Wednesday, October 25, 2017

From Ian:

Evelyn Gordon: The Embassy, the NIF, and the U.S.-Israeli Jewish divide
Nor is this surprising. That same month, in response to a tweet asking whether Israel is “an evil country” or “just committing ethnic cleansing on a regular basis,” the NIF’s Israeli president, Talia Sasson, tweeted, “It is both.” Also that month, Ruchama Marton, founder and president of one of the NIF’s best-known grantees, Physicians for Human Rights, published an op-ed in Haaretz advocating for BDS.

In other words, the NIF has no problem with a chief executive who publicly calls Israel “evil” and falsely accuses it of systematic ethnic cleansing. And despite claiming that it doesn’t “fund global BDS activities against Israel nor support organizations that have global BDS programs,” it has no problem with its grantees’ chief executives publicly promoting BDS. Given this, is it any wonder that even soft-left groups like Women Wage Peace don’t want to be associated with the NIF?

Nor can the NIF be dismissed as a fringe organization. Unlike, say, the widely condemned Jewish Voices for Peace, the NIF is well within the mainstream American Jewish fold; Rabbi Rick Jacobs, today the president of America’s largest Jewish denomination, the Reform movement, used to chair one of its grant committees. And with annual donations topping $26 million in 2016, from a long list of donors, it clearly has a non-negligible support base. It’s not in the top financial tier of American Jewish organizations, but neither is it anywhere near the bottom.

A generation ago, an organization whose executives and grantees spouted anti-Israel canards or advocated anti-Israel boycotts would have been as toxic among American Jews as it was among Israelis. That fact that today’s NIF instead has broad support among American Jewry tells Israelis everything they need to know about how far away from Israel many American Jews have moved.

Given this, it’s not surprising that a growing number of Israelis view Diaspora Jewry negatively. The only question is whether anything can be done to close this widening rift before it’s too late.
Fatah Admits Its True Goals — but the Media Won’t Retweet
Palestinian officials and groups that are often deemed to be “moderates,” have once again been very clear about their desire to destroy Israel and forswear peace. But many in the media won’t report on it.

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) — an umbrella organization for Palestinian groups headed by Palestinian Authority (PA) President and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas — recently tweeted: “Our goal is the end of Israel. … We don’t want peace. We want war and victory.”

The tweet, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pointed out, was inspired by a quote from Yasser Arafat, Abbas’ predecessor.

The tweet was posted — and then quickly deleted — by the PLO’s mission in Columbia. As of this writing, not a single major US news outlet has reported on the tweet.

The PLO, established in 1964, was a US-designated terrorist group until after the Madrid Conference in the early 1990s. As the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) noted in a February 2016 Algemeiner op-ed, Arafat’s decision to side with Saddam Hussein in the first US-Iraq War resulted in a loss of support from his Arab donors. This loss of crucial funds, coupled with the fall of its patron — the USSR — put Arafat and the PLO in a corner.

In response, the PLO agreed to the Oslo Accords, which created the PA, and allowed for Palestinian leaders to come to the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza.
In ironic twist, terrorist's father wins human rights award
The father of a terrorist who murdered three Israelis won an international lawyer prize on Sunday for defending another terrorist's wife.

Attorney Muhammad Alyan's son, terrorist Baha Alyan, perpetrated the October 2015 attack in Armon Hanatziv neighborhood in Jerusalem, killing three Israelis.

Baha was killed by security forces.

Alyan recently represented Nadia Abu Jamaal, the widow of terrorist Ghassan Abu Jamaal, who participated in the November 2014 terrorist attack on a synagogue in the Har Nof neighborhood in the capital, which killed five worshippers and a police officer.

The terrorist in this attack was also killed by security forces.

Outrageously, for representing Abu Jamaal, Alyan received the prize for best international human rights attorney in a ceremony held in Al-Quds University in Abu Dis, east of Jerusalem.

The university collaborated with the International Institute for Human Rights and Peace in Caen, northern France, to present the award.

Caen's local bar association, along with its Palestinian counterpart, the French human rights institute and Al-Quds University held the ninth annual International Palestinian Pleading Competition for Human Rights on Sunday.

Many diplomats attended the event, including from Belgium and Canada, along with French MPs and human rights activists.

Melanie Phillips: British snub, US sniping and the real Russian collusion
Please join me here as I speak (via Skype) with Avi Abelow of Israel Video Network about Jeremy Corbyn’s Balfour dinner snub, uncomradely sniping from an ex-President and the latest revelations about who was actually involved in the real Russian collusion (three guesses).

