July 14, 2020

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01/11 Links Pt1: Once again, Palestinians never miss a chance to foster Israeli unity; Barely a fifth of Jewish Israelis think Obama was friendly to Israel


From Ian:

PMW: PA: Terrorist who killed four in truck ramming attack died for Allah
On Sunday, a Palestinian terrorist drove his truck into a group of Israeli soldiers participating in an education study tour in Jerusalem, murdering 4 and wounding at least 15.
Attack is sanctioned by Islam
The official PA daily referred to it as “a car ramming operation” and wrote that the killer “died as a Shahid” (i.e., a Martyr who died for Allah). By calling the terrorist murderer a Shahid, the PA is telling its people that murdering the Israeli youths was sanctioned by Islam and seen as positive Islamic behavior.
PA TV went out of its way to focus on the religious value of the terror attack by using the term “Shahid” 7 times, mostly as a replacement for the terrorist’s name: “The Shahid executed the attack,” “The Shahid’s home,” “The Shahid’s sister,” “The Shahid’s parents home.” In contrast, the terrorist’s name was only mentioned twice, both times informing that he became a Shahid. [Official PA TV, Jan. 8, 2017]
PA will pay terrorist’s wife 2900 shekels ($760) monthly
According to its fundamental policy of supporting all Palestinian terror, the PA will reward the terrorist’s wife with a lifetime monthly allowance. According to PA law, the family of a Shahid receives a base payment of 1400 shekels per month. A wife of the Shahid receives an additional 400 shekels, for each child she receives 200 shekels, and for being a resident of Jerusalem an additional 300 shekels. In total the wife of this murderer will receive 2900 shekels ($760) per month for the rest of her life. In addition, within the next few months, she will receive a one-time grant of 6000 shekels ($1580).
Mahmoud Abbas’ silence
Mahmoud Abbas did not condemn the terror attack. Abbas’ silence is a strong message to Palestinians because it contrasts his fervent and vocal condemnations of the other recent car ramming terror attacks in Berlin and Nice.

Once again, Palestinians never miss a chance to foster Israeli unity

Abba Eban’s enduring insight that the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity needs amending: the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to boost Israeli unity, either. On Sunday, as The New York Times delighted in a polarized Israel sacrificing the army and national unity “on the altar of ultranationalist ideology,” a sadistic Palestinian truck driver – along with his Palestinian cheerleaders – unified us in sorrow. Amid intense reactions to the Azaria verdict punishing the shooting of a disarmed terrorist, this hit-and-run terrorist emphasized the murderous context in which Israeli kids must make split-second life-anddeath decisions.
As Israelis texted back and forth to see who escaped terrorism’s luckless lottery – which one Haaretz columnist that morning justified as “resistance to the occupation” – as the Palestinian wheel of misfortune crushed two dozen families, “citizens” weren’t “waging war” against “the citizens’ army.” We were one; we are one.
We are one with the families of the four young idealists massacred. We are one with the 17 wounded and their families, too. We join Left and Right in repudiating Hamas for lionizing this murderer. We join Left and Right in denouncing the Gazans who celebrated this despicable act. We unite in condemning the international enablers whose excusing of Palestinian incitement puts their fingerprints all over the deadly driver’s steering wheel.
We unite in lamenting that terrorism targeting us doesn’t merit headlines elsewhere. And we all share the same prayer, whatever our chosen political prescription for ending this conflict: that these will be the last victims – even as we wonder with dread, “who’s next”? Some media commentary nevertheless was harsh: one commentator sneered that two young women who clutched each other’s hands as they ran away from the runaway truck “thought they were at Disneyland. ” Wow. Consider the crazy pressures Israeli kids endure. If soldiers overreact as Sgt. Elor Azaria did, they’re arrested. If they react normally by scattering, as some officer cadets did in Sunday’s attack, they’re mocked. Honor the heroes who ran toward the truck and killed the terrorist, but don’t punish the others.

IsraellyCool: Israeli PM Netanyahu: “Unequivocal Evidence” UNSC Resolution Led By Obama Administration

Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu is doubling down with his accusation that the Obama administration orchestrated the whole thing, as well as rejecting the idea the resolution is just reformulating what previous US administrations had been saying.
Methinks Obama is going to end up with some (more) egg on his face by the end of this. But he’ll just make an omelette out of it, and tell everyone to get stuffed.

