Tuesday, January 23, 2018

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: Jordan’s King Abdullah Disrespects America — Because He Can
So long as majorities reject the values of liberal democracies generally, and hate the U.S. specifically, there is little chance of America leading a democratization movement that will result in anything positive. Minority regimes may make unreliable allies. But popularly elected regimes that embrace bigotry and reject the U.S. and democratic values will reliably be enemies.

In Abdullah’s case, while his dependence on the U.S. ensures his loyalty, his regime is inherently weak because he lacks popular support. To avoid widespread unrest, Abdullah proclaims and occasionally adopts extremist positions against Israel and the US and in favor of terrorists.

Abdullah benefits twice from his hostile policies. On the one hand, he keeps his opponents at bay by satisfying their anti-Americanism and hatred of Israel. On the other hand, by encouraging the public to hate America and Israel, he makes it less likely that any pro-American alternatives to his regime will emerge that could reduce U.S. and Israeli dependence on him personally.

To modify his behavior, the U.S. can and should demand that Abdullah bar anti-American and antisemitic incitement in his state-owned media. He should be required to extradite Tamimi to the U.S. and run programming explaining why she is a terrorist, not a hero.

Such steps can begin to move back the dial of anti-Americanism and antisemitism in Jordan, if only minimally.

Over time, such basic steps may diminish Abdullah’s perceived need to buy off the mob at his gates with pro-terror policies and reduce America’s need to accept his double-dealing, as Pence was forced to do on Sunday in Amman.

PMW: Abbas: "Israel is exporting drugs to the Palestinians in frightening amounts"
In his recent speech to the PLO Central Council, PA Chairman Abbas repeated the PA libel that Israel floods Palestinian society with drugs deliberately to ruin the young generation:

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas: "We have a plan to fight the drugs. Israel is exporting drugs to us in frightening amounts. We need to pay attention in order to defend our young generation and defend it from the drugs."
[Official PA TV, Jan. 14, 2018]

Palestinian Media Watch has reported that a host on official PA TV and the Palestinian Coordinator of the Project of the War on Drugs in Jerusalem accused Israel of being responsible for Palestinian drug problems:

PA TV host: "Jerusalem is probably the Palestinian district that suffers the most from drugs, [because] the occupation mainly targets young age groups in Jerusalem..."
Coordinator of the Project of the War on Drugs in Jerusalem, Issam Jweihan: "A war is being waged [by Israel] against Jerusalem. This is an unconventional war in which unconventional weapons are being used. The goal of the war is clear - to Judaize the city and empty it of its [Arab] residents. They are using unconventional weapons. The weapon that brings the best results for the Israelis is drugs."
[Official PA TV, Palestine This Morning, June 21, 2017]

Fatah official: Trump stole from Arab nation, gave keys to Jerusalem holy sites to the Jews

Fatah official: Israel is “a racist and fascist occupation... a distorted model, even for the Nazis”

A shining speech in Jerusalem – the city upon the hill
In the friendliest speech ever made by a foreign dignitary at the Knesset, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Monday reiterated for anyone who may have forgotten that Israel is right when it comes to the conflict with the Palestinians, Iran, and the world. And perhaps most importantly, that Israel is on the right side of history. It's no wonder that Israel's elected officials (with the exception of the Joint Arab List) continued to applaud him for several minutes. It seemed like no Israeli MK could have written a better speech.

I sat in the Knesset yesterday and saw a modest American vice president who had a clear message for the Middle East: The rules have changed. Under the leadership of U.S. President Donald Trump, the U.S. will operate based on the values it shares with Israel and will not grant veto power to destabilizing players that issue threats – not on matters of peace and not on matters of war.

Pence's simple, courageous words came as no surprise to me. I met the vice president before he was sworn in. Unlike others, who wanted to serve as Trump's second-in-command to improve their own status, Pence truly believed that he and the president complemented one another. The result was evident in the administration's early months.

Pence is a vice president who understands. The superpower he represents is always wise enough to stand on the right side of history, just like the host nation – Israel. Pence's speech was not evangelistic or messianic. It was a speech given by a vice president who sees America's religious and historical objectives as an integral part of the administration's policies.