Melanie Phillips: Why does Jack Straw shill for Iran
On today’s BBC TV Daily Politics show I took on the former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw who supports the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, maintains that it is working and claims that Iran is not in breach of any of its provisions.

I did not agree… and I asked him why he had turned into such a cheerleader for the Iranian regime. You can watch the exchange here.

The Rubber Hits the Road
Me from many years ago:
Half a decade or so back, I wrote: "It's a good basic axiom that if you take a quart of ice-cream and a quart of dog feces and mix 'em together the result will taste more like the latter than the former. That's the problem with the U.N."

Absolutely right, if I do say so myself. When you make the free nations and the thug states members of the same club, the danger isn't that they'll meet each other half-way but that the free world winds up going three-quarters, seven-eighths of the way.

That's how it went last Friday when the World Health Organization, ostensibly one of the least nutty operating units of the UN (compared with, say, the Human Rights Council), announced that Robert Mugabe was being appointed a WHO "Goodwill Ambassador". Mr Mugabe's idea of "goodwill" is to send his goons round to your farmhouse to announce he's stealing your land - and, if you're minded to object, kill your farm workers or wife or kid. When Zimbabwe's nonagenarian monster goes Goodwill hunting, best not to stand in his path.

Yesterday the WHO was forced to back down. But how did it ever get as far as an official announcement? Mugabe's greatest contribution to "world health" has been to raise the comparative life expectancy of every other country by dramatically reducing his own over his first quarter-century:

Life expectancy in Zimbabwe, 1980: 59.39 years
Life expectancy in Zimbabwe, 2005: 41.76 years

That's what's fascinating about the WHO appointment, and the limits of globalism. When John Kerry and Barack Obama swoon their paeans to the borderless world, they assume it will be a world in which one can "love equally" - or whatever the current catchphrase is. But the fecal ice cream principle applies: It's not just that they meet the thugs halfway and appoint someone who's antipathetic to homosexuality; they elevate someone who hates and torments homosexuals. That's a good preview of how the western liberals' "borderless world" will go.

It is outrageous that this pipsqueak goon endures in Harare. While Britain and other former colonial powers turned a blind eye to Africa, the likes of Mugabe looted their governments' treasuries, their countries' resources, their peoples' wealth and western taxpayers' bountiful "development" funds. You still hear African leaders demanding to know why the US won't set up a "Marshall plan for Africa", which conveniently overlooks the fact that since 1960 the west has sunk the cost of the Marshall plan many times over into the dark continent with nothing to show for it other than a few extra zeroes on the Swiss bank balances of the dictators-for-life. While the west snoozed complacently, the Afro-Marxist kleptocrats ransacked a continent.

But the civilized world lacks the will even to confine people like Mugabe - which is why the WHO's executive board could not even rouse itself to object to an obvious affront until after the announcement had been made. As I said, Robert Mugabe is a pipsqueak. So what do you call people who cannot stand up to the most absurd provocations of bankrupt pipsqueaks? Whether or not Mr Mugabe has no penis, the free members of the UN have no balls.
Hillel Neuer interviewed about WHO's 'sickening' Mugabe appointment

Tom Cotton Warns Iranian Threats Against Israel Are Growing
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK), a leading member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Senate Intelligence Committee, warned on Monday that the Iranian regime’s threats against Israel are growing through the expansion of its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)’s political and military footprint across the Middle East.

Iran’s “aggression against Israel has become much more widespread,” Cotton said during a conference on counterterrorism hosted by the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC. “It’s a very dangerous advance that Iran is making through northern Iraq and southern Syria.”

“For instance, Iran is now providing not just rockets, it’s helping to build precision-guided munitions factories in Syria, on the border with Lebanon, where Hezbollah can manufacture its own precision-guided munitions to use against Israel,” Cotton reportedly said. He added:

“We can’t allow the IRGC (Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps) to have, unmolested, resupply lines going from Iran into the Levant” and noted, “It’s not in the interest of the United States to have a revolutionary cause backed with the powers of a nation state expanding its influence throughout the region.”

Some analysts have suggested war between Israel and Iran-backed proxies is merely a matter of time.
GOP Congress Pushing Hard Against U.N. Denying Jewish And Christian Roots In Jerusalem
On October 12, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) introduced a resolution in the House that affirmed the historical connection of the Jewish people to the ancient and sacred city of Jerusalem. The resolution also condemned efforts at the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to deny Judaism's millennia-old historical, religious, and cultural ties to Jerusalem.

