Friday, August 24, 2018

From Ian:

FIFA bans Palestinian soccer chief for inciting violence against Messi
The international soccer body FIFA on Friday banned the head of the Palestinian Football Association from attending soccer games for a year for inciting hatred and violence toward star player Lionel Messi.

Jibril Rajoub called on Arab soccer fans to burn Messi posters and shirts if he participated in an Argentina game in Jerusalem in June. His campaign led to Argentina canceling the World Cup warm-up match.

In its decision, FIFA’s disciplinary committee cited comments by the Palestinian FA president “calling on football fans to target the Argentinian Football Association and burn jerseys and pictures of Lionel Messi.”

Rajoub was banned from attending any soccer matches in an official capacity for 12 months starting Friday.

FIFA decided to begin the disciplinary proceedings against Rajoub in June, after Israel lodged a complaint with the organization over his calls for posters and jerseys of Messi to be burned, as well as his threat to thwart Argentina’s bid to host the World Cup in 2030.

At the same time, FIFA member federations also rejected a Palestinian proposal to amend world soccer’s statutes with a stronger stance against human rights abuses. FIFA members voted 156 to 35 against the motion, which was formally supported by the Iraq and Algeria soccer bodies.

"There is no place for terror in the world of sport!"
Culture Minister Miri Regev expressed her satisfaction Friday with soccer federation FIFA's decision to suspend PA soccer federation head Jibril Rajoub for 12 months. The move came as punishment for Rajoub's calls to burn Lionel Messi shirts and photos, in order to pressure the soccer megastar to cancel a planned friendly match with Israel in June.

"FIFA's management did what was expected of it and what was required of it and ruled that there is no room for terrorists who incite and call for violence in the soccer world," said Regev.

She added that with its decision, "FIFA has torn off the mask of the terrorist Rajoub, and proven what many here refused to recognize: the reason for the cancellation of the friendly game between Israel and Argentina was the well-timed scare campaign mounted by Rajoub and his men, who threatened the lives of Messi and the rest of the Argentinian team – and not the decision to hold the game in Jerusalem."

"There is no room for politics in the world of sport!", Regev stated. "There is no place for terror in the world of sport! Rajoub's place is behind bars and not in the seats of honor in the soccer stadiums and the halls of FIFA."

Facing Reality about the Palestinian Refugees
Many Palestinians continue to claim that the refugees' right of return is inalienable and that, regardless of how long it might take, they will never abandon their historic right. My answer is that the solution to the problem cannot be based solely on the Palestinians' perception of what is historically right or wrong, and that demographic realities on the ground cannot be wished away.

Palestinian leaders have squandered every opportunity to establish their own state. They refused the 1947 UN Partition Plan, rejected the late Prime Minister Golda Meir's offer to return all the territories captured in the 1967 Six-Day War in exchange for peace, and refused to join the Egyptian-Israeli peace negotiations in 1977. Moreover, the Palestinians missed an opportunity to forge peace in 2000 at Camp David, and with the Olmert government in 2008-2009.

Palestinian leaders have betrayed their people by perpetuating the refugee problem for personal political gains while depriving them of every opportunity to utilize their talents, creativity, and resourcefulness. At the same time, tens of thousands of Palestinians who left the country and studied abroad have achieved tremendous success.

Palestinian leaders have had every opportunity to realize statehood, but they misled their people to believe that their salvation rests on Israel's destruction rather than on building the infrastructure of an independent state. Instead, they incessantly engaged in misleading public narratives about the right of return and how the day of Israel's destruction is near. In the process, they are destroying the social fabric of their own communities, from which they will not recover as long as they continue to hold onto this pipedream.
Mr. President: The Palestinians Already Had ‘Their Turn’
President Donald Trump said this week that following the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem, the Palestinian Arabs “will get something very good because it’s their turn next.”

Somebody ought to explain to the president that the Palestinians have already had “their turn” — again and again and again.

They got their turn in 1921, when the British separated the eastern 78 percent of Palestine, declared it off-limits to Jews, and established the Palestinian Arab state of “Trans-Jordan,” whose name was later changed to “Jordan.”

They got their turn in 1937, when the British government’s Peel Commission proposed to give the Arabs a second Palestinian state, comprising most of western Palestine, with a tiny Jewish state alongside it.

They got another turn in 1938, when another British government body, the Woodhead Commission, proposed to give the Arabs an even larger part — and the Jews an even smaller part — of western Palestine.

