Thursday, February 13, 2020

From Ian:

Isi Leibler: Our Age of Miracles but Possible Lost Opportunities
Three months ago, who could have dreamed that we would be in such an extraordinarily good position? The Trump government had already established itself as the most pro-Israel American administration in history and publicly assumed the role of a genuine ally.

For the first time, a US administration has rebutted the false Palestinian narrative and exposed their duplicity at the international level, including the rabidly anti-Israel United Nations. It terminated aid that was being channeled as stipends to terrorists and their families and repudiated the nauseous theme of moral equivalence between murderers and their victims. Trump’s policies on Iran, Jerusalem, the Golan, and the settlements are a stark reversal of the Obama administration’s policies.

Only last month, amid the internal political turmoil as Israel approaches its third election this year, more than 40 world leaders, including royalty, heads of state, and heads of government, participated in a Holocaust commemoration in Jerusalem. They included Russian President Vladimir Putin, who personally inaugurated a memorial commemorating the citizens and defenders of Leningrad during the Nazi siege of the city. The same week, representatives of Arab states attended a memorial at Auschwitz. And just this last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was expanding diplomatic relations with African and Latin American countries, including Arab and Muslim states.

However, the high point is surely the release of the momentous Trump Mideast peace plan whose ramifications must not be underestimated. For the first time since the disastrous Oslo Accords, there is an outline of a solution based on reality, supported by the two dominant and centrist parties and the majority of Israelis.
The War of Return: How Western Indulgence of the Palestinian Dream Has Obstructed the Path to Peace
Einat Wilf and Adi Schwartz on the Ben Shapiro Show discussing their book "The War of Return: How Western Indulgence of the Palestinian Dream Has Obstructed the Path to Peace" (St. Martin’s Press, available on April 28).

UNHRC’s game is rigged, so Israel isn’t playing - Analysis
There is no explanation of why some companies active in the West Bank in the categories they mention are on the list of 112 while others aren’t. Jerusalem’s iconic Angel Bakery is on the list, though it is unclear how it would fit into any of the listed categories, which include surveillance, demolition, pollution and hindering the Palestinian economy, among others. Some of the categories do not specify that these business activities have to take place in settlements – and yet it is only a blacklist of businesses working with the Jews in the West Bank and not the Arabs. Much of the list provides services to both Palestinians and Israelis.

It’s also worth noting that the UNHRC’s mandate is to help UN member states, not corporations, implement the council’s decisions on human rights.

Though the UNHRC’s anti-Israel slant is blatant, the blacklist is both a public relations problem and a potential economic problem. It’s a public relations problem because there are enough people who don’t know that the council is a sham, that commends instead of condemns violators like Iran for their human rights records. It’s a potential economic problem, because some of these companies – especially the 18 from abroad – may feel pressured to stop doing business with Israelis in Judea and Samaria.

Right now, Israel’s plan to mitigate the damage is to work, with American support, to remind the companies on the list that they are not doing anything illegal. Israel is also highlighting the anti-boycott laws passed in 28 states in the US. Israeli consuls in the US have been instructed to contact the governors of states with anti-boycott laws in which companies on the list operate.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demonstrated the Israeli strategy to combat this problem in his remarks on the blacklist. First, he called the UNHRC “biased and lacking in influence” – in other words, the companies can ignore them.

Then, he says: “In recent years, we promoted laws in most states in the US that say that they must take firm action against anyone who tries to boycott Israel.” In other words, if you consider not ignoring the UNHRC, know that there will be consequences.

What Netanyahu and the Foreign Ministry realize is that the only way to fight back against a game that is fixed at the outset is to refuse to play it.

“Whoever boycotts us will be boycotted,” Netanyahu said at a Likud event in Merom Galil. “This is unimportant. We are not afraid… We are not apologizing and not withdrawing even a millimeter.”

JCPA: Moderate Arab States: “We’re with Trump”
The Palestinian Authority’s loud and vigorous opposition to President Trump’s “Deal of the Century” puts the Palestinians in conflict not only with Israel and the United States, but also with the axis of moderate Sunni Arab states, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf. The Palestinian goal is to foil President Trump with a coalition consisting of European allies, the UN, and Third World countries such as Venezuela, a stronghold for Palestinian policies in South America.

The PA requires a containment policy in the anticipation that Trump will lose in another year. With Trump’s defeat, the PA can re-leverage Obama-era policies to strengthen the UN, gain “international legitimacy,” once again isolate Israel in the international community, and, with the latest UN High Commissioner for Human Rights report, give BDS the stamp of UN legitimacy.