Four days later, on October 16, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced a resolution with the exact same wording.

Those resolutions were buttressed by recent discoveries by the ongoing archaeological discoveries from the City of David. Those have included dozen of seals and seal impressions from the First Temple period, many with biblical-type names in ancient Hebrew text, that have been found in 2017.

In May 2017, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) and Nature and Parks Authority announced that they had discovered arrowheads and stone ballista telling the story of the last battle between Roman forces and the Jews fighting against them in the last fight before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans.
Isi Leibler: The enemy of my enemy
The dramatic swing to the right in the recent Austrian elections is likely to have widespread repercussions throughout Europe and obliges Israel to reconsider its current approach to far right-wing groups.

The time has come to face reality. Despite a friendly U.S. administration, most of the world applies double standards toward Israel. No other nation is confronted by fanatical, death-extolling enemies that bay for their neighbor's destruction – to the indifference of the "civilized" world.

In this environment, it is time to actively seek out alliances even with nondemocratic states or governments whose viewpoints on various issues we strongly oppose.

Some would condemn this approach as amoral realpolitik.

Yet most Israelis are encouraged by our positive relationships with the authoritarian leaders of Russia and Egypt.

The covert, somewhat schizophrenic new relationship with Saudi Arabia is even more bizarre. Fanatical Saudi Wahhabism is the fountainhead of Islamic terrorism. Its hatred of Israel and the Jews knows no bounds. Yet the emerging Iranian threat to impose regional hegemony induced Saudi leaders to covertly cooperate with Israel. An aggressive common enemy created this alliance.
Rabbi Shmuley: Hamas Threatens Israel with Annihilation Again — with Cash from Qatar
And still, Qatar not only withholds condemnation, but continues to be Hamas’s funder-in-chief, hosting the bulk of their leadership in Doha. Just last Sunday, Hamas even thanked the Qatari leadership for its “pioneering role” in bettering the lives of Gazans — which, coming from Hamas, likely refers to the building of deadly terror tunnels and rockets meant to be fired at Israeli civilians.

When the Emir of Qatar visited New York last month for the opening of the U.N.’s General Assembly, a number of Jewish communal leaders accepted an invitation to meet with him. While some chose to meet the Emir in secret, the meetings represented a broader campaign to give Qatar a facelift amongst American Jewish leaders whom, it was assumed, might pressure Trump to go easier on the ostracized Gulf state. The agency hired by Qatar to arrange this image rehabilitation was a Jewish-owned public relations firm.

So, Hamas again this week threatens to annihilate Israel. And a group of American Jews continues to help rehabilitate the image of its funder-in-chief.

The people of Qatar are suffering due to the actions of its government. One holocaust was quite enough, and Qatari funding of a genocidal Islamist terror group must stop.

Until they do, though, we must keep the fire burning beneath the regime’s feet.

It must remain crystal clear to the men of Doha that only real change, and not paid campaigns, will ever serve to rescue them.
Developments - UN meeting slams Israel for using natural resources to build while its neighbors use them to destroy
Islamic countries at the UN spent an afternoon accusing Israel of "grave violations" and "racist policies" over Israel's use of its own natural resources. The accusations were made on October 23, 2017 during an annual debate in the UN General Assembly's Second Committee – composed of all 193 UN Member States – on the topic of "Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources".

The debate immediately followed the presentation of a report by ESCWA (the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia) Executive Secretary Mohamed Ali Alhakim – whose predecessor infamously accused Israel of "apartheid". The report delivered by Alhakim is entitled "Economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people..."

Numerous Islamic states accused Israel of violating the rights of Arabs inside Israel, notwithstanding the deplorable living conditions and widespread discrimination in nearby countries such as Syria and Iran. Nearly hysterical accusations were made of Israel, such as it being "ruthless," of "lopsided treachery," "crimes against humanity," "pillaging," and "abominable policies." Deaf to the irony, many countries alleged the Arabs of the Golan Heights, which Syria claims as its territory, were suffering by not being under the control of the Syrian regime.
Why Palestinian terror victims care about a Philly fistfight in 1784
The case of Joseph Jesner v. Arab Bank is a bid by about 6,000 Israelis who have been harmed by Palestinian terrorism to get redress from Jordan’s Arab Bank, which delivered money to the groups carrying out the acts.

