MKs to Macron: Don’t lecture us – tell the PA to stop paying terrorists
France should be protesting the Palestinian Authority for rewarding terrorism and not Israel for trying to curb it, MKs said Monday in response to the diplomatic row over France officially protesting the Israeli policy to freeze payments to the PA.
Likud MK Avi Dichter, who is behind the bill stopping tax and tariff transfers to the PA equaling the amount it spent on payments to terrorists and their families, asked, “How can [French] President [Emanuel] Macron not have a word to say about the Palestinian law requiring them to pay salaries to terrorists, and then come and complain about this law?”
Israel enacted the Deduction Law earlier this year, months after its approval by the Knesset with broad support. The law requires the Defense Ministry to present the security cabinet with a report on how much the PA paid terrorists in prison or the families of terrorists who were killed, and for the Finance Ministry to deduct that amount from the taxes and tariffs Israel collects for the PA. Palestinian Media Watch estimated that the PA spent at least $138 million on terrorist salaries in 2018, based on publicly available PA budget documents.
“What would the French President say if it turned out the PA was paying a NIS 12,000 monthly salary to the mass murderer Carlos the Jackal, who is sitting in a French prison after receiving a life sentence for terrorist attacks?” Dichter asked. Carlos the Jackal –whose real name is Ilyich Ramirez Sanchez, a Venezuelan terrorist serving a life sentence in France for attacks killing 14 people and injuring 150 – was a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
Dichter added: “We will strike terrorists everywhere… In the war on terrorism, a country that doesn’t count the money will count dead bodies.”
Union of Right-Wing Parties (URP) MK Bezalel Smotrich called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “aggressively reject the French hypocrisy and send Macron to press [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] to stop paying salaries to terrorists.
Abbas is doing two things: first, he is telling Israel, and his own citizens, that he is not going to budge when it comes to the raison d’etre of his regime, which is terrorism, not the well-being of his people. This is an excellent opportunity for the world to learn the basics of what Abbas and his cohorts are all about, but Abbas knows from experience that outside of Israel, nothing he does is ever seen for what it is. Abbas knows from experience that he can do no wrong in the eyes of the international community, which continues to fund him despite his regime’s constant incitement to terror, his despotism, his blatant human rights abuses, the lack of rule of law etc. His regime is, after all, one of the most lavishly funded terrorist regimes in the world. Second, Abbas is taking this opportunity to create a humanitarian crisis that will garner support internationally – especially after he turns down Trump’s peace plan, as he is expected to do – and which he can then use to show the world how much his people is suffering. Even though the crisis is of his own making, Abbas knows that the world will buy any lie that he peddles. It always has.
What can Israel do about this cynically self-inflicted crisis, which is being created by the PA out of a desire to prioritize the murder of Jews above all — other than exposing the potential crisis for the fraud that it is?
Israel should use this situation to create, or rather widen, the existing rift between the PA regime and its citizens. Citizens in the PA do not enjoy freedom – least of all political and religious freedom – nor a high standard of living and the regime’s latest move serves as an excellent example of the blatant disregard, bordering on contempt, which the PA leadership has for its own people. Israel should communicate to the citizens of the PA that the regime that rules them — on a mandate that expired a decade ago — does not have its best interests at heart, but only peddles in death and destruction. Not only the death and destruction of Israelis but of its own citizens. It might be a welcome opportunity to point out to those citizens that choosing a different path than that of Abbas — more terrorism, more death — leads to poverty and overall decline and that it is up to them to try to forge a different path.
The results of such Israeli communications will not be impressive at first. It is almost impossible to undo decades of terrorist indoctrination. But the situation presents itself as a welcome opportunity to at least begin. It is up to Israel to make the best of that opportunity.
The Arab League has pledged $100 million per month to the Palestinian Authority to make up for funds withheld by Israel over Ramallah’s payments made to the families of Palestinian terrorists.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addressed the Arab League in Cairo on Sunday as part of a diplomatic effort to rebuff the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan, which American officials indicate could be released this summer.
Abbas said, “The Arabs need to be engaging actively at this critical time.”
Abbas says the Palestinians reject the deal and demand Israel fully withdraw from all occupied territories.
PA leader Mahmoud Abbas’ second in command, Fatah Vice Chairman Mahmoud Aloul, said on Monday that if the peace process remains on its current course the PA will cease its security cooperation with Israel and retract its recognition of the Jewish state.
“The leadership is preparing to retract its recognition of Israel and cease its security cooperation with the occupation forces,” Aloul said during an interview with the Shehab news agency on Monday, April 22.
