Wednesday, June 26, 2019

From Ian:

Alan Dershowitz: How Does Turning Down a $50 Billion Economic Plan Help the Palestinians?
Neither the Palestinian Authority nor the Hamas tyranny over the Gaza Strip are functioning democracies with structures that assure that the opinions of their citizens will be taken into account. But neither could those leaders totally ignore “the street” — Palestinian public opinion. The problem is that the street will not even know what their leaders are denying them unless they become aware of the contents of the U.S. economic plan.

There is no free, independent media on the West Bank or Gaza Strip. Residents can tune into Israeli or international media but they have been taught not to trust either. So it is uncertain whether the Palestinian street will know what their leaders are depriving them of by not engaging with the U.S. and its beneficial economic proposals. It is certainly possible that Palestinian leaders will once again miss an opportunity to help their people and that their people will be misinformed about that missed opportunity.

This may be the Palestinians’ last chance for a peaceful resolution of the long conflict with Israel that has caused so much misery and so many deaths on both sides. When then-Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat turned down the offer of a two-state solution from President Bill Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak in 2000, the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. called Arafat’s decision a “crime” against the Palestinian people. Will Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas commit yet another crime against his people by refusing even to listen or negotiate?

If he were to agree to negotiate in earnest about the proposed peace plan — the geopolitical elements of which will be rolled out toward the end of this year — there is a significant likelihood that the end result of mutual, painful compromises may be a Palestinian state. If he persists in his refusal to negotiate, he and his people will have no one but themselves to blame for the persistence of an untenable status quo.

The U.S. has presented the first phase of its plan. It’s an excellent, fair start. The ball is now in the Palestinian court. They should reconsider their knee-jerk rejection and begin negotiations that may be the only road to statehood.

Bahrain FM to Times of Israel: Israel is here to stay, and we want peace with it
Bahrain sees the US-led economic workshop taking place in Manama this week as a possible “gamechanger” tantamount in its scope to the 1978 Camp David peace agreement between Israel and Egypt, the Gulf state’s foreign minister said Wednesday, also firmly backing Israel’s right to exist.

“We see it as very, very important,” Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa told The Times of Israel on the sidelines of the “Peace to Prosperity” workshop.

Khalifa also stressed that his country recognizes Israel’s right to exist, knows that it is “there to stay,” and wants peace with it.

He said the US-organized conference here, which is focused on the economic aspects of the Trump administration’s Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, could be like Egyptian president Anwar Sadat’s visit to Jerusalem in 1977, which helped pave the way to the Camp David Accords and the normalizing of relations between Egypt and Israel.

“As much as Camp David 1 was a major gamechanger, after the visit of President Sadat — if this succeeds, and we build on it, and it attracts attention and momentum, this would be the second gamechanger,” Khalifa said.

In an interview in his suite at Manama’s posh Four Seasons hotel, Khalifa did not commit to normalizing diplomatic ties with Israel in the near future, but unequivocally affirmed Israel’s right to exist as a state with secure borders.

“Israel is a country in the region… and it’s there to stay, of course,” he said.

“Who did we offer peace to [with] the [Arab] Peace Initiative? We offered it to a state named the State of Israel, in the region. We did not offer it to some faraway island or some faraway country,” Khalifa continued, referring to a Saudi-backed peace framework.

“We offered it to Israel. So we do believe that Israel is a country to stay, and we want better relations with it, and we want peace with it.”
Palestinians: Never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity
Leaders from several Arab nations will gather in Bahrain this week to discuss a 50 billion dollar relief plan and a possible path to peace between Palestinians and Israelis. The economic incentive program for building a future Palestinian state will be discussed at the “Peace to Prosperity” conference, co-hosted by the U.S. government and Bahrain. Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Jordan and Morocco are participating. The Palestinians are boycotting the conference- Israeli government officials were not invited, but a business delegation from Israel will attend.

Under the plan, donor nations and investors would contribute about $50 billion over 10 years, with $28 billion going to the Palestinian territories. States that have absorbed Palestinian refugees int he past will also receive a significant amount of funding. $7.5 billion will be earmarked to Jordan, with $9 billion going to Egypt and $6 billion going to Lebanon.