Yet when the US Supreme Court heard arguments in the case on October 11, the contretemps most often cited was between a French official and a French adventurer in Philadelphia in 1784.

Jesner, in which the petitioners allege that Arab Bank provided financial services to various terrorist groups, is an important test of corporate liability abroad for acts of terror. Lawyers for Jesner, the father of a 19-year-old man murdered in a Tel Aviv bus bombing in 2002, and the other Israeli litigants who have joined the suit say a 1789 statute known as the Alien Tort Statute allows them to sue the Arab Bank for facilitating terrorist attacks between 1995 and 2005.

That argument, which has been rejected by lower courts, reached the Supreme Court in part because it addresses a divide between the court’s conservative and liberal justices over the modern application of a law initiated by events of 1784. That’s when the top French diplomat in the country at the time, a nobleman named François Barbé-Marbois, allegedly was assaulted by an adventurer named Charles Julian de Longchamps.
Russian firm confirms Israeli accusations on theft of US intel
The Russian company Kaspersky Lab confirmed that it had taken source code for a secret American hacking tool via its antivirus software.

The company’s internal investigation came after Israeli intelligence discovered that Russian hackers were using the antivirus software to steal classified information from the United States.

Kaspersky’s anti-virus program is used by 400 million people worldwide, including officials at about two dozen American government agencies.

Source code for a secret American hacking tool was stolen from a National Security Agency employee who had improperly stored them on his home computer, which used Kaspersky antivirus software.

The company said it discovered the code in 2014 in a ZIP file that its software flagged as malicious. Kaspersky said it destroyed its only copy and that no third parties saw the code, though other reports dispute the claim.

According to Kaspersky, it found no evidence that the company had been hacked by the Russians or anyone else except Israel, though it suggested others could have hacked into the American official’s computer through a back door it identified.
Yisrael Medad: I Reject Any Conspiracy Theory Concerning Daniel Shaprio
I doubt the outlandish idea that President Barack Obama ordered or suggested to his Ambassador to Israel to remain in the country to make sure the incoming Administration's overtly pro-Israel orientation will be sabotaged.

On the other hand, one cannot ignore the constant interference Daniel Shapiro provides.

In the Wall Street Journal on October 24, he published an op-ed, "Move the Embassy to Jerusalem and Promote Peace", containing these lines:

Mr. Trump must be clear on two points: The embassy will relocate to West Jerusalem, the area of the city under undisputed Israeli sovereignty. He also must explain that East Jerusalem’s status will need to be negotiated, and the U.S. expects the outcome to include a Palestinian capital in the city’s Arab neighborhoods, as part of a unified city.

Since 1948, and under Obama, the United States refused not only to move its embassy to the city but quite ridiculously refused to recognize Israel's undisputed sovereignty over any part of the city. As I blogged previously, that policy ignores the facts on the ground, ignores the fact that as it is based on the internationalization of Jerusalem recommended by the UN in November 1947, before there was a state in Palestine at the end of the Mandate, an idea the Arabs rejected - and went to war over - and thus was a dead letter the moment it was voted on and ignores the plebiscite element in the corpus separatum plan after a decade in which Jerusalem's residents were to vote to which state it would join - the Jewish or the Arab one.

Can anyone think what the results of that vote would have been?
Hezbollah to exit Syria 'to prepare for war' with Israel
Hezbollah is planning to withdraw its forces from Syria in 2018 in order to bolster its presence along the border with Israel, Lebanese news site Lebanon 24 reported on Tuesday.

According to the report, Hezbollah's high command issued a new order mandating that the last remaining Hezbollah fighters must leave Syria in early 2018.

For the past five years, Hezbollah forces have been fighting alongside the Syrian military in the country's brutal civil war. It is believed that the Shiite terrorist group, alongside other Iranian-backed militias, helped turned the tide in favor of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The measure is designed to ensure the organization would be able to have a sizable presence along the Lebanese border with Israel should hostilities resume.

According to the report, Hezbollah's commanders realized that its operatives were stretched too thin, to the point that 85% of the group's fighting force was in Syria. Another reason cited was the heavy casualty rate – more than 1,800 Hezbollah operatives have been killed in the Syrian civil war – and the need to train more operatives.

