Tuesday, August 25, 2020

From Ian:

Nikki Haley: Obama, Biden led UN to denounce our friend Israel
Former US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley spoke of President Donald Trump's foreign policy accomplishments during his tenure thus far on the first night of the Republican National Convention on Monday, including mentioning the president's policies regarding the Middle East and Israel.

During the virtual convention, Haley first quoted the late Jeane Kirkpatrick, an ardent supporter of Israel in the administration of former US president Ronald Reagan, saying in an overt criticism of Democratic Party foreign policies that they "always blame America first."

Noting her role as the former US ambassador, Haley remarked on the nature of the UN and international human rights, saying "it was an honor of a lifetime to serve as the United States ambassador to the United Nations. Now, the UN is not for the faint of heart. It's a place where dictators, murderers & thieves denounce America... and then put their hands out and demand that we pay their bills."

Similarly, Haley harshly criticized former US president Barack Obama's foreign policy in relation to US-Israel ties and votes in the UN on apparently anti-Israel resolutions, in addition to talking about the decision to transfer the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

"Obama and Biden led the United Nations to denounce our friend and ally, Israel. President Trump moved our embassy to Jerusalem... and when the UN tried to condemn us, I was proud to cast the American veto."
New Israel-UAE Pact Shatters Peace Myths
For decades, international decision makers and opinion shapers have theorized that Israel will not be accepted in the region until it makes peace with the Palestinians, and that all wars and conflicts in the Middle East are somehow connected to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Former President Jimmy Carter once stated that “without doubt, the path to peace in the Middle East goes through Jerusalem.” Another enthusiast of what has become known as “linkage” is the late US National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, who said, “The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the single most combustible and galvanizing issue in the Arab world.”

The Israel-United Arab Emirates (UAE) peace agreement, or “Abraham Accord” — in addition to credible talk of other Arab nations joining — has exploded the belief that the Jewish state is isolated in the region. It also sent a clear signal that the Palestinians, following their decades of rejectionism, can no longer place a veto on Arab nations making peace and establishing official relations with Israel.

But of course, the idea that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was the focal point of the region’s unrest and the most challenging to solve has never been consistent with the facts or statistics.

Many conflicts have been far more deadly and are far more entrenched, based on grievances stretching back hundreds of years. The Sunni-Shiite conflict, for example, predates the modern era, and the internal wars that have devastated Middle East nations like Syria, Libya, Lebanon, and Iraq are a result of historical and even ancient disputes. If one looks at the number of Muslim fatalities from armed conflicts since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, well over 12 million have been killed in conflicts around the wider region in wars such as the Syrian and Lebanese civil wars and the Iran-Iraq conflict.

Fewer than 100,000 Arabs have died in the Israeli-Arab or Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the majority of those died in Israel’s defensive wars against its neighbors. That means fewer than one percent of all deaths in conflicts in the region were in the context of the Israeli-Arab/Palestinian conflict. This statistic alone demonstrates that the conflict with Israel is one of the least bloody or central in the region.
The warm peace between Israel and the UAE is a victory for us all
Many prominent people in the UAE have praised and congratulated this agreement and greatly appreciate this strategic change. We must let the past be the past and look forward to the opportunities of tomorrow, full of sincere cooperation and synergy.

Peace is born in people’s hearts and minds. Real and lasting victories are the victories of peace, not the victories of war.

The atmosphere in support of peace and the interaction we are witnessing through social media platforms in the UAE and Israel, and increasingly in more Arab countries, give us a great sense of hope that such lasting peace is indeed possible.

Although we also have empathy for the Palestinian people, it is regrettable that instead of grasping this opportunity to advance their own situation, their leadership has yet again dismissed an outstretched hand for real and meaningful change.

The peace agreement between Israel and the UAE is intended to put an end to conflicts in the region and to spread the values of peace among the peoples.

This historic step will contribute to the strengthening of stability, justice and peace in the world, based on universal human values that everyone believes in, such dialogue, coexistence and tolerance between different religions and cultures.

After the historic peace agreement last week, we feel a real mutual sense of excitement and hope for a better future. It is our dream that others, especially in the Arab world, will see it also and join us!

The writer is a senior executive specializing in digital transformation at the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, and an activist for peace and regional reconciliation.



Finally, embracing the Israelis on the other side
I was always curious to see the other side, in part because I met Israelis and Jewish people along the way who shared ideas, songs, books, thoughts, times, and friends. My image of Israel changed over time from a place of dark austere beauty like a faraway castle on a mountain top encircled by flying dragons to one of a real sense of the hustle and bustle of a cosmopolitan city.

