April 12, 2021

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03/15 Links Pt1: The diabolical PA/EU plan for Area C; Does Iran Really Respect Jews?


From Ian:

The diabolical PA/EU plan for Area C
Now I don’t want to ruin anyone’s vacation, but the next time you are heading for some R&R at the Dead Sea via Jerusalem, pay close attention to the scenery on the sides of the road.
Over the past decade there has been a huge upsurge in the number of structures going up in illegal Beduin villages and encampments on both sides of Highway 1, from the entrance to the city through what is known as the “E1” area between Jerusalem and the “Adumims” all the way down the mountain toward the Dead Sea.
So why should some illegal Beduin structures spoil your trip? Because these aren’t just small herding communities as they would appear, but strategically placed mini-towns set up by the Palestinian Authority and financed by the European Union to the tune of hundreds of millions of euros, with the explicit goal of taking over strategic lands in Area C with the aim of creating a de facto Palestinian state.
This plot is clearly outlined in a lengthy 2009 policy paper by then Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad. Known as the Fayyad Plan, the logic was that by creating substantial facts on the ground, the PA with the support of the international community would lay claim to those areas, and demand that they be part of “Palestine” in any future negotiations with Israel.
And that’s where the EU comes in – to serve as the key financier of the project. Over 1,000 illegal structures – including houses, bathrooms, storage spaces, etc., with more being erected nearly daily throughout Judea and Samaria, now proudly bear the EU flag. The EU’s false claim is that it is involved in these building endeavors for “humanitarian purposes” to provide for the Beduin in these areas.
Ironic though, that the EU symbol can only be seen on structures in Area C; none can be found in areas A or B, nor can they be found in Beduin communities throughout the rest of the Middle East. It makes you wonder.

Does Iran Really Respect Jews?

Praise for having a Jewish representative in parliament is just as misplaced. When I attended synagogue as a student in Iran, members of the Jewish community did not trust the representative. His sole purpose seemed to be to pass pronouncements from the government to the synagogues and to be cited to deflect attention from Iran’s fairly horrendous human rights record.
Beyond that, though, is Iran safe for Jews? It depends. Pogroms—as vicious as any in Eastern Europe—characterized nineteenth century Iran. Then there were the restrictive rules: In 1889, for example, the government prohibited Jews in Isfahan from going outside on wet days lest rainwater spread their impurity. Jews were also forbidden from touching food, speaking loudly, or purchasing any goods in the market. (Daniel Tsadik provides an excellent account of modern Jewish history in his 2007 book, Between Foreigners and Shi‘is; Habib Levy’s Comprehensive History of the Jews of Iran remains a masterpiece).
It is true that, at times, Iran was a relative haven for the Jews. The irony here, though, is that it was the regime that Zarif represents not only overthrew an Iranian state that allowed its Jewish minority to thrive, but also sought to close the door on the laudable regimes of the distant past. Zarif now presumes to cite that history for the expressed purpose of demonizing the democratically-elected leader of a state whose existence Zarif refuses to recognize and whose genocidal enemies he arms and encourages.
There is something very wrong in the world when Zarif is taken seriously on matters of communal harmony and religious peace.

Iran’s Jewish lawmaker: Netanyahu an ‘insane vampire’

The Jewish member of Iran’s parliament called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu an “insane vampire” for saying that Iran seeks the annihilation of the Jews, just as ancient Persia did in the Purim story.
“Netanyahu is an insane vampire drowned in crimes from head to toe, and the recent remarks made by the racist Israeli prime minister is not surprising to me,” Siamak Mareh Sedq, who represents the Jews of Iran in the government, said Tuesday during an open session of parliament, the semi-official Fars News Agency reported.
Mareh Sedq also asserted that in contradiction to Netanyahu’s statements against Iran, anti-Semitism and racism have never been witnessed in the Iranian culture.
On Saturday night, the start of the Purim holiday, Netanyahu visited an Israeli synagogue, where he told children celebrating Purim that Iran seeks to kill the Jews just as the Persians did.
Netanyahu: Iran is responsible for more than 80% of Israel’s security problems (credit: GPO)
Mareh Sedq followed his nation’s foreign minister in castigating Netanyahu.
“To sell bigoted lies against a nation which has saved Jews 3 times, Netanyahu resorting to fake history & falsifying Torah. Force of habit,” Mohammed Javad Zarif tweeted in English on Sunday.

