Thursday, March 29, 2018

From Ian:

PMW: PA officially rejects Taylor Force Act
On March 23, the United States enacted the Taylor Force Act which cuts almost all aid to the Palestinian Authority if it continues paying salaries to terrorists and allowances to families of dead terrorists. Even before the final vote in the US Congress, PA leaders announced that they rejected the Taylor Force Act and would not stop rewarding terrorists as the United States demanded.

The following are some of the reactions before and following the US passing of the law.

Before the enactment of the Taylor Force Act:
Mahmoud Abbas to PLO Central Council: “We will continue to pay them”
"There is something that the Americans are telling us to stop - the salaries of the Martyrs and the Martyrs' families. Of course we categorically reject this. We will not under any circumstances allow anyone to harm the families of the prisoners, the wounded, and the Martyrs. They are our children and they are our families. They honor us, and we will continue to pay them before the living." [Official PA TV, Jan. 14, 2018]

Issa Karake, Director of Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs:
“We are proud... it's our national, human, and moral obligation”

“I’ll quote [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas: ... “Until the last day of my life, we won't stop this support. It's important” ... The family of every Palestinian prisoner receives social aid. We’re proud of this, not ashamed of it, and we say this openly, because it's our national, human, and moral obligation, and the obligation of the struggle. It is supported by the Palestinian leadership and by the Palestinian government.”
[Official PA TV, PLO Institutions, Feb. 26, 2018]

MEMRI: Cape Town Imam Riyaad Fataar Calls On All Muslims, Free People Worldwide To Support Jihad In Palestine
In a Friday sermon delivered at the Masjid Al Furqaan in Cape Town, South Africa, Sheikh Riyaad Fataar said that the Al-Aqsa Mosque was "slipping from the hands of the Islamic nation... because the plans of the Jews are moving [ahead]." Quoting Saladin and saying that Muslims "are staying in Jihad in order to get rid of the Zionist occupier," Sheikh Fataar, who is the Deputy President of the Muslim Judicial Council of South Africa and the imam of the Husami Masjid in Cravenby, a suburb of Cape Town, called upon all Muslims in the world to support them and "show your help in whatever different ways there are." "All other free people of the world are called: If you think that holy sites are important in your religion... you should be standing with them," said Sheikh Fataar, a graduate of Al-Azhar, who serves as the lifetime president of the South African Students' Association in Egypt. The sermon was delivered on March 16 and posted on the YouTube channel of Masjid Al Furqaan, which is part of the Islamia College in Cape Town.

To view the clip of Sheikh Riyaad Fataar on MEMRI TV, click here or below.

"All Muslims Around The World Are Called To Support Them – To Show Your Help In Whatever Different Ways There Are"

Sheikh Riyaad Fataar: "Today we speak about Palestine and we speak about Al-Quds, and you know Al-Quds means Jerusalem – the Al-Aqsa Mosque – because it is in continuous danger. It is in continuous danger, oh Muslims. It is slipping from our hands. It is slipping from the hands of the Islamic nation, it is slipping from the hands of the Muslims, because the plans of the Jews are moving [ahead], are moving, while the Muslims are sleeping.

"[Israel] is busy, and it is continually changing the features around the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Al-Quds, and Palestine – changing anything that looks Islamic, Arabic, or Christian, and so on – because the ultimate objective is: 'Let's remove these Muslims from here. Let's get them out of here. Let's get the Christians out of here.' This is the road of the Jews, this is the road of the Zionists, so that they will make sure that they are going to end up with something that is pure... purely, only for them – for the Zionists and for the Jews.

"The Zionists are as fierce as always in their violence. They are armed terrorists, and at the end of the day, say the ulema, their whole objective is to wipe Islam out of [Jerusalem].

Dr. Mordechai Kedar: Why Hamas Will Never Give In to the Jews
When the "Islamic Resistance Movement" (Hamas) took over Gaza in 2007, pundits theorized that once the group became responsible for drinking water, gasoline, electricity, employment, and food, it would have no choice but to become more moderate. But no Islamic terror organization abandons terror without being seen as abandoning Islam as well.

As a religious movement, Hamas must adhere to the principle that forbids any deviation from the path dictated by Allah. If Gaza Muslims suffer, that is considered one of the tests Allah presents to believers in order to determine whether or not they deserve a passport to Paradise. The religious conceptual framework prevents Hamas from doing anything that might be interpreted as giving in to the Jews.