If there was anyone in the Knesset plenum who understands America better than the rest, it was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In his own speech, Netanyahu addressed Pence directly, in English, and told him that the American recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel would be remembered by Israelis as a watershed moment in our history.
Pence visits Western Wall, says it’s a ‘great honor’
US Vice President Mike Pence visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem on Tuesday, wrapping up a two-day visit to Israel, amid an escalating dispute with the Palestinians over the status of the city.

Pence, whose visit to the Western Wall lasted all of 10 minutes, read a short prayer from the Book of Psalms, placed a note in the Wall, and lay his hand upon the ancient stones. He then signed the Wall’s guestbook before heading out.

“It is my great honor to pray here at this sacred place. God bless the Jewish people and God bless the State of Israel always,” he wrote.

The site — the holiest place where Jews can pray — is in the Old City, annexed by Israel after the 1967 Six Day War, but considered by most of the international community to be occupied Palestinian territory

Pence was met by Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, the rabbi of the site, who told him of a visit to the Wall 147 years ago by Abraham Lincoln’s secretary of state, William H. Seward, who praised the “exalted” prayer he witnessed there.

“The light of Jerusalem is a light of love, of care for the world, of peace,” said Rabinovitch. “For 2,000 years Jerusalem was tossed from hand to hand, and only now, when it has been returned to its people, can worshipers of all peoples and all faiths come to Western Wall and pray there.”
Remarks by Vice President Mike Pence in the Knesset
  • Through the generations, the American people became fierce advocates of the Jewish people's aspiration to return to the land of your forefathers.
  • Jerusalem is Israel's capital - and, as such, President Trump has directed the State Department to immediately begin preparations to move the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In the weeks ahead, our administration will advance its plan to open the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem - and that United States embassy will open before the end of next year.
  • In announcing his decision on Jerusalem, the President also called, in his words, "on all parties to maintain the status quo at Jerusalem's holy sites, including at the Temple Mount, also known as the Haram al-Sharif." And he made it clear that we're not taking a position on any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem or the resolution of contested borders.
  • President Trump reaffirmed that, if both sides agree, the United States of America will support a two-state solution.
  • The United States appreciates your government's declared willingness to resume direct peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. We strongly urge the Palestinian leadership to return to the table.
  • The United States will continue to work with Israel, and with nations across the world, to confront the leading state sponsor of terror - the Islamic Republic of Iran.
  • Two-and-a-half years ago, the previous administration in America signed a deal with Iran that merely delays the day when that regime can acquire a nuclear weapon. The Iran nuclear deal is a disaster, and the United States of America will no longer certify this ill-conceived agreement. At President Trump's direction, we're working to enact effective and lasting restraints on Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
  • Unless the Iran nuclear deal is fixed, President Trump has said the United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal immediately.

Rivlin welcomes Pence to Jerusalem, calls him a 'mensch'
In his opening remarks to US Vice President Mike Pence, President Reuven Rivlin, who does not actually speak Yiddish, used one of the most complimentary Yiddish words that can be bestowed on another person, calling the vice president “a mensch” – meaning “a person of integrity.”

He used this epithet when the two sat down on Tuesday to make statements in the presence of their respective entourages and the media.

And the president didn’t stop there. Rivlin also called Pence “a dear friend of the Jewish people and the State of Israel” and told Pence that, as a seventh generation Jerusalemite, he had deeply appreciated the vice president’s reaffirmation of America’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Rivlin also said that he had no doubt that Pence’s declaration, that the US Embassy would be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by the end of 2019, was essentially a done deal. Pence has always been a person who stood by his word, said Rivlin.

Rivlin saw this move as a gift for Israel’s 70th anniversary.

Pence said that US President Donald Trump’s decision regarding Jerusalem was “the clearest sign yet of the unwavering commitment of the United States of America to Israel” and that “under President Trump’s leadership we are committed to make it stronger still.”
NBC's Andrea Mitchell Takes Heat for Inaccurate Knesset Tweet
After NBC anchor Andrea Mitchell posted an inaccurate and inflammatory comment on Twitter about the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, she was quickly corrected by Israeli journalists.

