April 13, 2021

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03/06 Links Pt1: Jerusalem’s Secret Embassies; After Decades of Bias, It’s Time to Hold the UN to Account


From Ian:

Jerusalem’s Secret Embassies
The West has for decades displayed a diplomatic double standard when it comes to its consulates: refusing to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but holding diplomatic missions to the Palestinian Authority in the very same city.
Much has been made in recent months of President Donald Trump’s pledge to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and its possible repercussions. The public conversation has generally concentrated on the potential diplomatic and political fallout, especially the possibility of a new outbreak of Palestinian violence. Lost in all the controversy, however, is the fact that the U.S. is one of nine countries that already has a de facto embassy in Jerusalem. But these are all embassies to the Palestinians, not Israel.
The U.S. embassy in Israel is located in Tel Aviv, but much less well known is that the U.S. consulate-general sits in Jerusalem, just around the corner from the Prime Minister’s residence—and it handles diplomatic relations with the Palestinian Authority. It is one of nine consulates-general in Jerusalem, all of which serve the same purpose. Five of them—the UK, Turkey, Belgium, Spain and Sweden—are in eastern Jerusalem. The consulates-general of the US, France, Italy, and Greece are in western Jerusalem. The European Union also has a representative office in eastern Jerusalem, and the Holy See has an Apostolic Nunciature there, alongside the Palestinian offices of several international agencies.
None of the countries that have consulates in Jerusalem recognize Israeli sovereignty over the city. Consequently, their official embassies remain in Tel Aviv. Their consulates in Jerusalem are, almost uniquely, accredited to no state. And none of the consuls seek an exequatur, the diplomatic authorization required by international law. Nevertheless, the Israeli Foreign Ministry treats them for all intents and purposes as if they were normal consulates accredited to the State of Israel. Their jurisdiction covers the whole of Jerusalem, as apart from Israel, as well as the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians: Arab Idol or Arab Apartheid?

Referring to Abbas’s obsession with Arab Idol, other Palestinians launched a hashtag on Twitter: #AbbasFollowUsToo. The goal of the campaign is to express Palestinians’ disappointment with their leaders’ carelessness and disdain.
Palestinian leaders have long ignored the plight of their people in Lebanon and other Arab countries. In Lebanon, the living conditions of the Palestinians are unquestionably inhumane. According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), Palestinians in Lebanon
“do not enjoy several important rights; for example, they cannot work in as many as 20 professions… Around 53 percent of the Palestinians in Lebanon live in 12 refugee camps, all of which suffer from serious problems, including poverty, overcrowding, unemployment, poor housing conditions and lack of infrastructure.”
Abbas, however, is nothing if not savvy. He knows very well that if he had so much as set foot in a refugee camp in Lebanon, it might have been the last step he would ever take. So he was smart to stay away from the refugee camps, where his people bleed and which have become militia bases for armed gangs that are affiliated with so many groups, including his own Fatah faction.
Yet, it is not only Lebanese refugee camps in which Abbas feels a bit edgy. Similar camps in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are also teeming with bitterness. The residents are furious with their leaders, who have kept them there for decades, lying to them about a mythical return to their forbears’ homes in Jaffa, Haifa, Acre and Ramle. That is the real reason Abbas and other Arab leaders stay as far as possible from these miserable holding-pens. That is also why Palestinian leaders do not care if Lebanon or any other Arab country treats Palestinians as second- or third-class “citizens” (Palestinians in any case cannot be citizens because, with the exception of Jordan, Arab countries deny them the right to citizenship). And that is why Abbas would rather spend time with Arab singers and Arab Idol contestants than confront those he betrays on a daily basis — people being subjected to real apartheid and discrimination in Lebanon.

Getting International Law Right in Gaza

In October 2009, a few months after the completion of Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, Robert L. Bernstein, the former chairman of Human Rights Watch, penned a much-discussed article for The New York Times. Distressed by the direction of the organization he founded, he wrote,
At Human Rights Watch, we always recognized that open, democratic societies have faults and commit abuses. But we saw that they have the ability to correct them—through vigorous public debate, an adversarial press, and many other mechanisms that encourage reform. … When I stepped aside in 1998, Human Rights Watch was active in 70 countries, most of them closed societies. Now the organization, with increasing frequency, casts aside its important distinction between open and closed societies….
Israel, with a population of 7.4 million, is home to at least 80 human rights organizations, a vibrant free press, a democratically elected government, a judiciary that frequently rules against the government, a politically active academia, multiple political parties, and, judging by the amount of news coverage, probably more journalists per capita than any other country in the world
—many of whom are there expressly to cover the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Meanwhile, the Arab and Iranian regimes rule over some 350 million people, and most remain brutal, closed and autocratic, permitting little or no internal dissent. The plight of their citizens who would most benefit from the kind of attention a large and well-financed international human rights organization can provide is being ignored as Human Rights Watch’s Middle East division prepares report after report on Israel.

