Caroline Glick: American greatness and the PLO
The notion that a PLO state will make the region more stable as far more coherent Arab states collapse is absurd.
The notion that it is necessary to empower the PLO to win Arab allies when the Arabs are beating a path to Israel’s door begging for help in defeating Sunni jihadists and Iran is ridiculous.
The notion that Israel’s ability to expand its markets is contingent on peace with the PLO when every week more world leaders descend on Jerusalem to sign trade deals with Israel is not even worthy of a giggle.
As for demography, the American hysteria is bizarre.
The Palestinians already have passports and vote – when they are allowed to – in their own elections. Why would Israel be expected to let them vote for the Knesset?
Beyond that, Jewish immigration to Israel remains high. Israel’s Jewish birthrates have surpassed its Muslim birthrates both within sovereign Israel and in Judea and Samaria.
So why would Israel give up Jerusalem for demography?
Last March, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas appointed Antisemitic PA TV Islamic teacher Imad Hamato to the post of dean of the Al-Azhar Institutes, a system of schools that prepare students for studies at the Al-Azhar University in Gaza. As dean of students, Hamato now has the opportunity to transmit his venomous Antisemitism to Palestinian youth.
In a class on Islam recently broadcast on official PA TV, Hamato repeated some classic anti-Semitic hate speech regarding Jews and money:
“They [the Jews] are usurers. See, the usury money and usurer banks, those who control the money in the world can be counted on one hand – a few individuals – and all of them belong to the Jewish world. They control the media, the money, the press, the resources, the plans.”
[Official PA TV, May 1, 2015 and May 12, 2017]
Abbas’ appointee also criticizes those in the Arab world who recognize Israel, saying Israel is “a cancerous tumor.”
In a bitter diplomatic incident, a senior member of the US delegation making preparations for Donald Trump’s visit to Israel next week angrily rejected a request that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accompany the president when he visits the Western Wall, and then sniped at his Israeli counterparts that the Western Wall is “not your territory. It’s part of the West Bank,” Israeli television reported on Monday night.
An official at the Prime Minister’s Office confirmed the Channel 2 report, telling the Times of Israel that Israeli officials were “shocked” by the comments and have asked the Trump administration about the incident.
The official said that Netanyahu is certain that the comment does not reflect President Trump’s policy.
The Western Wall, part of the retaining walls of the Second Temple compound, is the closest point of prayer for Jews to the site of the Temple itself and thus the Jewish people’s holiest place of prayer. It was captured along with the rest of the Old City and East Jerusalem in the 1967 war, and annexed by Israel as part of its united capital — a move not recognized internationally.
According to the TV report, the angry exchanges began when the Israeli team working with the American delegation asked whether Netanyahu could accompany Trump when he visits the Western Wall, a key expected stop on his May 22-23 visit to Israel and the West Bank. No serving US president has ever visited the Western Wall, because US policy has been that the final status of Jerusalem has yet to be resolved in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
The American official who sniped at his Israeli counterparts that the Western Wall, the holiest place for Jews to pray, is not part of Israel and not Israel’s responsibility was named Tuesday in a TV report as David Berns, the political counselor at the US Consulate in Jerusalem. A second US official, the consulate’s economic counselor Jonathan Shrier, was also involved in the bitter diplomatic incident, which deteriorated into an angry shouting match, Channel 2 said.
The TV report predicted that Berns’ job might now be under threat, since the incident embarrassed the Trump administration ahead of US President Donald Trump’s visit to Israel next week.
Spokespeople for the US consulate in Jerusalem and the US embassy in Tel Aviv could not immediately be reached for comment.
The US Consulate General in Jerusalem represents the United States in Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as an independent mission.
After publication of the remarks on Monday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office expressed shock, sought clarifications from the White House, and said it did not believe the comments reflected Trump’s views.
That’s a big scoop because while crudely & undiplomatically stated, they did represent the position of the US until 6 months ago. https://t.co/sCBc9Zq1ff
— Eugene Kontorovich (@EVKontorovich) May 15, 2017
Senior officials in Washington are pressuring US President Donald Trump not to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital or announce a move of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem when he visits next week, CNN reported Monday.