Over the 1,400 years since the dawn of Islamic history, there have been Muslim regimes that treated strangers with respect, refrained from attacking countries more powerful than they, and cared about the economic conditions of their subjects. Hamas is light years away from this type of rule. It takes step after step to create a picture of suffering and want in order to squeeze donations from the international community.

Because the Arab world has turned its back on Hamas, the organization is close to bankruptcy, a crisis that explains its new, warm relationship with Iran. The ayatollahs see Hamas as the long arm of the Iranian octopus extended towards southern Israel, in combination with Huzbullah in the north.
Dore Gold: Israel and Syria: The UN and the Distortion of International Law
This month, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, Prince Zeid bin Ra'ad, described Israeli settlements as a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 states that "Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of an occupying power," is prohibited, and that "the occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies."

Eugene Rostow, a former Dean of Yale Law School, served at the time of the 1967 Six-Day War as Undersecretary of State. With the memory of the Second World War in mind, he explained that the Fourth Geneva Convention was intended to preclude mass deportations of a state's population into territory that its forces had occupied for the purpose of extermination, slave labor, and other nefarious crimes.

Rostow rejected any link between Israeli settlements and the Fourth Geneva Convention. It is obscene to connect Israel with an international convention conceived to prevent actions like the transfer of German Jews to occupied Poland for extermination.

The Syrian civil war has involved the mass forcible transfer of Syrian Sunni Arabs out of Syria into Turkey, Jordan, and Europe. At the same time, there's a parallel effort under way, sponsored by Iran, to colonize Syria with Shiite Muslims. Removing one population and bringing in another is the very type of activity that the Geneva Convention was conceived to prevent.

The UN is distorting international law, focusing on the wrong issues and leaving some of the greatest abuses of human rights since World War II unanswered.

Egypt’s Relations with Israel Are Good. So Why All the Anti-Israel Propaganda?
Since the 1978 peace treaty, the governments of Egypt and Israel have developed strong ties, and by all accounts military and security cooperation has never been stronger or more extensive. Yet popular anti-Israel sentiment in Egypt is intense; few Egyptians travel to Israel; and social, cultural, and economic ties are almost nonexistent. Haisam Hassanein explains that, paradoxically, much of this sentiment is generated by the Egyptian regime itself:

While Israeli tourism in Egypt has surged during periods of calm, Egyptian tourists have only trickled into Israel, partly because Egyptians who visit Israel risk harassment by Egypt’s security apparatus. . . . Israel often has been the target for protests within Egypt, as well as the subject of numerous conspiracy theories, making every high-level Israeli-Egyptian interaction politically risky for Egyptian officials. . . .

Simply put, an ordinary Egyptian cannot travel to Israel. The government . . . limits such travel to diplomats, journalists, and Coptic pilgrims who wish to visit Christian sites in Jerusalem, though those Christians must be over the age of forty. . . . Consider [also] that multiple public institutions, roads, schools and even cities are named to commemorate the 1973 war, but none honors the [peace] treaty; this reflects the Egyptian government’s refusal to inform its public about peace with Israel. . . .

Therefore, one of the biggest obstacles to full normalization is the Egyptian government, which still engages in anti-Israel rhetoric. The most obvious example took place this past Ramadan, when TV viewing was at its yearly peak. In a TV show sponsored directly by the Egyptian intelligence services, Jews and Israelis continued to be portrayed negatively—as spies, thieves, killers, and socially immoral individuals.
Why the Supreme Court Should Hear the Victims’ Case against the PLO
Today the Supreme Court decides which cases it will hear in the upcoming session; among the petitioners are a group of American citizens whose family members were murdered in Israel during the second intifada. A federal court had ordered the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian Authority (PA) to pay the plaintiffs $655.5 million, but a court of appeals then threw out the verdict on the grounds that foreign organizations could not be tried in American courts for crimes committed abroad. Yishai Schwartz argues that this latter decision is wrong, and that the Supreme Court should restore the ruling against the PLO and PA. (Free registration may be required.)