Today, we are living with the fruits of this drift in emphasis and attention. NGOs have not merely cast aside the distinction between democracy and dictatorship, they have capsized it. In spite of the vilification of Israel, Israelis still fight because they have no choice. But Americans, oceans away from the bloody mayhem of the Middle East, feel under no such obligation. For five years, Americans sent their tax dollars and their young men and women to the Middle East in support of a free Iraq, only to be told by the world’s most respected humanitarians that they were no better than the savage Ba’athists they had overthrown. Those who accepted the accusation were ashamed. Those who did not were resentful. And so they elected Barack Obama, who pledged to keep the country out of further foreign conflicts. The price of this American withdrawal from the region has been the devastation of Syria and the surrender of Iraq as far less scrupulous actors have filled the vacuum—to say nothing of the ensuing refugee crisis.
Liberal democracies are not just valuable for the freedoms they afford their own citizens, but for the way in which they behave. The reckless practice of holding them to higher standards than those demanded of totalitarian actors, and the misrepresentations of international law this requires, has produced a morally disfigured view of the world and of the ethics of military conflict. It has made it harder for democracies to defend themselves or sell potentially costly humanitarian interventions to their own war-weary publics. It has helped to undermine the post-Cold War liberal order and empowered its most brutal and cynical enemies. Arresting this slide requires us to recover the moral clarity and self-confidence described by Bernstein in his Times article. The costs of continued confusion are already steep, and they are still rising.

Ben-Dror Yemini: A strategic attack against ourselves

Op-ed: Judges and legal experts know nothing about wars, nothing about policy and decision-making, and definitely nothing about drawing conclusions. All they know how to do is to look for the guilty party.
The Gaza Strip is controlled by a terror organization with an anti-Semitic platform, which calls for the annihilation of Jews. The international community has tried, time and again, to reach some kind of agreement with this organization. The most outstanding attempt was made by the Quartet (the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and Russia). It didn’t help. Hamas refused.
It favored the industry of death—rockets and tunnels—over prosperity. It acted just like all global jihad organizations act. All they produce is destruction. Every few years it suffers a blow, garners more energy to oil the gears of the industry of death, and drags Israel into another round of fighting.
In the two weeks before the beginning of the latest round, Operation Protective Edge, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeatedly tried to prevent an escalation into an all-out war. The rockets had already begun falling on Israel, but Netanyahu insisted. He delivered the “calm will be answered with calm” speech. The Left applauded. The Right was angry.

Israeli lawyer goes after Hamas strongman in international court

An Israeli attorney on Monday filed a motion with the International Criminal Court demanding it launch a war crimes investigation against Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip Ismail Haniyeh over his actions during the 2014 military conflict with Israel.
Attorney Michael Calev Myers, founder of the Jerusalem Institute of Justice, a nonprofit human rights organization, is pursuing action in The Hague through the “Israel-Li” (“Israel to Me”) movement he chairs.
The motion claims that Haniyeh played a key role in the consistent violation of the Palestinian population’s human rights during the military campaign in July-August 2014, claiming he encouraged, and in some cases personally financed, illegal activities that undermined their rights.
Myers argues that during the conflict, Hamas systematically used the civilian population as a shield, its operatives fired rockets from the midst of population centers, and it used schools, hospitals and mosques to store weapons, with the result that more than 2,100 Palestinians were killed in Gaza during the conflict. Furthermore, the terrorist group did not fire its rockets only at military targets, the motion said.
Myers is scheduled to meet with Chief ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Monday to present the motion.

Seth Frantzman: Questions remain after arrest of Jewish center bomb threats suspect

We may never know what motivated the suspect to allegedly engage in threats to JCCs. “We cannot explain the alleged perpetrator’s motivations for making bomb threats. We do not know what is in people’s hearts and minds. But whatever his alleged motivation, it led to an anti-Semitic incident that terrorized people across the country. Moreover, we are concerned that the current charged environment can inspire other deranged individuals to commit even more such crimes. As has been widely reported, we have seen an uptick in bias incidents and hate crimes across the US since last fall. This has included a surge of anti-Semitic incidents, including 121 bomb threats and three cemetery desecrations in recent weeks,” says Greenblatt.
If it was purely a copy-cat issue, then why did an October email reference antisemitism? The inability of law enforcement to prosecute for harassment last year shows holes in their ability to put a stop to serious threats against women and journalists until it escalated to threats against Jewish institutions.
Greenblatt reminds us to remain vigilant. “Based on our 2016 analysis, we found that 14 percent of the US population harbors deeply ingrained anti-Semitic attitudes. We are encouraged that this number has not changed perceptibly in recent years as it indicates that American Jews are well-considered by the general population, even deeply admired for our achievements. However, the ADL is engaged in close contact with law enforcement officials at the federal level and across the country. They share our concern that the current environment can embolden extremists. For these reasons, we must remain vigilant to protect our community in the face against those who seek to promote anti-Semitic ideas and actions.”