With the president said to still be undecided on the issues, a number of long-time US officials in the Department of State, Department of Defense and the broader intelligence community have issued stern warnings to the West Wing, suggesting the decision could harm the peace process and spark unrest in the region, the report said.
CNN also reported that some of Trump’s top advisers, by contrast, are urging him to deliver his campaign pledges. Such a scenario reflects a fissure within the administration over how to proceed on the emotionally charged issue.
Trump’s visit to Israel will take place from May 22 to 23 — just before Jerusalem Day — after he stops in Saudi Arabia and before he goes on to the Vatican. He will also travel to Brussels and Sicily for NATO and G7 summits on the final leg of his trip.
IsraellyCool: Who Can Trust The News Anymore?
I have already lost count of the times the mainstream news outlets made a claim, only to be immediately contradicted 10 minutes later.
Today: Trump denies connection of Western Wall to Israel!
5 minutes later: Wait, cancel that
Please, mainstream media. And I’m not only picking on Jerusalem Post and Times Of Israel, because those are the ones I bothered to screenshot. I’m asking all of you. Your prioritizing being first, rather than being correct is damaging everything. Historians are going to look back at your articles hundreds of years from now and think you had no idea what you were doing.
We are seeing this almost every single day in the news. And don’t get me started on the whole US Embassy cluster****.
They’re not moving the embassy!
They’re moving the embassy!
They’re not moving the embassy!
They’re moving the embassy!
DO NOT MAKE ANOTHER NEWS ARTICLE ABOUT THE FREAKING US EMBASSY MOVE UNTIL THE BUILDERS START DIGGING.
JPost Editorial: Move the embassy
Election promises have been broken probably dating back to ancient Greece when candidates pledged to eager voters to build more bathhouses, only to later discover that other priorities or political considerations rendered the plans unfeasible or imprudent.
During his campaign last year, US President Donald Trump endeared himself to many Israelis by vowing to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, something that none of his predecessors had any interest or willingness to do. That stance, combined with Trump’s unparalleled alignment during the campaign with the views of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government regarding the peace process with the Palestinians, imbued a sense of euphoria among the most right-leaning MKs and ministers that the Trump era would feature unprecedented coordination between the US and Israel regarding the future direction of negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.
However, since his January inauguration, Trump has proven to be a more savvy politician in his foreign policy than in his shambolic domestic agenda. Through his willingness to act against Syria’s regime, Afghanistan and North Korea, the new president has thrust the US back into the forefront of the international scene, following eight years of president Barack Obama’s leading from behind policy.
He has also demonstrated that, despite his over-thetop campaign rhetoric, he’s not going to roll over and be Netanyahu’s poodle by offering a blank check to Israel for settlement expansion. Regarding the embassy move, Trump invoked his Greek moment by repeatedly hedging on his enthusiastic pre-election pledge.
Netanyahu’s office firmly denied the report, flatly calling it a “lie,” and, in a highly unusual move, released what it said were partial minutes of Netanyahu’s conversations with Trump at the White House in February to disprove the claim.
“The embassy — the PM supports moving it,” wrote then-national security adviser Yaakov Nagel, following Netanyahu and Trump’s meeting in the Oval Office, according to the PMO.
“The PM was asked about the embassy and explained [that moving it] would not lead to bloodshed in the region, as some were trying to intimidate [President Trump] into believing,” Nagel wrote after the two leaders met over lunch.
The PMO also released a portion of a summary from a conversation in January between Israel’s Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer and then US national security adviser designate Michael Flynn prior to Trump’s inauguration.
“[Dermer] explained why moving the embassy would help advance peace and not the opposite.
“This would send the message that we are in Jerusalem to stay. Moving the embassy would force the other side to contend with the lie they’ve constructed — that Israel has no connection to Jerusalem — and will cause them to understand that Israel will be here forever with Jerusalem as its capital.”
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin Tuesday morning, a day after arriving in Israel to begin his service as ambassador.
President Rivlin received Friedman’s credentials, marking the formal beginning of Friedman’s ambassadorship to the Jewish state.
Two other new ambassadors, representing Spain and Thailand, were also received by the president on Tuesday.
