April 21, 2024

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05/23 Links Pt1: Glick: Iconoclast in the Promised Land; The Manchester Arena and the Western Wall


From Ian:

Caroline Glick: Iconoclast in the Promised Land
Israelis are greeting US President Donald Trump with cautious optimism. Their optimism stems from President Trump’s iconoclasm. Trump won the US presidential election based on a campaign of rejecting the prevailing narratives on US domestic and foreign policy that have long held sway among the elites. These narratives dictate and limit the boundaries of acceptable discourse in the US. Unfortunately, their relationship with facts and truth was never more than incidental. Indeed, in recent years that incidental link has vanished altogether along a wide swath of policy areas. On the domestic front, the most obvious examples of this disconnect between the prevailing narratives that dictate policies and the facts that guarantee the failure of those policies relate to US immigration policy and US healthcare policy.
American voters elected Trump because whether or not they supported his specific immigration and healthcare policies, they appreciated his willingness to state openly that the policies now in effect are having devastating impacts on American society.
As far as foreign policy is concerned, Trump’s willingness to buck conventional wisdom was most in evidence in his full-throated rejection of the foreign policy establishment’s refusal to acknowledge the obvious link between Islam and Islamic terrorism. Likewise, his rejection of president Barack Obama’s nuclear and financial appeasement of the Iranian regime worked to his electoral advantage. The elite media, and much of the foreign policy community, along with Democratic lawmakers, willingly joined Obama’s echo chamber and peddled the narrative that the nuclear deal would empower so-called “moderates” in the Iranian regime against so-called “hardliners.”
In stark contrast, the majority of the American public recognized that empowering your enemy both financially and militarily is a recipe for disaster.

PMW: What should the world believe?

PA Chairman Abbas and other PA leaders often reiterate to foreign audiences that they desire peace with Israel and that they support and want to implement the two-state solution. Today Mahmoud Abbas told US President Donald Trump:
“Once again, we reassert to you our positions of accepting the two-state solution along the borders of 1967, the state of Palestine with its capital as East Jerusalem living alongside Israel in peace and security.” [The New York Times, May 23, 2017]
However this is contradicted by numerous statements by PA leaders to their own people and even to Palestinian children. PA religious leaders have even taught recognizing Israel is prohibited by Islam.
Most recently Khaled Mismar, member of the Palestinian National Council, the legislative body of the PLO, stated that “everyone knows” that despite agreeing to less, the real Palestinian goal is to eventually take all of Israel:
Palestinian National Council member Khaled Mismar: “The revolution broke out in 1965 (i.e., first Fatah terror attack) in order to liberate all of the land of Palestine (i.e., all of Israel), but circumstances didn’t permit it… We have fought, and we have withstood everything, all the plots, but we will realize our goal. True, we agreed to receive only 20 or 22 percent of Palestine (i.e., West Bank and Gaza Strip), but a right is never lost as long as someone demands it. Every one of us knows what our goal is (i.e., to ‘liberate all of Palestine’).” [Official PA TV, Topic of the Day, May 15, 2017]

The Manchester Arena and the Western Wall

As long as the Jews cannot enforce their claim to Jerusalem and to the site of the ancient Temple, much of the Muslim world believes, their presence can be regarded as temporary, and the humiliation as tolerable–a punishment from Allah for insufficient devotion to Mohammed’s revelation. Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem is not compatible with the prejudice that Israel has been replaced as God’s people. That is why Jerusalem has been the wedge issue in Mideast diplomacy for the past several years, and why President Trump’s presence at the Kotel represents such a dramatic change.
If the Manchester atrocity responded to Trump’s actions in Jerusalem as well as Riyadh, why attack England rather than the United States? An attack on America in response to a well-received and popular intervention by an American president would galvanize American opinion behind Trump. But the British are squishy. Britain voted for Resolution 2334 while America abstained, to appease its large Muslim population and to foster its residual influence in the Muslim world. France and Russia also voted for 2334, and all of Western Europe supported it.
Postmodern Europe has long since abandoned religion; to profess faith in a personal God is prima facie evidence of mental defect among the European elite. Europe thinks the Muslims are crazy, to be sure, but there are a lot of them, and the path of least resistance is to mollify them. Why should we suffer for the religious delusions of the Jews?, the Europeans ask themselves. The Manchester bombing, I surmise, is an attack on the soft underbelly of the West, whereas a frontal attack on the United States would elicit a decisive response. The Europeans, who want to manage their long, sickening decline without too much trouble, tend to blame Israeli intransigence for their problems. If only Israel were more like Denmark or Luxembourg, the Europeans tell themselves, none of these terrible things would be happening. The appeaser hopes the crocodile will eat him last.
Postmodern America–the America of Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, of campus speech codes and safe spaces and progressive virtue-signalling–agrees with the Europeans. So does the shrinking, isolated Israeli left. But most of America senses an existential bond with the State of Israel; in contrast to Europe, where Israel ranks next to Iran as the world’s least-regarded country, Americans support Israel against the Arabs by a margin of more than 4:1. America’s sense of identity is imprinted with the image of Israel.
Barack Obama appeased the terrorists, most abjectly Iran. Donald Trump declared war on them and came in person in an unprecedented action to stand by Israel. We should not forget that this is a war, and we are in its early stages.