Chief rabbi urges Netanyahu to speak out against US anti-Semitism

Chief Sephardic Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef implored Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak up Monday about a recent wave of anti-Semitism and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries in the United States.
Yosef called on Netanyahu and Israeli diplomats “not to be silent about the phenomenon of Jewish cemetery desecration.”
“We have to raise a very clear voice to work as much as possible to stop these anti-Semitic acts,” he said.
“Your voice is the voice our brothers in the Diaspora expect to hear. They are looking to you; you must do everything in your power to prevent these acts of hatred,” he added.
Yosef spoke at a ceremony marking a deadly 1992 bombing at the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires.
The past two months have seen three incidents of vandalism in Jewish cemeteries and a rash of over 100 bomb threats called in to Jewish community centers and other Jewish institutions.

Swastika carved on door frame of Ohio synagogue

A swastika was carved onto the door frame of a synagogue in northeastern Ohio.
The swastika was carved at the Agudath B’nai Israel Synagogue in Lorain, Ohio, a suburb located on the West Side of Cleveland.
In addition to the swastika, the words “We will rise and gas you,” followed by an expletive, also were carved.
The vandalism at the more than 100-year-old synagogue took place on March 1, though it was first reported on Saturday,
“The act of ignorance, vandalism, and anti-Semitism does not reflect our neighbors in the City of Lorain. We are committed to continue to be symbol of tolerance in this community now and in the future. ABI provides education about Judaism, the Holocaust, and tolerance to schools and other organizations,” the synagogue said in a statement.
There are no suspects in the case. A synagogue surveillance camera did not record the door where the swastika was carved.

After Decades of Bias, It’s Time to Hold the UN to Account

For those of us who spent much of 2016, based upon then-candidate Donald Trump’s own bombastic declarations, worrying about the thrust of the foreign policy of a future Trump administration, President Trump’s address to Congress Feb. 28 provided welcome relief.
As ever, precise details were scarce and important shifts of direction went unacknowledged, but the underlying message was clear—and notably more centrist in orientation. Trump correctly identified “radical Islamic terror” as America’s prime enemy, but he also spoke of the importance of our “Muslim allies,” thereby offering the clearest clarification yet that we are not at war with Islam as a whole.
America’s key alliance with Israel—shunted aside by President Barack Obama, and veritably demonized by the far-right figures who endorsed Trump during the election—was underlined with enthusiasm. Trump also gave a thoughtful endorsement of NATO, pointing out that the alliance was forged in the bonds of two World Wars and the Cold War. This last point was particularly gratifying, as it emphasized the shared experience of fighting totalitarianism that remains the foundation of our alliances from the Atlantic to the Pacific: a time like now, when we face rogue regimes such as Iran and North Korea, is precisely a time to recall that history. Revealingly, mention of Russia—touted by candidate Trump as an ally in the war against Islamic State even as he poured scorn on NATO—was absent from the speech to Congress entirely.
If democratic principles are going to inform U.S. foreign policy—if, in the words of John Adams, American “benedictions and prayers” will reside “wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled”—then it is right that we recognize the value of our historic alliance with our fellow democracies. But affirming those principles shouldn’t blind us to to those international institutions that have dominated the post-World War II global order, yet are in sore need of dramatic reform.

‘We have a surprise for the UN’

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon is not surprised by the recent spate of anti-Semitic incidents across the US.
“We are familiar with this phenomenon, even in the corridors of the UN. It is not a new thing for us to hear anti-Semitic comments, like the ones made by the ambassadors of Venezuela and Ecuador, who compare the IDF to the Nazi oppressors. Certainly, the latest phenomenon we see, which includes threats to Jewish Community Centers, is very disturbing and very grave. I trust the government here to know how to deal with it,” Danon said in an interview with Arutz Sheva.
What do you hear from the Jewish community in New York?
“They expect strong action on this issue. We, as a Jewish state, cannot be indifferent to any case of anti-Semitism, no matter where it occurs. The things I hear on the subject are very clear, both from the government and from the American President and from other levels [of government]. They all condemn these incidents and declare that they are beyond the pale and cannot be allowed to become routine.
As someone who works in a place which is considered very anti-Israel, you sound very optimistic
“In my role, I have to be optimistic every day. We have a surprise for the nations of the world. If the UN ends its obsession with automatically condemning Israel, it will find a modern, democratic state, ready to assist the nations of the world.”

