Wednesday, October 31, 2018

From Ian:

The West Must Stop Fetishizing Palestinian Extremists
He is bare-chested, muscular and not unattractive. A Palestinian flag blazes in one hand, a slingshot is strained taut in the other. All around him is smoke and press photographers. Aed Abu Amro, a 20-year-old Gazan, is rioting on the boundary between the Hamas-run statelet and Israel's southern frontier. Amro, who was snapped mid-rampage on Monday, has stirred that morbid romanticism which draws Western progressives to the Palestinians.

Newsweek gushed of "the now-iconic photo." The New Zealand Herald told its readers the image had "drawn comparisons with the iconic French Revolution painting, 'Liberty Leading the People,' by Eugene Delacroix." There is scarcely an anti-Israel agitator who has not tweeted, Facebooked or Instagrammed the picture. Depictions of heroic resistance rewrite the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a romantic epic in which righteous victims are ennobled by their oppression at the hands of inhuman tormentors.

Amro is the new Ahed Tamimi, the 17-year-old Palestinian jailed for eight months for assaulting Israeli soldiers. In a series of interviews with Tunisian media this month, she said: "We should always be slapping soldiers, wherever they may be, regardless of whether they did anything or not....We, as a generation, will fight for the liberation of Palestine in its entirety."

Tamimi will fight for the destruction of the world's only Jewish state, which is located, for those who still inhabit the fact-based community, on land to which Jews are indigenous, in which they alone have ever been sovereign, from which they were expelled, to which they returned, and upon which a rival Palestinian nationality so defined has staked a claim to nationhood for little more than a century and to statehood for around half that time.

Westerners have little time and even less comprehension for Palestinians who seek comity and compromise, who acknowledge Israel as the state of the Jewish people, who recognize Israel's legitimate security needs and who spurn the self-harming violence of their fellow Palestinians. The peacemakers exist but they do not capture the imagination of remote revolutionaries. They are the wrong kind of Palestinians.

Instead, Aed Abu Amro will be the face of Palestine and Tamimi its voice. The Palestinians will go on being pin-ups and go on being stateless.

Einat Wilf and Adi Schwartz: Is UNRWA damaging the Palestinians?
Shmuel Rosner chats with Einat Wilf and Adi Schwartz, the writers of the book “The War for the Palestinian Right of Return”, about the Palestinian refugees, the right of return and the existence of UNRWA.

Einat Wilf is a writer and a politician who served as a member of the Knesset for Independence and the Labor Party.

Adi Schwartz is a journalist and academic. A former staff writer for Haaretz, he currently works as a freelance journalist for Israeli and international newspapers and magazines. (h/t Elder of Lobby)

Seth Frantzman: Iranian plot to assassinate dissidents in Denmark foiled
Iranian agents plotted to assassinate a leader of a dissident group that fights for the fights of Arabs in southwest Iran.

A Norwegian citizen of Iranian origin allegedly traveled to Sweden on October 21 and was arrested. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo thanked Denmark’s government for arresting the “Iranian regime assassin” on Tuesday.

According to reports in The Guardian and Saudi Gazette, one perpetrator was arrested in the plot. He was taken into custody and extradited to Denmark according to Finn Borch Andersen, head of the Danish Security Service.

The search for the alleged assassin, who was thought to be in Denmark on September 28, led to a major security operation between Denmark and Sweden. The unprecedented action took place as police hunted a Swedish citizen that was apparently seen near the home of a dissident activist from the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz. Denmark closed the Oresund bridge that links Denmark to Sweden and the Great Belt bridge, linking the Danish island of Zealand with the mainland, effectively cutting off Copenhagen and the island around it.

Denmark closed its borders and used dog and helicopters to seek the suspect. Eventually the suspect was found, not in Denmark, but in Sweden on October 21. The suspect had photos of houses and apartments of dissidents from ASMLA. The suspect denied the charges. “We are dealing with an Iranian intelligence agency planning an attack on Danish soil," Andersen said at a press conference. Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen condemned the incident as “completely unacceptable" and Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said that Copenhagen would work closely with the UK and other country to "stand up to Iran."