Edgar Davidson: Britain’s ‘official’ Jews: supreme hypocrites and not pro-Israel at all

Having previously condemned Donald Trump for daring to restrict Muslim terrorists entering the USA, the Board of Deputies has again decided it knows what ‘s best for a foreign country’s security by condemning Israel’s long overdue law that bans entry to boycott activists (i.e. those who seek the destruction of the Jewish State). The BoD were inevitably joined in their condemnation by every
other one of the ‘official’ left-leaning Jewish organisations in the UK (including anti-Zionist ones like the New Israel Fund).
This would be the very same Board of Deputies who successfully lobbied the UK government to ban pro-Israel American bloggers (Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer) entry to the UK on the basis that they might ‘incite Muslims’. Nobody does hypocrisy and fake Israel support as well as the Board of Deputies.

Caroline Glick: Trump embraces the PLO fantasy

US President Donald Trump is losing his focus. If he doesn’t get it back soon, he will fail to make America great again or safe again in the Middle East.
After holding out for a month, last week Trump indicated he is adopting his predecessors’ obsession with empowering the PLO .
This is a strategic error.
There are many actors and conflicts in the Middle East that challenge and threaten US national interests and US national security. Iran’s rise as a nuclear power and regional hegemon; the war in Syria; Turkey’s abandonment of the West; and Russia’s regional power play all pose major threats to US power, security and interests. The Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic State, Hamas and other Sunni jihadist movements all threaten the US, Europe and the US’s Sunni allies in the region in a manner that is strategically significant to America.

None of these issues, none of these actors and none of these threats are in any way related to or caused by the PLO and its interminable, European-supported hybrid terror and political war against Israel. None of these pressing concerns will be advanced by a US embrace of the PLO or a renewed obsession with empowering the PLO and its mafia-terrorist bosses.
To the contrary, all of these pressing concerns will be sidelined – and so made more pressing and dangerous – by a US reengagement with the PLO .
And yet, over the past week, Trump has indicated that the PLO is now his focus.

The Real Hamas: Sorry, Folks!

What Hamas says, day and night, in Arabic, tells the real story. In fact, Hamas officials are very clear and straightforward when they address their people in Arabic. Yet some Western and Israeli analysts do not want to be bothered by the facts.
Some reports have suggested that Hamas leaders Khaled Mashaal and Ismail Haniyeh are the ones pushing for the changes in the movement’s charter. However, even if Mashaal and Haniyeh succeed in their mission, there is no guarantee that Hamas’s military wing would comply.
Hamas has also denied its intention to cut off its ties with the Muslim Brotherhood. “The reports are aimed at tarnishing the image of Hamas in the eyes of the world,” explained a top Hamas official. He also denied that Hamas was planning to abandon the armed struggle against Israel in favor of a peaceful popular “resistance.”

State secrets revealed: Bush agreed to settlement construction, Did Sharon hide Bush’s approval for building throughout Judea and Samaria from Israeli public?

In a message circulated by IMRA on Monday, Dr. Aaron Lerner, a veteran member of the Likud’s Central Committee, noted that the 2004 Bush-Sharon agreement made no provision barring construction in what are widely referred to as “isolated settlements” – Jewish communities deeper in Judea and Samaria.
The text of the April 14th, 2004 from President Bush to Prime Minister Sharon reads in part:
“In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949… It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities.”
A follow-up letter, however, from the Prime Minister’s Office to then-National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice suggests that the Bush administration had accepted continued building within the existing “construction line” of Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria – with no reference to their being located in the “settlement blocs”:
“Restrictions on settlement growth: within the agreed principles of settlement activities, an effort will be made in the next few days to have a better definition of the construction line of settlements in Judea and Samaria. An Israeli team, in conjunction with Ambassador Kurtzer, will review aerial photos of settlements and will jointly define the construction line of each of the settlements.”
The author of the PMO’s letter to Rice, Dov Weisglass, told IMRA explicitly that the understanding reached between the White House and Israel provided for continued building within all Israeli communities over the Green Line, so long as construction did not expand the existing boundaries of the towns in question.