This transformation namely began from conspiracy theories that were hard to swallow about monsters, Jewish demons, anti-Christs, and Messiahs (in the plural sense because the stories come in different dizzying forms).

Eventually, my desire to suspend negative feelings towards Israel or Judaism liberated my inner being from a thorned cage: my mind. I was no longer pricked, depressed, or argumentative when the subject presented itself; rather, I was sensitive and curious in finding a way out through the prejudice.

The legacy of a millennium of antisemitic ideas still lingered in our beliefs, they were never really gone. How could I myself ever end them? Would I ever see Jerusalem, that center of three worlds? Would I ever see a place where miracles happened?

Then it happened, on Aug. 13 with the unexpected joint UAE-Israel statement. The miracle to see the miracle. A decaying tooth that brought much pain was plucked and replaced.

Having said that, it must be clearly noted that my thinking openly about Israelis does not mean that I have stopped caring about Palestinians. My caring for Palestinians means urging to stop trying to destroy Israel and instead come to terms with it.

As we get to know each other in realtime these dark times will end, our human encounters in art, tourism, and trade will bring the light. A dogma shattered means a new philosophy will arise and only God knows how wonderful these times will unfold.

I send my warmest regards to Israel and the Israeli people and with much hope and certainty, I look forward to being on the other side. Looking at life from a completely different angle means a new life altogether.
Israel-UAE peace: A dream come true
I was never very much into politics, though I’m more informed on it now than I once was. I’m rather more passionate about culture and society.

When I was 11, I became more interested to learn about the world, countries and my region. I started learning about Israel around that time.

Firstly, I can’t speak for all the people in my country. Some like Israel, some don’t and some are neutral. Personally, I didn’t quite have the misconceptions regarding the Jewish state that Israelis and Jews might think an Arab would have. I was even ignorant about it, because the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was not an interest of my parents or my school, so the topic barely came up.

I started learning by myself about the history of Jewish people and Judaism first. I learned that being Jewish is also a peoplehood. And I learned about the connection to the land (Israel).

I also learned how Israel is very multicultural, multi-ethnic and very diverse, which is what I love, coming from a country that has over 200 nationalities living in it. And to summarize, like that it became clear for me and I simply understood.

I’m pro-Israel because I do not have a reason to hate the country, and I don’t look for one. Every country has its flaws, including Israel—but its existence is not one of them. Simple as that.


Pompeo departs Israel, making history on first direct flight from TLV to Sudan
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo departed Israel Tuesday morning and made history as he took off on the first official direct flight from Israel to Sudan.

Pompeo was in Israel for talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz following the announcement earlier this month about the normalization deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. He will fly to Sudan and then visit Bahrain and UAE. Pompeo's trip is part of a US effort to recruit additional countries which will normalize ties with Israel.

In an exclusive interview with The Jerusalem Post on Monday, Pompeo said that that he could not discuss which countries would be next in line after the UAE, but that more would come.

“I couldn’t tell you the timing and I couldn’t tell you which countries, but I think as other nations around the world come to see that there is enormous benefit to the relationship – from a diplomatic perspective, an economic perspective, and from a security perspective – I think that other nations will see that it is the right thing to do,” he said. “I think they will also come to see that building out this set of
relationships is the pathway that will lead to stability in the Middle East as well.”


Sudan’s PM Tells Pompeo He’s Not Authorized to Normalize Ties With Israel
Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok told US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday that he was not mandated to normalize ties with Israel and the issue should not be linked to Sudan’s removal from a US state sponsors of terrorism list.

Pompeo arrived from Israel on what he said was the first official non-stop flight between the two countries, as the United States promotes stronger Sudan-Israel ties.

He met Hamdok and ruling council head Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, tweeting that Sudan’s democratic transition was a “once in a generation opportunity.”

The United States has been restoring relations with Sudan following the ousting of former Islamist leader Omar al-Bashir in 2019 after mass protests. The country is one year into a 39-month political transition in which the military and civilians are sharing power.

Its economy is in crisis and authorities have been pushing to end the US terrorism listing, which prevents Sudan from accessing financing from international lenders.

Pompeo’s visit follows an accord between Israel and the UAE this month to forge full relations, and comes as Israel and the United States push more Arab countries to follow.
Israel ties not a condition for Sudan to shed terror-sponsor status - US
Normalization with Israel is not a precondition for Sudan to be removed from the US state sponsor of terror list, US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook and State Department Spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said ahead of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Khartoum.