Aloul placed the blamed for the state of the peace process squarely on the United States, saying, “The American administration has decided to escalate the situation in the region following the transfer of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, and is actively encouraging the Israeli settlement enterprise. Now Israel is preparing to annex parts of the West Bank.”
“Because of these events,” he continued, “the status quo upon which the relationship [between Israel and the PA] is based may soon disappear. The [PA] leadership is expected to announce that we will not accept the continuation of the situation, and will announce drastic measures soon.”
According to Aloul, these measures were being planned by Abbas in cooperation with other Muslim nations, among them Turkey. According to Aloul, Abbas plans to meet soon with the leaders of Muslim and African countries in order to gain support for his upcoming moves.
Following the victory of Volodymyr Zelensky in Ukraine’s presidential elections, the country will become the only one in the world besides Israel whose president and prime minister are both Jewish.
When Zelensky is sworn in as president, his prime minister — at least for a while and possibly until the parliamentary elections scheduled to take place sometime later this year — will be Volodymyr Groysman, a Jewish politician who was the mayor of the city of Vinnytsia.
To some of incumbent Petro Poroshenko’s critics, the landslide success of the vague campaign by the politically inexperienced Zelensky, a comedian, was not surprising in light of widespread resentment over the persistence of corruption under Poroshenko, who was elected in 2014 on a platform that vowed remedial action on exactly that front.
More unusual to some, however, was how Zelensky’s appears to have won the elections so decisively in spite of how his Jewish ancestry – his mother, Rima, is Jewish and he has jokingly referred to this during the campaign — is well known in Ukraine.
After all, Russia and other critics claim Ukrainian society has a serious anti-Semitism problem and legacy.
“Imagine, a pure-blooded Jew with the appearance of a Sholom Aleichem protagonist wins by a landslide in a country where the glorification of Nazi criminals is enacted into law,” wrote Avigdor Eskin, a Russian-Israeli columnist, in an analysis published earlier this month by the Regnum news agency.
Eskin in column on Zelensky downplayed allegations of widespread anti-Semitism in Ukraine, attributing much of the attention to the problem in media and beyond to propaganda by Russia, which is involved in an armed conflict over territory with Ukraine.
But Eskin’s statement about Ukrainian laws glorifying Nazi criminals is not inaccurate, and Russia is not alone in criticizing Ukraine over this and other issues connected to anti-Semitism.
Last year, Israel’s government singled out Ukraine as a regional trouble spot in the Israeli government’s annual report on anti-Semitism.
France warned Lebanon that Israel would attack precision-guided rocket systems belonging to Hezbollah, according to a report Saturday in the Holland-based paper Al-Hayat.
The paper quoted Arab diplomatic sources as saying that “The French- who have so far been content as observers- inserted themselves into the Iranian line tightening around Syria and Lebanon, including Hezbollah, and joined in the escalating tone of American Secretary of State Mike Pompeo,” after they understood the Americans were serious about ramping up sanctions on Iran.
According to the sources, Paris expressed concern regarding reports of precision-guided missiles on Lebanese soil. The reports were sent by Israel to the French and to the Americans.
“France considers it Lebanon’s responsibility to take steps to ensure that precision-guided rocket systems” will not have a presence in the country, said one source, “since Israel will not stand by the establishment of such systems with Iranian support.” The source emphasized that France is moving closer to the American position in Syria, therefore it is also concerned about the situation in Lebanon.
Earlier this week, it was reported that the Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil met with a senior Israeli official in Moscow, and discussed issues of borders, the Syrian war and Iranian weapons factories in Lebanon.
The Israeli official reportedly told Bassil that Israel does not consider Lebanon to be an enemy, but that it also will not hesitate to strike at Iranian and Hezbollah targets in Syria.
Google blocked the accounts of the Iranian Spanish-language news channel that earlier this month published reports that Israel uses Palestinian prisoners for new medical trials.
The anti-Israel news website Hispan TV reported Saturday on its still-active news website that its YouTube channel and that of the Iranian Press TV had been blocked, and denounced it as “an act against freedom of expression.” The sites were first banned on Thursday.
The Hispan TV article’s headline is “Censorship of YouTube to HispanTV: The price of being the voice of the oppressed.”
“Your Google Account was disabled and can’t be restored because it was used in a way that violates Google’s policies,” Google says in a message that appears when trying to open the Hispan TV and Press TV YouTube pages.
HispanTV, which is operated by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, launched in 2011. In 2014, Iran announced plans to expand its media influence in Latin America.