A sparkling comet at the UN

From the very start it was a nice-looking woman of Indian origins who gave the signal that the UN will be for Trump’s government a revolutionary political test bench.
Let’s dream: the UN perhaps might stop being that hub of injustice and indolence that makes every reasonable man and woman despair, in solitude, about the arrogance, the indolence and the unreasonableness of the largest international meeting in the world.
That makes wonder in amazement about all its committees, Security Council and agencies such as UNESCO or the Human Rights Council… all of which are driven by an opportunistically Third Worlder and often anti-Semitic model.
Trump’s new ambassador to the UN is a thin woman with long straight black hair framing her face. She is the former governor of South Carolina and her name is Nikki Haley, the first Indian American in such a role. Naturally, she has been mocked by Trump’s slanderers as being ignorant about foreign affairs. But on her debut in mid February at the informal meeting of the Security Council on Middle East issues, she proved instead that she is very knowledgeable about how things really stand and that she will not accept the status quo. In short, after stating that she was very honored , without wiping off her face that well-mannered smile and keeping her very firm tone of voice, Haley declared that the USA’s worst enemy is terrorism, that her country will know how to stand against it, and then challenged Iran by declaring it a “state sponsor of terror”.

The Most Important Article that You Didn’t Read about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Last week Gen. (ret.) Michael Herzog (brother of Israel’s opposition leader Isaac Herzog) wrote a remarkable article (.pdf) in The American Interest.
Herzog, who has been involved in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations since 1993 didn’t write his article to place blame (though he does) for the failure of the 2013-2014 talks overseen by then-Secretary of State John Kerry but “it is my sincere hope that this analysis will inform a meaningful policy debate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
But if you Google Herzog’s name for the past week, precisely one news organization covered the article: The Times of Israel. Some blogs such as The Tower and Yaacov Lozowick have written about it too. One would think that an insider’s view of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians would draw a lot of attention, but it didn’t.
Presumably that is because Herzog didn’t blame Bibi first.
That isn’t to say that Herzog has no criticisms Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He wrote that Netanyahu made a bad choice by allowing prisoner releases as an inducement to get Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to participate in the talks. Herzog thought that a limited settlement freeze would have been preferable. He also believed that Israel put too much emphasis on Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.

Fufi’s Story: An Israeli General’s Lone Mission in the West Bank

In November, about a month before Fufi and I sat down in Jerusalem, the talks broke down, and Fufi says he really can’t blame Netanyahu for it. “I would like to,” he says, but in this case, the blame falls on a constellation of other obstacles.
There were, first off, what he terms “internal problems in the families.” Change is hard, and it’s scary. A lot of “Bedouin don’t like the idea” of settling in villages; nomadism is, among other things, a way of life.
Second, Fufi is scathing in his account of the behavior of the Palestinian Authority, the government of the Palestinians. The PA, he says, is “doing zero” to help the Bedouin: “no schools, no services, nothing. But against our efforts they sent delegations to these Bedouin and said in a very blunt way: If you move, we will kill you.”
Similarly, he says, there was a real NIMBYism in Palestinian society about settling Bedouin in locations near Palestinian cities—a NIMBYism that presented as threats to the communities “if you approach our cities.”
There’s a lot of prejudice against Bedouins, and Fufi was appalled at the way some Palestinians talked about them as low-caste, “dirty,” undesirables. “This was very humiliating to me. These are PA citizens.”
The international community was another major obstacle, he notes. The effort was always treated as a secret land grab for settlements by human rights NGOs, the European Union, and a group of lawyers—some Israeli and some Palestinian—worked actively with the communities to stoke opposition to resettlement.

Congressman confident Trump will move embassy to Jerusalem

The chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Security, Ron DeSantis (R-Florida) said in Israel on Sunday that he believes U.S. President Donald Trump will follow through with plans to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“He’s in a position where he’s either going to follow his campaign promise or he’ll have to actually have to sign this waiver,” DeSantis said at a press conference. He was referring to the presidential waiver that would shelve the prospect of moving the embassy for another six months. The last waiver, signed by former U.S. President Barack Obama, is set to expire in May.
“Knowing the president — he’s been a man of his word — I don’t think that he’s going to, in the same month that people here in Jerusalem are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem Day, sign the waiver. I would bet that he would not do that and that he would announce that the embassy is going to be moving,” DeSantis said.
He said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with whom he met, strongly supports moving the embassy.