Pompeo made history before even arriving, as he flew on the first official direct flight from Israel to Sudan. He was also the first US secretary of state to visit the country since Condoleezza Rice in 2005.

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok told Pompeo on Tuesday that his country’s government was not mandated to normalize ties with Israel, its cabinet spokesman said in a statement.

The Sudanese premier said he held "direct and transparent" talks with Pompeo, including about the removal from the list.

Hamdok reaffirmed to Pompeo the importance of separating normalization of ties from a US decision on removing Sudan's designation as a state sponsor of terrorism, spokesman Faisal Saleh said.
In apparent backtrack, Moroccan PM seems to indicate Israel ties possible
Moroccan Prime Minister Saad-Eddine El Othmani on Tuesday appeared to walk back comments in which he said Rabat would not normalize relations with Israel.

El Othmani told the French-language news site Le360 that his comments on Saturday in opposition to warming ties with Jerusalem were made in his capacity as leader of the Islamist PJD party, not as prime minister.

El Othmani added that he had just been reiterating a long-held position of his party. He did not comment further on the matter.

On Saturday, he told his Islamist PJD party, “We refuse any normalization with the Zionist entity because this emboldens it to go further in breaching the rights of the Palestinian people.”

The remarks came before an expected trip to Israel, Morocco and several Gulf states this week by US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner. He is preceded in the region by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
United Nations not thrilled about Middle Eastern nations uniting
The United Arab Emirates and Israel took the historic step of normalizing diplomatic relations this month. But you would never know how positive this development is for regional peace based on the United Nations’ tepid response, which focused on the Palestinians. The U.N’s continued perseveration about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict underscores how the international organization, whose mission is to promote “international peace and security,” has become an overt champion of one side of a conflict and a detractor of another side. To uphold its mission fairly and justly, this must change.

This was not the first time the U.N. promoted the Palestinian agenda to the detriment of regional peace initiatives. Egyptian President Anwar Sadat shocked the Arab world in September 1978 when he became the first Middle Eastern leader to sign a peace agreement with Israel. Three months later, in resolution 33/28A, the U.N. General Assembly condemned Egypt for bypassing the U.N. and for not resolving the Palestinian issue. The General Assembly followed up in December 1979 with resolution 34/65, which again argued that regional security, somehow subordinate to the Israeli-Palestinian issue, would deteriorate with an Egyptian-Israeli deal. Both resolutions drew heavily from reports produced by the U.N. Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

That committee is part of an infrastructure of pro-Palestinian institutions within the U.N. system. To be sure, Palestinians deserve international support. Even while their situation today in part results from decades of rejectionism by failed leaders who have openly engaged in terrorism against Israel and others, Palestinians need humanitarian assistance. However, the U.N’s unconditional acceptance of the one-sided Palestinian narrative has served to unfairly malign Israel and harm prospects for peace.

The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People was created in 1975, in the same session as the infamous “Zionism is Racism” resolution, which vilified the movement for Jewish autonomy. When the resolution passed, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Daniel Patrick Moynihan proclaimed, “A great evil has been loosed upon the world.” To this day, the committee produces a steady stream of anti-Israel resolutions that the General Assembly rubber-stamps.


US organizing regional peace summit with multiple Arab countries — report
The United States is planing a regional peace summit with several Arab states that will likely be held in the next few weeks in one of the Gulf sheikdoms, an Israeli newspaper reported Tuesday.

That reportedly is the purpose of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s current tour of the Middle East, which includes stops in several Arab countries rumored to be in line to follow the United Arab Emirates in normalizing ties with Israel.

The summit was reported by the Israel Hayom daily, generally regarded as a mouthpiece for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The report cited an unnamed senior UAE diplomat who is involved in Pompeo’s talks with the various Arab states.

The report said the Americans have already received a promise in principle from Bahrain, Oman, Morocco, Sudan, and Chad to send senior representatives to the summit.

The source was quoted as saying that before and during Pompeo’s visit to Israel, US officials told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and other senior PA officials that Washington would be happy for the Palestinians to take part in the summit, and that Pompeo would like to hand Abbas an invitation in person in Ramallah.

However, Abbas and his aides “rejected the messages out of hand and even sent the message that Pompeo is not wanted in Ramallah,” according to the Emirati source.
Yisrael Medad: The Temple Mount is not a trading chip for peace
The yet-to-be-finalized peace treaty with the United Arab Emirates has been viewed with some concern among the right-of-center, but not solely.