They got yet another turn in 1939, when the British White Paper blocked off almost all Jewish immigration, precisely at the moment that the Jews in Europe were trying to flee from Hitler. All the British asked in return was that the Palestinian Arabs support the Allies, not the Nazis, in World War II. The Arabs supported the Nazis anyway.

Yet more turns were coming for the ever-coddled Arabs of Palestine.
Democrats, Republicans and the Jewish community
The most distressing part of Soifer’s essay was her attempt to use the Democratic Party’s historic support for Israel as cover for the many anti-Israel Democratic candidates who are rising to prominence in their party.

It’s an undeniable fact that extremist, anti-Israel Democrats have won their party’s nomination for Congress. They include: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY), Leslie Cockburn (VA), Ilhan Omar (MI), Rashida Tlaib (MI) and Scott Wallace (PA). That’s not to mention Rep. Keith Ellison, the Democratic nominee for Minnesota attorney-general. According to Democratic Party leaders, being anti-Israel is acceptable. Democratic Party co-chairman Tom Perez said Ocasio-Cortez represents the “future the Democratic Party.” She and the others mentioned here have the full support of the Democratic Party and, with the exception of Tlaib, the endorsement of Jewish Democratic groups like JDCA and J Street. We have yet to hear Soifer or her organization, the JDCA, oppose the rest of these troubling candidates.

In contrast, when anti-Israel, white supremacist candidates run for office as Republicans, the Republican Jewish Coalition and the Republican Party are quick to speak out. The Republican Party and the RJC have denounced them and denied them any support. Their ideology is evil and such people have no place in the party of Lincoln.

Unfortunately, Soifer has to contend with the fact that Republicans are overwhelmingly more supportive of Israel than Democrats at the grassroots as well. Polls show that Republican support for Israel is near 80%, while Democratic support is less than 30%. We have seen Democrats shifting away from Israel for years, and the partisan gap in support for Israel is now the widest it has ever been.

The RJC will continue to educate and energize the growing Jewish Republican movement in this country. Jewish voters deserve to have a voice in the party that is pro-Israel, supports economic growth and national security, and reflects their values. And that party is the GOP.
Having pulled out of UNHRC, Bolton says US will now cut its funding
US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, said Thursday that the United States will cut funding for the UN Human Right Council and for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, in the administration’s latest blow against the United Nations.

“We are going to de-fund the Human Rights Council,” Bolton said in an interview with the Associated Press, while warning that other UN agencies could also be up for cuts in US funding.

The Trump administration pulled out of the 47-member body in June, accusing it of anti-Israel bias and of allowing countries with poor human rights records to be among its members.

The move announced by Bolton would mean the Human Rights Council will lose one of its largest donors.

Bolton, a frequent critic of the United Nations, served as US ambassador to the UN under George W. Bush’s administration.
Israel hails US for halting Human Rights Council funding
An Israeli minister on Thursday praised US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, for saying the United States would be cutting its funding for the UN Human Right Council and for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“The UN’s human rights bodies have undermined their founding values by becoming hotbeds of anti-Israel extremism, hate and boycott campaigns,” Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said in a statement.

In the US administration’s latest blow against the United Nations, Bolton said earlier Thursday in an interview with the Associated Press: “We are going to de-fund the Human Rights Council.”

He warned that other UN agencies could also be up for cuts in US funding.

“If Ambassador Bolton’s announcement spurs the UN to start investing in exposing the world’s worst violators of human rights, rather than in delegitimizing the Middle East’s one true democracy, millions around the world will benefit,” said Erdan, who is also strategic affairs minister.

UN official: Palestinian refugee issue can't be wished away
The head of the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees on Thursday suggested that the United States slashed his budget early this year to punish the Palestinians for their criticism of the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

But the Palestinian refugee issue will not go away, U.N. Relief and Works Agency Director Pierre Kraehenbuehl warned.

His comments came amid signs that the U.S., with Israeli support, is aiming to abolish UNRWA in an apparent attempt to remove one of the most contentious issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the negotiating agenda.

"One cannot simply wish 5 million people away," Kraehenbuehl said Thursday.

In January, the U.S., the largest donor to UNRWA, slashed some $300 million from its annual contribution, prompting what Kraehenbuehl called an unprecedented financial crisis.

Although he has made up some of the deficit by raising money from other countries, the agency still lacks over $200 million. It recently laid off over 100 people in the Gaza Strip and cut back the hours of 500 other employees. The upcoming school year for hundreds of thousands of Palestinian children across the Middle East has been threatened.
Bypass Abbas, ditch UNRWA
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reminded us once again last week why he and his Palestinian "government" in the West Bank may need be sidelined for sake of peace in the region: because they are corrupt, ossified and obstructionist in every way.