The plot joins other Iranian-backed attacks and incidents in Europe. On October 26 France expelled an Iranian diplomat over a plot in June to attack an opposition rally. In connection to the same case Germany has backed the extradition of Assadollah Assadi, an Iranian diplomat based in Austria and detained in Germany. He may be extradited to Belgium. In the complex June plot a bomb was supposed to be delivered to a couple who would bomb the opposition event in France. The case spans Austria, Luxembourg, Belgium, Germany and France. In November 2017 an activist named Ahmad Mola Nissi from ASMLA was assassinated in Holland. In September an attack in Iran targeting a military parade was blamed an the Ahwaz movement but Tehran later accused ISIS of the terrorist attack. Nevertheless Iran wants to crack down on opposition groups. It has fired ballistic missiles at Kurds in Iraq and is hunting dissidents online and globally.
Israel says Mossad tipped off Danes to alleged Iranian assassination plot
The Mossad intelligence service provided its Danish counterpart with information concerning an alleged plot by Tehran to assassinate three Iranian opposition figures living in the Scandinavian country, Israeli officials said Wednesday.

The information about Israel’s involvement in the thwarting of the plot was first released to a small number of journalists by a “senior official,” but was later confirmed by others.

According to Israel, the Mossad gave Denmark the information about the Iranian plot to kill three Iranians suspected of belonging to the anti-regime Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz.

The Danish Security and Intelligence Service — known as PET — would not confirm the Israeli claim, saying only that it “cannot comment further on the ongoing investigation.”

Israeli officials have repeatedly stated that the Mossad not only is responsible for preventing attacks against Israeli targets, but also provides intelligence to Israel’s allies around the world.

The intelligence reportedly provided by the Mossad to Danish security services prompted the arrest of a Norwegian national of Iranian origin earlier this month. Denmark on Tuesday also recalled its ambassador to Iran over the incident.
Denmark in talks with allies on possible Iran sanctions over attack plot
Denmark said Wednesday it was consulting with its allies about possible sanctions against Iran after accusing Tehran of plotting an attack against Iranian dissidents living in the Scandinavian country.

“We are going to reach out to our European allies in the coming days to try to find a united response,” Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen told reporters during a meeting of Northern European leaders in Oslo.

British Prime Minister Theresa May expressed her support for Denmark at the meeting.

Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen was to begin contacting his European counterparts on Wednesday to discuss possible sanctions against Iran — most likely economic ones, a diplomatic source told AFP.

“We want to preserve the nuclear agreement,” Lokke Rasmussen said, referring to how possible sanctions would approach the 2015 international accord meant to rein in Iran’s nuclear program.

That sentiment was echoed by the European Union, who condemned the alleged assassination plans but insisted the incident should not undermine Europe’s support for the beleaguered nuclear deal with Iran.

“We deplore any threat to EU security and take every incident extremely seriously, and therefore we stand in solidarity with the member state concerned, in this case Denmark,” Maja Kocijancic, a spokeswoman for the European Commission, told reporters.
Denmark recalls envoy to Iran over foiled attack plot
Denmark on Tuesday recalled its ambassador to Iran after it accused Tehran of plotting a foiled attack against three Iranians living in the Scandinavian country.

“I have decided to recall Denmark’s ambassador in Tehran for consultations… Denmark can in no way accept that people with ties to Iran’s intelligence service plot attacks against people in Denmark,” Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen told reporters.

The planned operation was “totally unacceptable,” he said, adding he was consulting with “partners and allies,” including the EU, about possible sanctions.

Earlier Tuesday, the head of Denmark’s intelligence service PET, Finn Borch Andersen, said his agency believed the Iranian intelligence service “was planning an attack in Denmark” against three Iranians suspected of belonging to the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz.
Israeli Diplomat Calls for ‘Strong’ European Response to Iran After Revelation of Thwarted Denmark Attack
An Israeli diplomat called on Tuesday for a “strong, united European response” to the Tehran regime after Denmark revealed it suspected an Iranian intelligence service had tried to carry out a plot to assassinate an Iranian Arab opposition figure on its soil.

“Now it’s official,” Israeli Ambassador to Denmark Benny Dagan tweeted. “Iran’s death squads have been operating on European soil for quite some time.”
Despite mounting pressure, Netanyahu says Israel seeking to prevent war in Gaza
Israel’s top priority in dealing with the ongoing violence on Gaza is to prevent the infiltration of terrorists into Israel and to prevent the situation from spiraling out of control, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday.