UK top diplomat admits to helping draft anti-settlement UN resolution

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on Tuesday told Parliament the United Kingdom played a key role in advancing an anti-settlement resolution passed by the United Nations Security Council last month.
London’s top diplomat also maintained that he backs US Secretary of State John Kerry who, during a keynote speech on the Middle East, criticized Jewish settlements in the West Bank as a major obstacle to peace.
“I remind the House that the UK was closely involved in its drafting, although of course it was an Egyptian-generated resolution,” Johnson said on Tuesday, according to a transcript of the proceedings. “We supported it only because it contained new language pointing out the infamy of terrorism that Israel suffers every day, not least on Sunday, when there was an attack in Jerusalem.”

Top Democrats Blast UN Resolution for Endangering Israeli-Palestinian Peace

Top congressional Democrats, including both the Senate and House minority leaders, have registered their objections to the Obama administration’s failure to veto an anti-Israel United Nations Security Council resolution at the end of December.
Hours before the Security Council voted on resolution 2334, which denounces Israeli presence in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem, newly elected Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D – N.Y.) stated that he was “strongly opposed to the UN putting pressure on Israel through one-sided resolutions.”
“An abstention is not good enough,” Schumer added. “The Administration must veto this resolution.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D – Calif.) called the resolution “troubling” in a statement released after the December 23 vote, adding: “The two-state solution has been the bedrock of peace efforts between Israelis and Palestinians for decades. The resolution passed by the UN Security Council today does not bring us closer to this goal.”

Top Democrats Blast UN Resolution for Endangering Israeli-Palestinian Peace

Obama: Netanyahu talks of two-state solution but his actions undermine it

In a final interview to Israeli media on Tuesday, US President Barack Obama cast doubt on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s support for the two-state solution, while warning that “unfettered support” by the US for West Bank settlements would lead to a “worsening situation” between Israeli and Palestinians.
The president gave the farewell tete-a-tete to Channel 2’s Ilana Dayan on the “Uvda” show, which aired 10 days before the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump.
Trump has promised to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, a step not taken by a US president despite several campaign promises over the years. Trump’s future ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, is an unequivocal supporter of West Bank settlements.
Obama charged that Netanyahu’s actions indicate that he doesn’t support a two-state solution with the Palestinians, pointing to the acceleration of settlement construction in recent years “that was not compelled by Israel’s security.”

The UN Holocaust: More Lies and Treachery on the Way?

The launch of this diplomatic attempt to gut Israel will start on January 15, in Paris, at a “peace conference” — which should immediately be postponed a week.
“Led astray from their primary mission, these organizations [such as the United Nations] have become tools of corruption or terrorism, reinforcing global Islamic power… Their latest resolutions do not only confirm the victory of jihadism and illiteracy: they also express the success of the years of effort made by this post-war Europe that continues to destroy, defame and delegitimize the Jewish State in the name of Islamic justice.” — Bat Ye’or, prizewinning historian.
With a UN now run as if it is the universal caliphate, assisted mostly by dictators and despots, it is hard to see much good ever coming from it. No one has yet been made accountable for the $100 billion “oil for food” scandal, and peacekeepers still dole out food to children in exchange for sex.
“The beginning of this long journey dates back to 1967, in France… Europe rushed to adopt the French position in 1973 and, along with the OIC, planned political measures designed to destroy the Jewish State by denying its sovereign rights and its cantonment on an indefensible territory. Resolution 2334 is now the icing on the cake of this policy, which forms the basis for a Euro-Islamic policy…” — Bat Ye’or.
All freedom loving nations would be wise to abandon the UN, or, second-best, defund it. Sadly, that is the only language the UN seems to understand. Countries imagining that in Donald Trump they have another pushover, watch out. You will be in for quite a shock.

David Singer: Paris Conference Challenges UN Security Council Resolution 2334

Seventy countries flocking to Paris on January 15 seem set to challenge Security Council Resolution 2334 before the ink has hardly dried.
America’s House of Representatives voting 342:80 has already declared that it:
“opposes United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 and will work to strengthen the United States-Israel relationship, and calls for United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 to be repealed or fundamentally altered so that –
(A) it is no longer one-sided and anti-Israel; and
(B) it allows all final status issues toward a two-state solution to be resolved through direct bilateral negotiations between the parties.”

