Thursday, November 30, 2017

From Ian:

Saudis Fed Up: "Palestinians Milking Us for Decades"
Echoing the Palestinian public's sentiment, Palestinian political analyst Majed Abu Diak also voiced concern over the apparent rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Israel. He accused the Saudis of bowing to pressure from the Trump administration.

"Saudi Arabia and Israel appear to be in a hurry to normalize their relations," Abu Diak claimed.

"The Saudi regime is preparing for Mohammed bin Salman to succeed his father. That's why the regime is prepared to pay the price [to the Americans], which includes normalizing relations with Israel as a way to improve Saudi relations with the US. For Israel, this is an old-new dream of ridding itself of the status of an alien body in the Middle East."

Most Arabs, in fact, do not seem to care about the Palestinian "cause" any more, as pointed out in a previous article, which showed how the Arab League ministers were focusing on Iran and Hezbollah while ignoring the Palestinians.

Many people in the West are not aware that the Palestinians are trying to torpedo any peace initiative in order to blame others.

The Palestinians are crying Wolf, Wolf! -- but only a few in the Arab world are listening to them. This, in a way, is encouraging and offers hope for them finally to be released from decades of repressive and corrupt governance.

These are just some of the challenges Saudi Crown Prince is facing. It is important to support him in the face of attacks by some Palestinians and other spoilers.

The question now is whether the Saudis and the rest of the Arabs have had enough of the great Palestinian shakedown.
MEMRI: Editor Of Saudi Daily 'Okaz': Hamas Is Ungrateful, Is Exploiting Palestinian Cause To Benefit Iran
The concluding announcement issued by the Arab League foreign ministers following their November 19, 2017 emergency meeting in Cairo declared Hizbullah a terrorist organization and accused it of "supporting terrorism and terrorist organizations in the Arab states by [supplying them with] advanced weapons and ballistic missiles." Hamas, in response, issued an official statement in which it condemned the designation of Hizbullah and other "resistance organizations" as terror organizations, and stressed its "surprise" at the announcement's failure to include "reference to the Zionist terrorism that is implemented daily towards the Palestinian people, their land, and their holy places."

Additionally, Hamas political bureau member Moussa Abu Marzouq tweeted, from his personal account: "Hizbullah is not a terror organization, and if this designation is accepted, we can all expect a similar fate. We must all agree to direct the Arab political focus [at] Palestine and Jerusalem." He also tweeted: "The Arab foreign ministers' decision to characterize Hizbullah as terrorist does not stem from [Hizbullah's] involvement in dear Syria, but is aimed at confronting Iran and the elements connected to it. He added: "This trend is problematic for two reasons. One, diverting the [Arab] focus from Israel and allying with it; [Israel] is certainly not Sunni. Two, next time, the resistance forces – Hamas, [Palestinian Islamic] Jihad, and others – will be the ones [they] set [their] sights on, for the same reason."

Abu Marzouq's tweets prompted a response from Jamil Al-Dhiabi, the editor-in-chief of the Saudi government daily 'Okaz, who wrote a scathing article condemning Abu Marzouq and Hamas and accusing them of ingratitude. Another expression of the tension between Saudi Arabia and Hamas was a headline in 'Okaz, which declared: "Hamas Follows in Hizbullah's Footsteps, [Saying]: 'Our Weapons Are a Red Line.'" The article reported on statements by Hamas official Khalil Al-Hayya expressing the movement's refusal to disarm.
PMW: Song on PA TV promises to attack Jews
Official Palestinian Authority TV broadcast a music video promising to "break the Jews."

The song, which sings the praise of Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah Movement, promises to "come at you from the sea like a wave." While these words are sung, photos are shown of terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, who led the murder of 37 Israelis, 12 of them children, in an attack launched by infiltrating Israel from the sea in 1978.

In addition, the song states that the Fatah flag will be "raised with the rifle," and quotes former PA and PLO chairman Yasser Arafat glorifying death for "Palestine": "For you O homeland, by Allah, death is sweet for me." Footage is included of armed Fatah fighters. The song ends by stating Fatah's goal is to "break the Jews":

"We will raise the Fatah flag with the rifle...
At Al-Karameh [battle] and Eilaboun (i.e., terror attack), for the homeland we will encircle the world
We will come at you from the sea like the wave...
Visual: Photos of terrorist murderer Dalal Mughrabi who attacked from the sea
Yasser [Arafat] said this statement in a loud voice:
For you O homeland, by Allah, death is sweet for me
Jerusalem is ours, and we are marching, and we will bring millions of Martyrs...
The love of Fatah unites us, and may Allah add to it
Whoever speaks about [Fatah's] division - by Allah, we will eliminate him
Our hearts are for [Fatah], and we are soldiers, until we break the Jews"

[Official PA TV, Nov. 10, 2017]

Palestinian Media Watch has documented similar songs on PA TV glorifying terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, and exposed a music video on Fatah's Awdah TV station earlier this year that paid tribute to Mughrabi.

