Thursday, November 18, 2021

From Ian:

The Fallacy of 1,300 ‘Obstacles to Peace’ in Middle East
The problem is that both of these claims are complete and utter nonsense. Nevertheless, that doesn't stop many world leaders and many mainstream news networks from repeating these claims over and over again as if they are black-letter laws.

One such example occurred on Oct. 29 when Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney was on CNN and pronounced that Jewish "settlements" "built on territories in the West Bank" are "illegal" under the "4th Geneva Convention" because it "forbids the transfer of civilians." In addition to making this assertion to CNN's entire audience, as if it was no more controversial than claiming that the earth is round, Coveney added that it is these "settlements" that are "making a two-state solution and a peace process more and more distant and more and more difficult."

The Geneva Conventions of 1949, which were the basis for these "international law" claims by the Irish foreign minister, were drafted to prevent the kinds of deplorable forcible deportations and mass transfers of peoples perpetrated by Nazi Germany during World War II. They are, however, completely inapplicable to how Israel came into control of Judea and Samaria.

Under the Fourth Geneva Convention cited by Coveney, in order for territory to be "occupied," it must be conquered by force from an existing sovereign state. But Judea and Samaria were never part of any recognized sovereign state because Jordan conquered it in 1949 as part of the Arab League's collective war to annihilate Israel in 1948 and Jordan's attempted annexation of Judea and Samaria (after it renamed the territory the "West Bank") was rejected by every country in the world, other than the British.

Moreover, even if Judea and Samaria was presently "occupied territory," Coveney's cite to the Geneva Convention for the proposition that Jews living in Judea is "illegal" (because Article 49 prohibits the "transfer of civilians" by the "occupying power") is simply wrong. Nowhere in Article 49 does it say that civilians can't voluntarily move to live in "occupied territory." Nor does it require "occupying powers" to make it difficult or burdensome for their civilians to reside in these territories.

That is particularly the case here, where Israel did not gain control of Judea and Samaria from any Palestinian Arab state or polity, but in a defensive war launched against Israel by Jordan. A war in 1948 that Jordan and the Arab League indisputably started and where Jordan literally ethnically cleansed all of the Jews from the territories it had conquered as a result.
Anne Bayefsky: An Important Blow Against UN Anti-Semitism
The resolution was cunningly crafted and ostensibly about combating racism. Opponents to it could anticipate that their objection would be framed as racist, as indeed it was. Additionally, objectors knew that they didn’t have the numbers to prevail. This is because almost all UN members avoid exposing the human-rights charade in operation at the UN’s top human-rights body. Some of the boycotting countries preferred to do battle on other ignominious resolutions on the Council’s agenda and worried about expending limited political capital. Opposing yet another anti-Jewish and anti-Israel UN resolution was annoying and troublesome—precisely the UN environment that anti-Semites can so readily manufacture.

The states that boycotted Durban IV, though, could not avoid the choice either to allow the resolution to be adopted by consensus or to “call for the vote” and demonstrate their objections. Britain stepped up and called for the vote. On October 11, 2021, the final tally was 32 in favor, 10 against, and 5 abstentions. Accompanying their no votes, the UK (speaking also on behalf of Australia), Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic made statements in “explanation of vote” that specifically referenced the issue of anti-Semitism.

As with the boycott of the 20th anniversary itself, those negative votes indicated that key democracies in the United Nations understand this truth: The UN’s discriminatory treatment of Israel, and especially Durban’s racism lie, is a form of modern anti-Semitism. That is truly important.

Still, these states are in the UN minority. The resolution was adopted. It demands the launch of a new UN “communications strategy” to flog the Durban Declaration and all its components worldwide, making special use of “social media” and targeting “young people,” the “news media,” and “educational entities.”

Ambassador Moynihan concluded his 1975 condemnation with these words: “A great evil has been loosed upon the world. The abomination of anti-Semitism…Evil enough in itself, but more ominous by far is the realization that now presses upon us—the realization that if there were no General Assembly, this could never have happened.”

Almost a half a century later, the realization presses upon us that if there were no General Assembly, the outrages of Durban I, II, III, and IV could never have happened. Over the course of seven decades of the violent rejection of the Jewish state, it is the United Nations that has provided Israel’s enemies with the political weaponry to avoid peace. It has promoted “Zionism is racism,” “apartheid Israel,” and Durban “victims” in order to isolate, sanction, and ultimately eliminate the Jewish state. Ominous, but, as the boycott of Durban IV proved, the UN is not omnipotent. At the same time, it makes doing the right thing more difficult, not less. UN-driven anti-Semitism will not be impeded by the faint of heart.

Biden’s Betrayal of Israel at the United Nations
This past week the Biden Administration ratcheted up its pressure on Israel by abstaining from a vote on a United Nations General Assembly Resolution entitled, “Assistance to Palestinian Refugees” which raised the canard of the “Right of Return”.

I could not help but think back to President Obama’s outrageous and shameful abstention from voting against Resolution 2334 on December 23, 2016 which stated that Israel’s “settlement activity” constitutes a “flagrant violation” of international law and has “no legal validity.”

