Wednesday, June 24, 2020

From Ian:

Prof. Eugene Kontorovich (WSJ): Don't Buy the "Annexation" Hype (google link)
Applying Israeli civilian law to West Bank settlements wouldn't preclude peace or violate Palestinian rights. It is widely described as an Israeli "annexation." But annexation has a precise meaning in international law: the forcible incorporation by one state of the territory of another state.

The land to which Israel seeks to apply its laws isn't legally the territory of any other state. Neither the U.S. nor the European Union recognizes the existence of a Palestinian state, and Israel's sovereign claim to the territory is superior to any other country's.

Over the past 53 years, Jews have returned to Judea and Samaria, territories from which they had been ethnically cleansed by the Jordanians in 1949. After five decades of Palestinian rejectionism, it is hard to argue that the legal regulation of these communities must remain in limbo until a far-off peace deal is signed.

Past peace efforts have been based on the morally repugnant and impractical assumption that the creation of a Palestinian state must be preceded by the expulsion of all Jews from its territory.

The application of Israeli law wouldn't affect the treatment of Palestinians. In the West Bank, they would continue to be governed by the Palestinian Authority.

The Israeli move may help bring the Palestinians to the table, as it would show Palestinian leaders that turning down negotiations weakens their hand.
David Horovitz: Netanyahu’s annexation bid is bad for Israel. Our ally the US should just say no
Many in the international community, too lazy or ideologically blinded to distinguish between cause and effect, have castigated Israel through the decades for the ostensible crime of defending itself against those who have sought our destruction, when the most cursory of inspections would confirm that the “Middle East conflict” would end if the aggression against Israel were to halt.

But Israel itself has known the truth. Its very resilience — its capacity not merely to survive but to thrive through decades of warfare, terrorism, and efforts to demonize it — is the greatest testament to that domestic confidence in our cause and legitimacy.

Unilaterally extending Israeli rule into the West Bank — preempting the Trump administration’s declared effort to foster a negotiated accord, with a land grab that turns Israel into the rejectionist party — marks the very opposite of our national interest. It not only damages the way we are perceived around the world, it remakes the way we present and see ourselves.

The Palestinian Authority rejected the Trump plan before it was even unveiled. It routinely incites against Israel, and its president, Mahmoud Abbas, in incendiary speeches designed to foster intolerance and intransigence, repeatedly seeks to separate modern Israel from its historic Jewish heritage. We cannot safely relinquish territory to this Palestinian leadership, not in the toxic climate it has helped create. We are also, of course, mindful of the devastating consequences of having relinquished adjacent territory to the north (the South Lebanon “security zone” in 2000) and south (the Gaza Strip in 2005), where in both cases terrorist organizations filled the vacuum, sparked wars and conflict, and pose ongoing danger.

But neither should we subvert our own long-term goals, the foundational principles of our own Declaration of Independence — to flourish as a Jewish and a democratic state ready and willing to defend itself against its enemies, and with its hand stretched out in peace to those neighbors who truly wish to live in tranquility alongside it.

Why Netanyahu purports to see a “historic opportunity” in the declarative extension of Israeli sovereignty to disputed parts of the West Bank, deepening Israel’s entanglement among the hostile Palestinians and ceding the moral high ground that is central to Israel’s own resilience and self-confidence, is hard to fathom. He was previously wary of the dangers of a bi-national state between Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea in which Israel would either lose its Jewish majority or have to subvert its democracy.

But he has said he will only go ahead with the approval of the US, our most important, trusted and closest ally. And so it falls to the Trump administration, now deliberating whether to green light Netanyahu’s gambit, to just say no.

In January, US President Donald Trump unveiled a proposal avowedly designed “for the benefit of Palestinians, Israelis and the region as a whole” as a recommended basis for direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiation on a “realistic two-state solution.”

Let’s stick with that.
Australia Takes a Stand Against Anti-Israel Bias
COMMUNAL leaders have lauded the Australian government’s stance at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), after it was the only country to vote against all five anti-Israel resolutions at UNHRC’s 43rd session.

The UNHRC, which has a history of systemic bias against the Jewish State, passed five resolutions against Israel, leading the Australian Mission to the United Nations to blast its “disproportionate focus”.