Foremost among worrisome issues is the matter of the suspended sovereignty implementation, that is, the applying of Israel’s laws to portions of the areas not under Palestinian Authority control would be, to borrow a term from the League of Nations 1922 Mandate decision regarding Transjordan’s separation from the Jewish national home, “postponed.”

A second belated interest is the selling of US F35s to the UAE and potential security danger. A third item is that yet once again the Arabs of Palestine are, for all intents and purposes, not included in the equation, the seemingly always left-out member of the group. This aspect is
especially irksome among the pro-Palestine multitude.

Criticism from nationalist quarters is that in accepting the above sacrifices, Israel would be accepting, as a matter of course, an insult to the country’s honor, its independence, as well to its best interests. Money would be the hyped come-on; venality becomes the replacement value. Tourism, investment and commerce are the basics of peace, an approach Shimon Peres highlighted decades ago with his New Middle East vision.
Abbas: Normalization between Arabs, Israel won’t achieve peace
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Tuesday that normalization of relations between Israel and the Arab countries won’t achieve peace and stability in the region.

Abbas told visiting British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab that “there will be no peace, security and stability in our region without ending the Israeli occupation of our land, and the Palestinian people obtaining their freedom and independence in their sovereign state on the 1967 borders.”

Referring to the recent normalization accord between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Abbas said during the meeting with Raab that “peace will not be achieved by by-passing the Palestinians through the normalization of relations with the Arab countries.”

Abbas said he also rejected the notion of peace for peace, dubbing it an illusion. He said that peace can be achieved only on the basis of international resolutions and the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative.

Abbas said he told British Prime Minister Boris Johnson that he was committed to achieving peace in accordance with the resolutions of international legitimacy and that he is ready to return to the negotiating table with Israel under the auspices of the Quartet, which consists of the US, UN, Russia and the EU, and with the participation of other countries.
Abbas slams ‘illusion of peace for peace’ in meeting with UK FM
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas criticized what he called “the illusion of peace for peace” during a meeting with United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, according to the PA official WAFA news agency.

“Peace will not be achieved by bypassing the Palestinians to normalize relations with Arab states. It will not be achieved in the form of the illusion of peace for peace. Rather, it will be done on the basis of international law and the Arab Peace Initiative, which say that a peace agreement is to be concluded with the Palestinians first,” Abbas said.

Abbas was alluding to statements by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the recent agreement to normalize relations with the United Arab Emirates signaled a victory for his “peace for peace” approach. Previous treaties with Arab states, Netanyahu has said, were based on exchanging “land for peace.”

A joint statement released by the United States, Israel and the UAE said that Israel agreed to suspend its plan to annex parts of the West Bank in exchange for a full normalization of relations.

Raab is on a brief trip to Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which the British Foreign Office has billed as intended to push for renewed dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians.

“Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is visiting Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories this week to press for renewed dialogue between their governments and reinforce UK commitment to preventing annexation and pursuing a negotiated two-state solution,” the Foreign Office said in a statement Monday.

Unlike the PA, Britain has hailed the agreement with the UAE as “a much needed boost for peace in the region.”
Defense Minister Gantz speaks with UAE counterpart Al Bawardi
Defense Minister Benny Gantz spoke with his counterpart in the UAE Mohammed bin Ahmad al Bawardi on Monday, discussing security cooperation between them for the first time since the two countries agreed to normalize ties.

“Sharing important security interests and cooperation will strengthen the stability of the region,” Gantz said.

Speaking by phone, the two ministers discussed the need to promote the normalization agreement that would establish, among other things, the security ties between the countries.

They also discussed possible channels of cooperation between the two defense establishments and their intention to establish “close, continuous and fruitful working relations,” read a statement released by Israel’s Defense Ministry.

Gantz told Bawardi that he expects to meet him in Israel or in the Emirates “as soon as possible,” the statement added.
Jpost Editorial: It's time for Europe to follow Germany's lead and ban Hezbollah
The Jerusalem Post’s Benjamin Weinthal reported Sunday that Switzerland might follow the decision made in April by its neighbor Germany and ban all Hezbollah activities within its territory.

Last week, the Swiss Federal Council agreed to review a “Report on the activities of the Shi’ite Islamist Hezbollah in Switzerland.” The initiative was launched by Marianne Binder of the Christian Democratic People’s Party of Switzerland in June.

The proposed anti-Hezbollah legislation notes that Germany justified the decision to ban the terrorist movement because of its call for armed struggle and rejection of Israel’s right to exist.

