July 21, 2019

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01/01 Links Pt1: This Palestinian Was Tortured. But No One Cares Because It Wasn’t By Israel; The PA’s Apartheid land laws; Jordan adds insole to injury


From Ian:

This Palestinian Was Tortured. But No One Cares Because It Wasn’t By Israel.
Issam Aqel, a Palestinian-American with Israeli residency, has been detained, arrested and tortured.

You may be surprised that you’ve never heard of Aqel. It’s usual for the plight of the Palestinians to make big news. But the ugly truth is, they only make big news when they’ve been hurt by Israel.

And Aqel was tortured by the Palestinian Authority.
This Palestinian Was Tortured. But No One Cares Because It Wasn’t By Israel. by the Forward

Aqel responded to a PA summons to appear in Ramallah where he was called in to “sign paperwork.” But once he appeared, Aqel wasn’t allowed to leave. According to people who have been in touch with him, he was tortured.

Hi crime? Selling land to Jews.

A few weeks ago, the Palestinian Authority’s security forces announced that it had “foiled” the sale of roughly 741 acres to Jews throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem. In a statement posted on Facebook, the PA said that in a large-scale operation, 44 Palestinians were arrested for attempting to sell property to Jews.

The use of torture is not unusual in the PA. Another man who I will call Ali to protect his identity testified about it before the Knesset. He said he was taken from his family. He was kept in a cage for weeks at a time. His captors threw hot and cold water, threw garbage and rotten food on top of him. They forced him to sit on broken bottles and hung him upside down for days on end.

Ali is one of 52 so-called “collaborators” who were arrested and tortured in the 1990s and early 2000s. In the PA, collaborating with Israeli security forces is illegal, despite the fact that the Oslo accords call for security collaboration between the Authority and Israel. Over the years, many men and women have been accused of being “collaborators” and tortured and killed for their crimes.

“They punished me for saving lives,” Ali told the Knesset, “for preventing terror attacks.”

The 52 “collaborators” were freed by the IDF during Operation Defensive Shield, an Israeli military operation which tackled the suicide-bomber infrastructure in 2002.

PMW: The PA’s Apartheid land laws

An American-Palestinian, Isaam Akel, was convicted of selling land in East Jerusalem to Jews and sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labor by a Palestinian court:
“In accordance with the instructions of clause 2/274 of the [PA] criminal procedures law, the [PA] Grand Criminal Court, which convened in Ramallah, convicted the accused I.A. on the charges attributed to him – an attempt to cut off part of the Palestinian territories and annex them to a foreign state [as described in] Penal Code Number 16 of 1960. Relying on the conviction and in accordance with the instructions of clause 2 of Decision with Legislative Force Number 20 of 2014, the court sentenced him to life with hard labor.
The lawsuit was submitted to the court on Dec. 23, 2018, and the verdict was given approximately a week later.”

[WAFA, official PA news agency, Dec. 31, 2018]

The basis for the PA’s prosecution of Palestinians for selling land to Jews is article 114 of the Jordanian Criminal Code (1960), which the PA later adopted. The original Jordanian provision stated that a person who attempts to sever any part of the Jordanian territory in order to annex it to a foreign state will be subject to at least five years of hard labor.

In 2014, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas passed an amendment to the law – Government Decision with Legislative Effect (No. 20), 2014 – in which he raised the maximum sentence to life imprisonment with hard labor.

The prosecution of Palestinians for selling land to Jews is not new and enjoys overwhelming Palestinian support.

In October, Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction stated:
“The Fatah Movement emphasized that the sale of properties and lands to the occupation or their illegal transfer to dubious sources constitutes high treason against the religion, the homeland, and the people, and that ‘whoever does this decrees upon himself shame and disgrace in this world and in the world to come.'”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Oct. 14, 2018]

This position is also reflective of the general opinion of the Palestinians. In a recent study, 87.8% of those surveyed said they would call Palestinians who sell land to Jews “traitors” while 9.1% would call them “corrupt/despicable/non-patriotic.” [Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, Dec. 18, 2018]

Honest Reporting: Is Israel an Apartheid State?

Jordan adds insole to injury

The fact is that malice toward Israel and Jews is also something that appears regularly in Jordanian media and civil discourse. As the US State Department’s 2017 annual report on international religious freedom noted concerning Jordan, “Editorial cartoons, articles, and postings on social media continued to present negative images of Jews and to conflate anti-Israel sentiment with antisemitic sentiment. The government continued not to take action with regard to antisemitic material appearing in the media, despite laws that prohibit such material.”