“Australia has been consistent in its principled opposition to biased and one-sided resolutions targeting Israel in multilateral forums,” the mission said.

Stating, “Our position has not changed,” it added the resolutions “do nothing to contribute to lasting peace and stability for Israelis and Palestinians”.

Meanwhile, Australia’s ambassador to the UN Sally Mansfield said the UNHRC “holds Israel to a higher degree of scrutiny than any other state”.

Noting that Australia has “insisted on bringing these resolutions to a vote, so that they cannot simply be waved though as consensus resolutions”, Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-CEO Peter Wertheim said, “The Australian government is to be highly commended for consistently voting against these resolutions, and for exposing the bias and puncturing the hypocrisy which motivates them.”

Zionist Federation of Australia president Jeremy Leibler said the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister had refused to “kowtow to the UN’s obsessive focus on Israel”.

The great myth of Israeli annexation
And while opponents of Israel’s administrative move suggest that it further harms prospects for the creation of a Palestinian state, the building freeze actually protects those prospects—even as Palestinians continuously violate their obligations under the Oslo Accords and have failed to lay even the most basic foundations for a lasting peace, let alone responsible statehood.

It is for that reason that many members of Israel’s nationalist right-wing are vehemently opposed to the Trump administration’s Mideast vision.

After years of absorbing and countering Palestinian terror, opponents argue that the last thing Israel needs to do right now is give Palestinians yet another opportunity for statehood when they have done nothing to earn it.

Yet a Palestinian state is in no way an automatic outcome of the four-year building freeze. A 10-month settlement building freeze demanded by former President Barack Obama in 2009 did nothing to further advance the cause of peace—not to mention that Israel received absolutely nothing in return for its gesture.

Now Israel is preparing to freeze building in key territories for several years. The United States is willing to return the gesture by recognizing Israeli sovereignty in the lands in which it recognizes are likely to remain a part of Israel in any bilateral negotiation.

U.S. recognition of sovereignty follows a recent declaration to Israeli leaders by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that “we will no longer recognize Israeli settlements as per se inconsistent with international law,” adding that this conclusion “is based on the unique facts, history and circumstances presented by the establishment of civilian settlements in the West Bank.”

Those who argue that Israel is pushing the limits of the U.S.-Israel relationship are ignoring Pompeo’s statements, as well as the fact that the land that Israel will now apply sovereignty over was mapped out over several months by a joint Israeli and American committee that includes U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer.

America is fully prepared to recognize Israel’s efforts, and it will do so specifically because its leaders believe that the move is just and will not trigger any of the potential harms being warned by the consistent critics of Israel’s policies.

Support should not only come from a friendly U.S. administration, but from anybody who claims to support a free and democratic State of Israel.
Pompeo: Annexation is a decision for the Israeli government
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed a question about the possible ramifications of Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank on Wednesday and said that extending Israel’s sovereignty is a decision that is up to the Israeli government to take. He added that he wished the Palestinians had come to the table to negotiate the Trump peace plan.

“We unveiled a peace vision a few months ago, and we’re continuing to work down that path,” he said. “The decisions about Israel extending sovereignty towards these places are decisions for the Israelis to make. We are talking to all of the countries in the region about how it is we can manage this process.

“The [Israeli] prime minister has certainly acknowledged he wants our Middle East peace vision to be successful,” Pompeo added. “The Gulf States have all indicated that they are hopeful that we can put that in place. I regret only that the Palestinian Authority has refused to participate. They simply have rejected this out of hand. We simply ask that they come to the negotiating table based on what’s outlined in that vision for peace. And they have chosen not to.”

He said that the Palestinians have “chosen to threaten, to bluster, to assert that they’re going to deny the ability to do security properly. That’s not good for the Palestinian people. It’s dangerous for the people that live in those places, too.

“What we’ve asked is for them to come together for Israel and the Palestinian people to come to the table to negotiate a path forward and to find a resolution to this decades-long challenge. I remain hopeful that in the coming weeks, we can begin to make real progress towards achieving that,” said Pompeo.
Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton: Trump should support annexation
Eight Republican senators called on US President Donald Trump to support Israel extending its laws to parts of the West Bank in a letter sent on Tuesday.