The initiative reads: “The EU previously banned the [military] arm that engaged in terrorist activities. It is not known which activities Hezbollah is developing in Switzerland. In view of the neutrality of Switzerland, however, the activities of Hezbollah cannot be legitimized and a report is also advisable for reasons of security policy.”

This highlights the ridiculous European Union approach to the terrorist organization, whose deadly tentacles have reached around the world. In July 2013, EU governments agreed to partially blacklist Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, but they made an artificial and dangerous distinction. The EU outlawed Hezbollah’s “military arm” but allowed its “political arm” to continue to operate, raise funds and recruit members. This financial pipeline and recruitment system keeps Hezbollah alive.


Shin Bet: Stabbing last week in Rosh Ha’ayin was likely a terror attack
A stabbing last week in the central town of Rosh Ha’ayin in which an Israeli man was seriously injured is suspected of being a terror attack, not the result of a scuffle as it was initially described, the Shin Bet security service said Tuesday.

The Israeli man visited a construction site last Saturday afternoon where he reportedly owned an apartment that was being built. Inside, he was stabbed multiple times, but managed to get outside to the street where he collapsed. A short while later, he was found by a passerby who called an ambulance. The injured man, a resident of Ashkelon in his 30s, was taken to Petah Tikva’s Beilinson Medical Center in serious condition, police said at the time.

Initial reports about the stabbing indicated that it occurred during a fight of some kind. Later that day, police requested and received a court-issued gag order on the case.

On Tuesday, the gag order was partially removed, as the Shin Bet revealed that the stabbing was being investigated as a terror attack and that the assailant was a Palestinian man who had entered Israel illegally.

“From investigating the suspect, the suspicion was raised that this was a nationalistically motivated event,” police said.

The suspect, who initially fled the scene, was arrested last Thursday in his hometown of Jenin, the security service said.
Israel considering deal with Jordan on solar energy - report
Israel might buy solar power from Jordan to increase its use of renewable energy from 5% to 30% by 2030, The Guardian reported Sunday.

Israel is initiating a pilot program that would result in Jordan transferring 25 megawatts to Israel’s national grid, which would be able to power thousands of homes, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said in a letter to environmental activists, the report said.

EcoPeace, an organization consisting of Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian environmentalists, has been advocating for more partnerships in the region. By accessing Jordan’s larger amount of land and more frequent sunshine, buying electricity would be cheaper for Israel than producing it itself, EcoPeace said.

“Electricity has never crossed the Israeli border from any neighboring country,” Gidon Bromberg, the Israeli director of EcoPeace, told The Guardian.

“We are calling for a Middle East green deal,” he said.

EcoPeace shared Steinitz’s letter with the Jordanian government in a bid to get the ball rolling on a potential deal, the report said. Jordan already buys natural gas from Israel.

Despite the potential of an agreement, EcoPeace warned that any Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank would jeopardize an Israel-Jordan partnership on solar energy.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Arabs and Muslims to Turkey's Erdogan: "Why Don't You Protest Against Yourself?"
"Erdogan's Turkey has been normalizing its relations with Israel since the establishment of Israel." — Rawaf al-Soain, Saudi writer, Twitter, August 14, 2020.

"Erdogan is trading in the Palestinian cause. Turkey has had relations with Israel for more than 70 years, but it has done nothing good for the Palestinians all these years." — Abdullah al-Bander, Saudi political activist, Twitter, August 18, 2020.

"The statement was actually issued by Erdogan, the official sponsor of terrorist groups in the region. He uses these groups to destabilize the Arab countries, including Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Egypt.... Only the terrorist groups see him as the Emir of the Faithful and Caliph of Muslims... Where is his support for the Palestinian cause when he directs all his support to Hamas and ignores the Palestinian Authority? He hosts wanted terrorists in Ankara and allows them to establish radio and television stations to preach the Muslim Brotherhood ideology." — Adel al-Sanhoury, Egyptian columnist, youm7.com, August 21, 2020.
US State Department Slams Turkish President Erdogan for Hosting Hamas Terrorists
The US State Department slammed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday for his meeting last weekend with two leaders of the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas — one of whom is the subject of a $5 million bounty for his part in the murder of an American-Jewish teenager.

“The United States strongly objects to Turkish President Erdogan hosting two Hamas leaders in Istanbul on August 22,” State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a statement. “Hamas is designated as a terrorist organization by the US and EU and both officials hosted by President Erdogan are Specially Designated Global Terrorists.”

Ortagus highlighted the presence in Ankara of Hamas deputy leader Saleh al-Arouri.