The Israeli president welcomed Friedman, his family, and staff to Israel and congratulated him on his new position.
“I’m happy to welcome you and your dear wife to Israel, to Jerusalem, the capital city of Israel, and I’m welcoming you, not only as the President of Israel, but also as a Jerusalemite – seventh generation.”
“I know you have been to Israel many times before. But this time you are an ambassador representing the United States of America, Israel’s greatest and most important ally.”
The new US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, arrived in the country on Monday to take up his position, traveling straight to the Western Wall to pray and running into none other than Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler, who was also visiting the site.
It was a coincidental meeting and the two spoke briefly before going their separate ways.
Aerosmith is set to perform in Tel Aviv on Wednesday. It’s been 22 years since the Boston-based rock band has been in Israel. More than 45,000 tickets have been sold for the Yarkon Park concert, produced by the local Bluestone Group.
Tyler arrived in Israel Saturday with his girlfriend ahead of the band’s performance.
Friedman, an Orthodox Jew, said after arriving in Israel that he “wanted to come straight to the holiest place in the entire Jewish world, the ‘Kotel HaMaaravi’, the Western Wall, straight from the airport,”
Friedman told reporters that he “prayed for the president, I wished him success especially on his upcoming trip.”
New USA Ambassador to Israel visits Western Wall
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked US Ambassador David Friedman for making a trip to the Western Wall his first stop in Israel.
“I know that you visited the Western Wall. We deeply appreciate that. It was a powerful act of solidarity,” Netanyahu told Friedman as they met in his office on Tuesday, shortly after the Ambassador presented his credential to President Reuven Rivlin.
“It’s a pleasure to welcome you to our eternal capital,” Netanyahu added.
Friedman responded, “I wouldn’t have gone anywhere else.”
The New York Times has a report on the latest controversy ahead of US President Donald Trump’s visit to Israel: the supposed statement by an “American official” that the Western Wall is not in Israeli territory.
But it is the Time’s own statement near the end of the report that betrays blatant bias – or ignorance (hat tip: JBNoles).
Men pray at Western Wall before Rosh HashannahIsrael claims Jerusalem as its undivided capital. Israeli troops seized the area around the Western Wall in 1967 during the Six-Day War, and it has become both a sacred site for Jews and a highly visible symbol of the disputed nature of Jerusalem, which Palestinians also claim as their capital. The wall lies underneath the Al Aqsa Mosque, or Temple Mount, which is one of the holiest sites in Islam.
The suggestion that the Western Wall became a holy site for Jews only after we retook the area in 1967 is preposterous. And if the journalist Mark Landler doesn’t believe me, he can read past editions of the paper for which he works, which as early as 1859 (almost 90 years before the modern state of Israel was established) made clear the holiness of this area to Jews.
An Israeli minister called for the assassination of Syrian President Bashar Assad on Tuesday, saying he “does not have a place in this world.”
Speaking at a conference outside Jerusalem, Housing and Construction Minister Yoav Galant, a retired IDF general, said that in light of recent allegations that Assad’s regime carried out mass executions and burned the bodies of the victims, he had to be killed.
“The reality of the situation in Syria is that they are executing people, using directed chemical attacks against them, and the latest extreme — burning their corpses, something we haven’t seen in 70 years,” Galant said, in a reference to the Holocaust.
The minister said Assad’s actions in Syria amount to nothing less than a “genocide,” with “hundreds of thousands killed.”
The Trump administration accused the Syrian government Monday of carrying out mass killings of thousands of prisoners and burning the bodies in a large crematorium outside the capital. It also stepped up criticism of Iran and Russia for supporting the Syrian government.
The allegation came as US President Donald Trump is weighed options in Syria, where the US attacked a government air base last month in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack on civilians.
But Trump hasn’t outlined a larger strategy for ending the Arab country’s civil war or ushering Syrian President Bashar Assad out of power. These questions were sure to arise in his meeting at the White House with the United Arab Emirates’ crown prince Monday, a day before Turkey’s president arrives.
The State Department said it believed that about 50 detainees a day are being hanged at Saydnaya military prison, about 45 minutes north of Damascus. Many of the bodies, it said, are then burned in the crematorium.