This Palestinian position is a nightmare for the moderate Sunni states, for whom it is clear that a return to Obama’s policies is also a return to the nuclear agreement with Iran. Such a policy reversal will again leverage Iran and Turkey as regional Islamic powers, representing the Muslim Brotherhood, to the detriment of moderate Sunni Arab states.

Sources in Ramallah related a story about this point of contention in the Arab world. After Trump won the U.S. election but before he entered the White House (December 2016), an anti-Israel resolution (UNSC Res. 2334) was raised in the Security Council. The U.S. Administration decided to set a precedent and failed to veto actions against Israel. Egypt had submitted the resolution to the Security Council. At that moment, Mahmoud Abbas was visiting Saudi King Salman, and while they were talking, Egyptian President Sisi called from Cairo. He informed King Salman that he had decided to withdraw the anti-Israel resolution from the Security Council.
PMW: PA: Rejecting Trump's plan is a religious obligation; You "betray Allah" if you cooperate with the "deal of the century"
The Grand Mufti of the Palestinian Authority Muhammad Hussein has ruled that Palestinians are forbidden to cooperate in any way with US President Trump’s peace plan, the so-called “deal of the century.” Anyone cooperating with the plan is “betraying Allah,” and those who support it “deserve to be cursed by Allah, his angels, and all people":

"[PA] Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and the Palestinian Territories Muhammad Hussein published a religious ruling that forbids cooperating with the 'deal of the century' and those promoting it, as its goal in general is to eliminate the Palestinian cause forever. The mufti said in a statement yesterday [Feb. 11, 2020] that anyone who cooperates with the deal is betraying Allah, His Messenger [Muhammad], the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem, and Palestine… those who are planning this unjust aggressiveness, or willingly supporting or being silent about it, deserve to be cursed by Allah, his angels, and all people."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 12, 2020]

The ruling echoes the statement of Mahmoud Al-Habbash, the PA’s Supreme Shari’ah Judge and Chairman of the Supreme Council for Shari'ah Justice who before the revelation of Trump’s deal threatened that whoever accepts the plan “will pay the price of treason,” as Palestinian Media Watch documented.

Abbas’ Fatah addressed Trump directly in a video, threatening that they will “declare a war that only Allah can extinguish” if Trump continues with his peace plan. Fatah has also encouraged violence, telling Palestinians to defend “Palestine” with “blood and soul” to make sure the deal “does not pass.”

Next White House may reject peace plan, to Palestinians’ detriment — co-author
The next US administration may very well repudiate US President Donald Trump’s so-called deal of the century, but if that happens and the traditional parameters of the peace process are restored, Israelis will continue to prosper while Palestinians will continue to suffer, Jason Greenblatt, one of the peace proposal’s co-authors, said this week.

“A future administration may disavow the plan. There is no avoiding that,” Trump’s former special envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict told The Times of Israel in an email interview.

“But they will simply step right back into the morass of peace-making and if they stick with the traditional talking points, in all likelihood it will just be all talk and no action. Israel will likely continue to thrive and the Palestinians will continue to suffer.”

Greenblatt quit the administration in late October, just a few months before the administration’s peace plan was unveiled at the White House in the presence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Many Democrats, including all leading presidential candidates, harshly criticized the plan.

“The time has come to ask the hard question — are we here to help both sides get to a deal that works and improves their lives while maintaining everyone’s security, or do people want to just keep saying the same things over and over again and get nowhere,” Greenblatt told The Times of Israel in relation to the possibility of a Democrat entering the White House in January 2021.

“Those who do that do not help the Palestinians. They harm them, deeply,” he added.
Tony Blair: Palestinians Must Change Their Political Strategy
I can think of a thousand things Israel should do to make a Palestinian state more likely. But the truth is that such a state will come into being only if there is a fundamental shift in Palestinian strategy.

The Palestinians don't need a strategy for sympathy. They need a strategy for statehood, and their current path will not lead them to it. In the real world, all the resolutions, gestures of support, and rhetorical expressions of solidarity showered upon the Palestinians buy next to nothing.

To attain a political objective requires starting with a cold-blooded analysis of the reality of your situation. To achieve two states living side by side in peace, in circumstances where one state already exists and is much more powerful than the proposed state, means that the first must feel safe with the creation of the second.

It is inconceivable that Gaza, under the control of Hamas, and the West Bank, controlled by Fatah, could yield a credible agreement for a state. It will therefore be difficult for any Israeli prime minister to accept one, and for any U.S. president to compel its establishment. Palestinian political unity on a basis that is compatible with peaceful co-existence with Israel is a pre-condition for success.