The Costa Rica case: A demilitarized Palestinian state is a win-win for all

Seen as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used Costa Rica as a good model for a potential Palestinian state in his visits to the US and Australia, it may be worth examining the merits of this possibility. As interested Israelis, we have been researching—together with Palestinian and Costa Rican academics—how best to learn from the positive experience of the demilitarization of one of Latin America’s most democratic republics. We argue that non-militarization is the optimal strategy for the enlightened self-interest of the Palestinians—but not just as an enemy’s a priori demand.
In 1948, an armed popular rebellion was waged in Costa Rica against the military serving the fraudulent government leader, President Teodoro Picado. The revolt was successful, with the rebels taking control of the country, while suffering about 500 casualties out of a population of less than a million at the time.
Instead of having a strong police force and running the risk it could become a powerful national guard that would replace the army—as happened in neighboring Panama—the wise Costa Ricans established several separate functional police forces: judiciary, border control, urban police, etc.
After the disbandment of Costa Rica’s army, there have been attempted invasions from Nicaragua in the north, both from the dictatorship of the Somoza family as well as the Sandinista rule that followed. The Costa Ricans’ alertness and, above all, the Inter-American Reciprocal Defense Treaty, provided deterrence, including support from the air forces of the much larger countries, such as Mexico and Venezuela.

Former defense minister: Forget final settlement with Palestinians

Former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon declared on Wednesday that there would not be a final settlement between Israel and the Palestinians in the near future, but expressed opposition to annexing parts of the West Bank and support for political separation from the Palestinians.
Ya’alon, who earlier this week quit the Likud party in order to set up his own political party, was strongly critical of elements within the Israeli right-wing for their support for annexing parts or all of Judea and Samaria, but advocated for conflict management in the face of regional upheaval in the Middle East.
“We have to make our own decisions about what we want, I am happy that we have political separation from the Palestinians, I am happy that they have their own government, parliament, and their own president, that they don’t have to go to the Knesset,” said Ya’alon at a briefing to the foreign press organized by The Israel Project.”
“On the one hand, we are not going to reach a final settlement in the coming future, but, on other hand, I don’t want to rule them and I can live with two Palestinian political entities, [including] Hamastan [in Gaza].

Tillerson: UN Human Rights Council must reform or US will leave

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is vowing that the U.S. will leave the United Nations’ Human Rights Council if the organization does not undertake “considerable reform.”
“While it may be the only such organization devoted to human rights, the Human Rights Council requires considerable reform in order for us to continue to participate,” he wrote in a letter to nine nonprofit organizations this week, according to Foreign Policy.
Tillerson told the U.N. advocates and human rights groups that the U.S. “continues to evaluate the effectiveness” of the council but is skeptical about being in a group with nations such as China, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which have poor human rights records, Foreign Policy reported.
Tillerson added that the U.S. would keep participating in the 47-member council’s ongoing session while U.S. officials would “reiterate our strong principled objection to the Human Rights Council’s biased agenda against Israel.”
Multiple State Department aides told Foreign Policy that U.S. withdrawal from the council is not imminent but remains a real possibility.
“If they don’t make these reforms, we’re going to question the value of our membership,” a senior aide to Tillerson said. “We’re not taking withdrawal off the table. Our aim is to fix the organization.” (h/t Yenta Press)

U.S. To Slash Funding To U.N.

President Trump has ordered the State Department to look for ways to dramatically decrease funding to the United Nations, according to a report by Foreign Policy. Trump signed a draft order in late January aimed at cutting funding to the U.N. by double-digits.
The aptly entitled “Auditing and Reducing U.S. Funding of International Organizations” demands at least a 40 percent overall decrease in American funding for international organizations that violate certain criteria, reported The New York Times.
One such criterion is whether a given U.N. body recognizes full membership to the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority, Islamist-inspired political projects accused of promoting terrorism and violence against Jews.
Less than two months later, Trump appears to be following through with his plans to slash funding by more than 40%.
“State Department staffers have been instructed to seek cuts in excess of 50 percent in U.S. funding for U.N. programs, signaling an unprecedented retreat by President Donald Trump’s administration …,” notes Foreign Policy.
If Trump follows through with his defunding plans, U.N. organizations heavily reliant on American dollars may be severely impaired or cease to function altogether. (h/t dabney)