In her Monday morning tweet, Mitchell asserted that “the 13 Israel-Arab members” of parliament were removed from the Knesset floor after a disruption, and suggested this should be seen through the lense of American racism:

Lahav Harkov, Knesset reporter for the Jerusalem Post, responded:
Indeed, a page on the Knesset website lists 18 current Arab MKs: Talab Abu Arar, Saeed Alkharumi, Hamad Amar, Youssef Atauna, Joumah Azbarga, Zouheir Bahloul, Esawi Frej, Masud Ganaim, Abd Al Hakeem Haj Yahya, Akram Hasoon, Yousef Jabareen, Ayoob Kara, Ayman Odeh, Saleh Saad, Ahmad Tibi, Aida Touma-Sliman, Jamal Zahalka, and Hanin Zoabi.

Responding to the reference to black members of congress, political analyst Omri Ceren noted that this isn’t quite as unimaginable as Mitchell wanted her readers to think:

'Arab MKs only care about the made-up Palestinian people'
Deputy Defense Minister Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan (Jewish Home) arrived Monday at the Ramada Hotel in Jerusalem, where elections for the Jewish Home Party Center and branch councils throughout the country were held.

Ben Dahan said that the vote "is a celebration of democracy. It shows how the Jewish Home is a vibrant, fresh party, with elections for the branches and the central committee.”

Rabbi Ben Dahan attacked the protest held by Arab MKs during US VP Mike Pence’s speech at the Knesset.

"There is no doubt that the Arab MKs have crossed every boundary. Instead of worrying about the Arab minority in the State of Israel, they represent the Palestinian people, an invented people that does not exist, that has no foundations, and they only about care about this."

“They proved how ridiculous and not serious they are.”
IsraellyCool: Saeb Erekat Continues to Serve Up Comedy Gold
You have to hand it to Chief Palestinian Propagandist Saeb Erekat. Even by palestinian standards, his level of chutzpah is stratospheric.

And his quotes more often than not read like something from The Onion. Like this one from yesterday:
Pence’s speech “is a gift to the extremists and proves that the American administration is part of the problem rather than the solution,” Xinhua quoted Saeb Erekat, Secretary General of the Executive Committee of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), as saying.

By extremists, I assume Erekat means Israelis who loved his speech (which would have been most, I would imagine) and not, say, these moderates who reacted moderately ahead of the Pence visit
Hamas praises Arab MKs' protest against Pence
The Hamas terrorist group on Monday evening expressed support for the MKs of the Joint List who protested U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s speech in the Knesset.

"Hamas praises the role of the Palestinian members of the occupying Israeli Knesset in the resistance against the racist speech of Mike Pence against Jerusalem," the organization said.

"Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Palestine," added Hamas.

The MKs, who had earlier vowed to boycott Pence’s address, attempted to hold a protest in the Knesset Monday against the Trump administration, with some holding placards reading “Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine”.

The protest, which was held in violation of Knesset regulations, was quickly broken up by Knesset officials, who escorted the MKs involved out of the chamber.
While PM cements US support, Abbas fails to recruit EU as new peace broker
Monday was a significant day in the annals of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But rather than the conventional quarrels we have grown accustomed to, both violent and rhetoric, this day saw the two sides engage in what could be called a proxy diplomatic war.

Even though it currently appears distant, Israeli and Palestinian leaders know that sooner or later there will be another chapter in the peace process saga, and on Monday, they were battling over who would be in charge. The Israelis were working hard to secure a good starting position for when negotiations will resume, while the Palestinians were trying to organize a new sponsor of talks.

At the end of a long day, it appeared that Israel had won this round.

Due to the White House’s December 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the Palestinians no longer accept the US administration as honest brokers. Israel, however, remains adamant that the US is the only party that it can imagine presiding over peace talks, and is working hard to endear itself to the administration.

On Monday, Ramallah and Jerusalem sought to advance their positions with their respective patrons: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hosted US Vice President Mike Pence in Jerusalem, showering him with great honor and affection in a bid to cement Washington’s pro-Israel disposition. At the same time, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was in Brussels trying to woo the European Union, in the hope it would volunteer to replace Washington as the main sponsor of the peace process.