Now the Paris Conference seems set to blindside the Security Council’s vision expressed in the preamble to Resolution 2334:
“a region where two democratic States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace within secure and recognized borders”
Four indicators point to this Security Council “two democratic states solution” being deliberately abandoned at the Paris Conference:

Barely a fifth of Jewish Israelis think Obama was friendly to Israel, poll shows

Shortly before he is to be sworn in as US president, a majority of Israelis expect Donald Trump’s attitude toward Israel to be “friendly,” while most Jewish citizens think Barack Obama’s during his tenure was not, according to a poll published on Tuesday.
The monthly Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University Peace Index found that 69 percent of Jewish Israelis believe the attitude toward Israel of the incoming president will be “very friendly” or “moderately friendly,” with that number rising to 74% among the Arab public.
Fifty-seven percent of Jewish Israelis said Obama has been “moderately unfriendly” or “not friendly at all,” with only 11% or Arab Israelis sharing that belief. Conversely, 22% of the Jewish public said the outgoing president had been friendly while 64% or Arab Israelis said the same.
While largely positive, compared with last month’s poll the new finding show a slight dip in belief by Israelis in Trump’s support of Israel.
In the December survey, over 80% of Jewish Israelis agreed with a recent statement by Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer that “Israel has no doubt that President-elect Trump is a true friend of Israel…. We look forward to working… with all of the members of the Trump administration… and making the US-Israel alliance stronger than ever.” Among Arab Israelis, “a very similar rate thinks US-Israeli relations will flourish during Trump’s tenure, though that expectation is not necessarily to this public’s liking,” the December poll said.
The January poll also assessed public opinion of how the December UN Security Council vote branding Israeli settlements illegal may affect Israeli and US government policy towards West Bank construction.
Asked, “In the wake of the Security Council’s resolution, in your opinion, should or should not Israel cease construction in the territories?” some 62% of the Jewish public replied that building should continue and 71% of Jewish respondents said that under the Trump administration Israel will be able to keep building in the settlements. In the Arab public that rate was even higher, at 81%.

Netanyahu: IDF Will Always Remain in West Bank, Regardless of Future Scenarios

The IDF will always remain in the West Bank no matter what, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated on Tuesday, the Hebrew news site nrg reported.
Joined by Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, Netanyahu toured the IDF’s West Bank headquarters in Beit El on Tuesday — two days after four Israeli soldiers were killed in a truck-ramming attack in Jerusalem. In remarks made to the press at the end of the visit, the prime minister said, “I was very impressed with the tough work being done on the ground to thwart Palestinian terrorism in Judea and Samaria — intelligence, arrests, raids and operations. This is being carried out with great ingenuity and effort.”
“In 2016, 43 weapons-production sites workshops were found [in the West Bank] — with closures, confiscations of equipment and arrests of those in charge,” Netanyahu went on to say. “There was also a dramatic rise in the seizure of weapons, but we still have a great challenge ahead of us.”
“We are aware of the fact that the Palestinian Authority, unfortunately, not only failed to condemn the recent terror attack in Jerusalem, but some in Fatah praised it,” the prime minister noted.

Israeli TV Report: Trump’s Ambassador Might Work From Jerusalem While Embassy Will Remain in Tel Aviv

The next American ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, might work from an office in Jerusalem while the US embassy will remain in Tel Aviv, Channel 2 reported on Tuesday, citing senior Israeli Foreign Ministry officials.
In this scenario, the report said, Friedman would be based at the US Consulate General building in the Israeli capital’s East Talpiot neighborhood with a small staff, while the seafront embassy in Tel Aviv would stay open, with most operations being run from there.
Friedman, the report noted, already owns three apartments in Jerusalem’s Talbieh neighborhood.
Outgoing American envoy to Israel Dan Shapiro has lived at a US government-owned residence in Herzliya, just north of Tel Aviv.
President-elect Donald Trump, according to the report, would view Friedman working out of Jerusalem as a fulfillment of his campaign promise to move the embassy.