Something for everyone to love in Trump’s Israel Museum speech

US President Donald Trump’s speech at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem on Tuesday was widely praised by Israeli politicians, with both right-wing and left-wing lawmakers finding in his address a message they could support.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett of the pro-settlement Jewish Home party called the speech “nearly unprecedented,” noting its friendly tone and vows to keep Iran from getting a nuclear bomb.
Bennett did not mention, however, the fact that Trump did not answer his call to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, or even part of Israel, which he asked the US president to do while shaking his hand at Ben Gurion International Airport on Monday.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan highlighted Trump’s call for an end to Palestinian incitement against Israel.
“President Trump [gave] a historic speech on our connection to the land,” he tweeted. “His unequivocal demand from the Palestinian Authority to stop hate education and funding terror is a clear backing of our position. Proud.”
“In the wake of Trump’s speech, there is a unique opportunity to build a new coalition against terror, that will include Israel, the Sunni states and the West,” he added. Full text

Evelyn Gordon: There Won’t Be Peace While the Power Is Out

Donald Trump and the mainstream press may act like enemies on many issues, but they are the closest of allies when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Trump spouts fantasies about making Israeli-Palestinian peace, and Western media dutifully fails to report any news that might disrupt these fantasies, such as what the Palestinians’ two rival governments are actually doing to their own people right now.
If journalists were doing their jobs, they would ask Trump and his advisors one simple question: How exactly do you expect the Palestinians to make peace with Israel when both Palestinian governments have chosen to deprive their people of basic necessities–including electricity and medical care—to support anti-Israel terror?
Earlier this month, for instance, an Arab hospital in Jerusalem that mainly treats Palestinians announced it would no longer accept patients from either the West Bank or Gaza because the Palestinian Authority owes it so much money that it can no longer afford to buy medicines. The hospital, Augusta Victoria, said it urgently needs 23 million shekels ($6.4 million) to replenish its stocks. The PA’s unpaid debts to it total 150 million ($42 million).
Medicines are in similarly short supply in Gaza because, about two weeks ago, the Fatah-run PA stopped paying for them. Normally, the PA sends a shipment of medicines to Gaza every two months. But the last shipment arrived more than three months ago, and supplies of many drugs have been exhausted. Gaza’s Hamas-run government refuses to act in Fatah’s stead.

Trump deplores ‘evil losers’ who bombed Manchester concert

Manchester police said an apparent suicide bomber set off an improvised explosive device at the end of an Ariana Grande concert in the northeastern UK city. Many of those killed and injured were reportedly children.
“I extend my deepest condolences to those terribly injured in this terrorist attack, and to the many killed, and the families, so many families, of the victims,” Trump said. “We stand in absolute solidarity with the people in the United Kingdom. So many young innocent people living and enjoying their lives, murdered by evil losers in life.
“I won’t call them monsters, because they would like that term,” he continued. “They would think that’s a great name. I will call them from now on losers, because that’s what they are, they’re losers. and we’ll have more of them, but they’re losers. Just remember that.”
Trump noted that combating terror has been a key topic of discussion during his visit to Israel and, before that, Saudi Arabia over the weekend.
“This is what I’ve spent these last few days talking about during my trip overseas,” he said. “Our society can have no tolerance for this continuation of bloodshed. We cannot stand a moment longer for the slaughter of innocent people.
“The terrorists and extremists and those who give them aid and comfort must be driven out from our society forever,” Trump continued, echoing his own speech in Riyadh on Sunday when he urged Arab states to “drive out” terror ideology from their midst. “This wicked ideology must be obliterated, and I mean completely obliterated, and innocent life must be protected. All civilized nations must join together to protect human life and the sacred right of our citizens to live in safety and in peace.”

Trump: I offer prayers to those affected in UK attack

Kay Wilson: From A British Survivor Of Islamic Terror To The UK And Manchester

While the police are collecting body parts of British children spread around the Manchester arena, it is reported that the British public are determined to carry on as “business as usual.”
This Business As Usual, is an admirable attitude that helped the British people survive the Nazi Blitz during WWII.
But this is not the Blitz.
Because during the Blitz, the British were not afraid to say who their enemy was. Having identified their enemy, they fought their enemy and defeated their enemy. They didn’t just express their horror, or send their thoughts, or say a prayer, or light a candle, or hold a vigil.
Actually it is Business As Usual, because Business As Usual is the unwillingness to challenge the Islamic political ideology that infests British school curriculums, infects British media and is rampant in so-called “charities” which channel donations to fund terrorism. This Business As Usual is also preached in sermons in British mosques and can be heard in city parks. Business As Usual, spews out hate against Jews and Christians, Business As Usual vilifies Zionists, Business As Usual marches on English cobbled streets and demands the implementation of Sharia Law. Business As Usual ensures that British Jewish schools, British Jewish institutions and British synagogues, need protection night and day.

Islamic State Claims Responsibility for Manchester Arena Attack

A suicide bomber killed at least 22 people and wounded 59 at a packed concert hall in the English city of Manchester in what Prime Minister Theresa May called a sickening act targeting children and young people.
Islamic State, now being driven from territories in Syria and Iraq by Western-backed armed forces, said it carried out the attack. Some experts discounted this, noting there was no evidence of direct involvement and that details of the IS claim – in two contradictory postings – contrasted with the British police account.
Police announced a 23-year-old man had been arrested in connection with the attack, carried out late on Monday evening as people began leaving a concert given by Ariana Grande, a U.S. singer who attracts a large number of young and teenage fans.
In a statement made outside her Downing Street offices after a meeting with security and intelligence chiefs, May said police believed they knew the identity of the bomber.
“All acts of terrorism are cowardly,” she said. “But this attack stands out for its appalling sickening cowardice, deliberately targeting innocent, defenseless children and young people who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives.”
The attack came less than three weeks before a national election.