President Donald Trump is scheduled to make his first foreign trip later this month, with stops that will include the Vatican, Saudi Arabia and the Holy Land. In remarks at the National Day of Prayer on May 4, the president said that he hoped to bring “safety, opportunity and stability to the war-ravaged Middle East” with his visits to these centers of three of the great world religions.
In the Middle East, the president will find a legendary region of alluring oases and fatal mirages. His challenge will be to reinforce US bonds with proven allies that are still reeling from an ever-more-threatening Iranian regime, which was empowered by the Obama administration. Trump will also need to spurn false peace promises, and promote the religious foundations of interfaith and international tolerance. A tall order indeed.
Mostly, though, in his quest for greater stability and peace in the Middle East, the president should consider taking a road less traveled by his predecessors: tackling hatred before borders.
Trump’s arrival in the Holy Land will find many Israelis feeling that they have no peace partner to negotiate with. The Palestinian Authority (PA), under the leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas, is a profoundly corrupt organization despite — or rather in large part due to — massive amounts of funding from the West.
And this funding continues to flow despite the virulent hatred and lies preached by Palestinian leaders, governmental organizations and schools.
Permitting Hamas to run in the 2006 Palestinian legislative without the terrorist organization disarming first was “a mistake,” former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice acknowledged this week.
In a wide-ranging interview with Politico that was published on Monday, Rice — who led the State Department during ex-President George W. Bush’s second term in office — said she had “undiminished faith” in the importance of elections, but added, “the question is, can you improve the context in which they happen?”
Rice continued: “I think one mistake we made with Hamas was we really should have said they had to disarm if they were going to participate in the elections, along the lines of what was done in Northern Ireland, for instance.”
In the January 2006 vote held in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Hamas soundly defeated rival Fatah, winning a clear majority of seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council. A year later, Hamas violently ousted Fatah (which controls the Ramallah-headquartered Palestinian Authority) from Gaza, causing an intra-Palestinian that remains in place today.
On today’s Israel Uncensored Josh conducts a fascinating interview with Dr. Harold Rhode, one of the world’s preeminent scholars on Islam. Rhode who served as an adviser on Islamic Affairs at the US Department of Defense has a new book coming out titled “Modern Islamic Warfare.” The work exposes modern day terrorism as the classic style of Islamic warfare meant to instill fear in one’s enemy, whether they are fellow Muslims, Jews, Christians or others, in order to achieve one’s goals. Rhode explains that Mahmoud Abbas will never adhere to a US-negotiated ‘peace deal’ with Israel, similar to arch terrorist Yasser Arafat, as he says there is no such thing as the concept of ‘permanent peace’ in Islam, only temporary truces when a side is weak and seeks to gain strength. Rhode believes that years of Islamic terror against the Jewish State has actually caused more and more Israelis to become stronger and deeply rooted in the Land of Israel.
Since the Oslo Accords in 1993, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have been allocated international aid to maintain the territories administered by the Palestinian Authority (PA). In 2016, the Congressional Research Service wrote that the PA was “among the world’s largest per capita recipients of foreign aid.” Yet, billions of dollars contributed by the donor countries evaporated because of lack of transparency, corruption, and inefficiency.
The mismanagement was made worse by the provision of resources for goals that do not serve the Palestinian economy but are related to the PA’s terror infrastructure, such as funds for convicted terrorists or their families. In 2016, this alone amounted to $300 million. It is not surprising that despite all the money that has poured into the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the situation there has only worsened. The economy of these territories has stagnated with only slow economic growth for prolonged periods of time.
As a result, the PA suffers from under-development, virulent poverty, pandemic housing problems, unemployment, lack of adequate medical care, inadequate educational institutions, a catastrophic infrastructure, ecological and environmental hazards due to the pollution of water sources and aquifers – all of which became ammunition for radical Islamic organizations, which have taken advantage of the plight of much of the population to incite against Israel, the Jews, and foreign powers associated with the Jewish state, mainly against the United States.