While another large-scale military operation in the Strip might prove unavoidable, it is in Israel’s interest to try to do everything possible, including accepting the mediation and assistance offered by the international community, to prevent such a scenario, he said.

“We are acting first of all to protect Israel from infiltration by people who come to harm us — our soldiers and our communities — and who want to cross the border and kill our civilians and soldiers. We have prevented it thus far,” he told Israeli diplomatic reporters during a briefing in his Jerusalem office.

“On the other hand, we’re trying to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza,” he said. To that end, Israel is ready to accept the involvement of the United Nations, Egypt and other Arab countries in order to bring about a solution, he said.

Egypt has long served as a mediator between Jerusalem and the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, and in recent days Qatar has been delivering fuel to the territory in order to boost the power output there.

Netanyahu’s comments came against a backdrop of ongoing violence at the Gaza border, and a demand by some members of the security cabinet for harsher action.
Israeli Teens Living near Gaza Share Images of Palestinian Destruction on Instagram
Videos of Iron Dome interceptions in the sky. Photos of fields set alight by incendiary kites and balloons. The sounds of red alert sirens waking families from their sleep.

A group of eight teenaged girls from the Gaza border communities want to share their experiences living under fire with the world. And within less than two weeks, their Instagram account about life under fire has gained more than 50,000 followers.

"We, children of the Gaza border communities, live a kilometer away from the separation fence," they wrote on their first post earlier this month. "Because of the situation we are going through, we decided to open an Instagram account that will reveal the daily war that we feel in our region. We don't know if you are involved in the situation but you should know that every day we have incendiary kites, exploding balloons, fires, shelling, tear gas we breath in and choke on - and this is just the beginning."

For the past two weeks, the teens - ages 16-18 - have been sharing video and images of their daily experiences.

Why did the BBC News website erase an accurate statement?
It therefore came as something of a surprise to find that in a report published on the BBC News website’s Middle East page late on the evening (UK time) of October 28th – relating to an incident which had taken place earlier the same evening – BBC audiences were finally informed that:

“Palestinians in Gaza have been protesting weekly along the border with Israel since March.

The protests, orchestrated by the territory’s militant Hamas rulers, are held in support of the declared right of Palestinian refugees to return to their ancestral homes in what is now Israel.”

Remarkably though, some eleven hours after its initial publication that article – titled “Israeli strike ‘kills Gaza youths planting bomb’” – was completely rewritten and re-dated, with all mention of Hamas’ role in organising the violence erased.

The revamped report did however mention the rocket attacks launched two and a half days earlier against Israeli civilians which the BBC had ignored at the time.
Daphne Anson: David Singer: Trump’s Thinking Hints at One-State Solution to the Jewish-Arab Conflict
The King and his Foreign Minister’s gloomy prognostications would disappear in their entirety if that “one-state solution” did not comprise Israel and the entire West Bank – but comprised Jordan united with a Jordan enclave in part of the West Bank.
A Jordan enclave would:
  • Contain possibly 95% of the existing West Bank Arab population – once again being reunified in a single territorial entity with Jordan as existed between 1950 and 1967
  • Enable Jordanian citizenship to be restored to the enclave’s population – as previously existed between 1950 and 1988.
  • Remove apartheid fears – since the Jordan/enclave population would be entirely Arab with family ties extending over the two banks of the Jordan River
  • Be as democratic or undemocratic as the re-united populations wished – as occurred between 1950 and 1988
  • Complete the original two-state solution first contemplated by the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine:
  • an Arab State – Jordan – sovereign in about 80% of the territory of the Mandate -and
  • a Jewish State – Israel – sovereign in about the remaining 20% of the Mandate

Interestingly, Safadi – in answering a question on resolving the seven-year-old Syrian conflict – remarked:

“I think if we all look in the mirror and ask ourselves the question, have we been following the right approach to solving the problem, I think facts on the ground will tell us no. We need not double down on positions that have gotten us where we are now. We need to be more realistic. We need to follow new approaches that will bring about a political solution to that crisis.”

The single bi-national state is neither a fallacy nor a disaster – if both national entities are Arab.