Ben-Dror Yemini: Jihadist terror needs no excuse
It was the deadliest terror attack since the 9/11 attacks in the United States 16 years ago. At least 305 people were murdered. Had 30 people been murdered in a terror attack any European city, the attack would have likely received much more coverage by the global media. Because when Muslims massacre Muslims, it doesn't mean as much to the world. It’s a lot less moved.

Even worse is the fact that the massacre was immediately followed by explanations: The Bedouins in Sinai, according to commentators, are deprived by the Egyptian government. Poor things. They’re just reacting.

With all due respect to the different experts and commentators, they have lost their mind. Are you serious? Is that an excuse for such a murderous massacre? Is that the reason for intentionally firing on infants, women, children, elderly people—hundreds of innocent people? Is government deprivation, assuming there was deprivation, the reason? Why, the only sin of those who were murdered was that they were there, within the jihadists’ reach.

We’re also being told that it happened in a mosque which belongs to the Sufist sect, and that’s becoming an excuse too. What does that have to do with anything? Islam has many sects. The Sufists are Sunnis. Many of those who come to pray at Sufist mosques don’t even belong to the Sufist sect. Is that the reason? Only a week ago, 58 people were murdered in the Nigerian town of Mubi. It happened inside a Sunni mosque, neither Shiite not Sufist.

Jihad doesn’t need any excuse. The arguments and explanations provided by the different commentators and experts are a mockery of a tragedy. They castrate the truth. Because inasfar as the deadly results of jihadist terror can be followed, more than 95 percent of its victims are Muslim and nearly 70 percent are Sunnis murdered by Sunnis. So the glaring truth is that a weed has grown within Islam, and murder is its flag. Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna, formulated this ideology in 1938 in an article titled “The industry of death.”
Dr. Mordechai Kedar: Hell on earth
Last Friday there was a massive terror attack in the city of Bir al-Abd, located near El Arish in the northern Sinai, an area populated by Bedouin. An armed group of terrorists, most probably belonging to the Sinai branch of ISIS, used bombs and bullets to attack hundreds of people gathered in the Al-Rawda (Garden )mosque for noon prayers, the most important prayer in the Islamic week. They slaughtered 305 men, women and children in cold blood, eradicated entire families and wounded more than one hundred. The cruel bloodbath included shocking instances of shooting wounded victims once again from close range to ensure their deaths.

Arab media featured the massacre for two days, although it broadcast Egyptian President Al-Sisi's speech in which he declared three days of nationwide mourning in Egypt and threatened a response employing "terrible power" against the Jihadists in Sinai. Commentators said that the attack took place because the worshipers were of the mystically-oriented Soufi Islamic sect, considered near-heretical by the Salafists. Another reason mentioned was the refusal of the town's residents to cooperate with the Jihadists, as well as the aid they proferred the Egyptian Army.

What interests us at present is a problem brought up by writer Sharif Badi Al-Noor on November 28th in an article appearing in the Arabic Al Ahram newspaper. Its title was "Why don’t the Egyptians care about the victims of El Arish?" and in it, he describes the reactions of the Egyptian public during the two days following the attack: Streets overflowing with people, stores filled with shoppers, thousands relaxing in cafes and restaurants, many of them watching soccer games. Everything as usual, no demonstrations, not even a sign protesting the mass murderers who defiled Egypt so horrendously once again.

The writer compares the public's apathy regarding the Sinai attack to the storm that would have ensued had it been Israel – which, he writes, is on a higher level than the scum who murdered the worshipers - who killed ten worshipers, not three hundred. He asks rhetorically: How many would have poured into the streets in that case? So why isn't anyone protesting what happened in Sinai? Is it because some see it as a far-off land? Are the Bedouin not Egyptian citizens? Why don't we care about what happens in Bir al-Abd? If there was, G-d forbid, an attack in Cairo that took the lives of a mere six people, wouldn't we all be trembling in fear?

The problem lies not in the government, he continues, nor in the Egyptian Intelligence Services and Army (as the pundits claim) but in us, the Egyptian people, because we - the people – must be the ones who block terror. Why don't we have classes in school teaching about the negative and harmful Jihadist ideas and how to protect ourselves from them? Why are there no required courses in colleges and universities that teach students about the nationalist ideology capable of uprooting those dangerous ideas?
Evelyn Gordon: Gaza’s Latest Lesson in Self-Inflicted Misery
Observing developments since Hamas and Fatah signed their latest reconciliation deal in October is an object lesson in just how much of the Palestinians’ misery is self-inflicted–or to be more precise, inflicted by their two rival governments.

The first thing that happened after implementation of the deal in early November was that prices of merchandise imported to Gaza plummeted by up to 25 percent. Having your money go 25 percent further is an obvious boon to anyone, but especially for impoverished Gazans. Prices fell because, for the first time in a decade, Gazans weren’t paying taxes to two different governments–the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza–but only to one. As part of the reconciliation deal, Hamas handed control of Gaza’s borders to the PA and dismantled the tax collection checkpoints it had set up at the border crossings.

