Wednesday, February 21, 2018

From Ian:

PMW: Fatah honors terrorist who led murder: “Martyr who sat on shoulders of Heaven and smiled”
One of the latest new Palestinian "heroes" is "Martyr" Ahmed Nasr Jarrar - the terrorist who led the terror cell that murdered Rabbi Raziel Shevach, a father of six, in a drive-by shooting on Jan. 9, 2018, near Havat Gilad in the Nablus area.

Terrorist Jarrar was shot and killed during an exchange of gunfire with Israeli soldiers while resisting arrest near Jenin on Feb. 6, 2018. Palestinian Media Watch has documented that Abbas' Fatah Movement has honored him several times, and continues to do so as seen in additional Facebook posts below.

Palestinians have also named sports tournaments after the terrorist. A futsal championship was held in the Nablus area:

"The Martyr Ahmed Jarrar Futsal Championship"
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 12, 2018]

In Gaza too, terrorist Jarrar is a hero with two sports tournaments having already been named after him:

"The Martyr Ahmed Nasr Jarrar Table Tennis Cup" (to be held later this month)

"The Martyr Ahmed Jarrar Handball Cup" (date to be announced)
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 19, 2018]

The following are 10 Fatah posts on Facebook glorifying terrorist Jarrar:
IDF reveals it thwarted attempted Islamic State bombing of Australian flight
The Israeli army on Wednesday revealed that the Military Intelligence Unit 8200 foiled an Islamic State attempt to bomb a flight from Australia last August.

“The unit provided exclusive intelligence that led to the prevention of an air attack by the Islamic State in 2017 in Australia,” a senior IDF officer said.

“The foiling of the attack saved dozens of innocent lives and proved Unit 8200’s position as a major player in the intelligence fight against the Islamic State,” the officer said, on condition of anonymity.

Wednesday’s revelation was an unusual move for the Israeli army, which generally keeps mum on the operations of the secretive Unit 8200, which is similar to the American National Security Agency, collecting information from electronic communication, also referred to as signals intelligence.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Munich Security Conference that Israeli Military Intelligence “helped prevent dozens of terror attacks in dozens of countries by the Islamic State.” (h/t Yoel)
Exclusive: Senior PA official embezzled EU aid money
A top Palestinian official spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in aid money provided by the European Union on personal expenses like overseas travel, electronics and landscaping, according to information obtained by i24NEWS.

Sources in Gaza, Ramallah and Europe said that Marwan Durzi, the ex-head of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in the West Bank and the current head of the Palestinian co-ordination office for Zone C (the part of the West Bank under full Israeli military control) took advantage of his position overseeing grants provided by the EU for humanitarian purposes.

The sources said that in 2017 Durzi was found to have taken 100,000 ($123,000) euros worth of business trips, many accompanied by his family.

He also purchased 60,000 euros ($74,000) of computers, phones and tablets for himself and associates after a 3G communications network was finally established in the West Bank, more than 80,000 ($98,500) euros worth of clothes and jewelry and 200,000 ($247,000) euros on gardening.

Sources said that the office he runs do not keep accurate records of the amount of funds received by the EU, and in some cases reported them to be 70% lower than they actually were. (h/t Yenta Press)

The Obama Administration’s $1.7 Billion Iranian Deception
In short, Obama ignored the law. Moreover, in releasing those funds to the world’s leading state sponsor of terror, he made American taxpayers cover the damages owed by Iran for its acts of terrorism against American citizens.

That said, Trump doesn’t need an investigation to reveal the facts. In a recent phone call, Richman said Trump should release all the documents regarding the Obama administration’s payment of Iran’s claim, including the computation of the amount of interest allegedly owed, the amount of the U.S. counterclaim not used as an offset, the amount of the court judgments against Iran held by the U.S. under the 2000 statute, plus the amounts of interest on both the counterclaim and the court judgments.

“It’s hard to see why the Treasury Department has kept this information classified,” he said. “CIA director Mike Pompeo was involved in this issue when he was in Congress and knows there are many questions that Congress appropriately asked that have yet to be answered. Why doesn’t the Trump White House just release the documents so we can finally have some clarity.”

Indeed, clarity would be most useful. Glenn Kessler is an experienced and honest reporter—which is to say the issue isn’t simply that he was spun around by the Obama administration’s self-serving, and intentionally inaccurate, version of history, law, and finance. The untruth is dangerous precisely because readers count on the integrity of journalists like Kessler. If the fables and fictions seeded by political operatives are not uprooted, there are only weeds.
The Iran Deal Is Now Officially a Disaster. So Where Were You?
To be plain, they were talking about you. About the pro-Israel community, the American Jewish leadership. About ordinary American Jews. About anyone who thinks or argues differently than they do—meaning everyone who was right when they were wrong.