At a meeting of the PLO Central Council, Abbas called on Palestinians to "keep the ground aflame with popular resistance" against Israel – advocating violence, if not terrorism. Abbas' main foreign policy deputy, PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat, led the council in declaring support for "heroic" Hamas-led attacks against Israeli troops and civilians across the Gaza border, while condemning Hamas for negotiating a truce with Israel.

The resolution also savaged the Trump administration for seeking to "destroy the Palestinian national project" and called for ratcheting up BDS campaigns against Israel.

Abbas' actions appear to be driven by his marginalization, with Israel and the U.S.'s Middle East team clearly planning to bypass the PA in favor of a plan to enhance security and economic prospects in the Gaza Strip. This marginalization is also driven by Abbas' self-inflicted wounds, sourced in the fecklessness and growing radicalization of Abbas and his aging coterie.

Abbas has fled from real negotiation and compromise with Israel at every opportunity over the past 15 years. He has espoused maximalist positions, stoked hatred of Israelis and Jews, inculcated a culture that denies Jewish history and national identity, venerated terrorists, and pushed the criminalization of Israel internationally. He has driven most Israelis to the realization that there is no reasonable peace deal with the Palestinians to be had at this time.
Erekat: U.S. encouraging 'settlements'
Saeb Erekat, secretary of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), is furious at the Supreme Planning Council of the Civil Administration's decision to approve the construction of hundreds of housing units in Judea and Samaria.

Erekat said in a press release on Thursday that the construction of additional housing units in the "occupied Palestinian land" is the result of American policy that encourages human rights violations by Israel.

He added that the State Department's refusal to condemn the "illegal colonial plans" gives Israel the green light to continue violating international law in a way that threatens peace and security in the region.

Erekat demanded that Israel be brought to justice by mentioning the report of the UN Secretary-General on the international protection of the "Palestinian people", which is due to be published next week.

"The settlement colonialist expansion in occupied Palestine by the Israeli occupation regime is not only a serious violation of international humanitarian law but a war crime," Erekat charged.

He called on the international community to impose sanctions on Israel until it fulfills its obligations under international law and UN resolutions.
Scott Morrison named new Australian prime minister
Turnbull must now pay a visit to the Governor-General to officially inform him of events and once there will recommend Morrison to form a new government.

Morrison, an evangelical Christian and former immigration minister, who took credit for “stop the boats” — a harsh policy to halt asylum-seekers from entering Australia — is further to the right than Turnbull but not as hardline as some in the party.

Frydenberg, who is Jewish, was first elected to federal parliament in 2010 and in his maiden speech recalled the story of his grandparents’ escape to Australia from Nazi-controlled Europe.

He was sworn into the cabinet in 2013 on a Hebrew Bible given to him by his mentor, the late Sir Zelman Cowen, the second Jew ever to be appointed Governor-General, Australia’s head of state.
Australia’s Ruling Party Now Has A Jewish Deputy…and The Antisemites Are Not Happy About It
Australia has a new Prime Minister, with Scott Morrison replacing the ousted former PM Malcolm Turnbull after a party vote. Josh Frydenberg, who has been energy minister, was elected deputy leader of the ruling Liberal party.

Josh happens to be a proud Jew. So much so that this is what it looked like when he was just sworn in.

Yarmulke on head while holding a Tanakh (Hebrew bible) – this is unprecedented in Australian politics.

Not only that, but last year, he took part in a ceremony to mark the completion of the first Torah to be written in Parliament House.

Besides being a proud Jew, Josh comes from a very Zionist family. My mother tells me that she knew his father, who was a doctor, and “one of the first volunteers to go to Israel during the Six Day War.”

Needless to say, there are those who are not happy at the reality of a Jewish deputy PM. One Jew hater made this known by revising Josh’s Wikipedia entry (click on the image to enlarge):
The revision has since been removed.
Report: Palestinian Authority foils attack intended to derail Gaza talks
Palestinian Authority forces located explosives, near Route 443, which they believe were planted to hinder contact between Israel and Hamas, Ynet reported.

The explosives were located near the Palestinian villages of Beit Liqya and Beit 'Anan, which are in Area C under full Israeli control. This is a route IDF convoys regularly take on their way into Palestinian villages for night arrests and similar operations.

Palestinian Authority Security Forces exposed and dismantled the devices and updated the IDF, according to a source.