“The EU should play a political role in this Middle East peace process in order to reach a just solution on the basis of internationally recognized terms and decisions,” Abbas said, standing next to the union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini.

His comments came at about the same time as Pence, speaking from the Knesset podium, vowed to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem before the end of 2019.
Pence: Timing of Trump peace plan depends on Palestinians
US Vice President Mike Pence said on Tuesday the timing of a long-awaited US Middle East peace initiative depended on the return of Palestinians to negotiations.

President Donald Trump's advisers have been working on the outlines of a plan for some time. But Palestinians ruled out Washington as a peace broker after the US president's December 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"The White House has been working with our partners in the region to see if we can develop a framework for peace," Pence told Reuters in an interview in Jerusalem on the last leg of his three-day Middle East trip. "It all just depends now on when the Palestinians are going to come back to the table."

Trump's Jerusalem move angered the Palestinians, sparked protests in the Middle East and raised concern among Western countries that it could further destabilize the region. Palestinians see east Jerusalem as capital of a future state.

A White House official told reporters his hope was that the plan would be unveiled in 2018, but he declined to commit to a timeline, saying both sides had to be ready for it.
Don’t Blame Trump for Abbas Rejecting Peace
That disconnect between hope and reality has set up a vicious cycle in which negotiations are always undone by the reality of Palestinian politics. While Palestinian rejectionism has been a constant since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, there have been two moments when their actions were so unambiguous that it exposed the peace process as a sham.

One was in 2000, when, after then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak went to Camp David and offered the Palestinians an independent state in almost all of the West Bank, Gaza and a share of Jerusalem. Arafat said no. Within weeks, he began a terrorist war of attrition known as the Second Intifada that took the lives of more than a thousand Israelis and many more Palestinians.

That war created a broad consensus in Israel in which the vast majority of Israelis came to understand that the Palestinians aren’t ready to make peace. But some hoped Arafat’s successor would be different. Abbas disappointed those hopes with rejections of more peace offers, refusals to negotiate and inflammatory rhetoric that set off new rounds of violence, such as his assertion that “stinking Jewish feet” should not pollute the holy sites of Jerusalem. Yet still the peace camp clung to him, and President Barack Obama praised him as a champion of peace.

But no rational person could hear Abbas’s January 14 diatribe and still believe he has any interest in two states or coexistence. His complaints were not so much about the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as they were about the entire Zionist project. He denounced Trump but made it clear his real problem was with Arthur James Balfour and the origins of Jewish statehood as well as in denying the historical ties between the Jewish people and their ancient homeland. He vowed to go on supporting terrorism and his violent words confirmed a commitment to incitement.

Yet rather than confront the truth about Abbas, many on the left prefer to blame Trump.
Putting Aside the Pious Lies about the Israel-Palestinian Conflict
In light of recent developments, including Mahmoud Abbas’s unusually frank speech to the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s leadership, Moshe Arens advocates jettisoning some frequently mouthed but clearly false assumptions about Israel’s situation, beginning with the idea that the U.S. should act as a neutral party in negotiations between Jerusalem and Ramallah.

The United States cannot be, and has never been, neutral in mediating the Israel-Palestinian conflict. It is the leader of the world’s democratic community of nations and cannot assume a neutral position between democratic Israel and the Palestinians, whether represented by an autocratic leadership that glorifies acts of terror or by Islamic fundamentalists who carry out acts of terror. . . .

In recent years the tectonic shifts in the Arab world, the lower price of oil, and the decreased importance attached to the Palestinian issue in much of the region, have essentially removed the main incentive the United States had in past years to stay involved in the conflict. . . .

Despite the conventional wisdom that the core issues—such as Jerusalem or the fate of Israeli settlements beyond the 1949 armistice lines—are the major stumbling blocks to an agreement, the issue for which there seems to be no solution in sight at the moment is making sure that any Israeli military withdrawal will not result in rockets being launched against Israel’s population centers from areas that are turned over to the Palestinians. . .