Among 179 proposed infrastructure and business projects is a $5 billion transport corridor to connect the West Bank and Gaza. The proposed plan will facilitate billions of dollars of investment in Palestinian electricity, water, and telecommunications in an effort to create efficient transmission and distribution networks. Tourism, health care and cultural institutions will also be funded.

The Palestinian Authority is boycotting the conference, although 15 private Palestinian business leaders were expected to attend. President Mahmoud Abbas said focusing on economic issues “is unacceptable before the political situation is discussed.”

Comprehensive peace proposals have been presented to Palestinian leadership many times times in the past, and have all been rejected.

Daniel Pomerantz: How Trump’s Palestinian Proposal Could Reshape The Middle East’s Future
The Palestinian government is boycotting the Bahrain conference, yet Palestinian businessman Mohammed Arif Masad will attend as a private individual. In reaction, his extended family disowned him, stating that he “deviated from the national line and the morals, values and traditions of his family,” and calling him a “collaborator with Israel.” A “collaborator with Israel” is considered in Palestinian society to be a terrible legal and moral crime, the punishment for which is often death by torture.

Masad’s case is just one example that underscores how much courage ordinary Palestinians may be willing to muster in order to build a better future, even in the face of terrifying internal opposition. Could such courage be enough to topple existing leadership and install a more progressive, peace-oriented government? Could such a chain of events lead to actual peace and prosperity?

The answers are unclear, but an evolving desire for real peace by ordinary Palestinians and the Arab world, plus Israel’s continuing desire, are what is truly necessary to bring about historic change.

With Palestinian leadership increasingly isolated for their rejectionism, the face of the Middle East is already far different than the tired media narrative of “Israel versus Palestinians.” In truth, the conflict is closer to a story of Palestinians versus the Arab world, and, increasingly, even the story of a despotic Palestinian government versus its own oppressed people.

The Peace to Prosperity conference might not be a short-term “silver bullet” solution to a decades-old conflict, but a long-term catalyst for meaningful change.
Ben-Dror Yemini: Bahrain is a tired formula that will only fail again
In the 1990s after the Oslo Accords were signed, unprecedented international aid was raised for Palestinians but that did not stop them rejecting the peace plans drafted by then-prime minister Ehud Barak and U.S. president Bill Clinton and embarking on a violent uprising that lasted for many years.

The Palestinian economy is reliant on aid. They in fact lead the charts in the amount of aid per capita.

When you add the UNRWA funds to the mix you get massive amounts of money, making the funding proposals expected to be discussed at the Bahrain workshop small change compared to the amounts they have already received.

Israel too received massive amounts in military aid from the United States, but has used the funds to develop its military and its economy - and not to maintain the role of victim.

So while the workshop in Bahrain should be commended and even cheered, one must ask what has changed to make anyone think that the Arab nationalism and incitement of today will lead to any outcome other than the Arab nationalism and incitement of the past.
Palestinians "Not Willing to Give Up Their Misery," Israeli Historian Says
The Palestinian leadership should sign on to the US economic development plan and worry about their political status later, Hebrew University of Jerusalem Historian Gadi Taub told FRANCE 24.

Palestinians are wrong to reject the $50 billion US blueprint to rebuild the Palestinian economy, which US presidential advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner said is a precondition to peace in the region, Taub said.

“This is five times more than what it took to reconstruct Japan after World War II,” he said. “If they stop sinking money into terror tunnels and corruption, they can have Singapore in Gaza.”

Taub contended that, despite what they say, the Palestinians are not truly interested in statehood. “I think they’re not completely honest about it because in our world of moral kitsch, where victimhood is moral justification for everything, I think the one asset the Palestinians are not willing to give up is their misery,” he said. “They have a leadership that is keeping them at a state of perpetual victimhood.”
Kushner to Palestinians: Stop blaming others for your misfortunes
US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, appealed Tuesday for the Palestinians to consider a $50 billion economic support plan, even though they already rejected the proposal because it does not include a political resolution to the long-running conflict with the Israelis.

Kushner, speaking at a conference in Bahrain, defended the proposal as the foundation of any eventual peace plan. Meanwhile, Palestinians protested the plan in the streets of the West Bank, Gaza and elsewhere.