Wake up. America is a free country—Augie March walked here, the same way that Walt Whitman did. America needed the Jews at precisely the moment when they decided that it was more important to be “loyal” to a party and a president than to be faithful to their own genius and say the necessary thing.

Listen, it doesn’t matter how loud anyone yells or what names they call you. You can still register in any political party you want, and no one can kick you out, even the president of the United States. You can all stay Democrats—or become Communists, or even Republicans. But please, whatever you do, just stop playing the angles, and stop playing dumb. America has enough frightened conformists on both sides of the aisle who are afraid to say what they think or to think for themselves, without you.

America needs the Jews to think differently and help other people see the truth. As my boss here at Tablet once wrote, America needs its Jews to be Jewish. America needs Jews to speak uncomfortable truths, no matter who is in power, and no matter whose sacred cow gets gored. It will also keep us from being complicit in genocide—and try explaining that to your children.
Amb. Nikki Haley: "The U.S. Stands Ready to Work with the Palestinian Leadership. But We Will Not Chase After You."
UN Amb. Nikki Haley told the UN Security Council on Tuesday:

"The United Nations spends an altogether disproportionate amount of time on Israeli-Palestinian issues....The problem is that the UN has proven itself time and again to be a grossly biased organization when it comes to Israel. As such, the UN's disproportionate focus has actually made the problem more difficult to solve, by elevating the tensions and the grievances between the two parties."

"Another reason we have attempted to shift the discussion is that the vast scope of the challenges facing the region dwarf the Israeli-Palestinian conflict....These immense security and humanitarian challenges throughout the region should occupy more of our attention, rather than having us sit here month after month and use the most democratic country in the Middle East as a scapegoat for the region's problems."

"I do not mean to suggest that there is no suffering in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Both sides have suffered greatly. So many innocent Israelis have been killed or injured by suicide bombings, stabbings, and other sickening terrorist attacks. Israel has been forced to live under constant security threats like virtually no other country in the world. It should not have to live that way. And yet, Israel has overcome those burdens. It is a thriving country, with a vibrant economy that contributes much to the world in the name of technology, science, and the arts."

"It is the Palestinian people who are suffering more. The Palestinians in Gaza live under Hamas terrorist oppression. I can't even call it a governing authority, as Hamas provides so little in the way of what one would normally think as government services. The people of Gaza live in truly awful conditions, while their Hamas rulers put their resources into building terror tunnels and rockets."

"The Palestinian leadership has a choice to make between two different paths. There is the path of absolutist demands, hateful rhetoric, and incitement to violence. That path has led, and will continue to lead, to nothing but hardship for the Palestinian people. Or, there is the path of negotiation and compromise. History has shown that path to be successful for Egypt and Jordan."

"The United States stands ready to work with the Palestinian leadership. Our negotiators are sitting right behind me, ready to talk. But we will not chase after you."
Haley Fires Back at Palestinian Official Who Wanted Her Silenced: ‘I Will Not Shut Up’
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley fired back at a Palestinian official who insulted her earlier this month, saying Tuesday "I will not shut up" and calling on Palestinian leadership to take the path of negotiation and compromise with Israel.

Speaking after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addressed the U.N. Security Council and again called for Palestinian statehood, Haley directly responded to Palestinian official Saeb Erekat, who previously said Haley "needs to shut up and realize the Palestinian leadership is not the problem."

"We welcome you as the leader of the Palestinian people here today," Haley said. "But I will decline the advice I was recently given by your top negotiator, Saeb Erekat. I will not shut up. Rather, I will respectfully speak some hard truths. The Palestinian leadership has a choice to make between two different paths. There is the path of absolutist demands, hateful rhetoric, and incitement to violence. That path has led, and will continue to lead, to nothing but hardship for the Palestinian people."

"Or, there is the path of negotiation and compromise," she continued. "History has shown that path to be successful for Egypt and Jordan, including the transfer of territory. That path remains open to the Palestinian leadership, if only it is courageous enough to take it."

Haley also addressed the Palestinians' vehement opposition to the U.S. decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognize the city as Israel's capital.