Israel accused President Obama of secretly orchestrating the passage of the resolution as his parting shot or as some have characterized it as his “parting punch” against Israel.

During the Trump years America defended Israel at every turn in the United Nations.

The Biden Administration has made a concerted effort to return to the ways and policies of President Obama. Israel cannot rely on America to help them at the United Nations.

Richard Mills, US Deputy Representative to the United Nations said, “we were pleased to see language included in several of the resolutions that reflect our priorities in line with strengthening UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency) for “Palestinian Refugees”. In other words, Israel was not their priority.

The Resolutions call for the “Right of Return” for “Palestinian Refugees” to Israel as well as for the receipt of compensation for property lost when they left their homes.

A Resolution like this has only one focus and one goal and that is the elimination of the Jewish State. If the United Nations got its way, more than 3 million Arabs would flood Israel and make it impossible for the Jews living there. It would destroy Israel.

Will the US take responsibility for UNRWA?
Our research showed that UNRWA’s own teachers, ostensibly trained in human rights and neutrality standards, created study cards filled with violent language and the glorification of militants. In response to the IMPACT-se report, UNRWA took the inadequate step of acknowledging, the following day, that “some” of the curriculum was “not in line with UN values.”

In a remarkable piece for Foreign Policy last week, Yardena Schwartz went to an UNRWA school in Shuafat, in east Jerusalem, where she was invited to observe at UNRWA’s invitation. She was promptly kicked out when she asked to speak with students about textbook content. Outside the school, she asked students if they were taught about martyrs, something UNRWA has repeatedly denied. She was told by a fifth grade student that her class had just learned about Dalal al-Mughrabi, the perpetrator of the 1978 Coastal Road Massacre. “They taught us that she is a hero,” Schwartz reported the fifth grader saying. She similarly asked a ninth grade student what she had learned at school about peace. “We are taught to defend Palestine, so there can be no two-state solution,” was the student’s disturbing, but unsurprising answer.

Looking beyond the PA and with an eye toward Gaza, it is similarly unclear there too where UNRWA ends and Hamas begins. The hapless Matthias Schmale, formerly UNRWA’s Gaza chief, was driven out of his job by Hamas for saying on TV that Israel used sophisticated methods to avoid civilian casualties during the most recent May escalation. The fact that a terror organization has such power to exert influence over who heads a UN organization is beyond troubling.

As our research indicated back in January, the assurances coming from UNRWA’s headquarters in Geneva are not aligned with the facts on the ground. How much longer can UNRWA get away with this is entirely up to its donors, because clearly the situation is and never has been fully under their control.

The US is now the most significant supporter of UNRWA, having recently restored $318 million in annual aid, 60% of which will go toward education. Its responsibility to demand change to the textbooks UNRWA teaches is manifest. Its leverage is clear. The US simply cannot stand idle while its taxpayer dollars are used to teach children the world’s oldest form of hatred, weaponized in incitement to violence. Perhaps it will be the US that ultimately saves UNRWA from itself.
Erdan: UNRWA ‘Perpetuates’ Israeli-Palestinian Conflict as Donor Conference Underway
Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan issued a strong condemnation of the UN Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) while an international donors conference for the agency took place in Brussels.

The event opened on Tuesday morning with the goal of raising funds for UNRWA’s education, health and social services. Erdan has spoken recently with representatives of UN member states and urged them only to provide financial support to UNRWA if changes are made within the agency.

The watchdog group UN Watch reported in August that more than 100 UNRWA teachers and staffers have promoted antisemitism and incitement to terrorism on social media. As a result of the report, UNRWA allegedly suspended several of its employees. UN Watch also discovered that textbooks distributed at UNRWA schools incited violence against Israel.

“UNRWA has long been part of the problem and not part of the solution,” Erdan said in a statement on Tuesday. “Instead of functioning as an agency for humanitarian and educational assistance, the agency functions as a political body that promotes the Hamas narrative, allows incitement and delegitimization against Israel to be written in Palestinian textbooks and whose infrastructure is used by Hamas for terrorist activities.”

Erdan also said UNRWA uses its funds and resources “to disseminate and promote a Palestinian political narrative” and “does not monitor and prevent Hamas’s use of its facilities for terrorist purposes.” He concluded by saying that Israel “supports the provision of humanitarian aid to Palestinians as needed, but UNRWA has become a body that serves the delusional ‘right of return’ of the Palestinians.”

New Senate Bill Calls for Annual Review of Palestinian Curriculum for ‘Racist Violence Against Jewish People’
A bill that would mandate an annual review of hate speech, incitement, and antisemitism in educational materials used by the Palestinian Authority and the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees was introduced in the United States Senate on Tuesday.

The Peace and Tolerance in Palestinian Education Act (S.3209), introduced by Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA), would require the US Secretary of State to file annual reports on “whether Palestinian curricula encourage racist violence against the Jewish people and whether US foreign aid is supporting such material,” according to a press release from the senator’s office.

