Tuesday, October 27, 2020

From Ian:

Israeli Ambassador Gilad Erdan to the U.N. Security Council: The "real obstacle to peace" is "Palestinians' long record of incitement and hate"
"...In the two months since I arrived in New York, I have witnessed a jarring dissonance between what this council chooses to focus on and what is actually happening in the Middle East. During this short period, I witnessed the council ignoring opportunities to promote peace while simultaneously choosing not to act in the face of grave threats...

In a debate titled 'The Situation in the Middle East, Including the Palestinian Question,' one would expect the council to focus on the most important issues facing the Middle East.

However, once a month, for 20 years – over hundreds of debates – members of this council routinely overlook critical issues and focus only on the 'Palestinian Question'.

Today's debate is a perfect example. Shouldn't we be discussing the momentum of peace between four countries in a turbulent region?...

Now everyone can see that the Palestinians incite against any country that seeks peace in the region, even its fellow Arab League members. The fact that the Palestinians attack those who make peace with Israel, demonstrates that, for years, the council has been applying pressure to the wrong side....

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is also, of course, an important issue and should be a part of the debate. Yet, while discussing it every month for the last 20 years, key elements have been neglected. If you are looking for the real obstacle to peace, look at the Palestinian's long record of incitement and hate. PA textbooks incite to violence and promote terrorism and antisemitism. Through its "Pay to Slay" program, the PA rewards terror attacks against Israeli civilians. Maybe part of the answer to the Palestinian question can be found here.

The PA spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year on its 'pay to slay' program. Just think how that money could have been spent this year fighting COVID-19.
History will judge UNSC for failing to embrace Abraham Accords, US says
The United Nations Security Council must embrace the Abraham Accords if it wants peace and stability in the Middle East, both Israeli and US envoys urged the international body on Monday. “This council should embrace the Accords and use them as a catalyst to promote peace and security in the region,” Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan said. His speech marked the first time he has addressed the UNSC since his arrival in New York to replace former ambassador Danny Danon.

“For decades, many in the international community have fixated on a single solution to the conflict. They vote for the same anti-Israel resolutions, recycle old talking points and ignore issues that are crucial for ending the conflict. They also ignore the fact that this approach has only emboldened Palestinian rejectionism,” Erdan said, during the UNSC monthly meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft said, “History will judge how this Council responds to this historic moment – it can either shrink from the challenge or rise to the occasion.”

Both envoys spoke in the aftermath of the historic weekend announcement that the US had brokered an agreement between Sudan and Israel to establish ties, under the auspices of the Trump Administration’s Abraham Accords. It follows Israel’s ratification this month of a peace deal with the United Arab Emirates and its pending ratification of a normalization deal with Bahrain.
Could We Lose the Progress We’ve Made in the Middle East?
The new-look Middle East—Sunni Arabs and Jews against Shiite Iran and its many proxies—is rooted in both of those Obama and Trump policies, but in the region, there are fears worse is to come. The election is weeks away, but Arab leaders are already fretting about what a Biden presidency could mean for them. More than the Biden-Harris campaign promises to “reassess our relationship with the Kingdom, end U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, and make sure America does not check its values at the door to sell arms or buy oil,” the greater fear is of the pendulum swinging back to the pre-Trump status quo, and a rebalancing of American policy in the region to favor Iran. As much as anything else, the fear of a renewed American-Iran alliance is driving Sunni Arabs to Israel. Could they be wrong?

Team Biden has made it clear that if Iran comes back into compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or Iran deal, they will rejoin. But it seems unlikely that anyone from a Biden administration would conduct the aggressive lobbying campaign for Iran that Obama’s hapless Secretary of State John Kerry embraced. Indeed, the more serious risk is not that Biden’s Middle East advisers fall hopelessly in love with the Islamic Republic, as too many of Obama’s negotiators did. It is that they will do nothing in the face of Iranian efforts to dominate the Middle East and that America’s erstwhile allies take their security into their own hands, to dangerous effect.

With an America that ignores both Iranian predations against its own people and turns it back on supporting Washington’s traditional allies among Israel and the Sunnis, the odds are that regional powers will take it upon themselves to protect their interests in the best way they know how. That began with a new alliance with Jerusalem, but where it could end is anyone’s guess. The last time such fears were in the air, the Saudis escalated their conflict with Yemen, and began dabbling in opposition politics and worse in the neighborhood. This time they may well turn to other interested global players—Saudi Arabia is now China’s top oil supplier—for weapons and more.