"You don't have to praise it. You don't even have to accept it. But know this. That decision will not change," she said.
Nikki Haley fires back at Palestinians who wanted her silenced: 'I will not shut up'

Haley to Abbas: US wants a peace deal but will not ‘chase after you’
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Tuesday said Washington would not “chase” the Palestinians to the negotiating table with Israel, following Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s speech to the UN Security Council.

Speaking in front of US President Donald Trump’s top two Middle East peace negotiators — Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt — Abbas excoriated the US president’s decision last year to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and set in motion plans to move the the US embassy there, characterizing it as “an unlawful decision.”

Abbas then called for a multilateral international effort to secure Palestinian statehood, thus removing the US from its traditional role as the key mediator in negotiations.

The White House, however, said shortly after his remarks that it still planned to push ahead with finalizing its peace plan and presenting it at a later date.

Washington “will continue working on our plan, which is designed to benefit both the Israeli and Palestinian people,” said Josh Raffel, an administration spokesman. “We will present it when it is done and the time is right.”

Haley also addressed the Security Council Tuesday. Although Abbas left the chamber after his speech, she dedicated a sizable portion of her time addressing the PA leader.

“The United States stands ready to work with the Palestinian leadership,” she said to Abbas. “Our negotiators are sitting right behind me, ready to talk. But we will not chase after you. The choice, Mr. President, is yours.”
Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Calls Out Abbas for ‘Running Away’ After Speech
Israel's United Nations Ambassador Danny Danon called out Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for "running away" after he addressed the U.N. Security Council in New York City on Tuesday before Danon could respond.

During his remarks, Abbas called on other countries to recognize a Palestinian state and for a "multilateral international mechanism" to direct the peace process rather than the U.S.

Many observers in the room gave Abbas a round of applause after he finished speaking. He then proceeded to leave with his entourage.

After Abbas' speech, it was Danon's turn to respond.

"I expected Mr. Abbas to stay with us and have a dialogue," Danon said. "Unfortunately, he's once again running away."

"Look what just happened in this room," Danon continued. "Mr. Abbas came in, he put his demands on the table, and he left. And he's expecting you to deliver the results. It's not going to work that way. The only way to move forward is to have direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians."

Danon then said that Abbas has refused to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the past seven and a half years to "negotiate peace."
Israeli U.N. ambassador calls out Abbas for 'running away' after his speech

Netanyahu: Abbas running away from peace, UN speech is ‘nothing new’
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu castigated Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s address at the UN Security Council Tuesday, saying the PA leader was “running away from peace.”

“Abbas did not say anything new. He continues to run away from peace and continues to pay terrorists and their families $347 million,” Netanyahu said in a statement.

The figure cited by the prime minister was based on the sum calculated by the Defense Ministry as the amount the PA in 2017 paid the families of imprisoned Palestinians who have carried out attacks against Israelis, and to those killed while carrying out attacks. The Defense Ministry said the Palestinian Authority had paid out NIS 1.2 billion ($350 million) last year in such payments.

“We have been committed to fostering a culture of peace, rejection of violence,” said Abbas, adding that he would intensify efforts to secure full UN recognition.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, the leader of the coalition Yisrael Beiteynu party, alluded to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in his earlier condemnation of Abbas’s speech.

“Dr. Abbas and Mr. Abu Mazen, we all know who you are,” Liberman tweeted. “With one hand you pay salaries to terrorists who strike at Israel, and their families, and with the other hand you ask the United Nations for recognition.”
Amb. Alan Baker: Abbas at the UN: An Exercise in Futility
When Abbas comes to speak to the Security Council, he’s going to, apart from the usual slurs about apartheid and ethnic cleansing that he repeats every time and coming down on the British for the Balfour Declaration, he’s basically going to ask the UN to accept a Palestinian state, something which the UN refused to do two or three years ago, simply because the Palestinians couldn’t prove that they have the requisites of statehood according to international law. Then, the Security Council, which needs to accept this, refused to accept it.

He’ll also ask that any future negotiations not be handled by the United States, but be handled on an international basis by the Europeans and other states, which is something that has never succeeded whenever there’s been an international type of conference or internationalization of the conflict. And clearly, neither the United States nor Israel would agree to this, and it takes two to tango. So I don’t think anything concrete will come out of this statement by Abu Mazen, by Mahmoud Abbas, apart from just expressing himself, because the United Nations and the international community is the only place where he has any following that regard him seriously, because in his own borders nobody really takes him seriously.