The president’s son-in-law sought to defend his long-anticipated plan at the start of a two-day workshop aimed at building support for a program to combine private investment and support from regional governments to transform economically challenged Palestinian communities.

“One who is more hopeful and sees an opportunity for his or her family will put energy into pursuing opportunity, instead of blaming others for their current misfortune,” Kushner said. “That is why agreeing on an economic pathway forward is a necessary precondition to what has previously been an unsolvable political situation."
FULL: Kushner's Opening Remarks at Bahrain Conference
Despite heavy Palestinian protest, the U.S. proceeded with its Peace to Prosperity summit in Bahrain. Leading the campaign to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resolution through economic means is Trump's son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner. He made the opening remarks at the Bahrain conference.

IMF’s Lagarde Says West Bank, Gaza Growth Must Be Focused on Jobs
Growth in the West bank and Gaza must be focused on jobs, the head of the International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday, at the start of a conference on the Trump administration’s $50 billion economic plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Business leaders and politicians have gathered in Bahrain to discuss the plan that Washington says is vital to ending the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but which Palestinian leaders have dismissed as pointless without a political solution.

“One of the really good aspects of the plan … is that it identifies some of the sectors, some of the industrial and economic sectors, that will be conducive to jobs,” IMF managing director Christine Lagarde said during the opening session.

“It cannot be any kind of growth in the West Bank and Gaza, it needs to be job intensive,” she added, listing agriculture, tourism and construction as sectors that “will absorb a lot of labor.”

The IMF expects the Palestinian economy to contract by 1.6% this year and says unemployment stands at 30% in the West Bank and 50% in Gaza.

“There is an economic plan, there is urgency: it is a question of making sure that the momentum is sustained,” Lagarde said.
What the Bahrain Conference Means for Arab-Israeli Relations
Israel is looking for normalization with the Arab states, despite pushback on the matter over the Palestinian issue. Will the Bahrain conference help bring the parties closer together? Rabbi Marc Schneier discusses with reporter and anchor Nurit Ben.

NYTs: In Bahrain, U.S. Tries to Promote Mideast Peace through Prosperity
Business executives, billionaire investors and Middle East diplomats gathered in Bahrain on Tuesday for a White House-led, two-day "Peace to Prosperity Workshop." "One who is more hopeful, and sees opportunity for his or her family, will put energy into pursuing opportunity, instead of blaming others for their current misfortune," said Jared Kushner, leader of the U.S. Middle East peace initiative. Alluding to Palestinian leaders' mockery of the Trump peace plan as the "deal of the century," Kushner said his economic proposal would be "the opportunity of the century, if the leadership has the courage to pursue it."

The fact that the conference was getting underway raised hopes for increased cooperation between Israel and its Arab neighbors. "It's been going on for years under the table, but the table seems to be levitating, because it's very crowded under there," said David Makovsky, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy who was involved in the Obama administration's effort to broker peace in 2013 and 2014.
Jared Kushner on Israel-Palestine deal: Time to try something new | Talk to Al Jazeera
Senior adviser to the US president discusses Trump's plan for economic growth and peace in the Middle East. US President Donald Trump's "deal of the century" - his administration's proposal for solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - kicked into gear in Manama, Bahrain this week as officials from the region gathered for the so-called 'Peace to Prosperity' workshop. Already, sceptics are voicing concern, saying the American side is using money to bribe the Palestinians. The initial economic stage of the deal hopes to drum up $50bn in investment, money that primarily is expected to come from other Arab nations, principally in the Gulf.

Palestinians Missing Opportunity by Skipping Bahrain Summit?
Former Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Aba Iban once said that the Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Did the Palestinians miss one by not coming to the Bahrain conference? Palestinian Peace Coalition head Nidal Foqaha and former Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Head of Policy Planning Eran Etzion discuss with host Calev Ben-David.

On fringes of peace confab, rare prayer service brings Bahrain synagogue to life
Businessmen, reporters, five rabbis and a senior White House official held rare morning prayers at the only officially declared synagogue in the Gulf Wednesday, on the edges of a peace conference being held in the tiny gulf kingdom that was once home to a thriving Jewish community.