Does that mean that Israel is left with a choice between a state with a Palestinian majority or an apartheid state, as claimed by Israel’s left? This imaginary dilemma is based on a deterministic theory of history, which disregards all other possible alternatives in the years to come, and on questionable demographic predictions. What the left is really saying is this: better rockets on Tel Aviv than a continuation of Israeli military control over Judea and Samaria. There is little support in Israel for that view.
White House says no contact with Palestinians since Jerusalem recognition
Senior Trump administration officials have not spoken with Palestinian leaders since the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last month, a senior White House official said Tuesday.

The official also said the US is aiming to present its peace plan this year, but both sides needed to be willing to engage in talks, according to a Reuters report.

The official’s comments came as US Vice President Mike Pence visited Israel.

Since US President Donald Trump’s December 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has refused to engage in American-led peace talks, saying the US is not an honest broker.

He has also refused to meet with senior White House officials, including Pence, and cursed Trump in a speech earlier this month in which he called a peace plan being formulated by the US the “slap of the century.”
PA boycotting Trump team, but open to US role in multilateral peace bid
The Palestinians remain insistently opposed to having the United States as the sole sponsor of peace talks with Israel, but are now open to Washington taking a role within a multilateral framework to pave the way to a Palestinian state, a senior Palestinian official told The Times of Israel on Tuesday.

Following the US decision in December to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the Palestinian leadership declared that Washington could no longer fulfill the historic and central role in the peace process it has held for over two decades.

Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority has been boycotting US administration figures dealing with Mideast peace since US President Donald Trump’s December 6 declaration on Jerusalem, including refusing to meet US Vice President Mike Pence, who left the region Tuesday.

Instead, Abbas has been seeking a new international framework through which the Palestinians can win an independent state, traveling to Brussels this week to seek EU support for a new peace push.
Key European body to vote on condemning Trump’s Jerusalem recognition
The leading European human rights assembly on Tuesday was set to discuss a resolution that would condemn the American decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and call for an increased European role in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, an Israeli official told the Times of Israel.

The resolution, which will be voted on in the Council of Europe on Thursday, was advanced by the Palestinians, Israel’s Hadashot TV news reported Monday.

“The role of the USA as a serious broker in the peace process was undoubtedly undermined by the declaration of its President on Jerusalem,” the draft resolution states.

“Europe should increase its role in the peace process, alongside the USA,” it reads, adding that the US “should still have an important role to play based on a renewed attitude of neutrality in this process.”
After Jerusalem, UK’s Johnson says US should offer incentives to Palestinians
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on Monday said the world is waiting with “great interest” for the Trump administration’s peace plan, while calling on the US to offer incentives to the Palestinians “to get things moving.”

Speaking alongside Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Johnson sounded an upbeat note on peace prospects, despite the fallout from US President Donald Trump’s December 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“There is a moment of opportunity here. A process that has been stalled for years, if not decades, could see some progress,” he said.

Asked if Trump’s decision on Jerusalem was harmful to the peace process, Johnson said: “It’s possible that it could help to push things along if there is symmetrical movement in the other direction.”

Johnson called the American recognition of Jerusalem last month “premature.” UK Prime Minister Theresa May said it was “unhelpful,” stressing that the city’s status should be determined in negotiations between the sides.
'Abbas says one thing in English, another in Arabic
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein met with European Union Foreign Affairs High Representative Federica Mogherini Tuesday.

Edelstein described the meeting, which lasted 45 minutes, as cordial.

The Knesset Speaker asked Mogherini to respond to the two-hour anti-Semitic rant Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas gave last week.

"Abbas said that Israel is a colonial project and I would expect a strong reaction from the EU," Edelstein said.

He warned Mogherini not to be taken in by Abbas' pledges in the international arena to pursue peace, as the Palestinian Authority chairman says exactly the opposite when addressing his own people.

"We must pay attention to Abbas' 'doublespeak.' as he speaks one way in English and another in Arabic."
The Tragedy of Mahmoud Abbas
Similarly, many Palestinians have long viewed Abbas’s aversion to popular protests as a hindrance. Recent polls have found a clear majority of Palestinians support popular protests, like the ones in Jerusalem last summer where thousands took to the streets to protest Israel’s installation of metal detectors on the Temple Mount-al-Aqsa Mosque compound after a terror attack. At the time, Abbas repeatedly voiced his support for these protests; in his recent speech, he referenced the popular protests at least three times.