Khaled Abu Toameh: With toned-down UN speech, Abbas tries to signal he’s still relevant
As such, the UN speech did signal a departure from Abbas’s recent hardline approach, which began after President Donald Trump’s December announcement recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Abbas, for example, is no longer accusing Jews of “defiling with their filthy feet” Islamic holy sites. His UN speech did not include the claim that Israel is a “colonial project that has nothing to do with Judaism” which he used in his recent Ramallah speech.

It’s also worth noting that Abbas did not rule out the possibility that the US administration would be part of an international conference for peace in the Middle East. Abbas is upset with the Trump administration, but he is clearly signaling — as the tone of his UN speech indicates — that the Palestinians are not interested in burning all bridges with Israel.

Nor are the Palestinians keen on boycotting Israel, contrary to the decisions taken by the PLO and Fatah leaders in Ramallah.

In fact, Abbas has since been acting against the decisions, which called for a complete disengagement from Israel. In the past week alone, a number of meetings took place in Ramallah and Paris between PA and Israeli officials. On the ground, security coordination between the PA and the IDF is continuing and even became stronger, at least according to Palestinians.

From his UN speech, Abbas is trying to present himself to the world in a less negative manner. By refraining from the fiery anti-US rhetoric of the past few weeks, and by authorizing meetings between his officials and Israel, the 82-year-old president is probably trying to show that he’s still a relevant player.
Palestinian Leader Abbas at UN Security Council: ‘Israel Occupied Our Territories in 1948’
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas appeared to endorse the idea that all of Israel is illegally-occupied territory in a speech he delivered at a UN Security Council meeting in New York City on Tuesday.

In a lengthy, rambling discourse given in a voice that sometimes was little more than a mumble, Abbas said, “No one has held Israel accountable when it occupied our territories in 1948.”

Extremist Palestinians and their supporters often refer to the “occupation” as including all of current Israel, thus rejecting the Jewish state’s legitimacy and right to exist.

Abbas also embraced another extremist Palestinian myth, making the claim, “We are the descendants of the Canaanites that lived in Palestine 5,000 years ago.”

He also clearly rejected any Jewish national rights in the Land of Israel, saying that in the Balfour Declaration, in which Britain endorsed the creation of a Jewish “national home” in then-Palestine, “those who did not own gave to those who had no right.”

In addition, Abbas decried “Israel’s refusal to implement Resolution 181,” thus endorsing the “right of return” that would flood Israel with millions of Palestinian refugees.
Trump team briefs Security Council on Mideast peace plan
Two sources familiar with the briefing told The Jerusalem Post that Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law leading the diplomatic effort, Jason Greenblatt, his special representative for international negotiations, and Nikki Haley, US envoy to the UN, fielded questions from diplomats for roughly an hour after a public session of the council concluded.

The briefing by senior Trump administration officials followed a speech to the council by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who asked UN members to come up with an international mechanism that would replace any US-led peace effort.

Kushner, Greenblatt and Haley — who sat in attendance for Abbas’s speech — dismissed that proposal in the briefing, the sources said, noting that it would take perhaps a year to organize yet another conference on Middle East peace bound to fail. Instead they plan on rolling out their peace plan in short time, they added, while declining to specify their timeframe.

According to the diplomatic sources, Kushner and Greenblatt said of the plan that “both sides are going to love some of it, and hate some of it.”

The US team underscored their belief that Israeli settlement activity is unhelpful to the pursuit of peace, but told council members that past US demands for freezes had proven counterproductive. They declined to say whether such a demand would be included in their forthcoming plan.

Kushner and Greenblatt have been working on a plan to get both sides to the negotiating table for over a year. But Trump’s decision in December to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and to move the US embassy there, infuriated the Palestinians and led them to write off the administration as fair arbiters.

The peace team was pressed on allegations of its bias toward Israel in the briefing, to which its members responded that, if they were truly biased, they would have spent less time coming up with such a detailed plan.

They also requested council members encourage the Palestinians to give their peace plan a fair shake upon its release. They have made a similar ask of the Arab League, which also opposed Trump’s Jerusalem decision, but has in recent years sought to warm relations with Israel and resolve its conflict with the Palestinians once and for all.
A peace plan without peace
In his speech Tuesday at the United Nations Security Council in New York, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas presented a peace plan predicated on enlisting the international community to force Israel to capitulate to the Palestinians' demands.

Abbas' proposal consists of the U.N. accepting Palestine as a member state and convening an international peace summit, where the Palestinians and Israelis would conduct negotiations on the basis of the Arab peace initiative, which calls for a full Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders and recognition, even if just in principle, of the right of return for Palestinians refugees.