Tillerson’s Shrewd Ultimatum to UN Human Rights Council: Reform or We Withdraw

Since the inauguration, the Trump administration has been grappling with what to do about the council, mindful of the failed policies of both of its predecessors. Critics of the council are divided: Israeli centrist party leader Yair Lapid is visiting Washington to lobby for the U.S. to cut ties with the body, even as U.N. Watch, an NGO which has cataloged the council’s corruption since its inception, testified before Congress that the U.S. would better assist Israel by remaining on it and fighting back.
Today, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson opted to split the difference: He effectively issued an ultimatum to the council—calling on it to reform or lose U.S. membership and funding—by making the case in a letter to human-rights groups that was leaked to the press. Reports Foreign Policy:
Tillerson, in his letter to the U.N. advocates and human rights groups, said that while the United States “continues to evaluate the effectiveness” of the Council, it remains skeptical about the virtues of membership in a human rights organization that includes states with troubled human rights records such as China, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.
“We may not share a common view on this, given the makeup of the membership,” Tillerson told the organizations, who have urged continued U.S. membership. “While it may be the only such organization devoted to human rights, the Human Rights Council requires considerable reform in order for us to continue to participate.”
…For the time being, Tillerson wrote, the U.S. will participate in the ongoing session of the Human Rights Council, to “reiterate our strong principled objection to the Human Rights Council’s biased agenda against Israel.”
“Our aim is to fix the organization,” the Tillerson aide told FP.

The ploy shows promise. By leveraging the Obama administration’s investment in the UNHRC, Tillerson shrewdly seeks to compel the body to reform. After eight years of Obama-era engagement, the council now relies on the U.S. and can ill afford to take it or its largess for granted. This gives Tillerson significant bargaining power that he appears willing to use.

More Blood Libel at the UN “Human Rights” Council as Palestinian UN Rep Accuses Israel of “Systematically” Targeting Children

A Palestinian UN representative, speaking at the current session of the UN’s top human rights body in Geneva, accused Israel of “systematically” targeting children. Addressing the UN “Human Rights” Council, here is some of what he neglected to mention:
– widespread Palestinian incitement to terrorism in Palestinian schools operated by the UN,
– multiple terror attacks against Israeli children,
– Palestinian youth engaged in terrorism themselves.
In the words of the Palestinian representative:
“Israel, the Occupying Power, systematically commits crimes against Palestinian children… In 2016, Israel continued its policy of systematically targeting Palestinian youth.

At UN, Nikki Haley Has Become the Conscience of the Trump Administration

Upon assuming the presidency, many observers expressed reservations about what a Trump administration foreign policy would look like. More than any other representative of President Donald Trump’s government, United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley has answered those critics.
At the UN, Haley has articulated a clear vision of how America would handle itself on the world stage: a stalwart friend to its allies, fearsome foe to its enemies, and consistent voice of reason in a forum often governed by the whims of authoritarian regimes and violent special interests.
This week, for example, Haley made clear the Trump administration would stop at nothing to curb dictator Kim Jong-un’s threats in North Korea and uproot Iranian terror proxies from Syria.
“We’re not ruling anything out,” Haley told reporters on Wednesday in response to what the United States would do in response to North Korea’s latest missile tests, which Pyongyang openly admitted were in preparation for an attack on U.S. bases in Japan. She offered a staunch defense of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system: “We are not going to leave South Korea standing there with the threat of North Korea facing them and not help. The reason for THAAD is because of the actions of North Korea.”
Both China and Russia, permanent members of the UN Security Council, disapprove of the deployment of THAAD in South Korea. The system allows South Korea to reach deep into both countries, as well as North Korea, to destroy any missiles heading its way.

Saudi Prince Trump a ‘strong president’ in fight against dangerous Iran

Saudi Arabia hailed a “historical turning point” in US-Saudi relations after a meeting between US President Donald Trump and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman highlighted the two leaders’ shared view that Iran posed a regional security threat.
The meeting on Tuesday appeared to signal a meeting of the minds on many issues between Trump and Prince Mohammed, in a marked difference from Riyadh’s often fraught relationship with the Obama administration, especially in the wake of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
“This meeting is considered a historical turning point in relations between both countries and which had passed through a period of divergence of views on many issues,” a senior adviser to Prince Mohammed said in a statement.
“But the meeting today restored issues to their right path and form a big change in relations between both countries in political, military, security and economic issues,” the adviser said.
Saudi accuses Iran of undermining regional security
Saudi Arabia had viewed with unease the administration of US President Barack Obama, whom they felt considered Riyadh’s alliance with Washington less important than negotiating the Iran nuclear deal.
Riyadh and other Gulf allies see in Trump a strong president who will shore up Washington’s role as their main strategic partner and help contain Riyadh’s adversary Iran in a region central to US security and energy interests, regional analysts said.