The investigation of the incident is in progress, but Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad are suspected of planning the attack. The amount of explosives indicated the intention of the perpetrator was to ensure many casualties.
Study finds surprising reason behind most terrorist attacks
These are only a sample of the findings in an ongoing Public Security Ministry study and were presented at the International Homeland Security Forum convened by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan three months ago in Jerusalem. The figures show the growing prevalence of terrorist attacks committed by Palestinians driven by personal distress.

The key number is surprising: 67% of attackers had a history of mental health problems.

The study was led by Professor Ariel Merari, a psychologist who served as scientific director of research on Palestinian suicide terrorists in the National Security Council from 2002 to 2009, and Professor Boaz Ganor, the founding president of the International Academic Counter-Terrorism Community and executive director of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya. They and their team of Public Security Ministry officials, researchers, psychologists and sociologists worked to investigate and analyze the growing problem of lone wolf terrorists.

They addressed the wave of terrorist attacks that took place between October 2015 and December 2017, and their database includes 700 terrorists who participated in some 560 attacks, alone or with others, but without belonging to or assistance from any terrorist group.

They asked 45 imprisoned lone wolf terrorists to fill out questionnaires and take part in face-to-face interviews. The findings indicate that about two-thirds of the attackers suffered from mental health issues, psychosis, or suicidal tendencies. More than half of those with suicidal tendencies, 54%, said their preferred method of suicide was to die while carrying out an attack.

The Public Security Ministry is stressing that a combination of factors motivated the attackers: psychological, ideological and personal, with the "triggers" that prompted them to act being "geopolitical events, traumatic events, and sometimes, just an urge to imitate other terrorists."

All these factors were "strengthened by calculated incitement," the study found.
Terror without borders
The terrorist who was eliminated in northern Gaza earlier this week after opening fire at IDF soldiers worked as a nurse for the French organization Doctors Without Borders, which operates some 200 workers in Gaza, Kan 11 reported on Thursday.

The terrorist, Hani Majdalawi, was killed by the IDF after opening fire at Israeli forces and trying to infiltrate into Israel.

Col. Sharon Biton, head of the Civil Division in the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), contacted Doctors without Borders to obtain clarifications on the incident. The organization said the allegations were under investigation.

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Major General Kamil Abu-Rukun, wrote on his Arabic language Facebook page, "We wonder how a man who was trained to save lives acquires a weapon in order to cut off lives? Those who are involved in saving lives should help in humanitarian activity in the Gaza Strip and not engage in terrorism."

Doctors Without Borders was founded in 1971 by a small group of French doctors. Every year about 3,000 doctors, nurses, operation personnel and others are recruited for the organization's projects, and it has about 1,000 permanent employees who recruit the volunteers and run the organization. The organization's annual budget is about $400 million.
Doctors Without Borders confirms slain terrorist was an employee
Israel said a terrorist who was a member of the Geneva-based organization “Doctors Without Borders” opened fire at IDF troops on the Gaza border earlier this week, a charge the group said Friday it was investigating, after it had confirmed the death of an employee.

The terrorist was eliminated Monday morning, after he opened fire on Israeli troops. An Israeli tank later shot at and killed the terrorist.

On Friday Doctors Without Borders issued a statement confirming that the slain terrorist had been a member of the group, but said it could not confirm yet that he had opened fire on Israeli troops.

"Doctors Without Borders (MSF) confirms that one of its employees, Hani Mohammed Almajdalawi, was killed in Gaza on Monday, August 20, 2018," the organization said in a statement.

"Doctors Without Borders is working to verify and understand the circumstances regarding this extremely serious incident, and is not able to comment further at this stage.”

On Thursday, Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Major General Kamil Abu-Rukun, slammed the Geneva-based group for what it called “Terrorism Without Borders”.
UN Invites Iran, Russia, Turkey to Talks on Syria Next Month
UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura has invited Iran, Russia, and Turkey to talks on Syria’s Constitutional Committee, to be held in Geneva on Sept. 11-12, a UN spokeswoman said on Friday.

The talks on forming a committee to draw up a new constitution for Syria are expected to be followed by parallel UN talks involving countries including the United States, but she had no date for those.
Netanyahu: EU development aid for Iran a ‘poison pill for the people’
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday slammed the European Union’s financial support package for Iran as a “big mistake” and said it was like a “poison pill” for the Iranian people.

The EU had announced Thursday a first tranche of 18 million euros ($21 million), part of the bloc’s commitment to keeping the Iran nuclear deal alive.

In May, US President Donald Trump withdrew from that deal, and began restoring US sanctions. The move has exacerbated a financial crisis in Iran that has sent its currency tumbling.