‘Trump to forge ahead with Jerusalem embassy move despite opposition’

The incoming Trump administration plans to move ahead with its plans to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem regardless of criticism from Arab nations, CNN reported Monday.
According to the report, US President-elect Donald Trump’s team has informed regional allies of the plans.
CNN cited unnamed Israeli officials as speculating that the move could be announced as early as May 24, on the Israeli holiday “Jerusalem Day” that marks the reunification of the capital in the 1967 Six Day War.
The report emerged after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sent a letter to Trump urging him not to relocate his country’s embassy in Israel when he assumes office.

Letter circulates among House GOP in support of Jerusalem embassy move

House Republicans are passing around a letter expressing support for “swift action” by the incoming Trump administration to relocate America’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, according to a copy obtained by The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
The letter, which has not yet obtained any signatures, is addressed to the president-elect’s transition team in Trump Tower, indicating the caucus’s intent to send it before Donald Trump’s inauguration next week.
“Moving the embassy will strengthen the unique alliance between Israel and the United States and send a clear message to the world that we support Israel in recognizing Jerusalem as its eternal capital,” the letter reads.
“This action is all the more urgent in light of the anti-Israel Resolution 2334, adopted by the United Nations Security Council on December 23, 2016,” it continues. “The resolution invites renewed diplomatic hostility and economic warfare against Israel, and we must act urgently to mitigate its consequences and to reaffirm our steadfast commitment to Israel.”

Trump names Jared Kushner as senior adviser to president, may focus on Mideast

President-elect Donald Trump named his Jewish son-in-law Jared Kushner as a senior adviser in the upcoming administration.
The Trump team confirmed the appointment Monday, and in a press release said Kusher would work closely with Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon “to execute President-elect Trump’s agenda,” as “an effective leadership team.”
“Jared has been a tremendous asset and trusted adviser throughout the campaign and transition and I am proud to have him in a key leadership role in my administration,” Trump said, calling him “instrumental in formulating and executing the strategy” behind his election victory.
“He has been incredibly successful, in both business and now politics. He will be an invaluable member of my team as I set and execute an ambitious agenda, putting the American people first,” he added.
Kushner, who will forego a salary while serving in the administration, intends to focus on Middle East affairs and trade deals.

For Those Who Claimed That Trump is an Antisemite…

Has there ever been an American President who has appointed so many Orthodox Jews to high positions as President Elect Donald Trump? Before the elections, people kept trying to tell me that Trump is antisemitic, because some antisemites supported him. Of course, the same people weren’t bothered by the fact that all sorts of people who wanted to replace Israel with Palestine, Gd forbid, supported Hillary Clinton.
Besides appointing David Friedman to be the American Ambassador to Israel, now it has been revealed that Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law will be the Senior Adviser to the President, NBC News reported.
Lots of past presidents have appointed numerous Jews to high positions, but those Jews were the more “J Street” type, Leftists, more assimilated.
It will be interesting to see how things will change starting in the next couple of weeks. Hang on. Hold onto your hat.

Pope Francis and Abbas to meet at the Vatican

Pope Francis will grant Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas an audience at the Vatican on Saturday, the Holy See confirmed on Tuesday, according to AFP.
It will be the third time that the Pope has met Abbas following an encounter during the pontiff’s 2014 trip to the Holy Land and the Abba’s 2015 visit to the Vatican to attend a canonization ceremony for two Palestinian nuns, noted AFP.
In 2013, the Vatican recognized “Palestine” as a state. Last year, an accord between the Holy See and the PA, which is expected to lead to the establishment of a Palestinian embassy in the Vatican at some point this year, took effect.
During his 2015 meeting with Abbas, the Pope referred to Abbas as “an angel of peace”, causing outrage on social media.
The Vatican later explained that the reference was mistranslated, and in fact was meant as encouragement for Abbas to pursue peace with Israel.
Saturday’s meeting between Pope Francis and Abbas will come against a background of deep concern among Palestinian Arabs over U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s declared intention of moving the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Israeli-Palestinian Problem Solved in Comments Section of Facebook Status (satire)