A Jordan enclave in the West Bank – negotiated between Israel and Jordan under President Trump’s auspices – could indeed prove to be the new approach and realistic political solution to ending the 100-year-old Arab-Jewish conflict.

Why the Trump Peace Deal Can’t Ignore Jewish Refugees
For some weeks now, governments and opinion-makers have been waiting with baited breath for Donald Trump to unveil his peace plan for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

We’ve had a foretaste of how he sees the “refugee” issue — a “final status” question that has hitherto been pushed to the back burner in Middle East peace talks. Trump has decided to curtail funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the agency that cares exclusively for Palestinian refugees and their descendants. These are now said to number more than five million. Yet there were no more than 711,000 original refugees, or fewer, according to some estimates. Only 30,000 of these are believed to be still alive.

At about the same time as the Palestinian refugees, a greater number (850,000) of Jewish refugees fled Arab countries. All but 4,500 were forced out by state-sanctioned discrimination, arrests, synagogue burnings, and murderous riots. They abandoned billions of dollars worth of land and property — equivalent to four times the size of Israel itself. Returning to Arab countries would have put their lives at risk; it still does.
PA downplays recommendation to suspend recognition of Israel
Palestinian officials on Tuesday attempted to ‎downplay a statement by the Palestine Liberation ‎Organization's Central ‎Council that the PLO ‎was suspending its ‎recognition of Israel until ‎Israel agrees to acknowledge an ‎independent ‎Palestinian state within the 1967 borders ‎and with ‎east Jerusalem as its capital.‎

In its announcement Monday, the Central Council also said the PLO was ‎suspending all security ‎and economic ties with ‎Israel, as outlined in the ‎‎1994 Paris Economic ‎Protocol.‎

The decision essentially means that the PLO wants ‎to ‎cease compliance with the 1993 Oslo Accords on ‎which ‎the Israeli-Palestinian peace ‎process is founded. ‎

However, officials in Palestinian Authority stressed Tuesday that the ‎announcement was declarative and nonbinding, and said ‎it was doubtful that PA President ‎Mahmoud Abbas would endorse ‎it. Abbas must ratify the council's ‎resolution for it to come into force.
JPost Editorial: Abu Dhabi of gold
‘Hatikvah” played for the first time in the United Arab Emirates this week, as judoka Sagi Muki claimed victory at the Judo Grand Competition in Abu Dhabi. Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev, who was in Abu Dhabi to witness the historic event, congratulated him.

“We made history; the people of Israel live,” she wrote on social media.

Israel has sent its best judokas to compete in the Gulf state. Gili Cohen, Baruch Shamailov and Timna Nelson Levy won bronze medals on Saturday. On Monday, Judoka Peter Paltchik also won gold in the under-100 kg. weight category. Once again, the national anthem played. Regev congratulated him, speaking of his historic journey to Abu Dhabi.

“The members of the delegation proved superiority throughout the contest by winning five medals. The whole team showed a tremendous fighting spirit,” she said.

Ordinarily, a sports competition would come and go without such fanfare. But for Israel, sports in the Middle East and in many Muslim countries has been more about politics than athletics. In 2016, an Egyptian judoka refused to shake the hand of Or Sasson at the Rio Olympics. He had allegedly been subjected to attacks on social media by Islamist extremists who said that shaking hands would be a “shame” for Muslims. Israel condemned the incident as going against the spirit of the Olympics.

In November 2017, an Iranian wrestler threw a match to a Russian wrestler so he wouldn’t have to face an Israeli. He was banned for six months for the behavior, which took place at the U-23 World Championship in Poland. Iran’s regime was pleased with him for his “noble and heroic actions.” Iranians have often refused to compete against Israelis. In Beijing, an Iranian wouldn’t even put a toe in the same pool as an Israeli, and in 2004, in Athens, a judoka refused to compete with an Israeli.
Oman Is Israel's Link to the Middle East
In the fall of 1979, two Israelis carrying foreign passports arrived on a flight to Muscat, the capital of Oman. One was Reuven Merhav, a senior Mossad official who later became the director general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The other was IDF Maj.-Gen. Menachem (Mendy) Maron. "The importance of that meeting was in its very existence," Merhav recounted on Saturday. "These are direct ties, though covert, with an important Arab country." The meeting was one of many between senior Israeli officials and officials in Oman. The ties with Oman opened the door to important covert ties with the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

What does Israel gain from Prime Minister Netanyahu's public visit to Oman on Friday? Oman can serve as a channel to many countries - including Iran, Qatar and Syria. Another hope is that other countries would take courage from this visit and also expose their own covert ties with Israel.