Elliott Abrams: What the President’s Riyadh Speech Got Right, and What It Overlooked

Donald Trump’s speech in the Saudi capital on Sunday was expected to be a definitive statement on the problem of Islamist terror and American relations with the Muslim world more broadly. While finding much to praise in the address, Elliott Abrams also finds much lacking:
Twice President Trump called Islamist terrorism and extremism an “ideology,” suggesting that he understands it to be a belief system. But he appeared to be arguing that military action alone would defeat it. It won’t: Islamist extremism is a terrible and dangerous idea, and it will not be defeated by military action alone. We need other, better ideas to battle against extremist ideas. To put it another way, Trump’s military approach would work if terrorists had dropped out of the sky like creatures in some action movie about the invasion of earth. But terrorists don’t descend upon us like that: they actually emerge from the societies whose leaders he was addressing.
Why? That is the great question that Trump buried. Why in the last several decades do Muslim societies produce brutal terrorist murderers? . . .
Trump also, though with reason, stayed completely away from the embarrassing fact that Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi Islam is at least a gateway drug for extremism. All around the world, Saudi money is being used to suppress indigenous forms of Islam. Saudi preachers, mosques, and schools teach that local and moderate versions of Islam are impure and must be replaced by the only true version: the Saudi Wahhabi version. But that version of Islam treats unbelievers with contempt and often hatred, oppresses women, and opposes democracy. It would have been impolite and in fact nasty for Trump to say this in public as a guest in Saudi Arabia, but one wonders what he said privately. . .

Dershowitz on Trump in Israel: ‘I Think the President Is Saying and Doing All the Right Things’

Monday on Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends,” Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz sang the praises of President Donald Trump for his trip to Israel.
Dershowitz pointed to Trump’s gestures on the Iran nuclear deal and his visit to the Western Wall as the actions that were the most noteworthy.
“It is terrific what is going on,” Dershowitz said. “I think the president is saying and doing all the right things. His statement that Iran will never ever be allowed to develop nuclear weapons is very different from the deal President Obama made. And so that was a very important statement. He’s going to the Western Wall.”
“Look, Obama allowed the United States not to veto the stupidest U.N. solution ever, which suggested the Western Wall isn’t part of Israel,” he continued. “Remember, it was supposed to be international. Jordan captured it illegally 50 years ago. Israel liberated it 50 years ago and allowed everybody go to the Western Wall. And that’s not legal? So, I’m so glad President Trump is going to the Western Wall.”

Ben-Dror Yemini: Saudi Arabia, kingdom of hatred, fighting radicalization?

In his speech in Riyadh on Sunday, US President Donald Trump announced the opening of a new Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology. Since the announcement was made in all seriousness and not as a satire, it was one of the unfortunate moments of the war on radicalization. It seems the gap between words and reality has never been bigger.
There were many nice words in the speech, even appropriate words. But while Trump talks about opening the joint center, Saudi Arabia keeps funneling a fortune towards the funding of Islamic radicalization. Trump spoke about soldiers from the Gulf who are fighting terror, but as we speak, Saudi tycoons keep funding the Taliban, with the leadership’s knowledge.
It’s safe to assume that Trump did not read Dr. Dore Gold’s critically-acclaimed book “Hatred’s Kingdom” before leaving for Saudi Arabia. Nor has he read Prof. Vali Nasr’s research on the massive Saudi funding of the distribution of Wahhabism and Salafism in the past few decades, which created the ideological infrastructure for global jihad and the huge wave of terror that is troubling the West and mercilessly hitting the Muslims themselves.
This massive funding, of course, goes hand in hand with the fact that Saudi Arabia is one of the most unenlightened countries in the world. Forty-nine countries are defined as “not free” in the 2017 Freedom in the World index. Saudi Arabia is among the bottom 10. Nevertheless, Saudi Arabia is at the center of a double paradox: On the one hand, it offered endless support to Salafist organizations, but has become the bitter enemy of global jihad because of its cooperation with the United States; on the other hand, it has not learned its lesson and keeps funneling a fortune to education systems, Islamic centers, imams and mosque that continue along the same Salafist line.

Trump wins applause vowing to protect Israel from Hamas, ISIS and Iran

In US President Donald Trump’s final speech in Israel on Tuesday, he praised Jerusalem’s diversity and vowed to stand with Israel in the global war on terror.
“I am honored to be In the ancient city of Jerusalem to address the Israeli people and all people in the Middle East who yearn for security, prosperity and peace,” he said. Jerusalem is a sacred city. Its beauty, splendor and heritage are like no other place on earth. What a heritage, what heritage. The ties of the Jewish people to this holy land are ancient and eternal. They date back thousands of years, including the reign of Kind David, whose star now flies proudly on Israelis’ white an blue flag.”
“Israel is testament to the unbreakable spirit of the Jewish people,” he continued. “From all parts of this great country, one message resounds, and that is the message of hope. Down through the ages, the Jewish people have suffered persecution, oppression, and… [others have] sought their destruction,” he said. “I make this promise to you: My administration will always stand with Israel.” This remark earned an additional handshake from Netanyahu.
After reiterating that civilized nations must band together against terror, he said, “Israelis are murdered by terrorists wielding knives… Hamas and Hezbollah launch rockets into Israeli communities where school children… must run to the bomb shelters with fear but with speed. ISIS targets Jewish neighborhoods, synagogues… and Iran’s leaders routinely call for Israel’s destruction. Not with Donald J. Trump.” At this, the rose to a standing ovation, as Netanyahu pumped his fist in support. “I like you, too,” Trump said in response.