“I think that the decision yesterday by the EU to give 18 million euros to Iran is a big mistake. It’s like a poison pill to the Iranian people and to the efforts to curb Iranian aggression in the region and beyond the region,” Netanyahu said, speaking during a visit to Lithuania.

“Iran attempted to conduct a terror attack on European soil just weeks ago… That is incredible,” he told a press conference following a meeting with three Baltic prime ministers — Lithuanian Saulius Skvernelis, Estonia’s Juri Ratas and Maris Kucinskis of Latvia.
US lawmakers urge Iran expulsion from SWIFT banking network
Republican lawmakers are calling for Iran to be expelled from the main financial system that oversees international bank transfers, as the Trump administration steadily re-imposes sanctions on the country following the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.

A group of 16 GOP senators led by Ted Cruz of Texas urged Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin on Thursday to take “all necessary steps” to disconnect Iran from the SWIFT network, which allows financial institutions to send and receive information about banking transactions.

“Quick robust enforcement will be critical for the administration’s maximum pressure strategy to succeed, both immediately to drain the Iranian regime’s resources for malign behavior and as a signal of America’s commitment to maintaining the integrity of our sanctions architecture,” they wrote. “The administration’s maximum pressure campaign will not succeed if the Islamic Republic remains connected to SWIFT.”

SWIFT is short for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. It is based in Belgium, but its board includes executives from U.S. banks and federal law gives the administration authority to act against Iran’s central bank and other banks covered by terrorism and money laundering sanctions.

President Donald Trump withdrew from 2015 nuclear accord in May and re-imposed some sanctions on Iran earlier this month over the objections of Iran and the other parties to the deal, including Britain, France and Germany. A second batch of sanctions will be re-imposed in November.
Nearly Half a Million Afghan Migrants Leave Iran amid U.S. Sanctions, Collapsing Economy
Nearly half a million Afghan migrants have left Iran and returned home since January because of its weak economy, worsened by U.S. sanctions, a report from the Los Angeles Times detailed on Thursday.

Despite the violence and uncertainty within their own country, a record 442,344 Afghans have voluntarily left or been deported from Iran due to its currency crisis and high rates of inflation, which have triggered unrest by reducing the value of people’s savings while driving down wages.

Since January, the Iranian riyal has lost 80 percent of its value as the prices of food and basic goods continue to rise. As a result, anti-government demonstrations have become a common occurrence.

The exodus of Afghans is expected to grow as the effect of reimposed U.S. sanctions begins to affect Iran’s ability to trade and gain foreign currency. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), around 20,000 of the five million Afghans living in Iran are leaving the country every week in search of other opportunities.

“The number of Afghan returnees from Iran in 2018 has been unprecedented,” IOM spokeswoman Eva Schwoerer told AFP this month.

Around half of Afghans living in Iran are living there illegally, mainly working as laborers on construction and agricultural sites. The ongoing economic crisis, combined with a severe regional drought, has dramatically reduced the demand for such work, while their overall spending power continues to slide as a result of inflation.
German-Egyptian Scholar Hamed Abdel-Samad: Arabs Enslaved Africans More Than Any Other Nation Did
German Egyptian scholar Hamed Abdel-Samad dedicated an episode of his Box of Islam show to slavery in Islam. Abdel-Samad said that 29 verses in the Quran endorse slavery and that "the Arabs enslaved the Africans more than any other nation did." He added that while Abraham Lincoln led an army of white men to fight other white men in order to liberate slaves, but no similar initiative was taken by Muslims. The show aired on May 27.

Saudi Official Praises Israel For Allowing Muslim Citizens To Perform Hajj While Other Countries Don’t
A Saudi official praised Israel for allowing its Muslim population to travel to Saudi Arabia for the pilgrimage to Mecca, or Hajj, unlike some Muslim-majority countries, i24NEWS reports.

While the minister of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance Sheikh Abdullatif Bin Abdulaziz Al-Sheikh, did not specify which country he was referring to, it is likely he is referring to Qatar, which reportedly claimed last week that its citizens could not register for the pilgrimage, which is mandatory for Muslims to carry out at least once in their life if they have the means.

“The state of Israel, from what we know of it, has not banned Muslim pilgrims from coming to the Kingdom to take part in their religious obligation, however one of the countries, as we know or have been told, have banned pilgrims from traveling,” Al-Sheikh said.

Despite a government official telling AFP that “registration of pilgrims from the State of Qatar remains closed and residents of Qatar cannot be granted visas as there are no diplomatic missions,” Saudi authorities reportedly deny blocking Qatari pilgrims and claim they are welcome.

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