The Arabs care about the Palestinians, and they care passionately about Jerusalem. But they are exhausted from being caught between the challenges of regional stabilization and modernization, which necessitate a close alliance with America and a burgeoning relationship with Israel, and a cause which they are expected to support but are excluded from managing.

Instead of insisting that Arabs have nothing to do with Israel until the Palestinians have negotiated peace, the smart approach would be to encourage good Israeli-Arab relations. The goal should be a joint Arab-Israeli framework for the region, in which resolution of the Palestinian question is a part. This would give Israel confidence that peace with the Palestinians is part of genuine regional acceptance - not a reward for extracted concessions, but a natural consequence of a new spirit of friendship.
Fact Check: Abbas UN Speech Brimming with Anti-Israel Lies
Abbas also employed revisionist tactics in his oft-repeated references to a bygone Palestinian state. “Jerusalem is no longer under the sovereignty of the state of Palestine,” he lamented. Such language, of course, infers that there once was a state of Palestine.

“Jerusalem is occupied land. Who has the right to give this as a gift to one state or another? We came before you,” Abbas went on.

The last sentence is instantly debunked when you consider that Jews have had an unbroken presence in the Holy Land since biblical times.

Nevertheless, Abbas forges on, this time bringing in a little show-and-tell in the form of a series of maps showing the territory in 1917, 1937, 1947, 1967 and 2020. “Every time I look at this map, I lose hope. Is this what the Palestinian people deserve?” Abbas emoted. “Why? We were here,” he said, referencing the first map in which the majority of the territory is green – and by Abbas’ logic – Palestinian. “And how did we get to this point, in these small islands,” he continued, referencing the last map which shows the conceptual map for a future Palestinian state according to Trump’s plan, or, as Abbas would have it, “Swiss cheese.”

Yet there’s only one problem. The maps conveniently leave out any indication that pre-1948 Palestine was actually territory belonging to the Ottoman Empire and then the British Mandate, and not, as put forward by Abbas, a sovereign Arab state of Palestine that would later be stolen by Israel. Abbas has made similar claims before, even going as far as to claim in an op-ed published in the New York Times that in 1948 “Zionist forces expelled Palestinian Arabs to ensure a decisive Jewish majority in the future state of Israel, and Arab armies intervened.”

Arabs fled or were expelled after the nascent State of Israel’s army fought back the invasion of five Arab armies and Palestinian militias, not the other way around. Abbas also conveniently failed to mention, either in the NYT op-ed or in Wednesday’s speech, that the third map showing the 1947 partition plan was roundly shunned by the Palestinians – sparking a decades-long tradition of Palestinian rejectionism that continues until this day.
Palestinians returning from UN with 'our tail between our legs'
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will hold several diplomatic meetings before returning to Ramallah from New York, members of his delegation to the United Nations said on Wednesday.

A senior Palestinian official said Abbas wants to meet with Jordan's King Abdullah II and Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sissi, and discuss with them the consequences of the Palestinian failure to condemn the Trump administration's Mideast peace initiative at the UN Security Council.

"There is an atmosphere of bitter disappointment among the members of the delegation who went to the UN with Abbas," the Palestinian source said. "The sense is that we are coming back with our tails between our legs. We were caught unprepared, and we didn't properly assess the American pressure on the members of the Security Council."

The official added that representatives from almost all of the UNSC member states told the Palestinian delegation that they sympathize with the Palestinian claims, but that the Americans brought all of their weight and influence to bear to strike the draft resolution presented by Tunisia and Indonesia on behalf of the Palestinians.
Historical Revisionism at the New York Times about Mideast Peace Plans
In the Times‘s telling, the roles remain ever the same – US President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are the villains while the Palestinian leaders, in this case Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, are the victims without agency of their own. Gone entirely from this narrative of “failed” peace proposals is Palestinian rejectionism. The New York Times is unable to acknowledge the truth – that time and time again, Palestinian leaders have rejected offers of an independent state.

The Arab leaders in 1947 rejected the partition plan to divide the area into two states. They refused to accept any Jewish state in the region and chose to launch a war instead to annihilate the nascent state. Had they been willing to compromise, as Jewish leaders were, an independent Palestinian state would have celebrated multiple decades of anniversaries, as has the State of Israel.