Finally, for Netanyahu, exposing the ties with Oman is another layer in his Middle Eastern strategy, which includes creating covert alliances - and public ones whenever possible - with moderate Sunni nations and movements, in an effort to prevent Iran's spread throughout the region.
Secret no more: Israel’s outreach to Gulf Arab states emerges into the open
It was a scene unthinkable just weeks ago: an Israeli cabinet minister, tears of joy filling her eyes, proudly singing her country’s national anthem at a sports event in the heart of the Arab world.

The spectacle of Miri Regev singing the Israeli national anthem “Hatikva,” which describes the Jewish yearning for a homeland in Zion, was just one in a series of taboo-busting public appearances by Israeli officials in Gulf Arab states that have thrust the once-secret back channels of outreach into public view.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has for years boasted about warming ties with key Arab states that have no diplomatic relations with Israel. But those ties — still largely unpopular among the Arab public — were rarely visible.

That changed on Friday, when Netanyahu made an unannounced visit to Oman, where he met longtime ruler Sultan Qaboos bin Said. It marked the first visit by an Israeli leader in more than 20 years to the tiny Gulf state, a US ally that has in the past facilitated negotiations between the United States and Iran.

“These were important talks, both for the state of Israel and very important talks for Israel’s security,” Netanyahu told his cabinet on Sunday. “There will be more.”
Bahrain writer: We do not need permission to normalise relations with Israel
Bahraini writer Abdullah Al-Junaid has sparked controversy after saying that his country will not ask for anyone’s permission to establish direct and formal relations with Israel.

“If Bahrain finds its interest in this, it will not take permission from anyone,” Al-Junaid said in an interview with Russia Today, adding that the Palestinians must return to what he described as “political reality”.

“Why do they not form political parties instead of armed fronts,” he said.

Al-Junaid’s statements sparked controversy on social media with one user saying he does not represent the Bahraini people.

Bahrain has recently supported Israel’s right to self-defence, after Tel Aviv targeted “dozens of Iranian military positions in Syria”. In return, Israel praised Manama’s support and described it as “historic”.

Read: Palestinian anger over Bahrain-UAE delegation participation in Israel-sponsored race

Israeli media reported late last year that Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa opposes the Arab states’ boycott of Israel and intends to allow citizens from his kingdom to visit Israel freely.
Likud Minister Calls for ‘Peace and Security’ at Dubai Conference
Communications Minister Ayoub Kara called for “peace and security” on Tuesday during a visit to the United Arab Emirates, as Israel launches an unprecedented diplomatic push into Gulf states.

“Peace and security in every state… with economic and scientific progress is what guarantees a future for the coming generations,” Kara, a member of the ruling Likud party, said at a telecommunications conference in Dubai.

Kara’s statement comes amid a diplomatic push by Israel in the mainly Sunni Gulf, which Israel sees as an ally against Shiite power Iran.

It follows visits by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Oman on Thursday and Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev to Abu Dhabi at the weekend.

Neither Oman nor the UAE has diplomatic ties with Israel.

Normalizing ties with Israel — or recognizing it as a state — remains the most controversial policy debate in the Arab world, which largely boycotts Israel over its control of areas Palestinians claim for a future state.

Regev, known for making controversial comments, on Sunday toured the famed Sheikh Zayed mosque in Abu Dhabi — wearing a red full-length abaya and white headscarf and speaking to the camera in Hebrew.

“This is the first time that an Israeli minister is here on a visit,” Regev said, surrounded by a group of people in traditional Emirati dress.
Arabs Fear Warming Ties With Israel Will Cause Democracy, Freedoms (satire)
A high-profile visit by the Jewish State’s Minister of Culture this week to this Arabian Gulf emirate, coupled with a recent trip to Oman by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, have regional leaders concerned that a friendlier relationship with Israel will bring unwelcome consequences to their nations, in the form of civil rights, governmental accountability, and other values that democratic Israel preserves.