It is a companion bill to H.R.2374, introduced in April in the House of Representatives, which “requires the Department of State to report on the curriculum used in schools in areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority or located in Gaza and controlled by any other entity.”

The report must determine whether PA educational materials, which are also used in schools run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), promote “violence or intolerance toward other countries or ethnic groups,” according to the House bill. It must also account for how the PA is reforming these materials, and whether they were disseminated with US foreign assistance.

“The Middle East will never experience peace until Palestinians stop teaching their kids to hate Israel, and American dollars should not fund this anti-Jewish propaganda,” Kennedy said of his Senate bill.

“The Peace and Tolerance in Palestinian Education Act would give us a closer look at what Palestinian schools are teaching and whether or not American money is supporting antisemitism,” he added.
The Palestinian Authority is on the precipice
As Middle East analyst Jonathan Schanzer documents in his new book, Gaza Conflict 2021, Hamas and Iran lost their latest war against Israel. But on another front — the one aimed at displacing Abbas and Fatah — Hamas is making inroads. But Hamas couldn’t do it without the Palestinian Authority, which continues to be its own worst enemy.

The last week has seen West Bank family feuds erupting into violence, and the Palestinian Authority has been unable to stop it.

Universities under its rule, such as Hebron University and Al-Quds University, have had to close temporarily due to violent brawls and shootings. Several Palestinians have been killed. Neighborhoods and homes have been set on fire. Some residents of Hebron have even appealed to King Abdullah of Jordan to send troops to end the street-fighting, claiming that the Palestinian Authority has "lost control of the situation."

As the journalist Khaled Abu Toameh has noted, the Palestinian Authority has responded by cracking down on Hamas operatives in the West Bank, claiming that they "crossed all red lines and are conspiring against the Palestinian leadership." Palestinian Authority security forces have continued to imprison Palestinian journalists, most recently Naseem al Mualla, who has been sent to the notorious Jericho prison nicknamed the "slaughterhouse."

A recent funeral for Wasfi Kabaha, a critic of Abbas and a former Palestinian Authority minister, prompted thousands of Hamas supporters to turn out in the West Bank town of Jenin. Hamas officials cheered the large showing, with one calling it a "message to all those who challenge Hamas and try to discourage it from continuing in its path."

Hamas believes that the West Bank is ripe for the taking. It might be right.
Palestinians fear ‘civil war’ amid growing anarchy
The large turnout and the presence of masked gunmen on the streets of Jenin was seen by many Palestinians as a direct challenge to Abbas and the PA leadership. Hamas leaders boasted that the large turnout was a sign of increased support for their group and its ideology in the West Bank.

Some Palestinians are convinced that the PA is not really interested in taking drastic measures to end the violence.

“As long as the violence is not directed against the Palestinian Authority, you won’t see a serious effort to crack down on those responsible for the anarchy,” said Jenin resident Emad Nasser. “The Palestinian Authority knows that its hands are tied when clans consisting of thousands of people choose to fight each other. It’s much easier to go after individuals who carry out armed robberies and are involved in drug trafficking than getting into trouble with a large and powerful clan, whose members may even be serving in senior positions in the Palestinian Authority and its security forces.”

The Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) said that it views with grave concern the recurrence of disorder and rampant insecurity in Hebron.

The group said that firearms and machine guns were used during the recent clashes in the city and its surroundings.

“Embedded in a deep-rooted social context and catering to values of vengeance and the principle of action and reaction, these regrettable events must be brought to an end,” ICHR said in a statement.

“They seriously jeopardize the social fabric and community safety. These offenses also undermine citizen’s fundamental rights and freedoms, cause the destruction of property, disavow the rule of law, and legitimize collective punishment by taking the law into one’s own hands.” ICHR called on the PA to take necessary measures to protect the lives and properties of Palestinians.

It further called for it to enforce the rule of law in a fair and equitable manner, to prevent the proliferation of weapons and to confiscate all illegal firearms.•

US Diplomat ‘Optimistic’ More Countries Will Join Abraham Accords, Which ‘Benefit Both Sides’
US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield is “optimistic” that more countries will normalize relations with Israel as part of the Abraham Accords and is working on making it into a reality.

She made the comments in an interview with Ynet News while visiting the Jewish state this week.

“We are committed to working with Israel and other countries in the region to push forward new agreements with the Israeli government,” Thomas-Greenfield said. “We think the Abraham Accords provided a measure of security for the entire region. I think it provides benefits to both sides, and we would love to see other countries sign similar [agreements].”

When asked about timing, she added, “I can’t say soon, but I can say I’m optimistic. And I can tell you that I am working on that issue with the Israeli PR in New York, and we will continue to look for opportunities.”

While the administration of US President Joe Biden is engaging with Saudi Arabia on establishing diplomatic relations with Israel, Thomas-Greenfield did not give an update on the progress of those efforts when pressed on the issue.

The Abraham Accords originally included the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, with the later additions of Sudan and Morocco.