The site further claimed that the first phase of the withdrawal was scheduled to begin in the coming days and could involve 60% of the forces, with the other phases spreading over a period of several weeks.
A third Lebanon war looms: To stop it, US must curtail Iran, sanction Hezbollah
While there have been many losers from the Syrian civil war, the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah has emerged as an undisputed winner, making significant advances in its military capabilities. This development, along with the impetus of Iran’s nefarious regional role — now explicitly recognized by President Trump’s new policy as an urgent challenge — poses a severe threat to an already deeply unstable Middle East. Left unchecked, it is likely to prompt a third Lebanon war — one that would be worse than anything we have seen previously.

Since the 2006 Second Lebanon War with Israel, Hezbollah, the crown jewel in Iran's strategy of regional warfare by terrorist proxy, has been unwavering in its determination to reconstitute itself as a viable military force in Lebanon. By subduing the Lebanese population and infiltrating the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), the group has resurrected its military presence across the country, especially in the south.

In addition, by prioritizing the acquisition of a sophisticated arsenal comprising well over 100,000 rockets and missiles of ever increasing accuracy, Hezbollah has equipped itself with the capacity to strike strategic targets throughout Israel, including threatening the security of her energy supply chain. Most alarmingly, Iranian assistance has left the group on the cusp of being able to manufacture sophisticated missiles, rather than rely upon covert shipments.
Israel unmasks new Hezbollah leader on Syria border
As the war of words between Israel and Hezbollah continues, the Israeli security establishment is raising the lid over the identity of the Shi'ite terror group's new top commander in Syria's Golan Heights.

According to Israeli media reports, the IDF’s military intelligence has identified Hezbollah’s strongman on the Syrian side of the Golan as Munir Ali Naim Shaiti, also known as Hajj Hasham. The 50-year-old father of four from south Lebanon spends most of his time in Syria, where he is in charge of security and directing all Hezbollah operations in the war-torn country.

Shaiti is believed to have been the deputy chief of Hezbollah’s Bader Brigades, which handled terror operations north of the Litani river in Lebanon, before he became the head of Hezbollah’s operations in Syria in June 2016 and replaced Samir Quntar who was killed the previous year.

According to intelligence sources quoted by Israeli press, while his main role in Syria is to assist the Syrian army in their fight against the rebel groups in the area, he gets his orders from the influential and powerful Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds force.

Shaiti is also in charge of preparing Hezbollah’s military infrastructure for a future confrontation with Israel, which the Jewish State believes will not be confined to one front but will see conflict with both Syria and Lebanon.
The 'Palestinian Martyrdom' effect on stagnant Arab-Israeli negotiations
Officials at Al-Quds University in east Jerusalem greeted Palestinian freshmen last week in front of a banner containing the likenesses of some of the most notorious terrorists in history. These included, according to the Palestinian Media Watch organization, Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin, Islamic Jihad's Fathi Shiqaqi and Abu Ali Mustafa of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

The sign also proudly displayed a picture of Salah Khalaf, the former leader of Black September, which perpetrated the 1972 Munich Olympic Massacre of 11 Israelis. Of course, an image of Yasser Arafat was front and center, he being widely recognized as the father of modern terrorism before ostensibly agreeing to pursue peace with Israel.

Jerusalem has long slammed the Palestinian Authority for hailing "martyrs"—which it claims has indoctrinated a generation of youth with Jew-hatred—a practice that includes naming squares, parks and summer camps after killers.

The issue has taken on added significance since the election of US President Donald Trump, who has called on PA President Mahmoud Abbas to stop paying stipends to Palestinian prisoners jailed in Israel for security offenses as well as to the families of those killed in confrontations with Israeli forces.
Israel approves 176 new Jewish homes in East Jerusalem
Jerusalem authorities on Wednesday approved a major expansion of a Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem, signing off on plans to add 176 homes, the city’s deputy mayor said.

The expansion would create the largest Jewish enclave inside an Arab neighborhood of the city, NGOs said, by allow the Nof Zion neighborhood to add the new housing units to 91 existing homes.

Nof Zion is located in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber. The plans were approved by a Jerusalem planning committee, Deputy Mayor Meir Turjeman told AFP.

Peace Now and other NGOs, which consider Nof Zion a settlement, say the approvals would make it the largest Israeli settlement inside any Palestinian neighborhood of East Jerusalem and possibly also of the West Bank.
Netanyahu pledges NIS 800 million for West Bank by-roads
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged on Wednesday to spend NIS 800 million to create bypasses in the West Bank.