It was Arouri who announced Hamas’s responsibility for the June 12, 2014, terrorist abduction and killing of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank, including dual US-Israeli citizen Naftali Fraenkel, praising the atrocity as a “heroic operation.”

Ortagus said the US government’s Rewards for Justice program — which is offering a $5 million reward for Arouri’s capture — was seeking further information about his participation in “multiple terrorist attacks, hijackings, and kidnappings.”

Ortagus made clear that the State Department would keep monitoring Erdogan’s interactions with Hamas leaders with concern.


Are Turkey and Greece Heading for War?
Turkey has threatened to invade the Greek islands in the Aegean since at least 2018. A recent Egyptian-Greek maritime deal appears to have escalated Turkey's regional aggression.

"Turkey's policy is part and parcel of a broader strategy to expand Turkey's influence in the Middle East, the Gulf, and Africa. The aim is to impose geopolitical dominion: an undisputed regional hegemonic regime whereby Turkey is be able to determine big and important developments.... It appears willing to use military force in order to impose its revisionist plans." — Dr. Giorgos Kentas, Associate Professor of International Politics and Governance at the University of Nicosia, in an interview with Gatestone.

"Turkey is currently attempting a similar policy of revisionism against Greece. The aim is to impose a hegemonic regime over Greece's maritime zones and/or maritime zones that Greece claims in Eastern Mediterranean." — Dr. Giorgos Kentas.

"The Turkish economy found itself on its knees last time US President Donald Trump cared to send Erdogan a message over the arrest of American Pastor Andrew Brunson. What is keeping President Trump from doing that now?" — Anna Koukkides-Procopiou, a Senior Fellow and Member of Advisory Board of the Center for European and International Affairs of the University of Nicosia, interview with Gatestone.
PMW: PA budget reports differ from Arabic to English
Every month, the Palestinian Authority publishes a monthly budget performance reports in Arabic, and for the international donor community a translation is published in English. The Arabic and English reports with hundreds of entries should be identical, which they are, except for one item in all the reports since February 2020: the Arabic includes the budget entry “Commission for Prisoners and Released” - which ostensibly documents the PA salaries to terrorists – while this entry is missing from the English.

Note the fourth sub-category which is in the Arabic - “Commission for Prisoners and Released Prisoners” - is missing in the English

Why would the PA translate everything in its monthly report except for this one line?

Palestinian Media Watch’s reports on the PA’s paying salaries to terrorists has brought the outrage of the international community against the PA, and four countries have completely cut off funding the PA. Could it be that the PA has translated everything in its monthly reports except for that one line because it would rather the donor countries not see that they are continuing to spend hundreds of millions of shekels each month to reward terrorists?

This is not all that is strange about this entry in the PA’s reports.

Even though the PA has listed the words “Commission of Prisoners and Released Prisoners” in the Arabic budget, the report does not show the PA expenditure. There are hundreds of entries in this report and the amount that is clearly missing is the amount given to pay salaries to terrorists.

And there is something even more intriguing. The only way PMW figured out that the amount spent on salaries to terrorists was missing was by comparing the Arabic chart to the English chart: the Arabic chart has a mistake - accidental or intentional - that makes it seem to Arabic readers that the PA spent nearly 908 million shekels on salaries to terrorists in the first half of 2020, a figure much higher than the entire PA expenditure in 2019.

Below is a copy of the Arabic chart as it appears. The bottom line on the right says “Commission for Prisoners and Released Prisoners” which corresponds to the column with the amount 907.779 million shekels:
Gaza in Lockdown to Try to Contain Its First COVID-19 Outbreak
A lockdown took hold in Gaza on Tuesday after confirmation of the first cases of COVID-19 in the general population of the Palestinian enclave, whose restricted borders have spared it from wide infection.

Health authorities in the Hamas Islamist-run territory of two million people are concerned over the potentially-disastrous combination of poverty, densely-populated refugee camps and limited hospital facilities in dealing with an outbreak.

A government spokesman said four cases of the coronavirus were confirmed in a single family in a refugee camp, the first in Gaza that did not involve people quarantined in border facilities after crossing into the coastal enclave from Egypt and Israel.

Citing security concerns, both Egypt and Israel maintain tight restrictions at the Gaza frontier, leaving Gazans with little access to the outside world for years and hospitals often complaining of shortages in medical supplies.

“What happens if one of us gets infected?” asked Khaled Sami, a Gaza resident. “When people are seriously ill, they send them into Israel, the West Bank or Egypt. Everything is closed now and who is going to open the gate for someone suffering from the coronavirus?”