HENCE, EVEN though Jordan has formally been at peace with the Jewish state for more than two decades, it appears that our neighbor to the east is shamelessly fomenting antisemitic and anti-Zionist sentiment with little regard for the potentially dire consequences.

This cannot be allowed to continue. With all due respect for Jordan’s so-called “moderating” role in the region, the regime’s actions appear to be anything from moderate and threaten to add fuel to an already combustible situation.

Fortunately, both Israel and the US have leverage with Amman. Washington provided Jordan with $1.3 billion in aid in 2017, and the Jewish state provides the parched kingdom with 50 million cubic meters of desperately needed water annually.

So both in terms of the pocketbook and the pipes, Jordan is reliant on American and Israeli largesse to keep its autocratic rulers afloat. Now more than ever would be a good time to employ these tools to pressure the Jordanian regime to start acting more like a friend, and less like a foe.

Otherwise, there is little reason to continue pouring liquids and liquidity into a country that tramples on its commitments, both literally and figuratively.

Danny Danon says UNESCO ‘corrupted by enemies of the Jewish state’

Israel quit UNESCO because the organization was corrupted by enemies of the Jewish state, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said on Tuesday.

He spoke in response to the withdrawal of Israel and the United States from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization on Monday night.

Both countries had announced that they would leave UNESCO in October 2017.

Their withdrawal went into effect at the start of 2019.

“UNESCO is a body that continues to rewrite history, among other things, by attempts to erase the Jewish connection to Jerusalem,” Danon said.

“Israel will not be a member of an organization dedicated to acting against it and which has been a tool manipulated by Israel’s enemies,” he said.

Israel has been a member state of UNESCO since 1949. In the last 17 years, the global cultural body has registered nine sites within the country on its World Heritage List.

But its pro-Palestinian stances have created increasing friction with both the US and Israel.

In 2011, both countries halted payment of their annual fees after UNESCO became the first UN body to recognize Palestine as a state in 2011. Israel now owes UNESCO over $8.5 million and the US debt has reached upwards of $617 million.

Both countries lost voting rights in the organization in 2013 over their failure to pay dues, but maintained all other participation rights.

PM: Trump won’t roll out Mideast peace plan before Israeli election

The Trump administration will not present its long-awaited Middle East peace plan before the Israeli ‎election, set for April 9, Prime Minister Benjamin ‎Netanyahu said Monday. ‎ ‎

The rollout ‎for the plan, which U.S. President ‎Donald Trump has dubbed the “deal of the century,” ‎has been postponed several times. The deal is being ‎crafted by senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, ‎Trump’s son-in-law, and U.S. Special Representative ‎for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt.‎

Netanyahu, who is on a state visit to Brazil, told ‎reporters that Washington seeks to present the plan “at a time they believe would be the most conducive ‎to its success. They believe that presenting it ‎during election time would undermine its chances.” ‎

Also on Monday, a senior official on the prime ‎minister’s entourage to Brazil told Israel Hayom ‎that there are growing assessments in Israel that ‎the strikes on Iranian assets in Syria, which ‎foreign media often attributes to the Israeli Air Force, ‎have been successful in pushing the Islamic republic ‎out of the war-torn country. ‎

Pompeo meets Netanyahu: Our obligations to Israel remain unchanged

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Brazil on Tuesday and said the US withdrawal from Syria will not damage American commitments to Israel, Channel 12 reported.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday in Brazil, where the two are to attend the inauguration ceremony of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

Pompeo said that US obligations remain unchanged and will not be affected by the US withdrawal from Syria.

“We will continue to fight ISIS and Iranian aggression,” Pompeo said.

Netanyahu said that the two will “discuss how to deepen the intelligence and operational cooperation [between the US and Israel] in Syria and other places” and said that to halt “Iranian aggression in the Middle East” is a “shared goal.”

BESA: The U.S. Withdrawal from Syria: A Blessing in Disguise?

Russia has reemerged as a major global force through direct military interventions. The U.S., by contrast, has substantially reduced its global involvement and has lost its hegemonic position in the Middle East. President Trump’s recent decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria is the continuation of the disengagement policy begun by his immediate predecessor.

The widespread belief in Washington’s ostensible ability to guarantee any Arab-Israeli peace agreement has placed Jerusalem under constant pressure to take the risks associated with withdrawal from areas vital to its national security.

Thus, the Obama administration proposed a complex security package that substituted the deployment of U.S. forces in the Jordan Valley for Israel’s longstanding demand for defensible borders.

But to what extent can foreign military forces operating in a wholly alien environment provide an adequate substitute for the IDF in enforcing the West Bank’s demilitarization? UNIFIL, for example, has miserably failed to prevent the transformation of southern Lebanon into an unreconstructed terrorist entity. Nor does the West’s experience in Afghanistan and Iraq inspire much confidence in the ability of external powers to cope effectively with sustained jihadist insurgencies.