Trump on Iran ‘Routinely’ Calling for Israel’s Destruction: ‘Not With Donald J. Trump, Believe Me’

President Donald Trump on Tuesday spoke at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, where he delivered a stern warning to Iran about calling for Israel’s destruction.
Trump reiterated that the United States is “firmly committed to keep Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and halting their support of terrorists and militias.”
“So we are telling you right now that Iran will not have nuclear weapons,” the president added, standing alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Trump also received applause from the crowd for pledging to Israel that his administration would “stand by you and defend our shared values so that together we can defeat terrorism and create safety for all of God’s children.”
“Israelis are murdered by terrorists wielding knives and bombs,” Trump said. “Hamas and Hezbollah launch rockets into Israeli communities where school children have to be trained to hear the sirens and to run to the bomb shelters with fear but with speed. ISIS targets Jewish neighborhoods, synagogues, and store fronts.”
“And Iran’s leaders routinely call for Israel’s destruction,” the president added. “Not with Donald J. Trump. Believe me.”

At Yad Vashem, Trump says Holocaust ‘the most savage crime against God’

US President Donald Trump paid his respects to the victims of the Holocaust at Israel’s Yad Vashem national memorial during a short visit on Tuesday.
Speaking at the site’s Hall of Remembrance, Trump said, “We are here at Yad Vashem to honor the memory of six million Jews who were sent to their deaths. Words can never describe the bottomless depth of that evil.”
He referred to the genocide as history’s darkest hour, and said “millions of beautiful lives” were taken.
The Holocaust, Trump said, was “the most savage crime against God and His children and it is our solemn duty to mourn every life that was so viciously taken.”
Accompanied by his wife, Melania, and daughter and son-in-law Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, the president laid a wreath, carried by two US Marines in formal dress, in honor of the dead.
Trump also lit a remembrance flame and listened to a cantor sing the El Maleh Rahamim (“God Full of Mercy”) prayer, a traditional dirge for the dead.

Led by Netanyahu at Yad Vashem, Israelis Offer Solidarity and Prayers for Manchester Terror Victims

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday strongly condemned the previous night’s suicide bombing outside a pop concert in the English city of Manchester, in which 22 people were murdered and more than 50 were wounded.
Speaking alongside visiting US President Donald Trump at Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial, Netanyahu emphasized the need to confront the “barbarians…who are sadly still with us.”
“The slaughter of innocents must be unconditionally condemned and unflinchingly confronted no matter where it occurs — in Manchester, San Bernardino or Jerusalem: terror is terror is terror,” Netanyahu said. “We must all unite to defeat it.”
Turning to Trump — who earlier referred to the perpetrators of the Manchester attack, which ISIS has claimed responsibility for, as “evil losers” — Netanyahu continued, “Mr. President, today you called the terrorists losers. I know you agree with me that it’s our job to make sure that they continue to lose. We will defeat them.”
In a message of support sent to Mark Rylands, the British ambassador to the UN, his Israeli counterpart Danny Danon stated: “We send our condolences to the families of the victims of the horrific attack in Manchester and pray for a speedy recovery for the wounded. Israel stands by your side and we pledge to fight together with you against the forces of terror who seek to harm the free world.”

Trump features photo of himself at Western Wall as Twitter header

US President Donald Trump was evidently moved by his visit Monday to the Western Wall in Jerusalem. So moved that he’s felt compelled to feature as his Twitter header a picture of himself at Judaism’s holiest active prayer site.
On Monday evening, Trump had changed the background image of his notorious social media account to a photograph of himself with his right hand on the wall, eyes closed, seemingly in prayer or reflection.
The move came hours after Trump made history as the first sitting American president to visit the site located in Jerusalem’s Old City. He was accompanied by his wife Melania and Jewish relatives; his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka, also an adviser.
Donning a black kippah, Trump placed a note deep inside one of the cracks of the wall. Besides the presidential delegation, security, media, Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch and some others, the location was emptied of worshippers to accommodate the presidential visit.

The two-state tango is over

Israeli leaders, on the other hand, propose no alternative to a “two-state solution.” At best, they insist on keeping three large settlement blocs and Jerusalem as a united city and retaining control of the Jordan Valley. Not only is this unacceptable to Arab and Palestinian leaders, it is also wildly unrealistic. No Israeli government would consider further withdrawals from Area C in Judea and Samaria.
Moreover, core issues, such as eastern Jerusalem, the Temple Mount and the Palestinian “right of return” remain for Arabs “non-negotiable.“
Israel can promote a “solution” that sustains and is consistent with its own vital interests—sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, not only for strategic reasons, but because it is historically, legally and demographically part of the State of Israel.
The more Israel clings to plans for a Palestinian state that include most of Judea and Samaria, the more it undermines its legitimate claims and weakens its diplomatic position. An assertion of sovereignty, at least in Area C, in which 450,000 Jews live, along with an estimated 40,000 Arabs, would insure Israel’s vital strategic interests. Arabs living in areas under Israeli control could choose from a variety of options: Apply for Israeli citizenship, or residency; maintain their citizenship in Jordan and/or the Palestinian Authority; or resettle with compensation. Arab refugees and their descendants living under UNRWA’s sponsorship should be offered full citizenship in the countries where they reside.
A Palestinian state west of the Jordan River, as late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin insisted, is not an option.
Dancing alone may not be as satisfying as it is with someone else, and it can be a liberating experience; but dancing with someone who wants to trip you makes no sense.