The decision [to reject the original verdict] rests on an old and venerable constitutional doctrine: “personal jurisdiction.” For hundreds of years, this doctrine has limited American state courts, confining their authority only to those present in a particular state or who have consented to be sued there. It is this sensible principle that prevents one state’s courts from encroaching onto its neighbor’s turf. In Sokolow v. PLO, [as this case is generally known], the appeals court applied the same principle to a foreign defendant in federal court. Personal jurisdiction, the court ruled, limits transnational cases in precisely the same way it limits interstate disputes. . . .

The ruling flies in the face of congressional will. After all, the law that permitted this lawsuit, the [1992] Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), is unusual. Whereas most of America’s laws govern conduct within America, the ATA is different. . . . Its text specifically authorizes Americans to sue foreigners for acts of “international terrorism” occurring outside the United States and instructs courts not to dismiss suits simply because their location inconveniences defendants [as was done in Sokolow by] the appeals court, which held that the Constitution, through the doctrine of personal jurisdiction, protects the PLO’s fundamental right not to be sued from afar.
The Secret World of the Palestinian Authority
In 2017, the Palestinian Authority's Anti-Corruption Commission received 430 complaints, but only 21 were referred to the prosecution's office, the report noted. "This indicates that the commission, its staff and follow-up mechanisms are slow," it added. "As for the nature of the cases, they ranged from embezzlement to abuse of power to fraud to breach of trust and bribery." The largest proportion of those accused of corruption crimes were employees in the governmental public sector.

The report also took to task the Palestinian Authority for the way it approved its 2017 budget. The full version of the budget was not made public; only revenues and expenditures were presented with no details as to allocations for each ministry. Nor did the budget law include a table illustrating the Palestinian Authority's debts and loans or propose a plan for the collection of payments of these debts and loans. In addition, contributions and investments of the Palestinian Authority in local and non-local companies were also not clarified.

The Western media completely ignores such reports. By doing so, Western journalists are betraying their own people by failing to inform them how their foreign-aid money is being embezzled and squandered by corrupt Palestinian leaders. The Palestinians, of course, are the primary victims in this story. They live in poverty as their leaders scrabble to misappropriate public funds. The lives of the Palestinians could have been much better had their leaders been held accountable for their actions.

For Palestinians, to confront the dictators in Ramallah and the Gaza Strip means nothing short of putting one's life on the line. Yet the same is not true for the international community, including Western mainstream media.

Why, then, do they continue to look the other way as Abbas constructs gilded mansions for himself and his buddies? Perhaps because they are too busy digging up dirt about Israel. But when journalists close their eyes and ears, enabling the theft of American and European taxpayer money by despotic Palestinian leaders who continue to injure their own people, the tinsel begins to tarnish on the golden world of the Palestinian Authority.
NGO Monitor: Amuta for NGO Responsibility: Item 9 General Debate - Oral Statement
In May 2017, the European Parliament adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Association definition of antisemitism. The definition provides examples of contemporary antisemitism including claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor; applying double standards to Israel not expected or demanded of any other nation; and using symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism to characterize Israel or Israelis.

In December 2017, the European Commission adopted an Implementing Decision for its Annual Programme of Action for Palestine, emphasizing that “particular attention will be paid to prevent that EU-supported civil society organisations are also engaged in activities inciting to hatred and/or violence” and conditioning eligibility for NGO funding on strict compliance with EU guidelines on racism.

We commend the EU for taking this important step. The Implementing Decision marks a significant change in EU- NGO funding policies. Previously, this funding was provided all too often to groups that promote antisemitism and incitement to violence under the justification that the EU only funds projects and not organizations.

It is time that the UN adopt similar guidelines. Too many UN-funded events, organizations, and reports, such as what we heard presented to the Council yesterday, include antisemitism and or incitement to hatred and violence. The 2001 UN Durban Conference was one of the worst examples of UN-promoted antisemitism. The Division of Palestinian Rights is another serial offender.
US ambassador: If Abbas won’t negotiate with us, his replacement will
The US administration is delaying the announcement of its Middle East peace plan because it believes the proposal would have a greater chance of success after a new leader replaces long-time Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, a senior Palestinian official was quoted as saying Saturday.

“They [the Americans] know that President Abbas will not accept this plan,” the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper quoted an unnamed senior Palestinian official as saying. “They are betting on the time factor.”

The US administration is preparing for the day when there will be Palestinian leaders in the West Bank and Gaza Strip who “would not be able to reject the peace plan and would have to deal with it gradually,” the official said.

