Eli Lake: Palestinian President Shows the World Who He Really Is
There are two ways to understand the two-and-a-half hour rant Sunday from the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, in which he called for discarding past agreements with Israel.
The first way is straightforward: He means it. As Maya Angelou famously said, “when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” In the case of Abbas, he has been showing us who he is for a while now.
He defends Palestinian Authority payments for terrorists. He called murderers “heroic brothers” when they were released by Israel in 2013 as a condition for restarting peace talks. In December he urged the Organization of the Islamic Conference to reconsider its recognition of Israel.
So when Abbas gives a Castro-esque speech laced with fake history about Israel being a colonial project of Europeans, it fits a pattern.
The second way of understanding his rant requires some creative accounting. Abbas doesn’t really mean it. Abbas has been a patient peace partner now for 15 years, but along comes President Donald Trump, who recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and asks Saudi Arabia to pressure Abbas to take a deal. What do you expect?
This is the interpretation of J-Street, the Soros-family-funded advocacy group that touts itself as pro-peace and pro-Israel. A J-Street statement on the Abbas speech began with this throat clearing: “Sunday’s speech by President Abbas no doubt reflected his own and the Palestinian people’s deep despair at the ever-deepening occupation and the lack of diplomatic progress toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
J-Street was careful to stipulate that this despair was “no excuse for calling into question either the Jewish connection to, or Palestinian recognition of, the state of Israel.” But let’s not lose the plot. This group asserts that Abbas would not have delivered his rant “if it were not for President Trump’s inept and disastrous missteps regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
PodCast: Did Abbas kill the Israeli left?
Gil Hoffman speaks to Zionist Union Knesset member Nachman Shai on the impact of Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s anti-Semitic speech and rejection of peace talks on the Israeli Left.
Shai, like Naftali Bennett Monday says the Abbas era is over, but unlike Bennett, Shai says the 2-state-solution is still alive. He also laments Israel’s inability to get out its message when its Foreign Ministry’s funding has been cut again. (h/t Elder Of Lobby)
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday morning said he expects the US Embassy to move to Jerusalem within the coming year.
“Three things are happening in the US which have never happened before,” Netanyahu explained. “My estimation is that the US Embassy move will happen faster than we think. Within the span of a year – that’s my educated guess.”
“There is a dramatic change regarding Iran, and the President has a time limit, at the end of which the Iran deal will either be fixed or canceled.”
Regarding UNRWA, the UN organization created for the purpose of helping “Palestinian refugees,” Netanyahu said, “This is the first time they are being challenged. This organization perpetuates the Palestinians’ refugee status. This is the first time someone is standing up and challenging that.”
A Netanyahu official said he “believes that the the Americans are discussing Israel’s proposal to transfer care of the refugees in Judea and Samaria from UNRWA to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).” The many millions of refugees who are not Palestinian Arabs are represented by one organization UNHCR. Only the Palestinian Arabs have an organization of their own.
The US on Wednesday morning cut UNRWA funding from $125 million to $60 million.
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Michael Oren (Kulanu) said, “I congratulate US President Donald Trump on his decision to drastically cut funding to UNRWA. This is a false and corrupt organization, which fabricates millions of refugees in order to receive world funding. UNRWA perpetuates the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by teaching Palestinian youth to hate the State of Israel and to work to erase it. The President’s decision is a crucial and vital step to putting an end to one of the greatest frauds in history. UNRWA’s fraud has caused great damage to Israel and to the entire Middle East.”
In a 1951 report to the UN General Assembly, UNRWA reported, “There must be a firm goal of terminating relief operations. Sustained relief operations inevitably contain the germ of human deterioration.” It was right, but Arab state rejectionism got in the way. Arab states like Egypt, Syria, and Iraq quickly concluded that they could use UNRWA to perpetuate the problem, to undercut normalization with Israel, and to transform an aid agency into a weapon against Israel.