Why Israelis Don’t Care Whether the U.S. Moves Its Embassy to Jerusalem

Celebrating Israel’s 69th independence day at the White House, Vice President Mike Pence recently reprised administration rhetoric on the matter. “The president of the United States, as we speak,” he told applauding partygoers in the Indian Treaty Room, “is giving serious consideration into moving the American Embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson struck a more tentative figure over the weekend, possibly foreshadowing Trump’s plans to indeed exercise his presidential waiver and leave the embassy where it stands. When Tillerson tried passing the buck, suggesting that Israel might view the move as “perhaps a distraction” to a peace initiative, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired back that “the contrary” was in fact true. Adding to the confusion, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the Christian Broadcasting Network on Tuesday, “Obviously, I believe that the capital should be Jerusalem and the embassy should be moved to Jerusalem because if you look at all their government is in Jerusalem. So much of what goes on is in Jerusalem and I think we have to see that for what it is.”
To be sure, a rare consensus of Israeli Jews endorses Jerusalem as their nation’s capital. They feel strongly that all friends of Israel—first and foremost among them, the United States—should also confer this status on the original City upon a Hill. In their eyes, documents like last month’s UNESCO resolution, which branded Israel as an “occupying Power” in Jerusalem, are not only prejudicial and offensive, but they fly in the face of Israel’s bona fide legal and historical rights in the holy city.
If you engage Israelis in conversation, however, many of them express ambivalence about the embassy question. While they believe unabashedly that all foreign missions should be situated in Jerusalem, they largely reject any portrayal of this project as some form of “concession” to Israel. Few would be willing to proffer any substantial quid in return for what is regarded as little more than a symbolic quo.
From an Israeli perspective, moving the U.S. Embassy would simply correct an injustice and affirm existing reality. Beyond that, it would be of scant practical importance. Today’s Jerusalem is a cosmopolitan venue, a tourist mecca bustling with cultural activity. Home to Israel’s “White House,” its Supreme Court, its Parliament and almost all institutions of its government, Jerusalem hosts world leaders on a daily basis. They stay in its grand hotels and dine at its critically acclaimed restaurants. Leaving aside the mundane concerns of its residents, Jerusalem, by all accounts, is managing pretty well. If anything, it is members of the diplomatic corps who would be the primary beneficiaries of the embassy’s relocation, spared the need to travel back and forth from Tel Aviv to conduct their official business.

Trump Breaks the Diplomatic Mold

The intentional contrast this reception struck with Barack Obama’s 2014 trip to the Saudi Kingdom was stark. Upon Obama’s arrival, King Salman dispatched only his distant nephew, the provincial governor of Riyadh, to meet the leader of the free world. The Obama White House did its best to save face, but the snub was a clear indication that tensions surrounding Iran nuclear deal, the ongoing bloodshed in Syria, and Obama’s explicit antipathy toward the Saudi Kingdom as a nation unworthy of an alliance with America.
From Saudi Arabia, Trump traveled directly to Israel—itself a shift in convention—where he was also greeted warmly. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife met the president and first lady at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv. Using his remarks alongside Trump to issue a veiled rebuke of Obama, Netanyahu noted: “We appreciate the reassertion of American leadership in the Middle East.”
President Obama entered office with the objective of creating a new power balance in the region that would allow the United States to withdraw confidently. The former president’s stated belief that America’s alliance toward Israel “erodes our credibility with the Arab states” in combination with his mistrust toward Sunni Arab states like Saudi Arabia and Egypt left him with few ways of achieving that goal. There’s a cosmic irony in the fact that Obama’s navel-gazing paved the way for a radically new and promising dynamic to emerge in the Middle East. Conceptually, the strategy Trump is pursuing in the Middle East is wildly divergent from his predecessors. He is effectively abandoning the idea that there can be no resolution of the Arab World’s hostility toward Israel without first creating a Palestinian state.
As recently as February, administration sources began providing details to the press about a proposed pan-Sunni military alliance designed to both counter Islamist extremism and a resurgent Iran. That alliance would include states with unfrozen relations with Israel, like Egypt and Jordan, and nations like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which do not recognize the Jewish state. According to a recent bombshell report, however, the prospect of a radical relaxation in tensions between Israel and the Arab World is real.

No, Ivanka Is Mislead By Israel’s Government Policy

Being petty: Ivanka [Trump]…posted about what was undoubtedly a moving personal moment on her social media channels:
I am grateful to have experienced a deeply meaningful visit to the holiest site of my faith and to leave a private note of prayer.
Unfortunately for Ivanka, or whoever runs her social media accounts, she gave expression to a common misconception about the Western Wall. In actuality, the site only draws its sanctity from the adjacent Temple Mount, the holiest place in Judaism where both Jewish Temples once stood. (The wall is called the Western Wall because it surrounded said Temple from the West.)
And Rosenberg gives two reasons:
One reason that some mistakenly believe the Wall to be the holiest site in Judaism is that many Jews refuse to step foot on the Temple Mount due to its sanctity, though a minority of religious authorities permit the practice. Another reason for the misconception is that even those Jews who do visit the Mount are forbidden to pray on it by the Islamic Waqf that controls the area, leaving the Wall as the world’s most conspicuous Jewish prayer site…
So I responded with the real reason:
It’s Israel’s ‘holiest’ site. As gov’t won’t let us do anything ‘holy’ on the Temple Mount, @IvankaTrump has been fooled by our gov’t.
It’s actually Israel’s government policy that is at fault.