This long-overdue relief didn’t last long. Earlier this month, I pointed out that, since Hamas would remain the dominant military power in Gaza even after the deal was implemented, it wasn’t clear how anyone could stop it from extorting taxes again once it had gotten what it wanted from the deal. I overestimated Hamas’s patience. Though the PA has yet to fulfill most of its promises to Hamas, the latter has already resumed collecting taxes.

True, the checkpoints are gone, but Hamas found another method to seek the rents on which it survives. It simply summoned several hundred businessmen to appear in its offices and demanded payment of tax on everything they have imported to Gaza since the reconciliation was signed. After all, Hamas needs that money; it has rockets and tunnels to build. So who cares that Gazans will once again be paying inflated prices they can ill afford?

The reconciliation was also supposed to bring another benefit: the reopening of the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt, which has been closed almost continuously for the last four years. Since Israel allows only limited traffic from Gaza through its territory, Rafah’s closure has meant that leaving Gaza is virtually impossible for most Palestinians.
Elliott Abrams: Mr. Kerry Should Apologize
He could have said "some countries" or "some leaders" but chose to state what was said to him in secret, privileged, private diplomatic conversations by named governments. And to do so about leaders who are still in office, such as Prime Minister Netanyahu. And he chose to do so in an offhand manner at a conference where his goal was merely to defend his own record in negotiating the JCPOA.

This is irresponsible behavior. It is the kind of conduct that tells foreign leaders they cannot trust our own leaders to protect private conversations, and suggests to them that candor is dangerous. When a secretary of state, who often boasted of his years as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, behaves this way he deserves the kind of criticism that...Kerry is very unlikely to get.

Why not? Because people expect this kind of misconduct from him? Because he is out of office so he is free to spill secrets? Because "everyone knows" what Israel and Egypt were urging? These are all poor arguments. Kerry should acknowledge that he spoke too freely and state that he regrets his action. He owes both those governments an apology. And he should pledge to be far more careful in the future about revealing the content of conversations that should not be disclosed for decades--including, that is, not in Mr. Kerry's memoirs.
'Former Egyptian leader agreed to resettle Palestinians in Sinai'
In 1983, then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak agreed to resettle Palestinians inside his country at the request of the Americans more than 30 years ago, newly discovered documents revealed Wednesday.

According to secret documents obtained by the BBC, Mubarak agreed to the American request on the condition it would be part of a comprehensive resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Mubarak relayed the information to then-British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in a meeting between the two leaders that took place after Mubarak met with U.S. President Ronald Reagan in February of 1983.

Reagan won the U.S. presidential elections mere months after the start of the First Lebanon War, which broke out in 1982 when Israel invaded southern Lebanon with the aim of removing Palestine Liberation Forces from Beirut following the organization's repeated attacks on the Israel Defense Forces.

According to the BBC report, British authorities had feared Palestinian agents would attempt to assassinate Mubarak during a visit to London during the 1982 war.
Jerusalem ignores the UN’s forgotten partition plan of 2012 at its peril
Israeli critics of the 2012 resolution posited at the time that a vote at the UN General Assembly would change nothing on the ground. That assertion was only partially correct. Palestine is still not an independent country, to be sure, but the new status conferred on it by the General Assembly opened the door for Ramallah to gain membership in international organizations such as the International Criminal Court (where it continues to pursue charges against Israeli leaders) and Interpol (where it now has access to the agency’s secure global police communications network).

Much changed between 1947 and 2012. And the world has shifted again in the past five years. But Israelis celebrating UN General Assembly Resolution 181 as a harbinger of Jewish statehood ignore the same body’s 2012 partition plan at their own peril.

Seventy years ago, a comfortable majority of the world’s nations backed a two-state solution accepted by the Jews but rejected by the Arabs. Today, the tables have turned: The Arabs now profess acceptance of a two-state solution, which much of the Israeli government opposes. The international community, however, still overwhelmingly endorses partition, to an even larger degree than in 1947.

Seventy years after it first affirmed the idea of an Arab state existing alongside a Jewish one in the Holy Land, the world is growing increasingly impatient about its implementation. As a consequence, parts of the international community have started calling for sanctions against Israel, such as boycotts and blacklists.
Obama-era diplomat questions if settlements are an obstacle to peace

Settlement growth is a solvable issue in negotiations toward a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and does not represent the obstacle to peace that many have portrayed, an expert and former US diplomat under the Obama administration said this week.

Unveiling a project two years in the making titled “Settlements and Solutions,” David Makovsky, director for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s project on the Middle East peace process, argued that maps are our best guide to a comprehensive solution to the conflict. Accompanying an interactive website detailing population trends along Israel’s security barrier and throughout the West Bank, Makovsky adds context and numbers that outline precisely who lives where, and what it means.

His project sheds light on the subtleties of a story often told in black-and-white terms. He explains that growth is sporadic and disjointed, and notes that the politics of those pockets of settlement with the highest birth rates are more pragmatic than some might assume.