Israel, as we know, refuses to enter peace talks based on these conditions. This has always been its position. To be sure, the peace accords Israel signed with its Arab neighbors were reached through direct negotiations, with American involvement, and accounted for Israel's security needs.

Abbas arrived at the U.N. after visiting virtually every country and continent on earth in recent months. The only country he has boycotted has been the United States, and Israel is the only country with which he is unwilling to enter direct talks without preconditions.
Casting doubt over peace prospects, US envoy says settlers staying put — report
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman reportedly expressed doubt about the need for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal that would see settlers removed from the West Bank, telling American Jewish leaders at a conference in Jerusalem that the settlers “aren’t going anywhere.”

Addressing about 100 leading American Jewish figures at a closed meeting on Sunday as part of a summit of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, Friedman said that evicting and relocating the hundreds of thousands of Israelis living in territories sought by Palestinians for a future state would spark a civil war, Channel 10 reported Monday, quoting three sources familiar with the content of the speech.

A spokesperson for the Conference of Presidents said the remarks had been distorted and the US embassy said that the remarks do not indicate that the Trump administration is no longer committed to putting together a peace plan.

According to the report, Friedman, who was seen as close to the settlement movement before becoming envoy, said that IDF officers who would have to carry out evacuations are increasingly “people who believe this land was given to them by God,” and would likely refuse to carry such orders.

He also cast doubts over the need or prospects for a peace deal, despite Trump administration efforts to put together a plan.

“The argument that a peace agreement is needed to preserve Israel as a Jewish and democratic state is a platitude,” Friedman said. “People have been saying for 25 years that the situation [in the territories] cannot continue, but what has happened in those years? Israel has only grown and prospered.”
JCPA: Mahmoud Abbas Seeks to Halt Trump’s “Deal of the Century”
Mahmoud Abbas’s Political Deception

Mahmoud Abbas’s plan is primarily intended to bring a halt to the “deal of the century” that U.S. President Donald Trump is formulating. After asserting that the U.S. administration lost its ability to serve as an impartial mediator, Mahmoud Abbas chose to approach the UN Security Council directly and seek its intervention in granting the State of Palestine full member status at the United Nations and its assistance in creating an international mechanism to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Mahmoud Abbas’s political outline presents an outwardly moderate approach. However, in practice, it shows an uncompromising Palestinian adherence to the basic principles of striving for Israel’s ultimate destruction. First of all, Mahmoud Abbas demands international recognition of a Palestinian state within the lines of June 4, 1967. This type of recognition, if it were to come about, would effectively render the necessity of negotiations on most of the issues under debate superfluous. This is because it immediately grants full rights to the Palestinian people.

Additionally, with regard to the sector of the population referred to as “refugees” and their descendants, Mahmoud Abbas adopts a path of political deception. He presents the Arab Peace Initiative (of 2002 and re-endorsed by the Arab League in 2017) as a “just and agreed solution,” but his position requires the implementation of all of the resolutions of the international institutions regarding the refugees in accordance with the Palestinian interpretation of these resolutions. In other words, this is an uncompromising demand to allow the fulfillment of “the right of return” to Israeli territory in accordance with the perception of millions of Palestinians. This would be at the expense of the Jewish population, which would be displaced from the existing communities where they live today. Mahmoud Abbas’s political outline demands all of these rights through the international recognition of a Palestinian state in accordance with the 1967 lines. However, from this standpoint, the “refugee” crisis would only continue.

In his speech to the UN Security Council, Mahmoud Abbas reiterated that he rejected any historical, religious, or other right of the Jewish nation to any part of the Land of Israel: The main purpose of Mahmoud Abbas’s political plan is to put a stop to the “deal of a century” that U.S. President Donald Trump is currently formulating.
Lies and Israel-Hatred At the UN
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addressed the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday, February 20th. He delivered many of the same old Palestinian talking points. He claimed that the Palestinians remain open to negotiations based on the pre-June 1967 "borders," with East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital. “We are ready to take the longest journey,” Abbas declared. “We are ready to begin negotiations immediately.” After appealing to the Security Council for “help,” however, Abbas showed his true colors by walking out of the chamber immediately upon the conclusion of his speech. He apparently thought it was beneath his "dignity" to hear what the Israeli UN ambassador and the members of the Security Council had to say.