With businesses, schools and mosques ordered shuttered late on Monday for at least 48 hours, Gaza’s streets were largely deserted. But some people scrambled to buy essentials in groceries and bakeries, a limited number of which were open.

“I hope the whole world can now help Gaza. We can’t resolve this issue on our own,” said another Gaza resident, who asked to be identified only as Abu Ahmed.
Four Palestinian Islamic Jihad members killed in apparent bomb-making accident
Four members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad were killed in an apparent bomb-making accident in the Gaza Strip late Monday as the Hamas terror group warned that it will accept nothing less than the lifting of the Gaza blockade for calm to be restored to southern Israel.

After explosions were reported in a PIJ military wing compound in the northern Gaza City neighborhood of Shejaiya, Palestinian media initially attributed the explosions to Israeli Air Force strikes. But Hebrew media, citing Israeli security officials, denied any Israeli connection to the incident, adding that it appeared to have been a “work accident.”

The terror group subsequently announced that four of its fighters, Iyad Jamal al-Jidi, Muataz Amir al-Mubid, Yahya Fareed al-Mubid and Yaaqoub Zaydieh were killed in the blast during “preparations to remove the criminal entity from our occupied land.”

Meanwhile a senior Hamas official told the pro-Hamas channel Palestine Today on Monday that the surge in violence would continue until their demands were met.

“It is our right to break this siege,” Ismail Radwan said in comments capping another day in which terrorists in Gaza sent dozens of incendiary balloons toward Israel, sparking at least 36 fires in towns bordering the coastal enclave.
Young Gazan rapper criticized for expressing reconciliation with Israel
Abdel Rahman al-Shantti, an 11-year-old Palestinian rapper from Gaza who went viral for his music, has come under fire from locals for expressing “love between us and Israel,” according to a New York Times report on Saturday.

A video of Shantti rapping outside his school in Gaza City, surrounded by classmates wearing matching uniforms, has garnered hundreds of thousands of views on social media and was even shared by the popular British rapper Lowkey.

Shantti said in an interview with a Russian news outlet that “I would like to spread love between us and Israel.”

“There’s no reason for fighting and wars. We need to let this relationship become better and better,” the young boy added.

Shantti faced intense backlash from Palestinians over social media, who claimed that his father failed to teach his son about the Palestinian cause.

One comment from Saad Yaghi, 23, a resident of Gaza City, said that the boy "doesn’t study his homeland’s history enough. It’s very easy to plant these ideas in his head.”
Hamas accuses UAE spy agency of working with Israel
Senior members of Hamas are claiming that following the organization's defeat of the Fatah movement in the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections, the United Arab Emirates began shutting down Hamas' sources of funding in the UAE, the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar reported Tuesday.

Hamas officials told the paper that the funds were cut off as a result of intelligence sent from Jerusalem to Abu Dhabi, and claimed that some high-ranking members of Hamas who were arrested in the UAE were subjected to torture.

Al-Akhbar reported that the most important Hamas operated arrested and tortured by Emirati officials was Musa Abu Marzouk, who was reportedly on the "verge of death" in an Emirati prison before he was released as a result of other Arab countries' intervention.

Later, the Hamas sources told Al-Akhbar, the Emirati intelligence apparatus began operating in the Gaza Strip in an attempt to recruit agents. One of the recruiters said that Abu Dhabi had wanted information about Israeli soldiers Hamas was holding captive in Gaza, the location of Hamas' attack tunnels, sources of Hamas' funding, key players in Hamas' fundraising network, and its plans for rocket attacks.

The Hamas officials accused former top Fatah official Mohammad Dahlan of "working to collect intelligence for the Emiratis and strengthen [their] ties with Israel."
Iran, Hamas and Islamic Jihad call for 'uprising' after UAE-Israel deal
The Middle East needs an uprising similar to the Islamic Revolution in Iran that will unite the “resistance” of the Islamic community against a “culture of defeat” that has affected Arab regimes, Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s representative to Iran recently said.

Mehr News in Iran reported the discussion with Naser Abu Sharif of PIJ, which is backed by Tehran. Hamas representative Khalid al-Qaddumi was also present, the report said.

The Mehr News discussion attacked the “betrayal of the UAE in the signing of the agreement to normalize relations with the Zionist enemy.” Qaddumi said the agreement has crossed a redline and Israel is now more secure than in the past.

The extremists asserted that Israel was like a criminal running free without anyone to put it on trial. He pointed out that when Egypt had signed a peace deal with Israel, the Arab League had suspended Egypt and moved its headquarters temporarily from Cairo. Egypt was readmitted to the Arab League in 1989.