The rest is history. Both current UNRWA Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl and UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness were born years after UNRWA was meant to dissolve.
Nor does UNRWA’s track record make it worth saving. While UNHCR has resettled refugees and allowed them to get on with their lives, UNRWA has actively undercut settlement. It has embraced a unique definition of refugee that differs with UNHCR and that is used everywhere else in the world. Consider: If India and Pakistan used the same definition of refugee from their partition that UNRWA embraces, there would be more than 100 million refugees in South Asia today. UNRWA has helped make the Palestinians the largest per capita recipient of aid on earth, but has the least to show for it.
The problem isn’t just waste of money, however. Almost a quarter-century after the Palestinian Authority began, UNRWA has eroded rather than supported the foundations of good governance. After all, if UNRWA promises to take care of housing, education, and support, why shouldn’t both the Palestinian Authority and their sometime-partner Hamas spend money on terror pensions, terror tunnels, and an arsenal of rockets?
Add into the mix UNRWA incompetence: schools used as arsenals, school books teaching incitement, UNRWA employees moonlighting as bomb makers, and terror recruitment in UNRWA high schools and the problem is even worse. UNRWA denials of complicity in such activities, if taken at face value, are just acknowledgment of its own poor oversight.
It’s long past time to cut off UNRWA and ask UNHCR to take over. The Palestinians deserve an apolitical agency rather than an amplifier for radicalism and waste. UNRWA has become a cancer not only for those who seek peace and reconciliation, but also for the entire UN system.
UNRWA in 1951 was right. Permanence is not a virtue; it’s an impediment.
U.S. State Department: State Department: Aid Cut to UNRWA “Not Aimed at Punishing Anyone”
State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said Tuesday: “We committed a voluntary contribution of $60 million [to UNRWA] for 2018 so far….That money is going to sustain schools and health services to ensure that teachers and also health care providers can be paid their salaries.”
“This is not aimed at punishing anyone. The United States Government and the Trump administration believe that there should be more so-called burden sharing to go around….We don’t believe that taking care of other nations and other people has to solely be the United States’ responsibility….I would argue we’re the most generous nation on the globe, but we will ask other countries to do more.”
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon on Tuesday praised the Trump administration for announcing it would cut funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinian refugees.
Danon said in press statement that it was time for the “absurdity to end” in how funds provided to the relief agency were being spent on building terrorist infrastructure and teaching Palestinian youth to delegitimize Israel.
“UNRWA has proven time and again to be an agency that misuses the humanitarian aid of the international community and instead supports anti-Israel propaganda, perpetuates the plight of Palestinian refugees and encourages hate,” he said.
“Just over the last year alone, UNRWA officials were elected to the leadership of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, UNRWA schools denied the existence of Israel, and terror tunnels were dug under UNRWA facilities. It is time for this absurdity to end and for humanitarian funds to be directed toward their intended purpose – the welfare of refugees,” Danon added.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Tuesday he was “very concerned” by reports that the U.S. had cut its funding to UNRWA, the UN agency for “Palestinian refugees”, by half.
According to AFP, Guterres said he had not been informed of Washington’s decision.
“I strongly hope that in the end, it will be possible for the United States to maintain the funding of UNRWA,” he was quoted as having said.
“UNRWA is not a Palestinian institution but a UN institution,” added the UN chief, who dubbed the agency “an important factor of stability” in the Middle East.
Krähenbühl called for a global fundraising effort to make up for the loss of US support.
“At stake is the access of 525,000 boys and girls in 700 UNRWA schools, and their future,” he said. “At stake is the dignity and human security of millions of Palestine refugees, in need of emergency food assistance and other support in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
“At stake is the access of refugees to primary health care, including pre-natal care and other life-saving services. At stake are the rights and dignity of an entire community.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was not aware of the decision, but warned that UNRWA provides “vital services.”
“I am very concerned and I strongly hope that in the end it will be possible for the United States to maintain the funding of UNRWA in which the US has a very important share,” he told reporters at the UN.