The White House is reportedly also working on adding Comoros, a Muslim-majority island country off the coast of eastern Africa, to the Abraham Accords.
Israel won't thwart two states, minister tells int'l parley on Palestinians
Israel is committed to the viability of a two-state resolution to the conflict with the Palestinians, Regional Cooperation Minister Esawi Frej told an international donor parley in Oslo.

"As long as it depends on Foreign Minister [Yair] Lapid and myself, the Israeli government will not take steps which will make it impossible to achieve an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, based on the 'two states for two peoples' formula," Frej told the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee. The 15-member body of representatives from international entities and governments meets twice a month to oversee donor funding for the Palestinians.

The AHLC is one of the forums in which Israelis and Palestinians engage cooperatively. Those interactions were more extensive this year, in light of the ones that have already taken place between Israeli and Palestinian officials in the last months.

Frej held meetings with both Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh and Finance Minister Shuki Bishara.

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, European Union foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell and UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland were among the participants.
The PLO demands one “democratic state” erasing all of Israel, Fatah “has not recognized Israel”
PLO Executive Committee member Azzam Al-Ahmad: “If there is no [UN Resolution] 242 and no two-state solution, we don’t need it. If there is no [UN Resolution] 181, we don’t need it. We will withdraw our recognition of them [Israel]. We want a democratic state on all the Palestinian land, on all the historical Palestinian land (i.e., refers to all of Israel together with the PA areas), from the furthest Galilee (i.e., in northern Israel) to the Negev (i.e., in southern Israel), and not until the Eilat port (i.e., Israel’s southernmost city) but rather until the Umm Al-Rashrash port (i.e., the Arabic name for Eilat)… We want all this… A [PA] national unity government will happen when all the factions, including Hamas that will participate in it, [will] have to accept the [UN] resolutions of the international legitimacy in accordance with the PLO plan. There are those especially among Hamas who say that [the PLO members] want to recognize Israel. No, Fatah has not recognized Israel, and the factions and political parties do not need to recognize Israel.”

[Official PA TV, Topic of the Day, Oct. 24, 2021]

Azzam Al-Ahmad also serves as head of the PLO Department of Arab and Parliamentary Affairs, Fatah Central Committee member, Fatah Commissioner of National Relations, and Fatah Commissioner for Relations with Lebanon.

Israel Listens to Western Opinion But Must Make Its Own Security Decisions
A recent column claimed that support for Israel is eroding, particularly among younger American Jews. Yet there is little evidence that attachment to Israel has significantly weakened between Jews in the U.S. or Canada and Israel. A large majority of U.S. Jews report positive views of Israel, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey, and Canadian Jews report even higher levels of attachment.

In fact, 75% of Americans in general say they are supportive of Israel, according to a Gallup poll, a figure virtually unchanged since 1991. Individual Israeli policies may be viewed differently, but when it comes to Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state in safe and secure borders, there is widespread support.

The bigger issue is the assumption that Israel, as a sovereign state, needs to adhere to public opinion from the other side of the world. It's a sign of maturity and growth on Israel's part that it exercises its own agency and self-determination, which may or may not be in line with any other country. Jewish history over the last century has shown that when it comes to protection, Jews simply cannot outsource their security.

This is not to suggest that Israel cares little for opinions in the West. Israel takes great pains to explain its positions, often in the face of significant misinformation. But ultimately, Israel - like all countries - needs to craft its own policies and positions which benefit its citizens first and foremost.
Over 100 House Republicans introduce bill to block reopening of US consulate
More than 100 Republicans in the US House of Representatives introduced a bill on Wednesday that aims to block the Biden administration's efforts to reopen the US consulate for Palestinians in Jerusalem.

The bill, known as the Upholding the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Law Act of 2021, prohibits the use of funds for any diplomatic facility in Jerusalem other than the United States Embassy to Israel. It was sponsored by Rep. David Kustoff (R-Tenn.) and co-sponsored by 100 other Republicans, including House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La), Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY).

The legislation is a companion piece to one introduced in the Senate by Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn) and is being supported by the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) and the Faith & Freedom Coalition.

In a statement, Kustoff said that the proposal to reopen the consulate would be "inconsistent" with the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995.

"This bill is necessary to ensure the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 is faithfully implemented, upheld and preserved. I thank all my colleagues for joining me in introducing this legislation and sending a strong message that we stand shoulder to shoulder with our greatest friend and ally in the Middle East, Israel," he said.

Under the Trump administration, the United States fully implemented the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 by officially and formally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's unequivocal capital in 2017, relocating the US embassy to Jerusalem in May 2018, and merging the previous consulate general to the Palestinians into the embassy in 2019, becoming known as the Palestinian Affairs Unit.

"The Biden administration absolutely must not betray our critical alliance with Israel by reopening the US consulate general in Jerusalem, which is being pushed by the Palestinian Authority to divide Israel's eternal capital," said Zeldin, who earlier this month led more than 200 House Republicans in a letter to US President Joe Biden opposing the consulate's reopening.