It’s an argument he made consistently as a senior adviser on former secretary of state John Kerry’s Mideast peace team, during its push for peace talks in 2013 and 2014. That push ended in failure. But in the process, the “Makovsky maps” became known to Israeli officials – maps that have now been made public through the Washington think tank.
Leading Democratic senators to Netanyahu: Don’t raze Palestinian Sussiya
Senators Dianne Feinstein and Bernie Sanders were the top signatories.

The US senators said they have been following the fate of these two villages.

“Earlier this year, we were alarmed by the public comments of Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, who said that work was being done to implement plans to evacuate the Palestinian villages of Sussiya in the South Hebron Hills and Khan al-Ahmar near Ma’aleh Adumin within a few months,” the senators wrote.

“Instead of forcibly evicting these communities, we encourage your government to fairly reevaluate Sussiya’s professionally-developed master plan and provide the residents of Khan al-Ahmar equal building rights.

“Your government’s threats to demolish these communities are particularly distressing in light of the Israeli Civil Administration decision to dramatically expand settlements throughout [Area C of] the West Bank,” they wrote.

“We have long championed a two-state solution as a just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Yet, your government’s efforts to forcibly evict entire Palestinian communities and expand settlements throughout the West Bank not only directly imperil a two state solution, but we believe also endanger Israel’s future as a Jewish democracy,” they said.

“We urge you to change course so that you do not foreclose the possibility of establishing two states for two peoples,” they wrote.

Other signatories to the letter included Senators Patrick Leahy, Richard J. Durbin, Tom Carper, Al Franken, Elizabeth Warren, Martin Heinrich, Jeffrey A. Merkley and Brian Schatz.

The left-wing US-based group J Street said it was proud to have supported and advocated for the letter.
Report: Trump to Recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital
President Donald Trump is planning to announce that the US officially recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Thursday.

According to the Israeli media outlet, Trump is also weighing the possibility of fulfilling his campaign pledge of moving the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Potential US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the relocation of the US embassy are reportedly motivated by domestic political considerations related to renewed pressure from Republicans and evangelical Christians regarding US policy towards the Jewish state.

The Yedioth Ahronoth report came just a day after the White House downplayed reports that Trump would announce the embassy’s relocation.

“This is a premature report. We have nothing to announce,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, AFP reported.
White House: Report on embassy move to Jerusalem 'premature'
The Trump administration dismissed an Israeli report Wednesday suggesting that the American president was on the verge of announcing the relocation of the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

"This is a premature report," White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee told reporters Wednesday. "We have nothing to announce."

Earlier Wednesday, the Israeli media reported that officials were convinced there was a "high likelihood" that U.S. President Donald Trump would recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and would begin the process of relocating the embassy by implementing the Jerusalem Embassy Act.

The act requires the State Department to move the embassy, but all the presidents faced with this decision have circumvented the requirement by issuing successive six-month waivers. The current waiver expires in early December.

Meanwhile, Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz met Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt in Washington on Wednesday. He later tweeted a picture alongside Greenblatt with the caption: "Another important meeting today with @jdgreenblatt45 in the White House. We discussed foreign affairs and security issues and how to enhance the regional initiatives that I am promoting."
Likud ministers hope Trump will soon move embassy to Jerusalem
Two Israeli cabinet ministers said Thursday that they hoped US President Donald Trump was about to move his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as a decision deadline neared.

The issue is deeply controversial.

Shifting the building could be seen as a de facto recognition of Israel’s claim over the whole city, including predominantly Palestinian East Jerusalem.

Foreign countries, including the United States, currently have their embassies in the Israeli commercial capital Tel Aviv since they do not recognize Israel’s unilateral claim of control over all of Jerusalem.

“I hope that an absurd situation will end,” Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party told Israel Radio.

He argued that when US presidents came to Israel, they went to Jerusalem and not Tel Aviv.
Jordanian king warns US against moving embassy to Jerusalem
Moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would threaten the prospects for peace, the Jordanian king told US decision-makers on Wednesday.

Emphasizing that there is no alternative to the two-state solution, King Abdullah II said in Washington that it was important no measures be taken to undermine US efforts to kickstart peace talks, the Jordan Times reported.

On Tuesday, US Vice President Mike Pence said US President Donald Trump was “actively considering” moving the embassy to Jerusalem, evoking a campaign promise that the administration had sidelined.

On Wednesday, Hadashot television news reported that in Israel, “there is a very high expectation” that Trump will declare that he “formally recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and instructing his team to actively prepare to move the embassy.” The report said the declaration was expected within days, possibly as soon as Sunday.

The White House said the TV report was premature, and there was no official confirmation of the claim from Israel or the US.
Michael Curtis: Saudi and Israel: A beautiful friendship in the making?
I've been convinced after thinking it through that the best thing for Saudi Arabia would be Israel. The figures on the chessboard of politics are forever changing with regard to each other.

It is an agreable surprise, for example, that for the first time ever a young Jewish woman is competing in the contest to become Miss Germany. More significantly, a changing Middle East based on mutual interests was illustrated in a New York synagogue where Efraim Halevy, former head of the Israeli Mossad, met Egyptian Prince Turki bin Faisal al Saud, long time head of the Saudi Arabian intelligence ageny.