At the end of the service, which took place on the sidelines of the US administration’s economic peace workshop held in Bahraini capital Manama, the men, clad in prayer shawls and phylacteries, broke out in song, walking around the bimah and singing “Am Yisrael Chai” — the people of Israel live.

The rare service was organized by this Times of Israel correspondent, with the help of Bahraini diplomat Houda Nonoo, who is Jewish, and the approval of authorities in Manama.

Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center led prayers. After the service, one of the worshipers gave a sermon about the weekly Torah reading.

Prayers are not held on a regular basis at the synagogue, and are usually even closed for holidays and opened only for special occasions. The building housing the synagogue is unmarked.

Among the worshipers were Jason Greenblatt, US President Donald Trump’s special adviser for Middle East peace; interfaith activist Rabbi Marc Schneier; Middle East scholar David Makovsky; New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief David Halbfinger; and a handful of Israeli businessmen and reporters attending the conference.
In Bahrain, FIFA chief promises more Palestinian soccer fields
The head of FIFA promised Wednesday to build more soccer fields in the West Bank and Gaza as he joined a US-led economic workshop in Bahrain on drawing investment.

Gianni Infantino, president of world soccer’s governing body, took part in the Peace to Prosperity conference led by US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner despite a boycott by the Palestinian Authority, which fears a bid to impose a political solution through money.

“Let’s give, to be very concrete as well, some hope, some dreams,” Infantino said.

Joining a panel led by Thomas Barrack, an Arab-American real estate investor and vocal backer of Trump, Infantino said the West Bank and Gaza had fewer than 25 proper soccer fields for a population of five million.

“We will do our part at FIFA,” he said.

“Let’s do something tangible and concrete that people can see, and when kids play football, first they smile and, secondly, they don’t do other things.”
PMW: PA top officials support terrorist murderers They are "before all" and second only to Allah (June 26, 2019)
While 39 countries are gathered in Bahrain to discuss how to bring economic prosperity to the Palestinian Authority, the PA itself is in fact the greatest obstacle and reason for its own financial crisis. Uncompromisingly, PA Chairman Abbas keeps prioritizing financially rewarding murderers and terrorists with "pay-for-slay" salaries rather than spending PA money where it is needed and would do good. Palestinian Media Watch has documented that PA leaders are backing the decision to continue the payments - even at the expense of ordinary law-abiding Palestinian citizens.

Recently, three PA top officials emphasized their support for the imprisoned Palestinian murderers and terrorists. One of them is the head of the PA General Intelligence, Majed Faraj, who described murderers and terrorists who have killed and attacked Israelis as "the most honorable, the best, and the most supreme among us." Faraj, who has been mentioned as one of Abbas' possible successors, went on to say that the dead and imprisoned terrorists are second only to Allah:

Head of PA General Intelligence Majed Faraj: "We are with you in Hebron today on behalf of our brother, our beloved, and our leader [PA President] Mahmoud Abbas... We came today to the Ramadan fast-breaking meal of [the families of] the Martyrs and the prisoners... [They are] the most honorable, the best, and the most supreme among us. After our faith in Almighty Allah, we bow before the Martyrs and prisoners... On behalf of all of you, and on behalf of the Fatah Movement, we say good evening, my brother Marwan Zalum (i.e., terrorist, responsible for the murder of at least 7)... We say to these Martyrs... convey greetings to our leaders Yasser Arafat, Abu Jihad, Abu Iyad."
[Facebook page of the PA General Intelligence, June 1, 2019]

PA Mufti about terrorists: “We prioritize them over ourselves”
Official PA TV host: “Our entire current battle is for the prisoners…" PA Mufti Muhammad Hussein: "We greet them… We ask Allah… to pave the way for their release... It is absolutely clear that the entire Palestinian people – everyone for sure – supports the prisoners, their just cause, and this truly heroic struggle, for which we ask that Allah decree a reward for them. Accordingly, their salaries and what is related to them – we support them completely… We prioritize them over ourselves and say: The prisoners, the wounded, and the Martyrs too, are before all." [Official PA TV, Religious Rulings, May 20, 2019] Muhammad Hussein also holds the positions of Palestinian Supreme Fatwa Council Chairman and Deputy Secretary-General and acting Secretary-General of the PLO Popular National Conference of Jerusalem.