Abbas used his Security Council speech to blame the Israeli "occupation" and its continued settlements in violation of "international law" as the real obstacles to peace. He said that the Palestinians have engaged in dialogue with Israeli leaders on several occasions, and that Israel was responsible for shutting the door on a two-state solution. Abbas seemed to have forgotten that it was he who rejected several Israeli peace offers, including one that would have resulted in Israel’s virtual withdrawal from the West Bank, a connection between the West Bank and Gaza, and even placing the Old City under some form of international control.

Abbas repeated his condemnation of President Trump's “unlawful” decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. Spurning any further U.S. leadership of peace efforts, Abbas called for the convening of an international peace conference by mid-2018. Its purpose would be to set the path for acceptance of "the State of Palestine" as a full member of the United Nations and to establish an international mechanism to facilitate resolution of all outstanding issues based on "relevant UN resolutions and international law." Rather than enter into direct unconditional negotiations with Israel’s leader, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Abbas continues to use the UN and other international forums shields for his absolutist demands against any real process of give-and-take.

Abbas’s speech to the Security Council was temperate in tone only by comparison to his 2½-hour rant to the PLO Central Council last month in which he claimed that “Israel is a colonialist project that has nothing to do with Jews.” While telling the Security Council that the Palestinians’ problem was “not with the followers of Judaism,” he had told the PLO Central Council that there was no historical connection of Jews to the Holy Land. “Jews were used as a tool under the concept of the promised land — call it whatever you want,” Abbas said last month to his own comrades. “Everything has been made up.” For the benefit of his Security Council audience, however, he promised that East Jerusalem, as the Palestinians’ capital, would remain open to the faithful of all three monotheistic religions, including Jews. We saw how badly that worked out last time when Jordan occupied the Old City prior to the Six-Day War.
Will UK media ignore Abbas’s howler at the UN that Palestinians ‘foster a culture of peace’?
Followers of this blog are familiar with the UK media’s pattern of obfuscating, distorting or completely ignoring speeches by Mahmoud Abbas which incite violence, deny Jewish history and advance antisemitic accusations and tropes.

So, we are relatively confident that no major British media outlet will so much as take note, yet alone call out, an astonishing lie told by Abbas while addressing the UN Security Council yesterday. Though Abbas once again repeated his faux history, alleging that Palestinians are “descendants of the Canaanites that lived in the land of Palestine 5,000 years ago”, that actually isn’t, believe it or not, the most ludicrous claim in the speech.

Evidence showing Palestinian leaders, including Abbas himself, and government institutions praising, inciting and incentivizing terror, and promoting a culture which glorifies violence, is well-documented and ubiquitous.

For starters, the PA spends an estimated $350 million a year (nearly one-third of their budget) on payments to terrorists and their families – monthly stipends which are higher when the terror act is more deadly.

As detailed previously on this site, Abbas, in 2015, hailed violent Palestinian rioters on the Temple Mount, saying any blood spilled in “defense” of the holy site was “pure.” The following year, he praised, as a martyr, a Palestinian woman who attempted to kill an IDF soldier with her car.
Ben-Dror Yemini: Why can’t we make peace? Because Palestinian elites have no interest in doing so
This article is excerpted from Ben-Dror Yemini’s new book, Industry of Lies: Media, Academia, and the Israeli-Arab Conflict, published by ISGAP.

We must admit that there is no chance for peace in the foreseeable future.

It’s not that the solution is complicated. Despite the disagreements, despite the fantasy of mass Return, and despite the isolated settlements, there are clear parameters for peace. Bill Clinton presented them in late 2000; the Geneva plan presented a similar plan in 2002; Ehud Olmert repeated it, with semantic changes, in 2008; John Kerry introduced two versions with almost the same parameters in 2014. Even the Arab initiative, if we take away the fantasy of mass Return, could have been the basis for an agreement.

Although the parameters are known, peace cannot be achieved.

In the past century there have been many conflicts. Almost every actualization of the right to self-determination created a bloody conflict, years of struggle, and the expulsion of populations. Yet, eventually, agreements were reached. Enemies have become neighbors. Peace agreements have also been signed between Israel and two Arab states — Egypt and Jordan, and Israel maintains cooperation with many other Arab states.

So why this should not have happened in the Israeli Palestinian conflict? Because it has another dimension, which was absent in other conflicts. The Palestinian elites have reached a status that no elite had before. The Palestinian struggle is not one more struggle.
Rex Tillerson Babbles in Beirut While Middle East War Looms
Sec. of State Rex Tillerson visited Lebanon last Thursday, and let’s just say it wasn’t exactly a shining moment for U.S. diplomacy. Tillerson was made to sit alone in a room with no American flag in sight and wait, as photographers took pictures and video, before Hezbollah’s chief allies in Lebanon’s government, President Michel Aoun and his son-in-law the foreign minister, finally came out to greet him. Images of the U.S. Secretary of State fidgeting in front of an empty chair were then broadcast across the Middle East to symbolize American impotence at a fateful moment for the region.