Noting that the US “has consistently been UNRWA’s largest single donor,” Krahenbuhl announced he was “launching in the next few days a global fundraising campaign to capture the large-scale commitment to keeping our schools and clinics open throughout 2018 and beyond.”
He called on “host countries and our donors including those in the region,” as well as “people of good will in every corner of the globe where solidarity and partnerships exist for Palestine Refugees” to “join us in responding to this crisis and #FundUNRWA to ensure that Palestine Refugee girls and boys can stand strong.”
The call was shared Wednesday by UN officials, including the organization’s Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov.
UNRWA’s spokesman said Wednesday that the agency was facing its worst funding crisis ever. “The US has announced it will contribute $60 million to the program budget. There is for the moment no other indication of possible funding,” Chris Gunness told AFP. “This dramatically reduced contribution results in the most severe funding crisis in the history of the agency.”
The Palestine Liberation Organization’s mission to the US also lashed out at the funding cut on Wednesday, insisting the funding of UNRWA was “not a bargaining chip but a US and international obligation.”
In a statement, the Palestinian representative in Washington, Husam Zomlot, said that “taking away food and education from vulnerable refugees does not bring a lasting and comprehensive peace,” and vowed that “the rights of Palestinian refugees will not be compromised by a financial decision.”
The Arab League chief charged Wednesday that a US decision to freeze crucial funding for the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees was aimed at wiping out the whole issue of Palestinian refugees.
“This decision affects the education and health of Palestinians and aims to eradicate the question of refugees,” Ahmed Aboul Gheit said at a conference in Cairo on the disputed city of Jerusalem.
On Tuesday, the United States held back $65 million that had been destined for UNRWA, two weeks after President Donald Trump threatened future payments to the agency.
Washington is the largest contributor to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA).
UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness warned Wednesday that “this dramatically reduced contribution results in the most severe funding crisis in the history of the agency.”
Hanan Ashrawi, a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said the freeze amounted to “cruelty” toward an “innocent and vulnerable population.”
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday continued to rail against US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, cautioning that actions taken in the city could spark a future war, while also advocating a “peaceful” path.
“Jerusalem is the gate of peace and war — Trump must choose,” said Abbas, who was at a conference in the Al Azhar University in Cairo on “global support for Jerusalem.”
While warning of war, the 82-year-old Palestinian leader also reiterated several times that the only way forward for Palestinians to oppose both American and Israeli policies involved peaceful means.
“A popular and peaceful resistance is the path that will succeed and that we will continue on,” Abbas said.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas decided to give his fiery address denouncing Israel and the United States earlier this week after Saudi officials informed him of the parameters of US President Donald Trump’s peace plan, which were overwhelmingly favorable to the Jewish state, Israeli television reported Tuesday.
A close associate of the PA president was summoned to Riyadh for an urgent meeting earlier this month. There, the details of Trump’s peace plan — which provides for a “state-minus” — were presented to the Palestinians for the first time, according to Hadashot news.
The plan’s main clauses were as follows: less-than-full statehood for the Palestinians, ongoing Israeli control over security matters, a permanent IDF presence in the Jordan Valley, land swaps not based on the pre-1967 lines, no settlement evacuations, and an Israeli veto regarding the final status of Jerusalem, which would be later negotiated by the parties, the TV report said.
On Sunday, Abbas gave a particularly harsh address at a meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Central Council, lambasting Trump and rejecting US peace overtures.
Amid continued diplomatic fallout from US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and a belligerent, fiery speech from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas denouncing his administration’s peace efforts, Trump’s top peace envoy, Jason Greenblatt, will arrive in the region Wednesday to meet with envoys from the Middle East Quartet to advance an Israeli-Palestinian accord.
“Jason will be attending a regular meeting of the Quartet Envoys to exchange information and continue our engagement on advancing peace,” a White House official told The Times of Israel on Tuesday.