Officials in Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and several other states in the Middle East expressed their worries this week in interviews, taking care to couch their warnings in terms of Israeli or Jewish perfidy or ethnocentrism.

“It’s merely a new form of imperialism,” contended one Egyptian minister. “The indigenous peoples of this region are perfectly happy to remain dedicated to hereditary dynasties, whether the heads of those dictatorial dynasties call themselves emirs, presidents, or whatever. If they’re unhappy – which of course they are not unless agitated by outsiders looking to foment and exploit trouble – they can just tell those in power, and in due course those who complain will no longer be complaining.”

“Democracy is a nice word, but it’s a foreign idea that should never have been introduced into the region,” argued a Jordanian prince. “Imagine having to answer to the people or not be reelected? The very thought nauseates me. What the hell to the people know, anyway? Israel’s closer ties to some Arab states might bring certain short-term military, economic, or diplomatic benefits, but you can’t let a virus such as individual liberty into the system. It may never leave.”
Netanyahu likely to attend Bolsonaro inauguration
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is likely to attend the inauguration next month of Brazilian president-elect Jair Bolsonaro, a symbolic step that would signify a dramatic change in relations between the two countries.

According to the Brazilian daily Folha de S.Paulo newspaper, Netanyahu told Bolsonaro of his intent to attend the swearing-in ceremony during a congratulatory phone call he made to the president-elect on Monday

“I congratulated him on his victory,” Netanyahu tweeted of his conversation with the new Brazilian leader. “I told him I’m certain his election will lead to a great friendship between our peoples and a strengthening of Brazil-Israel ties. We are waiting for his visit to Israel.”

Bolsonaro responded by posting on Facebook that “ I’ve just received incredible words from the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu as well as from [Israel's] ambassador Yossi Shelley. Our friendly ties will undoubtedly result in mutual agreements that will surely benefit both of our nations and citizens.”

Bolsonaro, an Evangelical Christian, said during his campaign that Israel would be the first country he visited as president, that he will move the country's embassy to Jerusalem and that he will close the Palestinians embassy in Brazil because Palestine is not a country.
Israel Names its First Female Ambassador to Egypt
For the first time, Israel’s Foreign Ministry has appointed a woman to be its next ambassador to Egypt.

Amira Oron, who previously served as Israel’s chargé d’affaires in Ankara, Turkey, became the highest-ranking Israeli diplomat from 2010 until 2015, when Turkey expelled Israel’s ambassador in the wake of the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident.

She also served as the deputy spokesman and head of the Arab Media Department at the ministry. She will replace David Govrin, who has held the position since 2016.

Three more women were named to ambassadorial appointments in an announcement on Tuesday: Rodica Radia-Gordan, who will be ambassador to Madrid, Spain; Orly Gil, who will be ambassador to Riga, Latvia; and Marina Rosenberg, who will be ambassador to Santiago, Chile.

Radian-Gordon is currently deputy director-general for the ministry in Western Europe, and has previously served in Bucharest and Mexico City. Gil served previously in Nepal and as consul general for Israel in Chicago. Rosenberg has served previously as a political counselor in Berlin.
EXCLUSIVE: American Seized by Palestinian Authority Was Lured Under False Pretenses, Wife Says
A Palestinian-American allegedly involved in the sale of Jerusalem real estate to Jews was lured to Ramallah two weeks ago under the pretense that he was required to sign some paperwork before being abducted by the Palestinian Authority and detained ever since, his wife told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview Sunday.

The abduction came on the heels of a saga involving a piece of real estate in the Old City of Jerusalem not far from the Temple Mount. Last month a Jewish family moved into the house in question, which once belonged to the well-known Palestinian Joudeh family, sparking an angry wave of protests on the Palestinian street, with people calling for the execution of those who facilitated the sale. Indeed, Palestinians who sell land to Jews can face a death sentence, although capital punishment would require specific approval from PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

Ateret Cohanim, a non-profit that settles Jews in the eastern part of the city, bought the Aqbat Darwish plot from Daho Holdings, a company incorporated in the Caribbean. The original landowner, Adeeb Joudeh al-Husseini al-Ghodayya, who despite being a Muslim is the fabled keeper of the keys to Jesus’ tomb site at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, insists he had no idea the plot would be sold to Jews. According to Joudeh, his lawyer Khaled Atari is responsible for the property ending up in Jewish hands. As per documentation at the Israel Land Registry, Atari purchased the house last April and received $17 million — more than six times the original sum — from Daho Holdings in a deal struck that same day, according to a source cited by the Haaretz daily.

