz that 'the UN has an appalling track record of not treating Israel in a fair way, and this is another sad example. I am strongly opposed to the BDS movement and I support the 'Israel Anti-Boycott Act' because foreign entities and international organizations, like the UN, should not be able to coerce or bully American companies into boycotting Israel, an American ally.'

Rep. Ted Deutch, a Democrat from Florida and a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told Haaretz that he is 'outraged and appalled by this blatantly biased action by the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner.' He added that 'The Israel Anti-Boycott Act, which I have proudly cosponsored, would make it a policy of the U.S. to oppose the Human Rights Council resolution that led to the creation of this 'blacklist.' It would also block American companies from participating in an Israeli boycott by the UN or other international governmental organization.'
Israel wants US to shut Palestinians’ DC office — report
Israel is working on a plan to get the American administration to shut the Palestinians’ diplomatic offices in the US, according to a Hebrew media report.

The plan was hatched together with US lawmakers, Israel’s Kan state TV reported Thursday, and is meant to punish the Palestinians for their recent diplomatic advances, including their successful bid to join Interpol, the world’s largest police organization, and their ongoing efforts to have Israeli leaders tried at the International Criminal Court.

Hours after Interpol’s General Assembly voted Wednesday to make the “State of Palestine” a full-fledged member, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened that the move would have consequences, though he did not specify what they would be.

During a meeting with Jason Greenblatt, US President Donald Trump’s envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Netanyahu raised the Palestinians’ actions at the ICC and their accession to Interpol, a step he said “violates signed agreements with Israel.”

Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki last week met ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda in New York. Since joining the Hague-based court in 2015, Palestinian officials have continually provided its investigators with supposedly incriminating information about ostensible Israeli “war crimes.”
Bolton: U.S. Should Support Independence for Kurds, ‘State of Iraq as We Have Known It Doesn’t Exist Anymore’
Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton joined SiriusXM host Raheem Kassam and co-host Steve Bannon on Thursday’s Breitbart News Daily to talk about Kurdish independence and the future of Iraq.

“The Kurds are one of the largest ethnic groups in the world that has never had a nation in contemporary times,” Bolton explained. “Just two days ago, they held a referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan and voted well over 90 percent for independence. I think the United States should support independence for the Kurds. They’ve been friends of ours in the struggle against Saddam Hussein and the struggle against international terrorism. I think they’d be an important buffer against Iran.”

“And let’s face it: the state of Iraq as we have known it doesn’t exist anymore, and it’s not coming back together,” he added. “The Baghdad government is controlled by the ayatollahs from Tehran. The American strategy to defeat ISIS, which has relied so heavily on the Baghdad government, I think has been a mistake.”

“I think it’s a mistake for the State Department now, as it did before the referendum, to tell the Kurds ‘don’t hold it,’ and opposing now the inevitable consequences. They’re now going to be de jure independent,” said Bolton.

Bolton agreed with Bannon’s salute of the Kurds as a reliable U.S. ally over the past three decades.

“They asked, in early days, ‘please just give us weapons.’ Of course, the Obama administration didn’t want to do that for the longest time. Now we are, and I think that’s right,” he said.

“This referendum has created a new reality. I just don’t see the State Department at this point acknowledging that, even though it benefits the United States,” he lamented.
Hamas says it okayed new Egyptian proposal for prisoner swap with Israel
Hamas has accepted an Egyptian proposal for a prisoner swap with Israel and is awaiting Jerusalem’s response to the offer, the terror group’s leader in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Sinwar, said Thursday night, according to Channel 2 news.

A report earlier this month in the Palestinian daily Al Quds quoted sources in Cairo as saying the Egyptian offer would see Israel first hand over the bodies of 39 Palestinians killed in the 2014 Gaza war, 19 of whom are Hamas members, in exchange for Hamas acknowledging the fate of IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul. The IDF says the two were killed in the Gaza Strip during the 2014 war. Hamas has hinted that it is holding the two soldiers and has also implied that they could still be alive.

The terror group is also believed to be holding three Israeli civilians — Avraham Abera Mengistu, Hisham al-Sayed and Juma Ibrahim Abu Ghanima — who are all believed to have entered the Gaza Strip of their own accord.

In the second stage of the Egyptian plan, Israel will reportedly release the so-called “Shalit captives” — 58 Palestinians who were rearrested in the summer of 2014 after being set free in the 2011 swap for IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. Hamas will then enter into genuine prisoner exchange talks with the Jewish state, the report said. The talks would reportedly be mediated by Egyptian intelligence services.
Radical leftists called slain officer 'a disgrace' before attack
Anti-IDF left-wing radicals confronted one of the three security personnel who was murdered in the terror shooting this Tuesday in Har Adar, calling him “a disgrace” for his anti-terror activities just moments before the attack.