Two weeks ago, Abbas, who turns 83 later this month, reportedly told members of his ruling Fatah party that he does not intend to end his life as a “traitor.”

Referring to Trump’s purported plan, Abbas said, “I have said in the past — and afterward — that I will not end my life as a traitor. [The US] can announce the deal whenever and wherever they want, but nothing will happen against our will.”

Trump has referred to his peace plan, the details of which have yet to be made public, as the “deal of the century.”

Last month, Abbas underwent what his aides called “routine checkups” in a US hospital. Although the aides said the results of the checkups were “positive and reassuring,” unconfirmed reports in Palestinian and Arab media outlets insist that Abbas’s condition has suffered a “major setback” in recent weeks.

Abbas said that the Palestinians would accept nothing less than a Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital, on the pre-1967 lines. “No one in the whole world would be able to impose on us something that we don’t want,” he was quoted as saying.
US envoy says he was misquoted about Washington wanting to replace Abbas
US ambassador to Israel David Friedman on Thursday clarified comments he made during a media interview in which he appeared to suggest that Washington was ready to replace Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

“I was misquoted in various reports stemming from an interview that published today,” Friedman tweeted. “The United States is not seeking ‘to replace’ Mahmoud Abbas. It is for the Palestinian people to choose its leadership.”

In a rare interview directly criticizing the Palestinian leadership, Friedman had seemed to indicate that the White House’s patience with Abbas was running out, and had warned that if Abbas refused to negotiate with Israel and the Americans, others would.

“If Abu Mazen is not interested in negotiating, I am sure that someone else will want to,” Friedman was quoted as saying, in an interview with the weekly religious-Zionist newspaper Shevi’i, referring to Abbas by his moniker.

“If Abbas creates a vacuum, I am convinced that someone else will fill it, and then we will move forward [with the peace process],” Friedman continued. Parts of the interview were released on Wednesday; the full interview will be published on Friday.
Belgian state secretary: No doubt Jerusalem is Israel’s capital
In a departure from Belgium’s official policy, the country’s secretary of state said that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.

Philippe de Backer, whose position in the Belgian government is comparable to that of a deputy cabinet minister, identified Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in an interview published earlier this week for Joods Actueel, the Jewish monthly of Antwerp.

“There is no doubt that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. It’s clear: it’s reality. There’s no discussion on this issue. But we’re in a political context where Europe sees Jerusalem as subject to negotiations toward a two-state solution,” he said.

In December, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel condemned President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The United States intends to move its embassy this year from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Germany defends bid for Security Council seat against Israel
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas rejected on Wednesday criticism of Berlin's decision to compete against Israel for a seat on the U.N. Security Council in 2019 and 2020, saying it was normal for a number of countries to seek representation.

The Security Council is considered the U.N.'s most powerful body, charged with maintaining international peace and security, as well as accepting new members to the United Nations.

The Security Council consists of 15 members, five of whom – the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France – are permanent members and have veto power over its resolutions. Ten rotating members are elected by the General Assembly for two-year terms based on regions: five from African and Asian countries; one from Eastern European countries; two from Latin American and Caribbean countries; and two from Western European and other countries – the bloc to which Israel belongs.

The Security Council presidency rotates monthly among its members.

Israel is the only country in the Middle East that has never sat on the Security Council. Only 66 other countries in the U.N., many of them small island states, have not held a Security Council seat.

Jordanian Minister slams Israel for allowing Jewish ritual near Al Aqsa
Jordanian Minister of State for Media Affairs Mohammad Momani on Tuesday condemned an Israeli decision to allow a Passover Sacrifice celebration by activists and supporters near Al Aqsa Mosque, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

Momani blamed the Israeli government for its “provocative and unacceptable practices [carried out] for well-known intentions."

He said that Israel, as the "occupying power," must comply with its responsibilities under international and humanitarian laws related to the safety and sanctity of Al Aqsa Mosque and any properties of the Jerusalem Wakf Islamic religious trust, instituted by Jordan after Israel’s War of Independence, including the Umayyad palaces south of the mosque where the celebration was organized on Monday, stressing that the venue falls under the jurisdiction of the Jerusalem Wakf Department.

Momani stressed that Israel must cease all such acts that offend Muslims worldwide and would only feed religious conflict and extremism in the region.