Hamas is outraged, the representative told Iran.

“Nations and our educated class have a great responsibility in questioning friendly countries for normalizing relations.” He said the “Zionist regime is an enemy and will remain an enemy. The destiny of the [Zionist] regime is destruction and decay, and whoever has a relationship with it will be transferred to the dustbin of history.”
Israel ‘disappointed’ at European inaction on Iran, FM says
European states must take action to curb Iranian aggression, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said in his meeting with UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Tuesday.

“We were disappointed to see our friends, the E3 countries, not voting to extend the arms embargo on Iran and thus prevent its adoption,” Ashkenazi said.

The E3 – France, the UK and Germany – are the three European countries that were party to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. France and the UK voted against the extension of a UN arms embargo on Iran earlier this month; the embargo ends on October 18. The EU’s arms embargo on Iran will stay in place until 2023.

The US then invoked “snapback sanctions” on Thursday, which are meant to automatically extend the embargo even without the support of the UN Security Council. The E3, Russia and China argued that the US does not have the right to do so, because it left the JCPOA in 2018, but the US has pointed out that the snapback mechanism is in UNSC Resolution 2231, a separate document from the JCPOA.

Ashkenazi said some UN Security Council members are not only not advancing its goal to “increase peace and security in the world;” rather, when it relates to Iran, they are undermining world security.
Netanyahu scolds visiting UK FM for rejecting Iran sanctions
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed disappointment over the UK’s opposition to the imposition of snapback sanctions on Iran, during a meeting with British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab in Jerusalem on Tuesday.

Netanyahu told Raab that Israel expects the UK to change its stance toward Iran and join the US push for restoring sanctions, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.

“Look at Iran’s aggression today, without a nuclear weapon. What a huge danger Iran would be to the entire world if it did get a nuclear weapon,” he said.

The UK on Thursday joined other members of the Security Council in rebuffing a bid by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to reinstate the sanctions, despite the US having abandoned the deal, at Israel’s urging, in 2018.
Iranian president: Talks possible if US returns to 2015 nuclear deal
If the United States wants an agreement with Iran, it must first come back to Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with six powers that Washington abandoned two years ago, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday.

"Washington's maximum pressure policy on Iran has failed 100%...If Washington wants an agreement with us, then they should apologize for exiting the deal and return to it," Rouhani told a televised news conference.

Long-tense relations between the two adversaries have almost come to blows since 2018 when US President Donald Trump ditched the deal reached by his predecessor Barack Obama and reimposed sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy.

In response to what Washington calls its “maximum pressure” campaign to force Iran to negotiate a new deal, Tehran has breached key limits on nuclear activity imposed by the 2015 accord, under which the Islamic Republic accepted curbs on its uranium enrichment program in return for relief from sanctions.
MEMRI: IRGC Commander Salami: The IRGC Is 'The Brand Of The Islamic Revolution'; 'The Greatest Role Of The Qods Force, In Addition To Achieving Concrete Victories Over The... Enemies And Liberating The Islamic Lands From The Occupiers, Was To Breathe Life Into The Concept Of Jihad'
Recently, Hossein Salami, commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), gave two speeches to commanders of the IRGC and its Qods Force, which is responsible for operations outside Iran. In the speeches, he explained the essence of the IRGC and of the Qods Force. In both, Salami, who is known for his flowery rhetoric, fulsomely praised the uniqueness of the IRGC, in an attempt to fill his men's hearts with pride.

At an August 11, 2020 meeting of the joint administrative command council,[1] which was attended by the IRGC deputy commander and coordinating deputy of the steering team of the headquarters of the representation of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in the IRGC,[2] delivered a speech focusing on the IRGC's importance in Iran's Islamic revolutionary regime. In it, he described and set out the characteristics of the organization and its members.

Two days later, on August 13, Salami gave a speech to Qods Force commanders on the occasion of the anniversary of "Hizbullah's victory over the false Zionist regime" in the 2006 Lebanon war. In this speech, he spoke about the martyrs of the resistance front, headed by the late Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani who was killed in January 2020 by the U.S., and the importance of the jihad they waged in the name of Iran's Islamic Revolution. Salami described the arena of the conflict between Iran – as the leader of the resistance front and the Islamic Revolution – and the U.S. and its supporters in terms of a perpetual battle with the enemies of Islam. He also stated that in this never-ending conflict, Iran and the Islamic Revolution have the upper hand, and promised vengeance for the killing of Soleimani






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