Patel vows to make UK safe for Jews
The Home Secretary, Priti Patel, has vowed to ensure that “Britain remains a country that Jewish people are proud to call home, today, tomorrow and for every generation to come.”

Speaking at the Community Security Trust’s Business Lunch 2021 event in London on Monday, she threw her weight behind efforts to protect the Jewish community.

She said: “I for one will not stand by and I will not turn a blind eye to the threats that the community faces.

“If the Jewish community does not feel secure, then our whole national fabric is diminished,” she added.

“We will, at every level, fight antisemitism and there will be no excuses. No exceptions. No justifications.”

Highlighting the vital role played by the Community Security Trust (CST) volunteers in protecting the Jewish community, the Home Secretary reminded the 270-strong audience that the recent appalling murder of MP Sir David Amess had taken place in a church.

“No disagreements on politics or policy can ever be allowed to justify racism, prejudice or extremism in any form in our society,” she said.

UAE, Israel sign deal to jointly develop military, commercial autonomous vehicles
Top Israeli and Emirati defense firms signed two agreements on Thursday to work together to develop remote-controlled and autonomous vehicles and to maintain and sell advanced cameras for military and commercial purposes, the Israeli company said.

These were the latest defense deals signed between the two countries during this month’s Dubai Air Show, a major weapons exhibition in the Emirati city. Israeli defense firms were able to open a booth there for the first time this year, after Israel and the United Arab Emirates normalized ties last year.

On Thursday, Israel Aerospace Industries and EDGE Group — both of them state-owned — signed the two memoranda of understanding.

One of the agreements focused on the formation of a joint center in the UAE that would maintain and market the Israeli firm’s advanced electro-optic arrays.

“The agreement covers electro-optics advanced systems including IAI’s POP family (Plug-in Optronic Payload) systems, Mini-POP and MOSP (Multi-Sensors Optronic Stabilized Payload) surveillance payloads for land, naval and air applications,” the Israeli firm said.

Under the second memorandum of understanding, the two companies agreed to work together to design and build unmanned surface vehicles for both military and commercial applications.
Dore Gold – Today Saudi Arabia is Part of the Solution
Twenty years ago in Saudi Arabia, there were huge multinational charities propagating a movement representing an extreme form of Islam known as Wahhabism.

We in Israel had a particular interest in what they were doing, since one of their recipients was Hamas, a Palestinian group that advocated suicide bombings. I wrote a New York Times bestseller, Hatred's Kingdom, which presented the evidence on Saudi funding of Hamas from captured documents.

How much Saudi money is going to Hamas in 2021? The answer is "zero." In fact, Saudi Arabia is not giving a dime to any of the terrorist organizations. Today the main countries funding Hamas are the Islamic Republic of Iran and Qatar.

Back in 2001, the Muslim World League, headquartered in the Saudi kingdom, was spreading the ideology that supported a new wave of global terror. Yet in 2020, its secretary-general took a delegation to Auschwitz. We are in a different world.

Historically, Jews and Muslims have been cousins who surmounted their differences and reached a common language that brought us together. In the Middle Ages, Jewish religious scholars like Maimonides wrote in Judeo-Arabic. Our religions are rooted in common concepts. We must embrace that history again and, in doing so, set the stage for a very different Middle East.

Citing Support for Hamas and Workers’ Rights Violations, German Jewish Leader Calls on Top Soccer Club Bayern Munich to Sever Relations With Qatar
The head of the Jewish community in Germany voiced his backing on Thursday for the effort to persuade the country’s leading soccer team, Bayern Munich, to end its sponsorship deal with national airline of Qatar.

In an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung news outlet, Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, observed that there were two main criticisms of the Gulf emirate, which is frequently ranked as the world’s richest nation: its support for Palestinian terrorism and its systematic violations of the rights of thousands of migrant laborers drafted to construct stadiums for next year’s FIFA World Cup.

“On the one hand, terrorist organizations like Hamas are supported financially by Qatar, as is Iran, [both of] which are committed to the destruction of Israel,” Schuster said. “On the other hand, according to many reports in the media about the 2022 World Cup, working conditions at the construction sites are questionable, to say the least.”

A proposal to be debated at Bayern Munich’s annual general assembly on Nov. 25 would compel the club to cancel its sponsorship deal with Qatar Airways. It would also rule out any future deals with companies in which Qatar’s royal family are the majority shareholders.

The sponsor of the motion, Michael Ott, similarly drew attention to Qatari human rights violations, along with the allegations of corruption in sport that have dogged the emirate in recent years, following media exposure of Qatari officials offering bribes to secure the hosting rights to next year’s World Cup.
Seth Frantzman: After Israeli couple release, don’t fall into Turkey appeasement trap
Ankara knows how to treat other countries with respect – it shows this in meetings with Russia, Iran for example. Clearly, it can therefore also show this in its relations with Israel. The idea that the Jewish state should always need to repair relations while Turkey does nothing, has never made sense in foreign policy.