Yasir Arafat, the revolutionary PLO leader (and father of modern terrorism) similarly rejected statehood at the Camp David talks brokered by US President Clinton in 2000. Then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak accepted huge concessions demanded of Israel for the sake of peace. Arafat, on the other hand, turned his back on negotiations when he realized that the peace proposal did not allow him to end a Jewish state. Instead, he reverted to what he knew best – orchestrating a terror campaign against Israeli civilians.

In 2008, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas walked away from peace talks and rejected a state offered by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on 97% of the West Bank, plus equivalent Israeli territory ceded in exchange, with Jerusalem divided between the two. In addition, Olmert accepted the principle of Palestinian refugees returning to the State of Israel – something that no other Israeli leader was willing to do. Yet, Abbas walked away, unwilling to accept anything less than 100% of Palestinian demands.
Pompeo: UN blacklist shows its ‘unrelenting anti-Israeli bias’
Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, slammed the High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Thursday for releasing the database of companies operating in Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Pompeo said in a statement that he is "outraged" by the decision.

"The United States has long opposed the creation or release of this database, which was mandated by the discredited UN Human Rights Council in 2016," he added. "Its publication only confirms the unrelenting anti-Israel bias so prevalent at the United Nations."

He said that the US has not provided "and will never provide any information to the Office of the High Commissioner to support compilation of these lists and expresses support for US companies referenced."

He also called other UN members to join the US "in rejecting this effort, which facilitates the discriminatory boycott, divestment, and sanction (BDS) campaign and delegitimizes Israel."

"Attempts to isolate Israel run counter to all of our efforts to build conditions conducive to Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that lead to a comprehensive and enduring peace," Secretary Pompeo concluded.
Haley slams 'conniving, manipulative' UN blacklist
Former US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley criticized the UN Human Rights Council after the council released a list of over 100 companies which do business in Judea and Samaria Wednesday.

"The @UN hit a new low today publishing its Antisemitic blacklist of companies it claims are involved in Israeli “settlement activity.” The timing of this after the U.S. released a peace plan is conniving & manipulative at best. Shameful," Haley tweeted,

The council published the list of 112 companies which operate in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. According to the council claims the companies violate international law by continuing to operate in the Jewish communities in the area, including Airbnb, Expedia, and TripAdvisor.
Senators Condemn UN "Blacklisting" of U.S. Companies Operating in Israeli West Bank Communities
The chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday slammed a report by a United Nations human rights body for blacklisting U.S. companies that operate in the Israeli-controlled parts of the West Bank.

In separate statements, Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho), the panel's chairman, and Sen. Bob Menendez (N.J.), the committee's top Democrat, criticized the report, saying it was politically motivated and encouraged the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel.

“It is unacceptable that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has released this incredibly biased report which is in direct support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction movement against our close ally Israel,” Risch said in his statement.

“Today’s release of the report is a political move made by the high commissioner,” he added.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights identified at least six U.S. companies, including Airbnb, Expedia, Tripadvisor, Booking Holdings Inc., General Mills and Motorola, as operating in “illegal” Israeli settlements.

No legal action or judicial recommendations against the companies are listed in the report. The U.N. body says it can’t determine whether the businesses are violating any laws, drawing criticism that the list is meant to publicly shame the companies.

Kohelet Policy Forum: The UN's blacklist - just another way of singling out Israel
In March of 2016 the UN General Assembly Human Rights Council adopted resolution 3136 which ordered the creation of a database of business enterprises the database focuses on quote "business enterprises that have directly and indirectly enabled facilitated and profited from the construction and growth of the settlements" but the creation of this database is odd the UN HRC generally focuses on human rights abuses by governments not private actors or during the creation of a database that essentially blacklist private businesses is unprecedented for the UNHuman Rights Council this database is a dishonest endeavor designed to punish businesses specifically for associating with Israel here's why the currentresearch program to develop the database is focused only on companies with linksto Israel particularly areas of the West Bank that are under full Israeli Civil Administration furthermore the criteria for admission into the database are vague enough the much of Israeli industry could potentially be blacklisted by the new database if the UN were really concerned with potential human rights issues from settlement activity the scope of their research would be much much larger but it's not it focuses only on his room for example Western Sahara is currently occupied by Morocco while a few European governments of signaled disapproval of companies operating Western Sahara there's never been any attempt to block sanction or penalize their commercial activities these companies include a wide range of large multinational corporations including coca-cola nor just Bank Priceline Air France Western Union caterpillar and Tyson Krupp a quick look at the economy and Northern Cyprus for instance currently occupied by Turkey reveals a comparable situation as well despite the settlement activity the UN HRC has never take an issue with economic activity in Northern Cyprus if the UN is interested in addressing settlement activity it should do so universally because it continues to signal out economic activity in Israel it is hard to receive its actions as anything but the pursuit of an anti-israel political agenda

PMW: Palestinians prefer to work for Israeli employers - They may be hurt most by the UN's black list
In response to the UN’s release of its list of blacklisted Israeli companies that have businesses across the Green Line, Palestinian Media Watch is releasing this report “Palestinians prefer to work for Israeli employers” – based on previous PMW releases.