Greenblatt, who will arrive in Israel on January 17, will likely stay until US Vice President Mike Pence’s visit, which is scheduled for January 22-23.
The so-called Quartet consists of representatives from the US, Russia, the United Nations, and the European Union. It was established in Madrid in 2002 to try and resolve the decades-old dispute between Israelis and Palestinians.
The upcoming meeting comes as Palestinians still fume over Trump’s Jerusalem decision.
JPost Editorial: Abbas’s failures
Abbas made it very clear this week what he rejects: recognition of the Jewish people’s historic and religious claims to the Land of Israel; acceptance of the US as the principal broker in peace negotiations with Israel; making painful concessions for the sake of peace; normalization of relations with Israel as a precursor to peace; stopping the transfer of foreign aid to terrorists and their families.
But he gave no reason for hope, no sense that he was leading his people toward a goal.
Perhaps Abbas is under the impression he is restoring the Palestinians’ lost honor by lashing out at the US president with epithets such as “May God destroy your house,” or by vowing not to cooperate with the US in its peace initiative or by shouting bluster at Donald Trump such as “Damn your money!” But the opposite is true. Abbas’s pitiful performance is yet another missed opportunity to lead his people into a better, more promising era. Arab nations such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt have been pressuring him to adopt a more pragmatic stance toward peace negotiations.
Instead of using Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as an opportunity for more intransigence, use it as a chance to extract more concessions in negotiations with Israel. Instead of focusing on self-pity and victim-playing, Abbas should be taking advantage of the changing attitudes toward Israel to enlist Arab nations’ support for a comprehensive peace agreement that would improve the lives of Palestinians.
Unfortunately, Abbas seems incapable of changing course. He has thrived under the status quo of protracted conflict for so long that he cannot imagine a better reality. Doing so would be tantamount to admission of his own failure.
Just days before the reconciliation was announced, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh called for the formation of an Arab army to “lead intifada after intifada, until the job” of liberating Jerusalem and the Temple Mount is accomplished.
And nothing has changed, as we can see with Shevach’s murder. Following the shooting, Hamas issued a statement in praise of the “heroic attack.”
Because the Palestinian people — who themselves suffer when money is funneled to terrorists for the murder of innocent Israelis rather than to helping their social, educational and economic needs — do not act against their own government, it is time that the Israeli and American governments take real steps to eradicate Palestinian violence.
Shevach’s friends say that the good-hearted family man was deeply loved by all who knew him. Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau described him in a statement as devoted to saving lives, teaching Torah and safeguarding Judaism in the Land of Israel.
In Shevach’s memory, the United States and Israel should clearly and definitively declare Fatah a terrorist organization — just like Hamas — and to treat those two major components of the Palestinian Authority as such, until the PA stops funding and perpetuating terrorism.
The US and Israel should immediately halt all cooperation with the PA, and place financial sanctions on anyone who does business with it.
Finally, Israel must close the roads connecting Palestinian Authority-controlled cities and towns to Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria, so that Shevach will be the last Jew killed in Israel in cold blood — for nothing but his religion and faith.
Why is it that every time a female US government official says something that the Palestinian Authority (PA) doesn’t like, PA leaders respond by making a disparaging remark related to the fact that she is a woman?
In his bizarre, two-hour rant before the Palestinian Central Council on January 14, PA President Mahmoud Abbas declared that US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, “wears high heels not for elegance but to use to hit anyone who attacks Israel.”
When Condoleeza Rice was national security advisor, an official PA newspaper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, called her (on June 23, 2002) “the dark complexioned lady,” “the Black Lady” and “this pitiful woman.” On November 3 of that year, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida railed against Rice for “her loose way of sitting, when she puts one leg on top of the other.” The writer then alluded to Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky.
Another official PA newspaper, Al-Ayyam, referred to Rice (on June 22, 2003) as a “black widow,” a “single black lady” and a “black raven,” and patronizingly compared her to African-American supermodel Naomi Campbell.