American recognition of Israel applying sovereignty is "critical to locking in the progress your administration has made reversing the Obama-Biden legacy, restoring the US-Israel relationship and establishing a realistic basis for peace," the letter reads.

The letter's signatories are Senators Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton, Kevin Cramer, Thom Tillis, Cindy Hyde-Smith, John Barrasso and Joni Ernst.

The senators put the Trump plan on the background of former US president Barack Obama's decision not to veto UN Security Council resolution 2334 condemning settlements, "which among other things effectively declared it was illegal for Israeli Jews to build in the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem and severed the Jewish State's links to many of Judaism's holiest places," they wrote.

They quoted Trump as saying the decision should have been vetoed, promising "things will be different" when he is president and that the US "cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect."

The senators commended the Trump administration for recognizing "the reality and - as a matter of America's national security interests, often the desirability - of Israel's control over some territories occupied since 1967."
Chuck Schumer opposes Israeli plan to annex West Bank
Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer said on Tuesday night that he opposes an Israeli plan to annex parts of the West Bank. Speaking at a webinar of the Israel Policy Forum, Schumer noted that the two countries have shared values and that supporting a strong US-Israel relationship is a matter of America's own national interest.

"We should continue to look for ways to maintain the successful economic, medical and security partnerships that our two nations share, but our support for Israel does not mean that we lose sight of the goal supported by Israeli prime ministers and presidents of both parties – of two states, living side by side in peace and security," Schumer added.

"This is especially urgent today as unilateral annexation of territory in the West Bank is being considered, an action that I do not support," he continued. "The sustainable peace deal that ensures both the long-term security of Israel and self-determination for Palestinians must be negotiated directly."

“For that reason, it's been a long-standing, bipartisan policy of Congress to oppose unilateral action by either side,” the senator said. “Annexation runs counter to these long-standing policies and undermines regional security and US national security interests in the Middle East. We all must remain committed to continuing engaging Israelis and Palestinians to find ways to live together.”
Guterres calls on Israel to ‘abandon’ annexation, urges Quartet lead talks
Israel must “abandon” its annexation plans, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres told the Security Council on Wednesday as he called for the Quartet to take a lead role in restoring Israeli-Palestinian negations based on the pre-1967 lines.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is at a “watershed moment,” Guterres said. Israeli plans to annex portions of the West Bank have alarmed the international community, the Palestinians and many Israelis, he added.

Such annexation would be “a most serious violation of international law” that would grievously harm the prospect of a two-state solution and undercut the possibilities of a renewal of negotiations,” he said.

“I call on the Israeli government to abandon its annexation plans,” Guterres said as he pledged his full commitment and that of the UN to help Israelis and Palestinians resolve the conflict.

“The goal is achieving the vision of two states – Israel and an independent, democratic, contiguous, sovereign and viable Palestinian state – living side by side in peace and security within secure and recognized borders, based on the pre-1967 borders, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states,” Guterres said.

“I call on fellow members of the Middle East Quartet to take up our mandated mediation role and find a mutually agreeable framework for the parties to re-engage, without preconditions, with us and other key States,” he said.
New York Times Revives Apartheid Charge Against Israel Amid Anti-Annexation Push
The New York Times is up to its old tricks — and even some new ones — in a no-holds-barred campaign against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s West Bank annexation plans.

The bias and tendentiousness of the Times‘ news coverage is clear right from the subheadline of a recent news article. The subheadline warns, “Unilaterally taking territory the Palestinians have counted on for a state could cement Benjamin Netanyahu’s legacy. It could also destabilize the region.”

The Times‘ obsession with stability, rather than freedom or justice, is one of its many double standards imposed on Israel. It’s actually a quadruple standard, or a double double standard.

One way is that the Times isn’t worried about stability when it comes to causes the Times supports, such as the Black Lives Matter protests or even demonstrations in favor of the rule of law in Hong Kong. It’s only Israel and the surrounding Arab dictatorships where the Times makes a fetish of stability.

A second way is that the Times often bemoans the status quo in the Middle East, for which it often blames Israel. Yet when Israel considers a policy choice the Times opposes, such as annexation, all of a sudden anything that might disturb that status quo is a threat to the treasured stability.