Another encounter was in a synagogue in Paris, visited in November 2017 by two former Saudi officials, a minister for justice, and a minister for education.

It is exactly 40 years since the historic visit of President Anwar Sadat to Jerusalem paved the way to the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. The time is now ripe for a closer relationship, an open diplomatic one, between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Saudi Arabia cannot yet be considered an open society, but things are changing, with a certain amount of discussion allowed in social media, more openness for concerts and performances, and a new dynamic and bold leader, the 32 year old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, appointed to the rank in June 2017.

The Crown Prince, a young man in a hurry and somewhat impulsive, has already acted to exert control over the country, and has been consolidating and centralizing power since his appointment.

He has replaced the former Crown Prince, his older cousin Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who as interior minister was in control of security arrangements. He also removed Prince Mitreb bin Abdullah as head of the national guard, the internal police force.
Head of British Armed Forces Arrives in Israel as Guest of IDF Chief
The head of the British Armed Forces, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, arrived in Israel Thursday for an official visit as the guest of IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot.

Peach was greeted with an honor guard ceremony upon his arrival at Tel Aviv’s Kirya Military Headquarters.

The IDF hailed Peach’s visit to the Jewish state as illustrating “the strength of strategic ties between the two armies and states.”

Peach and Eizenkot are scheduled to discuss joint security challenges and opportunities for increasing military cooperation between their countries.

In September, Peach was elected as the next chairman of the NATO Military Committee. His visit to Israel came after representatives from 12 NATO countries, including the UK, visited Israel in early November to take part in a first-of-its-kind conference on the challenges of urban warfare and combat in populated areas.

Peach’s Israel visit also came after rescue teams from the British Army’s naval and air forces concluded a three-day joint emergency drill with their Israeli counterparts in July. The drill was the largest such exercise conducted in a decade.
Netanyahu to tell EU next month: Tell your people what Israel provides
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to tell the 28 EU foreign ministers in Brussels next month that they should ask their people whether they want all that Israel has to offer – anti-terrorism expertise and technology – or Ramallah.

Netanyahu, who over the last year has raised with every visiting EU foreign minister his desire to address all 28 ministers at one of their monthly meetings, received a formal invitation on Tuesday to do just that.

According to a senior diplomatic official, Netanyahu is expected to tell the European leaders that their obsessive focus on the settlements is “ridiculous;” remind them that the Arab-Israeli conflict predated the settlements by 50 years; and say that 85% of the settlements are in the settlement blocs that “everyone knows will be part of Israel.”

In addition, the official said, Netanyahu will say, “We in Israel are the future. We will bring you water, technology and security against terrorists. We have blocked 30 to 40 major attacks in Europe. You ask your people whether they would rather have that or Ramallah.”

Although these are messages that Netanyahu has repeated numerous times, the official said the statements will have a greater impact when said directly at the heart of the EU in Brussels.
Largest-ever delegation of African parliamentary speakers head to Knesset
Seven parliamentary speakers from African countries, the largest-ever delegation of such officials to Israel, are set to visit the Knesset next Tuesday.

The legislature has never hosted more than two parliamentary leaders at once, but next week’s visit will include Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein’s counterparts from Rwanda, Uganda, Ghana, Tanzania, Seychelles and South Sudan.

Speaker of the Rwandan Chamber of Deputies Rt. Hon. Donatille Mukabalisa, who heads the only legislature in the world that has more female than male members, will give a speech on female empowerment and gender equality, in a parley with Knesset Subcommittee to Combat Prostitution and Human Trafficking chairwoman Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid).

In addition, the delegation will hold discussions with MKs from all of the House’s factions on topics including shared security challenges between Africa and Israel, led by Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avi Dichter, a former Shin Bet chief. Knesset Director-General Albert Sachaorvitch will talk about making the Knesset accessible for the disabled, and the Knesset’s sustainability projects.
'The Palestinians chose to say yes to Hamas'
Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, on Wednesday addressed the UN General Assembly as part of a special session marking 70 years since the adoption of UN Resolution 181 which passed the General Assembly on November 29th 1947.

The session is used annually by Israel’s adversaries in the UN to pass a series of biased resolutions.

Responding to the Palestinian-initiated session, Ambassador Danon said, “Today we mark the anniversary of the United Nations vote in 1947. For Israel it was a moment that turned an age-old dream of self-determination into a real-life miracle. For the Palestinians it resulted in a choice to turn towards violence and lasting hatred.”

Danon then noted that the choices by the Palestinian leadership to avoid meaningful negotiations with Israel continue until today.
Hypocrisy of Israel's enemies caught on camera @U.N., NYC, 11/14/17

Israel says it stopped selling weapons to Myanmar months ago
The Foreign Ministry stated categorically on Thursday that it was no longer selling weapons to Myanmar, which has been accused of ethnic cleansing, amid an international outcry against the arms sales.

While admitting it had sold weapons to Myanmar in the past, the ministry said it had frozen all military sales several months ago.