Turkey has put out trial balloons before pretending to want to increase ties. When it sensed that Israel was going to sign a gas deal with Cyprus and Greece and that the Jewish state was rapidly growing closer to those countries in 2019, Ankara pretended it would “reconcile” with Israel.

But this was the same Ankara backing Hamas, hosting the terrorist group with a red carpet, making inflammatory statements about “liberating” Jerusalem from Israel, retaking “Al-Aqsa” – and being the most vocal opponent of the Abraham Accords and of America moving its embassy to Jerusalem.

Turkey threatened to suspend relations with the UAE if it normalized relations with Israel. That is in fact what happened in August 2020. Ankara’s opposition and hatred for Israel were so extreme that it sought to prevent the Abraham Accords and peace. It is Turkey that owes Israel explanations and should want to make up for this decade of behavior from the time of the Mavi Marmara maritime incident, not the other way around.

The recent incident of detaining Israeli tourists brought to the fore the voices that argue for falling into the Ankara appeasement trap, a trap many Western countries continue to fall for, thinking that the more extreme its behavior, the more it needs to be given things. But the opposite is largely true.

There is a saying attributed to Vladimir Lenin that relates to bayonets and could be applied to foreign policy. “You probe with bayonets: if you find mush, you push; if you find steel, you withdraw.” Turkey generally has a foreign policy like this – and other countries should draw the right conclusions.
Herzog, Erdogan make diplomatic overtures after jailed Israelis freed
President Isaac Herzog thanked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed hope for warmer diplomatic ties between their countries, after Israelis jailed for photographing Erdogan’s house returned to Israel on Thursday.

The phone call comes after over a decade of tensions between Israel and Turkey.

Herzog thanked Erdogan on the phone “for his personal involvement and contribution” to Natali and Mordy Oaknin’s release.

Erdogan “emphasized the importance that he attaches to relations with Israel, which he said were of key importance to the peace, stability, and security of the Middle East,” Herzog’s spokesman said.

Herzog “welcomed the desire for Turkey and Israel to hold a comprehensive dialogue on bilateral and regional issues related to regional peace.”
Turkish media calls arrest of Israeli couple a 'disgrace'
Several Turkish media outlets and journalists on Wednesday slammed Turkish authorities for the arrest of an Israeli couple held on suspicion of espionage for photographing the Istanbul mansion of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Fatih Altaylı, who in the past was considered a strong supporter of the Turkish leader, wrote that the detention of Mordy and Natali Oknin was "wrong and a disgrace."

"It's not even a joke. It is a disgrace," he wrote. "To arrest tourists who visited the television tower in Istanbul and took photos as is done all over the world. For God's sake don't make people ridicule us."

Turkish Habertürk television reported on Tuesday evening that Israel was warning its citizens about travel to Turkey, a claim that was denied. Local media interest in the fate of Mordy and Natali, who were arrested last week and remanded to custody for 20 days last Friday, is causing concern in Israel after officials said that as this is an election year in Turkey, the couple could become pawns in an internal political fight.

The couple was accompanied when arrested by a local guide, who according to local reports was once married to a Jewish woman and picked up some Hebrew from her.

His involvement in the arrest may have contributed to the serious suspicions leveled against the Israelis.
Israeli Criminal Working for Gantz Arrested after Offering to Help Iranian Hackers
Omri Goren, an Israeli citizen who worked as a housekeeper for Defense Minister Benny Gantz, revealed in an interrogation that he had approached on his own initiative an entity affiliated with Iran and offered to assist them. He also sent several photos he had taken of items in the Minister’s home, the Shin Bet reported Thursday.

Goren located on Telegram a representative of the hacker group Black Shadow which is affiliated with Iran and has been attacking Israeli computers this year (Iran Affiliated Hackers Leak Explicit Data of 290K Israeli Patients, 10K Credit Cards). Using a fake identity, he introduced himself as someone who works for the Israeli Minister of Defense, and that he can assist the group in various ways. He added that for a sum of money he would be able to transfer information from the minister’s home and even suggested that he be given a computer worm to plant in the minister’s computer.

Goren was arrested for questioning in November following a joint investigation of the Shin Bet, Israel Police, and the National Serious Crimes Unit in Lahav 433. He was doing housework and cleaning at the home of Defense Minister Gantz, which he presented as an asset to his contact person in a message on a social network. To prove his potential worth, he took pictures of items around the minister’s house, source, including his home computers, and sent them to his potential employer.

The items he photographed included a work desk, computers, a telephone, a tablet, a box labeled with IDF affiliation details and serial numbers, a sticker with an IP address, a locked safe, a paper shredder, military souvenirs from Gantz’s service as IDF chief of staff, framed photos of Gantz and family members, and a copy of the Minister’s property tax form.

The Shin Bet emphasized that due to the measures and procedures for information security at the Defense Minister’s home, Goren did not have access to classified materials, and so no such materials were transferred by him to the parties he approached.

PA: Bennett government committing ‘war crimes, daily killings’
The Palestinian Authority renewed its threat to hold Israel accountable before international forums for allegedly committing “war crimes” against Palestinians.