The Times article uses adjectives to signal sneakily which side Times readers should support. The article reports that “a growing chorus of respected former Israeli military, intelligence and diplomatic officials is denouncing any unilateral annexation as a grave risk to Israel’s security.” It also refers to “a prominent group of opponents, Commanders for Israel’s Security.”

The Battle Inside the EU over Israel
A Reuters examination based on internal documents and interviews with more than two dozen diplomats shows there is no clear EU strategy to respond in a meaningful way if Israel applies civilian law to West Bank Jewish communities. An Israeli official noted that Europe and Israel shared many partnerships in various fields and, "in our view, partners should not threaten each other or speak above each other's heads."

A senior EU diplomat acknowledged that the bloc will almost certainly fail to reach the unanimity required for joint action. A group of at least eight smaller EU states, led by Luxembourg, is attempting to take on Israel. They include Belgium, Ireland, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden, Malta and Finland, EU diplomats say. Ranged against them are Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Greece, Latvia, Cyprus and Poland, all of which have shown themselves ready to defend Israel's interests.
Over 1,000 MPs from across Europe call for ‘decisive action’ against annexation
More than a thousand lawmakers from across Europe on Tuesday signed a statement against Israel’s planned annexation of parts of the West Bank, urging decisive action to prevent the move and punitive measures if it goes ahead.

“We, parliamentarians from across Europe committed to a rules-based global order, share serious concerns about [US] President [Donald] Trump’s plan for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the imminent prospect of Israeli annexation of West Bank territory. We are deeply worried about the precedent this would set for international relations at large,” the statement read.

The US peace plan, which forms the basis for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to annex the entire Jordan Valley and all settlements across the West Bank — amounting to some 30 percent of the territory — starting July 1, “departs from internationally agreed parameters and principles,” the statement added.

Annexation would be “fatal to the prospects of Israeli-Palestinian peace and will challenge the most basic norms guiding international relations,” it went on.

The statement was signed by lawmakers belonging to parties across the political spectrum from 25 countries, including some considered to be very friendly toward Israel such as Germany and Hungary. It was first reported by the Haaretz newspaper.
Belgium to vote on recognizing Palestinian state, sanctions on Israel
The Belgian Chamber of Representatives is set to vote on whether to recognize a Palestinian state on Thursday, along with another resolution calling to threaten European Union sanctions against Israel should it extend its sovereignty to parts of the West Bank.

One resolution calls on Belgium “to formally recognize the State of Palestine… and to consider this recognition as a contribution from Belgium to the solution based on the coexistence of two states.”

The other calls for there to be effective countermeasures at the European measure, and, since that is unlikely due to the EU’s unanimity requirement for foreign policy, to build coalitions of member states “in order to provide a proportionate response to any Israeli annexation of occupied Palestinian territories,” giving sanctions against Russia due to its annexation of Crimea as an example. It also calls for Belgium to initiate resolutions in the UN Security Council, where it is currently a member.

Belgium, one of the EU countries that is least friendly to Israel, currently has a caretaker government tasked only with responding to the coronavirus pandemic, so parliamentary decisions have a greater significance for foreign policy than in a time that there is a majority-backed government.

Future still murky for UN Palestinian refugee agency after donors pledge $130M
International donors pledged over $130 million Tuesday to the United Nations agency helping Palestinian refugees, an amount the organization's head says is encouraging but not enough to keep operations running through the end of the year.

The UN Relief and Works Agency has faced a financial crisis since the United States pulled all funding in 2018, leaving the organization with a massive budgetary shortfall.

Agency Director-General Philippe Lazzarini told reporters following a virtual fundraising conference that despite the "very strong expression of support" by international donors, "we are still in the dark and we do not know if our operations will run until the end of the year."

He said the donations covered only a fraction of the roughly $400 million budget gap the agency is facing.

UNRWA was established to aid the 700,000 Palestinians who fled or were forced from their homes during the Arab war to eradicate the newly founded State of Israel in 1948. The agency provides food, education, health care, and other services for Palestinian refugees and their descendants – now numbering some 5 million – in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Judea and Samaria, Gaza, and east Jerusalem.

Lazzarini said there was no intention at this time to cut any of UNRWA's core services, but "in reality, there is nothing left to cut without impacting the scope and the quality of the services."