The statement referred only to weapons sales, but made no mention of other security-related products, like surveillance technology or military training services.

The ministry statement came after it summoned Myanmar Ambassador to Israel U Maung Maung Lynn for a dressing-down, after which he apologized for an interview he gave to Army Radio Thursday morning in which he said that Israel was still selling weapons to his country.

In the interview, Maung Lynn said that Israel put no restrictions on how the weaponry and military technology could be used. Under Israeli law, the end use of defense exports is supposed to be an issue of consideration.
Mortar barrage fired at IDF on Gaza border, in retaliation for destroyed tunnel
At least 10 mortar shells were fired from the Gaza Strip at nearby Israeli troops, and in response Israeli tanks and aircraft targeted two Hamas and two Palestinian Islamic Jihad positions in northern Gaza on Thursday afternoon, the army said.

There were no Israeli injuries reported and minimal damage caused to military equipment at the army post that was targeted by the mortar barrage, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

The exchange came exactly one month after Israeli forces destroyed a cross-border attack tunnel belonging to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, in which at least 14 terrorists were killed, including two of the terrorist organization’s top commanders.

IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said the mortar barrage appeared to be retaliation for the demolition of the tunnel, which stretched from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory, near Kibbutz Kissufim.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad had vowed it would avenge its operatives killed in the Israeli demolition.
IDF carries out fresh Gaza airstrikes, but says not looking for escalation
The Israeli Air Force conducted fresh strikes on two Palestinian Islamic Jihad positions in the central Gaza Strip, in response to a mortar attack by the terror group against an IDF post earlier in the day, the army said.

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, three Gazans were lightly wounded in the Israeli bombing.

The additional airstrikes came even as the Israel Defense Forces said it was not looking to escalate the security situation in the Gaza and would only conduct further attacks in response to aggression by the terror group.

At approximately 2 p.m., operatives from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad launched 10 to 12 mortar shells at an Israeli military post northeast of the Gaza Strip. The attack appeared to be retaliation for the army demolishing the group’s attack tunnel, which stretched from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory, exactly a month ago, according to IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus.

The army said no soldiers were injured in the barrage, but some light damage was caused to equipment.
Israeli hikers attacked in Samaria; Palestinian shot dead
A Jewish hiker shot and killed a Palestinian in a grave incident on Thursday, as the shooter accompanied a group of children on a hike in Samaria marking one of the hikers' bar mitzvah celebration.

A large number of Palestinians surrounded the group of hikers, approaching them and throwing rocks. Three boys sustained minor injuries in the altercation.

A parent of one of the hikers, who accompanied the group and was carrying a weapon for safety reasons, felt threatened and fired. One of the Palestinian assailants was critically wounded in the incident, and was ultimately declared dead after failed resuscitation efforts.

The children fled to a nearby cave and waited to be rescued by Israeli security forces. When the troops arrived, they administered first aid to the wounded and dispersed the Palestinians. Finally, the hikers were rescued and evacuated.

"The hike was coordinated with the Samaria Brigade in advance," said one area official. "It was approved by security forces on the terms that two parents accompanied the group and were armed. The moment they were surrounded by Palestinians, they quickly called for help, but before the forces arrived they felt they were in mortal danger and one of the guards had to fire warning shots, followed by fire at the aggressors."
'They surrounded the cave and threw rocks at us'
More than two dozen Jewish school children hiking in Samaria Thursday and assaulted in a lynch attempt by local Arabs were forced to hide in a cave, as the mob surrounded the entrance to the cave, spraying pepper spray and hurling rocks at the group of terrified hikers.

After an hour and a half, IDF units in Samaria rescued the group. Three of the hikers suffered injuries as a result of the stones thrown and pepper spray they inhaled while hiding in the cave.

One of the youths present during in Samaria Thursday recalled the events in an interview with Arutz Sheva.

“We left Migdalim and as we were walking along the face of a cliff, they began to throw rocks at us,” he said.

“We ran into a nearby cave so they wouldn’t hit us. We were there for a while - and then Arabs came from all directions and surrounded [the entrance to the cave].”

While the hikers were holed up in the cave, the Arab attackers tried to force them out, flooding the entrance with pepper spray and tear gas, and hurling rocks and other objects in the hopes of hitting the children.

“They hurled rocks at us, sticks, sprayed pepper spray,” he said.
Abbas demands international protection for Palestinians after West Bank shooting
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called on Thursday for “immediate international protection” after a Palestinian was shot dead by an Israeli in the West Bank.

The Israeli army said the shooter was defending a group of young hikers from Palestinians who threw stones at them.

A statement from Abbas’s office said the shooting was “conclusive proof for the whole world of the level of the ugliness of crimes carried out by settlers against the innocent Palestinian people.”

According to the Israel Defense Forces, a group of Israeli settlers, mostly children, came under attack during a hike near the Palestinian village of Qusra in the northern West Bank on Thursday, prompting their armed escort to fire into the crowd of Palestinians who were throwing stones at them, killing 48-year-old Mahmoud Za’al Odeh.
Italian bike race organizers apologize for ‘West Jerusalem’ wording
Following an outcry from Israeli ministers, the organizers of the prestigious Giro d’Italia cycling event on Thursday apologized for referring to the start of the race as being in “West Jerusalem,” and said they had removed the term from all official materials.