The latest threat comes amid growing disappointment in Ramallah over the US administration’s failure to fulfill its promises to the Palestinians and exert pressure on Israel to halt its “provocative” measures in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

The threat on Thursday comes amid an acute financial crisis in the PA following a sharp decline in international aid to the Palestinians, and Israel’s policy of deducting millions of shekels from tax revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinians every month.

The deducted money is equivalent to the amount of stipend the PA pays to the families of Palestinians killed or imprisoned for carrying out terrorist attacks against Israelis.

Nabil Abu Rudaineh, spokesperson for the PA presidency, said that the Israeli government headed by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has proven to be worse than previous governments.

PMW: Palestinian journalists demonize Israel: You are worse than the Nazis
Three Palestinian journalists have repeated the PA libel that Israel is doing to the Palestinians what the Nazis did to the Jews during the Holocaust.

During a broadcast that looked back on the Fatah/Hamas Riot and Rocket War of 2021, during which Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Fatah terrorists fired over 4,300 rockets into southern and central Israel and Israeli Arabs rioted and attacked Jews throughout the country, journalist Ziyad Abd Al-Fattah stated that Israel is committing “acts of cruelty that are worse than the cruelty of the Nazis”:
Palestinian journalist Ziyad Abd Al-Fattah: “You filled the world with screams about how you are the victims of Nazism, that they persecuted you all around the world, and so on and so forth… Since Beirut (i.e., the First Lebanon War) to this moment, I see you committing against the Palestinians acts of cruelty that are worse than the cruelty of the Nazis.”

[Official PA TV, 11 Days, Oct. 18, 2021]

A few weeks later another Palestinian journalist, Ahmed Issa, echoed this, claiming that Israel is doing “worse things” than was done to the Jews in the Holocaust:
Palestinian journalist Ahmed Issa: “Now the true face of this [Zionist] project is being revealed. When this state was established, the international community identified with it as if it were an answer to the Holocaust, or [as if] it saves the Jews worldwide from massacres. Now it is committing worse things against the Palestinians.”

[Official PA TV, Personal Encounter, Nov. 12, 2021]

Palestinian journalist repeats libel
Palestinian journalist repeats libel: Israel is “committing worse things against the Palestinians” than the Holocaust [Official PA TV, Personal Encounter, Nov. 12, 2021]

Palestinian journalist Ahmed Issa: “Now the true face of this [Zionist] project is being revealed. When this state was established, the international community identified with it as if it were an answer to the Holocaust, or [as if it were] saving the Jews worldwide from massacres. Now it is committing worse things against the Palestinians.”

Terrorist responsible for murder of 7 is “heroic” in song played by PA TV
[Official PA TV, Giants of Endurance, Nov. 4, 2021]

Lyrics: “Fatah, get up and be proud of yourself
Victorious one, get up and be proud of yourself,
and fill your lighters
Heroic Nasser Abu Hmeid!
Heroic Nasser Abu Hmeid!”

Nasser Abu Hmeid - Palestinian terrorist and a commander of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades (Fatah's military wing) in Ramallah who was responsible for the murder of 7 Israelis: Eli Cohen in a shooting attack on Route 443 in central Israel on Dec. 21, 2000; Binyamin and Talia Kahane in a drive-by shooting attack near Ofra, north of Jerusalem, on Dec. 31, 2000; Gadi Rejwan in a shooting attack in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Atarot on Feb. 27, 2002; and Yosef Habi, Eli Dahan, and Police Officer Sergeant-Major Salim Barakat in an attack at the Seafood Market and Mifgash Hasteak restaurants in Tel Aviv on March 5, 2002. Abu Hmeid is serving 7 life sentences and an additional 50 years.

The woman with a purple head covering is Um Nasser Abu Hmeid (Um Yusuf Abu Hmeid/Latifa Abu Hmeid) – Palestinian woman famous and admired in the PA for being the mother of 5 terrorist prisoners serving life sentences (4 of them serving multiple life sentences), and another whom the PA refers to as a "Martyr." One of her sons is Nasser Abu Hmeid who is glorified in the song. Abu Hmeid is also called Khansa of Palestine, which refers to Al-Khansa from the earliest period of Islam who sent her four sons to battle and rejoiced when they all died as Martyrs. Abu Hmeid was honored by the PA in 2010 and 2015, and was chosen in 2011 to launch the PA’s statehood campaign with the UN. Her terrorist sons: Islam Yusuf Abu Hmeid, murdered 1 on May 24, 2018, and is serving life in prison and an additional 8 months; Muhammad Abu Hmeid, serving 2 life sentences and 30 years for involvement in terror attacks; Nasser Abu Hmeid, serving 7 life sentences and 50 years for murdering 7 Israeli civilians and 12 attempted murders; Nasr Abu Hmeid, serving 5 life sentences for involvement in two terror attacks in which 4 were murdered, and arms dealing; Sharif Abu Hmeid, serving 4 life sentences for involvement in terror attacks in which 4 were murdered; Abd Al-Mun'im Muhammad Yusuf Naji Abu Hmeid, murdered 1 on Feb. 13, 1994, and was killed by Israel on May 31, 1994.