The report shows that according to Palestinian workers, Palestinian lawyers, and the Palestinian Bureau of Statistics, Palestinians enjoy better working conditions and prefer working for Israeli employers - including in Israeli settlements beyond the Green Line – rather than working for Palestinian employers. For example, wages are four times higher with Israeli employers than with Palestinian employers, and Palestinian workers receive health benefits, sick leave, and vacation time to the same degree as Israelis do.

By trying to harm Israeli companies that have “activities” in the West Bank, the UN is also harming the many Palestinians who work in these businesses, and who enjoy the better conditions offered by these Israeli enterprises. If the UN’s new BDS-flavored efforts lead to a larger boycott of these businesses, eventually they may have to let go of employees, among them Palestinians. Furthermore, it is likely that there will be pressure from the PA on Palestinians who work for the blacklisted businesses to leave their jobs.

One Israeli business blacklisted by the UN is the supermarket Rami Levi, which is known for its peaceful coexistence of Palestinian and Israeli co-workers in all positions of employment.

Why Palestinians prefer to work for Israeli employers
"Whenever Palestinian workers have the opportunity to work for Israeli employers, they are quick to quit their jobs with their Palestinian employers” [Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 21, 2014]

"Israeli labor law is a very good law regarding workers' rights... Unfortunately… the Palestinian middleman… takes 50 percent, 60 percent, and even 70 percent of her salary. If her daily salary is 180 shekels, in the end she receives 60 shekels. The [Palestinian] middleman steals two thirds of her salary." [Official PA TV, Workers' Affairs, March 16, 2016]

“The average daily wage for [Palestinian] employees in the West Bank was 98.8 shekels… Gaza Strip 56.7 shekels… in Israel and the Israeli settlements 233.3 shekels” [Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, Nov. 9, 2017]

"There are more than 120,000 women in Palestine whose [monthly] salaries are less than 500 shekels." [Official PA TV News, Nov. 3, 2018]

“It is inconceivable that the Palestinian worker receives his full rights from the Israeli employers, but not from the Palestinian ones.”
[Wael Nazif, CEO PA Labor Union, in official PA daily, Sept. 21, 2014]

Palestinians applaud UN blacklist of businesses operating in 'settlements'
Palestinians have welcomed the publication of the United Nation’s blacklist of businesses that operate in Jewish areas over the pre-1967 lines, in east Jerusalem, the West Bank and Golan Heights, saying they intend to take legal action against companies listed in the report published by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Palestinian officials in Ramallah said the move was an “appropriate response” by the international community to the policies of the Israeli government and the US administration.

“This is a serious blow to [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and the Trump administration,” the officials said. “On the other hand, it’s a major victory for Palestinian diplomacy and all those who are opposed to Israel’s policy of settlement construction.”

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh praised the UN move as a “step towards exposing settlements and attempts to legalize them.” He called on the companies listed in the report to immediately close their offices and branches in “illegal settlements, whose existence violates international laws and UN resolutions.”

The PA, Shtayyeh said, “will pursue the companies mentioned in the report legally through international legal institutions and courts for their participation in violating human rights.” The PA will also demand compensation from these companies, he added.

Shtayyeh said that the PA government was prepared to study the possibility of transferring the businesses to Palestinians cities and villages “if their managers wish to correct their deeds.”

PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi said she “welcomed this positive and overdue step.”

Debunk the UNHRC 'blacklist'
If this "blacklist" and any subsequent boycotts result in Palestinian workers losing their source of livelihood then the UN could chalk up another stellar result to its name, courtesy of its double standards.

One also has to ask: Is the UN and particularly the Human Rights Council so bored that they dedicate so much of their time on targeting the myriad of businesses that serve both the Jewish and Palestinian communities? Does the UNHRC really have nothing better to do? Is it done righting all wrongs elsewhere, in places where people are persecuted for their opinions or religion, executed without a trial, and silenced for opposing the regime?