The U.S. withdrawal has left Israel alone in the battle against Iran’s military entrenchment in Syria. But this can potentially entail an important silver lining.

For the sooner Israel recognizes the precariousness of a regional “Pax Americana,” the sooner it will grasp the futility of “painful territorial concessions” in the West Bank, let alone on the Golan Heights.

Dore Gold: The U.S. Withdrawal from Syria: Implications for Israel

Iran is not standing still with the defeat of the ISIS caliphate, but rather it seeks to fill the vacuum that has been created. Iran has strong territorial interests in Syria. When most of the Arab world backed Saddam Hussein in the Iran-Iraq War, Syria stood out as Iran’s major regional ally. The Iranians are not going to let Syria go.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot disclosed that Iran’s ultimate goal is to establish a force of 100,000 fighters on Syrian soil. For Israel, there is no question but that this force could be deployed against Israel on the Golan Heights.

After the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945, the U.S. could have pulled out all its troops from the European continent. But the Truman administration realized that the Red Army was not demobilizing and, though the American presence was originally deployed to roll back the Germans, a premature withdrawal would only assure Soviet domination of Europe.

America then established NATO and defended the security of the West along with its allies. A similar initiative is now needed in order to guarantee that Iran’s dreams of regional hegemony will never be realized.

Report: Incoming IDF chief wanted to assassinate Syrian President Assad

Incoming IDF Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi advocated for the toppling of the regime Syrian President Bashar al-Assad but was rejected by Israel’s government who preferred to deal with a known adversary, Saudi Arabia’s Elaph newspaper reported.

Quoting an unnamed senior Israeli official, the Saudi daily said that Kochavi, then Director of Military Intelligence, was in favor of removing Assad from power over the regime’s support of Hezbollah. Kochavi reportedly was even in favor of assassinating the embattled Syrian leader.

According to the report, Kochavi recommended removing the Assad regime because “it would bring calamities to Israel from Iran, Hezbollah, the militias and Russian influence in the region,” but the head of the Mossad, Yossi Cohen, “wanted an address in Syria,” someone it could communicate with by back channels if need be.‎

The “prolonged conflict in ‎Syria saw Israel often hold negotiations with the ‎regime in Damascus in order to reach an agreement in ‎Syria,” the report quoted the unnamed official as saying, adding that the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet “held extensive ‎discussions on the situation about Syria and decided ‎that Israel would not allow an Iranian military ‎presence there.”

The report stated that while Israel had several opportunities to target Assad and his top leaders during the eight-year long civil war, Jerusalem instead decided to focus on preventing Iranian entrenchment in the country by targeting Iranian and Hezbollah assets instead “while making sure it [Israel] inflicts minimal ‎damage to the Damascus regime.”‎

Netanyahu says Arab countries see Israel as ‘ally’ against Iran

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that Arab countries view Israel as an “indispensable ally” fighting Iran and the Islamic State group.

That evaluation, he told Brazil’s Globo TV during a visit to Rio de Janeiro, has caused “a revolution in relations with the Arab world.”

The comments came as Israel has reportedly been stepping up airstrikes on Iranian positions in neighboring Syria, and digesting an abrupt decision by US President Donald Trump to withdraw US troops from Syria.

Netanyahu has repeatedly warned that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons to destroy his country.

Israel, he said, had shown itself to be active in battling “radical Islam, violent Islam — either the one led by radical Shiites led by Iran, or the one led by the radical Sunnis led by Daesh (Islamic State) and al-Qaeda.”

“Unfortunately we have not made any advance with the Palestinians. Half of them are already under the gun of Iran and of radical Islam,” Netanyahu added, referring to Hamas-controlled Gaza.

Asked if he could ever contemplate sitting down with an Iranian leader to talk peace, Netanyahu replied: “If Iran remains committed to our destruction the answer is no.”

Saudi Journalist: We Should Normalize Relations with Israel, Iran and Turkey Are Bigger Threats

On December 16, 2018, Rotana Khalijiyya TV (Saudi Arabia) aired a debate about normalization of relations with Israel. Saudi journalist Dahham Al-Enazi said that Iran and Turkey are bigger threats in the region, and that the Arab conflict with Israel is over borders while conflict with Iran is a matter of life and death. He advocated normalizing of relations with Israel. Saudi researcher Dr. Muhammad Al-Attar said that the Palestinian leaders do not want to resolve the Palestinian issue. He said that Saudi Arabia has wasted too much money on other Arab nations. Saudi cleric Yousef Al-Quait argued that the Saudi government’s official position is not to normalize relations with Israel until the Palestinians get their rights. He accused Al-Enazi of being schizophrenic and of not representing anybody’s views. Al-Enazi responded that if he didn’t represent anybody’s views, he would not have been invited to the show.