The televised humiliation of Tillerson was accompanied by even more explicit evidence of American policy confusion in the face of Iran’s take-over of the Lebanese state and fresh attacks from Syria across Israel’s borders. After Iran launched a drone into the Israeli sector of the Golan Heights, the Israeli Air Force attacked the T-4 air base in the Homs governorate, the site of the Iranian mobile command and control center that launched the drone. The decision to destroy the Iranian control center came following Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Russia last month, during which Netanyahu again expressed Israel’s rejection of Iran’s efforts to establish a military presence in Syria, and reiterated his government’s resolve to act against it. According to the Israelis, the second wave of strikes launched against the Iranians in Syria was the broadest single aerial attack against Syria since 1982.

As the military confrontation between Iran and its regional proxies on one hand, and Israel on the other hand, heats up, Lebanon has emerged as the nerve center of the Iranian camp. On the eve of Tillerson’s visit, Lebanon hosted Akram al-Kaabi, the leader of an Iraqi militia which operates under the command of Iran’s Qods Force. From Beirut, al-Kaabi stated his group would fight Israel alongside Hezbollah in a future war. The presence of al-Kaabi in Lebanon—his terrorist comrade Qais al-Khazali had dropped by late last year—underscored Lebanon’s role as a hub for Iran’s regional terrorist assets.

Yet none of this apparently deterred the U.S. Secretary of State from traveling to Beirut like Alice in Wonderland in order to play-act a fantasy in which Lebanon is a valuable American ally in the fight against terrorism. Tillerson compounded the bad optics of his visit with ill-advised and contradictory comments that shone a spotlight on the combination of confusion, wishful thinking and abject denialism that appear to be shaping the Trump Administration’s Lebanon policy, even as the National Security Adviser sounds the alarm over the growing capabilities of Iran’s network of Hezbollah-style proxies.
Dennis Ross: America Should Get Behind Saudi Arabia's Revolutionary Crown Prince
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's efforts to transform Saudi society amount to a revolution from above. MBS is not trying to secularize Saudi Arabia. In his words, he is trying to "restore" Islam to its true nature and turn it away from those who sought to spread an intolerant, austere faith that created a justification for violence against all non-believers.

The drive for change in Saudi Arabia is more credible because it is homegrown, not a response to outside pressure. It is being driven by an understanding that Saudi Arabia cannot sustain governance based on the lowest common denominator among all the factions of the royal family, the approval of the Wahhabi clerics, an economy dependent almost exclusively on oil for revenue, and 80% of Saudi households dependent on the government.

We in the U.S. have a tremendous stake in MBS' success. He is a Saudi revolutionary, and the success of his policies will be felt not just in Saudi Arabia. So would their failure. The writer, counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, served in senior national security positions for four U.S. presidents.
PreOccupiedTerritory: THIS Will Be The Blog Comment That Solves The Arab-Israeli Conflict By Dee Luszenal (satire)
Everyone ready? I’m about to submit a comment on this website, a comment that will once and for all bring the whole Arab-Israeli conflict to an end with its manifest sanity, compelling points, humanity, cogent reasoning, and sparkling rhetoric.

Once the people behold the unassailable arguments I make in this comment, they will question the certainty of their long-held positions and come around to my way of seeing things, which is, as they will all soon see, the only way. The only thing in the way of resolving this conflict is an overabundance of distortion, which I will remedy by introducing documented facts and a comprehensive treatment of why those facts are the ones that matter while other facts invoked by one party or another remain of marginal importance at best. I’m almost done composing it.

Part of the art of submitting the comment that will end the Arab-Israeli conflict lies in selecting the right website on which to submit it. I have finally arrived at the ideal site, a blog with moderate, but not universal, popularity, such that my comment will hit the sweet spot where it will be seen by more than a handful of readers but not drowned out by the ravings of hoi polloi.
Egypt temporarily opens Rafah crossing
Egypt opened the Rafah crossing on Wednesday for Palestinians to enter and exit the Gaza Strip.

Cairo decided on Tuesday to open the crossing, the sole pedestrian passageway between Egypt and Gaza, from Wednesday until Saturday, the PLO Embassy in Cairo announced, according to the official Palestinian Authority news site Wafa.