In short, while a rekindling of the Democratic love affair with Tehran promises rough seas ahead in the Middle East, the larger problem may be that both a Trump second term or a Biden administration will likely wash their hands of the region, feeling that the mission as they defined it has been accomplished.

Israel Advocacy Movement: DEBATE: Are the settlements an obstacle to peace? Hen Mazzig and Yishai Fleisher
Arguing for the motion: Hen Mazzig
Arguing against: Yishai Fleisher
Moderator: Joseph Cohen

Hen Mazzig, is an Israeli born international speaker, writer, activist and a social media enthusiast. He was in the IDF for almost five years serving as a humanitarian affairs officer in the West Bank. @HenMazzig

Rabbi Yishai Fleisher, is the International Spokesperson for the Jewish community of the Biblical Hebron. He is also an Israeli broadcaster on the Land of Israel Network and a frequent columnist for Breitbart, Jerusalem Post, and the NYTimes. @YishaiFleisher

Joseph Cohen, British bloke with a ginger beard.

The UN should stop funding the Palestinian narrative
For the past several decades, the United Nations General Assembly has dutifully approved the funding of the so-called specialized “Palestinian committees,” each of which advances only one side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The UN has an opportunity to cut off this funding supply by year-end, thereby righting a decades-long wrong and in turn, ending a long-standing charade.

Created in the aftermath of the infamous 1975 Zionism=Racism resolution, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) and the Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR) are powerful, enduring vestiges of a discredited policy that has seen the world body largely aligned against Israel, not only in New York, but at UN agencies such as the Human Rights Council in Geneva, and UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in Paris.

The CEIRPP organizes conferences, photo exhibitions and other programs around the world aimed at undermining, discrediting and demonizing Israel. It does so with the active cooperation of the UN’s Department of Global Communications.

The DPR actually sits inside the UN Secretariat, giving the Palestinians a UN home no other people or sovereign state has. DPR sits alongside regional units such as the Asian, the African and Latin American, and the Caribbean groups of the UN system. The DPR works together with CEIRPP to organize an annual International Day of Solidarity for the Palestinian People, and maintains UN web-based information systems devoted to the Palestinian side of the conflict.
Aware of the consequences, Europe still funds PA radicalization
A Palestinian child can walk to school along a street named after Abu Jihad, who planned a bus hijacking that killed 38 Israelis, including 13 children, spend the day learning in a school named after Hamas founder Ahmad Yassin, and end the day in a youth center named after terrorist Abu Iyad, responsible for killing the Israeli Olympic athletes in Munich.

“Do you think it is beautiful?” a male host asks an 11-year old girl on a popular Palestinian TV program.

“Shahada is very, very beautiful,” answers the girl. “Everyone yearns for Shahada. What could be better than going to Paradise?”

“Every Palestinian child aged, say 12, says ‘O Lord, I would like to become a shahid,’” says another girl.

Children from an early age are taught to identify with the Islamist death culture of shahidism, catalyzed by Goebbels-style antisemitic memes that forge irreversible hatred toward Jews and Israel.

Over the past decade, entire volumes of examples depicting a reality of hard-core incitement in mainstream culture and schoolbooks have been published by international media and civil society, exposing this choreography of hate. None of this is new.

Neither is the Palestinian leadership’s material incentivizing of terrorist attacks against Jews by paying special stipends to terrorists or their families in return for the atrocities committed. In 2018 alone, the Palestinian Authority’s terrorist salaries amounted to around €180 million, based on a perverted progressive formula: the more Jews you kill, the more money you get.
Days of unconditional Saudi support of PA are over
The powerful polemic provoked strongly mixed reactions from different Arab media outlets in accordance with their political alignment. The Palestinian Authority instructed its personnel and ambassadors all over the world to abstain from commenting on the interview. But whether the PA responds or not, the message is clear: Saudi Arabia is showing its public it no longer can afford to stand idle.

The last segment of the interview was dedicated to the rising threats of Turkey and Iran, and their exploitation of the Palestinian cause. Prince Bandar mocked both countries' claims to want to liberate Jerusalem through dominating Arab countries. But for Prince Bandar, this is not a new position, nor is it representative of the position of the entire Saudi family. In a classified US telegram dated back to 2007 and published by Wikileaks, it was reported that the Saudi royal family is split on the issue of Israel as Prince Bandar, then Saudi National Security Secretary, headed the faction wanting to reconcile with the Jewish state in order to focus on the emerging Iranian threat. On the other side, there were the princes that see the Saudi commitment to the Palestinians as paramount. But during 2007, the Saudis were still hoping they could keep Sunni Hamas close to Saudi Arabia and prevent the Islamic Resistance from entering into their then-nascent alliance with nuclear-ambitious Iran.