PMW: Two loopholes in EU anti-terror laws and regulations: PMW presentation to MEPs
In a Webinar held today for members of the European Parliament, Palestinian Media Watch director Itamar Marcus presented a report he co-authored with PMW director of legal strategies Maurice Hirsch entitled “Two loopholes in European Union anti-terror funding laws.”

The new report highlights two loopholes that have enabled the Palestinian Authority to be a recipient of European Union (EU) funding, even though the PA breaches the EU’s anti-terror laws and regulations consistently.

European Union anti-terror laws and regulations provide a comprehensive basis for outlawing membership in terror organizations, terror glorification, terror financing and other terror related offences. In order to effectively combat global terror, these laws and regulations should guide the EU in its decision making to allocate aid. States and non-state entities that are engaged in practices that breach EU law and regulations should not be eligible to receive EU aid. Since the daily actions of the PA breach the EU anti-terror laws and regulations, the EU should discontinue its support of the PA.

In the report (click to read the full report) PMW demonstrates how the PA breaches multiple provisions of EU anti-terror Directive 2017/541, including offences relating to membership in and directing a terrorist group; offences relating to terror glorification; offences relating to recruitment for terrorism and offences relating to terrorist financing.

The report shows how the PA refuses to recognize EU designated terror organizations and continues to allow these organizations to exist, flourish and even receive PA funding. Pursuant to this reality, the PA and the Palestine Liberation Organization were also vocal critics of a new EU regulation which required all Non-Governmental Organizations that are recipients of EU funding to commit that they do not transfer funds, directly or indirectly, to EU designated terror organizations.
Netherlands Accused of Ongoing Funding of Terror-Linked Palestinian NGO
A pro-Israel UK legal organization has called on the government of the Netherlands to stop funding a Palestinian NGO said to be tied to terrorism.

The Netherlands has given grants totaling $23 million over the past decade to the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), despite two of the group’s employees allegedly being linked to terrorist acts.

UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLI) stated on Tuesday that UAWC employee Abdul Razaq Farraj is a known member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and was arrested by the IDF in 2019 for authorizing a terror attack that killed Israeli teenager Rina Shnerb.

Farraj was a UAWC employee for 30 years and by 2018 was finance and administrative director of the organization.

According to UKLI, also involved in the 2019 bombing was Samer Mina Salim Arbid, who was financial director of the UAWC from 2015 to 2016.

UKLFI said that it had petitioned the Dutch government in May 2019 and again a year later to stop funding UAWC due to its terror connections. No action has been taken.
Amid questions over shooting, police release video of driver ramming checkpoint
Border Police on Wednesday released security footage from a suspected car-ramming attack in the West Bank, seeking to push back against accusations that Israeli forces shot and killed the assailant without reason.

In another video that emerged during the day, alleged attacker Ahmad Moustafa Erekat is seen in his car speaking of rumors he has collaborated with Israeli security forces while promising he is “no snitch.” Some Hebrew media reports said the video was made shortly before the incident. But according to Kan news, Erekat’s family said it was a months-old clip.

In the video from Tuesday’s incident, a car driven by Erekat can be seen approaching a checkpoint in Abu Dis, before abruptly accelerating and turning toward a group of police. The car then rams into a female officer — who is knocked into the air — before colliding with a booth and coming to a stop.

As the driver gets out of the vehicle, he appears to begin running from the police officers, but quickly falls to the ground after being shot.

Erekat, 28, was later pronounced dead at the scene.

“He waited for a good moment, turned from the middle of the lane to the side to get a better angle to hurt the officer and then accelerated, turning his car 90 degrees and lunged wildly at the officers,” a Border Police statement said.

The statement also said the female officer, who was lightly injured, has been released from the hospital.

PLO’s Erekat says cop ‘executed’ cousin en route to pick up sister for wedding
Palestinians said a man shot and killed by Israeli forces during an alleged car-ramming attempt was actually rushing to pick up his sister and mother ahead of a family wedding later Tuesday evening, accusing Israel of executing him in cold blood.

Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said his cousin, Ahmad Moustafa Erakat, was only rushing when Border Police shot him dead at the “Container” checkpoint in the neighborhood of Abu Dis, north of Bethlehem. Erekat rejected the Israeli account that the 28-year-old victim had attempted to run over a female officer in an attempt to commit a terror attack.