Egypt last opened Rafah for consecutive days in early February. Before then, it had shuttered the crossing for some 50 days.

Pictures shared on Twitter on Wednesday show dozens of Palestinians standing in crowded spaces in the passageway.

Since the ousting of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, Cairo has seldom opened Rafah. The crossing was open for 42 days in 2016 and for 36 days in 2017, according to Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, an Israeli NGO that tracks human rights issues related to Gaza.

Some 30,000 Gazans including students, business people and ill persons are on a waiting list to travel from Gaza to Egypt through Rafah.

Palestinian officials have said Egypt frequently keeps the crossing closed because of the unstable security situation in the Sinai Peninsula.

Iran: Trump Administration Violating Nuclear Deal
A top Iranian official accused the Trump administration this week of violating the landmark nuclear deal as U.S. officials step up their efforts to combat Iran's support for terrorists and its illicit ballistic missile program, according to sources who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon about the matter.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, one of the original negotiators of the nuclear deal, lashed out at the Trump administration and claimed the United States is violating the accord by not helping the Islamic Republic gain access to international trade and cash windfalls.

Tehran says the Trump administration's new efforts to stop international governments and companies from doing business with Iran violates statutes of the deal guaranteeing the United States would help Iran increase its global economic power.

The escalating confrontation is raising new questions about what the Obama administration promised Iran during sensitive negotiations leading up to the nuclear agreement, according to sources close to the Trump administration who said the U.S. Congress must increase efforts to obtain details of these agreements.

While top Obama administration officials, including former Secretary of State John Kerry, made overtures to foreign governments on behalf of Iran, urging them to do business with the Islamic Republic, the Trump administration has been working to reverse course.

White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster delivered a speech in Munich last week outlining the administration's new efforts to stop foreign governments and companies from investing in Iran, which remains the globe's foremost sponsor of terrorism. Iran also has the largest stock of ballistic missiles in the region, flaunting international laws banning such military hardware.
Iranian Airline, Under Sanctions, Bought U.S. Jet Parts Through Front Firms
An Iranian airline under sanctions by the U.S. for ferrying weapons and fighters into Syria repeatedly bought U.S.-made jet engines and parts through Turkish front companies over the past several years, most recently in December, federal investigators said in a new U.S. government filing.

The U.S. says in the filing that a Turkish woman set up a series of shell companies to buy needed equipment from U.S. suppliers for Iran’s Mahan Air, helping the airline circumvent the longstanding sanctions and fueling suspicions about Iran within the Trump administration.

The revelation could bolster a case by some within the Trump administration against granting Boeing Co. licenses to sell Iran scores of new planes, a multibillion-dollar deal inked after Tehran signed the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement. The filing documents purchases from September 2016 through December 2017.

The Trump administration is considering whether to grant the Boeing licenses to sell planes to another airline, Iran Air, as the White House takes a more aggressive stance on Iran and steps up sanctions. Administration officials are concerned the nuclear accord is inadequate and that Tehran’s growing influence is fueling war and militancy in the region. The U.S. also has accused Iran of violating international bans on ballistic missile development.
PreOccupiedTerritory: NGOs Monitoring Iran Prisons For Things To Accuse Israel Of Doing (satire)
Activists at some of the world’s leading human rights advocacy organizations have been paying close attention to the atrocities and abuses taking place inside the Islamic Republic of Iran’s prison system, recording crimes so they can later accuse Israel of perpetrating such against Palestinians.

Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and other groups dedicated to highlighting such violations have sent teams of operatives to Iran in recent months to observe and report on the way political prisoners and others incarcerated for acts of conscience are mistreated during captivity. The teams monitor the torture, psychological and physical abuse, and the routine denial of basic human rights taking place under the mullahs’ regime, then compose and submit recommendations on how those activities can be included in rhetoric to denounce Israel’s treatment of Palestinian detainees.

A spokesman for Human Rights Watch noted that under normal circumstances, gaining access to Iran’s prisons and obtaining reliable information about the goings-on within would be impossible. “We have an arrangement with Tehran,” explained Mehbi Alqilya, who oversees the organization’s activities in the Middle East. “Our operations aren’t free, or even cheap, and our revenue has to come from somewhere. Fortunately, there is no shortage of countries willing to underwrite our reports as long as we highlight Israeli abuses, real or imagined, and make only token mention of things happening elsewhere.”

Alqilya declined to specify how long the arrangement has been in effect. “Let’s just say it’s a model that has served human rights groups for quite some time.”

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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