Prince Bandar's own explanation of his appearance might as well be completely accurate, an attempt to show the Saudi public that the royal family brought the Palestinians to the river so many times, but the Palestinians could not be made to drink from it. His message is enforced through the inflammatory utterances of Palestinian leaders condemning the Gulf states and Saudi Arabia because of their new position on Israel. On social media, Palestinian activists hurled curses at Arab royal families, calling them traitors. Needless to say, such insults do not sit well with Arab audiences. The message of Prince Bandar is especially important as Saudi Arabia decided to officially allow Israeli flights to go through its airspace on their way to Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Manama.

One salient message from Prince Bandar's exposé is that he – and presumably an entire Saudi establishment of foreign relations behind him – sees no possible hope for the Palestinians under their current leadership. This damning judgment, in effect, puts the Palestinian leadership on notice: The days of Saudi unconditional support are over. However, another important implication for Prince Bandar's interview has less to do with Israel and more to do with the divide inside the royal family itself. As Bandar came to the aid of the crown prince, it has shown that bin Salman is able to win the support of some of the most powerful royal figures and the chief Saudi foreign-relations veteran.

Meanwhile, the traditional pro-Palestinian position of his father, King Salman, remains unchanged as the official position of the Saudi foreign ministry as repeated many times by the kingdom's foreign minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan. That is the commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state prior to any normalization effort with Israel. If one must speculate, it seems that the Saudi-Israeli agreement is both a matter of time and a changing of the guard, as it is a cooling-off of old enmities.
Israeli Golan Heights wine to go on sale in UAE
Starting this Thursday, wines from the Golan Heights Winery will be stocked on shelves of stores in the United Arab Emirates, a result of the recent normalization deal with Israel.

The wines will be sold through the local marketing company African + Eastern (A&E). The company is considered a major importer and distributor in the field of wine and alcohol in the Emirates and the Persian Gulf, and represents some of the leading wine and alcohol brands in the world.

The winery's wines will be marketed in wine shops, hotels, leading restaurants and many other popular centers where there is a great demand for wine. They will be available first in Dubai, and will soon afterward be distributed to other emirates. A&E will market a variety of wines from the winery's leading series - Yarden, Gamla and Mount Hermon.

For over three decades, the Golan Heights Winery has been exporting wines to many countries around the world and is considered the leading Israeli wine exporter to various worldwide markets.

This distribution agreement – with a market that, until now, was completely blocked for Israeli wines, especially those made in the Golan Heights region – is unique and is expected to lead to breakthroughs for other Israeli wineries as well.
EXCLUSIVE: UAE Lawmaker calls Hamas and PLO 'Corrupt' and 'Murderers'
i24NEWS' Adi Koplewitz sits down wth Dharur Bel Hol El-Flash, a member of the Federal Council of the UAE. discussing UAE's role in solving the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Israeli, UAE Soccer Leagues Ink Cooperation Agreement
The soccer leagues of Israel and the United Arab Emirates signed a memorandum of understanding on Monday to bolster cooperation, the state-run Emirati news agency WAM reported.

Erez Kalfon — chairman of the Israel Professional Football Leagues — stated, “Football is the most popular sport not only in the world, but also in both Israel and the United Arab Emirates. The passion for football transcends religions, nations and races, and we have the ability to use it as a tool to build relationships and break down walls between people, of all genders, and of all races.

“The teams of the two organizations have been working for some time on plans for future collaborations in the fields of football promotion, sports technologies and social and commercial collaborations alike and it seems that there’s more that unites us than divides us,” he added.

Abdulla Naser Al Junaibi — chairman of the UAE Pro League — commented, “Football has always been the most important and fast path to bring people together. These are the cooperation pillars we aim at through this agreement, through which we hope to achieve gains for both parties.”

He continued, “Over the decades, the UAE has proven to be a homeland of tolerance and a melting pot of the world’s peoples. This memorandum of understanding will contribute towards the promotion of peace and strengthen cooperation and friendship in a way that serves the interest of football in both countries.”