Moldova president said to ‘very seriously consider’ moving embassy to Jerusalem

Moldova’s president said his country would “very seriously consider” moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, according to Jewish interlocutors who met with him.

Igor Dodon met last week with Euro-Asian Jewish Congress leaders in connection with his visit earlier this month to Israel, the Newsmaker website reported.

The United States moved its embassy to Jerusalem in May. The European Union and Arab countries were among the harshest critics of the move, which they said may be harmful to attempts to reach a permanent peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, who both claim the city’s east.

The announcement of Moldova’s intention to consider the move comes amid heightened tensions between Moldova and the European Union, which the landlocked country bordering Romania has sought to enter.

Last month, the European Parliament warned Moldova’s government that it would end the visa waiver program it has with Moldova unless more steps were taken to fight corruption.

Moldova, one of Europe’s poorest countries, recently received a visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who vehemently opposes recognition of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem.

Senior Hamas Official: U.S. Embassy Is Unacceptable in West Jerusalem, in Tel Aviv, or Even in Safed

Senior Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Zahar said in a December 23, 2018, interview on Al-Alam TV (Iran) that Iran does not ask anything in return for the aid it provides to Hamas. He added that the presence of an American embassy in Palestine is totally unacceptable, even if it were built in Safed or suspended above Palestine, and that Western Jerusalem is even more Arab than Eastern Jerusalem. He added that Israel was established by the West in order to get rid of the Zionist cancer that was ruining the Western economy.

Ex-Israeli FM Livni Out in Cold as Left-Wing Opposition Splits Ahead of Election

Israel‘s main left-wing opposition split on Tuesday, leaving one of the country’s most prominent politicians, former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, out in the cold ahead of an April general election.

The Zionist Union, the second-biggest faction in parliament, was formed as a partnership between the Labor Party, which is led by Avi Gabbay, and the smaller Hatnuah party headed by Livni. The alliance has fared poorly in recent opinion polls.

With a stone-faced Livni sitting next to him at a Zionist Union meeting, Gabbay unceremoniously dumped her.

The shakeup added more drama to the nascent national election campaign, coming just days after a split in Jewish Home, a far-right party in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s current Likud-led coalition.

“I hoped and believed this alliance would bring about our blossoming, a real connection and we would complement each other. But the public is smart, saw this is not the situation and distanced itself from us,” Gabbay said.

“Tzipi, I wish you success in the election — in any party you’re in,” he said, announcing the split on live television.

JCPA: Islamic Jihad Leader: We Will Attack Israel from the North and South

He added: “We will emerge from beneath the ground and from above the ground. The occupation needs to expect us everywhere. I’m sure we will defeat the Zionist project, and this entity will disappear. We will continue with the resistance, and we will not withdraw from it. There will be victims, come what may.”

In the interview, Nakhalah dealt with several other issues:

  • He claimed that during Israel’s most recent clashes with various factions in the Gaza Strip, Israel asked, for the first time, for a cease-fire through an Egyptian mediator. “If the clashes had continued, we would have hit cities (in Israel),” Nakhalah asserted.
  • A call to the Palestinian Authority to sit down with the resistance factions. If this does not happen, the Palestinian Authority “will become obsolete.”
  • The plan of Islamic Jihad and the Palestinian people is to fight against the occupation in the West Bank through popular and military means, including one-person terror attacks.
  • Efforts are currently being concentrated on torpedoing Trump’s “Deal of the Century,” which is a new conspiracy to impose terror on the region. It is composed of old U.S. theories in a new disguise.
  • The Arab countries failed in their response to the existence of Israel. Their normalization with Israel has recently become revealed.
  • The declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was an erroneous move by the U.S. government, and the resistance has made some real achievements in the struggle against this declaration.
  • The resistance in Lebanon and Palestine is gaining strength, while the Arab line has collapsed. All of the peace plans have failed.
  • Nothing remains from the Oslo Accords, apart from security cooperation and a few sources of finance for the Palestinian Authority.

During the last week of December 2018, a delegation from Hamas also visited Iran, led by Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior member of the organization’s political bureau.

During the second half of January 2019, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh is expected to pay a visit to Iran.

Iran is publicly strengthening its ties with Hamas and Islamic Jihad, while it acts to reinforce its military grip on Syria in order to open a new Golan Heights front against Israel with fighters from Hizbullah and pro-Shiite militias.