Arab Foreign Ministers at Cairo Summit Discuss ‘Palestinian Issue’ of Blocking Potential Relocation of US, Other Embassies to ‘Occupied Jerusalem’

Foreign ministers of member states of the Arab League meeting in Cairo on Sunday and Monday will discuss, among other issues, how to block the potential move of embassies in Israel from Tel Aviv to “occupied Jerusalem,” following US President Donald Trump’s lead, according to a statement by the body’s deputy secretary-general, the Hebrew news site nrg reported.
According to the statement, released to the press by Ahmed Bin Hali, this “Palestinian issue” will be among 28 items on the agenda relating to the role of Arab states in political, economic and social realms.
Bin Hali also said that the foreign ministers will discuss the “Arab League plan to combat the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East,” and – ahead of the group’s upcoming summit in Jordan — the “lack of coordination” among Arab states, a veiled reference to the moves of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and others growing closer to Israel in the shared struggle to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and keeping Tehran’s aims at regional hegemony in check.
“Efforts to the end are far from being realized,” Bin Hali added. “And thus there is no need to announce them publicly.” However, he said, “We are all in the same boat.”

Col. Richard Kemp: The courage to tell the truth

As much as I abhor the damage that social media has contributed to the implosion of the Middle East, It has delivered Col. Richard Kemp, his knowledge, wit, and courage, to my doorstep, and for this I feel compelled to share his insights.
After becoming thoroughly bored with Facebook, I could not avoid noticing that both Donald Trump and Bibi Netanyahu use Twitter to communicate with their constituencies throughout the day. Curiosity took hold. I now share my articles on Twitter and began “following” a few interesting political voices. One was that of Col. Richard Kemp, the former Commander of British troops in Afghanistan and a 30 year military leader who has a clarion voice on his views about Israel.
When I received notice that Stand With Us Jerusalem would be hosting him as a speaker, I asked them if it might be possible for my husband and I to host him for dinner before the event. To my delight, he accepted. Little did I know that I would also be hearing him speak at the JCPA “Balfour Declaration- 100 years” conference the day prior. In a 36 hour period, I had three opportunities to hear his message to the world.
It should not be unusual to find men of courage who speak with clarity and honesty. But it is. The truths he unveiled were edifying.

Anti-settlement Peace Now to brief UK’s Boris Johnson on settlements

The anti-settlement group Peace Now will be briefing British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on the settlements at Nebi Samuel on Wednesday during his first working visit to Israel in his current role, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
Johnson, who came to Jerusalem briefly in September to attend Shimon Peres’ funeral, is scheduled to arrive on Tuesday evening.
After meetings with President Reuven Rivlin and Opposition leader Isaac Herzog on Wednesday morning, he is scheduled to go to Nebi Samuel on the northern outskirts of Jerusalem, and be given a briefing by Lior Amichai, who heads Peace Now’s Settlement Watch Project, which monitors settlement construction. Nebi Samuel provides a commanding view of Jerusalem and parts of Samaria. This type of briefing for foreign ministers on official visits is extremely rare. From there Johnson will go to Ramallah, for meetings there, and in the afternoon return to Jerusalem for a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Knesset.
Johnson, a former mayor of London, visited Israel in that capacity in November 2015. Some Palestinian groups at the time refused to meet him when he visited the Palestinian Authority, after he called British supporters of BDS “corduroy-jacketed, snaggletoothed, lefty academics.”

Human Rights Report Prepared by Obama State Department Dedicates More Pages to Israel, Palestinians Than Anywhere Else

“The State Department’s new report on human rights practices around the world, published on Friday, devotes 141 pages to the human rights situation in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, more than to any other country in the world except China (which was also covered in the same amount of pages.)…
The ‘country report’ on Israel and the occupied territories devotes 69 pages to the situation in Israel proper, and another 72 pages to the situation in the occupied territories, where according to the report, there are widespread human rights violations being conducted by both the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority, as well as by Palestinian terror organizations.
Even when viewed as two separate reports, the number of pages devoted to each of the areas – Israel and the occupied territories – surpasses that of any other country in the Middle East region. Iran’s human rights situation is covered in 48 pages, Syria’s over 58, Iraq’s over 65, and Libya’s over only 32. Western Sahara, another region where there is an ongoing military occupation according to the UN, is covered in a short document, only 15 pages long. (Turkey, which is part of the Middle East but is filed under “Europe and Eurasia” in the human rights report, is covered in 75 pages.)…”

Liberman: Trump administration has warned us not to annex West Bank

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Monday that Israel has received a direct message from US President Donald Trump’s administration warning of an “immediate crisis” if the government were to annex the West Bank and apply Israeli sovereignty there.
Speaking to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Liberman said that he had received calls from all over the world criticizing the idea of annexation, including a candid communique from the new US administration.
“The coalition should make unequivocally clear that there is no intention at the moment to apply Israeli sovereignty,” the defense minister said.
Furthermore, “we received a message directly — not indirectly, not a hint — from the US, that Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank means an immediate crisis with the new administration,” he added.
A spokesman for Liberman declined to comment on who from the US administration had delivered the message.