In a related development, Momani expressed the government’s absolute rejection of a ruling issued by an Israeli court in Jerusalem, allowing Jews to pray outside the gates of the Temple Mount. He said that the government does not recognize any authority of Israeli courts in east Jerusalem, whose affairs are governed by to the provisions of international law.

Also on Tuesday, the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates issued a diplomatic note of protest to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs for allowing the organization of the celebration.
IDF arrests 2 Palestinians in 4th breach of Gaza border in a week
Israeli security forces on Thursday arrested two Palestinians who infiltrated the Israel-Gaza Strip border. This was the fourth border breach this week.

The two were arrested near the Kerem Shalom crossing in the southern part of the Strip. They were unarmed but were found in possession of tools that can be used for cutting the security fence.

Thursday's incident comes amid heightened tension with Hamas, as the terrorist group ruling Gaza plans to lead a mass march on the border on Friday.

Israeli defense officials expressed concern that the march will lead to violent riots that could escalate into a major confrontation with IDF forces.

On Wednesday, an unarmed Palestinian man was arrested after breaching the fence in the northern part of the border, near Kibbutz Zikim.

Earlier Wednesday, two Gazans set fire to a wooden platform in the abandoned Karni crossing in northern Gaza.
Abbas’ sanctions on Gaza are bad news for both the Palestinians and Israel
Signs of escalation

Many believed that from this point, the reconciliation process would slowly die down, but then two explosions occurred: A physical explosion in the form of a roadside bomb that was detonated near Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah’s convoy, and the second explosion in the form of Abbas’ verbal attack on Hamas at a Palestinian leadership meeting in Ramallah.

Not only has Abbas failed to lift most of the sanctions he imposed on the strip before the reconciliation agreement, but last week he even announced he would step up the measures against Gaza and Hamas. Further sanctions in the current unstable situation in the Gaza Strip will clearly deepen the crisis and the civilians’ distress. Ending the reconciliation agreement on a violent note is bad news for the Palestinians, but for Israel too.

Why does it concern us? Past experience shows that when Hamas detects growing civilian unrest in Gaza which could lead to civil disobedience, it tends to divert the fire towards Israel. This could happen in the form of a new escalation or an attempt to surprise Israel with a significant attack or, alternatively, by giving thousands of Gazans the green light to march towards the Israeli border, thereby pushing the IDF into a corner in which any response would harm Israel. Such a march is already around the corner and is expected to take place sometime between Land Day and Nakba Day.

Signs of escalation have begun both in Gaza and in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, with different terror attacks carried out in recent weeks in both areas: Shooting, car-ramming and stabbing attacks in the West Bank and in Jerusalem, and improvised explosive devices planted on the Gaza border.
Israel warns Gaza bus companies ahead of ‘March of Return’
Israel has warned owners of bus companies in the Gaza Strip not to ferry Palestinians to mass demonstrations that Hamas and other Palestinian groups are planning near the border with Israel on Friday.

Hamas said on Wednesday that several owners of bus companies had received the phone calls in the past few days warning them not to assist in the organization of the protests. The terror group added that Israeli security officers had threatened to take punitive measures against the owners and their companies, including banning them from operating at border crossings with Israel.

Major-General Yoav Mordechai, Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, confirmed that the IDF had warned owners of transportation companies not to assist Hamas in transferring Palestinians to the protests along the border with Israel.

In an interview on Wednesday with the US-based Arabic-language satellite TV channel Alhurra, Mordechai said, “We have contacted the owners of more than 20 bus companies in the Gaza Strip who received money from Hamas to drive the Palestinians to the violent demonstrations. We warned that measures would be taken against the owners and their companies.”
PA stages ‘campaign of arrests’ against Fatah dissidents, critics
Palestinian Authority security forces have arrested several supporters of Mohammad Dahlan, a deposed senior Fatah official and arch-rival of President Mahmoud Abbas.

Dahlan, who is based in the United Arab Emirates, heads a group called the Democratic Reform Trend. It consists of scores of disgruntled Fatah leaders and activists who are strongly opposed to Abbas and his policies.

Some of the leaders of the group recently met in Cairo with Hamas officials to discuss the failing reconciliation agreement between the terror group and Abbas’s Fatah faction.