Sudan’s leader: We weren’t blackmailed; we’re the biggest winners of Israel deal
Sudan’s leader said Monday that the decision to normalize ties with Israel was an incentive for US President Donald Trump’s administration to end Sudan’s international pariah status.

Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, head of the ruling sovereign council, told state television that without the normalization with the Jewish state now, Sudan would have had to wait until deep into next year to be removed from the US’s list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Trump’s administration has tied the de-listing of Sudan to a deal to normalize ties with the Jewish state. The African country is the third Arab state — after the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain — to move to normalize relations with Israel in recent months. The administration was eager to achieve diplomatic victories in the run-up to the US presidential election November 3.

“If the candidate [Trump] wanted some gains, we also wanted some gains… We would have waited for August or September,” he said. “We are more winners than any other party.”

Trump announced Friday that Sudan would start to normalize ties with Israel after pledging that the African country would be removed from the terror list after it agreed to put $335 million in an escrow account to be used to compensate American victims of terror attacks. The attacks include the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania by the al-Qaeda network while its leader, Osama bin Laden, was living in Sudan. In exchange, Trump notified Congress on Friday of his intent to remove Sudan from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism.
In Tel Aviv, Sudanese migrants say Israel making peace with a rotten regime
On October 23, US President Donald Trump called the White House press corps into the Oval Office to announce a “historic” and “very special” peace deal between Israel and Sudan.

“This is an incredible deal for Israel and Sudan,” Trump said. “For decades, Sudan has been at a state of war with Israel… and boycotted Israeli goods. There was no relationship whatsoever.”

The next day, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — who had been on the call, together with Sudan’s Sovereign Council president General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, when Trump made the announcement — appeared on Israeli television and declared enthusiastically: “This is a new era, an era of true peace.”

But on the afternoon of October 25 in South Tel Aviv’s Neve Sha’anan neighborhood, which is home to several thousand asylum seekers from Darfur and other parts of Sudan, the reaction was decidedly less optimistic.

This reporter walked around Neve Sha’anan speaking to asylum seekers from Sudan, who make up about 20 percent of the 33,000 African migrants currently in Israel, about the news of Sudan-Israel ties.

Some individuals declined to be interviewed by name. But The Times of Israel spoke to four men — three from Darfur and one from Gezira — who expressed remarkably similar views.
Gantz: I hear positive voices in Lebanon talking about peace with Israel
The two neighbors are in talks to demarcate the maritime border between them. Beirut has stood by its position that the talks are a technical issue signify nothing beyond this.

During his visit to the exercise Gantz warned Lebanon of dire consequences if the Iranian-backed militia were to launch another attack.

“The citizens of Lebanon must remember that Hezbollah, not Israel, is their problem, because if Hezbollah attacks the state of Israel, Lebanon will pay the price for any aggression. We are here to be ready for the moment that I hope, will not come,” he said.

The exercise was taking place with tensions high along the border with Lebanon and the IDF has been bracing for a possible attack by Hezbollah after an alleged Israeli airstrike in Syria on July 20 killed one of its members.

“Our enemies do not rest – not in the north, not in the south, not close by or far away – and we will continue to protect the citizens of the State of Israel, we will continue to deter our enemies, we will continue to harm their intensification processes and we will be ready for any battle,” he said.
Lebanese president's daughter 'doesn't mind' conditional peace with Israel
Claudine Aoun Roukoz, daughter of Lebanese President Michel Aoun and head of the National Commission for Lebanese Women, stressed that she would "not mind" if Lebanon makes peace with Israel, in an interview with Al-Jadeed TV on Sunday.

Roukoz stated that border disputes with Israel and Palestinian refugee issues needed to be resolved, stressing that Lebanon is "counting on solving these problems to advance our economy."

"After these problems are solved, I do not mind that the Lebanese state makes peace with Israel, after the demarcation and the guarantee of resources," said the Lebanese official to Al-Jadeed. "I defend the interests of my country, Lebanon, first. Are we required to remain in a state of war? I do not have an ideological dispute with anyone, but my dispute is political."

"I defend the sovereignty and independence of my country, but today we ask who is the victim? They are the Lebanese people," she said.

Roukoz reiterated part of the comments on her Twitter account.

Her views of the matter seems to be similar to those of her father.