Trump Can Break the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse

While the “land for peace” formula — pressuring Israel to hand over land to those it has defeated for the promise of peace to come — pleased Arab governments and career diplomats at the State Department, it was a disaster on the ground. Each new concession was seen by Palestinian leaders as signaling an Israeli weakness ripe for exploitation, stoking their fantasies of ultimate victory and thus prolonging the misery of the Palestinian people and everyone involved.
History shows that wars end definitively only when one side has no more hope at all of success, as happened in Germany and Japan after World War II. The Palestinians still have not given up their fantasy of a Palestinian state “from the river to the sea.”
The best way for Washington to advance a peace process is by convincing the Palestinian leaders of Israel’s insurmountable strength. “After the leadership recognizes this reality, the Palestinian population at large will follow, as will eventually other Arab and Muslim states, leading to a resolution of the conflict,” explains Middle East Forum President Daniel Pipes, the driving intellectual force behind the newly-created Israel Victory Congressional Caucus.

Re-setting Israeli and American relations: The Trump visit

Middle East Analyst, Professor Eugene Kontorovich, briefed reporters earlier this week at the Jerusalem Press Club, giving his views on the Trump presidency, which he believes has already revealed a fundamentally different approach on US-Israel relations.
President Obama, for example, saw it as crucial in American foreign policy to create daylight between Israel and the US, but Kontorovich does not believe that policy yielded much fruit. In creating open conflicts and diplomatic rifts with Israel, Obama thought it would give America the credibility needed in the Arab world to secure some kind of diplomatic deal. Kontorovich disagrees: “That daylight process was actively implemented for eight years. And, I think we can all see the results eight years later. At the end of the Obama Administration, the US had less credibility than ever in the Arab world — nothing to do with relations with Israel.”
Upon his inauguration, Obama took to the Middle East process in a strong way, sending his Middle East negotiator to Israel in 2008. Then, immediately after coming into office, Obama called for a settlement freeze… a complete halt on any Israeli civilian population expansion in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria), including specific areas of Jerusalem.
Kontorovich explains that the settlement freeze, especially in its very strong and absolute terms, which was different than previous administrations (which sought only slow-downs or limits), became a big hallmark of the Obama Administration. “Such that, whenever there was any kind of announcement that Israel was going to build some housing units in previous uncontroversial neighborhoods in Jerusalem, it became a major diplomatic flap that would come to define relations with America for eight years.”

Trump, Israel and the importance of symbols

By its nature, a 28-hour visit is going to be more symbolic than substantive, so the symbols themselves take on greater meaning.
His visiting Israel on his first trip was only one symbol. There was also the symbolism of his flying directly from Riyadh to Tel Aviv, believed to the first time this has been done, with the Saudis up until now forbidding any such flights because it might perceived as direct public ties with a country with whom it is still in a state of war.
Trump said in the afternoon the Saudis have a “very positive” view of Israel, and this direct flight was a small symbol of changing attitudes.
But the most powerful symbol was Trump’s visit to the Western Wall, the first sitting US president to touch the wall’s ancient stones. And although that visit may not have been everything Israel wanted, since Netanyahu was not allowed to accompany him, Trump was met there by the rabbi of the Western Wall, Shmuel Rabinowitz, and was photographed with a kippa on his head, touching the wall and putting in a note.
At a time when the Palestinians, and other in the world, are trying to negate Israelis connection to the Temple Mount, that photo sends a very powerful signal to the contrary.

A Dose Of Reality in Riyadh

In fact, it was all quite masterfully done. Early on in his speech, Trump addressed his audience as friends and partners; within a few minutes, without pointing a finger, and without abandoning the collegial tone or the complimentary language, made it clear he was lecturing them. He was the boss, the capo di tutti capi, and he was laying down terms. This wasn’t Obama, who naively thought he could change the world with groveling apologies for the West, praise for Islam built on sheer fantasy, and yet another retelling of his own supposedly inspiring personal story – all the while oozing beta-male deference and docility. No; this was a man of power who – never once talking about himself – made expert use of that power, wielding an iron fist in a velvet glove. His message was unmistakable: either set aside this stupid religion (or at least rein it in, and now), join the modern world, and set your people free to dream, hope, create, grow, and prosper. Or else face the consequences. When, at the end, he summed up the assets of the Islamic world, he didn’t even mention Islam: he cited, among other things, its “spirit of enterprise” and ambitious young people. Where Obama had falsely attributed all kinds of past wonders to Islam, Trump imagined an implicitly Islam-free future in which the region could finally enjoy “glorious wonders of science, art, medicine, and commerce to inspire mankind.”
Yes, it would have been terrific to hear an American president spell out the truth about Islam in a less nuanced, less diplomatic fashion. And it was frankly bizarre to hear Trump, in his closing moments, singling Iran out as uniquely malevolent after having heaped praise on other equally nefarious regimes whose leaders were right there in the room with him. But we critics of Islam have our jobs and Trump has his. Given the occasion and the purpose, this was, even at its worst, an immense improvement over Obama’s Cairo oration, and, at its best, a convincing assertion of authority, a strongly pitched demand for radical transformation, and a perfectly calibrated use of the carrot-and-stick approach.
No, international Islam is almost certainly beyond meaningful reform. But history has shown that it can at least be contained and controlled in ways that give citizens of Muslim-majority countries a certain degree of freedom and that keep to a minimum the scale of violence in the West originating in those countries. (The rampant Islamization of the West, and the concomitant increase in home-grown Islamic terror, are separate questions.) And no, a single speech can’t accomplish much of anything. But Trump’s tough presentation in Riyadh, if followed up by equally tough interactions with our “friends” in that audience, may well get a few things, here and there, moving in welcome directions.