Netanyahu asks Italy to oppose further UNESCO Jerusalem resolutions

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked Italy to make good on its pledge to oppose any resolutions that ignore Jewish ties to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount that will likely continue to come before the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations (UNESCO) boards and committees.
“The Palestinians must stop the incitement against Israel,” Netanyahu told visiting Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfanso when the two met in Jerusalem on Wednesday morning.
Last fall, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi promised Netanyahu that his country would take a stand against the Palestinian drive at UNESCO to refer to the Temple Mount solely by its Muslim name of Al-Haram Al-Sharif.
According to the Prime Minister’s Office Netanyahu pointed out to Alfanso “the absurdity of the recent UNESCO decision and asked Italy to oppose the next vote at the organization.”

U.S. to seek extradition of Ahlam Tamimi, the Savage of Sbarro Pizzeria bombing (Updated)

Ahlam Tamimi is a human monster, a ghoul who took pleasure not only in the killing children, but expressed even greater joy when she discovered that more children were killed than she previously thought:
She specifically targeted religious Jews:
Ahlam was released in the Gilad Shalit exchange in October 2011, and went to Jordan, where she continues to revel in her role in the bombing and how she hoped for even more to die:
The Jerusalem Post reports today that the U.S. Justice Department has filed criminal charges against Ahlam, and is seeking her extradition from Jordan:
Late Tuesday [Israeli time], the US Department of Justice was in the process of announcing its first ever extradition request to try a Hamas terrorist who murdered Americans during the Second Intifada in its own courts.
Prior to US President Donald Trump taking office, the only legal proceedings against such terrorists have been criminal proceedings in Israeli courts or civil wrongful death proceedings brought by the families of victim, not by the US government, in US courts….
Jordan may have a tough call to make, honoring its strong alliance to the US, with trying to avoid offending its majority Palestinian population and an anti-extradition trend in its court system, according to Shurat Hadin which is representing the family of the victim Chana Nachenberg (Finers and Nachenbergs) who was grievously injured in the bombing and remains in Israel in a coma even until now.

Female assailant shot during suspected car-ramming attempt

A Palestinian woman allegedly attempted to ram her car into a bus stop at the Etzion Junction in the central West Bank on Wednesday, prompting Israeli security forces to shoot and wound her, the army said.
No Israelis were seriously injured in the incident, though a 28-year-old Israeli woman in “advanced stages of pregnancy” was taken to the hospital after experiencing a panic attack, according to the Magen David Adom ambulance service.
The Palestinian driver’s condition was not immediately known, but she received medical treatment from the Israel Defense Forces and was taken to the hospital, MDA said.
The incident occurred shortly before 4:00 p.m.

Shin Bet nabs two Palestinian terror cells planning attacks

The Shin Bet security service broke up a two-man Fatah terror cell outside of Jerusalem in January that was allegedly responsible for a pipe bomb attack, in which an IDF soldier was wounded last October, the agency revealed Wednesday.
The Shin Bet said that it also arrested two more Palestinian men outside of Hebron in January for allegedly planning to carry out a shooting attack on “Israeli security forces and civilians” on behalf of the Hamas terror group.
The alleged pipe bomb-throwers were part of the “al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade,” Fatah’s military wing, and came from the West Bank village of al-Ram, northeast of Jerusalem, the Shin Bet said.
On October 10, a group of soldiers were in al-Ram making preparations for the demolition of the home of a Palestinian terrorist who opened fire at Israelis, killing two of them, in Jerusalem the day before.