Algerian Journalist Hadda Hazem: We Support the Palestinians But We Will Not Fight on Their Behalf

Palestinians: International peace summit only way forward
The Palestinian foreign minister is calling for an international peace conference arguing it is the only way to generate momentum to bring Israelis and Palestinians to negotiate a peace agreement. Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Twitter

Riad al-Malki strongly backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ call for an international conference early next year, telling the UN Security Council on Monday: “Anything else is volatile, and it is futile.”

Abbas called for the conference in his virtual address to the UN General Assembly’s annual meeting of world leaders in late September to launch “a genuine peace process.”

He called on UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to undertake preparations along with the so-called Quartet of Mideast mediators — the U.S., UN, European Union and Russia.

Israel’s new UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan opposed the Palestinian call, accusing Abbas of refusing “every peace offer made by the State of Israel” and attacking Israel’s recent agreements with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan instead of viewing them as “a new opportunity to kick-start negotiations.”

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said the Trump administration has “no objection” to meeting international partners.

U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft was skeptical that a conference would produce results, but said the Trump administration was open to the possibility raised by Abbas.

“We have no objection to meeting with international partners to discuss the issue. But I have to ask, how is this different than every other meeting convened on this issue over the past 60 years?” Craft asked the council.
Mladenov: PA at risk of economic collapse unless ties with Israel renewed
The Palestinians must renew ties with Israel and accept tax transfer or risk economic collapse, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov told the Security Council on Monday.

“The viability of the Palestinian Authority is being severely undermined by an economic and fiscal crisis that has been exacerbated by the Palestinian decision to end civilian and security coordination with Israel,” he told the United Nations Security Council during its monthly meeting on the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

He blamed the crisis on the drop in tax revenues due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the PA’s refusal to receive those revenues collected on its behalf by Israel.

The PA stopped accepting such revenues to protest pending Israeli plans to annex West Bank settlements, but it continued that protest even after Israel agreed to suspend such plans.

“I appeal to the Palestinian leadership to resume its coordination with Israel and accept its clearance revenues – money that belongs to the Palestinian people and cannot be replaced by donor funding,” Mladenov said.

“The UN stands ready to mediate solutions to the fiscal crisis and to get the Palestinian economy on better footing. I reiterate the secretary-general’s call for both sides to re-examine the nature of their economic relationship and improve it for the benefit of both peoples,” Mladenov said.
Hamas convicts, but then frees activists who held Zoom conference with Israelis
A Hamas military court convicted three Gazans on Monday who had been charged with “weakening revolutionary spirit” for a public Zoom call with Israelis in April, the Gaza-based human rights group representing them announced.

As the activists were charged under military law, the three could have faced years in prison and harsh labor. But the court handed down relatively lenient sentences resulting in their immediate release, according to their legal team from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights.

Rami Aman, a 39-year-old peace activist and Gaza resident, was detained in early April after holding a public “Skype With Your Enemy” video call in which Israelis participated. He has said his organization seeks to empower young Palestinians and that many in Gaza share his view that speaking to Israelis should not be forbidden.

“If I were to go into the streets and tell people, ‘Let’s talk with an Israeli,’ thousands of people would be here,” Aman said during the videoconference, which was conducted in English.

In Aman’s case, the court sentenced him to a suspended sentence of one year in prison, including time served. The other two prisoners — an unidentified man and Manar al-Sharif — the court sufficed with time served. Al-Sharif was already out of prison, PHCR said, having been released on bail in June.

“Our lawyer asserted that the charges lacked both factual and moral elements of the crime to permit a conviction based on the pressed charges; thus, the Court released them,” PCHR said.
Palestinian indicted for planning terror attack in Rosh Ha’ayin
A Palestinian man was indicted Monday for illegally carrying a loading gun and planning to carry out a shooting attack with it in the central Israeli town of Rosh Ha’ayin in late September, police said.

A gag order was placed on the case, but it was rescinded after the suspect, Moataz Musa Hussein, was charged in a military court on Sunday.

According to police, officers were tipped off about Hussein’s plans to carry out an attack in Rosh Ha’ayin on September 29.

“Officers conducted searches during which they spotted the suspect. The officers approached him, subdued him and noticed that a loaded pistol, ammunition magazines and a box of bullets were hidden on him… Their effort effectively prevented the terror attack,” police said.

According to the charges against him, Hussein’s wife had recently died in a car accident and he decided to carry out an attack with the hope that at the end of it he would be killed by Israeli security forces.