This is a marked shift from several years ago, when the Palestinian leadership feared that the ire animating wide-scale protests may be redirected back at them, challenging their rule. In recent years, protests against Palestinian Authority policies on things like teacher salaries and social-security payments have roiled Ramallah, to the point where Abbas’s forces have taken an increasingly heavy hand. Indeed, the change in his rhetoric is the chief reason why he won’t be able to usher in a new strategy—most people simply won’t believe his change in tone is genuine.

When Abbas does eventually leave the scene (on Sunday, he said that this may be “the last time you see me here”), his defining policy positions—a preference for negotiations adhering to the two-state solution formula, a laudable commitment to non-violence, and a resolute commitment to security coordination with Israel—could likely go with him. Whoever rises to follow him may well do so because of his contrast with Abbas, in the same way that Abbas took Arafat’s place after his death in 2004 on the promise of negotiations over open conflict.

This is the larger tragedy of Mahmoud Abbas. In him, the world saw a reformist, a leader who could get the Palestinians to the table and possibly clear the hurdle for the two-state solution. Instead, he has morphed into a bureaucratic tyrant at home, hostile to America and downright incendiary towards Israel. His rule has alienated his people, leaving them disillusioned and disenfranchised. He likely has inadvertently tipped the scales in favor of a more volatile successor. And that, to use his own words, may just result in the destruction of all that has been built.
More than just a leadership change
The Palestinian narrative has historically attempted to portray its society as victims of oppression. Whether falsely accusing Israel of having an apartheid regime, labeling Israeli tactics “indiscriminate targeting” or Palestinian terrorist attacks “freedom fighting,” the PLO managed to use empathy as a powerful tool to arrive at the negotiation table.

When the moment for Oslo came, the true conflict began. Up until 1993, the PLO had a clear mission: to liberate Palestine. When enough international and regional pressure was placed on Yasser Arafat to sign the Oslo agreements and recognize Israel’s right to exist, an existential threat to Palestinian identity arose.

Despite the character of the Palestinian leadership, the mediation process was doomed to fail the moment Oslo was introduced to both parties. Its lack of content regarding the issue of refugees, division of Jerusalem, and lack of land swaps failed to coerce the parties to understand that concessions needed to be made and not all demands could be met. It was a symbolic document which failed to address the critical issues surrounding the conflict.

In addition, it removed the historical and religious aspect of the conflict by attempting to engage it as a political debate. All these factors would seal the fate of Camp David before the parties arrived. Ultimately, mediation failed due to the identity crisis that continues to rattle Palestinian society to this day.
Abbas' antics undercut Palestinian cause
At every historical juncture in which the Palestinians were asked to make painful decisions, and certainly when asked to relinquish something they considered as guaranteed, they preferred to backtrack rather than move forward.

Trepidation over public opinion and fear of potential backlash from their domestic political rivals has time and again crippled Palestinian leaders' ability to make courageous decisions that could advance the peace process and Palestinian interests alike, even if it meant they would not get everything they wanted. The fear of being judged by the masses has always outweighed the fear of being judged by history.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is no exception. Thus, rather than welcoming U.S. Vice President Mike Pence to the region and engage in dialogue and negotiations with the Americans, he has chosen to abandon the fight and flee to Brussels, where the European Union is sure to give him a warmer welcome.

While the EU can offer Abbas pats on the back and words of encouragement, the United States remains the only one that can resuscitate the moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace process, especially if you consider that the only deal ever achieved between Israel and the Palestinians was brokered only after the Israeli government decided, of its own accord and sans any external pressure, to take that step.
Israel Accuses UN Rights Forum of Bias Over Palestinians
Israel accused the United Nations on Tuesday of continuous discrimination against it over its treatment of Palestinians and called for reforms of its human rights body.

The Human Rights Council’s regular examination of Israel’s record, the first since 2013, comes after US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem last month as the capital of the Jewish state.

Aviva Raz Shechter, Israel’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, told the Human Rights Council that her country had always stood up for human rights and democratic values.