Accomplice in 2016 terror attack that killed rabbi gets 2 life terms

A Palestinian man who helped carry out a terror attack that killed an Israeli rabbi in the West Bank last year was sentenced on Wednesday to two consecutive life terms by a military court in the West Bank.
Muhammad al-Amarya earlier this year was convicted of murder for his role in the July 1, 2016, drive-by shooting that killed Rabbi Miki Mark, and the attempted murder of his wife and their two young children, who were traveling in the car at the time of the attack.
According to court documents, Amarya confessed to driving shooter Muhammad al-Fakih while he opened fire on the Mark family car on Route 60 outside the West Bank city of Hebron.
He also confessed to plotting at least three other attacks against Israelis in the months preceding the shooting.
The court also ordered Amarya to pay NIS 250,000 ($68,000) in compensation to the Mark family.

Fatah official to Post Donald Trump not in Netanyahu’s pocket

United States President Donald Trump is not in the pocket of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, top Fatah official Jabril Rajoub said on Wednesday.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post staff at a briefing in Jericho, Rajoub said that the post-US election clamor that Trump will move the US embassy and condone settlement building does not reflect the realities on the ground.
“In the beginning we heard a lot about him [Trump] that he wants so, so, and so as if he was working as an agent or a subcontractor for Mr. Netanyahu,” Rajoub said in his opening remarks. “Then, you know, I think Netanyahu did not sleep that night when Trump called Abu Mazen.”
Trump spoke to Abbas on the phone last Friday about the US administration’s desire to help Israelis and Palestinians reach a peace deal and invited the Palestinian leader to visit him in Washington, D.C.
Rajoub described the phone call as “positive.”

PreOccupiedTerritory: On Ides Of March, Soothsayer Warns Herzog, “Yeah, Whatever” (satire)

Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog returned to his beloved city of Tel Aviv today amid throngs of supporters, and there encountered an oracle who greeted him with dire warnings of whatever.
Herzog, who faces numerous challengers in upcoming party primaries, was forced to pause in his journey back to his apartment, by a man cautioning him that the fateful date portends events of great insignificance.
“Beware the… yeah, whatever,” the oracle was heard to pronounce.
“Meh,” he repeated, mustering all the pathos that could be injected into the word.
Herzog appeared to disregard the warning, and proceeded apace to his residence, where the Labor chief held consultations with political allies and staff regarding legislative matters and the upcoming internal party elections in July. Despite his incumbent status and the prominence afforded him by virtue of his Opposition Leader position, the charisma-challenged Herzog faces an uphill battle to convince Labor’s electorate that he can unseat Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Herzog’s entourage also showed no reaction to the soothsayer’s lackluster omen.
“Hello, Portia- I mean Michal,” Herzog greeted his wife as he entered. “How was your day? Car get stoned?” he added, hoping for some sort of compelling drama to put him in the news. “Stabbing attempts? Just out of curiosity, you know?”

MEMRI: Abdel-Bari Atwan Lauds Release of Daqamseh: Beacon of Pan-Arabism

Abdel-Bari Atwan, editor-in-chief of “Al-Rai Al-Youm” and former editor-in-chief of the London-based “Al-Quds Al-Arabi,” said that the entire Arab nation was celebrating the release of former Jordanian soldier Ahmed Daqamseh, who served a 20-year prison term for the murder of seven Israeli schoolgirls. “He has become a beacon for many people, who yearn for the good old Arab days, when pan-Arab sentiments still existed, and most Arab regimes still considered Israel to be the enemy,” said Abdel-Bari Atwan, speaking on Hizbullah’s Mayadeen TV.
Abdel-Bari Atwan: “The entire Arab nation is celebrating (Daqamseh’s release), not just the Jordanians. The vast majority of this nation considers Ahmed Daqamseh a national hero, an Islamic hero, and an Arab hero, in the full sense of the word. That man defended the honor of the Jordanian land and of the Arab nation, after he was subjected to the mockery of (Israeli) girls.
“That man has become a symbol in the full sense of the word. He has become a beacon for many people, who yearn for the good old Arab days, when pan-Arab sentiments still existed, and most Arab regimes still considered Israel to be the enemy.”