The first day of the 101st edition of the Italian race, set for May 4, 2018, will take place in Jerusalem, the first time the race starts outside of Europe, in a major coup for Israel.

Ministers on Wednesday threatened to drop their partnership in the first stage of the Giro d’Italia if the wording was not altered.

“RCS Sport would like to clarify that the start of the Giro d’Italia 2018 will take place from the city of Jerusalem,” the organizers said in a statement on their website. “During the Presentation of the 2018 race course, technical material containing the wording “West Jerusalem” was used, due to the fact that the race will take place logistically in that area of the city. That particular wording, devoid of any political value, has been removed from any material related to the Giro d’Italia.”

Sports Minister Miri Regev and Tourism Minister Yariv Levin welcomed the change.

“Following our response to the Giro management, we are pleased to see the prompt reaction of the organizers in removing the name ‘west Jerusalem’ from their official announcements,” they said in a joint statement.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Arab Towns Demand Police Presence, Call Police Presence Provocative (satire)
Leaders of the Arab sector in Israel criticized the police again today for what they call a negligent attitude toward Arab-on-Arab violence, asserting that a greater show of law enforcement would deter crime, and that the police had better not make an appearance in their towns, since such a symbol of Jewish sovereignty will lead to violence.

Politicians and prominent community members spoke to journalists this afternoon following another bloody span of days in which gunfire by Arab Israelis claimed the lives of others Arab Israelis, and called on the police to take measures to combat spiraling Arab-against-Arab crime. They also threatened that if the police assert their authority in Arab towns that will spark riots, as the move will be perceived as the latest attempt by the Jewish majority to assert dominance over the Arab minority and a challenge to Arab honor that cannot go unanswered.

“We demand police action,” states Umm El-Fahm Mayor Khaled Aghbariyya. “There are far too many firearms circulating in the Arab sector, and the police have done nothing at all about it. It’s true, we Arabs have some cultural factors that exacerbate the problem, but effective enforcement of gun laws is the domain of the police. And this place will positively convulse with violence the moment the police show their faces, so they better stay away.”
Israel Eases Restrictions on U.S.-Bound Gazan Travelers, and Two Disappear
Israel on Wednesday launched a program to provide shuttle service for Gazans who need to travel to the US Consulate in Jerusalem — an operation that could ease one of the many restrictions it places on Palestinians who want to exit the blockaded territory.

Israel allows only a small number of Gazans to travel through Israel, mostly for medical care or other humanitarian grounds. It cites security considerations for the tight restrictions.

In recent months, it has barred Gazans from entering Israel for visa interviews at the US Consulate after some applicants fled into hiding in Israel or the West Bank to seek work. The restrictions have prevented several hundred people from applying at the consulate for visas to travel or study in the US.

About 100 Palestinians were allowed Wednesday to cross into Israel and board two buses bound for Jerusalem. They were accompanied by officials from the Palestinian Civil Affairs Committee, an office that coordinates cross-border movement with the Israelis.
JCPA: Is Reconciliation between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority Possible?
Abbas sent his officials to Gaza to take their places in the government offices, but Hamas officials refused to let them enter. Ramallah’s interior minister also tried to enter his office in Gaza with senior officials, but he too was rebuffed. It turns out that Hamas’ shadow government – “the committee” – is continuing to function despite the fact that Hamas announced its dismantlement.

Abbas insists on a full deployment of Palestinian security forces in Gaza. But Majid Freij, head of the Palestinian General Intelligence, told Abbas that he could not send his people into Gaza because they will be unable to defend themselves against Hamas and Salafi forces.

The Egyptians accept Hamas’ insistence that security in Gaza must be managed jointly and exclusively by Gazans from two organizations, Fatah-Gaza and Hamas. The person representing Abbas in the talks, Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Abu Amr, is also a Gazan.

Even if the reconciliation fails again, there remains one notion that Egypt and Hamas support and that Abbas and the United States oppose, but not firmly enough – namely, that the reconciliation can go through even if Hamas does not disarm. Hamas is trying to make the point that at this stage the “weapons of the resistance” cannot be touched. Israel must continue to warn against the dangerous idea of a “reconciliation lite,” which is likely to return to the table if the sides still want to promote the reconciliation.
Palestinians agree to delay Gaza handover as unity deal founders
Rival Palestinian factions agreed Wednesday to postpone the handover of control over Gaza from Hamas to Fatah, less than 48 hours before a deadline as part of an Egyptian-brokered reconciliation deal.

The announcement came at the last minute as the landmark Palestinian unity deal faltered dangerously, with Fatah and Hamas accusing each other of not respecting the accord.

“Hamas and Fatah are asking Egypt to postpone the transfer of the government roles from December 1 to December 10 in order to finalize arrangements to ensure the completion of national reconciliation steps,” said a statement from Hamas, the Islamist terror group that rules the Gaza Strip.