Trump to Abbas: Peace won’t come where violence ‘rewarded’

In his first visit to the Palestinian Authority, US President Donald Trump issued implicit criticism of Palestinian funding for imprisoned terrorists, while praising the counterterrorism efforts of the PA and urging condemnation of terror attacks “in a single unified voice.”
Trump spoke alongside PA President Mahmoud Abbas at the latter’s presidential compound in Bethlehem Tuesday. The two men began their respective statements with condemnations of the apparent suicide bombing in Manchester the night before.
“Peace can never take root in an environment where violence is tolerated, funded and even rewarded,” Trump said, in an apparent reference to the salaries paid by the PA to jailed Palestinian terrorists and to the families of Palestinian prisoners killed while committing terror attacks. “We must be resolute in condemning such acts in a single unified voice,” he said.
Trump also promised American help to renew long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Schumer calls on Trump to press Abbas on incitement

Sen. Charles Schumer, the Democratic leader in the Senate, called on US President Donald Trump to press Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to “immediately” end incitement when they meet Tuesday.
“If President Trump plans to use this gathering to help pave the way towards peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, he should urge President Abbas to immediately pursue a new path,” Schumer, a Democrat of New York, said in an email to JTA on Monday evening, the eve of Trump’s meeting with Abbas in Bethlehem.
Schumer, who is Jewish and close to pro-Israel groups, called on Trump to demand that Abbas end the practice of paying subsidies to the families of Palestinians who are jailed or who have been killed and who have carried out attacks on Israelis. He also said the Palestinians should stop naming streets and institutions after terrorists, and should enhance education for coexistence.

6 Unlikely Figures Praising President Trump’s Israel, Middle East Trip

President Donald Trump’s trip to the Middle East and Israel has been remarkably successful. Trump became the first sitting president to visit the Western Wall, he gave a rousing speech against terrorism in Saudi Arabia, and he took a strong stance for peace with Israel and its neighbors.
This has brought praise for Trump from some rather unlikely corners. Here are six figures who praised the president for his Middle East trip.
1. Ali Vitali at MSNBC.
On Sunday, NBC News’ White House reporter, Ali Vitali, praised President Trump on MSNBC, explaining “his attempt to solidify personal relationships” across the Middle East and with countries like Japan and China.
“You saw it from yesterday, even with just the celebratory scene he had at the airport and all of the kind of pomp and circumstance that surrounded yesterday’s events,” Vitali said of Trump’s arrival in Saudi Arabia. “You did see a lot of excitement from the part of the Saudi government in welcoming [Trump] and receiving him.”
Vitali described “a lot of synergy between these two governments, and I think that when you compare that to the Obama administration, a lot of it has to do with the Trump administration and the president’s specific rhetoric on countries like Iran. Saudi Arabia is, of course, concerned about Iran, as the United States has expressed its position from the Trump administration. That really is a point of connectivity for these two governments.”

EXCLUSIVE – Mike Huckabee to Trump: Ignore Detractors and Move U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem

Speaking to Breitbart News during a trip to Israel, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee hailed President Donald Trump’s historic trip to Israel and urged the president to fulfil his campaign promise to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem despite pressure against such a move.
“I think this is a historic trip,” said Huckabee. “He made the first ever flight from Riyadh to Tel Aviv. We had the first sitting U.S. president go to the Western Wall and offer a prayer. I think that is incredibly significant.”
Huckabee said that Trump has been “very vocal in his support for Israel and I think that the people here sense it.”
Continued Huckabee:
I also hope with all my heart that he will keep his campaign promise to move the U.S. embassy. I know there is enormous pressure for him not to do that. The rationale is that it will make certain people unhappy. Whoever those people are, they are unhappy already. They are not going to be made happy by the location of the U.S. embassy.

Secretary Of State Rex Tillerson Can’t Stop Saying Stupid Things About Jerusalem And Judaism

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson seems to be a little confused lately. As President Trump meets with Israeli and Palestinian officials on his first international tour as president, Tillerson is making an already tense trip in a volatile region of the world far more complicated than it needs to be. At this point, it would be better if the former Exxon-Mobil executive just stayed still and remained silent. Unfortunately, he can’t stop saying stupid things about Jerusalem and Judaism.
Exhibit A:

Tel Aviv is many things, but it’s far from the home of Judaism. The modern metropolis is home to beautiful beaches, Vegas-esque nightlife attractions, discos, delicious restaurants, and, of course, Israel’s powerhouse tech sector. But there’s very little that’s distinctly “Jewish” about the coastal city, aside from the fact that large numbers of Jews happen to live there. As one of the many lively cities in the Jewish State, Tel Aviv can be thought of as more of a Western-style, familiar tourist destination than the heartland of Jewish piety, ritual, and devotion.
Tillerson’s glaring mischaracterization of Tel Aviv only makes sense in the context of the Trump administration’s wavering policy on the actual home of Judaism, Jerusalem.