And the PA’s problem with women is not limited to Republicans. In its October 3, 1997 issue, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida’s editor in chief denounced Arab leaders whom, he said, “would have sung love songs” to then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright “were it not for her advanced age and the fact that she has passed her prime.”
I wonder if the PA’s disturbing obsession with the physical appearance of these female US officials is a reflection of the anti-woman culture that the PA fosters in Palestinian society.
Ben-Dror Yemini: Stop ‘understanding’ the Palestinians
Looking at a conflict, any conflict, requires us to understand the different sides. To understand the pain. But what applies to every conflict appears to be completely wrong when it comes to the Palestinians. The more we understand them, the more we bolster their rejectionism.
When we “understand” their claims about the Nakba, instead of telling them that what happened to them happened to tens of millions of people, and happened to Jews, even from Arab countries—we perpetuate the delusion of the right of return.
For years, they have been hearing the same chant from the Fisks and the Yiftachels. And if that’s what the world’s educated and enlightened people have to say, is there any chance that the Palestinians themselves give up the right of return fantasy? Does this “understanding” bring the chance for peace and reconciliation closer, or does it push it away?
When, for the sake of this “understanding,” they say we must understand what Jerusalem means to the Muslims in general and to the Palestinians in particular—although Jerusalem remained marginal and neglected under Muslim rule for centuries—they are helping inflate the lie. And when they spread the lie that the Palestinians are living under an oppression, which is similar to what happened at Auschwitz—it’s blood libel. Because under Israeli rule, the Palestinians have experienced huge growth in every possible area.
And no, terrorism isn’t justified, because the Palestinians have repeatedly received decent proposals for an agreement. They could have gained independence. They are the ones who have said no. And those who keep justifying them are justifying the continuation of violence and terror.
The public opinion in the free world is influential. It can and should have told the Palestinians and Israel: Get off your high horse. No more fantasies. There will be no return of Palestinians to Israel and no return of Jews to every hill in Judea and Samaria. But the understanding towards the Palestinians must stop—not to prevent an agreement, but on the contrary, to give it a chance.
In his speech on Jan. 14, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas made some important statements about future PA relations with the US. He insulted US President Trump, going as far as to say: “May your house be destroyed,” and called US ambassadors David Friedman and Nikki Haley “an insult to an administration that respects itself.” In addition, Abbas stressed that the Palestinians already decided in 1980 they would not have relations with any country that recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, indicating that this is still policy. Finally, Abbas also mocked American aid, saying the US should not do the PA “any favors by paying us money.”
Abbas’ advisor on Religious and Islamic Affairs and Supreme Shari’ah Judge, Mahmoud Al-Habbash, likewise ridiculed the US and its financial aid to the PA, asking: “What idiocy has taken control of your minds to delude you that Jerusalem is for sale, or that one grain of sand from Palestine, all of Palestine, is for sale, or purchase, or bargaining?”
With these statements, Abbas and Al-Habbash emphasized the anti-US messages PA and Fatah leaders have been disseminating since Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in the beginning of December 2017, and which PMW documented in a recent report. The report exposes that the PA and Fatah are mocking Trump, demonizing the US, and rejecting US aid. Below is an updated version of the report that includes the additional statements by Abbas and his advisor Mahmoud Al-Habbash:
CNN’s account of Mahmoud Abbas’ dramatic speech Sunday (Jan. 14) was a blatant whitewash, completely skipping over the Palestinian Authority President’s hateful and false statements about Jews as well as his call to arms. Among the Palestinian leader’s falsehoods was his denial of any connection between Judaism and the Holy Land, the assertion that Jews preferred to be murdered in the Holocaust rather than come to pre-state Israel, and the charge that Israel is sending drugs to Palestinian youth (“Abbas slams US, others in defiant speech,” Jan. 15).