Breitbart News has obtained the U.S. passport of the abducted 55-year-old man allegedly involved in the sale, but due to the threat to his life posed by the Palestinian Authority has chosen not to publish his name.

Exclusive: PA signs secret inspections deal with U.N. nuclear agency
In addition to all of their problems – Hamas and Gaza, settlements and the lack of a peace process – fragile Israeli-Palestinian relations face yet another obstacle. The Palestinian Authority signed a draft agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in February, which was confirmed by the IAEA’s board of governors. Yet because the document is classified as “Restricted,” it has not yet been published.

It is revealed here publicly for the first time. Article 2 of the draft agreement states: “The Agency shall have the right and the obligation to ensure that safeguards will be applied, in accordance with the terms of this Agreement, on all source or special fissionable material in all peaceful nuclear activities within the territory of Palestine, under its jurisdiction or carried out under its control anywhere, for the exclusive purpose of verifying that such material is not diverted to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.”

This means that IAEA inspectors have the right to visit every part of the “Palestinian state” and check the safety of radioactive materials, including uranium, which are currently being used for peaceful purposes.

This is the duty and mandate of the IAEA, which was established in 1957 as an organ of the UN to supervise and prevent the use of nuclear materials and equipment for military purposes, while supporting their use for civilian aims, such as medicine, agriculture, industry and more.

The arrangements between the IAEA and its state members are known as “Safeguard Agreements.” These agreements derive from states’ membership in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Any state that participates in the NPT is committed not to develop, produce, stockpile or proliferate nuclear weapons or materials and equipment related to nuclear weapons. Such a state must sign a Safeguard Agreement with the IAEA, which is the “arbitrator” and thus has the obligation and the right to verify that any radioactive and other nuclear materials are indeed being used only for peaceful purposes.
Palestinian convicted of manslaughter, not murder, in 2016 crossfire death
The Judea Military Court on Wednesday acquitted a Palestinian terrorist of the murder of an IDF soldier, while convicting him of manslaughter.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman responded to the decision, saying that he agreed with the dissenting judge and that the terrorist, Mamdoach Yufsef Muhammad Amaro, must be convicted of murder.

On February 24, 2016, Amaro approached the Gush Etzion Junction armed with a knife with the intention to stab one of the Jewish bystanders there, said the court.

According to the decision, Amaro was warned by Maj. Eliav Gelman and other IDF troops to halt, but continued to approach.

Gelman and the other troops fired on Amaro, wounding him and preventing him from stabbing anyone.

However, soldiers firing on Amaro were standing opposite Gelman, and shot Gelman by accident in the crossfire.

In light of the complex circumstances — that Amaro did not kill Gelman and did did not have the opportunity to make clear if his intention was to wound or actually kill — the court split 2-1 in acquitting him of murder.
Al Jazeera: Human Rights Watch Report Demonstrates Palestinian Leadership's Weakness, Inability to Lead
On Oct. 23, Human Rights Watch (HRW) published an extensive 149-page report on the abuses and crushing of dissent by both Hamas in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. The interviews collated by HRW detail some horrific cases of torture. The arbitrary arrests and interrogations of students, activists, journalists and political opposition is characteristic of many despotic regimes in the region. While the report does not reveal anything new - indeed various Palestinian NGOs have long documented this kind of repression - it elevates these extensive and troubling details to an international platform.

The intense development of the security sector in the years following Oslo resulted in security personnel being elevated to politically powerful positions. The merging of the political and security elites created the perfect environment for a police state.

The abuse of power documented in the new HRW report demonstrates the weakness of the Palestinian leadership and its inability to lead their people. The time has come for us to think about what kind of leadership we actually want after Abbas, rather than who comes next.
MEMRI: Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei Inspects Military Foot Drills Depicting Collapse Of The White House
Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei inspected military foot drills performed by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). During the drills, the soldiers sang: "Allah Akbar! Khomeini is our leader!... America, America, death to your deception! The blood of our youth is dripping from your fingers!" An announcer also said: "We will eliminate the regime of injustice... 'Death to America' is the cry of my life!" The drill included a depiction of the White House with a Star of David on top. The White House was labeled "House of Injustice," and the pillars on the front of the White House were labeled "Corruption," "Racism," "Terrorism," "Axis of Evil," "Hollywood," "Dollar," "ISIS," "Genocide," "War," and "Violence."