Sgt. Solomon Gavrya, a 22-year-old Border Police officer from Beer Yaakov in central Israel, was one of three security personnel murdered by a 37-year-old Palestinian Authority Arab in a terror shooting at the rear entrance to the town of Har Adar Tuesday morning.

The terrorist, a resident of nearby Beit Surik who had been issued an Israeli work permit, opened fire on the security personnel while attempting to enter Har Adar with a concealed firearm.

Just moments before the shooting, however, radical anti-IDF activists confronted Gavrya while he was helping to secure the entrance to Har Adar as Palestinian Authority laborers entered the town.
Greenblatt visits families of Har Adar victims
Jason Greenblatt, U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace negotiator, on Thursday paid a condolence visit to the families of the three Israelis who were murdered in the terror attack near Har Adar this week.

“It has been a very difficult & sad evening. I visited with the loved ones of THREE families whose sons were murdered by a terrorist at Har Adar. Despicable. Please pray for them,” he tweeted.

On the day of the attack, Greenblatt condemned it and criticized Hamas for praising it.

"My family & I are horrified by the attack in Har Adar. Shame on Hamas & others who praised the attack. All must stand against terror!" Greenblatt tweeted.

"We pray for the victims of today's attack at Har Adar, and their loved ones as well," he added.
Spokesman: Abbas condemns all violence including Har Adar attack
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s spokesman on Thursday said that his boss condemns all acts of violence including the shooting attack that took place outside the Har Adar settlement on Tuesday morning.

“The president’s permanent position is to condemn all acts of violence including this operation,” Nabil Abu Rudeinah told official PA radio in response to a question about Abbas’s position on the Har Adar attack.

On Tuesday, 37-year-old Nimer al-Jamal shot dead three Israeli security personnel and seriously injured a civilian outside the Har Adar settlement. Jamal, a father of four, had previously worked in Har Adar as a cleaner.

During a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Abbas to condemn the Har Adar attack and accused the PA of incitement to violence.

Abbas infrequently condemns specific attacks against Israelis. When the PA president has previously condemned attacks, he has faced major popular backlash.
'I wanted to show the terrorist how strong the Jews are'
Nearly two months ago, 42-year-old Niv Nehemia was fighting for his life after an Arab terrorist stabbed him repeatedly at the Yavneh supermarket where he worked as deputy manager.

After making a remarkable recovery, Nehemia confronted his would-be murderer Thursday in court, an appearance Nehemia said was important to show the terrorist that neither he nor the Jewish people would be cowed by acts of terror.

At the court hearing in the central Israeli town of Lod, Nehemia stared down his attacker, who looked away to avoid looking into his victim’s eyes.

“I came here to show him that we’re strong,” Nehemia told Channel 10.

“It was important for me to show him that I’m still standing, and that he failed to do what had planned, and to show him how strong the Jewish people are.”

“I was ready to fight him again,” continued Nehemia, “but this time he shouldn’t act like a coward and sneak up on me from behind; [this time] it’ll be face to face. I could really show him that the Jewish people is stronger than he thinks.”
Plan for 14,000 Palestinian homes suspended 'until further notice'
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told cabinet ministers this week that he has decided to freeze "until further notice" a plan to build 14,000 new housing units for Palestinians west of the West Bank city of Qalqilya.

The project, known as the Qalqilya plan, was approved by the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet in October 2016, after being pushed by Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman under the IDF's carrot-and-stick approach. The approach involves offering benefits to Palestinians in areas that do not encourage terror and clashes with security forces. The sticks are punitive measures in areas where the population actively encourages violence against Israelis.

In retrospect, many of the ministers objected to the construction plan and some never participated in the discussions. One minister who did attend the meetings claimed that the broad scope of construction had not been accurately presented.

Some three months ago, Netanyahu decided to convene another meeting on the issue, this time with the entire government, and announced the plan would be re-examined. Since then, however, the matter was not been revisited, largely due to bitter disagreement between Lieberman, who insists on implementing the plan, and a number of ministers who strongly oppose it.

This week, Netanyahu asked ministers to approve two goodwill gestures toward the Palestinians: an access road to Rawabi, a new Palestinian city near Ramallah; and the completion of the industrial zone in Tulkarem. The prime minister stressed that both gestures had been requested by the Americans, and they were subsequently approved. After the approval process, ministers inquired whether the Qalqilya plan would also be submitted for approval, to which the prime minister responded that it was suspended until further notice.
"Bad Blood" Hovers over Latest Attempt at Palestinian Reconciliation
Since violently seizing control of the Gaza Strip in 2007 from the PA, Hamas and Fatah have been locked in a Palestinian version of a cold war. The PA—with the quiet support of Israel, the U.S. and other allies—has worked to root out any attempts by Hamas to undermine or overthrow its control in the disputed territories.

At the same time, Hamas, which has survived a maritime blockade, international isolation, multiple wars with Israel and pressure from other Islamic terror groups in Gaza, has continued to see itself as the sole leader of the Palestinian cause with the goal of destroying Israel.