“Iran’s strong and rapidly growing ties with Latin America have raised eyebrows in the US and its Western allies since Tehran and Latin nations have forged an alliance against the imperialist and colonialist powers and are striving hard to reinvigorate their relations with the other independent countries which pursue a line of policy independent from the U.S.,” the Iranian Fars News agency said.
Iranian General Kioumars Heydari: U.S. Forces Are Terrorists and Will Not Be Safe Anywhere in The World; We Will Drive Israelis Out of the Golan pic.twitter.com/Z4AL6MmFv1
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) April 22, 2019
Never, ever, was there a custom that every man in the village, if he so chose, should be free to study full-time and, somehow, provide for his family of 9, 10, 11 children from the largesse of others. This “custom” is an obscene, abusive perversion that has become entrenched in the state of Israel during the last 70 years.
It is also not sustainable, economically or socially. During the recent election campaign, speaking at an English language town hall event in Tel Aviv, the Yesh Atid leader (before he merged with Benny Gantz’s Israel Resilience party) told the audience that, in a decade or so, 50 percent of first grade students in Israel will be either Arab or Haredi, given current demographic trends. That means that half the population will be expected to bear the military burden and also a disproportionate share of the economic cost of supporting the state.
And so, the battle lines are drawn.
Lieberman has made it clear that his key conditions for supporting a Likud government are that he be re-appointed Minister of Defense and that the bill he prepared before resigning requiring Haredi men to serve in the IDF be passed without delay.
Opposing Lieberman is Yakov Litzman, the Haredi Deputy Minister of Health in the previous government. He has stated clearly and repeatedly that if the draft Bill is passed as it now reads that he will withdraw his support for the coalition.
Aryeh Deri, the leader of the Sephardic religious party, Shas, commands 8 Knesset seats and concurs fully with Litzman on the draft issue. Without their support, Likud has no coalition. Without Lieberman’s seats, they have a razor-thin mandate that is, realistically, untenable for long, if at all.
Lieberman, Litzman, and Deri are all adamant that if their threshold terms regarding the draft bill are not met that they will bolt, preferring another round of elections to so fundamentally betraying their core principles.
Later this year, Bibi will be the longest serving PM in Israeli history, surpassing Ben Gurion. To achieve this milestone, he must first resolve this epic impasse.
When President Reuven Rivlin tasked Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday night with forming the next government, one could almost hear the prime minister’s words from last October, in which he claimed that Rivlin and his Likud rival Gideon Sa’ar were cooking up a “plan of the century” to overthrow him.
But there was no conspiracy. The only thing that Rivlin did Wednesday night was to direct two sentences of implicit criticism in Netanyahu’s direction.
“‘Us and them’ is over. From now on, it’s just ‘us,'” Rivlin said, turning to Netanyahu, who seemed to be hopping on hot coals in his impatience for the president to finish talking.
‘Us and them’ is over. From now on, it’s just ‘us’. Now is the time to stop fighting ‘them’ and to regain belief in ‘us’. To fight for our home, a place where secular, religious and ultra-Orthodox, Jews and Arabs, left and right can find their place – as equal partners.
— Reuven Rivlin (@PresidentRuvi) April 17, 2019
Rivlin made the same case in a series of tweets in English after the meeting.
But the “us and them” ploy is far from over. Those intimately familiar with Netanyahu maintain that he does not say anything by chance. His comments on Tuesday at the Likud victory celebration hinted that he intends to appoint Yariv Levin as justice minister, a senior Likud official said. It was almost a commitment.
Of the two options facing Netanyahu – Bezalel Smotrich and Yariv Levin – it is natural for the ministry to go to the latter. He is high on the party’s Knesset list and closer than anyone else to Netanyahu.
And what about Avigdor Lieberman of Yisrael Beiteinu? Likud officials are convinced that he is trying to extort Likud membership from Netanyahu, which under ordinary circumstances Netanyahu would never be able to get past the party’s central committee, given their history with the veteran politician.
But while Kahlon would be met with open arms in the Likud, Lieberman is a completely different story. So he presents the only threat that Netanyahu could take to the committee – without Lieberman, I have no government.(h/t Zvi)
Israel Defense Force soldiers arrested two Palestinians armed with knives near the perimeter fence in the northern Gaza Strip Sunday, the IDF said.
The army said the suspects were transferred to other security forces for further investigation.
So far this month, at least 12 Palestinians have been intercepted trying to cross into Israel.
On April 3, Israeli forces opened fire and wounded three Palestinians who entered Israel from Gaza and were carrying knives. The three were transferred to an Israeli hospital.