Hussein entered Israel through a gap in the security fence and on September 29, he walked through Rosh Ha’ayin over the course of some two hours. He considered, but decided against shooting at least three different targets — a mother and her child, a father and his child, and a group of men — before he was eventually arrested, according to the indictment.
'Hezbollah threat to Israel hinges on US election'
The result of the upcoming US presidential election on Nov. 3 could conceivably determine the extent of the threat Hezbollah poses to Israel, former Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren says in an interview to The Media Line.

Oren highlighted that the IDF should be preparing for Hezbollah responses to both a victory by incumbent US President Donald Trump, which Hezbollah does not want, and Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

"Hezbollah takes its orders from Iran and Iran is waiting to see what happens with the election, because if Donald Trump wins, Iran can do one of two things. It can negotiate under Trump's humiliating terms or it can pick a fight with Israel," Oren told The Media Line.

The former ambassador noted that if Iran did pick a fight, it would not do so using either conventional Iranian forces or even its Revolutionary Guard Corps. Instead, it would almost certainly opt to mobilize a proxy force – in this case, Hezbollah.

Assessment of Hezbollah's missile arsenal put its stockpile at some 130,000, many of which are precision-guided.

PMW: PA threat to Israel: “I’m taking my enemies down with me… Either [we get] Palestine, or a fire [will burn] generation after generation”
Claiming that the US and Israel are planning to “redesign” the Middle East via “normalization” and US President Trump’s peace plan, the PA threatened “anarchy, violence, and instability” in an editorial in its official daily. The PA lashed out at the Arab states that have recently signed peace agreements with Israel, while stating that “a fire [will burn] generation after generation” unless the PA gets “Palestine”:

“Let the American administration and those doing its bidding not be deluded that it is possible to erase the strong Palestinian number from the equation of the conflict, whether by alternatives (!!) [parentheses in source] or by other means. This is because the option of ‘I’m taking my enemies down with me’ remains a Palestinian option regarding which there is no disagreement, if the battle becomes a battle of life or death. The meaning of ‘I’m taking my enemies down with me’ will only be as follows: Either peace for everyone, or anarchy, violence, and instability. We have always emphasized, and we still emphasize: ‘Either [we get] Palestine, or a fire [will burn] generation after generation.’” [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida editorial, Oct. 13, 2020]

The PA defines “Palestine” to include all of the State of Israel – regardless of their claims to the international community that they are only interested in the West Bank and Jerusalem. This has been documented many times by Palestinian Media Watch and was repeated recently by PA Chairman Abbas’ Advisor on Religious Affairs who is also the PA’s Supreme Shari’ah Judge, Mahmoud Al-Habbash, who posted maps of British Mandate Palestine with the text: Posted text: “It was called Palestine, it is called Palestine, and it will be called Palestine until the promise of Allah arrives” [Facebook page of Mahmoud Al-Habbash, Sept. 19, 2020]
Qatar to Send More Economic Aid to Gaza Strip in Coming Days
The Qatari government will reportedly send a desperately needed cash infusion to the struggling Gaza Strip to provide economic relief to needy families in the coming days, Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar reported on Tuesday.

The sum, which was not disclosed but will reportedly come in two installments, is being donated with Jerusalem’s consent after discussions between Israeli and Qatari officials.

Last week, Hebrew-language outlet Ynet revealed Qatar’s decision to extend its regular cash donations to the Gaza Strip throughout 2021, in an effort to alleviate economic pressure accumulating in the coastal enclave exasperated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Qatar has regularly distributed millions of dollars to underprivileged families in Gaza over the past several years, half of whom live below the poverty line, with the approval of the Jewish state.

In addition to assisting the inhabitants of the Palestinian territory, the initiative also aims to ease tensions between Hamas and Israel, according to Al-Akhbar.

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, 5,594 Gazans have been infected with the coronavirus since the outbreak of the epidemic in March.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Our Situation Is So Desperate, We Refuse To Sacrifice Anything To Save Ourselves By Mahmoud Abbas, President, Palestinian Authority; Chairman, Palestine Liberation Organization (satire)
Ramallah, October 27 – The Palestinian national movement has seldom seen darker days. Arab nation after Arab nation has announced normalization with the Zionist entity, even as our cause languishes and we remain powerless as ever to stem the ugly tide of peace. Circumstances have deteriorated to the point that the very survival of the movement hangs in the balance. In such a dire situation, under my leadership the movement has decided to take the drastic step of refusing to budge from our position that we must liberate every last inch of Palestine from the filthy clutches of the Jewish usurpers, no matter how disastrous our situation has become precisely as a result of maintaining that view for the last century.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain – those traitorous snakes represent just the tip of the normalization iceberg; we must face facts. In my eighty-four years I have never seen our cause this close to defeat. The severity, the precariousness, of our condition must prompt introspection, sober reexamination of what elements of our vision must we retain in order to preserve the essence and the survival of the cause, lest further attempts to hold on to extraneous ambitions compromise the entire endeavor. In my assessment we reached that stage when Donald Trump was elected, though the repercussions of that event took some time to emerge. Now we must make the difficult choices of what to jettison to keep our ship afloat. The answer: nothing.