Covering Up Abbas’ Call to Arms
Also newsworthy, but omitted by the CNN piece, was what former U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro called Abbas’ “ardent defense of the payments made to Palestinian terrorists in prison [which] tells Israelis, Palestinians, and the U.S. Congress that he will not educate Palestinians to give up violence directed at civilians in their struggle for independence.”
Indeed, while ignoring Abbas’ defense of payment to Palestinian terrorists, CNN’s Andrew Carey and Abeer Salman maintained that Abbas “also said he advocated only ‘peaceful popular resistance.”
Though Abbas did say at one point in his long speech “I support only peaceful popular resistance,” he also explicitly contradicted himself, giving his clear blessing to the use of violence.
There seems to be no limit to the lengths the Guardian will go to obfuscate or excuse Palestinian extremism, incitement or historical revisionism. Their former Middle East Editor, Ian Black, provided his take on Mahmoud Abbas’s recent speech in Ramallah and characteristically airbrushed (or just ignored) the most incendiary and indefensible parts in order to maintain the desired narrative of a ‘moderate’, even “principled”, PA President.
The headline of the Jan. 16th article, “Will Abbas’s ‘Eff off, Trump’ fury play into the hands of rightwing Israelis?”, is classic Guardian – expressing deeper concern over how ‘the Israeli right’ will respond to Abbas’s comments than to the truth or falsehood of his views, or the larger question of its political and ideological implications. As Matti Friedman has explained, within the media echo chamber, what Palestinians do, or what they believe, is not the story. The only actor in the drama who matters is Israel.
You can see this journalistic tick in the way Black introduces Abbas’s controversial remarks.
Israelis quickly condemned an “extremist” or “antisemitic” speech and focused on his description of Zionism as a colonialist movement by people who, he claimed, had no connection to the land they were settling. It was a bleak reminder of the irreconcilable narratives that lie at the heart of the conflict: Israelis and Zionists have always focused on their intentions in creating and maintaining a Jewish state; Palestinians on the results – and primarily the way they were displaced and oppressed by foreign intruders.
Israelis, readers are told, “quickly” condemned Abbas’s speech as extremist or antisemitic, presumably suggesting Israeli reaction was hasty, predictable, as if by rote. Moreover, Black significantly downplays Abbas’s charges. As Dov Lieber, Arab Affairs correspondent for Times of Israel reported, the Palestinian President’s lecture on Zionism alleged that “colonialism created Israel to perform a certain function”. It is a colonial project, Abbas continued, “that has nothing to do with Judaism, but rather used the Jews as a tool under the slogan of the Promised Land.” Contrary to Black’s claim, Abbas’s charge had nothing to do with “irreconcilable narratives”, a term suggesting the veracity of Abbas’s belief that that there’s no Jewish connection to the land can’t be determined.
The Mossad intelligence service provided critical information that led to raids on the homes of suspected Iranian spies throughout Germany, Israel’s Kan public broadcaster reported on Tuesday.
Hours earlier, German authorities said they were conducting searches across the country in connection with ten suspected Iranian spies, with one report saying that they were members of an elite military force that had been eyeing Israeli and Jewish targets.
The weekly German-language magazine FOCUS reported that arrest warrants for the suspects listed them as being members of the al-Quds Force, which is part of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and is considered a terrorist organization by the United States.
The alleged spies had been monitoring Israeli and Jewish targets, the report said.
The German journalist who first reported raids by local security forces at the homes of suspected Iranian spies across Germany supplied new details Wednesday about the Israeli and Jewish targets allegedly monitored by the suspects.
Josef Hufelschulte, of the weekly German-language magazine FOCUS, told Israeli public broadcaster Kan that the suspected spies had been gathering information on the Israeli embassy in Berlin, as well as on targets related to the local Jewish community, including kindergartens.
The operatives were monitored by German intelligence services for two months before the raids were conducted, Hufelschulte said.