What about, for example, the human rights of the hundreds of thousands of people butchered and displaced by Syrian President Bashar Assad? What about the human rights of those opposing Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the megalomaniac sultan in Turkey? When was the last time the champions of human rights at the UN dealt with political prisoners' rights in Russia and China, or with the indiscriminate executions in North Korea? Or with the atrocities committed in dozens of other places around the globe?

We, as Israelis, can denounce the hypocrisy on the UNHRC, but we can also counter it in a simple way: Consumer power.

Look in your supermarkets and retail chains for products made in settlements. Make it a point to buy them. Search the "blacklist" for businesses and companies operating in Judea and Samaria and opt for their products, goods and services.

This way, every one of us can undermine the moral basis of the "blacklist" and make it a gold list.
Honest Reporting: United Nations Blacklist Companies in Israel
Yesterday, the United Nations published a list of Israeli and international companies that operate in the West Bank Jewish settlements, in an attempt to blacklist them.

BBC News report on UNHRC blacklist conceals more than it reveals
The BBC report amplifies comments made by a PA official:
“The Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Minister, Riyad al-Maliki, said: “The publication of the list of companies and parties operating in settlements is a victory for international law.”

He also called on the Human Rights Council member states to “issue recommendations and instructions to these companies to end their work immediately with the settlements”.”

However at no point in the article did the BBC bother to inform readers in its own words that there is no prohibition in international law from doing business in occupied or disputed territories.

Neither does the report make any effort to inform audiences of the fact that the UNHRC has taken no such action against companies operating in other occupied or disputed territories anywhere else in the world.

Given the BBC’s dismal record on informing audiences on the topic of UNHRC bias against Israel, its long-existing editorial policy of promoting a specific politically motivated narrative concerning ‘settlements’ and ‘international law’ and its promotion of the BDS campaign agenda, the serious omissions in this report come as no surprise whatsoever.
Dominic Raab’s meeting with antisemitic Malaysian Prime Minister is impossible to justify
Dominic Raab has controversially met with the antisemitic Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahamad Mahathir.

The Foreign Secretary met with Dr Mohamad yesterday during a trip to the region to bolster economic ties.

Dr Mohamad has a long history of making appallingly antisemitic comments.

In his 1970 book The Makay Dilemma, he wrote that: “The Jews are not merely hook-nosed, but understand money instinctively.” In 2012, he wrote on his personal blog that: “Jews rule this world by proxy.” He also notoriously boasted that: “I am glad to be labeled antisemitic…How can I be otherwise, when the Jews who so often talk of the horrors they suffered during the Holocaust show the same Nazi cruelty and hard-heartedness towards not just their enemies but even towards their allies should any try to stop the senseless killing of their Palestinian enemies.”

Speaking at the Oxford Union recently, Dr Mohamad was challenged about his comments about Jews, and he responded that: “We talk about freedom of speech, but yet you cannot say anything against Israel, against the Jews, why is that so? If we are free to say what we like, we can say something that is regarded as antisemitic by the Jews, that is their right, to hold such an opinion of me. It is my right to tell them, also, that they have been doing a lot of wrong things.”
President Rivlin welcomes African ambassadors ahead of forum
Sixteen ambassadors and Charges d'Affaires of African countries that have bilateral relations with Israel gathered at the President's Residence in Jerusalem on Thursday to officially launch the South Africa Ministry of Foreign Affairs Forum which is headed by Zambian Ambassador Martin Chungu Mwanambabe.

Israel has diplomatic ties with several other African states whose ambassadors are non-resident.

From the Israel side of the discussions, President Reuven Rivlin asked for African support in rejecting the Black List of Israeli companies formulated by the UN Human Rights Council and also urged support for the regaining of Israeli observer status in the African Union.

Rivlin also emphasized that Israel is ready to share its knowledge in areas of cyber security, health, high technology, agriculture water management, tourism and more with all African States.

Rivlin reiterated several times that the African continent is the future.
Court Orders PA to Pay Terror Victim’s Family $170,000
Following the lawsuit filed by the family of the late Hodaya Asulin, who sustained severe injuries in a 2011 terror attack in Jerusalem, an Israeli court on Thursday began the process of obtaining the reparation money from the Palestinian Authority which pays the salaries of the terrorists who perpetrated the attack.

Additional wage garnishment orders were issued against the Prison Service to obtain the canteen money paid on behalf of the same terrorists.

Hodaya Nechama Asulin, 21, who had been severely injured when she was 14 in a terrorist attack in Jerusalem in March 2011, passed away on November 22, 2017 at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital. Hodaya was injured in an explosion at the number 74 bus stop in front of the International Convention Center in Jerusalem, from a charge that was hidden inside a purse in a nearby public payphone booth.