Mossad Admits to Wiretapping Trump “For Giggles” (satire)

Israel’s national intelligence agency, Mossad, has admitted they were behind the wiretapping of the Trump presidential team, but stressed that they were only doing it “for shits and giggles”.
Speaking anonymously, a spokesman for the agency commented, “Hands up yes it was us, not Obama. That guy is way too straight-laced for this. But I want to stress it was just some of the guys breaking the monotony of a quiet midweek evening. You’d be surprised how many of those we have lately.”
“But to be honest it turned out not to be as entertaining as they were hoping. It was mainly the President telling everyone how the turnout at his inauguration was the largest ever, which we knew wasn’t true because we’ve got spy satellites that are so good they can identify how you topped off your hummus from low earth orbit. And that he won the largest electoral vote since Reagan, which we knew wasn’t true because we have the internet.”
“There may have been some stuff about Russia but we’d tuned out by then because we were listening to Alex Jones talking to his psychiatrist about how the Zionist lizard people were always watching him, which I guess on reflection is kind of ironic.”

Netanyahu: 80% of security threats against Israel emanate from Iran

Iran is the source of the vast majority of Israel’s security concerns, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday at an event commemorating the victims of a 1992 Iranian-sponsored terror attack against Israel in Argentina.
“Iran is the greatest generator of terrorism in the world in the world and we need to to fight this terror because it is just one arm of Iranian aggression, which also seeks nuclear weapons and advances its ballistic missiles program,” he said at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem.
Tehran continues to destabilize the region and to threaten Israel with annihilation, he went on. “One of our defense officials estimates that more than 80 percent of our security problems emanate from Iran.”
On March 17, 1992, a suicide bomber killed 29 and wounded hundreds in front of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, in what still is the deadliest attack on an Israeli diplomatic mission. A group with ties to Iran and the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah took responsibility for the bombing.

suspect killed in gunfight with IDF troops in West Bank

An alleged Palestinian terrorist was killed in an exchange of gunfire with Israeli troops during an arrest raid in the West Bank city of Ramallah overnight Monday, the army said.
No Israeli servicemen were injured in the incident.
The troops, from the Israel Defense Forces and Israel Police’s counterterrorism unit, surrounded the house where the suspect, Basel al-A’araj, was located. As they approached, he opened fire at them, the army said.
The soldiers fired back, killing the man.
Two more Palestinians were also shot and injured in clashes with Israeli troops after the gunfire exchange, police said.
Al-A’araj, 31, originally from Bethlehem, was allegedly part of a terrorist cell planning to carry out attacks on Israeli targets, Israeli officials said.
“Al-A’araj directed the cell and was responsible for purchasing the weaponry,” police said in a statement.
Inside his home, troops uncovered an M-16 rifle and an improvised Carlo-style submachine gun, the IDF said, referring to the suspect as a “terrorist.”

Security coordination under fire after suspect once held by PA killed

Palestinian groups went on the offensive against the unpopular security coordination between Jerusalem and Ramallah Monday, after Israeli forces killed a suspected terrorist in Ramallah who was once a high-profile prisoner of the Palestinian Authority, during a shootout.
Basel al-A’araj, 31, was killed in his hideout in Ramallah after he opened fire at Israeli forces who came to arrest him, the army said. He was suspected of planning a terror attack against Israeli civilians.
Inside his home, troops uncovered an M-16 rifle and an improvised Carlo-style submachine gun, the IDF said, referring to the suspect as a “terrorist.”
According to Palestinian media reports, A’araj, who was a well-known activist in the West Bank, had been wanted by the Israeli army ever since he was released from a Palestinian Authority prison last September.

Palestinian Authority must stop rewarding acts of terrorism
American Victims of Palestinian Terrorism

Demand Justice for American Victims of Palestinian Terrorism!
Sign our petition: www.stop-terror.org/takeaction
For more information: www.stop-terror.org
American Victims of Palestinian Terrorism is a grassroots campaign founded by the families of the victims. The goal of the organization is to ensure justice for Americans murdered or injured by Palestinian Terrorism.
Terrorist attacks in foreign countries that result in U.S. citizen victims are crimes under United States laws and can be prosecuted in Federal courts. Since 1993, 64 Americans have been murdered by Palestinian terrorists and 48 Palestinian terrorist attacks involving U.S. citizens have occurred. Yet 0 Palestinian terrorists have been brought to justice by the American government.
Supporting the campaign is taking action to ensure that official American legislation is upheld by the American government (specifically, the Koby Mandell Act) and the body established to oversee this – the Office for Victims of Overseas Terrorism in the Justice Department. The legislation passed in Congress stipulates that the OVT should act “to ensure that all terrorists involved in such attacks are p

ursued, prosecuted, and punished with equal vigor, regardless of the terrorists’ country of origin or residence.”