PMW: Palestinians against Trump: Trump doll hanged and burned, Trump is a Nazi, his “Deal of the Devil” is dead
Abbas' Fatah Movement is publishing numerous photos from Palestinian demonstrations against the current Bahrain Conference that discusses economic aspects of US President Donald Trump's Middle East peace plan. The demonstrations, the slogans and posters, and Fatah's visual coverage of the protests emphasize the Palestinian hate towards Trump, the US, and Israel, as well as the Palestinian rejection of Trump's Middle East peace plan - the so-called Deal of the Century - and the Bahrain Conference.

At a demonstration organized by the PLO in Bethlehem, at which Bethlehem District Governor Kamel Hamid was present and gave a speech, Palestinians hung an effigy of Trump on the gallows and later burned it as seen in the photo above and here:

The effigy's face is a picture of Trump's face, and it is wearing a wig meant to resemble Trump's hair. A Palestinian flag is waving next to the effigy and a man is holding a sign:

Text on effigy's shirt: "The Deal of the Century" and "The Bahrain Conference"
Text on sign: "Despicable Trump, your talk is like your urine. Shut up."
[Facebook page of the Fatah Movement - Bethlehem Branch, June 25, 2019]

At another event, a Palestinian dressed as former PA leader Arafat burned a poster portraying Trump with red satanic horns and a swastika on his forehead and with US and British flags with swastikas and a blue Star of David over them (above). In another photo, Trump is crossed out with a red "X." Trump's peace plan is referred to as "the Deal of the Devil":

Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinian Authority: Bahrain workshop aims to establish 'emirate' in Gaza
The US-led economic workshop in Bahrain aims to pave the way for the establishment of a Palestinian “emirate” in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian Authority presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaineh said on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Palestinian protests against the Bahrain workshop continued in different parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip for the second consecutive day. Organized by the ruling Fatah faction and several Palestinian groups, the protests are expected to continue on Wednesday.

Deputy Fatah chairman Mahmoud al-Aloul told protesters in Nablus that the Arabs participating in the workshop have “stabbed” the Palestinians in the back. “Our message to those who we call our [Arab] brothers: “Your stabs in our back have increased. Stop tampering with our cause,” he said.

The Palestinians, he added, “Will continue to consider the US and Israel as our enemy.”

Speaking hours before the launching of the workshop in Manama, Bahrain, Abu Rudaineh said that the “emirate” would be expanded and separated from the West Bank.
The Fate of Palestinians Who Attended Bahrain Summit
A number of Palestinian business leaders attended the Bahrain summit to hear Jared Kushner's proposal. With Palestinians angry in the West Bank and Gaza over their attendance and the summit itself, what will be the fate of these businessmen? Former Palestinian Minister Ashraf Al-Ajrami and Hebron settlement representative Yishai Fleisher debate.

It Would Violate Our Dignity To Improve Our Economy By Mahmoud Abbas, President, Palestinian National Authority (satire)
The Trump administration’s upcoming conference in Bahrain will go nowhere because it denies the Palestinian people the dignity they maintain through living on international handouts, refusing to develop a sustainable economy, avoiding democratic development at all costs, and remaining a byword for the empowerment of extremism and political violence.

Nothing constructive will occur in Bahrain without acknowledging Palestinian demands for the right to kill Jews as a method of political expression, or just because we can. To deny that right denies historical realities that lie behind our national ethos, and thus denies our identity. Moreover, alleviating the economic malaise that plagues our people removes perhaps the most important piece of leverage in the international community that we wield in our struggle to undo the Nakba of 1948. No credible Western donor or group will give us hundreds of millions of dollars every few months if our people display prosperity. Unless we keep the vast majority of our people in dire financial straits, we can harbor no hope that other nations will pressure Israel to adopt one self-destructive step at a time on the road to our ultimate victory. The Bahrain summit seeks to deny us that leverage, and thus betrays its lack of legitimacy.
The Israel-Jordan Peace Is a Strategic Success Not to Be Taken for Granted
This fall will mark the 25th anniversary of the signing of the peace treaty between Jerusalem and Amman. Since then, there has been extensive military and security cooperation between the two countries, along with major economic benefits to both. Yet numerous joint projects suggested at the time of the treaty’s signing and over the intervening years have for the most part come to naught, and ordinary Jordanians remain deeply suspicious of their western neighbor. Joshua Krasna writes:

The relationship between Jordan and Israel is predominantly a strategic one. . . . For each, the relationship with the other is one of its most important strategic assets. The two states share not only a long mutual border but also a pro-Western orientation and, for decades and despite numerous regional changes, very similar threat perceptions. . . . The PLO and the radical Palestinian organizations were for decades a mutual enemy, and in the past two decades, the two neighbors have both faced [in the West Bank] an unstable political entity between them, and they especially fear the rise of Hamas or other radical Islamist groups to power there. [More generally, Israel and Jordan share a] fear of radicalism, whether of the Nasserist, the Shiite radical, or the jihadist variety.

On the political side, [however], the peace is not popular in Jordan, where the majority views it as “the king’s” rather than their own. Little preparation of public opinion was done before its announcement, which came as a surprise to the Jordanian population and elites. Opposition to the peace treaty serves as a glue of sorts for the opposition’s disparate components, and as a socially and politically acceptable vehicle for criticizing the ruling family. . . .

The “anti-normalization” campaign, led by the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated professional associations, parts of the media, and the parliament, is one of key characteristics of the wider relationship between the two states. It limits the . . . non-leadership and non-security aspects of the relationship, and singles out individuals and organizations that engage with Israel or Israeli entities and individuals for public naming and shaming. The campaign has to a large extent isolated the Israeli embassy from contact with its usual interlocutors in elite, intelligentsia, and business circles. . . .
Chile president apologizes for visiting Temple Mount with PA officials
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera apologized Wednesday to President Reuven Rivlin for visiting the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City accompanied by Palestinian officials, Rivlin’s office said.

Pinera’s visit to the site on Tuesday was protested by the Israeli Foreign Ministry, which said the presence of Palestinian officials undermined Israel’s sovereignty over the eastern part of Jerusalem.

According to the Foreign Ministry, the two countries had agreed beforehand that Pinera would not be accompanied by any Palestinian officials.

An official source in the Chilean delegation said the visit was a “private” one, in which “formally, only the delegation from Chile participated.”

The Temple Mount is in East Jerusalem, which Israel says is part of its undivided capital and which the Palestinians claim as part of their future state. Israel’s sovereignty over the eastern half of the city is not recognized internationally.

In public remarks ahead of his meeting with Pinera, Rivlin did not refer to the Chilean president’s visit to the Temple Mount but stressed Israel’s connection to Jerusalem.
Tunisia’s Jewish tourism minister condemns Israeli tourists’ praise for IDF
Tunisia’s tourism minister, who is the country’s first Jewish official carrying a ministerial post, denied claims of “normalization” of ties with Israel and condemned Israeli tourists’ expression of support for their troops.

René Trabelsi, who was appointed last year, was reacting in an interview published Monday to a scandal that erupted this month in Tunisia following the surfacing on social networks of a video filmed by an Israeli television crew in May. In it, Israeli tourists of Tunisian origins are seen singing “long live Tunisia, long live Israel” and one woman saying: “God bless all of Israel’s soldiers” as others cheer.

The tourists were bound for the traditional festive procession near the El Ghriba synagogue on the Tunisian island of Djerba. It takes place on or around Lag B’Omer, a break during the weeks of semi-mourning between Passover and Shavuot, and draws hundreds of Tunisian Jews and visitors from Israel.

Following the video’s publication, an anti-Israel group staged a protest in Tunis the capital against the pilgrimage, urging the government to stop it and calling it normalization with Israel. Dozens attended the protests, which organizers said were also aimed at pressuring Trabelsi to resign.
Israel cyber spying helped foil terror attacks in ‘dozens’ of countries, PM says
Israel has used cyber-intelligence to help foil “major” terror attacks planned by the Islamic State terror group and others in “dozens” of countries, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a cybersecurity conference on Wednesday in Tel Aviv.

Netanyahu said at the conference that Israel had, for example, helped foil an IS attack on an Etihad Airways flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi, and alerted Australian officials, helping thwart an explosion in the air. Etihad is the national airline of the United Arab Emirates.