Contrast this responsible attitude with the capricious behavior of the Jewish leadership in 1947 Palestine. The United Nations voted in favor of a plan to partition the land into a Jewish state and an Arab one. The Jews sought all of the land west of the Jordan for a state, in keeping with post-WWI British guarantees; the partition plan “deprived” the Jews of more than half that territory, but the Jewish leadership in Palestine, knowing the political limitations they faced, fecklessly accepted the plan. Look where it has led them! Now all they control is all the land to the west of the Jordan except for our divided rump state, plus an economy and military that far outstrip any of the countries around them.
Hamas convicts, releases activists who held Zoom conference with Israelis
A Hamas military court convicted three Gazans on Monday who had been charged with “weakening revolutionary spirit” for a public Zoom call with Israelis in April, the Gaza-based human rights group representing them announced.

As the activists were charged under military law, the three could have faced years in prison and harsh labor. But the court handed down relatively lenient sentences resulting in their immediate release, according to their legal team from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights.

Rami Aman, a 39-year-old peace activist and Gaza resident, was detained in early April after holding a public “Skype With Your Enemy” video call in which Israelis participated. He has said his organization seeks to empower young Palestinians and that many in Gaza share his view that speaking to Israelis should not be forbidden.

“If I were to go into the streets and tell people, ‘Let’s talk with an Israeli,’ thousands of people would be here,” Aman said during the videoconference, which was conducted in English.

In Aman’s case, the court sentenced him to a suspended sentence of one year in prison, including time served. The other two prisoners — an unidentified man and Manar al-Sharif — the court sufficed with time served. Al-Sharif was already out of prison, PHCR said, having been released on bail in June.

“Our lawyer asserted that the charges lacked both factual and moral elements of the crime to permit a conviction based on the pressed charges; thus, the Court released them,” PCHR said.

UN Rewards Iranian Atrocities
In 2012, [Nasrin Sotoudeh] received the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize for her work, which included representing dissidents arrested during mass protests in 2009, an effort for which she previously served three years in prison. She has also represented convicts on death row for offenses committed as minors. She is perhaps most famous for her defense of women's rights, including the defense of several women who protested against wearing the headscarf, or hijab....

There seems to be little hope for the political prisoners of Iran today. Even despite a global outcry, the young wrestler Navid Afkari was executed on September 12 by the Iranian regime. US President Donald J. Trump had also appealed to Iran to let him live: the wrestler's "sole act," he said, "was an anti-government demonstration on the streets"

Meanwhile, the international community rewarded Iran. On August 14, the UN Security Council voted against a US resolution to extend the 13-year arms embargo against Iran indefinitely. Instead, the embargo will expire in mid-October, allowing Iran to buy and sell conventional weapons without UN restrictions. Perhaps it is time for the US to defund the UN, rather than bankroll and be complicit in these crimes against humanity.
US Issues Fresh Iran-Related Sanctions Targeting State Oil Sector
The United States on Monday imposed fresh Iran-related sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic’s oil sector, including the Iranian Ministry of Petroleum, in Washington’s latest action to increase pressure on Tehran.

The US Treasury Department in a statement said it was slapping sanctions on key actors in Iran‘s oil sector for supporting the Quds Force, the elite foreign paramilitary and espionage arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) blacklisted by the United States.

The minister of petroleum, the National Iranian Oil Company and National Iranian Tanker Company were also blacklisted, alongside other individuals and entities in Washington’s move, as were four people the Treasury accused of being involved in the recent sale of Iranian gasoline to the government of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela.

“The regime in Iran uses the petroleum sector to fund the destabilizing activities of the IRGC-QF,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the statement.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran have soared since Trump unilaterally withdrew in 2018 from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal struck by President Barack Obama and began reimposing US sanctions that had been eased under the accord.

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