Naval barrier reducing risk of Hamas infiltration nears completion

A naval barrier meant to starve off Hamas infiltrations from the sea is nearing completion, seven months after Israel began the work.

The 200 meter sea barrier is made up of three layers including one below the sea level which is lined with seismic detectors and other tools, a layer of armored stone and a third layer in the form of a mound. In addition to the three layers, a six meter (20 foot) smart fence surrounds the breakwater in order to provide a final security measure.

The decision to build an upgraded naval barrier was decided upon after five Hamas frogmen (naval commandos) tried to infiltrate Kibbutz Zikim during Operation Protective Edge in 2014 armed with automatic weapons, fragmentation grenades and several types of explosives devices. They were engaged and killed by the IDF in a combined attack from the sea, ground and air.

Hamas has significantly expanded their naval commando unit in the four years since the last conflict, with hundreds of frogmen. The new barrier, which has been designed to withstand severe sea conditions and serve the defense establishment for many years, is aimed at preventing similar incidents.

The border with Gaza is Israel’s most explosive, hundreds of rockets fired towards southern Israel and nine months of violent protests along the Gaza-Israel security fence with Palestinians launching incendiary aerial devices and throwing explosive devices towards troops.

Fatah Spokesperson in Europe: Fatah Engaged in Fiercer Armed Struggle After Oslo Accords, Not Before

A Germany-based member of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council, Jamal Al-Nazzal, who is also Fatah’s spokesperson in Europe, appeared on a show on Mayadeen TV (Lebanon) on December 18, 2018. He said that he was proud that the Palestinian resistance, in cooperation with the Lebanese resistance, left a mark on the Israeli occupation during the First Lebanon War in which, he said, Israel lost 676 soldiers. Nazzal added that when Israel looks back a thousand years from now, it will be unable to recall fiercer battles than those it fought against Fatah in Lebanon. He also refuted the idea that Fatah stopped using armed resistance following the Oslo accords, and said that during the Second Intifada in 2000-2005, the Palestinian resistance, led by Fatah, resisted against Israel with greater ferocity than before the Accords.

IRGC Deputy Commander Mohammed Reza Naqdi: Israel Must Be Wiped Out, Zionists Annihilated

Brigadier-General Mohammad Reza Naqdi, Deputy Commander of the IRGC for Cultural and Social Affairs and former Commander of the Basij, said during a December 28, 2018 interview on Al-Nujaba TV (Iraq) that Saudi Arabia’s military strength does not compare to Iran’s and that Iran could easily destroy it. He also expressed with confidence that America will not launch a war against Iran, and said that if it does, Iran will destroy all the American military bases in the region. Naqdi stressed that Israel must be “destroyed and wiped out” and that “the Zionists” must be ” annihilated and destroyed.” He concluded by saying that he will personally hoist the flag of the Islamic Revolution in Jerusalem.

French-Moroccan Journalist, Formerly Of ‘Charlie Hebdo’: Islam Must Accept Criticism, Abide by Law

During a December 21, 2018, interview on France 24 Arabic TV, French-Moroccan journalist Zibeb El Rhazoui discussed death threats she received and violent comments that were made about her after she had said on TV that Islam must learn to accept criticism, abide by French law, and reject extremist ideology. El Rhazoui defended her statement, saying that it is perfectly reasonable and that it is shameful that those who attacked her are people from the same background as her who enjoy rights in France that they would not enjoy in Arab countries. She criticized the minority of people who perceive themselves as eternal victims and who use an ideology of death to break the law and harm others. She added: “I hope that they liberated themselves from [their] black ideological cloud… I wish them a happy new year, and may the law be enforced in their case.” She also said that she hopes the Islamic world will one day be freed from its ignorance and backwardness and be able to enjoy culture, enlightenment, and prosperity. El Rhazoui was a columnist for the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, and was in Morocco when the January 2015 terror attack against the magazine took place.

Sheikh Al-Musawi, Head of Shiite Waqf in Iraq: Christians Celebrate Christmas with Depraved Acts

Sheikh ‘Alaa Al-Musawi, who is the head of the Shiite Islamic Endowments in Iraq, said during a sermon that was uploaded to the Internet on December 25 that the non-Muslim monotheistic traditions and holidays, such as Christianity and Christmas, have been completely distorted, and that Jesus was not born on January 1 as the Christians claim. He also criticized Christians for participating in depraved acts such as drinking alcohol, singing, and mixing of the sexes during Christmas celebrations. He further criticized Muslims who have been influenced by these “shameless and corrupt” celebrations and who imitate the West by buying trees and toys.

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