In October 2019, News 12 revealed the huge sums paid out by the Palestinian Authority to the terrorists who carried out the attack in 2011. In response, Hodaya’s family sued the PA and the PLO.

The court ruled that the PA must compensate the Asulin family using the salaries intended for the terrorists until the accumulated payments reach 583,598 shekels ($170,017.3).
Israeli laser defense system successfully intercepts multiple drone targets
An Israeli-developed drone defense system successfully intercepted multiple targets and shot them down with a laser beam, aerospace company Rafael said Wednesday.

Rafael’s Drone Dome C-UAS was also able to track and hit small drones that were maneuvering in flight, a more challenging target.

“The system achieved 100% success in all test scenarios,” Rafael said in a statement.

Drome Dome provides “effective detection, full identification and neutralization of multiple Micro and Mini UAV threats,”it said.

In a video of the tests, a vehicle-mounted system was shown engaging the targets, including drones that were sharply changing direction. In one test, three drones flying in formation were shot down in succession.

“Drone Dome is designed to address threats posed by hostile drones both in military and civilian sites, offering advanced solutions for maneuvering forces and military facilities, critical border protection, as well as civilian targets such as airports, public facilities, or any other sites that might be vulnerable to the increasing threat of both terror and criminal drones,” the company said.
Balloon-borne bomb explodes over Gaza-area school, sending kids to shelters
A number of balloon-borne incendiary devices exploded Thursday over Israeli communities near the Gaza border, including one that detonated above a school.

Students at the elementary school in the southern city of Sderot were rushed to bomb shelters, according to Hebrew-language media.

Nobody was physically hurt, but several people were reportedly suffering from anxiety.

A second suspected explosive device was found outside another school in Sderot.

Also Thursday, an airborne explosive detonated over communities in the Sdot Negev region, which borders the Gaza Strip. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The balloon launches came despite a report earlier in the week that Gaza balloon-launching cells would cease fire.

The al-Quds daily reported Tuesday, citing an “on-the-ground source,” that terror factions in Gaza had decided to halt the launching of balloon-borne explosive devices from the Gaza Strip into Israel. The report came less than a day after an Egyptian security delegation concluded a visit to Gaza, where it met Hamas terror group officials and toured the border region between the coastal enclave and Egypt.
Israeli cyber company: Hamas operation targeted PA officials
A series of Hamas-orchestrated cyber attacks targeting Palestinian Authority officials was uncovered in recent months by Cybereason, the Israeli security company reported on Thursday.

The purpose of the attacks, the company said, was to track cell phones belonging to PA officials, access phone cameras and microphones without the owner's knowledge and steal information.

The hackers used US President Donald Trump's "deal of the century" and the assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani to entice the PA officials to click on malicious links and thus infiltrate their cell phones.

Boston-based Cybereason revealed several cyber-warfare operations targeting organizations and individuals in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in a report from its Nocturnus Research Group titled "New Cyber Espionage Campaigns Targeting Palestinians."

Cybereason said it monitored the attacks over a period of months, discovering they were perpetrated in a similar way to previous attacks the Hamas cyber unit committed against Israeli strategic assets. The unit, according to Cybereason, is a politically-motivated cell that has acted against various targets across the Middle East since 2012.
Israeli water tech company pilots clean water project in Gaza Strip
For years, Israel has been utilizing its innovative spirit to help solve the world's greatest challenges. Around the world, Israeli technologies are used to address humanitarian crises and to promote community development.

In Gaza, the Israeli company Watergen launched on Wednesday a pilot project, in the neighborhood of Abasan al-Kabira, to provide a solution for Gazan's urgent need for accessible clean water.

At the moment, Gaza's main source of water is from a coastal aquifer. Its supply of water has been depleting over the last few decades due to over-extraction. As a result of water pollution, over 90% of water from the aquifer is unfit for consumption. Gazans are therefore left to rely on very expensive options to access water.

Watergen's solution is simple: Producing clean and fresh-drinking water out of air, through an atmospheric water generator (AWG).
The GEN-M machine can produce up to 800 liters of water per day and only requires electricity to work. It is also equipped with solar panels to provide the machine with another, sustainable, source of power.
Germany Can’t Stop Loving Iran
Many believe that the special German-Iranian relationship has to do with German economic interests, but this is only a secondary aspect. In 2017, German exports to Iran comprised only about 0.2% of total German exports. In the same year, Iran was 33rd among recipients of European exports, behind countries like Kazakhstan and Serbia. Other causes are more important, but less discussed.