Fayez Abu Eita, a spokesman for Fatah in Gaza, said the same in remarks after the factions met in Gaza City, noting it was in the interest of “achieving the goals of our people, achieving reconciliation and ending the division.”
Egyptian TV Host Says Jihadi Attacks On Churches Are ‘OK,’ But Not On Mosques
An Egyptian TV host went off script Friday, saying that it was justifiable for jihadis to attack churches, but not for them to attack mosques.

The Sada al-Balad Media Group quickly suspended host Rasha Magdi after her remarks, which she made in reference to the recent Sinai mosque attack in which ISIS militants killed 305 people, according to Egypt Independent. Magdi claimed that it was understandable for jihadists to attack Christians since jihadists view them as enemies of Islam and was therefore mutual violence, but that a jihadist attack on a mosque was an attack on their own.

“We saw attacks by terrorists on the police and army, and we said this is mutual violence. These extremist groups have attacked churches and we said that they think it is a [different] religion, not Islam, and it is hostile to them, and then we said it is okay, but how [can these groups attack] Muslims,” Magdi said according to Egypt Independent.

Magdi has a history of expressing sympathy for Islamic terrorist attacks against Christians, and has had several lawsuits filed against her alleging that she incited hate against Coptic Christians, particularly with her comments on the 2011 Maspero massacre in which the Egyptian army killed over 25 Coptic Christians.
Russia negotiates deal for its warplanes to use Egypt bases
The Russian prime minister has approved a draft agreement with Egypt that would allow Russian warplanes to use Egyptian air bases — a deal that would permit Moscow to increase its foothold in North Africa and the Middle East.

A directive signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev that was published on the official legal portal on Thursday endorsed the draft prepared by Russia’s Defense Ministry and instructed it to sign the deal with Egypt when it is ready.

The Russia-Egypt agreement would allow each country’s warplanes to use the military airstrips of the other. It is to last for five years and could be extended further.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi’s government has expanded military ties with Russia and signed deals to buy Russian fighter jets, helicopters and other weapons.
Syrian military used banned cluster bombs in besieged area — Amnesty
Amnesty International said on Thursday that the Syrian government has used internationally banned cluster munitions in attacks on the besieged rebel-held suburb of Damascus, accusing it of committing war crimes on “an epic scale.”

Eastern Ghouta, a rebel-held suburb northeast of the Syrian capital, has been under a tightening siege since 2013 and is already facing a humanitarian crisis, including the highest recorded malnutrition rate since the conflict began in 2011.

Some 400,000 civilians, half of them children, are believed trapped there.

Based on interviews with activists in eastern Ghouta and verification of open source videos and photographs, Amnesty said at least ten civilians were killed in November because of the government’s use of the banned Soviet-made cluster munitions.

The indiscriminate weapons, banned in over 100 countries, gravely endanger civilians because of their indiscriminate nature, Amnesty said.
North Korea Ships Chemical Weapons to Syria: Nukes Next?
Syria could, of course, also acquire nuclear weapons from North Korea. Syria already possesses ballistic missiles; the chemical weapons are already there.

Syrian forces have used these chemical weapons against rebel forces and civilians; the main delivery systems for chemical warheads have been artillery rockets, ballistic missiles and aerial bombs.

Syria's chemical weapons stockpile still exists, despite the country acceding to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in 2013. Syria's agreement to the CWC is most likely why it has been seeking chemical weapons clandestinely.

Although Syria is also a party to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT), it could just as easily clandestinely acquire nuclear weapons from the black market rather than build nuclear program that would be easily detectable by satellites.

To add to this, Russia has vetoed renewing the mandate of the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) due to have expired in November 2017. The JIM, a mechanism of the United Nations and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons under UN Resolution 2235, set up in the year 2015, aimed at determining the perpetrators of chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

In the past, North Korea has shipped ballistic missiles to Hezbollah and Hamas via Syria; they will probably continue to do so, and to terrorist organizations as well.
TV host’s call for Israeli teams to compete in Saudi Arabia sparks fury
A Saudi Arabian TV host sparked fury this week when he called for Israeli teams to be allowed to compete in sports tournaments.

Waleed Al-Faraj spoke out after it emerged that seven Israeli chess players have submitted visa requests to play in a tournament in Riyadh next month.

The move has split the top of the Israeli chess world with the country’s three highest-ranked players boycotting the event.

Grandmasters from Iran and Qatar are also expected to be excluded from the event.

Speaking on MBC Action’s channel, Al-Faraj said it was time for Saudi Arabia to throw open its sports competitions to everyone, whatever their country of origin.

He said: ‘You need to get it out of your head to prevent anyone from entry, and try to adapt to the next stage and receive everyone and welcome all people. And when a disaster happens we can’t discriminate against all people just because they are from a particular state or religion’.

MBC is the Arab World’s most popular TV channel and the program Al-Faraj presents, called Action League, is a hit with male millennials. (h/t Zvi)

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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