The decision to add that money into the 2018 budget came in response to a campaign by settler leaders urging him to do more to thwart Palestinian terror attacks.

“This strategic message is good news for the residents of Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley,” said Yesha Council head Avi Ro’eh. He announced news of the funding after a meeting early Wednesday with Netanyahu's, PMO Bureau Chief Yoav Horowitz and Amana Secretary-General Ze’ev Hever. Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan who has publicly spearheaded the campaign, was more cautious in his response.

Yesterday he and terror victims opened a protest encampment on the sidewalk outside Netanyahu’s Jerusalem room.

“Netanyahu is once again making empty promises, just as he does after every terror attack. We will continue to sit here on the sidewalk outside Netanyahu’s home until his words have been transformed into real actions,” Dagan said.
Corrected: Facebook Errs, Israeli Police Take the Blame
Many so-called Palestinian “lone wolf” terrorists have alluded to their actions on their personal social media before carrying out attacks. Israeli security forces make no secret of their efforts to prevent such attacks by monitoring Palestinian social media accounts.

When Israeli police were alerted to one Palestinian worker’s Facebook photo of himself next to a bulldozer with the text translated as ‘attack them’ in Hebrew or ‘hurt them’ in English, it was hardly surprising that it resulted in a swift arrest. (Also bearing in mind that bulldozers have been used on multiple occasions as terror weapons.)

Except that the translation was incorrect. Due to issues with Facebook’s own translation technology, the social media giant had mistranslated the original Arabic, which simply and innocently stated ‘good morning.’

While the incident could have been avoided had an Arabic-speaking police officer looked at the Facebook post, the Palestinian was released after a few hours. Ultimately, the error was the result of Facebook’s substandard software.
Jordan reportedly furious over Palestinian reconciliation deal
Jordan's King Abdullah has reportedly expressed significant disapproval over the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation deal during a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Amman several days ago, Palestinian and Jordanian sources told Israel Hayom on Tuesday.

In the meeting, Abdullah said he was apprehensive at Hamas' prospective integration in the Palestinian Liberation Organization, the possibility the former Hamas leader Khaled Mashal will vie in the next Palestinian presidential elections, and Hamas' rule in the West Bank. These constitute a threat to Jordan, as they will likely destabilize the internal security of the kingdom, the king told Abbas.

Jordan also reportedly rejected a request by Mashaal to reopen Hamas' offices in Amman.

The move would help Mashaal integrate Hamas into the PLO and succeed Abbas.

Abdullah briefed Abbas on the decision to deny Hamas' request, saying that renewing the terrorist organization's activities in Jordan would strengthen the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas' parent movement, in Jordan.

Jordanian and Palestinian officials said the king stressed that the Jordanians were enraged that the Palestinians did not update them on the contents of the reconciliation agreement before it was inked. The deal was formulated under the auspices of Egypt, and as such, it does not consider Jordan's security interests regarding Hamas' activity in the West Bank, the Islamist terrorist group's participation in a Palestinian unity government and Hamas' integration into PLO institutes.

Abbas, for his part, accused Jordan of "abandoning" the Palestinian issue in favor of U.S. President Donald Trump's efforts to reach a Middle East peace agreement.
PA event against selling property to Jews shut down
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan instructed police this afternoon to close down a conference organized by PA officials that was to be held this afternoon at the Saint George Hotel in central Jerusalem, 0404 reported.

According to the report, the PA conference was to have dealt with the topic of Muslim and Christian-owned property sales to Jews.

Under Palestinian Authority (PA) law, selling of land to Jews is illegal and punishable by death. However, such sentences must be approved by the PA chairman, and current chairman Mahmoud Abbas has preferred to authorize life sentences for such offenses, possibly wary of an international backlash.

In 2014, Abbas toughened the PA law against selling property to Israeli Jews, so that any Palestinian Arabs involved in renting, selling or facilitating real estate transactions with citizens of "hostile countries" in any way would receive life imprisonment and hard-labor.

Erdan issued the order forbidding the conference to take place in accordance with section 3(a) of the Law for Implementing the Interim Agreement Regarding the West Bank and Gaza Strip (1994), which prohibits the PA from carrying out unauthorized activity within the State of Israel, and which authorizes the Public Security Minister to issue orders to prevent any such activity. Within the framework of signed Israel-PA agreements, Israel retains exclusive authority and jurisdiction in Jerusalem.