International terrorist organizations and their state supporters have exploited this situation, particularly in the Gaza Strip. On the one hand, the military arm of Hamas works with the Northern Sinai branch of ISIS, providing training, weapons, and medical assistance. On the other hand, Hamas has been a major beneficiary of Iranian military assistance including rockets aimed at Israel’s cities. While Israel nonetheless allows about 900 truckloads of good per day to enter Gaza through border crossroads, this has still required Israel to impose border restrictions on the Palestinians, stemming from Israel’s concern for the security of its citizens.
The warning by Hamas and Islamic Jihad is directed not only against Trump and his new administration, but also against Abbas and any Arab leader who dares to “collude” with the U.S.
A new policy document recently published by Hamas says that the Islamic terror movement accepts a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, but without recognizing Israel’s right to exist. Translation: Hamas seeks a Palestinian state that would be used as a launching pad to destroy Israel.
The electoral showing demonstrates with excruciating clarity that Hamas could easily take over any Palestinian state that the U.S. and the Europeans help create in the West Bank.
Abbas is a weak leader with precious little legitimacy among Palestinians. He would never survive any kind of real peace deal with Israel — a reality that, ironically, he has done his very best to create.
Only a person who either is ignorant of the facts, or who does not care about the facts, could say that payments from the “Martyr’s Fund” are not rewards for acts of terrorism. The more brutal the acts, the longer the prison sentence.
The longer the prison sentence, the bigger the payment from the “Martyr’s Fund.”
A prisoner’s family doesn’t need more generous monthly “social support” just because the prisoner has been sentenced to a longer prison term—that bigger payment is obviously a reward for more heinous crimes.
On the day she learned of her son’s death, Tra’ayra’s mother called him a “hero” and a “martyr” because he had been killed after he fatally stabbed a sleeping 13-year-old girl.
I can say with confidence that Hallel Yaffa Ariel’s mother was not similarly exultant when she learned of the death of her daughter.
People who are seriously interested in advancing peace between Israelis and Palestinians ought to think carefully about the story of Hallel Yaffa Ariel and Tra’ayra, and about what it implies.
The Palestine Liberation Organization’s envoy to the United States said on Monday that it was “too early” for the Trump team to facilitate trilateral meetings with Israel and the Palestinians.
“So far, the US administration is engaging the two sides separately, and all sides — not just the two sides, but the region,” Husam Zomlot said at an event hosted by the non-profit Arab Center.
Zomlot, who before coming to Washington was a senior political adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, conveyed optimism about US President Donald Trump’s peace push, but suggested the time was not yet ripe for direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
“Putting everybody together in the room, as it was discussed a few weeks ago, might be a bit too early,” he said.
Just days before US President Donald Trump arrives in the region, the Palestinian Authority which claims it wants to reach a peace agreement with Israel, continues to take actions to glorify killers of Israelis. Earlier this week a square in the West Bank city of Tulkarm was named after Maher Younis, who has been in prison in Israel since 1983 for the killing of IDF soldier Avraham Bromberg in 1980.
The square, in the Palestinian city located just eight kilometers east of the Israeli city of Netanyah, was dedicated in a public ceremony attended by the mayor and other local dignitaries.
Maher Younis was convicted, along with his cousin Karim Younis of killing Bromberg and stealing his rifle. Both are Arab-Israelis from the town of Arara, near Umm Al-Fahm, and are among the longest incarcerated security prisoners serving sentences in Israeli prisons. While many Palestinian-born terrorists were freed in various prisoner releases over the years, Israel has consistently refused to free Arab citizens of Israel convicted of carrying out similar crimes.
A plan under discussion among Gulf state leaders would reportedly offer better ties with Israel if the Jewish state were to take substantive action to try to reach peace with the Palestinians.
Among the measures the states want to see are a settlement freeze in “certain areas” of the West Bank and an easing of the security blockade on the Gaza Strip, sources familiar with negotiations about the plan told The Wall Street Journal in a report Monday night. (Israel maintains the blockade to prevent Hamas, the Islamist terror group that rules the Strip and seeks to destroy Israel, from importing weaponry.)
In return, Gulf States would lift some trade restrictions, open direct telecommunications links, and allow Israeli aircraft to overfly their countries, the report said.