For example: the historical dimension. Germany and Iran have been allied since the beginning of the last century; a relationship that began because Iran (then called Persia) required foreign technical support for the development of infrastructure and industry. Persian leaders could have turned to other European countries for assistance but distrusted the imperial powers of Great Britain and France, and so looked to Germany. Germany needed Persia because it was the only country rich in raw materials but as of yet “unclaimed” in the 19th-century struggle for colonies among Europe’s “great powers.” Thus, in the mid-1920s, Germany provided Iran with both the backbone of its industrial infrastructure and the trained personnel needed to run it. Soon the “German work ethic” gained a literally legendary reputation, which was later exploited by Nazi propaganda. Between 1933 and 1941, the Nazi share of Iranian imports rose from 11% to 43%, while the German share of Iranian exports rose from 19% to 47%. Another aspect of the Nazi period, which continues to be important in Iran, was pointed out in 1996 by Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani: “Our relations have always been good. Both [peoples] are of the Aryan race.”

In 1952, West Germany again became Iran’s leading trading partner, a position it held almost continuously until the upheaval of the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Even then, the country’s new leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, stated in a 1979 interview that, “we feel no special enmity toward the German people or the Federal Republic. … We want friendly relations at all levels.” According to Peter Rudolf, a researcher from the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, Germany’s relationship with Iran is thus based on “historically shaped strategic preferences.” Still today, the website of the German ambassador in Tehran gushes over this connection: “German-Iranian relations have a long tradition and great potential. Let us work together to further deepen the good relationship.” It goes without saying that these good relations over the last century have always been with rulers who have oppressed the Iranian people. Still today, the German government shows little solidarity with ordinary Iranians, who are being gunned down, tortured, and thrown in prison by the regime.
Iran, Not Saudi Arabia, Is to Blame for Yemen's Humanitarian Crisis
Now, with the humanitarian crisis reaching a critical juncture with an estimated 80% of Yemen's 24 million population in need of assistance, aid organisations are finally waking up to the central role the Iranian-backed Houthis have played in creating the disaster.

As humanitarian officials prepare to meet in Brussels this week -- Thursday -- to discuss the Yemeni aid crisis, the main topic of discussion will be what has been described as the unprecedented and unacceptable obstruction tactics being employed by the Houthis that are preventing vital aid supplies from reaching the country's starving population.

In their latest bid to seize control of the aid distribution, the Houthis have recently imposed a 2 percent levy on all the international aid agencies operating in the country, prompting one aid worker to claim that the Houthis could be using the aid money to finance the war.

Whatever the outcome, no one will be in any doubt that it is the Iranian-backed Houthis, and not the Saudi-led coalition, who are primarily responsible for creating Yemen's disastrous humanitarian crisis.
Qassem Soleimani: Iran's Latest 'King of Martyrs'?
Esmail Ghaani, Soleimani's successor as head of the Quds Force, has promised: "to continue martyr Soleimani's path with the same force and the only compensation for us would be us would be to remove America from the region."

So much terrorism has come from Tehran.... as distant as Latin America.

One might also ask why has the United Nations never held Iran accountable for these violations?

One might also ask if the time has finally come for the UN's largest donors -- read the US -- to rethink their generosity? Why not, as Ambassador John R. Bolton long ago recommended: "that we should pay for what we want and insist that we get for what we pay for."
Report Shows Improvement in Saudi Textbooks, Though Extremism Still Lingers
The first full review of the Saudi curriculum in more than a decade shows that while improvements have been made, extremist content still exists.

For example, Jews are blamed as assassins, described as monkeys, and will be fought and killed in the day of resurrection, according to a new report by IMPACT-se, a research institute that analyzes schoolbooks and curricula in accordance with UNESCO-defined standards on peace and tolerance.

Additionally, martyrdom for the sake of Allah remains a “godly gift,” and Christians and Jews are still called “infidels” in textbooks for corrupting scriptures and rejecting Muhammad. Some of the theological arguments against Christianity have been softened or removed.

The books also teach that Jews and Israelis are eternally treacherous, murdering prophets who commit irreparable evil and determined to harm Muslim holy places. Israel is seen as conspiring and striving to control the Middle East.

The textbooks do not teach equality between women and men. Women must obey husbands, who in rare cases are allowed to beat their wives and children, even though women’s empowerment is also evident and modern norms advanced. The textbooks state that gay men must be killed.

IMPACT-se has presented the report at the White House, National Security Council, State Department and Congress, as well as to top European officials.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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