The drill then depicted the White House being split by a sword, followed by the collapse of the White House and the Star of David. Among those who appear in the video watching the foot drills are: Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei; Commander of the IRGC Major General Mohammad Ali Jaafari; Major General Yahya Rahim-Safavi, who was IRGC chief from 1997 to 2007 and now serves as senior advisor to the Leader Khamenei; and Qassem Soleimani, who since 1998 has commanded the IRGC extra-territorial special forces unit, the Qods Force. The foot drills aired on channel 5 of the Iranian TV on October 16, 2018. For a similar theme in a 2007 marching drill, see MEMRI TV clip no. 1587 Iranian Leader Ali Khamenei Inspect Military Foot-Drills Showing Sword Ripping Through A US Flag Decorated With A Swastika And A Star Of David, October 24, 2007.

South Korean construction giant cancels $521 million deal with Iran
South Korea's Hyundai Engineering & Construction said on Monday that it had scrapped a $521 million deal to build a petrochemicals complex in Iran because Iran's ability to fund the project has been hit by the prospect of U.S. economic sanctions.

Hyundai had signed a contract to build the complex on the Persian Gulf coast, near the southern town of Tonbak, in March 2017. South Korean and Iranian media said the contract was for the construction of the second phase of the Kangan Petro Refining Complex in the South Pars Gas Field.

In a regulatory filing, Hyundai said the consortium it was leading for the project canceled the contract on Sunday.

"The contract was canceled because financing is not complete, which was a prerequisite for the validity of the contract, as external factors worsened such as economic sanctions against Iran," Hyundai said in its filing.

The United States plans to reimpose sanctions against Iranian crude oil exports as part of President Donald Trump’s efforts to force Iran to accede to a more restrictive deal on limiting its nuclear and missile programs.
US Secretary of State Pompeo Calls for End to Fighting in Yemen
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Tuesday for a cessation of hostilities in Yemen and said UN-led negotiations to end the civil war should begin next month.

In a statement, Pompeo said missile and drone strikes by Iran-allied Houthi rebels against Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates should stop, and the Saudi-led coalition must cease air strikes in all populated areas of Yemen.

Yemen is one of the poorest Arab countries and faces the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, exacerbated by a nearly four-year-old war that pits the Houthis against the internationally recognized government backed by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the West.

“The time is now for the cessation of hostilities, including missile and UAV strikes from Houthi-controlled areas into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates,” Pompeo said, using an acronym for unmanned aerial vehicles.

“Subsequently, Coalition air strikes must cease in all populated areas in Yemen,” he added.

The United States helps the coalition by refueling its jets and providing training in targeting. Pompeo said last month that he had certified to the US Congress that Saudi Arabia and the UAE were working to reduce civilian casualties in Yemen.

Three-quarters of Yemen’s population, or 22 million people, require aid and 8.4 million people are on the brink of starvation.
Taliban Spokesman: 5 Men Freed From Gitmo in Exchange for Bergdahl Join Insurgents in Qatar
The five members of the Afghan Taliban who were released from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay in exchange for captured American Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in 2014 have joined the Taliban's political office in Qatar, according the insurgent group's spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid.

The five men will be among Taliban representatives negotiating for peace in Afghanistan, the Associated Press reported Tuesday. Some negotiators in Kabul say their presence is a sign that the Taliban desires a peace pact.

Others, however, believe that the the five men—who have close ties to the Taliban's late founder and leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar—share the same fundamentalist interpretation of Islam that defined the group's five-year rule that ended with the U.S.-led invasion in 2001.

"The Taliban are bringing back their old generation, which means the Taliban have not changed their thinking or their leadership," said Haroun Mir, a political analyst in Kabul. "What we are more worried about is if tomorrow the Taliban say ‘we are ready to negotiate,' who will represent Kabul? That is the big challenge because the government is so divided, not just ideologically but on ethnic lines."

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