Negotiations started when Jason posted a status on Facebook, berating Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech on Mideast peace. Shlomo, a liberal whose closest experience with a Palestinian was his friend at Columbia University who wore a keffiyeh “in solidarity” responded saying that his attitude was racist and would lead to apartheid. And off they went.
There were moments throughout the exchange where it was feared that negotiations might be derailed; first, after someone that neither senior negotiator had spoken to since high school posted a picture of Michael Jackson eating popcorn, leading to a stream of memes from bystanders, and then again when an aunt chimed in to call someone Hitler.
Several days, hundreds of likes, and over 300 comments later, the two feel confident that a solution has been found. “It’s amazing the impact that two Jews from Long Island with liberal arts degrees who once went on birthright and spent Passover in five-star hotels in Florida can have on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
They produced a signed statement that they have agreed to continue to disagree.

Paris City Hall projects Israeli flag after terror attack

An image of the Israeli flag was projected on Paris City Hall to show solidarity with the victims of a terrorist attack in Jerusalem.
Mayor Anne Hidalgo announced the initiative Tuesday following expressions of solidarity in Berlin, where the Israeli flag was projected on the Brandenburg Gate, and Rotterdam, which flew the Israeli flag at half mast on its City Hall.
In the attack Sunday, a Palestinian terrorist plowed his truck through a crowd of Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem, killing four and wounding at least 15 others. Similar attacks occurred in July in Nice, France, and last month in Berlin.
“Tonight at 7.30 p.m., the Hotel de Ville of Paris will be illuminated with the colors of Israel in a tribute to the victims of the attack in Jerusalem,” Hidalgo wrote Tuesday on Twitter.

Rotterdam city hall flies Israeli flag after Jerusalem attack

The Israeli flag was flown from Rotterdam city hall in the Netherlands on Monday evening in a show of solidarity with the Jewish state after a terror attack in Jerusalem killed four IDF soldiers on Sunday.
Initially the gesture was reportedly ordered by Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb, a Muslim from Morocco who moved to the Netherlands with his family when he was a teenager, the Hebrew-language Ynet website said Tuesday.
But in fact, the act was taken by acting mayor Joost Eerdmans, leader of the right-leaning and pro-Israel Livable Rotterdam party.
Founded in 2001, Livable Rotterdam is affiliated with the movement started by the late politician Pim Fortuyn, who was murdered in 2002 by a far-left activist.

Mayor quits, strike called after 11 illegal buildings razed in Arab city

Government agencies demolished 11 illegal buildings on the outskirts of Qalansawe, an Arab town in the Triangle in central Israel on Tuesday morning.
In protest, the mayor resigned and Israel’s Arab leadership announced a one-day protest strike on Wednesday, with schools, local authorities and businesses to stay closed.
The Finance Ministry’s National Unit for enforcing planning and construction laws, accompanied by hundreds of police and security personnel, knocked down the buildings, which had been built without planning permission and zoning authorization.
The mayor of the city, Abed el Basat Salame, resigned over the destruction and the residents were outraged at the demolitions.The High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel declared a strike in the Arab sector Wednesday in response to the building demolitions.

IDF arrests former Palestinian governor and Fatah leader

The IDF arrested Talal Dweikat, a former Tulkarem and Jenin governor, who also served as a general in the Palestinian Authority intelligence services, early Wednesday morning for allegedly partaking in weapons trade.
“The occupation forces arrested Dweikat after raiding his house and searching his belongings in Askar,” Wafa, the official PA news site, reported.
A Shin Bet spokesman said that Dweikat was arrested “for his involvement in advanced weapons trade,” without elaborating on details.
In addition to Dweikat, the IDF arrested two others in Nablus and raided Dweikat’s brother’s home, Sarhan Dweikat, who also has the rank of general.
Dweikat, who was elected to the Fatah Revolutionary Council in December, formerly served as a head of the PA intelligence services in Nablus in the early 2000s and was appointed as Tulkarem governor in 2006, where he oversaw the rehabilitation of the PA security forces in the aftermath of the second intifada.
In 2012, Dweikat was appointed Jenin governor, serving until 2014 when he accepted a position as an advisor in the PA presidency.