Some Hamas leaders have indicated readiness to allow Dahlan to become part of a new administration in the Gaza Strip that would be tasked with improving the living conditions of Palestinians and ending the economic crisis there.

On Wednesday, Dahlan’s group accused PA security forces of waging a “frenzied campaign of arrests” against its cadres in the West Bank in violation of Palestinian national values.

The dissident Fatah group complained that officers belonging to the PA’s Preventive Security Service have been raiding homes of Dahlan loyalists and tightening inspections over their activities and movements.
First women's yoga training center opens in Gaza Strip
A small group of Palestinian women in Gaza are stretching their limbs with yoga to help them teach others to cope with the stresses and traumas of living in the embattled territory.

There are few recreational activities for women in the Hamas-controlled enclave that is home to two million people.

Amal Khayal, who teaches the class in a makeshift gym and also heads women's activities for Italian charity Cooperazione Internazionale Sud Sud, said the project was aimed at training some 30 women to teach.

"We are trying to use physical activities to help release psychological pressures so that women here can form a support network for one another," Khayal told Reuters during one of her classes.

Some of the participants are also involved in learning juggling. Nineteen will become yoga instructors and 13 will learn to teach circus tricks, Khayal said, adding that more women had expressed a wish to participate in future classes.
European Union said to reject new sanctions to save Iran deal
The European Union is reportedly unlikely to impose new sanctions on Iran after several countries rejected measures proposals by the United Kingdom, France and Germany that were intended to keep US President Donald Trump from walking away from the nuclear accord.

Reuters reported Thursday that at a closed door meeting a day earlier Italy, Spain and Austria rejected a plan to freeze assets and impose travel bans on some 15 Iranian individuals, companies and groups linked to Tehran’s ballistic missile program and its involvement in the Syrian civil war.

The Italians reportedly said that the move would not be enough to satisfy Trump, who said in January that the 2015 deal between Iran and major world powers would have to be “fixed” by May 12 or the United States would walk away from it, likely ending the accord.

Rome was also reportedly concerned that such sanctions would damage planned €5 billion ($6 billion) investment deals with Tehran.

According to EU rules, such sanctions require unanimous support.
What a Jewish reporter learned from an afternoon with 3 Iranian journalists
Do you feel comfortable leaving your wife and two kids alone with three Iranian men you hardly know?

It was the first question that Mohammad Delavari, a well-known journalist in Iran, asked me at my home last month.

It was not a hypothetical query.

Delavari had contacted me on Facebook to request an interview for a documentary about Israelis and Jews in Europe. Before the interview, I left him and two producers with my wife and kids for 20 minutes while I ran an urgent errand.

As soon as I returned, he noted, accusingly, that “anything could have happened,” suggesting he would never have left three men alone with his wife — a modesty issues for many Muslims, and a safety issue for any two peoples presumed to be on opposite sides of a conflict.

It was one of several fascinating exchanges that I had last month with the three journalists, who are producing a film that for the first time in Iranian television’s history attempts to introduce nuance to how Iranians view Israelis and Jews.

And while our talks revealed some mutual suspicion and radical differences in mentality, the encounter also offered plenty of common ground and rare interaction with devoted and highly professional colleagues who perhaps took a greater risk by visiting me than I did hosting them.

As for my own safety concerns, I had accepted their request for an interview at my home out of curiosity and journalistic solidarity — but not before I had studied my interviewers carefully during an earlier encounter at a public place and was satisfied that they were indeed colleagues.

As the interview at my home progressed, I learned from my guests that they had their own concerns regarding their attempt to put a human face on Israelis and Jews — people who are the subject of a government-led campaign of vilification in their native Iran.

Israel Released Norwegian Rats Carrying Bubonic Plague in Egypt, Develops Ebola
Jordanian TV host Dr. Bakr Al-Abadi said that in 1967, "the Zionist entity gathered all the rats carrying the Bubonic plague in Norway" and released them in Egypt, where they harm crops and children. He also said that they smuggled "chemical fertilizers and rotten seeds" into Egypt, causing great damage to agriculture. "The clear goal is to annihilate the Arab world," he asserted. Al-Abadi, speaking on the Jordanian Prime TV channel on March 13, further said that Israel developed the Bubonic plague and the Ebola virus, and "has harnessed scientific and technological development in the service of its evils and to satisfy its criminal urges."

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