“That plane from Sydney to Abu Dhabi was going to be exploded in midair,” he said. “We found out through our cyber activities, we found out that ISIS was going to do this and so we alerted the Australian police and they stopped this, before it happened.”

“This particular incident, I can talk about,” Netanyahu said. “If you multiply that 50 times, that will give you an idea of the contribution that Israel has made to prevent major terrorist operations, especially from ISIS, in dozens of countries and most of those cases were foiled because of our activities in cybersecurity.”

“This affects every country in the world, every person in the world,” he added.
COGAT tells Palestinians terrorism is what cuts their electricity short
The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Maj.-Gen. Kamil Abu Rokon shared a video telling the Palestinians in Gaza that terrorism prevents them from having increased electricity hours.

"Between 85 and 75 tankers of fuel enter the Gaza Strip each week, which helps significantly increase electricity hours. Terrorism prevents you from having that," the video explained.

The video was released after COGAT announced on Tuesday that it will stop the transfer of fuel into Gaza following the 13 fires that broke out in Gaza border communities throughout Monday morning.

The statement released by COGAT also claimed that no more fuel will be delivered until further notice.

Gisha, an Israeli non-profit organization, founded in 2005, whose goal is to protect the freedom of movement of Palestinians, condemned the move, claiming it is "cruel, illegal, and immoral."

In a letter sent to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit and Rokon, Gisha called for the decision to be reversed immediately, claiming it constitutes illegal collective punishment.

"There is no justification for the decision to stop fuel supply to Gaza's power plant. Israel must reverse this wrongful and illegal measure immediately and renew transfer of fuel to the Strip," the letter read.
Oman announces plan to open embassy in Ramallah
The sultanate of Oman on Wednesday announced it will open an embassy in the West Bank, in the city of Ramallah.

A tweet from the Omani Foreign Ministry announced the embassy plans. The ministry said the decision comes "in continuation of the sultanate's support for the Palestinian people."

The tweet did not specify when the embassy would be expected to open.

Oman, on the eastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula, runs its own foreign policy, often at odds with its Gulf Arab neighbors, such as maintaining close ties to Iran.

Sultan Qaboos bin Said also hosted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last October – the first visit by an Israeli leader in over 20 years. In 1996, Prime Minister Shimon Peres visited Oman.
UNRWA raises $110 million for Palestinians on same day as Bahrain summit
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) raised $110 million for Palestinians at a pledging conference in New York Tuesday, on the same day that the US held an economic workshop for Palestinians in Bahrain.

The agency, which services the Palestinians, still needs another $101 million to address a deficit in its $1.2 billion budget for 2019.

Although the funds raised fell short of covering that deficit, the sum raised is significantly higher than the $40 million raised at last year’s pledging conference, according to UNRWA commissioner-general Pierre Krahenbuhl.

“We need more money than that [$110 million], but it is an important step,” Krahenbuhl told reporters at UN headquarters in New York.

UNRWA services 5.4 million Palestinian refugees in Gaza, the West Bank, east Jerusalem, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. It is chronically in need of funds, but the crisis has been more acute now that the US has halted its annual $360 million contribution to the organization.

Will Iran's Attacks on the US and Allies Escalate?
Iran's overt attacks included shooting down a United States military drone. The head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami, threatened that shooting down the drone was a warning to the U.S. He added that, "the only way for our enemies to be safe is to respect our sovereignty, national security, and the national interests of the great Iranian nation".

On several occasions, the Trump administration invited Iran to the negotiating table in an attempt to deescalate tensions. It is Iran that rejects the talks and continues to act aggressively, all while openly threatening the U.S. and its allies.

In a tweet mentioning Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Iran's Supreme Guide Ali Khamenei wrote:

"You said Mr. @abeshinzo, that Trump has said negotiations with the U.S. would lead to Iran's progress. By the Grace of God, without negotiations & despite sanctions, we will progress."

In a meeting with Abe, Khamenei also pointed out that, "I do not consider Trump, as a person, deserving to exchange messages with. We will not negotiate with the United States."