Andrea Mitchell: Netanyahu Gave a ‘Triple Slam’ to Obama

Monday on MSNBC, NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell said during a joint press conference with President Donald Trump in Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used the occasion to do a “triple-slam against former President Obama.”
Mitchell said, “I think one of the most notable things, though, was that Prime Minister Netanyahu was so confrontational in his remarks. He took a real slap at Barack Obama by saying that he was congratulating, praising President Trump for his new policy on Iran, for his retaliation against Assad on chemicals, something that as we know, President Obama did not do, and for reasserting American leadership, U.S. leadership in the Middle East. So that was a triple-slam against former President Obama. You don’t usually hear that from a foreign leader.”

Matthews: Israel Is ‘Humiliating’ Peaceful Businesspeople in Palestine, They’ll ‘Fight Back’ Against Being ‘Bullied’

On Monday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Hardball,” anchor Chris Matthews stated Israel is “screwing” and “humiliating” peaceful businesspeople in Palestine and wondered when those people will explode, because “people get bullied for so long, and then they fight back.”
Matthews said, “You know who they’re screwing? … [W]hen you go over there to the Palestinian territories–sure, there are terrorists. And they should be punished, by the people over there. That’s where I think they’ve got to act. Then you have these Palestinian business guys, regular guys like us, just regular people. They’re peaceful. They are being bothered every day of their life they try do to business. They have to sit there with some Israeli soldier pointing his gun at them for 3 or 4 hours at every checkpoint. They’re humiliating these people. And then when’s that cauldron going to blow, Jim? I just wonder when these people are going to blow. They’re going to say, no more negotiation, one-state solution. We’re not going to even go for two-state anymore.”
He added, “I think people get bullied for so long, and then they fight back.”

EXCLUSIVE – Fatah Official: No Regional Peace Deal Before Palestinian State

The Palestinian Authority should not accept a larger regional peace initiative that does not aim to create a Palestinian state, senior Fatah official and member of the movement’s Revolutionary Council, Ahmad Guneim, told Breitbart Jerusalem in an interview.
“We will not agree to pay the price of a regional peace initiative at the expense of resolving the Palestinian issue,” Guneim said, referring to reports the U.S. may seek to involve Arab countries in larger regional peace talks.
Guneim stressed that any American initiative must be based on the so-called Arab Peace Initiative.
“Of course, we are committed to and support the Arab peace initiative; the problem is that [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu wants to implement this initiative from Z to A when we insist it be implemented from A to Z, meaning to begin with a solution to the Palestinian problem and then move forward to a regional agreement.”

Palestinian Security Forces Unable to Move Protest Tent Prior to Trump Trip to Bethlehem

A senior source in the Palestinian Authority has told Breitbart Jerusalem that Palestinian security forces were unable to convince activists claiming to support prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails since last month to abandon a protest tent that was erected near the entrance to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
President Trump is due in Bethlehem on Tuesday for a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Clashes broke out not far from the tent between Palestinian security forces and the young Palestinian protesters showing their support for the prisoners on hunger strike. The clashes eventually spread to one of the checkpoints between Bethlehem and Jerusalem, where a young Palestinian was shot by Israeli soldiers and policemen after he tried to stab an Israeli soldier.
Since it was announced that the U.S. president plans to visit Bethlehem, the activists announced the beginning of a campaign purportedly in support of the Palestinian prisoners that saw the pitching of the tent outside the Church of the Nativity as a way to get the attention of the American president and international media. Israel says the protesters are politically motivated.

Saudis vow not to use weapons procured from US against Israel

The United States demanded that Saudi Arabia agree that weapons purchased from America in the deal signed on Saturday will not be used against U.S. allies in the region, Israel Hayom learned Monday.
Saudi officials agreed and provided the pledge, paving the way for one of the biggest arms deals in Middle East history.
The nearly $110 billion deal was the central achievement of Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia over the weekend. Under the agreements, Saudi Arabia will buy U.S. arms to help it counter Iran, with options running as high as $350 billion over 10 years.
On Sunday, Israel expressed muted concern over the deal. While Israel also sees Iran as a threat to its security, it fears that the deal could diminish its regional military advantage.

US welcomes Israeli steps to boost Palestinian economy

The Trump administration has welcomed Israel’s recent decision to implement a series of measures designed to boost the Palestinian economy and improve Palestinian quality of life, according to the U.S. Consulate General’s website on Monday.
The measures were approved by the Israeli cabinet on Sunday, a day before U.S. President Donald Trump arrived in Israel for a historic visit.
“As the president has expressed many times, he is personally committed to doing everything he can to achieve a comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. He has been encouraging both sides to take steps that improve the environment for peacemaking. He has expressed particular interest in taking steps to improve the Palestinian economy in the West Bank and Gaza Strip,” the website said.
“The president welcomes an Israeli decision to implement a series of measures designed to begin improving both the Palestinian economy and the quality of life for the Palestinian public. The Trump administration will continue working closely with Palestinian and Israeli business leaders to identify additional ways to grow the Palestinian economy.”

Gazans tie up Trump effigy in armed demonstration

Thousands of supporters of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in Gaza protested US President Donald Trump’s visit to Bethlehem on Tuesday, and his statements describing Hamas as a terrorist organization.
During the protest, masked men pointed machine guns at an effigy of President Trump, while demonstrators waved Palestinian, PFLP, Hezbollah and Iranian flags and placards expressing criticism against US policy.
The PFLP, a designated terror organization by the US, Canada, European Union, Australia and Israel, has been responsible for carrying out dozens of terror attacks since the 1960s.
The protest, which started at Gaza City’s Palestine Square, culminated at al-Saraya Square in the center of the city, the location of a tent supporting hunger-striking Palestinians detained in Israeli prisons.

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