Arab council removes sign naming street after Arafat

The Jatt Arab local council in the Haifa area has removed a street sign bearing the name of Palestine Liberation Organization founder Yasser Arafat, as well as the rest of the street signs in its jurisdiction that carry the names of controversial Palestinian leaders.
On Sunday, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri sent a letter to council head Muhammed Wattad — a former MK — informing him that he had 48 hours to remove the “Arafat Street” sign.
“In the past few days, it has been brought to our attention that on one of the streets in the Jatt local council are signs that bear the name of a street named after Yasser Arafat,” Deri wrote,.
The Interior Ministry had not authorized the street name, he wrote, and no street by that name was registered with the Interior Ministry’s Population Administration. The council was given two days to remove the signs bearing the unofficial tribute.

In first, Hebrew University to accept Palestinian Authority test scores

The Hebrew University in Jerusalem has become the first Israeli university to recognize the Palestinian Authority’s matriculation exam, known as the taujihi.
Previously, Palestinians from East Jerusalem, the West Bank or Gaza who wanted to study at the university had to complete a year-long preparatory program before being admitted.
With the new policy, those Palestinians with outstanding scores on their taujihi will be able to be accepted into the university without any preparatory program.
Additionally, the new program will allow the top-rate Palestinian students to be admitted into the institution without taking the Psychometric Entrance Test — Israel’s version of the American SAT college entrance exam — as long as they meet the required scores on their taujihi tests.

IsraellyCool: Fake News Of The Day: Palestinian Women Defies Laws Of Nature To Nurture

In an amazing coincidence, the palestinian woman – like the Russian woman – is also reported to have given birth to twins 16 times, triplets seven times and quadruplets four times.
When you think about, that is still 27 births (all of which resulted in multiple children). Assuming one birth per year – still a stretch (pun very much intended) – she would have had to have begun at the age of 13.
(In an amazing coincidence, 27 is 72 backwards. And we all know 72 can be quite a significant number in palestinian society).
So, no, this is not the world’s most fertile woman. But the palestinian territories seem to be the most fertile with fake news stories.

PreOccupiedTerritory: Israel Practices Apartheid, Says Country That Bars Palestinians From Jobs, Voting, Property (satire)

A state that restricts Palestinians residing in its territory from owning property, obtaining citizenship, receiving state medical care, obtaining employment in twenty professional fields, and building homes has called Israel’s treatment of Palestinians Apartheid, reminiscent of South Africa’s policy of racial segregation and discrimination.
Lebanon, home to approximately 300,000 descendants of refugees from the 1948 war that followed Israel’s creation whom the government keeps in squalid camps and to whom it denies basic rights, issued a statement today deploring Israel’s policies toward Palestinians in territories Israel took in 1967 from Jordan and Egypt, deeming those policies a race-based system of discrimination that deprives Palestinians of rights that Israeli Jews enjoy.
Lebanese Minister of Labor Ayama Dweeb pointed to specific Israeli practices to justify the use of the term Apartheid, among them not allowing Palestinians to vote in Israeli elections, and subjecting Palestinians to security measures from which Israeli citizens are exempt by default. “Palestinians are forced to vote only in Palestinian elections,” he charged. “Palestinian leaders are corrupt cronies who care little for the welfare of the people they are supposed to govern – yet Israel deprives them of voting in actual democratic elections.” The minister did not mention the absence of Palestinians on Lebanon’s voter rolls.
“Then there is the matter of housing,” continued Dweeb. “Whereas in Lebanon, Palestinians are as a matter policy prohibited from building, or even rebuilding, structures in their refugee camps, under Israeli control they are permitted to apply for construction permits, which might be rejected, leaving the Palestinians in limbo. At least our policy in Lebanon provides some clarity for our guests.” The vast majority of Palestinians live under the autonomous Palestinian Authority, and are not subject to Israeli permit procedures.