“It has done so while facing serious threats to its security, and while needing to integrate diverse communities and religious groups,” Shechter told the Geneva forum.

The council has taken a strong position against Israel’s control of territory taken during the 1967 Six-Day War, its treatment of Palestinians there, and its building of settlements.

An “unparalleled number of one-sided biased and political resolutions adopted regularly by the automatic majority of its members testify not only to the unfair treatment of the State of Israel, but also to the deficiencies of the council itself and its agenda,” Shechter said. “This theater of the absurd cannot go on forever.”

Washington says the council is stacked with opponents of Israel and US Ambassador Nikki Haley told the council last June that it was reviewing its participation given what it sees as its “chronic anti-Israel bias.”
Border police thwart attempted stabbing attack
Border police thwarted at attempted stabbing attack against their forces at the Tapuach junction in the Samaria region of the West Bank on Tuesday afternoon.

An officer in an observation post noted two suspicious looking Palestinian men in the area of a bus station at the junction, according to police.

Border police at the junction called on the two men to stop and one officer fired in the air. The two men continued to advance and one of them drew a knife as he moved in their direction.

A border police officer then shot and wounded the two suspects, according to police.

Photos from the scene show one of the men lying on the ground with his hands in the air, a bullet wound in his leg and a knife by his leg.
Palestinian man caught trying to enter Hebron holy site with knife
Border Police arrested a Palestinian man in the West Bank city of Hebron on Monday, after finding a knife hidden under his clothes at the entrance to the Tomb of the Patriarchs holy site.

Officers asked the man, in his 30s, to walk through a metal detector upon his arrival at the checkpoint. While the device did not sound an alarm, the statement from Border Police said the security forces still suspected the Palestinian and conducted a full body search.

“An initial investigation revealed that the suspect was apparently intending to carry out a stabbing attack,” Border Police said.

The Palestinian, said to be from the nearby village of Dura, was detained and transferred for questioning.
IDF said to arrest family members of suspect in Israeli man’s killing
The brother of one of the terrorists suspected of carrying out a deadly shooting attack earlier this month was arrested early Tuesday morning by Israeli security forces, according to Palestinian media.

The Palestinian Ma’an news outlet reported that Israel Defense Forces soldiers in Jenin arrested Suhaib Nassar Jarrar, brother of suspected terror cell leader Ahmad Nassar Jarrar, who is believed to have evaded Israeli arrest raid last week.

The official Palestinian Authority Safa news outlet reported that Wissam Assam Jarrar, a relative of Ahmad, was also arrested in Jenin.

Israeli security officials would not confirm the arrests, as there is a gag order in place preventing publication of details related to the case.

However, the IDF announced that eight Palestinian suspects were arrested between Monday night and Tuesday morning in raids throughout the West Bank.
Police recommend fraud charges for three Arab MKs
Three Arab lawmakers from the Balad party should face fraud and other graft charges over alleged financial irregularities, police said Tuesday

Indictments were recommended against MKs Hanin Zoabi, Jamal Zahalka, and Juma Azbarga regarding donations the party received during the 2013 elections and party spending during the 2015 elections. Police recommendations have no legal weight, however; the decision to press charges lies with the State Prosecutor.

The Balad party called the development “a political witch hunt.”

Party officials are suspected of fraudulently accepting funds, forgery, money laundering, fraud and breach of trust, police said.

The development came at the completion of an investigation into the transactions; the case has been sent for review by the State Prosecutor.

Balad, which holds three Knesset seats, is one of the four parties comprising the Joint (Arab) List faction, which holds 13 of the 120 seats in parliament.
Liberman seeks radio ban on poet who compared Palestinian agitator to Anne Frank
The Israeli political arena was in a tizzy Tuesday after Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said he would ban the songs of a prominent poet from being played on Army Radio because the poet had compared a Palestinian teenager who was filmed slapping IDF soldiers to Anne Frank.

Opposition members slammed Liberman and branded him a “commissar” for saying he was prohibiting the public radio station from interviewing or playing songs by Yehonatan Geffen. However, the attorney general quickly weighed in to say the instruction carried no legal weight.