On Tuesday, German authorities said they were conducting searches across the country in connection with 10 suspected Iranian spies, with FOCUS magazine claiming that they were members of an elite military force that had been eyeing Israeli and Jewish targets.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday praised a series of recent moves by US President Donald Trump and expressed confidence that the US would relocate its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem within a year.
“My confident assessment is that it will move much faster than people think, within a year from today,” he told Israeli reporters on a flight from New Delhi to Gujarat during a state visit to India.
Last month, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that relocating the embassy to Jerusalem would likely take at least three years, and quite possibly longer. “It’s not going to be anything that happens right away,” he said in a speech at the State Department reported by The New York Times. “Probably no earlier than three years out, and that’s pretty ambitious.”
Trump promised to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in a December 6 speech at the White House in which he also formally recognized the city as Israel’s capital.
It began with a regular tour of the Temple Mount compound by a group of 42 Jews, which included rabbis and politicians. At some point, they ran into a provocation of local Arabs and Waqf officials, who got in their faces and verbally attacked the group, yelling the familiar pre-detonation slogan, “Allahu Akbar.”
At which point, the group members decided on the only proper monotheistic response and began shouting back: “Adonai hu ha’Elohim” (God is the only deity) and “Shema Israel, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai Echad” (Hear, Oh, Israel, God is our Deity, God Is One.”
And that threw the Israel police into a loop, because, according to protocol, only Muslims get to declare their fealty to the Creators, while Jews have been arrested up there for saying a blessing before eating an apple or drinking a bottle of water.
The police clearly lost it, and resorted to violence – and that just when confronting 42 Jews who chuck the discriminatory rules and reach out to their Father in Heaven. What would happen when a thousand Jews ascend to the holy mountain? Who could stop them?
A military court judge on Wednesday ordered that 16-year-old Palestinian Ahed Tamimi and her mother, Nariman — who were both filmed slapping and shoving IDF soldiers last month in their West Bank village of Nebi Saleh — remain behind bars until the end of legal proceedings against them.
In his decision regarding the younger Tamimi, Judge Haim Balilti wrote that “the gravity of the offenses of which she is accused do not allow for an alternative to custody.”
The Ofer Military Court judge argued that security forces treated the Palestinian teenager “leniently over a long period of time.”
“The intensity of her violence establishes a clear rationale for danger and indicates that her actions stem from the promotion of an ideological goal,” Balilti added.
Jerusalem – Today the Israeli Military Court ordered the continued remand of Ahed Tamimi pending her trial. Tamimi was indicted on multiple counts of assault of law enforcement officers, slingshotting stones, and incitement to commit suicide attacks.
Since her arrest, NGOs claiming to promote human rights have been calling for her release, primarily on the basis of her age as well as the political motivations surrounding the incidents.
In response, Lt. Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch, former head of prosecution in Judea and Samaria and Military Justice Consultant at NGO Monitor, states, “Tamimi’s repeated attacks on security forces, other violent crimes, and incitement to terrorism would in most, if not all, Western legal systems warrant her arrest pending trial. NGOs cannot have it both ways: arguing that she is treated too harshly for a 16-year old, but also lauding her for engaging in an intentional provocation against soldiers.”
NGO Monitor notes that the NGOs advocating for Tamimi’s release regularly attack the military courts, claiming inherent bias. However, today’s decision shows that the court acted independently and applied the law, basing its decisions on the evidence presented and the other relevant factors.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) is taking aim at Israeli school textbooks, claiming they encourage murder of Palestinian Arabs.
In its weekly meeting on Tuesday, the PA government headed by Rami Hamdallah expressed its full support for the decisions of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Central Council from earlier this week.
The PLO Central Council had authorized the organization’s Executive Committee to suspend its recognition of Israel (though the PLO never actually recognized Israel despite pledging to do so), to stop the security coordination with Israel and to stop the economic dependence on the Jewish state.