On March 30, the IDF apprehended two young boys from Gaza, who had managed to cross the border fence, with one of them in possession of a knife. The army said it briefly interrogated the 8-year-olds before sending them back into the coastal enclave through the Erez crossing.
During their questioning, the children said that they had been hoping to get caught and serve time in Israeli prison, according to an IDF statement.
Before being named prime suspects in Sri Lanka’s Easter bomb suicide attacks, National Thowheeth Jama’ath’s main claim to fame was being linked to vandalizing of Buddhist statues.
After long wrangling with radical Buddhist leaders, suicide bomb attacks against churches and hotels would be a spectacular departure for the little-known Islamic extremist group.
Cabinet minister and government spokesman Rajitha Senaratne on Monday said authorities believed the NTJ was behind Sunday’s attacks on three churches and three luxury hotels in which 290 people died.
Authorities said 24 people have been arrested and that they were hunting for links between the group and foreign backers.
“We don’t see that only a small organization in this country can do all that,” Senaratne said.
The Sri Lankan presidency said in a statement that “intelligence sections have reported that there are international terror groups which are behind local terrorists.”
Whoever staged Sunday’s attacks organized an extremely well-planned, coordinated assault.
No outrage from Human Rights Watch chief on mass slaughter of Christians, just anodyne “there is no justification…”
Decent to be outraged by BOTH. https://t.co/NMA52wUWKO
— Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) April 22, 2019
PA Chairman Abbas hurried to condemn the horrific terror attacks yesterday in Sri Lanka, where 290 people were murdered in suicide attacks apparently carried out by an Islamic terror group. Abbas’ condemnation does not come as a surprise, as it is his habit to condemn terror when it takes place abroad – as opposed to his lack of condemnation of terror against Israelis.
Following the tragedy in Sri Lanka, which he called “criminal and gruesome,” Abbas called on the world to combat terror together:
“Terrorism is spreading as an epidemic across the world. I call on the countries of the world to cooperate to eradicate terrorism and not to tolerate with racist groups that incite violence and hatred.”
[WAFA, official PA news agency (English edition), April 21, 2019]
Abbas’ call to combat terror stands in stark contrast to his repeated vows at home to continue his financial support for imprisoned terrorists, released terrorists, wounded terrorists, and the families of dead terrorists – no matter what. Abbas has reiterated over and over that the PA will support these terrorists even if the PA has only “one penny left,” and has demonstrated his will to do so by cutting salaries of public employees rather than salaries to the terrorists in order to sustain the PA’s current financial crisis.
Gaza Cleric Mahmoud Al-Hasanat Rebukes Arab Leaders Who “Whine” about Notre-Dame Cathedral from which “a Crusade against Islam” Was Once Declared pic.twitter.com/3eroeSkWvI
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) April 22, 2019
(When the P.A. can be bothered to hold them, at least.) pic.twitter.com/cdQLW3nbNT
— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) April 21, 2019
Since Donald Trump became president, countless pundits and journalists have flocked to the same talking point: his administration’s hostile posture toward Iran is pushing the Iranian people toward the Islamist regime and away from the United States. With each new week, it seems, there is another op-ed or panelist on television making this argument. On Wednesday, for example, Rohollah Faghihi, a journalist who has worked for various Iranian media outlets, wrote that the Trump administration’s decision to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization “caused [Iranian] citizens to rally around the flag.” Earlier this month, Mohammad Ayatollahi Tabaar, an author and professor at Texas A&M University, argued in the New York Times that, with the election of Trump, followed by his withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, “American policies are effectively empowering the hard-liners and pushing Iranian citizens toward the regime.”
These voices either ignore or fail to see reality on the ground in Iran, where nationwide protests against the regime, which erupted in December 2017, continue today. Through their chants and bravery, the Iranian people have made clear that they no longer want to live under the boot of a cruel and oppressive Islamist theocracy. Western commentators also ignore or fail to see that the regime is bringing hardship on the Iranian people. Indeed, the regime is responsible for Iran’s economic plight and is the true imperial belligerent—not the United States, not anyone else. The regime in Iran is the Iranian people’s worst enemy, bringing a proud, eminently capable nation down to the dregs of civilization through its brutality and incompetence.
Just look at the ongoing floods caused by heavy rain across Iran. In recent weeks, the flooding, which began last month, has killed dozens of people, forced hundreds of thousands more into emergency shelters, and caused an estimated $2.5 billion in damages, according to Iranian officials. The situation is tragic and deserves Tehran’s full attention. Yet it has been remarkable to observe, from afar, the regime fail to help suffering Iranians. The incompetence, the indifference, the inanity—how can one advocate the Islamic Republic taking on a greater leadership role in the disaster-ridden Middle East when it cannot respond to natural disasters at home?