Other incentives under consideration are the issuing of visas to Israeli sports teams and trade delegations for events in Arab states and opening the region for Israeli trade and business.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday discussed Middle East peace process with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and sought New Delhi’s cooperation to end the long-standing conflict with Israel.
Earlier this month, US President Donald Trump vowed to do “whatever is necessary” to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians as he hosted Abbas at the White House, but gave no sign of how he could revive long-stalled negotiations.
Abbas reasserted the goal of a Palestinian state, saying it must have east Jerusalem as its capital with the borders that existed before the 1967 Six Day war.
However, most Israelis want all of Jerusalem as their capital and reject a full return to 1967 borderlines as a threat to their security.
Palestinian municipal elections have taken place over the weekend for the first time since 2012, with ballots cast to elect 145 local councils.
The elections went ahead in the West Bank after disagreement between Fatah and Hamas, the ruling administrative body in the Gaza Strip, resulting in Fatah running virtually unopposed.
Fatah and Hamas were supposed to compete in elections last year in both the West Bank and Gaza. But with the rival factions disqualifying each other’s candidates, Fatah decided to hold the elections in the West Bank alone in a bid to renew its legitimacy.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said that “the elections are happening without national consensus. Holding them in the West Bank alone, without Gaza, will cement division.”
However, Fatah Deputy Chief Mahmoud al-Aloul said: “No doubt this is the democratic life we have promised our people. Unfortunately this joy is taking place in the West Bank alone because Hamas is preventing the people from practicing this right in Gaza.”
Electoral commission chief Hanna Nasser said that 393,572 ballots were cast, representing “nearly 50 percent of voters.” This was comparable to voter turnout in the previous municipal elections. However, Ramallah and Nablus saw turnout of less than 40 percent and 21 percent respectively.
IsraellyCool: WATCH: Shirley Temper Strikes Patient IDF Soldiers
Everyone’s favorite Pallywood child star was recently caught in action again, trying to entrap IDF soldiers into providing some great footage – by getting right into their faces and even striking them. She was joined by at least one other child and adults – who all seem to be part of the infamous Tamimi clan.
Unfortunately for her and her fellow instigators, the soldiers displayed great patience, and did not fall in to the trap.
I have to again emphasize she and her fellow child actors have been exploited and encouraged by their own parents, who have no compunctions about putting them in potential harm’s way – all for the potential propaganda value.
Note her own father Bassem Tamimi (blue shirt below) with camera in hand, trying to get a good shot. As well as a number of others.
Hamas on Tuesday announced that three Palestinian suspects had confessed to assassinating a senior member of the organization on the orders of Israeli intelligence officers.
Mazen Faqha, one of Hamas’s top terror masterminds, was killed with a silenced pistol in the garage of his apartment building on March 24.
In a press conference broadcast on its television channel, Hamas official Tawfiq Abu Na’im, director general of the Hamas-controlled Gaza interior ministry, said, “The security services were able to arrest the direct killer of Mazen Faqha.” They identified him only as a 38-year-old with the initials A.L.
“He confessed to the crime and his connection to Israeli security services,” Abu Na’im said.
They have been demanding improved conditions in Israeli jails, with Barghouti even alleging abuses in the prisons.
But Israel says prisoners’ conditions meet all international standards and released the letter of demands to show how soft they were.
Among the demands Barghouti made are 20 channels of television, unrestricted books and magazines, air conditioning, a greater selection of items available for purchase in the canteen, family visits, the restarting of open university studies, public telephone use, and annual medical checks for prisoners.
“The document shows how over the top the demands are, no country in the world would enter into negotiations with prisoners for such demands and certainly Israel, which is in a campaign against the terror organizations, will not agree to surrender to extortion and damage its deterrent against terrorists,” said Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.
When my fellow prisoners planned our hunger strike, we anticipated the traditional sympathetic depiction of our plight in the world press. Indeed, events began well, with such august institutions as The New York Times publishing my explication of the strike’s aims. But somewhere along the line, not long after I was filmed furtively eating cookies on my toilet, that shifted, and for some reason that eludes me, our nonviolent protest no longer receives the attention it deserves.