“Israeli soldiers shot dead Ahmad Erekat from Abu Dis, east of Jerusalem, on his sister’s wedding day,” PLO executive committee secretary general Erekat’s office said in a statement. “Ahmad was rushing through a checkpoint to bring his mother and sister from a beauty salon in Bethlehem.”

“My cousin, the nephew of my wife, was executed, murdered in cold blood and Netanyahu bears responsibility,” Erekat was separately quoted as having told the Kan public broadcaster.

Erekat called his cousin a “peacemaker” and said that “instead of having a wedding, we put away the flower arrangements and chairs and set up a mourning tent instead.”

Ahmad himself was slated to be married next week, Erekat said.

Israeli airstrikes reported against Iranian sites in Syria, killing 7
Suspected Israeli airstrikes late Tuesday in Syria killed at least seven people, including two Syrian soldiers and five pro-Iranian militia members, SANA and Britain-based watchdog said.

Two soldiers were killed and four others wounded in the strikes in the southern province of Sweida, a Syrian military source cited by state media said.

“Several hostile missiles were fired at our military positions in Kababej, west of Deir Ezzor and in the Al-Sukhna region,” a military source quoted by the official SANA news agency said, using Damascus’ common term for Israeli attacks.

“At the same time, one of our military positions was targeted near the town of Salkhad in the southern city of Sweida, resulting in the death of two martyrs and the wounding of four other soldiers,” the source added.

SANA later reported a third set of strikes early Wednesday near Hama, claiming that air defense had intercepted several missiles. Video reportedly from the scene showed explosions on the ground.

Lebanese Prosecution Sues Anti-Hizbullah Shiite Cleric for "Meeting Israelis"
The public prosecutor’s office in Mount Lebanon on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against anti-Hizbullah Shiite cleric Sayyed Ali al-Amin for “meeting Israeli officials in Bahrain” and a host of other charges, the National News Agency said.

The prosecution’s move is based on a lawsuit filed by the lawyer Ghassan al-Mawla on behalf of Nabih Awada, Khalil Nasrallah, Shawqi Awada and Hussein al-Dirani.

The initial lawsuit accuses al-Amin of “meeting Israeli officials in Bahrain, attacking the resistance and its martyrs on permanent basis, inciting strife between sects, sowing discord and sedition, and violating the Sharia laws of the Jaafari sect.”
Palestinian given 4 life sentences for deadly 2018 terror attacks
A Palestinian man was sentenced Wednesday by a military court to four life sentences over a pair of December 2018 terror attacks in which two soldiers and an unborn baby were killed.

The Ofer Military Court also ordered Asem Barghouti to pay millions of shekels in compensation to the injured and the families of those killed.

Barghouti was convicted in November by the court on three counts of murder for his role in the shootings. He was also convicted of 12 counts of attempted murder, obstruction of justice and belonging to a banned organization.

Following his arrest last January, Barghouti was accused of carrying out a shooting attack on a bus stop near the Givat Assaf outpost and of helping his brother Salih in a shooting at a bus stop outside the Ofra settlement days earlier.

Two soldiers, Sgt. Yosef Cohen and Staff Sgt. Yovel Mor Yosef, were killed in the Givat Assaf attack. Another soldier was seriously injured as was a woman.
Israel charges Gaza electrician with firing rockets, powering Hamas tunnels
Prosecutors on Wednesday filed charges against a Gazan electrician accused of firing missiles at Israel and supplying the power for the Hamas terror group’s cross-border tunnels into the Jewish state.

According to the indictment filed at the Beersheba District Court, Fadi Qadas, 32, was in the service of the terrorist group for 15 years, supplying it with electronic parts and guidance, including during the 2014 and 2012 wars against Israel.

Qadas was arrested by Israeli forces last month, but details of his detention are barred from publication.

The charges attributed to Qadas include nine counts of various terror charges, including membership in a terror group, service for a terror group and arms dealing.

He is accused of firing hundreds of missiles and mortar shells at Israel on behalf of Hamas, including 107 missiles in rapid succession during a 2017 flare-up that sought to overwhelm the Iron Dome anti-missile system.