Iranian Terror Proxy Vows to ‘Liberate’ Golan Heights From Israel

An Iranian-backed terror group operating in Syria this week announced its intention to “liberate” the strategic Golan Heights region from Israel.
In a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had sought assurances that Iran would be prevented from establishing a permanent military presence in Syria. Since 2015, Russia has worked closely with Iran in support of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in the Syrian civil war.
“I made it clear to President Putin our resolute opposition to the consolidation of Iran and its proxies in Syria,” Netanyahu said. “We see Iran trying to build a military force, military infrastructure, with the intention to be based in Syria, including the attempt by Iran to build a seaport. All this has serious implications in terms of Israel’s security.”
Yet the Iraqi Shi’a terror group Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba — which receives training from Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps forces and is equipped with heavy artillery, including Russian-made T-90 tanks and Iranian rockets — followed Netanyahu’s comments with its rhetoric on ending Israel’s control of the Golan.

Israel Treats More Than 2,600 Wounded Syrians: Army

Israel’s medical services have treated more than 2,600 Syrians wounded during their country’s conflict since 2013, despite the two nations being officially at war, the Israeli army said Tuesday.
“The wounded are transferred to the border where they receive first aid from Israeli medical teams before being taken to hospitals,” the army said on its website.
It did not say whether rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad were among those treated.
Assad’s regime regularly accuses Israel of supporting “terrorists” — a label it applies to all its opponents.
Israel and Syria have been officially at war for decades, though the border between the two countries was largely quiet until the Syrian conflict broke out in 2011.

Rights Group: Syrian Regime Blocked UN Aid in “Attempt to Starve Civilians”

A human rights group has determined that the Syrian government deliberately diverted international aid in order to starve besieged populations, ABC News reported Tuesday.
In its new report Access Denied, Physicians for Human Rights accused the Iran-backed regime of President Bashar al-Assad from blocking United Nations access to needy Syrian civilians and reneging on an agreement to allow aid convoys to reach besieged populations. Those convoys that did reach their final destination did not carry sufficient supplies to alleviate the shortages in the affected areas, the group charged.
“[By] willfully impeding aid in an attempt to starve civilians, and collectively punishing entire communities through besiegement, the Syrian government is guilty of war crimes,” it said.
Elise Baker, research coordinator at Physicians for Human Rights and author of the report, told ABC News that that the “vast majority of convoys that did not actually reach populations in need were denied access because of restrictions from Syrian government officials.”
“What surprised us the most is how clearly deliberate all of these restrictions in the aid delivery process are,” she added.
“The U.N. should say, ‘We are delivering aid based on humanitarian principles rather than your restrictions and manipulations’ — and report on it publicly when a convoy is turned away,” Baker recommended. “Right now the aid delivery process allows the Syrian government to appear collaborative when actually it’s blocking aid.”

Iran’s Human Rights Record Has Not Improved Under ‘Reformist’ President, Says U.N. Investigator

The U.N.’s special rapporteur for Iran, Asma Jahangir, has presented her first report to the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on the human rights situation in Iran. The report noted that the Iranian regime’s human rights record has not improved under so-called “reformist” President Hassan Rouhani.
The Islamic Republic is torturing and executing political dissidents at an “alarming” rate,” she asserted. “All reports indicate a high level of control over citizens and that democratic space is severely limited.”
In a written report published on March 6, Jahangir claims that the Iranian government executed at least 530 people in 2016. Five of those sentenced to death were juveniles.
Rouhani once promised a freer, more tolerant Iran. By all measures, he has failed to uphold that promise.

Erdogan says Europe treating Muslims like Jews during WWII

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday said the “spirit of fascism” was rampant on the streets of Europe, comparing the treatment of non-Europeans there to that of the Jews in World War II.
“The Jews were treated the same in the past,” he said, referring to the persecution of Jews under Nazi Germany, which carried out a systematic plan to annihilate Europe’s Jews in the Holocaust.
“Europe is heading towards being drowned in its own fears,” Erdogan said, referring to the rise of the far right in the continent over the last years.
“The spirit of fascism is running wild on the streets of Europe,” Erdogan said in a televised speech after clashes that followed the blocking of Turkish ministers from giving speeches in support of reforms giving him extra powers.
“Turkophobia is mounting. Islamophobia is mounting. They are even scared of migrants who take shelter.
“They are scared of everything which is not from there, they are hostile to everything which is not from there.”