The 70-year-old Geffen on Monday posted on Instagram a photo of Tamimi confronting an IDF soldier, with a poem in Hebrew that said, “When the day comes for this struggle’s story to be told, you, Ahed Tamimi, the redhead, like David who slapped Goliath, will be in the same line with Joan of Arc, Hannah Szenes and Anne Frank.”
PreOccupiedTerritory: Sarsour Promises Vaginas Confiscated From Hirsi Ali, Gabriel To Ahed Tamimi (satire)
A prominent Palestinian-American activist who styles herself a feminist leader has amended her desire to confiscate the lady parts of two women whose politics she opposes with an offer to provide those organs to a Palestinian adolescent currently in Israeli custody for assaulting an IDF soldier.

In March 2011, the Islamist Sarsour tweeted a now-deleted message asserting in crude terms that activists Brigitte Gabriel and Ayaan Hirsi Ali deserve to be beaten, and that she wished she “could take their vaginas away. They don’t deserve to be women.” The new addendum to that sentiment, tweeted over the weekend and also since deleted, adds that should she succeed in engineering the removal of the women’s genitalia, the latter would be gifted to more deserving entities, such as violent Palestinian teenage activist Ahed Tamimi.

The Tamimi clan, a darling of human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Btselem, has yet to offer a formal response to Ms. Sarsour’s offer. A spokesman for the family, headed by father Bassem and mother Nariman Tamimi, told reporters that the couple was too busy at the moment fielding expressions of support for their cousin Ahlam in Jordan, an accomplice to the slaughter of 15 people in a bombing at a Jerusalem pizzeria in 2001.

Sarsour, since the 2011 tweet, has gained further prominence nationally as a leader of the Women’s March movement and a defender of a woman’s “right” to wear a hijab, a garment that in Islamic societies women have no choice but to wear. More recently she stoked further controversy by stating that one could not be both a Zionist and a feminist, prompting outrage from Zionist feminists whose society has integrated feminism to a degree no Islamic society has ever achieved.
France says Iran not upholding UN resolution on ballistic missiles
France's foreign minister accused Iran on Monday of not respecting part of a U.N. resolution that calls on Tehran to refrain from work on ballistic missiles designed to carry nuclear warheads.

Speaking on arrival at a European Union foreign ministers meeting in Brussels, Jean-Yves Le Drian also said the 28 ministers would reiterate their concerns over Iran's activities in Yemen, Lebanon and Syria, which he described as destabilizing.

"We will also have the opportunity of underlining our firmness on Iran's compliance with United Nations Resolution 2231, which limits access to ballistic capacity and which Iran does not respect," Le Drian said.

Under the U.N. resolution enshrining the 2015 nuclear deal with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States, Iran is "called upon" to refrain from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons for up to eight years.

Some states say this phrasing does not make it an obligatory commitment.

Iran has repeatedly said its missile program is purely defensive and denied the missiles are designed to carry nuclear warheads.

Al-Qaeda calls on Muslims to 'rise and attack Jews, Americans'
A senior Al-Qaeda leader has called on Muslims "everywhere" to rise up and kill Jews and Americans in response to US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

In a video released Monday, Khalid Batarfi said Trump's decision was "a declaration of a new Jewish-Crusader war" and every Muslim had a duty to "liberate" the holy city, the SITE Intelligence monitoring group reported.

"No Muslim has the right to cede Jerusalem no matter what happens," said Batarfi, a top commander with the group's powerful Yemen-based branch. "Only a traitor would give it up or hand it over." "Let them [Muslims] rise and attack the Jews and the Americans everywhere," he said, in the 18-minute video entitled "Our Duty Towards Our Jerusalem".

Trump on December 6 said his administration would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and move its embassy from Tel Aviv to the city.

On Monday, US Vice President Mike Pence pledged to move the embassy by the end of 2019, in a speech to Israel's parliament.

In the video, Batarfi dismissed US allies' protests as not genuine and "nothing but dust thrown in the eyes".

"The greatest responsibility lies upon the Muslims in America and the Western countries in the world," he said.

"The Muslims inside the occupied land must kill every Jew, by running him over, or stabbing him, or by using against him any weapon, or by burning their homes."

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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