Despite the deadlock between the Palestinian factions, there have been numerous attempts at reconciliation, most notably in 2014, when they formed a brief unity government that ultimately unraveled amid ongoing disputes over governance.

This latest move towards reconciliation comes after months of economic and political pressure by the PA to squeeze Hamas. This included the PA’s decision to significantly cut its subsidization of Gaza’s electricity bill, which led to severe power shortages, as well as the PA’s decision to stop paying salaries of government workers and former prisoners in Gaza and cutting down on medical border crossings for Gazans.

Rumley believes that while the PA’s pressure on Hamas likely played a role in the latest unity deal, it is not a recipe for long-term coexistence.

“Abbas’s sanctions were viewed by many in Gaza as cruel, depriving them of electricity and medical supplies in a long summer,” Rumley said. “Hamas’s leaders were desperate for any reprieve and outside funding, and to that end were willing to cut a deal with anyone who could get money and fuel into Gaza.”
Not So Fast on Fatah-Hamas Unity
At first glance, the statement marked an unexpected gesture of flexibility by the Islamic militant group to reconcile the decade-long rift in Palestinian politics between Hamas and Abbas’ Fatah Party, which rules Palestinian areas of the West Bank.

The announcement included an invitation for Abbas’ West Bank-based government to assume responsibility for the Gaza Strip and begin preparations to hold long-overdue elections for a Palestinian president and a parliament.

But after numerous failed attempts at unity, is it time for Palestinians to crack open the champagne that the feud, which has paralyzed their politics for a decade, is finally over? And should Israel be worried that Abbas, who has allowed his security forces to work with the Israeli military on counterterrorism in the West Bank, is about to join forces with a group considered a terror outfit by Jerusalem and Washington?

The consensus among Israeli, foreign and Palestinian analysts is a resounding “no.” Hamas and Fatah are still far from resolving their most fundamental disagreements blocking a unity deal.

In some respects, the Hamas-Fatah rift resembles the hostile dynamics of the Israel-Palestinian conflict: both sides view the dispute as a zero-sum game and are loath to give any ground.

“It’s very dangerous for either side to be relenting to the other,” said Hillel Frisch, a political science professor and an expert on Palestinian politics at Bar-Ilan University.
American UN Envoy Nikki Haley Says Russia Shielding Iran From IAEA, Warns Nuclear Deal Without Inspections Is an ‘Empty Promise’
US Ambassador to UN Nikki Haley. Photo: US Mission to UN.

American UN Ambassador Nikki Haley took sharp aim on Thursday at Russia’s insistence that the International Atomic Energy Agency had no mandate to inspect Iranian nuclear activities that could include the design and production of a detonation device.

“If the Iran nuclear deal is to have any meaning, the parties must have a common understanding of its terms,” Haley said. “Iranian officials have already said they will refuse to allow inspections at military sites, even though the IAEA‎ says there must be no distinction between military and non-military sites.”

In a reference to the Russian position, Haley added: “Now it appears that some countries are attempting to shield Iran from even more inspections. Without inspections, the Iran deal is an empty promise.”

Haley’s comments are the latest indication of the Trump administration’s impatience with the JCPOA — the nuclear deal agreed to by the Tehran regime and the US and five other world powers in July 2015. Under US law, the president is obliged to confirm every 90 days that Iran is “transparently, verifiably, and fully implementing the agreement.” While President Donald Trump has recertified the deal twice during his time in office, the gaps in the deal’s monitoring regime revealed by the current row with Russia could lead to a different outcome when he announces his assessment on October 15.

The present doubts over the deal’s survival center on “Section T” of the JCPOA, which forbids Iran from engaging in a range of listed activities “which could contribute to the development of a nuclear explosive device.” Prohibited activities include work on detonation systems and the use of computer models to simulate nuclear explosive devices.
Nobel Committee Considering John Kerry, Iran’s Zarif For Peace Prize (not satire)
The Norwegian Nobel Committee is considering the former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, the EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, and the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to acknowledge their role in reaching the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal, Reuter news agency reports.

The framework deal on Iran's nuclear program, or as President Donald Trump likes to call it: “the worst deal ever,” gave Iran access to an estimated $150 billion of previously frozen assets in foreign bank accounts in return for Islamic Republic’s promises to halt its nuclear weapons program. And in a brilliant masterstroke of Obama-Kerry diplomacy, the Iranian Islamic regime could self-inspect its nuclear facilities to ensure they weren’t making any nuclear weapons.

If this trio manages to win the Nobel Peace Prize it would be joining a very exclusive club that includes luminaries such as former U.S. presidents Jimmy Carter and Barak Obama, and the Arab terrorist-turned-kleptocrat Yasser Arafat.

According to Reuters, these top architects of the Iran Deal were running as “favorites” for the prestigious prize in recognition for their efforts:

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