The PA government expressed willingness to help implement the decisions in order to realize the “legitimate national rights, first and foremost the right of return of our people to their homeland.”
The government also called on the international community to provide international protection for the “Palestinian people”, to formulate an international mechanism for settling the conflict in order to reach a two-state solution and to recognize the state of “Palestine” within the pre-1967 borders with eastern Jerusalem as its capital.
Gaza University Lecturer and Hamas TV Host Iyad Abu Fanun: Love for Jihad Is in the Palestinian People’s Genes pic.twitter.com/TlV6pQAzez
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) January 17, 2018
Al-Aqsa Mosque Address by Sheikh Muhammad Ayed “Abu Abdallah”: We Need a Caliph with His Finger on a Nuclear Button, Like Kim Jong-un pic.twitter.com/0RbzwBvGhz
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) January 17, 2018
A report from a United Nations panel found that remnants of missiles used in Yemen’s civil war originated in Iran, showing that Iran did not block the transfer of ballistic missiles to Yemen’s Houthi rebels, in violation of a UN Security Council resolution, CNN reported Monday.
UN Security Council Resolution 2216 demanded that member states “immediately take the necessary measures to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer” of arms to parties in the Yemeni civil war including the Houthi rebels.
While the report also faults Saudi Arabia, which is leading a coalition to fight the Houthis and support the internationally-backed government of Yemen, CNN reported, that ” a significant portion of the report blames Iran” for its actions in Yemen.
“The Panel has identified missile remnants, related military equipment and military unmanned aerial vehicles that are of Iranian origin and were introduced into Yemen after the imposition of the targeted arms embargo,” the report reads. “As a result, the Panel finds that the Islamic Republic of Iran is in non-compliance with paragraph 14 of resolution 2216 (2015) in that it failed to take the necessary measures to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer, of Borkan-2H short-range ballistic missiles, filed storage tanks for liquid bi-propellant oxidizer for missiles and Ababil-T (Qasef-1) unmanned aerial vehicles, to the then Houthi-Saleh alliance.”
The UN report, which has not yet been officially released, appears to support charges made by United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley at a press conference last month, that Iran is the “arsonist” in the Middle East, destabilizing the region by transferring arms to terror groups.
A ballistic missile fired by Yemen’s armed Houthi group toward Saudi Arabia’s southern Jizan region was shot down by Saudi forces on Tuesday, Saudi state TV Ekhbariya reported.
The station gave no further details. There were no reports of casualties or damage.
The Iranian-aligned Houthis have fired several missiles at the kingdom, and while these have not caused any serious damage they have served to deepen tensions between Riyadh and its arch-rival Tehran.
Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of supplying missile parts and expertise to the Houthis, who have taken over the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, and other parts of the country during its civil war. Iran denies the charge.
Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition that has been fighting the Houthis in neighboring Yemen since March 2015, after the movement drove Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi into exile.
Saudi Arabia said on Nov. 4 it had intercepted a ballistic missile over Riyadh’s King Khaled Airport, an attack that led the coalition to close air, land and sea access to Yemen in a move it said was meant to stop Iranian supplies to the Houthis.
In a rare friendly gesture to a country Israel still formally considers an enemy state, the Foreign Ministry on Tuesday empathized with the victims of two major terror attacks in Iraq earlier this week and called for closer ties between Jerusalem and Baghdad.
A short text posted to the Ministry’s Arabic Facebook page expressed the wish for normalization.
“Israel expresses great sorrow and shock at the deaths of innocents in terror attacks, and hopes that peace and stability will return to Iraq,” the text reads. “Israel extends its hand to its neighbors and waits for the day when the political circumstances will be conducive to the establishment of normal relations and fruitful cooperation for the benefit of all the peoples of the region.”
On Monday, two suicide bombers blew themselves up on the Iraqi capital’s Tayyaran Square, killing 38 people and injuring dozens. The twin attack shattered hopes that the country would stabilize after years of war and armed insurgencies.
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