Seth Frantzman: Human Trafficking, In Broad Daylight

Clearly, Iran’s recruitment of refugees and asylum seekers violates UN guidelines that call on nations to “prevent the military recruitment of refugees in camps and settlements” and to “ensure that measures are taken to prevent the recruitment of refugees by government armed forces or organized armed groups.” This amounts to human trafficking.
The IRGC controls large parts of the Iranian economy and is intertwined with the leading political and military institutions of the state. Its direct and documented involvement in the violation of the rights of refugees provides more evidence of why it should be designated a terrorist organization. The Trump administration was discussing designating the IRGC in early February; the abuse of Afghan refugees adds evidence in support of the need for the U.S. and the international community to recognize Iran’s misdeeds. By providing payment and transport to Afghans who are sent to Syria under the command structure of the IRGC, Iran is also violating the Geneva Convention as spelled out in the Protocol Additional of June 1977 regarding the use of mercenaries as combatants in war.
New sanctions should be put on Iran, including sanctions specifically targeting the IRGC. The international community should target areas of the Iranian economy linked to the use and abuse of Afghan refugees, such as Iran’s use of commercial and other flights to move them back and forth. The U.S. should also call for an investigation into abuses committed by the IRGC in Syria, and members of the International Criminal Court should call for an investigation into the role and exploitation of Hazara Afghans as part of a wider probe into human rights violations in the Syrian conflict. Only by holding Iran accountable for its actions, rather than welcoming Iranian diplomats as was done by former Secretary of State John Kerry, can Iran be put on notice that its continued behavior does not put it above the law. The IRGC has continually flaunted national and international laws. The case of the Afghan refugees sent to die in Syria sheds a light on how Iran can finally be held to account.

Israel eyeing Iran’s test of advanced Russian-made missile system

A day after Iran test its S-300 advanced missile defense system, Israel is cautiously monitoring the situation.
After years of delay, the advanced Russian-made S-300 missile-defense system successfully completed a series of tests and has become operational, Iranians state media reported on Saturday.
Abraham Assael, CEO of the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies in Herzliya and a former brigadier- general, said Israel cannot afford to ignore the S-300.
“The S-300 advanced missile defense system is a system that wasn’t there before and which is very dangerous,” he told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.
While the S-300 is an older system with radar unable to detect stealth technology such as that possessed by F-35 fighters, “it’s very good against third or fourth generation combat aircraft,” which make up the vast majority of Israel’s air force.

MEMRI: IRGC Using ‘Mahan Air’ Civilian Airliners To Hide Transfer Of Weapons And Fighters To Syria, Yemen

On February 25, 2017, the Iranian reformist website Amad News reported, citing a source in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), that the IRGC is using civilian passenger jets operated by the Iranian airline Mahan Air to transfer weapons to Syria and Yemen and also to bring back the bodies of fallen fighters as well as injured fighters requiring treatment.
“A knowledgeable source in the IRGC provided Amad News with photos showing that this Iranian airline [Mahan Air] operates flights to Syria and Yemen on which it transports dead and injured Iranians, Syrians, and Yemenis back to Iran. The photos clearly show that the seats and floor of the airliner are covered with plastic sheeting so that no evidence of the injured [fighters’ presence] is left behind.
“In October 2016, a knowledgeable source at the U.S. Treasury Department told AP that the U.S. was trying to convince the E.U. to cooperate with American steps to disrupt Mahan Air’s financial flows. Five years ago, America leveled sanctions on Mahan Air due to its close ties to the IRGC and allegations that it was transferring weapons to Syria and Yemen, but thus far, the E.U. has not complied with these sanctions.

Ahmadinejad joins Twitter despite having banned it

Iran’s former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became the latest leader to join Twitter on Sunday, despite the fact that, while in power, he was been instrumental in getting it banned in the country.
Ahmadinejad’s first tweet from his personal account was a video in which he called on people to follow him at @Ahmadinejad1956, according to the AFP news agency.
Iran is notorious for the limitations it imposes on freedom of expression. Tehran also blocks access to numerous websites, including Facebook and Twitter, to stop Iranians from browsing content it considers immoral, or as undermining the regime.
In addition, the Islamic Republic regularly detains journalists who are deemed to be against the government.
But, despite Twitter being blocked for ordinary citizens, many of Iran’s top officials tweet regularly, including current President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
The office of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also maintains accounts in several languages.

Stranded in Aleppo Syrians claiming to be Jews seek aid from Israel

A family from war-torn Aleppo is appealing to the State of Israel for refuge, citing their Jewish heritage, Army Radio reported on Sunday.
“There is nobody who can help us to get out of this place,” said 30-year-old Razan (real name withheld) in an audio recording translated from Arabic into Hebrew and aired on the radio station. “We are asking that the Israeli government does not abandon us, but helps us get out of here to another country. I ask that the government demands from the entire world to do this. All my love and loyalty is to this religion [Judaism].”
Razan’s younger brother, going by the name of Salah, contacted Army Radio with the family’s story, after having escaped to London a year and a half ago. He says their mother is Jewish and their father Muslim, and that he and his siblings had always considered themselves Jews.
“When I was a child my mother told me I am a Jew, and I understand that. Before the war I told everyone, everyone knows I’m Jewish, all the neighbors around me, but after the war I couldn’t say that because it’s very difficult,” Salah said, speaking in English.
“The [Israeli] government is a great government, and I don’t believe it will abandon a single Jew in the world,” Razan said.
“Every Jew knows that it won’t neglect them – because it’s the best country in the world.”

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