Qadas was also responsible for powering the Hamas tunnels dug underneath the border with Israel, according to the charge sheet, and supplied gas balloons for airborne arson attacks on Israel in recent years.
PMW: Preacher threatens Israel: Your “end is near” - in PA TV sermon
In a sermon broadcast by the PA, an unidentified preacher called on Palestinians to wage war against Israel, warning Israel that “its end, Allah willing, is near”:

“The oppression will not last, and this stage is destined to pass. The occupation (i.e., Israel) has Judaized the holy sites and defiled them, and continues to do so… This is a warning to the occupation that its end, Allah willing, is near.”
[Official PA TV, June 5, 2020]

The preacher quoted the beginning of a Quran verse whose continuation calls for war to “terrify the enemy of Allah.” The verse, which is known to be a call for Jihad, used in the current context is clearly identifying Israelis as “the enemies of Allah” to be fought. The words quoted by the preacher implores Palestinians to use “all means of power” against Israel. The preacher stressed that now is not a time merely for “prayers” but a time to act:
“The divine religions and the international conventions and customs – they all allow us to defend ourselves… The oppressed -he is allowed to defend himself… There is no option but to take initiative. Let us not just pray and say: “The occupation (i.e., Israel) will pass thanks to the prayers.” Let no one understand me thus. There is no choice but to take all the types of initiative. “And prepare against them whatever you are able of power” [Quran 8:60] ... We say to the occupation that all the types of power are permitted for the Palestinian people in order to defend itself, to defend its land, to defend the [Jordan] Valley, to defend Jerusalem, to defend Al-Aqsa, to defend the holy sites, to defend the water, to defend the tax money that is being held, to defend all our stolen rights.”
[Official PA TV, June 5, 2020]

Gaza sick suffer as PA cuts coordination with Israel to fight annexation
Jomaa al-Najjar was desperate to send his 2-month-old daughter Joud out of the Gaza Strip to Israel for urgent medical treatment for epilepsy. But with the Palestinian Authority (PA) refusing to relay his request, there was no way to coordinate her transfer.

This week, she died in a Gaza hospital.

The refusal to process requests for medical permits is part of a larger decision by the Palestinian Authority to sever ties with Israel. Aimed at protesting Israel’s plans to begin annexing parts of the West Bank, the move has instead hurt many Palestinians.

Severely ill Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been hit especially hard, unable to receive life-saving treatments available only in Israel. At least two infants unable to cross into Israel have died since the decision was made.

“Every patient with an urgent condition must be considered without delay,” al-Najjar said.

Al-Najjar’s case illustrates the Palestinians’ dependence on Israel and the tough choices they face in resisting its drive to annex territory in line with US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan.
JCPA: Nepotism in the Palestinian Authority Angers the Public
According to Fatah sources, Mahmoud al-Habash, advisor to the PA Chairman, ranks first in the PA’s nepotism practice. His son was appointed to become Director-General of the Prosecutor’s Office. His daughter was appointed to be the Director-General of Religious Affairs. His brother was appointed to handle the Hajj pilgrimage of the Palestinian Embassy in Saudi Arabia, while another daughter was appointed as Second Secretary of the Palestinian Embassy in Turkey, after working with him in his office.

Mahmoud Abbas’s brother-in-law was appointed, according to PA sources, to the post of Director-General of the Waqf office.

According to Fatah officials, PA senior officials Majed Faraj and Hussein al-Sheikh have a major influence on the Palestinian Foreign Minister, Riyadh Al-Maliki. Al-Maliki is favored by the PA chairman and is responsible for a series of appointments of their associates in the Palestinian Foreign Service.

Nepotism is rife throughout Arab regimes in the Middle East, so the Palestinian public has accepted it as part of the custom of Arab rulers in the region. However, when it is accompanied by such severe corruption, especially when the economic situation in the West Bank is so grave, it becomes the scandal of the day and a source of hostility toward Abbas’ government.

This is one of the reasons Mahmoud Abbas will find it difficult to rally the support of the West Bank citizenry in anticipation of the Israeli extension of sovereignty. He may find that Palestinians are in no hurry to respond to calls by the PA leadership or Fatah since many residents are fed up with the corruption and nepotism in the PA.