Qatar, Egypt Agree to Supply Fuel, Basic Building Materials to Gaza Strip
Qatar and Egypt have signed agreements “to supply fuel and basic building materials for the Gaza Strip,” Qatar’s Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sultan bin Saad Al Muraikhi made the announcement during a speech at the ministerial meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee for Coordination of International Aid to the Palestinian People (AHLC), held in Oslo, Norway.

He underscored the humanitarian nature of the aid, “stressing that these joint cooperative efforts would contribute to improve living conditions,” according to a Qatari government press statement.

Qatar and Egypt have pledged $500 million toward Gaza’s reconstruction, according to the Reuters.

In his speech to the AHLC, Al Muraikhi touted Qatar’s past efforts “to improve the humanitarian, economic and development situation of the Palestinian people.”
Kuwait Detains 18 Suspected of Financing Lebanon’s Hezbollah: Media
Prosecutors in Kuwait have detained 18 people suspected of financing Lebanon’s powerful Shi’ite Muslim group Hezbollah, the newspapers Al-Qabas and Al-Rai reported on Thursday.

Al Qabas said the prosecution ordered the detainees to be held at the central prison for 21 days while investigations continue into alleged “membership in a prohibited party, money laundering and spying.”

The Interior Ministry did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. Gulf Arab states in 2016 designated Iran-allied Hezbollah a terrorist organization.

Lebanon is facing a diplomatic crisis as Gulf states become increasingly dismayed by Hezbollah’s expanding influence over Lebanese politics.

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain last month expelled Lebanese diplomats and recalled their own envoys following a minister’s critical comments about the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen. Riyadh banned all imports from Lebanon.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said the measures were driven not just by the comments by information minister George Kordahi, made before a new cabinet was formed, but rather by Riyadh’s objections to the “domination” of Hezbollah.

Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia and Shi’ite Iran have been locked for decades in proxy conflicts across the region.

Saudi Experts Discuss Saudi-Lebanese Crisis: KSA’s Ties with Lebanon Have Brought Nothing But Drugs
This clip is a compilation of interviews with Saudi experts about the current diplomatic tensions between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, which began when Lebanese Information Minister George Kurdahi expressed support for the Houthi rebels in Yemen (see MEMRI TV Clip No. 9152). These interviews aired on Rotana Khalijiya TV (Saudi Araba) on November 4-7, 2021. On November 4, Saudi international relations expert Dr. Ahmad Al-Ansari said that the only things that Saudi Arabia has gained from its ties with Lebanon are disasters, drugs, and national security issues. He also said that the root of the problem is Hassan “Captagon” Nasrallah, that Lebanon is sick and dying, and that Lebanon does not contribute anything to the world.

On November 5, Saudi international relations expert Sami Al-Morshid said that through Hizbullah, Iran uses Lebanon as infrastructure for exporting terrorism to Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. He also said it exploits Lebanon in order to distribute drugs like Captagon throughout the Arab world in order to make up for its financial losses. On November 7, Abdallah Al-Assaf, a Saudi communications lecturer at Al-Imam University, said that the Captagon pills smuggled into Saudi Arabia from Lebanon are enough to destroy the entire Arab world. For more about the crisis between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, see MEMRI TV Clips Nos. 9165 and 9172.

Iranian Hackers Hit Former US Ambassador in Attack Targeting Trump Admin Officials
Iran is behind a series of cyberattacks on former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Mark Wallace, according to an advocacy group, which says the hackers mimicked his email address in an attempt to infiltrate the accounts of former Trump administration officials.

Wallace, who runs United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), an advocacy group critical of the Iranian regime and its attempts to build a nuclear weapon, was targeted by Iran-backed hackers for his work holding the regime accountable, according to the group. UANI disclosed details of the attacks publicly after reporting the incident to the FBI.

"Those responsible managed to procure data outside of the public realm, impersonated our leadership in communications with former senior officials of the U.S. government, and attempted to harvest Gmail credentials," Wallace said in a statement. "Separately, the group impersonated conference officials and attempted to lure UANI leadership to respond and click phishing links."

The hackers created a fake account belonging to Wallace after an unsuccessful attempt to penetrate his real account. The fake account was used to send non-public documents to people affiliated with UANI, including former Trump administration officials, according to details of the attacks provided to the Washington Free Beacon. There is no evidence the hackers successfully compromised the accounts of those they targeted. A UANI board member also was targeted and the hackers sent a similar batch of emails to UANI staff.

The cyber espionage campaign is the latest escalation by Iran as it targets current and former U.S. officials and attempts to seize confidential information. Iran targeted the Trump campaign with hack attacks in 2019 and has also taken aim at U.S. officials, journalists, and Iranians living abroad over the past several years. Tehran was also behind a series of fake websites that spread disinformation about the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Israel.


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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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