Subsequently, police arrived at the hotel and issued the order, verifying that the event did not take place.
PA acceptance to Interpol a 'double-edged sword'
Dr. Alan Baker, formerly the legal adviser to the Foreign Ministry and an expert on international law, on Tuesday downplayed the Palestinian Authority's (PA) recent acceptance as a member of the International Police Organization (Interpol).

In an interview with Arutz Sheva, Dr. Baker addressed concerns in Israel that the move would result in the extraditing of senior Israeli officials, saying he does not “think that this fear is justified. Interpol has a constitution that establishes in a central clause that one cannot act out of political motives within the framework of Interpol, so any move that is politically motivated will be disqualified. Therefore, I do not share the views of senior officials who are on the defensive."

"The Interpol does not initiate arrest warrants, but rather constitutes a pipeline for the passage of orders that were lawfully issued by a court and are based on evidence," continued Dr. Baker, adding, "The very fact that the Palestinians were accepted to Interpol is a serious act that violates Interpol's own principles.”

"Interpol is open for countries to join, but there is no such country named Palestine. The Palestinians would like to think that they have recognition as a state from the UN, but the UN does not establish states. They do not have the constitutional right to be members of Interpol as well as in the International Criminal Court in The Hague, but these organizations are based on a political majority of states, so an automatic majority usually decides something even if it does not necessarily follow the constitution of that organization,” he explained.
Hamas chief says armed wing should be under PLO control
Hamas will not dismantle its military wing, the terror organization’s leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, said on Tuesday. But he added that Hamas’s weapons should be subject to the authority of the Palestine Liberation Organization, an organization dominated by the rival Fatah group.

“As a nation, we are still in the throes of our national liberation efforts, and we cannot surrender our weapons,” Sinwar was quoted as saying by the Palestinian news agency Ma’an, before adding: “Our weapons must be under the umbrella of the Palestine Liberation Organization.”

“The weapons of the Qassam Brigades [Hamas’s military wing] belong to the Palestinian people,” and are meant “to be used for the liberation effort, and not for internal conflict,” said Sinwar.

He added that the Palestinian Authority would be taking charge of all the border crossings of the Gaza Strip at noon on October 31.
Hamas Will ‘Never’ Recognize Israel, Deputy Head Says During Official Visit to Iran
The deputy head of the Palestinian Islamist organization Hamas has emphasized during a visit to Iran that the terrorist group will “never” abandon its core positions, most prominently its refusal to recognize the right of the State of Israel to a secure existence.

At a meeting with the head of Iran’s Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, Kamal Kharrazi, on Monday, leading Hamas official Saleh el-Arouri said the organization “will never agree to lay down arms, recognize the Zionist regime of Israel or sever its ties with the Islamic Republic,” the Tehran regime-aligned news agency Tasnim reported.

Tasnim — which is widely regarded as a mouthpiece for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) — said that Kharrazi had “highlighted the Zionists’ conspiracy to foment discord among regional countries by pitting Sunni Muslims against Shia Muslims and said the presence of Hamas officials in Iran is testimony to the failure of the conspiracy.”

Added Kharrazi: “The basis of Iran’s support for the oppressed is their resistance against Zionism, not their being Shia or Sunni.” Hamas is a Sunni organization, while Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Iraq’s Hashd al-Shaabi — just two of several paramilitaries in the region backed by Iran — are both Shia groups.

Arouri’s defiant comments came as a former Israeli defense minister expressed pessimism that the Palestinians would ever have “a leadership that will want to divide the land.”
Hamas threatens to bomb Tel Aviv
In a message to Israel, Sinwar said, "If the enemy (Israel) is thinking of foiling the reconciliation, it will be taught a lesson so that it will not intervene in our internal affairs...We will not recognize and cannot recognize Israel and the conditions of the occupation are unacceptable.”

He then sent a threatening message about Hamas's military capabilities, saying, "We can strike Israel for a period of 51 minutes at the same level that we attacked Tel Aviv for 51 days."

Under the reconciliation agreement signed between Fatah and Hamas, the PA is to resume full control of Hamas-controlled Gaza by December 1.

Israel rejected the unity agreement due to the involvement of Hamas, an internationally recognized terror organization. Last week, the Israeli Cabinet made clear that it would not negotiate with the new Palestinian unity government until Hamas recognizes Israel, disarms, and severs its ties with Iran.