All the pieces were in place for maximum impact on public awareness and public opinion. We had local and international media lined up, with our narrative of justice denied, and rights trampled, primed for the campaign. Hundreds – we called it thousands – of Palestinians in Israeli prisons kicked off the hunger strike at the same time – an auspicious beginning. But then, factors came into play that I have yet to identify, and within days of my gorging myself on a crappy Israeli chocolate-covered wafer, suddenly my name and face were no longer front-page news.
It has proved a frustrating time. Some have pointed to the ongoing slaughter in Syria as attracting more media attention at our expense, but that has not posed a long-lived problem in the past; we Palestinians and our supporters have always managed to refocus the narrative on us as the ultimate victims once token treatment has been given to those unimportant non-Palestinians – or, I should say, Palestinians not currently engaged in an active effort to kill as many Jews as possible, since countless Palestinians living in Syria are numbered among the half-million dead in that civil war. We always succeed, via our partners in UN agencies and various NGOs, in reestablishing our position at the center of the news cycle. No, I believe something else, something more sinister, is at play here, and if we could but unwrap it, we might arrive at a satisfying, somewhat crispy, solution.
Turkey ordered the arrest of 85 energy and education ministry staff in an investigation targeting the network of a US-based cleric whom Ankara accuses of orchestrating last July’s attempted coup, broadcaster CNN Turk reported on Tuesday.
Some 50,000 people have been formally arrested in court cases targeting supporters of cleric Fethullah Gulen. President Tayyip Erdogan, who is meeting his US counterpart Donald Trump in Washington on Tuesday, is seeking Gulen’s extradition.
No details were immediately available on the latest arrest warrants which came after a court on Monday jailed the opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet’s online editor pending trial on a charge of spreading terrorist propaganda, the paper said.
Editor Oguz Guven joined a dozen Cumhuriyet journalists already in jail facing sentences of up to 43 years in prison, accused of supporting Gulen’s network.
Top officials from the Obama administration are working to stymie congressional pressure on Iran, including through a quiet push in Congress by an organization that has been criticized for helping mislead the public about the Iran deal, according to correspondence obtained by THE WEEKLY STANDARD.
The Ploughshares Fund, described by the Obama White House as a key promoter of the nuclear deal, distributed a letter to congressional staffers last week written by former Obama Treasury official Adam Szubin that harshly criticizes pending Iran sanctions legislation.
Ploughshares came under fire last May for giving hundreds and thousands of dollars to media outlets and fueling what Obama Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes admitted was an “echo chamber.” A Ploughshares official cc’d Szubin on the email with the letter, and welcomed congressional staffers to reach out to him for further discussion. The sanctions bill is expected to move forward in coming weeks.
“[The legislation] would provoke a terrible reaction in Iran and with our allies,” Szubin wrote in the letter, addressed to leaders of the foreign relations committee. “[It] would contribute no benefit, as it would impose no additional pressure on Iran’s malign activities outside of the nuclear space.”
The congressional push coincides with the launch of an organization backed by former Obama officials, with Secretary of State John Kerry at the fore, many of whom are vocal opponents of the sanctions legislation. The group, Diplomacy Works, aims to “promote, protect, and preserve” the nuclear deal by informing and influencing lawmakers, experts, and others, according to a statement on its website.
THE South Pole has been labelled a terror risk in farcical Foreign Office advice.
It issued the jihadi alert on its website over the British Antarctic Territory — a 660,000sq mile icy wilderness with penguins and seals.
Mandarins warned: “Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in the British Antarctic Territory, attacks can’t be ruled out. There’s a heightened threat globally against UK interests. Be vigilant.”
But security experts accused them of “pointless back-covering” after an inquest heard they failed to upgrade Tunisia travel advice before a 2015 massacre of 30 Brits.
Col Richard Kemp, who commanded Our Boys in Afghanistan and worked for the Government’s Cobra committee, said: “MI5’s then-Director-General once said there was a terror threat almost everywhere except Antarctica.
“Now they’ve put Antarctica on the list.
“We expect guidance based on intelligence, not a pointless exercise in back-covering — unless I’ve missed the Islamic State Polar Brigade.’’
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