‘Learn Turkish’ ‘Nazi Holland’: French Gov and BBC Twitter Hacked by Erdogan Supporters

Several top Twitter accounts, including those of a German football club, a French ministry and BBC North America, were defaced Wednesday by pro-Turkish hackers with a message slamming “Nazi Germany” and “Nazi Holland”.
“#NaziGermany. #NaziHolland. This is a small #Ottomanslap for you. See you on #April16. I wrote what? Learn Turkish,” read the message, which comes in the midst of a bitter row between Europe and Turkey over Turkish government rallies on European soil.
The message also featured a swastika and was followed by a video showing extracts of speeches by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Twitter confirmed the attack.
“We are aware of an issue affecting a number of account holders this morning,” a Twitter spokesperson said, adding the source of the attack had been tracked to a third party application, whose permissions had been removed.

PreOccupiedTerritory: Cypriots Consider Protesting Israeli, Not Turkish, Occupation So World Might Care

Greek-speaking residents of North Cyprus, an area of the island effectively under Turkish occupation since 1974, told reporters they are considering a change in strategy regarding their second-class political status and how the yoke of Turkish quasi-control of the region might be removed. The main change, they say, involves protesting against Israeli occupation of Northern Cyprus, even though Israel has no presence on the island, because it seems only Israeli occupation of territory attracts sufficient or sustained international opprobrium and action.
The Greeks, who are denied voting rights in the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, described how decades of violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention by Turkish and Turkey-backed authorities, combined with Turkish military control over much of North Cyprus, have received scant attention in international media, and that so-called human rights organizations and international bodies give only perfunctory treatment to the situation in Cyprus while obsessing to an incomparable degree over Israeli policies only a few hundred kilometers away.
“It’s reached the point where even flagrant Turkish violations of the ban on settling one’s citizens in occupied areas barely registers on the international radar,” lamented Givusa Braik, a Greek Cypriot activist who is spearheading the strategy change. “The UN may have issued condemnation of Turkey for its activities, but it’s nothing compared to the wail of all these organizations that goes up whenever Israel lifts a finger. We clearly picked the wrong occupier to oppose, and now we have to change that.”

Saudi Arabia Launches Council for Girls, ZERO Girls on Panel

Saudi Arabia just announced a first of its kind in the Middle East: the creation of an all-girls council in the al-Qassim province, according to the BBC, to help support girls and women in the region. However, there was one tiny detail left out: females.
A picture circulated online (above) of the 13 men of the Qassim Girls Council at the first meeting. Unfortunately, due to Islamic law, the women couldn’t be in the same room as the men and heard about the council watching a video link in a completely separate location.
Even less inclusive, the council chair is Princess Abir bint Salman, the wife of Saudi Prince Faisal bin Mishal bin Saud, but she, too, was not on the stage with the men.
The BBC reports:
In Saudi Arabia, a state policy of gender segregation between unrelated men and women is rigorously enforced.
But the country may be moving toward loosening some of its rules as part of its Vision 2030 programme.
Its goals included increasing women’s participation in the workforce from 22% to 30%.
In his speech to launch the girls’ council, Prince Faisal said women make up half of society, although looking at that picture, you would not know it.

ISIS and the West: moving past the name-calling, by Jeremy Corbyn (satire)

What I am about to say may cause some discomfort, but perhaps it is time that we move beyond the Neo-Thatcherite/Neo-Blairite visions of the world and find a new approach. Today the West finds itself once again mixed up in a war in the Middle East, and once again we are hearing the name calling of our so-called enemies. Words like “fascist”, “murderous”, and “evil”. But I used those words just last week to describe proposed changes to the NHS. So perhaps it is time to step back, take a deep breath and try to understand “The Other”. To work toward a more even-handed vision.
Again, the usual suspects continue to use quite slanderous words about ISIS. Yet right here in London, we can witness genuine outreach on their part, with the very real example of Anjem Choudary, who has made sincere efforts to work with the Progressive Community by defending a Labour MP when she got slightly ahead of herself and suggested that Israel should be dismantled and the Jews shipped off to the United States. In fact, one can even compare ISIS to Israel, which I have been known to do in the past.
So today I stand before you as a proud member of the Progressive Left and say: It is time for us to look at ISIS objectively and see it for what it truly is. A community that is ethnically diverse, dissatisfied with the status quo, critical of Western Imperialism, and clearly motivated enough to take direct action. They embrace the philosophy of Said Qutb. But so do many people whom I count among my friends. They are fond of their beards, as am I. They have some serious problems with a certain group of people clustered along the Levant and the London Northern Line. As do I.

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