MEMRI: Iran-Backed Al-Nujaba' Movement Releases Balloons With Photos Of 'Martyrs' Into Israel, Distributes Food Baskets In Gaza
In a move meant to demonstrate its regional influence outside the Iraqi borders and as part of an "axis of resistance" to Israel, Al-Nujaba' Movement, one of the most notorious Iraqi Shi'ite militias backed by Iran announced on its website on June 6, 2020 that it had launched balloons into Israeli territory. The balloons had photos of the commander of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Qods Force Qassem Soleimani and of other high-ranking "martyrs" who used to operate under Iranian sponsorship, including: Imad Mughniyeh of Hizbullah; Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis from the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU); Bahaa Abu Al-Atta from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad; and Ahmed Al-Jaabari from Hamas.[1] The statement did not say from where the balloons had been released.

The statement, which was issued by the group's office for international relations, said the balloons were launched as a warning to "the Zionist Entity [i.e., Israel]," saying that the latter intends to annex more Palestinian territory. It said: "With these photos, the movement wanted to emphasize that the martyrs' path will continue until the liberation of holy Al-Quds [i.e., Jerusalem] and to send a warning to the Zionist entity that there will consequences for any miscalculations it makes. If such a mistake happens, forces from all over the countries of the resistance axis will line up against this usurper entity."

Photos of the balloons were included with the statement, which underlined that a video taken by the group's psychological operations department indicates that drones were quickly dispatched to identify the flying objects.

"It should be noted that, following the use of small and large balloons by Palestinian combatants for military and non-military purposes, this Regime [Israel] has banned the use of any balloon or any other similar objects, and in case such objects are used inside the Palestinian land, drone teams will quickly be dispatched to that point for collecting information and the identification of threats" the statement concluded.

PreOccupiedTerritory: Sue Gun Manufacturers Who Enable Palestinian Leadership To Keep Shooting Selves In Foot by Michael Sfard, attorney (satire)
Tel Aviv, June 24 – American and Israeli citizens have for years pursued cases in the courts against various Arab or Palestinian entities, charging that the latter played a role in the financing or otherwise played a supportive part in terrorist attacks that killed relatives of the plaintiffs. This phenomenon relates to a broader one in which citizens attempt to hold firearms makers liable through the courts for producing or making available the weapons that killed their loved ones. It also offers Palestinians an example of a way forward after decades of their leaders handing the people failure after failure, missed opportunity after missed opportunity. No, I do not refer to holding Palestinian leaders accountable; that ridiculous notion will never get us anywhere. Rather, hold liable the manufacturers of the guns those leaders use to keep shooting themselves and their people in the foot.

The principle already comes into play in numerous lawsuits currently lending in US courts; what remains to be determined is whether the reasoning behind those cases, should the courts allow them to proceed, applies as well to Palestinians shooting themselves in the foot. To the untrained observer, applying only common sense, this appears to be an open-and-shut case: of course the manufacturers have liability. But to those of us versed in the intricacies of jurisprudence and litigation, common sense only seldom has bearing on judicial decisions. Close readings of tort law, of liability statutes, and of constitutional issues often distort what the casual observer believes should result; arguments from counsel further extend this phenomenon, and those outside the legal profession perceive the outcome as a perversion of justice. Specific to our issue, will the courts see manufacturers as contributing to the circumstances in such a manner that, without their activities, Palestinian leaders would remain unable to shoot themselves and their people in the foot?
Rouhani: Iran is ready for talks if US apologizes over nuclear pact
Iran would be open to talks with the United States if Washington apologizes for exiting a 2015 nuclear deal and compensates Tehran,
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday, cautioning that US calls for discussions were insincere.

The confrontation between arch foes Tehran and Washington has worsened since 2018, when US President Donald Trump withdrew from Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with major powers and reimposed sanctions that have crippled Iran's economy.

Iran has refused to hold any talks with the United States, which is trying to force Tehran to negotiate a new deal, unless Washington lifts sanctions on Tehran and returns to the original agreement.

In a tweet in early June, Trump repeated Washington's call for a new deal with Tehran aimed at putting stricter limits on Tehran's nuclear work, curbs its ballistic missile program and ends its decades of regional proxy wars.

"We have no problem with talks with the US, but only if Washington fulfills its obligations under the nuclear deal, apologies and compensates Tehran for its withdrawal from the 2015 deal," Rouhani said in a televised speech.

"But we know these calls for talks with Tehran are just words and lies," he added.

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