Hamas, in blatant disregard of the Israeli statement, sent a high-ranking delegation to Iran, where its deputy leader, sanctioned terrorist Salah Al-Aruri, declared that the group would never agree to sever its ties with Iran and give up the armed struggle against “the Zionist regime”.
Iranian sentenced to death for spying for Israel named
Iran said Wednesday it had sentenced a citizen to death for spying for Israel in return for Swedish residency, after rights activists reported an Iranian-born academic was handed the death penalty.

Amnesty International on Monday announced that emergency medicine specialist Ahmadreza Djalali, detained in Iran since April 2016, was found guilty of working with the Israeli government.

Tehran's prosecutor general Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi did not name Djalali but said a suspect was sentenced to death for passing information on Iran's nuclear programme to agents from Israel's Mossad intelligence agency in exchange for a Swedish residency permit.

"One of the actions of the convict was revealing the location of and some information on 30 outstanding individuals engaged in military and nuclear research projects," Jafari Dolatabadi said in comments quoted by the judiciary's Mizan website.

He said the information led to the assassination of two Iranian nuclear scientists, Majid Shahriari and Masoud Alimohammadi, killed in bomb blasts in 2010.

Under Iranian law the identity of a convicted person cannot be released until the appeals process is over.
US Senate bill sets tough new terms for Iran nuclear deal
Draft legislation responding to U.S. President Donald Trump's refusal to certify the Iran nuclear deal would set tough new terms for the pact, including restoring sanctions if Iran tests a ballistic missile able to carry a warhead or bars nuclear inspectors from any sites.

Critics of the legislation drafted by Republican Senators Bob Corker and Tom Cotton, with support from the Trump administration, said it could put the United States in violation of the international agreement if it were enacted.

The draft was in the works on Oct. 13 when Trump announced he would not formally certify that Tehran was complying with the international nuclear pact, and called on Congress to write legislation to toughen it.

Since then, Corker has met with Senate Democratic colleagues, at least some of whom would have to back the legislation for it to pass. They have insisted that Washington work with European allies who co-signed the deal before making any changes.

Britain, France, Germany and the European Union, which also signed the nuclear accord – as did Russia and China – warned that Trump's plan could cause a split with Washington and risked U.S. credibility abroad.

Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told Reuters last week that the Trump administration must work closely with European allies as it develops its new Iran policy.
Iraq’s Kurds Offer to Freeze Results of Independence Vote as Part of Dialogue With Baghdad
Iraq’s self-ruled Kurdish region on Wednesday offered to freeze the results of its controversial independence vote last month as part of a dialogue with Baghdad.

The proposal, however, is unlikely to be accepted by Baghdad, which demands that the results be annulled before it takes part in any negotiations with the Kurds over relations between the central government and the region.

The regional government in a statement on its website also called for an immediate cease-fire in areas claimed by both Baghdad and the Kurds. Clashes have been taking place since federal security forces took over the disputed oil-rich city of Kirkuk and other contested towns this month.

The majority of Iraqi Kurds voted last month for independence in a controversial but symbolic referendum that Baghdad has so far refused to acknowledge, considering it unconstitutional.

The Kurdish independence referendum and the clashes that followed after Iraqi forces moved to retake the disputed areas have raised tensions in the region. Neighboring Iran and Turkey, which are battling Kurdish insurgencies within their own borders, are especially on edge.
Iran Rejoices Over Defeat of ‘Second Israel,’ as Netanyahu Urges Support for Kurds
The chief of staff to the Iranian regime’s “supreme leader” said on Tuesday that a US-Israeli “plot” to create a “second Israel” in Iraqi Kurdistan had been thwarted through the seizure of Kurdish territory by Iranian-backed forces over the last week.

Mohamadi Gulpaygani, who serves as chief of staff to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, singled out both his boss and Gen. Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), for special praise.

“The United States and Israel had plotted to create a second Israel in the Kurdistan Region, and it was shameful to wave the Israeli flag there,” Gulpaygani said, referring to the frequent display of Israeli flags at Kurdish independence rallies prior to the September 25 referendum in which 93 percent of voters supported an independent Kurdistan.

“The instructions of the supreme leader and the sacrifices of General Soleimani spoiled their plots, and Kirkuk was liberated without a single drop of blood being shed,” Gulpaygani said, in remarks quoted by the Fars semi-official state news agency.

Iran’s rhetoric echoes that of Turkey’s autocratic president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has also denounced an independent Kurdish state as a “second Israel.” Turkish media frequently use the term in their reporting of events on the ground.

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