The summoning of Iraqi mercenaries showed that Khamenei isn’t quite sure of the regime’s military and security apparatus and, when the chips are down, relies on his foreign legion.
Soon, however, it became clear that “Islam’s bravest soldier since Imam Ali,” Major-General Qassem Soleimani, owed part of his reputation to bluffing and his talent for self-aggrandizement.
Western gullibility has contributed to overrating a brutal regime and a mediocre leader, thus helping spread the fear that such regimes and leaders rely upon for their survival.
The US government confirmed on Monday that it would not renew the waivers previously granted to eight countries that allowed them to import oil from Iran without facing American sanctions.
The waivers — granted to China, India, Japan, Turkey, Italy, Greece, South Korea and Taiwan — were issued last November and were scheduled for renewal on May 2. But in a press briefing at the State Department on Monday morning, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made clear that renewing the oil waivers was at odds with the policy of increasing pressure on the Tehran regime.
“The Trump Administration has taken Iran’s oil exports to historic lows, and we are dramatically accelerating our pressure campaign in a calibrated way that meets our national security objectives while maintaining well supplied global oil markets,” Pompeo said. “We stand by our allies and partners as they transition away from Iranian crude to other alternatives.”
Pompeo added that he was confident that supply of oil to the global energy market would not suffer from the decision. “We have had extensive and productive discussions with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other major producers to ease this transition and ensure sufficient supply. This, in addition to increasing US production, underscores our confidence that energy markets will remain well supplied,” he said.
The Secretary of State vowed that the US would “continue to apply maximum pressure on the Iranian regime until its leaders change their destructive behavior, respect the rights of the Iranian people, and return to the negotiating table.”
The United States on Monday said it will eliminate in May all waivers granted to eight economies allowing them to buy Iranian oil without facing US sanctions, as it ratcheted up pressure to choke off all oil revenues of the Islamic Republic.
The move was immediately praised by Israel, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling it a “very important” decision “to increase pressure on the Iranian terrorist regime.”
“We stand by the determination of the United States against Iranian aggression and this is the right way to stop it,” the statement read.
Acting Foreign Minister Israel Katz said that “only tough steps like this will force the ayatollahs in Iran to completely stop developing the dangerous nuclear program and support Hezbollah and the other terrorist organizations in the region.”
Israel, he said, “will continue to be the United States’ loyal partner in the struggle against Iranian aggression.”
The April 13, 2019 editorial of the daily Kayhan, which is close to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, called to bring Saudi Arabia’s oil exports “down to zero” and thereby harm the U.S., in retaliation for the latter’s designation of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. Noting that America’s designation of the IRGC is not a military move in essence, but rather an economic one, which has significant impact on Iran and on its ability to spread in the Middle East by means of the IRGC, the editorial urged to punish the U.S. by targeting the economy of its ally Saudi Arabia. To this end, the daily recommended to formulate an effective plan that would be implemented within a year, with two goals: targeting companies in the region that have contracts with the U.S., and targeting Saudi Arabia’s oil exports, which are America’s “Achilles heel” in the region.
It should be noted that the author of the editorial, Sadollah Zarei, a member of Kayhan’s editorial board, refrains from explicitly urging the Iranian forces, or Iran-backed militias, to carry out terror operations against Saudi Arabia to prevent it from exporting its oil through the Red Sea, the Bab El-Mandeb Strait or the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf. He does, however, hint at this, and imply that he infers Iran’s ability to carry out such operations from statements by IRGC Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani, who is in charge of deploying Iran’s special forces outside its borders, in which he agreed with Iranian President Rohani. The latter claimed that the U.S. moves against the Iranian economy would result in America’s own economy coming to a halt. It seems that Zarei is deliberately blurring the nature of the terrorist operation for which he is calling in order to avoid harm to Iran’s image and so that Iran will not have to bear the political or military cost of its involvement in this operation.
It should also be noted that, in July 2018, the Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen fired missiles at Saudi oil tankers in the Bab El-Mandeb Strait, which caused Saudi Arabia to briefly suspend its oil shipments via that route.
Egyptian Journalist Ibrahim Eissa: Islamic Terrorism Will End Only When Muslims Stop Trying To Restore Their Past pic.twitter.com/h9Ka2qHDtN
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) April 22, 2019
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