Why, therefore, are the critics of the Trump administration so extremely quick to condemn the president, while they are comfortable disregarding Iran's attacks? Do they expect the U.S. to sit idly by, watching while the Islamic Republic carries out flurries of offenses across the region? Do they expect the U.S. to turn a blind eye as Tehran attempts to further destabilize the region in order to impose insecurity and fear worldwide, and advance its revolutionary and parochial interests? How many people must be threatened, tortured, or slaughtered, before Trump's response will be deemed warranted?
MEMRI: Editor Of Pro-Hizbullah Lebanese Daily: Iran And U.S. Are Already At War, Which Mandates Considering Attacks On All Western Interests In The Region
In a June 14, 2019 article in the pro-Hizbullah Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar, the daily's editor, Ibrahim Al-Amin, addressed the prevailing concerns about a possible direct military confrontation between the U.S. and Iran, stating that what is currently happening between the two countries is already "a war in every sense of the word." He stressed that the recent attacks on Western interests in the region were only an "initial response," far smaller than the likely future response to America's deeds, and called to "consider destroying all Western interests in Lebanon and the region." Al-Amin also noted the panic in the oil-dependent Gulf states following the recent attacks on oil facilities and tankers, assessing that such attacks will continue and grow worse. He assessed that the U.S. calls for negotiations are just a ruse intended to buy time to improve America's military readiness, and therefore that Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei was right in firmly refusing to negotiate.

The following are excerpts from his article:[1]
"Those who fear a direct confrontation between the armies of Iran and the U.S. are pretending that what is happening right now is not an actual American war against Iran and against its allies and everyone who cooperates with it. The great media machine [also] insists that anything less than an [actual] military confrontation cannot be described as a war. There are two camps [in terms of the approach to such a war]:. [America's] collaborators and partners, including Europe, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, who do not want the war to remain confined to the economic and security levels, but firmly demand to shift it to the military level, in hopes of eliminating their primary enemy, Iran. The second camp includes [some Iranians and their supporters], who say that the vindictive [U.S.] sanctions and pressures can be withstood [without resorting to force] until a conflagration has occurred.

"But the truth is that, for [Iran, the side] under attack, what is currently happening is a war in every sense of the word, and this aggression must be confronted by every means... In difficult times, like the current period in the region and the world, [we] must not succumb to the pressure of Western threats to move to the military level of war. Rather, we must act with full force to confront every kind of war, on every level. This does not necessarily mean that we are headed for a military war, but it would be naïve not to realize that the blows being delivered to the interests of the West and its allies in the region are [only] an initial response [by Iran and its allies], and do not reflect even the minimal response that is likely to [be triggered by] the actions of the greatest of tyrants [i.e., Trump]...
Iran Executes Defense Ministry Staffer Over Spying for CIA
Iran has hanged a former staff member of the Defense Ministry’s aerospace division on charges of spying for the CIA, the Associated Press reported Saturday.

Iranian authorities confirmed an earlier report by the watchdog group Iran Human Rights (IRH) that said Seyyed Jamal Haji-Zavareh had been executed last week on charges of “spying for an enemy state and the CIA.”

Haji-Zavareh was executed at the Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj, west of Tehran, after he allegedly confessed in court that the CIA paid him to spy on the Iranian regime.

State media charged that the accused “explicitly confessed to spying” in return for money, adding that “documents and espionage devices were found at his house.” His wife was also sentenced to 15 years in prison for her alleged role in the operation.

Prior to his arrest in September 2017, Haji-Zavareh was an employee of the aerospace division of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), an entity designated by United States as a foreign terrorist organization that is heavily involved in the development of Iran’s nuclear program.

Israeli F-35s train alongside US, UK in first international exercise
F-35 fighter jets from Israel, the United States and United Kingdom conducted training flights over the Mediterranean Sea Tuesday in the Israeli aircraft’s first-ever international exercise, the military said.

This marked a significant show of military cooperation between the three countries.

The Israel Defense Forces received the fifth-generation stealth fighter from the United States’ Lockheed Martin defense contractor in late 2016 and declared it operational roughly a year later. In 2018, the Israeli Air Force revealed it had used the F-35 operationally — including at least once over Lebanon — making it the first military in the world to do so.

On Tuesday, the United Kingdom said its F-35 fighter jets had also conducted their first missions, flying sorties over Iraq and Syria as part of the fight against the Islamic State terror group.

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