IDF weapons’ factory raids yield results

As a result of Israel’s crackdown on illegal weapons factories in Judea and Samaria and Bedouin caches of stolen weapons, prices for illegal weapons have risen significantly, often doubling or tripling.
Most of the terrorists who used firearms used homemade weapons, which were bought cheaply and easily from Arab dealers. Weapons factories and caches are often built under homes, and use the “lift-the-tile” trapdoor method for entry.
Examples of terror attacks in which terrorists used homemade firearms include the shooting in Tel Aviv’s Sarona market in June 2016, and the drive-by shooting which murdered Eitam and Naama Henkin in October 2015.
The vast majority of illegal weapons are used for criminal activity and not terror activity.

IDF Blog: Illegal Weapons Seized in Judea and Samaria in 2016

Palestinian factions attempt to organize meeting of PLO’s parliament

Factions of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad met in Beirut on Tuesday to discuss the possibility of holding the first meeting of the Palestinian National Council (PNC) in seven years.
The PNC, which is tantamount to the PLO’s parliament, is responsible for electing the PLO’s two most authoritative bodies, the Executive Committee and the Central Council, and setting a strategy for the PLO.
Tuesday’s meeting, which took place at the Palestinian embassy in the Lebanese capital, was the first of multiple meetings which will take place over the next two days.
Mustafa Barghouti, a PLO Executive Committee member, told the Palestinian website Watan News Network that the meeting “was positive and constructive,” and “discussions focused on one point, the ways to hold a meeting of the PNC that includes everyone.”

Cleric who legitimized suicide attacks on Israel has reversed his ruling. Hamas isn’t listening

The relentless suicide bombing campaign of Hamas during the Second Intifada (2000-2005), which killed hundreds of Israeli civilians, enjoyed a degree of mainstream Muslim legitimacy thanks to Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the highest Sharia authority for the Muslim Brotherhood and one of the Arab world’s most well-known scholars.
Qaradawi famously permitted suicide attacks solely against Israelis, while publicly denouncing the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.
But in November, the Egyptian cleric publicly declared suicide attacks, even against Israelis, were no longer allowed. Explaining the reversal, he said the Palestinians had obtained “other capabilities” to defend themselves — a reference to Hamas’s rocket arsenals, used against Israel to devastating effect in recent rounds of conflict.
However, Hamas, founded in late 1980s as a direct splinter group from the Muslim Brotherhood organization based in Egypt, seems to have shrugged off Qaradawi’s ruling and its spokesmen have explicitly dismissed it.

In farewell speech, Obama hails Iran deal, leaves out Israeli-Palestinian peace effort

US President Barack Obama used his farewell address Tuesday night to defend his legacy and try to unite a divided country. In recounting his eight years in Washington, he cited the Iran nuclear deal as a central achievement of his administration, but omitted any mention of his efforts to reach Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Forgoing the tradition of delivering his final presidential address to the nation from the Oval Office, Obama spoke in Chicago, his adopted hometown where he met his wife and launched his political career.
With only ten days left till he leaves office and passes the baton of power to President-elect Donald Trump, Obama sought to corral his supporters and fellow Americans to remain optimistic about their ability to protect America’s democratic underpinnings.
The president repeatedly referred to what he considered his signature accomplishments of the previous eight years to press a message that the American people was capable of creating a better future for itself, even in challenging circumstances.

Iran Approves Plans to Expand Military Spending, Develop Missile Program

Iranian lawmakers approved plans on Monday to expand military spending to five percent of the budget, including developing the country’s long-range missile program which U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to halt.
The vote is a boost to Iran’s military establishment – the regular army, the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and defense ministry – which was allocated almost 2 percent of the 2015-16 budget.
But it could put the Islamic Republic on a collision course with the incoming Trump administration, and fuel criticism from other Western states which say Tehran’s recent ballistic missile tests are inconsistent with a U.N. resolution on Iran.
The resolution, adopted last year as part of the deal to curb Iran’s nuclear activities, calls on Iran to refrain from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons. Tehran says it has not carried out any work on missiles specifically designed to carry such payloads.
Tasnim news agency said 173 lawmakers voted in favor of an article in Iran’s five-year development plan that “requires government to increase Iran’s defense capabilities as a regional power and preserve the country’s national security and interests by allocating at least five percent of annual budget” to military affairs.
Only 10 lawmakers voted against the plan, which includes developing long range missiles, armed drones and cyber-war capabilities.

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